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I’m thrilled about the Covid Lockdown extension | A sales strategy for fearless leaders with cash.

By Business Business Management Coaching Entrepreneur Motivation Strategy No Comments

For the audio of this blog click here

 

 

10 April 2020

Dear you,

Covid overload. Death tolls. Minimalism. Flattened curves. Acts of kindness. Memes. Screen fatigue. Emotional health. Conspiracy theories. Short-termism. Existential crisis. Lead generation webinars disguised as support networks. Oh, woe is me. Dick-stain Trump. I’m over this pandemic. Over the panic. Over waiting for the financial pain to come, but then so is your opposition and perhaps substantially more so. If you have money in the bank today, you may have a life raft. Now all you need is a way to paddle into prosperity.

Now, here is the part that you may not like. It may even turn you off a little. Get someone to hold back your hair while you throw up. Look away if you are scared. Be afraid of what I’m about to say:

Kill your opposition. Ensure they are drowning in the freezing shark infested waters of despair. Don’t pretend you give a shit, you don’t.

The lockdown extension is a blessing. Your glib, living the Instagram best life bastard-of-an-opponent that’s been sipping Champagne on the top deck of the Titanic and is always at the pitch table too, is most likely leveraged to the hilt, geared to kingdom come and not making payments on those gas guzzling German cars he/she couldn’t afford to buy cash. They have no life raft. Let them drown.

Your competition has bled all their cash and not acted quickly enough. They never booked a dingy. They have recently ruined their relationships with their own clients fighting over payments and pauses. Post lockdown, they desperately need to protect margin to keep the shareholders, the stakeholders, the sharks and the banks at bay. Why not learn and adopt a sales strategy from some of the most aggressively growing business in the world today? And it’s an uncomplicated one. Ready?

 

Don’t make a profit.

 

That’s it. Simple. For the next 6 months learn to live on the knife-edge of cash flow and zero profit and if today you have the stomach for this and some cash in the bank, sell at below cost and see how quickly the competition capsizes. Nobody can compete with zero margins when they are encumbered to others.

Pitch on everything at break-even. Land grab. Offer the competitions’ clients a life raft now. They too, are looking for deals as they have suffered and need support and cheap services. Brag ashamedly about your company’s stability, durability and reliability and ensure the market knows you will survive future traumas together. Unscathed.

The rich businesses will get richer and the majority middle class may be wiped out. Ephemeral thinking is for the middle class. Being eager to claw back profits now will flatten your oppositions curve. Why offer them a lifeboat to cling to when you can chum the waters?

@Spillly

 

Thanks to my editor at large @TheJoLurie

 

THE THREE C’S OF COVID | Lockdown Lessons.

By Business Coaching Coaching Entrepreneur Motivation Strategy No Comments

 

[ For the audio version of this blog post, click here]

 

Last week, I growled a few times and then spoke about my learnings from Day 1 of lockdown. It was rather uplifting in nature and inspirational in tone. Don’t get used to that. Today I’m writing to you with a far more aggressive stance. No lube. No pulled punches. No sanitiser on the trolley. Hold tight.

                                                 6 April 2020

Dear You,

Your initial shock of remote working, the lockdown and an immanent economic depression should have settled down by now, leaving you with the raw reality of your cash reserves, the hard conversations with your team and clients, and the harder conversation you haven’t had with yourself, yet.

You now face the 3 C’s of Covid, all resulting in change. Yes, the 3 C’s – I’m making this shit up as we go.*

The first C is CHOICE

You have the power to make choices now. Being proactive, even if the path is unknown, gives you huge agency and allows you to thrive as a leader. As with all choices in life, it’s advisable to have your facts checked and not just rely on gut. Unfortunately, in the time of pandemics, your choice is often as good as my guess. Choice is a state of mind. Let me butcher a Casey Neistat quote here: You can be a hater and doubter sipping champagne on the top deck of the Titanic or you can be the fucking iceberg! Choose choice.

I-C-E-B-E-R-G ahead!

 

The 2nd C is CIRCUMSTANCE

The current circumstances have left you with fewer choices than you may want right now. You are in the dangerous middle ground where you can either make a move, choose a direction and be that I-C-E-B-E-R-G or wait out the circumstances and let fate or whatever deity you believe in, make that choice for you. This is not advisable. However, you may find yourself in too deep where Circumstance has already come and gone left you in the firm grasp of our third C, Crisis.

CRISIS

Nothing makes you change faster than crisis. Crisis is not the 4-lettered C word you know, but it certainly feels like that. If you have passed the phase of “why am I here and how did this happen?” and have no real choice to make, you my friend, are in Crisis mode. You have to make a choice, but don’t have any real options on the choice. Sound familiar?

Now, you may swear that you become the best version of yourself under pressure and live in crisis-mode. Were you the kid that always wrote his assignment the day before it was due? Are you always fighting people crisis, client chaos, and cash flow stress? Great but this is different. This is South African Revenue Services coming after you personally; this is a CCMA case, this is not paying suppliers, avoiding calls and getting summoned. This is not Mrs White, your high school English teacher telling you to sit in detention because you never handed in your homework.

The good news is that crises always happen and they always end. It’s how you look at the end that matters now and picking ‘Choice’ may not leave you with cash in the bank, but it will leave you with credibility. It will leave you with loyal staff who see you as a strong leader. It will leave you being a trustworthy partner in whatever you land up doing next.

IQ was the shit in 1980.

EQ was the shit in 2010.

CQ is the shit in 2020.

CQ is your change quotient – Your ability to adapt to your new ever-changing environment.

The Titanic had no CQ.

Be the I-C-E-B-E-R-G!

@Spillly

 

*Special thanks to Mari Lee of Devcom who shared the initial change theory with me

I hope you are quietly freaking out. Lockdown Lessons. Day 1.

By Business Coaching Coaching Motivation Strategy No Comments

[ For the audio version of this blog post, click here]

27 March 2020

Dear You,

I hope you are doing well.

Actually, no, that’s a fucking lie! I hope you are quietly freaking out with uncertainty and a lack of control. Deep down you know that your attitude is wrong. Your goals are wrong and that you should stop with the “just survive” mentality and start thinking about ways to thrive and grow rapidly in this opportune time.

Think big.

Today, there is opportunity everywhere. The money is moving. It’s moving sideways in industries. It’s leapfrogging between industries. There are bargains to be had. You could be buying businesses at 20c on the Rand. You could be partnering with larger businesses that aren’t as cash flush as you. You could be saving your opposition and taking equity. One man’s pain could be your pleasure. Start thinking about it. If someone is in pain, someone will benefit. Go after those people and never stop selling. In times of famine, the gravediggers make money. Become a gravedigger or at the very least, start selling shovels.

Sales.

Today’s sales are easier than ever. I may agree with you that “No one is buying now,” and this may even be true for the next few days BUT access to the C-suite has never been easier. Think about it. Their excuses to see you are less. No one is “going to Cape Town” for a few days. No one is on leave. No one is having full day culture workshops. The CEO is sitting at home with his/her screaming 3 year old and is in the same situation as you. He/she has no 9-5. He/she has no Monday to Friday. He/she is online and available to sales after hours. Before hours. Weekends.

Not only is he/she available for 20 minutes, you can now sell to 20 CEOs at the same time, for 20 minutes. Create thought leadership material and run a webinar. Invite the 20 non-opposing wishlist clients and add value to the network. Sales en-masse. No restrictions. Be smart NOW. Timing is everything.

The office.

Remote working has holes. It’s your call on whether you want an office in future or not. Each has pros and cons. Each has costs and savings. Each requires a different kind of employee. Each requires your existing team to have a different mind-set. Each requires a different type of client. Each requires a different kind of boss. There is no right or wrong – just a future you choose, so choose wisely. No knee jerk reactions required here. While you are in a forced experiment, work out if this is your future and if the rental loss is worth the trade offs.

In remote offices the tech is easy. The culture is hard. The people management is hard. Giving autonomy and not checking bums in seats, is hard. Motivation and inspiration is hard. Always on, is hard. Measuring output and ignoring input is even harder. Not paying rent – easy.

Your team will save time and petrol money in the weeks to come. It’s your job to get them to make other savings in their household right now, too. Your business needs variable overheads, so does your staff.

Clients.

Give your clients space to breathe now. Be empathetic to their circumstances. They are feeling as much pain or more than you are. They may leave you. They may ‘pause’ your services. How you deal with them today will determine if they ever come back to you and if they will ever refer you. Are you building a trust-based relationship with them now? Isn’t that what you want? If they leave you now, just be there in the coming weeks. Pick up the phone and check in. This will serve you well in future.

While they are sitting in their lounges with pictures of their kids hanging on the wall behind them, they have dropped the boardroom attire and pretence. They are human just like you and this is the chance you never had to get close to them- the human.

Products.

You are building a product right now aren’t you? Something “smart” that can be sold online to the masses. You are moving from a niche physical business to a mass online business. Don’t do that. Don’t be silly. You have no idea how that business operates, markets and lives on such small profits. Make what you do today an essential service for tomorrow, like sanitizer- but not so overpriced.

Mind-set.

Stop thinking about today’s loss.

Stop thinking about the week’s loss.

Stop thinking about the month’s losses.

Start thinking about 18-24 months from now.

Who will you be? What will your business do? Will you be relevant? This is all a small blips in your business lifecycle. A deep painful pimple. Don’t squeeze it. Don’t scratch it. Don’t pop it – it will scar. It’s ugly. It’s sore but it will heal in time and you will forget about it.

Best practice:

  1. You would never walk up to a lioness and try prying her new cubs away with your bare hands. Protect your cash like a lioness protects her cubs -GRRROWL!
  2. Chase your debtors like Al Capone. Get paid now and stop being soft.
  3. Get close enough to clients to contract Covid. (Not literally Obvs). You need to know what’s going on in their business before they do. They may be at risk. This puts you at risk. Timeous Information is everything.
  4. Be ruthless with cutting overheads. Overheads may be a euphemism for your people. If they need to go for the greater good – CHOP!
  5. Think about thriving, not surviving. Prosper don’t insulate. Hunt down what you want – GRRROWL!
  6. You are not alone – ask for help. Join a community. Hell! – Build a community.

Kids.

If you have kids that can still be influenced by you – scare the fuck out of them. That’s right! Make this pandemic their World War 2. Hopefully by the time they run for government office or have the vote, they will move the defence budgets to the influenza budget and the war chests to the disease control departments. More people have died of flu since World War 2 than people died in both world wars combined and yet we build guns, not vaccines. By the time I’m an old man, I’m selfishly hoping the next generation use this war and its scars, to build systems and departments that will protect the old people [me] from the Covids of 2050.

It’s a new scary world with no playbook. No rules. This is your chance to write the rules. Write the playbook. Write the future chapters of your career. Innovation and iteration of your product is dead. This is ground zero. It’s time to rejuvenate. It’s time to reincarnate. It’s time to reinvent yourself, your business and your legacy.

GRRROWL.

@Spillly

Social Truths – A Master Class on Social Media Strategy and Content

By Agency Business Innovation Social Media Strategy No Comments

“Transparency may be the most disruptive and far-reaching innovation to come out of social media.”

Many brands and business are on social media. Why? Because they feel they have to be. In this master class we will take a reflective view as to why you are on social media, what exactly you are trying to achieve and what does success look like. If you’re an agency running social media on behalf of brands, a brand running your own social media or a business with your own social media channels, then let us help you look at your social media truths and execute your social media according to a strategic plan.

Social Media is not just another marketing channel, but where you can have meaningful conversations with your customers, potential customers and people who are interested in your brand. Social media enables you to humanize your brand, drive brand advocacy and referrals, but can also open you up to risk if not managed properly.

COURSE OUTLINE

The HALF day hands-on practical Master class will feature sessions that include:

  • Why Social Media

○An overview of the landscape and best practice per channel

  • Structuring a social media team

○How to effectively set up a social media team and with what skill set

  • How to plan and deliver on campaign strategies

○A simple tool that will allow you to plan, deliver and measure results

  • Mapping out your social media strategy and content plan

○We will do a practical plan on how to map this out for your channels

  • Resources to help you manage and execute on your social media

○Accessible tools to help you manage your social media

  • When should you use influencers

○The good, the bad and the ugly

  • Paid media

○An overview of getting visibility beyond organic algorithms

Most importantly, this workshop shows how how to position yourself on social media, understanding how to structure and set up your team, as well as creating content that’s right for your brand.

HOW WILL YOU BENEFIT?

On the day, you will be taken through a program that looks at your existing social media channels and how you can improve on them by taking a step back, rethinking your team, your resources as well as how you plan content effectively.

This investment should enable you to run your social media effectively, which in turn drives benefits for your business whether it being positive sentiment or driving leads.

This will be an informal but interactive day. All participants are encouraged to participate,

ask questions and make observations from their own perspectives and experiences. There will also be practical activities to ensure you walk way with useful implementation plans on running and executing your social media effectively and efficiently.

IDEAL NUMBER AND PROFILE OF PARTICIPANTS

Maximum 20 participants

The course content is universally relevant to all businesses, regardless of industry or size and will help a freelancer, community manager or a corporate marketer come to grips and plan their future social media requirements.

COST OF WORKSHOP:

The total fee for this process is R4699 per participant INCLUDING VAT. This includes refreshments, breakfast, as well as any materials provided on the day.

WHO IS DELIVERING THE CLASS?

Elena is a seasoned publishing, content, social media and digital marketing professional. Previously head of social media and content at Aqua (now Wunderman) she now consults to numerous agencies and brands. At the forefront of social media marketing in London in 2010, Elena has gone on to clock up career highlights such as establishing the MTN Group’s social media policies, guidelines and strategies across 22 Opcos; as well as creating a social media command centre for a global beverage company.

Known locally to many agencies as a secret weapon to bed down new clients (on-boarding teams, setting up policies and guidelines, writing strategies), she is also adept at working direct with clients to manage their agencies.

Brent Spilkin over the past 7 years has helped over 150 advertising, media, marketing, PR, digital, software, branding and content businesses and their owners develop, manage crisis, strategize and flourish. He has clients throughout South Africa, Israel, The United Kingdom and The United States that now generate over two billion Rands worth of annual sales revenue. His mini-MBA text book is now lectured through reputable private tertiary colleges. He is a loud-mouthed, tech-adopting, motorcycle-riding business coach who won’t settle for mediocrity.

He has an endless supply of hope when it comes to the resurrection of a beautiful, successful South Africa in which he wants to live and thrive.

BOOK TICKETS HERE:

https://qkt.io/WsjJPD

What the hell is a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)?

By Coaching Entrepreneur Social Media Strategy

An SOP is a procedure specific to your operation that describes the activities necessary to complete tasks in accordance with industry regulations, provincial laws or even just your own standards for running your business.

 

Any document that is a “how to” falls into the category of procedures. In a manufacturing environment, the most obvious example of an SOP is the step-by-step production line procedures used to make products as well train staff. An SOP, in fact, defines expected practices in all businesses where quality standards exist.

 

SOPs play an important role in your small business. SOPs are policies, procedures and standards you need in the operations, marketing and administration disciplines within your business to ensure success.

 

These can create:

  • Efficiencies, and therefore profitability
  • Consistency and reliability in production and service
  • Fewer errors in all areas
  • A way to resolve conflicts between partners and staff
  • A healthy and safe environment
  • Protection of employers in areas of potential liability and personnel matters
  • A roadmap for how to resolve issues – and the removal of emotion from troubleshooting – allowing needed focus on solving the problem
  • A first line of defence in any inspection, whether it be by a regulatory body, a partner or potential partner, a client, or a firm conducting due diligence for a possible purchase
  • Value added to your business should you ever wish to sell it

 

Developing an SOP is about systemizing all of your processes and documenting them. Every business has a unique market, every entrepreneur has his/her own leadership style, and every industry has its own best practices. No two businesses will have an identical collection of SOPs.

 

Below is a listing of just a few typical SOPs, which you will want to consider writing for your own small business.

 

  • Production/Operations
  • Production line steps
  • Equipment maintenance, inspection procedures
  • New employee training
  • Finance and Administration
  • Accounts receivable – billing and collections process
  • Accounts payable process – maximizing cash flow while meeting all payment deadlines
  • Marketing, Sales and Customer Service
  • Approval of external communications: press releases, social media, advert, etc.
  • Preparation of sales quotes
  • Service delivery process, including response times
  • Warranty, guarantee, refund/exchange policies
  • Acknowledgment/resolution of complaints, customer comments and suggestions • Employing Staff
  • Job descriptions
  • Employee orientation and training
  • Corrective action and discipline
  • Performance reviews
  • Use of Internet and social media for business purposes Legal
  • Privacy

 

 

Tips

  • Establish prior to opening; review at least annually
  • Develop procedures in the language style and format best for the establishment (your industry/operations knowledge is crucial here)
  • Write SOPs in clear, concise language so that processes and activities occur as they are suppose to
  • The level of detail in SOPs should provide adequate information to keep performance consistent while keeping the procedures from becoming impractical
  • Keep written SOPs on-site and in the cloud so that supervisors and employees can use them
  • Drafts should be made and tested before an SOP is released for implementation
  • The more decision makers, employees and complexity in the business, the more SOPs are required
  • SOP’s should be developed in existing businesses by all the stakeholders in each process.

 

In my experience, companies with well built, managed and maintained SOP’s are far less likely to make the same mistake twice and are often more resilient internally. An SOP can often be the difference between getting new work and not as clients can see the value of a well-run organisation.