“You must either modify your dreams or magnify your skills.”~ Jim Rohn
#WOWW #MBKEnt #MBKMentors
“You must either modify your dreams or magnify your skills.”~ Jim Rohn
#WOWW #MBKEnt #MBKMentors
Is Your Business Running You?
By Dave Lavinsky
Remember how good it felt to start your own business? You were going to manage your own time, be your own boss, and answer only to yourself, right?
Have your dreams of playing golf at the 3 o’clock in the afternoon vaporized under the pressure of answering client calls, paperwork, estimates, business meetings, accounting, payroll, and on…and on…and on…?
If you have been transformed from the master of your destiny to a slave of the trade, then something is very wrong. Your existing business processes are shackling you rather than serving you.
It’s time to stop, analyze, and intelligently systemize your business.
Make The Time
You can scream, shout, and kick that you don’t have time to do this, but in the end, you are only hurting yourself. First, lack of enjoyment in your work is a fast track to disease. Weight gain, depression, ulcers, and heart attacks can all be instigated by stress.
Secondly, is this why you started your own business, so you can slave drive yourself? No, this isn’t how it was supposed to be and it can change. You owe it to yourself. Besides, it’s easier than you think.
Step 1: Document Your Processes
While this step isn’t necessarily difficult, it can be time consuming. There is no way around it; you have to know what you are doing so you can a) improve what you are doing and b) teach someone else to do it.
There are a lot of fancy process mapping techniques and software programs. A Google search will put dozens of them at your fingertips. You can use any one of these that feel comfortable to you, or you can keep it simple and document your processes in numbered steps or hand drawn flowcharts.
To save time, you could ask one of your employees to document your processes, or hire a college student or temporary personnel to help you.
Step 2: Improve Your Processes
Once you have documented all your processes, study them carefully. Look for those following issues that can flag areas that need improvement:
Is there duplication of efforts?
Are there bottlenecks?
Are there delays?
Is there only one person who knows how to complete a certain process?
Is it a purely manual process?
Is there a customer-impacting issue?
If there are issues with any process that negatively impact the quality of your customer’s experience, fix that issue first.
Then tackle the “low-hanging fruit.” These are issues that are fairly simple to resolve and add time back into your day. Move on to tougher issues and continuously improve the issues you’ve identified.
Pay particular attention to processes that are currently only done by one person. What if that person quits without notice? Redundancy is critical to business continuity.
May sure at least two people know how to perform every process in your business, or that the process is so well documented, that someone else can do it well by following the written instructions.
Step 3: Automation, Automation, Automation
Location may be the key to real estate success, but the key to process improvement is intelligent automation. What is being done manually that you know can be automated?
For example: payroll, inventory, customer contacts, invoicing, staff scheduling, etc? There are many free and low cost automated software solutions to tedious, time consuming work processes.
List your manual processes in order of priority and begin automating the ones that you can easily convert and give you the most time back in your day. Remember that even if a process is automated, it still needs to be documented. The more processes you have outlined in writing, the easier it is to train others and delegate.
Put It All Together
By following these steps, you will have a complete set of efficient and documented business procedures. You will be able to unshackle yourself from the business by delegating repetitive or low value functions to others.
One trick to help you know when to delegate versus do it yourself is to compare it to your hourly worth. If you are worth $60 an hour, apply that to every task. Would you pay someone $60 an hour to clean the office bathroom? No? Then maybe it’s time to delegate that to a staff member or outsource it to a lower cost service provider. That frees your time to work on revenue-producing activities.
Remember you are the captain of the ship. You are needed at the helm building relationships with lucrative clients, not in a back office ordering ink for the printer (a process that you can automate!).
Take your place at the helm this year and experience the difference for yourself.
Dave Lavinsky is President of Growthink and creator of the Million Dollar Exits training program.
Here are 18 tasks every entrepreneur should be outsourcing:
1. Scheduling appointments
2. Formatting email newsletters
3. Obtaining quotes from vendors
4. Making travel reservations
6. Posting blog entries
7. Website edits & updates
8. Creating investor lists
9. Contacting potential partners
10. Cleaning your office
11. Running payroll
12. Answering customer emails
13. Researching potential clients
14. Making outbound phone calls
15. Data entry
16. Researching prospective customers
17. Updating social media profiles
18. Answering customer phone calls
#Entrepreneurship #Empowerment #MBKEnt #Outsourcing #ProTips
The Greatest Steal Ever
By Dave Lavinsky
I grew up watching Larry Bird. My dad was a huge Boston Celtics fan (which is relatively odd considering he grew up in New York City). So, I became a huge Celtics fan too. And I was a big fan of the heart of the Celtics’ Larry Bird.
This guy never gave up.
In fact, if you watch this 40 second video – Larry Bird Steal – you’ll see what I consider the greatest steal ever…
The Celtics were losing by 1 point with only 5 seconds left. And the other team had the ball. The game was essentially lost. But then Larry Bird intercepted the inbound pass and passed the ball to Dennis Johnson. Johnson scored the basket and they won the game.
While Larry Bird’s steal was phenomenal, if his teammate Dennis Johnson wasn’t in the right place and didn’t execute on his layup, Larry Bird’s efforts wouldn’t have resulted in a win.
As an entrepreneur, you also need great teammates. Since you can’t possibly build a great company by yourself.
In fact, great entrepreneurs are more like Larry Bird the coach (who “hired” and coached his players into being the best they could be) than Larry Bird the player (who performed key tasks and made his co-players better).
The key is this — you need to find, hire and then train and coach the best people. Because there are TONS of bad people. I learned this very early on at Growthink. Years ago, I generally gave people the benefit of the doubt. If they said they could do something, I figured they could. And then I quickly realized that some people “have it” and some people don’t.
I think “having it” is the quality of people who “do what they say and say what they do” and always try to do their best. You want people who “have it” and at the same time people who are qualified and uniquely skilled at the position you need to fill. For example, while I believe I “have it,” there’s a whole bunch of positions that I’m not qualified to fulfill or which wouldn’t inspire me to do my best work.
So, how do you find these great people who “have it” and possess the skills you need. Here are my recommendations:
1. Event Networking: Great people have several common traits, one of which is their dedication to ongoing education. That’s why great people generally go to events and conferences. You also need to go to these events, where you’ll find some very talented individuals.
2. Being Sociable: I’ve heard lots of stories of people meeting people at sports events, supermarkets, on a plane, etc., and striking up conversations that results in great hiring decisions. I must admit that I’m not the most sociable person outside of work; but I’m getting better at this.
3. LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a great online network to find qualified people to come work for you. Join relevant LinkedIn groups to find folks with similar interests and who are looking to further their careers. And reach out to the best ones.
4. Recommendations & Referrals: Oftentimes the best hires are the ones that were recommended to you by friends and colleagues. Send emails out to your network and advisors asking if they know someone with the skills you need. People generally only recommend people that they believe are competent, since their own reputations are on the line.
5. Executive Recruiters: While this will cost more money in the short-term, executive recruiters (also known as “headhunters”) can find you great candidates. This is what they do. Importantly, they will often find you people who aren’t actively looking for a new job. These are often the best folks. I mean, would you rather hire an unemployed person looking for any company that will take them, or someone who’s thriving at a company but sees great opportunity in helping you grow your venture?
Importantly, in its relative infancy, eBay used executive recruiting firm Kindred Partners to find and hire Meg Whitman. Whitman turned eBay into a multi-billion dollar company and herself into a billionaire.
Using one or more of these five tactics will get you qualified job candidates. But, before you hire any, I highly suggest you give them two tests as follows:
1. A skills test: whenever possible, you should test the skills of the job candidate. If you are hiring someone for a research job, give them a research assignment. If you are hiring someone to be a receptionist, do mock calls with them. Etc. I realize that for some jobs, it may be harder to test, but get creative since you want to make sure they will be able to perform.
2. A culture test: if someone comes highly recommended and passes a skills test, it still doesn’t mean they’re the right hire. They MUST match with your company’s culture. For instance, if they’re a stiff, and your company thrives on fun and creativity, then they’re not the right match. Your company culture is critical, so don’t ignore this key test.
Hiring the right players for your team is critical to your success. There are no wildly successful 1-person companies that I know of. Imagine for a moment if you had a dream team; a group of employees that were so talented your competitors would be in awe. How good would your company become? How much faster would you accomplish your goals? How great would it be to come to work every day? Think about your answers to these questions, and then start building a great team and a great company today.
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“Will Somebody Steal Your Idea?”The Pros and Cons of Crowdfunding
By Dave Lavinsky
Like any funding method, Crowdfunding has its pros and cons; and I want you to be fully informed with a plan for addressing each of them.
One of the key benefits of Crowdfunding is that it’s a very simple method of getting funding.
And particularly, it allows you to raise money from unaccredited investors without the myriad legal issues that often arise with these investors.
Importantly, Crowdfunding makes it possible for good ideas that do not appeal to conventional investors to get financing from the crowd. Not only does Crowdfunding provide money to start a project, is also secures evidence of support from potential customers. In addition, it also contributes to word-of-mouth advertising.
An entrepreneur who uses Crowdfunding generally uses websites to solicit small contributions from people who are not typical financiers.
There are a number of different variations:
1) The entrepreneur may solicit pledges to back an idea in which no material is offered in return for pledges. This type of Crowdfunding has long been used for artistic patronage or charity fundraising. The other variation, which has recently become extremely popular, is when the entrepreneur gives rewards (typically the product or service they are developing) in return for pledges.
2) At times, the threshold approach to Crowdfunding is used. When this type of Crowdfunding is used, unless the threshold amount is raised by the set deadline, all of the pledges will be voided.
Now for the Disadvantages
In spite of the many advantages to Crowdfunding, there is one big potential disadvantage. When someone solicits Crowdfunding, one of the requirements is to disclose the idea that needs funding.
This exposes the idea’s owner to the risk of his/her project being copied by competitors who have better financing. If the competition releases the idea before funding can be raised, the owner of the original idea risks losing market share.
For example, an entrepreneur has developed a new type of toothpaste that better prevents cavities. However, this unknown inventor lacks the necessary funds to get the project off of the ground, so he/she turns to Crowdfunding. An executive at Colgate-Palmolive sees the campaign, and before the entrepreneur has time to collect the funding that he or she needs, the product is on the shelf with the larger company’s name on it.
However, while many entrepreneurs are paranoid about their ideas being stolen, this risk doesn’t bother me at all. Why? Because while your ideas are important, executing on them is more important. And most people who hear your idea just won’t be able to execute. And realize that once you introduce your idea to the market, if it’s good enough, others WILL copy it. So, focus on executing on your idea, not protecting it (unless there is intellectual property you can file, in which case, do so).
Likewise, with regards to large companies taking your idea, like in the toothpaste example above, this is not a big concern. Large companies are generally very poor at launching new products (and it takes them a long time to do), and they prefer to wait to see if your product will be successful. And if your product is successful, they are generally prone to buy your company versus building a competitive product from scratch.
A second downside of Crowdfunding is that it’s not right for all types of ventures. It’s perfect if you don’t need millions of dollars in funding, and if you can use that funding to quickly create your product or service. Conversely, if you need millions of dollars to develop a new technology that may take years of R&D, Crowdfunding is not right for you since the return period is too long. In such a case, angel and venture capital investors are better suited for you.
In summary Crowdfunding has the key advantages of being quick and easy to raise, while also helping you build a customer base. The potential disadvantage of it exposing your idea to competitors and/or copycats is overrated; it’s just not that big a deal.
So, if you need funding, and have the ability to quickly turn the funding into a viable product or service, then you should learn how to raise Crowdfunding, raise it, and start building your business today.
Dave Lavinsky is the President of Growthink, and the creator of Crowdfunding Formula.
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