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Strategy Archives | Spillly

Mind your FKN Language (In Business)

By Business Coaching Creative Leadership Public Speaking No Comments

Running a business brings about all sorts of challenges and it goes without saying that communication is one of them. Finding the right language to use to get your point across and convey the impact of certain situations that arise within your company isn’t always the easiest thing to do.

Whether a meeting needs to be had about important changes happening in your business, or a long-time client is on the line and you need to act quickly to prevent losing them; conveying that information in a way that creates a common and coherent understanding amongst employees can be a bit of a pain in the ass, to be brutally honest.

Naturally, your favourite bearded business coach has a special trick up his sleeve to go about doing this in a straightforward and uncomplicated way:

Similar to the DEFCON (Defense Readiness Condition) system that the US Armed Forces makes use of, this approach is about creating a method of communication around urgent and important situations that pop up in your business – which can be helpful in developing an efficient and clear form of understanding between both staff and management.

This is a DEFCON 1 situation, so you’d better pay close attention.

Listen Closely. Your Job Could Depend On It! 

If I ask you to think about the situations that surface in your business and how you go about informing others of those situations, then the use of effective communication is a massive priority in getting your message across and understood.

If something serious is happening and the life of the business depends on certain actions to be taken; if you’re implementing a new strategy and everybody needs to be made aware of it; or if there’s a new rule, regulation or law that needs to be adopted by employees – starting a system of language that your staff understand and are aware of will help you gather them much quicker than an email that they might not read, or a lengthy statement that might spread confusion.

When I coach clients, I remind them that using the right communication tools are important in creating awareness around the defense conditions within their business.

The use of strategic language is a crucial tool to develop a sense of understanding around these conditions and it allows for a level of brevity when trying to get an important message across to staff.

Knowing whether it’s an existential problem that the company is facing (like the threat of a shut down), or if it’s something that can be dealt with at a later stage (like the implementation of new policies), it ultimately helps create a clear picture that everybody in the organisation can understand.

Reworking The DEFCON System Into Business 

The DEFCON system is basically a prescribed set of terms that highlight the urgency of dire situations being faced during war through the use of strategic language. It helps to ensure a sense of readiness so that the correct actions are taken and so by using it, everybody involved in the defence of a country will be informed of the severity of those situations, ensuring that certain measures are in place to deal with them.

When breaking it down, the ranking starts at DEFCON 5 (least severe/minor) and works its way to DEFCON 1 (most severe/serious) – and It functions extremely well when communicating serious and minor issues that need attention.

That’s why it’s such a great tool to adapt and implement into your business.

By creating a similar ranking system in the workplace, you’re able to quickly communicate a situation and ensure that the most appropriate responses are given by both management and staff. This speeds up action and creates a common awareness amongst everyone.

Instead of using long-winded and tedious statements like, “everybody, we have an urgent meeting at 5 o’clock and you all need to be there,” you’ll make use of a much quicker term or phrase, such as, “I’m calling a DEFCON 1 for 5 o’clock”, or “it’s a Defcon 5, when can everyone make it?”.

Obviously, you need to make sure that everyone in your business is aware of this terminology and that it’s taught in a way to be used in the right context.

If you abuse the language, then people will attach less importance to the severity of the situation that each term entails and it might be rendered useless. Do you remember the story of ‘the boy who cried wolf’? Well, the moral of the story is that you shouldn’t give an alert for danger when there is no danger, otherwise nobody will care about what you have to say when danger actually presents itself.

Make your DEFCON 1 known to be a serious matter and that employees should act accordingly. Perhaps you indicate that it refers to the risk of losing an important client – everybody needs to take that indication seriously, shift gears and take necessary action.

You also don’t have to use that particular ranking system in your business – I have clients that use a Bronze, Silver and Gold system or an animal-based system (zebra, rhino, snake) to differentiate the levels of severity.

Whatever imagery you choose, remember that it needs to be understood in a logical and applicable way.

Other than the fact that it creates ease-of-communication between management and staff, it can help bolster a stronger organisational culture; employees are essentially connected through a common language, allowing them to have a shared form of understanding. It creates a deeper bond within teams and forms a common-ground for everybody involved.

With this system, you will come to find more appropriate responses given when problems come to surface and that everybody is on the same wavelength when having to face difficult circumstances.

Come up with a set of terms. Train your organisation to react according to those terms. And get shit done properly through effective communication.

I’m calling a DEFCON 2, so you need to pay some serious attention right now.

Sources tell me that your business needs some TLC and that your time is far too scattered for you to make improvements in your strategies, communication and the overall operations of your business.

So in doing you a solid, I’ve called in some backup:

An experienced and well-balanced business coach, armed with powerful weapons, enough ammunition and the most superb strategies to take on any challenge that your business presents.

That business coach is me. So act fast, make the call (an email or Whatsapp will also do) and don’t be shy to reap the rewards.

+2783 253 3339

brent@spillly.com

 

In Fear Of Losing Valuable Employees? Try The Golden Handcuffs.

By Business Coaching Hiring Strategy No Comments

As a business owner, especially when operating a small company, it’s common to find a star employee that perfectly complements your vision – exceeding expectations, getting the job done perfectly and making a positive impact on your business.

It’s only when you recognise that employee that the fear of losing them becomes a reality.

And the last thing that you want to do is have to find someone else to replace that person, as it can become costly, time-consuming and often difficult to achieve.

So how do you keep them happy? How do you retain them for the long-haul?

While locking them in a room and hoping for Stockholm Syndrome to take its course isn’t exactly an option – arresting them with a sleek pair of golden handcuffs just might be.

Value Is In The Eye Of The Entrepreneur 

In a lot of the smaller businesses that I deal with, I come across clients that become incredibly dependent on one, or a few key members of staff. And it inevitably leads to a fear of loss, as they believe there’s a huge risk in losing any of them.

What often tends to happen is that these key employees begin to recognise their own value and the impact that they have on the business. This leads to them either asking for more money, or some kind of guarantee that their hard work will benefit them far more than just the salary that they receive.

And it’s at that moment when business owners make the mistake of giving away or selling shares to a star employee (especially in the early stages of starting their company).

More often than not, this comes back to bite them in the ass. After a few years, the realisation kicks in that giving away or selling shares early-on was a crap decision. What ends up happening is that you give them shareholder rights and create complications if you ever wanted to sell your business at a later stage.

So before jumping the proverbial gun, you need to first ensure that this person is capable of being a good partner, not just a good employee.

Just like in dating, you need to know if they fit the role of being a good parent, a caring partner and whether or not there are any red flags to be cautious of. The same applies to that star employee – you need to work with them for a long enough time before offering them a stake in your company.

If you’re feeling pressured to make promises or provide them with a reason to stay – then I’ve got some really great tricks for you.

Arrest Their Attention With Golden Handcuffs

Being a business coach means that I always have (or find) a solution to the problems that business owners have to face.

That being said, dealing with a situation like this can be easy if you have the right tactics to approach the situation:

Profit-Share Scheme: With this option, you give the employee the opportunity to earn more based on the success of the business. If the business makes a great profit, then the employee is rewarded with a piece of that profit. This can come in the form of a percentage (say 10% of the year-end profit) or even a flat bonus.

This method works great, because harder work results in more benefits for the employee. The performance of your staff is often affected by how they feel about your company – so by sharing a piece of your profits, there will be increased levels of trust, productivity and efficiency.

To make this work, you need to be transparent around the finances of the company and clearly set the expectations that need to be met in order to benefit from the profits.

With this approach, it’s important to note that small business owners don’t always feel comfortable with sharing how much the company is making – that sort of transparency often results in staff becoming less productive, as they feel they deserve more.

Ghost Shares: This method is usually based on an agreement between the employee and owner that gives them all of the benefits of being a shareholder, without the risk or the decision-making power of actually being one.

By using this approach, you offer an agreement to the employee that will give them a percentage of the profits that are declared – as well as a cut of the value of the business, should it sell. This can also extend to a seat at the management committee, where they have the opportunity for their voice to be heard – which gives them a sense of belonging and involvement. However, in the case that they leave the company, they forfeit those shares.

Doing this works, because they believe that they will benefit from the business without feeling like a pawn. And by implementing this type of share agreement, you become aware of the type of person the employee is over time, allowing you to figure out whether or not they’re cut-out to be someone that you can open discussion around proper equity with.

One of the biggest benefits of the ghost share is that you’re able to move the business forward without relying on partners giving you the go-ahead.

Also Remember That… 

You need to make it clear to these employees that profits will be forfeited if leaving the company before a pay-out; that these pay-outs are often only reflected annually or quarterly (based on performance reports); and that they ultimately affect the profits that the company receives.

Payments also don’t necessarily have to come in the form of straight cash, but can sometimes be used for education, vacations or things like retirement funds.

Ultimately, this approach will add value to the employee, their experience and the relationship that they have with the company.

Personally, I feel that the best approach to take is to dramatically increase the person’s salary. It not only says that you respect and need that employee, but that you’re willing to pay them more than any other business is – which will motivate them to stick around.

Either way, keeping your star employees just became a whole lot easier.

I happen to have a sleek, comfortable set of golden handcuffs that are waiting to embrace you:

While you might find it stressful to ensure that your business always moves in the right direction, that you are always making the right decisions for you and your staff, and that you keep focused on the ideal path to success – I’m here to tell you that winning just became a whole lot easier.

Based on the many clients that I’ve successfully coached, I know I can add massive value to your life. I know I can make you feel like a winner. I know that you’re ready to take the leap.

+2783 253 3339

brent@spillly.com

 

Don’t waste another second thinking about it. Let’s have a chat.

Diamond-Shaped Networking – WHY Referrals Matter To YOU

By Business Coaching Sales No Comments

Referrals are often the lifeblood of a business, especially in the B2B space; they build heaps of credibility, attract the most immediate clients and transform your business in more ways than you could imagine.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not disputing the fact that sales and inbound marketing are powerful tools to build a strong client-base, but the value of referrals should never have doubt cast upon it.

In fact, referrals are statistically more effective than other means of gathering clients, so I recommend that you start harnessing that power as soon as you possibly can.

Why Does Credibility Matter? 

People are inherently more trusting of strangers than they are of new, or unfamiliar brands. It’s harder to get somebody to spend money on a product or service provided by a company that they are unsure of – this is one of the biggest reasons why sales and marketing is so important for any business to grow.

As a business owner, being aware of this is crucial. Making use of the best sales, or marketing team is in itself highly important, but leaving a solid and lasting impression on existing and past clients, as well as anybody that knows what you do, is just as important.

By developing your credibility, you’re perceived as a brand that leaves a positive impact on your customers, your staff and everybody that you work with and so you’re more likely to harness a powerful network and create more opportunities.

If people are impressed by the work that you do, they come to respect and admire you, which results in them telling others about your service. When you leave a lasting and promising impression, then people will come to spread you like the plague.

This creates a sense of credibility around your name, brand and identity – which in turn will aid you in your networking and the dissemination of your solution.

In other words, credibility is important, because referrals are important and referrals are important, because they work better than sales and marketing. 

Diamonds Are A Business’s Best Friend

When visualising the shape of a two-dimensional diamond (four points: one on top, two on the sides and one at the bottom), it becomes a bit easier to map out the structure that referrals follow.

If you demarcate the point right at the bottom as your business, the two side points as your referrals and the top point as the client that you want; you have yourself a diamond-referral structure.

In my own business, as well as those of the clients that I work for, I ensure that the system or structure that we use is in the shape of that two-dimensional diamond, as it helps to give you a visual representation of the symbiotic relationship within that network.

As a business owner, your job is to produce a high-quality solution and provide a remarkable service. By doing just that, you immediately impress the clients that you work for. Your past and current clients are your biggest source of referrals, so you need to ensure that they are always pleased and satisfied with the work that you do for them.

It comes down to creating a wonderful customer experience, as they ultimately generate new leads for you.

When a potential client looks at your brand, they’re often hesitant and go through their own cognitive process to determine whether or not they can trust you. However, when that client is introduced to feedback, or insightful opinions through current or previous clients, then they tend to make a quicker, more informed decision.

If the information that they receive is negative, they know not to bother; if it’s positive, they know it’s worth their time and money. Again, this could be a past, or a current client that has been utterly impressed or disappointed by you, so they inspire (or warn) new potential to either engage with you or avoid you completely.

Why, Then, Do I Use A Diamond And Not A Triangle?

I’ve come to find that it’s not that common to have just one person refer me to new clients, but rather that there’s always a 2nd person that motivates the final decision.

Having two sources refer you to a new client will (obviously) result in a much higher chance that action will be taken. Having one person give a positive opinion about you is powerful in itself, but having two give that impression is supreme.

I know, I know – the odds aren’t exactly the greatest that you will find two people singing your praises, but worry not, as it isn’t necessarily confined to only a second person that motivates the final decision.

And that’s where your marketing strategy comes in.

If you consider one of the points to the side as a client that has referred you, then the other side will often be a form of marketing that they’ve encountered.

When you see an advert, piece of content, billboard or poster then you become aware of the brand, but aren’t necessarily motivated to sign-up; but when someone tells you about a positive experience that they’ve had with that same brand, then you’re far more likely to give it a try.

Two sources will always be better and more effective than just having one. As someone that owns and runs a business, you need to be aware of that fact and ensure that you always leave the best impression possible.

Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals, or to be referred, either. Pride and ego aside, it will be far more cost-effective if you can manage to land clients based on referrals, especially compared to the money you spend going through sales tactics and marketing.

The Best Customer You Can Get 

If the customer or client ends up taking on your product or service through referrals, then you would’ve saved time, money and effort. You end up with a client that will also be more likely to do the same and spread your brand and awesome service through word-of-mouth.

By building out multiple networks of these diamond-shaped structures and putting them together (with the bottom points all intersecting), a flower will begin to form and that flower represents a powerful network that your business is at the centre of.

One of the most important things to remember is that you need to give thanks and show appreciation to the clients that share and spread your brand.

Whenever you land a new client through this process, ensure that you find out who referred you to them and make it your mission to reach out and thank them for it. Sending a gift, giving a discount, or even a simple “thank you” could suffice. Just make sure that you give them the recognition that they deserve. It might also help motivate them to keep referring you to others.

One of the greatest things about working with a business coach like me is that your network will expand exponentially.

Turning your business into something profound and remarkable is one thing, but I’ve been around the block many times and as part of my promise to bring value, growth and development to your brand – I will introduce and refer you to powerful new clients that could make a huge difference in the way that you do business.

Have a chat with me and let’s determine the steps that you’re going to take to become the best:

+2783 253 3339

brent@spillly.com

 

 

 

Why Outsourcing Is The Right Choice For Your Business

By Agency Business Coaching Freelance Strategy No Comments

It’s been a good few years since the release of my book What The Freelance, where I take a deep dive into the benefits that come with outsourcing the right talent for your business.

Since then, the riveting content in my book has been turned into course material for tertiary institutions and made a positive, and noticeable, impact on those that have implemented this approach to improving their companies.

And now, with the pandemic, we’ve seen an even greater surge in the desire for freelancers to help save companies from crumbling to the ground, especially with so many of them having to either shut down completely or retrench significant portions of their staff just to survive.

It has certainly become more important than ever to acclimate to this way of doing things.

That being said, let me clarify how this approach works and why.

So Why Outsource?

Great question.

While outsourcing certainly isn’t a new concept, it’s gained a considerable amount of traction over the last 10 years, especially since Covid came into the picture. It’s also been proven to be a great option for both smaller and larger businesses – whether in their infancy or in their prime.

If implemented correctly, outsourcing can be highly beneficial to businesses that are struggling with revenues and tight budgets, stuck with very little staff and too much responsibility, or handling tasks that might be infrequent (marketing campaigns, blog posts, etc.)

It’s a proven approach that works, and has worked, for businesses for a long time now – especially for greater flexibility and reduced operational costs.

By using freelancers to fill more of the production roles in your business, you’re able to save a lot of extra time, resources and hassle that you would have to deal with when using a more traditional business model.

The 85/15 Rule

Traditionally, most businesses, agencies and consultancies use a core team of permanent staff that usually make up 85-90% of a company, while the remaining 10-15% of capacity was left for the occasional ad-hoc freelancer to fill any gaps.

Over time, a lot of smaller businesses have come to realise that they’d prefer to avoid relying on permanent staff and the costs associated with training, educating and retaining them and would rather opt for a far more flexible and agile overhead.

With the success rates that come with outsourcing, businesses are now swapping those ratios around, instead looking at around 85-90% of outsourced, freelance staff and leaving the remaining 10-15% as the core team to fill the most important roles within the company.

While freelancers are primarily used for production purposes (the product or creative output), the core team consists of roles in sales, account management, client liaison, product management (to also manage the freelancers), bookkeeping and project management.

As a business owner, it’s highly beneficial to focus on doing the jobs that you’re already skilled at, instead of wasting energy and productivity on things like filling out paperwork or dealing with other gruelling tasks that often take up too much time.

This usually results in you spending far more energy on the core processes of the business, getting much more done, while saving precious resources, time, effort and money.

The Benefits Of Outsourcing

Taking this approach to business means that you’ll have far more advantages, especially in the early stages of starting it out.

Firstly, you’re given far more flexibility where staff are concerned, as you’re able to make huge savings on picking freelancers as opposed to permanent employees. The cost of time and money to educate and train, as well as pay salaries, benefits and bonuses to staff (when you might not always require them) can be a major disadvantage.

So if demand dries up for whatever period of time, then you don’t need to keep too many permanent employees on the payroll – which leaves your cash reserves far more protected and readily available for other important and fruitful investments.

Secondly, it can be a huge advantage to your clients. Without the need to solely rely on internal staff to produce the best possible results for a particular client, you’re given far more access to experts and professionals in any field, at any given time.

Say a client requires someone to work on advertising or branding for a niche operation, but your current staff are trained, experienced and only used to handling one area of expertise – you’re given the opportunity to outsource someone that is already great at producing work for that particular niche and who would be capable of providing superb results for that client.

It also allows for the use of a pure strategy that doesn’t have your business making promises to fulfil client requests, regardless of whether or not your staff are capable of doing the job correctly.

It’s a win-win situation for both your business and the client.

Your business might offer to have the right people for the job but aren’t necessarily equipped to handle it in the best way, whereas with freelancers, you can find the ideal person/team to do the work and produce results according to what the client needs.

There are a number of other valuable benefits that come with this approach to business, such as access to world-class experience and expertise, the freeing up of resources that can be used in other areas to make more money, the reduction of risks that come with retrenchments and lay-offs and help in dealing with difficult operations and processes.

By implementing a similar approach to your business, you’re bound to reap far more rewards and opportunities that would be difficult to achieve if you kept to the traditional way of doing things.

Take a hard look at your business and figure out whether there’s room to outsource and find the right type of freelancer to fulfil certain roles far better than a permanent staff member might be able to.

If you need some more advice or guidance to go about implementing this in the best possible way, feel free to contact me.

I mean, I wrote the book after all. 🙂

My coaching expertise is ideal for ANY business owner that has an unrelenting desire for success, comfort and progress.

 

You know what to do:

Pick up the phone, save my number and email address, and make contact.

+2783 253 3339

brent@spillly.com

 

 

 

 

Oh! How you love to hate.

By Business Coaching Sales Strategy No Comments

It’s important for every business owner to review and evaluate clients on a fairly regular basis. Every entrepreneur needs to figure out whether a customer/client is either of use to them or should go through the dreaded culling process.

So it’s vital that you ask these two important questions: Do they add value to your company? Or do they annoy the living shit out of you?

In figuring out which clients to retain and which ones to scrap, I recommend using the love-hate quadrant to guide you in your decision-making process.

Hate-Love-Love-Hate 

It can be difficult to determine which filters to use when deciding who you should keep and who you should let go of.

Besides the obvious ones, like whether particular clients bring in small or big revenue, growth opportunities, and profitability – you need to be aware that certain filters usually lead to an emotional feeling between you and the customer.

Which can often result in you hating them.

So instead of relying on your emotions to figure out whether or not they should be kept or dumped, I recommend using a simple love-hate matrix to help you decide which route to take.

There are four different categories that you can place your clients into that will help motivate your decision:

Love-Love Quadrant – will contain your list of customers/clients that you love and appreciate the most. They’re the clients that you want to keep, the clients that you love and that love you in return. They pay well, the work that you do for them is always appreciated, and you enjoy the process and relationship that you’ve established with them. They’re also a great cultural fit and refer you to new clients all the time. So you need to give this category of clients 80% of your time, focus and energy – making sure that you look after them and their best interests.

Love-Hate Quadrant – consists of clients that love you, but you absolutely hate them. You usually run into issues when dealing with them, as they can be a nuisance and overly demanding. The money that they bring in isn’t too great, especially considering the work and effort that you have to put in. But, because they love you and the service/product that you provide for them, it’s wise to try and work them into the love-love quadrant. Make your staff aware of the issues that you have with them and that they have with you, then come up with solutions or offers that can extract more money and better opportunities from them.

Hate-Love Quadrant – this category is for the clients that you love, but they unfortunately hate you. While they’re constantly down your throat with complaints and criticisms, they still bring in a nice amount of money to your business. They aren’t always happy with the work that you provide for them and they make sure that you’re aware of that. While it seems like culling them would be a better option, you should try and address the issues that they have, attempt to satisfy their demands and try to work them into the love-love quadrant.

Hate-Hate Quadrant – these are the clients that you hate and they hate you. It’s mutual. They don’t have much to offer, especially in terms of profits and they consistently give you a hard time. When you despise a client so much that you cringe at the idea of doing anything for them, then it’s probably time to wipe them out. What you should do is work on ways to get rid of them – so that they no longer bring you stress. One of the easiest ways to do this is to just drastically increase your pricing or mention that you will not be renewing their contract.

This matrix is a great tool to use during annual strategy sessions.

It will help you determine and categorise which clients help you and your business, while either working on creating a better experience for those that you still want, or implementing a plan to get rid of those that you don’t.

It’s a simple, easy-to-use process to apply to your business strategy.

You’re welcome.

I would absolutely love to throw you into the love-love quadrant and list you as one of my top clients. So do us both a favour and get in touch with me.

It will change your business for the better. It will make you the leader that you’ve always wanted to be. It will give you clarity and vision. It will also make my day.

Squeeze me in if you don’t have the time, make the effort to grab my attention. I will be the best choice you’ve ever made:

 

+2783 253 3339

brent@spillly.com

 

 

 

 

Watch Your Assumptions! Why Assuming Can Harm Your Business

By Business Coaching Coaching Leadership No Comments

Playing guessing games can be a dangerous way to go about running your business. It allows for bias to creep in and can affect how you handle certain situations, often bringing about more harm than good.

When you make assumptions, you don’t always take the necessary time to get the full picture, nor the data and insight required to make the right decisions. This can result in taking the wrong actions and end up damaging either a promising business deal, your business strategy or even relationships.

In summing it up quite succinctly, Hannibal from the The A Team, reminds us that “Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups”.

Why Do We Assume Anything, Anyway?

I’m guilty of it, you’re guilty of it and everybody has, in some shape or form, made assumptions. It’s an innate function built within all of us to either protect ourselves or to find shortcuts around our predictions and estimations (in other words, to be safe or to be lazy).

Sociology reminds us that we all have a frame of reference that navigates our decision-making, communication and behaviours; we all have biases that affect our perspective, which opens the way to prejudice and subjectivity. This ultimately shapes our assumptions.

The problem lies in the fact that those assumptions are further linked to our emotions and thus affect the way that we perceive and engage with others – even in making the right predictions around business strategy and the business, as a whole.

Sometimes cognitive bias won’t allow us to see the truth, because protecting our sanity is a priority for the subconscious mind; when something could fail, backfire or cause any mental distress, we often choose to turn away from the truth in order to maintain a semblance of control over difficult circumstances.

What Are Some Of The Common Assumptions In Business?

One of the most important things to remember in business is that objectivity is crucial and that being subjective can be dangerous when engaging with others and dealing with the day-to-day operations of your company.

As a business owner, there are loads of situations and scenarios that you have to encounter and deal with on a daily basis and so the risk of making the wrong assumptions becomes far greater.

When coaching my clients, I sometimes find that a lack of research and data is the culprit behind making inaccurate predictions around business strategy.

Some of these presumptions include the viability of a product or service and believing that there’s a market out there for it; the longevity or shelf-life of a solution, thinking that it can never go out of fashion or become outdated; customer behaviours and ignoring the extent of their interest or disinterest; and competitive forces being perceived as harmless and non-threatening.

Doing thorough research becomes a vital process in order to understand your market, how long your solution will remain relevant, whether or not customers enjoy your product and how intense the competition is. The amount of external factors that will end up shaping your business are far too many to be relying on assumptions, alone.

Some of the most common assumptions found in businesses tend to include ideas around finances, resources, economy and politics, and competition.

Every business owner needs to understand that it takes time to become profitable and that it can take years to produce returns from your product or service; that it isn’t easy to retain skilled employees and talent, as the culture that you provide, as well as the incentives matter; that the political and economic landscape you’re in constantly changes and affects your entire strategy; and that competitors are capable of altering market conditions and redefining entire industries.

By giving awareness and seeking knowledge around the assumptions found in business, it will shape your decision-making and help you work towards better solutions, while giving you enough clarity around the risks that come with making the wrong predictions.

This way of thinking doesn’t only cover the broader components that I’ve mentioned, but also some of the more intimate and personal beliefs that business owners hold.

Assumptions can lead to bad interactions with clients, staff and those that could potentially benefit your business further down the line. Preconceived notions can end up damaging your reputation – burning bridges and losing out on precious opportunities to grow.

On a personal level, especially as a leader and entrepreneur, you need to be a great listener and pay attention to everybody that you interact with. Allowing bias to dictate your assumptions of people can create uncomfortable working environments or awkward interactions that could quickly spread through word-of-mouth. Your reputation is on the line.

Employees, clients and even outsiders could see you as bigoted, which could shape the way that people see your brand. You end up becoming a role-model and ambassador for your business, constantly shaping the beliefs and ideas of your customers and staff.

How Can We Improve Our Assumptions?

Without the correct data, you run a high risk of jumping to the wrong conclusions and making poor decisions for your business.

I understand that certain assumptions will always be made, especially when faced with accurate facts and figures. There can be sufficient data to motivate your assumptions and push you towards action, but you need to constantly be testing those thoughts, as opposed to relying on them.

Remember that no strategy is bulletproof and constantly needs to be re-evaluated to ensure that it’s still effective. The same applies with assumptions, as they can be affected by external factors at any given time.

In terms of personal biases and prejudice, we need to learn to listen more effectively and avoid jumping to conclusions when facing and engaging with people.

Regulating your emotions and thoughts will come in handy when dealing with people; learning to clear your thoughts and mind when interacting with staff, clients and others, asking questions to ensure that you understand what’s being said, and making sure that you find something positive in every situation will go a long way.

In business, you need to differentiate between belief in your product or service and what the data presents to you; customers decide whether or not your solution is necessary, and you need to be aware of how they feel, competitors exist in every space and you need to know how to compete effectively, understanding that the economy and political environment determine laws and regulations, which in turn affect your business, is just as important.

Don’t assume and always follow the facts.

I’m going to go off of a hunch here and assume that, since you’ve made it this far, there’s some value that you’ve taken from this.

And if you’re somebody that seeks value, appreciates and enjoys the insight gained from material like the piece that you’ve read – then I’ve got just the thing for you:

One-on-one coaching with a professional, upbeat and experienced business coach that isn’t afraid of sharing his knowledge, network and novel approach to business growth.

Contact me today and let’s transform your business:

+2783 253 3339

brent@spillly.com

Reducing The Load Of Your Slowest Hikers

By Business Coaching Consulting psychology Strategy No Comments

When building out your business, there’s always a clear, set mission to achieve significant growth and success – not only for yourself, but also the people that you take on that journey with you.

Similar to the task of hiking together with a team, you, as a leader and guide, must find a process that gets everyone to the top of the mountain in the most effective way, possible.

But what often tends to happen is that you and your team might be slowed down due to the hikers in the back; those that might be struggling to endure the arduous journey with you. And this usually means having to patiently wait for them to catch up to the rest of the team before you’re able to continue and push towards achieving your goal.

While culling those hikers might seem like an easy option, it’s often better to help them by offering to lighten their load, teach them a trick or two, or motivate them to succeed.

A Chain Is Only As Strong As Its Weakest Link 

Indeed, you may find it quite challenging to embark on that journey to reach the top and you will undoubtedly face certain obstacles, but through a healthy dose of desire and determination, you’re well aware of the effort and willpower it will take to get there.

Confronted by ravines, narrow ledges and the many areas of discomfort on the path to success, it’s your job to motivate and empower your team – so that they too help ease the process of getting to the top.

And although each of the hikers within your team have their own backpacks or loads to carry with them, there’s almost always a person (or select group of people) that struggle to keep up and endure the load. Contained in those backpacks are things like skills, personal issues, beliefs, etc. which come to affect the load that needs to be carried on the way up.

Some people handle their load better than others. While some need help to manage or compartmentalise their load in a more effective way.

The issue with those members that lag behind is that it restricts progress and productivity; it slows the entire team down and prevents you from reaching your goal in the fastest way, possible.

It certainly seems like a great option to just go ahead and send those slow, struggling hikers back home, freeing up the energy to keep pushing forward – however, a better approach would be to convince your strongest, fastest hikers to train, inspire and assist the weaker ones, instead.

To do this, you need to ask your strongest hikers to help carry or re-arrange the backpacks of those that are in need of assistance. By removing or re-organising their backpacks, you reduce work-load, provide them with more opportunity to be trained and developed, and create a sense of camaraderie amongst the team. This results in a better, faster and more effective unit.

Using Theory Of Constraints To Reduce The Load 

One of the most effective ways to view and come up with solutions to this situation is through the Theory of Constraints.

Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt, a physicist turned business consultant, came up with this model back in 1984 in his book The Goal, which teaches readers that every organisation, at any time, is limited in its ability to achieve its objective due to a single constraint.

Goldratt defined it as, “A thinking process that enables people to invent simple solutions to complex problems.”

This method is ultimately about focusing on different areas that need attention; attending to the weakest link on that chain and fixing the problem in order to increase productivity and prevent it from getting worse.

By using the Theory of Constraints, it’s important to find the answers to three big questions: What to change?; What to change it to?; and how to change it?

Answering these questions will ultimately provide direction and assist you in coming up with a plan to solve the problems that need to be dealt with.

In order to identify and solve the constraints that need your attention, a five-step method is usually recommended. This will help you find a starting point and give you a process that works effectively when tackling the situation.

The five steps are as follows:

Identify the limiting constraint. In the case of our team of hikers, take a close look at those employees that struggle to keep up with the rest of the team and that slow everyone else down. Figure out what it is that they need help with, whether it’s a reduced workload, more training, counselling, or positive reinforcement – you need to focus on finding the reason why they are struggling in the first place.

Exploit the constraint using existing resources before any investment. If you’re able to identify  the constraint, come up with solutions that don’t require extra money and attempt to remedy the situation through resources that you already have available. If the slow hiker has issues with work that they are struggling to understand, then request one of your stronger hikers to train them, give practical advice or explain how to handle it better.

Subordinate all associated activities to the constraint. Although it might seem a bit counter-intuitive, it’s important to consider that every working part of the system might be supporting and giving fuel to an existing problem. By slowing the whole team down, you’re able to identify any hidden issues or problems that might be affecting the overall performance of your unit.

Elevate the constraint by throwing money at it. Once you’ve identified and worked on the issue at hand, it’s important to invest money or resources in it – so that you’re able to increase its durability and prevent it from causing any further damage down the line. If you buy better backpacks with more compartments and space to get you through the hike, i.e. spending money on training and education for those who are struggling – you create a barrier for those same issues surfacing in future.

Repeat the process to identify and solve the next constraint you could face. Go back and identify new constraints to be worked on and improve the ones that you’ve already solved, while keeping the cycle going. Ensure that everybody in the team is on the same frequency and keep a sharp eye on any new constraints that need attention.

This method has many benefits for not only your team, but the company as a whole. It helps you find and solve the reasons behind a lack of progress within the organisation, it provides a structure for continuous improvement, and allows you to approach constraints or issues without the need for investment or spending extra money on unnecessary band-aids.

Reducing or optimising the load of your weakest hikers will bring about a much faster and enjoyable journey.

Have the talk with your fastest and most efficient hikers. Butter them up, paint them as heroes and make them aware of how great they are and that they have the power to make a valuable and significant difference in the operation of your business, as well as those that need help.

If you’re starting to feel lonely in the front; nobody to bounce your ideas off of, tempted to try new routes or paths, or struggling to find the motivation to keep pushing – then I can help you with that.

Being a successful business coach means that I look forward to every opportunity to make a positive and remarkable difference in the lives of the entrepreneurs that I work with.

I’m like Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings. I will enhance your journey while offering you the perfect advice, guidance and respect that you need as a business owner. I will share my network, strategies and formulae for success with you. I will help you find what you’re looking for.

Do it. Make the call, send the message. Reap the rewards.

+2783 253 3339

brent@spillly.com

Why Having A Board Is Important For Your Small Business

By Business Management Leadership Strategy No Comments

Having an advisory board isn’t only for big businesses. And although it might seem like a waste of time, money and energy to have one – any entrepreneur and their business can benefit from the many advantages that come with them.

Ultimately, the purpose behind having a board is to gather experienced and compatible individuals that offer you valuable advice, guidance and insight with the intention to develop and enhance your organisation.

They ideally consist of a team of educated and proficient people that share a common goal:

To help your business flourish.

That’s why – no matter how small your business may be – you need a board of advisors.

“I’m Capable Of Creating A Business, So Why Would I Need A Board?” 

By understanding that boards only exist to help with the success of your company and not to trample on your goals and ambitions, you’ll come to learn that the advantages of having one will always outweigh any of the perceived disadvantages.

As a business coach, I usually deal with companies that are run by a single entrepreneur (often consisting of a 5-50 man operation) and I’m always shocked to find that a large portion of my clients perceive boards as counter-productive, with a firm belief that having one will slow the company down.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Boards usually consist of hand-picked, like-minded individuals that come together to discuss, plan and implement strategies and processes to improve both you and your business. Their purpose is to set certain goals and outcomes that the company needs to achieve, while looking at the different approaches and actions that need to be taken in order to achieve those goals.

Many business owners run into a variety of challenges that come with operating their business: a lack of growth; finding new direction; coming up with new ideas; being lonely at the top; detecting problems and red flags; a loss of vision and creativity; and even being an effective leader.

These problems, along with many others, can be remedied by setting up an advisory board in your company. An advisory board usually consists of experienced and professional individuals that are often paid to provide the guidance, feedback and network that’s needed to nudge a business in the right direction.

These experienced individuals usually include: existing entrepreneurs, lawyers, accountants, a mentor/coach (like me), and even an existing or potential customer/client.

By forming a team that consists of people with these backgrounds, you’re kept accountable and focused on the steps that need to be taken in order to achieve greater success within the company. It also acts as a much needed eye-opener, showing you that your resources and experiences are both limited and limiting.

When I recommend setting up a board to some of my clients, they often argue that they’re far too small to have a board. But I push back and remind them that no business is too small and that with the right mix of people, they’re sure to find the exponential growth that they seek.

Being a business coach means that I often sit on various boards where I provide advice, feedback and guidance for entrepreneurs. I help them identify the direction that they want to take their business in, making sure that they have a clear, straightforward plan and are sticking to that plan. I also ensure that they take things seriously and that they’re held accountable for their actions or inaction.

The benefits of having a board are plenty. You’re given feedback and transparency; support and accountability; honesty and a sense of comfort; and access to resources and new networks.

Another huge advantage of having experienced individuals on your board is that you’re able to learn from their past mistakes.

While you might see an opportunity or have an idea that seems perfect – they might have gone down similar rabbit-holes or made the mistake of chasing shiny pennies. They’re able to prevent you from dealing with any embarrassment or failure.

Together with a powerful, hand-picked board, you’re able to avoid risks that you would’ve taken on your own; you’re able to create improvements around policies, processes and overall workflow; you have the opportunity to enhance your identity through personal growth and exposure. There are certainly far more benefits to having a board, especially in comparison to doing things on your own.

What is there to think about? Get a board of advisors and be advised. Take advantage of the networking and resources that they make available to you. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Whether or not you’re looking at setting up an advisory board for your business – I can be of assistance to you.

Most of the amazing benefits that come with having a board can be provided by yours truly.

And if I’m your business coach, you’re immediately given access to a massive network, as well as peace of mind where strategy, advice and accountability are concerned.

With my experience as a business owner, I can also steer you in the right direction – helping you avoid the mistakes that many entrepreneurs make, while keeping you motivated and excited about the future of your company.

Take action. Throw me into your board of advisors, or keep me as your secret weapon:

+2783 253 3339

brent@spillly.com

Driving Your Business To Success In A Tesla (Or V8)

By Business Coaching Entrepreneur Motivation No Comments

Putting your foot down hard on the accelerator and going full steam ahead when running your business is quite a common theme amongst entrepreneurs. Most of the time, emphasis is placed on driving the business with your pedal to the metal – barely ever slowing down or stopping to smell the roses.

Obviously, it’s great to be that invested, inspired and driven to become successful and achieve extraordinary things in the quickest way possible – but going full speed isn’t always beneficial or effective.

Just like a race-car driver, you need to hit the brakes at times to comfortably make sharp turns around those difficult bends – and by counting on speed alone, you might just cause an accident.

I believe that slowing down, or sometimes coming to a complete halt, will do you and your business great justice. So loosen up your seatbelt and prepare to slow things down a bit.

Think About Your Business – Don’t Just Push It 

In order for you to get to break-neck speeds and drive your business to achieve success in the fastest possible time, you end up pushing extremely hard; making as many sales as possible, spending resources and money on getting better results, and ensuring that you keep your eye on the prize – never stopping for anything.

Being in the driver’s seat usually means that you want a bigger, faster and more powerful car. You want to be better than the rest and reach your destination before anyone else does.

But the problem with that is that you end up spending very little time looking at the best ways to win; rather focusing on getting to the finish line through sheer speed alone.

So what pace should you be going at to achieve better success in your business? What is the ideal vehicle to choose on your journey?

Well, you could probably choose a Prius and end up last, knowing that you’ve made a great impact on the environment; or you could pick something with a V8 engine, where you get powerful acceleration, reach amazing speeds and take yourself to victory faster than anyone else. Both are great choices, depending on your motives, but I recommend that business owners pick a Tesla.

Why not just pick the V8, though?

While it certainly seems like a great choice to choose the V8, the time it takes to fuel-up isn’t exactly good for your business. The engine is much bigger, so the fuel consumption is greater – which also means that you need to stop quite regularly before you get back on track and keep moving. But stopping isn’t the issue; the time spent on your stops, is.

When you stop to fill your petrol tank, those moments give you time to let the route sink in – providing you with clarity, innovation and thought. With the rush that you’re in to make it to the end, you barely have enough time to think about using better techniques, tactics and strategies – or to find more fulfilling and fruitful paths to success.

Having a fast car with a high speed is great and arriving at your destination faster than anyone else gives you a wonderful feeling, but it’s not always the most strategic approach to your business (nor is it economically or environmentally friendly).

And over time, with maturity and growth, the realisation that you no longer need such a powerful, fuel-hungry machine begins to sink in.

It’s only then that you start to understand the risks that come with being too fast and your desire to be number one. You begin to see the importance of hitting the brakes from time to time, slowing down to appreciate the views and putting some of your brightest ideas to the test.

If you’ve already chosen the V8, I recommend a trade-in. It’s time to swop out that roaring beast for a sexier, more modern and sought-after car: A Tesla.

But, why a Tesla? Because they are far more economical, safe for the environment, desirable and just as fast as a V8 is. You’re given the opportunity to speed up when you want to while enjoying the luxury that it offers you – you also make a much better impact on the world around you.

Hold on. Don’t you have to wait a lot longer to actually recharge the car before you can get back on the road? Precisely. As a business owner, that’s exactly what you want; time is extremely important and rushing into things can be dangerous, so taking much longer breaks during your journey will be far more rewarding for your business.

You’re unable to properly think about your business if the only thing that’s on your mind is winning. Thinking about your business means spending more time on strategies, developing your working environment, and giving more attention to people, policies and processes. These are the things that far too many business owners ignore and don’t give enough attention to on a day-to-day basis.

Slowing down to gather your thoughts, work on areas that need attention, and develop your abilities doesn’t make you a loser. In fact, it makes you a smarter, enjoyable and more remarkable driver that people can appreciate and look up to. It makes you a winner.

There’s absolutely no need to rush. The journey that you take in running a business is a beautiful one. Growing yourself, enhancing the lives of others, discovering new strategies, techniques and tactics to make you the best leader that you can be will be far more rewarding than sacrificing everything just to make it to the finish line.

Think about using a Tesla in your approach to business and scrap the idea of using a V8. You can still speed up whenever you feel the need, but there’s far more time for you to think about the important things and grow.

Clear up your passenger seat and make some room for me.

I can act as your GPS, giving you the right direction, guidance and information on all of the greatest routes and pit stops to visit along the way.

It’s about the experience, the journey, and not always about the end. I’ll send you my location via Whatsapp or Email you directions to come pick me up:

+2783 253 3339

brent@spillly.com

 

6 Great Models To Attract Recurring Revenues

By Business Management Sales Strategy No Comments

Too many entrepreneurs think long and hard about finding the simplest ways to generate money through their product or service. But what they often fail to realise is that the way in which they package their solution will ultimately determine how sticky, profitable and attractive their product/service is to the customer.

And one of the smartest ways to package your product more effectively is through the pricing and revenue model that you choose to offer.

That being said, here are a few of the top revenue models that could transform your business into a gold mine.

Why Your Choice of Revenue Models Is So Important 

A revenue model is the approach your business takes to earn revenues. After establishing your value proposition and the set price(s) of your product or service, the next step is to figure out how your client or customer is going to pay for it.

That’s why having a good revenue model ensures that your business is able to make long-term projections based on current and future profit potential. This will aid you in extracting the best possible returns for your company, while retaining clients through the use of subscriptions, contracts and the sunk cost fallacy.

Sunk cost what?

The sunk cost fallacy (or sunk cost bias) refers to the justification we give ourselves when buying an expensive dinner, finishing a movie that we don’t necessarily enjoy, or remaining a loyal customer to a brand that we’ve already been with for years (even if there are better options out there).

Putting money, energy or time into something means that we inherently develop a bias towards it and are willing to ignore any pitfalls or failures that could motivate us to change our minds.

While it might sometimes be unfortunate for us as consumers, clients or customers, it certainly works in the favour of any business owner. Conversion rates can be increased, contractual obligation can maintain profits, upselling can be amplified, and client retention can be improved by simply being aware of this cognitive bias.

So choosing the ideal revenue model for your company will enable more consistent profits and a far more loyal customer base.

And the great part is that there are a number of promising options to choose from.

As a business coach that cares so much about your success, I’ve taken the time to sift through some of the best models out there and rank them from the least beneficial to the most.

Let’s check them out:

The Top 6 Revenue Models

1. Consumables:

These are your typical consumables (whether a product or service) that generally get purchased once, twice or three times a month or even every few months.

Think of products like coffee, milk and bread, or services like electricity, gardening or cleaning; these ‘consumables’ work well once you’ve established customer loyalty, which will ensure that you’re bringing in a recurring revenue.

2. Sunk-Money Consumables:

By making use of the sunk cost fallacy, this model is based on offering a product or service that requires an additional item or clause in order for that product or service to  operate or function effectively.

Basically, you offer a base product/service that’s quite affordable (a Gillette razor handle, gaming console, or a dating site) and then provide additional items or functions that the base product needs for it to be of any use (Gillette razor blades, games, or in-app currency for extra purchases).

With this type of model, you ensure recurring revenue based on customers’ reluctance to give up on something that they’ve already invested in. You wouldn’t buy that gaming console without feeling the need to buy games for it; or sign-up for a dating service and be limited to one message per day, when you can pay to receive more messages.

3. Renewable Subscriptions:

One of the most common and effective recurring revenue models would be through the use of renewable subscriptions. By incurring a monthly fee (a subscription), you ensure that the client or customer is bringing in revenue on a monthly basis and has the opportunity to renew their subscription at the end of a certain period.

This model is usually a win-win, as the customer perceivably pays less to own a product or use a service, while the business owner has a more stable and predictable source of revenues (especially when compared to consumables).

A great example could be a cell phone contract or streaming platform like Netflix.

4. Sunk-Money Renewable Subscriptions:

This model has the customer invest in a base product or service that has additional premium features that are offered on a subscription basis.

By taking renewable subscriptions and adding an element of sunk-costing to it, you guarantee more recurring revenue options. When you purchase a device (e.g. an Apple TV) or a service platform (e.g. a Bloomberg terminal), you’ve already sunk money into it, so you’re more likely to purchase exclusive additions for it, such as an Apple One subscription for the TV or a business publication subscription for the Bloomberg terminal.

It takes advantage of the sunk-cost bias and blends it with renewable subscriptions.

5. Automatic-Renewal Subscriptions:

By taking renewals into your own hands and making the process automatic, you allow for a much better recurring revenue.

Instead of letting the customer renew their subscription after a period of time (say, a year), you automatically renew it until they choose to end it. This way, customers are more likely to stay, as they don’t bother looking at competitive prices and you make the renewal process easier for them.

Think about gym memberships or insurance firms that keep renewing your subscription until you’ve made the decision to terminate the agreement.

6. Contracts:

Long-term contracts are highly beneficial for maintaining a recurring revenue that can’t be challenged or disputed. It ensures an ethical agreement between both parties that a certain amount will be paid within a particular period of time in exchange for goods or services.

This model is a great choice, especially if you’re able to get customers to come on board for a long period of time. If you’re planning to sell your business, then ensuring that a survival clause is present will help keep customers from leaving after a change of ownership takes place.

*Bonus Model: “Rundles” 

This new approach coined by NYU professor, Scott Galloway, takes a recurring revenue model like renewable subscriptions and blends it together with bundling.

Bundling basically entails putting multiple services or products together and selling them at a ‘better price’. This extends to products/services that might not be very popular and putting them together with more favourable ones, then selling them as a package.

With “rundling”, you take those two concepts and form an approach that has seen huge returns. I’m talking billions of dollars in revenues and millions of customers migrating to platforms that offer recurring revenue bundles or “rundles”.

A great example of this is the way in which Apple has offered services like iCloud and Apple Care, then bundled them with entertainment services (Apple Entertainment and Music) under one affordable subscription model.

Companies like Adobe and Walmart are also jumping on this lucrative bandwagon to bring in the big bucks. It’s most certainly one of the best recurring revenue models taking over many industries and I’d highly recommend looking into it.

If you’re looking at your product or service and thinking, “how do I apply one of these models to best suit my business?”, then I’ll let you in on a little secret:

Taking me on as a business coach means that I can help you identify exactly what will work best for you and your company.

It takes DICE (determination, interest, compassion and experience) to move a company forward, both on a micro- and macro-level.

And I’ve got all the DICE you need!

So do yourself a huge favour and start communicating with me as soon as you’re ready for a better future:

+2783 253 3339

brent@spillly.com