Date Posted: August 20, 2011 Leave Comment
Filed Under: Blog, Business and success, business problems, business success, Sales training, Training, Articles

When you are going to train your people, there are several things for you to think about before you decide how you’re going to go about it. First, I always start with the end in mind. Why are they not already doing what you want them to? Lack of skill? Attitude? They think they’re already doing what is required. They think that what you’re telling them is not really that important. Are their any reasons why they can’t apply what they have learned?

Whatever the reason is for them not performing, every reason will have a different solution. Maybe it’s attitude. They have been doing this for a long time and think they know better. Then you had better include some experiential exercises so they discover they are not as skilled as they first thought.

Lack of skill is perhaps the easiest one to counter. Although while you can give them skills, you also have to create the attitude so they will want to apply what they have learned. And in my opinion, that happens at the start of the training. The first 20 minutes will dictate whether they will work with you or resist you. You have to connect, you have to be relevant to the challenges they are facing, and they have to feel that you understand and can help. Usually, this involves being very aware of your language. If you use the wrong language, they will instantly reject everything you are trying to train them to do.

My experience would indicate that in most cases, sales training works better as experiential training. In other words, they discover for themselves what they don’t know. This is usually a big surprise to most people as they think they know what they do and say when face to face with a customer. So, telling them to do something different is a waste of everyone’s time.

Shirley McKinnon

Date Posted: April 25, 2011 Leave Comment
Filed Under: Blog, Women in Business, Articles

We’re at the end of the first quarter of the year so how are we doing against our goals/plans/hopes? Well, the first thing is that if you hadn’t set goals for yourself and your business, you could be anywhere. I guess if you’re still in business, that’s your goal. But for most of us, we want more than that. We want to thrive, not just survive. We want less chaos and stress, not more strain from financial pressures and work overload. We want thoughtful, calm business decisions from the heart. Not emotional reactions and short-term solutions. And this comes from knowing where you are going and how you are going to get there. Even if you only know sort-of.

So, what barriers stand in your way? My suggestion is to make a list of the barriers you can identify, then turn each of them into goals. For example, I don’t have the time to do consistent marketing. This should become, I create regular time in my weekly timetable to do marketing. Give it a try and see how you go. Anything which gives you insight to the way forward is valuable.

Date Posted: January 13, 2011 Leave Comment
Filed Under: Blog, Business and success, Business planning, business problems, Women in Business, Articles

Can you really plan in today’s turbulent and unpredictable business environment? In the book, Chaos Theory and Business Planning by Schwartz & Wilkinson, an old classic, the business planning process is described as “Proceeding from unreliable date through a process of illogical reasoning employing untenable assumptions to arrive at ridiculous conclusions.”

When you do a business plan, you have to allow for Factor X, the problem being, you never know what Factor X is until it hits. And while we are becoming more global by the day, a dramatic Factor X on the other side of the world, can have a devastating impact on your business. So, how to prepare?

Try to allocate funds for long-term plans and for an emergency situation. By putting on-going small amounts into an account, you give yourself a buffer and the security of knowing that you are secure if chaos hits. Ensure that you book regular back-ups for all your systems. If they are booked into your dairy, you are more likely to do them. Good intentions have got many businesses into strife. These are all taken for granted in bigger businesses but often over-looked in the busy focus on survival for small businesses. And yet a small amount of planning, can save a lot of grief and even the business itself.

Am I a great believer that business plans are vital for the success of the business? Most are not working documents, and research shows that most small businesses are too busy doing the doing, to do the planning. I believe the document itself is not the reason for a business plan. As the famous saying goes, the plan itself was not that useful, but the planning process was invaluable.

Date Posted: January 12, 2011 Leave Comment
Filed Under: Blog, Business and success, Women in Business, Articles

Business is a great teacher. When you go into business, you usually do so because of  your strengths. For example, you may be good at selling, or good at marketing, or good at making something. However, business will very quickly reflect what you are not good at. You might be great at finance and figures, but if you can’t sell and get new customers, you’ll have nothing to add up! You may be good at selling, but if you can’t manage your finances, selling and even increasing sales, doesn’t mean that you won’t go belly-up.

Business is a great teacher because it tells you through your bank account what you need to be better at. Usually, we just want to focus and monitor on what we’re good at. And what many think, is that we’ll simply hire someone to do the bits we’re not good at. But you still have to give clear communication on what they have to do, and you have to be able to measure whether they are doing the right things, and are they doing a good job. If you don’t know enough about the subject, you can’t judge how well they are doing. So the sad fact is, you have to learn the basics about what you don’t like doing. It is one of the inescapable facts of being in business. You have to learn the basics of all areas.

Date Posted: December 6, 2010 Leave Comment
Filed Under: Blog, Business and success, Women in Business, Articles

One of the most frustrating things is when you decide you are going to move to the next level of success, you learn new skills, you create new goals and you put your plan into action. And while you may start with a burst of enthusiasm, you soon find yourself trying to move through mud. It feels hard, nothing seems to work, you get stuck and you don’t know where to turn, what to do next. Every guru recommends a mentor or coach, but where do you find a good one who understands what you’re trying to do?

The fact is, you have tried new skills with an old mindset. Sometimes, new behaviours reveal what goes through your mind. Do you have an expectation of success? Or do you think that maybe what you’re doing won’t work? Is there a pattern? Has this happened before? Try working on changing the mindset, now restart consistently applying your action plan. If you are doing the action, the results will tell you where your mindset is at.