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4 Ways to Build Business Success - Part Two: Delivery & Distribution

The second of our four-part series on how to build your business success explores delivery and distribution processes and systems within your organization. This series is designed to provide practical and easy to implement solutions for long-term profit building. After focusing on ways to develop your team and create an education strategy for your organization it is time to turn your attention to delivery and distribution. 

Ask yourself this question; “How easy it for customers to get the products and services you offer?”  As many organizations have had to pivot to adapt to the new normal conditions brought about due to the global pandemic, a focus on supply mastery, quality of delivery, ease of purchase and customer service is crucial for ongoing success. 

As businesses shift to virtual and online delivery and distribution methods it is a perfect time to ask yourself some questions and to investigate opportunities to maximize your customer experience. 

First dig deep into your supply capabilities. Achieving Supply Mastery means that your organization understands and is able of answering some key questions:

  • Can customers get what they pay for? 
  • Can they get it on time? 
  • Can the company make, buy or deliver the products and services with consistency? 
  • Are there Supply Chain Bottlenecks? 
  • What volume of sales increase can they handle? 
  • What changes do you have to make to deal with increases in demand? 
  • What are you doing to ensure you don’t lose customers due to poor delivery? 
  • Are you creating a goal of “consistency of delivery” that you measure and monitor? 

 

Once you are confident that you have systems, controls and measure in place to address supply issues, the step is Quality Mastery. There is no way to get a customer back if you can’t deliver what they buy to the standard that they expect. Here a different set of questions help find hidden gaps in your quality control:

  • Are you delivering on your promise every time, every delivery regardless of conditions or external challenges? 
  • Where are they losing customers due to low quality? 
  • What areas do you deliver well and in what areas do you struggle? Is there a common denominator? 
  • Are your monitoring and responding to customer complaints and feedback? 
  • Do you conduct Mystery Shops to inspect what your customers expect? 
  • Does your delivery meet the level of your customers expect to receive and if not, where is it falling short? 

 

After your supply chain and quality control are addressed, you have to investigate how easy is it for your customers to do business with you from their point of view. Too many companies make it too hard to buy from them. They place policy over service and make business practices overly complex. These questions will help you to begin to examine the Ease of Doing Business:

  • Are policies keeping customers away? Do you require excessive paperwork to be filled out, or have multiple approval levels and have lengthy waiting periods? 
  • How easy are you to find? What is your online presence saying about your business, your products and your services that would entice a customer to buy? 
  • Is it clear what you offer and what options are available? 
  • Is it easy for customers to pay and complete transactions? 
  • What are your safety and privacy protocols and do you comply with the most current e-commerce compliance requirements? 
  • What is your return and refund policy? 
  • How easy or inviting is it for your customers to come back? 
  • Do you conduct customer feedback surveys and what do you do with the feedback you receive? 
  • Are you applying common sense rules to your policies or are they overly and unnecessarily complex? 

 

Once you feel confident that you are accessible, inviting and enticing to customers, you have to focus on Service Mastery to really complete the delivery and distribution cycle. Service mastery starts with basic customer service and leads you to a world where customers do your selling for you. Your delivery of service or products is so extraordinary, delighting and satisfying that customers market your brand for you. They become ‘raving fans’ who spread the word about your business for you. With a pair of fresh eyes really examine your customer service from the point of view of the consumer and see where you stack up:

  • Are you people trained properly and empowered to delight and care for your customers? 
  • How do they handle difficult customers and conflict? Are the adequately trained in de-escalation procedures? 
  • What are the basic standards of service you expect? How are they different from what your customer expects and are receiving? 
  • What special details or activities does your organization do to delight customers? 
  • What sets you apart from the competition in terms of customer service? 
  • What is your overall customer experience like from start to finish? What lasting impression do you make on your customers that has them coming back for more? 

 

Once you have gone through these four areas you can begin to identify gaps and opportunities to improve your delivery systems and distribution processes. While it may feel like a huge task, breaking the project into sections will make the transformation of your business more attainable. But you might need a professional to help you make the strategies you need a reality. You wouldn’t try a legal matter without a lawyer and you wouldn’t explore complex financial matters without the counsel of an accountant. There is no better time to consider hiring a professional certified business coach to help you navigate the challenges your business faces in this new marketplace. 

Edited from the Original Article by Carmen Gigar

Will Rappole
June 18, 2024

4 Ways to Build Business Success - Part One: People & Education

Business gurus taunt a lot of “programs” and “new tactics” to improve business results. It isn’t about experimenting with gimmicks or high-priced programs; it is about leveraging basic business basics with practical solutions. 

Businesses have four areas where they can apply strategic tactics to improve results. Defining, refining and implementing small improvements within these four categories can lead to massive results. Finding a “magic pill” is not only a fool’s errand, but it also often leads to more frustration. 
 

The four areas of focus are: 

  • People and Education 
  • Delivery and Distribution 
  • Testing and Measuring 
  • Systems and Technology 

 

This four-part blog will outline areas which any business owner can leverage, improve and expand upon to make truly lasting results. The first of these is today’s focus, PEOPLE & EDUCATION. 

PEOPLE & EDUCATION: 

Effective and highly functional teams are a crucial element for any business’ success. Whether you have a small operation or a large company, the people who are doing the daily work can be leveraged to achieve higher results. Something as simple as having clear and concise job descriptions, conducting on-going team training, and communicating a mission, vision and company culture/values helps the people in the organization find direction and purpose.

There are 20 specific ways to affect change in this area. 

  • Run an Ongoing Training System 
  • Complete Team Member Positional Contracts 
  • Complete Team Skill Based Sessions 
  • Have a Redundancy System 
  • Develop a Team Social Club 
  • Subscribe to Educational Newsletters, Magazines, etc. 
  • Develop an Induction Training Program 
  • Run Team Building Training Programs 
  • Develop a System for Conflict Resolution 
  • Develop Your Company’s Rules of the Game 
  • Complete a Consistent Recruitment System 
  • Develop Contingency Staffing Plans 
  • Hold Regular Team Meetings 
  • Develop a System for Recognition and Re-numeration 
  • Use Behavioral, Personality and Communication Analysis with all Team Members 
  • Set the Company Vision and Write Your Mission Statement 
  • Build Career Planning within the Company 
  • Set Company and Individual Team Member Goals 
  • Run Time Management Training 
  • Complete Position “How To” Manuals 

 

Each of these strategies requires some work, but the benefits of having processes and procedures that keep your team’s skills and knowledge growing means you can leverage them to get bigger and better results. Expanding your knowledge base as an owner helps you stay ahead of the competition. The investment you make in your people, your most valuable assets, will get you a great return on your investment. 

“As a leader, directing and delegating may come naturally, but listening has become a lost art. Perhaps it’s because we’re all running in high gear, productivity is paramount, and we simply don’t take the time to slow down and truly hear what’s going on around us” (Schwantes, 2020). Developing a team and your leadership skills further can pay great dividends. 

In his article for Inc.com, Marcel Schwantes, Founder and Chief Human Officer of Leadership From the Core, outlines areas that leaders need to continue to develop to ensure success. These leadership improvements dovetail directly into efforts and actions you want to take with your teams. 

  • Builds trust 
  • Become relatable 
  • Demonstrates empathy 
  • Shows employees they are valued 
  • Gain different perspectives 
  • Enhances customer experiences 

 

Now is the great time to establish new systems. The “new normal” will require you to change many processes within your business. Making sure your employees and team have an updated road map is critical to your success. Sweeping changes without explanation or training will backfire and set you back further. Strike while the iron is hot and start making meaningful change. It may seem like a daunting task and if you venture into the work without guidance or expertise you will find the journey riddled with obstacles that might derail your progress. 

Consider hiring a certified professional business coach to guide you through the process. Yes, hiring a coach is an expense, but keep in mind that this coach will help you make the most of all four leverage areas. This is not a short-term exercise. You have to commit. There is much to learn and explore, having a business coach will ensure you stay on track long-term. 

Stay tuned for Part Two: Delivery and Distribution coming next Tuesday, June 18th. 

Edited from original article by Carmen Gigar 

Will Rappole, ActionCOACH Houston 

June 11, 2024 

Facts and Data Matter for Business Success

Facts and data aren’t sexy, and truth doesn’t always get headlines. It’s easier to get attention through miss information or exaggeration. But what does that do to credibility and reputation over time? And more importantly, how do you make decisions without facts and data that are accurate. 

In business accurate data is critical to growth and smooth operations. If you don’t know the right numbers, you can’t effectively set up strategies or action plans to make improvements. Since business changes so quickly, it’s imperative that you keep track of the data so you can adapt, pivot as quickly. 

Figuring out what numbers to track can also be daunting. Where do you begin? What numbers make the most sense to monitor? 

 
Financials metrics and data are the first line of defense and offense for a business owner. Knowing the following numbers are fundamental to running a successful business. 

  • TOTAL REVENUE 
  • TOTAL EXPENSES 
  • PROFIT 
  • PROFIT MARGIN 
  • CASH ON HAND or CASHFLOW 
  • EQUITY 
  • DEBT and DEBT RATIO 
  • TAX RATE 
  • ACCOUNT RECEIVEABLES and PAYABLES 
  • TOTAL INVENTORY 
  • NET INCOME 

 

Once you know your financial position, which depending on your type of business might need weekly vs. monthly review, you can move to other important data to help you be even more successful. 

In a digital world, knowing your online metrics is critical. Understanding the following key performance indicators will give you a glimpse into the opportunities to raise your brand awareness and reach and how your digital footprint is performing. 

  • Unique Visitors to your Website 
  • Bounce Rate of your Website 
  • Time spent on Website 
  • Number of Sessions for unique visitors 
  • Pages on your Site with most activity 
  • Social Media Engagement and reach add an additional layer of information to help grow your business… 
  • Followers, New and existing 
  • Engagement (Shares, likes or comments) 
  • Video Views 
  • Post with most engagement 

 

Your Lead generation activities also need to be tracked. Tracking is very important and to maximize your efforts you will have to know the following numbers… 

  • # of Leads (qualified) 
  • Acquisition Cost 
  • Conversion Rate 
  • Lifetime Value of a customer 

Customer Experience also has key indicators; 

  • Customer Retention or Repeat visits 
  • Average Sale 
  • Number of Transitions 
  • # of Items purchased per visit 
  • Customer Count per daypart 
  • #of reviews or five-start ratings 
  • Net Promoter Score 

 

There are likely unique numbers for your business that might apply, there are only a few of these numbers that can help you make the most impact on your business. 


At ActionCOACH, there is a formula called the 5-WAYS which makes the process of where to being easier. 

The 5-WAYS formula is; 

# of LEADs x Conversion Rate = Number of Customers 
Number of Customers x Average Dollar Sale x Average Number of Transactions = Revenues 
Revenues x Profit Margins = $ Profits 

This formula illustrates which numbers really make the biggest impact on your business’ growth potential. The most impactful of these are # of leads, average sale, number of transaction, conversion rate and profit margin.  

Check out this easy chart for specifics on how you can affect change in these critical key indicators and make a massive impact of your business’ profitability and growth. 

AC-19-5 Ways Handout-US-E 

Once you know the important numbers for your business you can build dashboards to track and monitor them. When you are the master of facts and data within your business, you are more equipped with evidence to build new strategies and measure your success and make your own headlines. 

Edited from the Original Article by Stacy Spahle

Will Rappole
June 4, 2024

Building Business with Heart

In the age of digital communication, automation, and AI, the human touch is lost. The customer experience is being left to standardized email responses, scripted virtual assistance, and programmed chatbots. Talking to a ‘real person’ has become a novelty and the personal touch is fliting. Businesses think systemizing every part of the customer experience saves time and ultimately money. What they don’t realize is that it isn’t what the customer wants. 

Consider these surprising statistics summarized by SmartHQ in a recent post:

• 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand who provides personalized experiences. 
• On average, 71% of consumers feel frustrated when their shopping experience is impersonal. 
• 63% of consumers stop purchasing products and services from companies who provide poorly executed personalization. 
Personalization can reduce acquisition costs by as much as 50%, lift revenues by 5–15%, and increase marketing spend efficiency by 10–30%. 

Ensuring your business improves the customer experience though relevant and effective personalization is fundamental to growing. Customers have more options than ever before; and you want to stay in the consideration set. You might think making changes to your marketing or business operations are too costly, but ask yourself if the lifetime value of a customer who feels cared for and catered to is worth the initial expense. 

“A better customer experience generates loyal customers. Loyal customers recommend your brand to colleagues, friends, and family, which amounts to free advertising. In fact, 73% of consumers claim the customer experience is the biggest deciding factor in their purchase decisions and brand loyalties—ahead of product quality and price” (Swan, 2020)

Adding a human touch at every stage of the customer’s journey requires an objective evaluation of the current situation. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Don’t make excuses for the lack of humanity. Use data to make changes necessary and ensure that you invest in a platform or CRM to help you manage the customer’s data. Ultimately everything you do has to be driven by customer’s data. Data isn’t human or personal but the clues and insight you get from purchasing behavior for instance can help you transform process, policies, and actions your organization adapts. 

Gathering additional customer data may include surveys, online forms, and polls. Pay attention to the feedback. On social media, don’t lecture, engage. Answer posts, asks probing questions, and get a conversation going. You would be surprised how powerful this unfiltered feedback can be. Southwest Airlines used social media to drive many changes to the customer experience by simply listening to customers comment on Twitter. 

Other ways to humanize your brand includes; 
• Add photos of real people to your marketing. 
• Use your employees as advocates for your business. 
• Show your playful side as well as your business side online. 
• Utilize user content. 
• Write personal notes. Send handwritten correspondence whenever possible. 
• Create online communities to discuss issues and share ideas. 
• Send welcome or thank you gifts to loyal or new customers. 
• Get a professional social media team. 
• Don’t be afraid to talk about setbacks or failures. 
• Rewrite emails to be more conversation less sanitized. 
• Insert names and customer specific information in your marketing outreach. 
• Stay relevant and authentic. 

The culture of humanizing and personalizing your business must extend to all levels of your organization. Engaging staff to transform the journey of your customer can be insightful and illuminating. Share ideas openly and reward risk taking to foster a sense of connection and real engagement within your organization. 

Getting the heart of any organization pumping starts with a willingness to focus on the actual needs and wants of your customers. Once you have the pulse on your client and customer’s needs you can adapt to meet those needs more effectively and personally.

 

Edited from original article by Carmen Gigar 

Will Rappole, ActionCOACH Houston 

May 21, 2024 

We're Hiring: How to Recruit and Attract the Best Candidates

“A great team is one of the best assets a business owner or operator can invest in” (Sugars, 2006). In his book, Instant Teambuilding, Brad Sugars, the CEO and Founder of ActionCOACH, details some keys to finding and keeping great team members. In today’s business climate, finding talent is not only imperative to ongoing success, but it is also a scarcity that all business owners must plan for. 

Recruiting the right candidate in an employ-rich market might seem easy, but the effects of the pandemic are still being felt. Since candidates have more options and more leverage than ever before, business owners are scrambling to fill a mounting number of open positions. More resignations than ever before have left businesses with too many positions and not enough qualified applicants. It seems counter intuitive, but employees have figured out they have options and are no longer settling for the first offer. To complicate things even more, recent surveys show many defections after hiring. “According to the executives who participated in (2021) Futurestep’s survey, 10 to 25 percent of their new hires leave the company within six months of being hired” (vetrecuriter.com, 2021). 

To combat this flood of employment openings, business owners need to think ahead, and forecast needs just as they forecast goods and supplies. Business owners need a system for vetting and attracting qualified candidates. It is critical. 

Sugars details four specific steps to creating a recruiting system for your organization in Instant Teambuilding. Advertising, Callbacks, Interview, and Decision and Follow-up. Keep in mind that every step along the way gives candidates a glimpse of your business and its culture, so make sure your process reflects the best your organization has to offer. 

Before you draft any job advertising, consider these questions. 

Who is it you want to employ? What skills and characteristics do you want them to have? What other attributes would you like them to have? Too often, employers don’t entice applicants to apply because they don’t reflect the culture of the business. 

Many recruiters focus on the generic skills, past education and experience; forgetting to tap into the ‘heart and spirit’ of the desired candidates. “Skills can always be learned, improved upon, or acquired, but passion, personality and heart are the things that will give any team a winning edge” (Sugars, 2006). 

Targeting your ad properly is key, but there are several other elements to keep in mind when crafting a recruitment advertising. 

  • Be specific. 
  • Be exciting. 
  • Focus on the benefits of the job. 
  • Write as you speak. 
  • Write in the present tense. 
  • Keep it simple. 
  • Follow the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) formula 
  • Be credible. 
  • Create a strong headline and consider including a question. 
  • Include an element to pique curiosity. 
  • Use words that readers relate too. Avoid industry jargon unless your target is familiar. 
  • Get to the point quickly. 
  • Keep sentences short. 
  • Include a Call To Action and contact details. 

 

Once you have your ads completed, post them on multiple platforms and ensure you announce your openings on social media. Get your current employees to repost and share the ads as well. This gives your ad a higher chance of being seen by the right candidate and provide endorsements, if you will, from your current team members. 

Once applications start coming in, a business owner must have a system to vet and invite applicants to the next steps of the process. Phone vetting is critical. The member of your team handling calls to and from the candidate selected for the next steps should have script and a clear understanding of what kind of candidate you are looking for. Energy and enthusiasm are the key. 

Once the candidate has been scheduled for an interview, the next stage of process can begin. 

ActionCOACH offers a systematic and comprehensive approach. It is a ‘self-selection’ or deselection process which includes a group interview and applicant questionnaires, that gets the entire your team involved. The process is outlined in depth in Sugars’ Instant Teambuilding. Whichever process you implement, keep it consistent with every candidate. 

Here are some tips when vetting resumes: 

  • Look for consistent grammar and spelling. 
  • Does the resume include actual description of the work or skills required? 
  • Does the applicant offer non-job-related insight? 
  • Look for what the candidate leaves out of the resume (as much as what they put in). 

 

Here are some great questions to ask during your interview process. Have each member of the team ask a question and have each of the candidates share their answers. 

  • What sort of jobs have you applied for and why? 
  • What are you looking for in a job? Why? 
  • What do you want to achieve in life? 
  • How do see (insert organization’s name) helping you get there? 
  • What is one thing that made you apply for this position? 
  • What do you think the job is all about? 

Using an interview evaluation checklist, ask the team to rate the candidate from 0-10 on the following attributes: 

  • Responsiveness 
  • Attentiveness 
  • Positivity 
  • Happiness 
  • Neatness (Appearance) 
  • Commitment 
  • Common Sense 
  • Practical Ability 
  • Honesty 

 

Also ensure you focus on strengths and weakness as part of your evaluation. 

Ultimately, the process you create for recruiting the best team must be organic and authentic to your organization. Research different approaches and develop a system that can be replicated. Don’t wing it. Adding team members is a monumental and expensive proposition. If you settle for a mediocre process, chances are you will get a mediocre candidate pool. 

Edited from the Original Article by Carmen Gigar 

Will Rappole
May 14, 2024

Team Building: It's a Real Thing!

Finding the right team-building exercise for your business can feel a bit daunting. How do you find ideas? Google? Maybe, but the sheer volume of ideas can set you into overwhelm mode. Well, we’re going to give you a few ideas to get you started because, as every business owner knows, team building creates an atmosphere of comradely amongst your employees, which will make your business run more effectively and more smoothly. 

1. Board Game Night 

This is a great activity to get the competitive juices flowing. And organizing a team-wide board game tournament shouldn’t be that hard. Don’t forget to offer prizes for first, second, and third place! 

2. Office Trivia 

Office trivia is the perfect way to bring colleagues together and challenge the brain in areas that don’t necessarily connect to their daily jobs. The trivia can be business or pop culture related. 

3. Two Truths and a Lie 

This icebreaker is a favorite at house parties, but it can work for coworkers too. 

The premise is simple: Organize your team into a group and give each team member a chance to introduce themselves. But they each also must include three details about their lives—but only two of those “facts” are true. It’s up to all the other team members to discern what is truth and what is fiction.

 

4. Karaoke Night 

What better way to get your employees laughing and bonding than by making utter fools of themselves? You can even create a contest with bonus points for stage presence. This may not work for everyone but those extroverts on your team will entertain the introverts. 

5. Room Escape Games 

This particular gathering requires leadership skills, teamwork, logic, and patience. Escape rooms essentially “lock” a team of people in a room for an hour while they work together to escape. Most have clues, hidden objects, and puzzles that need to be solved. These things aren’t easy, but they are fun. 

Team building is important for businesses of all sizes because it cultivates strong interpersonal relationships and trust, enhances communication, boosts morale, and increases productivity. A cohesive team is better equipped to tackle challenges, adapt to changes, and innovate, ultimately driving the company towards its goals with unity and efficiency. 

To learn more about team building and how you can build a winning team, join us at our workshop Entrepreneur Training Day: Keys to a Winning Team next Tuesday from 11 am – 3 pm! 

 

Edited from original article by Carmen Gigar 

Will Rappole, ActionCOACH Houston 

May 7, 2024 

Team Starts With Trust

Before you can build an effective and productive team, you need to build trust within your organization from top to bottom. There is no room in today’s business climate for hidden agendas or a secretive environment. Trust is fragile and it’s hard to build a foundation within an organization unless leadership is consistent. 

Trust is also not automatically given and is often withheld until the actions of leaders reflect a culture that propagates trust. To ensure trust is created organically, the organization’s leaders need to do some very specific things to earn trust at every level of the business. 

“Managers often don’t realize that they create their own leadership problems” (Ryan, 2018)Inconsistency and erratic behavior lead to the erosion of trust in any company. 

In the article, Ten Ways To Build Trust On Your Team, Ryan says “You and your fellow managers may have to step out of your comfort zone to make these changes. You may have to step out of your comfort zone merely to suggest making these changes!” 

The Ten Ways To Build Trust On Your Team: 

  • Talk– Open dialogue and frequent communication needs to be part of your everyday rituals. Daily huddles allow your team to be updated on what’s happening in the organization and allows them to contribute. 
  • Stop Shaming – Mistakes happen, embrace failure as a positive. Use mistakes to help you shape a new course of action. Innovation is often sparked by failure, who is working outside the box and outside comfort zones to find solutions. 
  • Be Clear – Your Handbook and Policies need to be updated and regularly shared. These policies need to be used consistently and equitably at every level of the organization. 
  • Be Visible – Leaders need to be available and visible to their teams. Leaders who are accessible can help team members overcome obstacles more quickly. 
  • Value People – You must demonstrate that your team members are real people with real issues that affect them in and out of work. Show empathy and demonstrate humanity when dealing with your team. 
  • Model Behavior – Leaders need to walk the walk and talk the talk. It is not a ‘Do what I say, not what I do’ mentality. If you want trust, you must demonstrate the behaviors of a trustworthy person. 
  • Own Mistakes – No one is perfect and owning your mistakes no matter how insignificant, shows trust. Being open and honest with your team about your errors or a company error is much better than trying to cover it up. 
  • Adopt a Human Voice – Deal with your team personally and directly but avoid jargon, lectures and quoting policies instead of actively listening and communicating in a natural yet professional way. Every conversation doesn’t have to be formal and impassionate. 
  • Check-in – Conduct check-ins and regularly take a ‘temperature’ check with your team. Ask them how they are doing and how you can make the environment more positive. Give your team a chance to be heard without judgement or retribution. 
  • Be Honest – Be transparent and be open to feedback. Demonstrating integrity is paramount if you want your employees to trust you. 

 

Building trust isn’t easy and with high turnover of staff it makes it difficult to keep the foundation you build steady. Finding new employees is also challenging and you must make sure that the culture climate in your organization is visible and solid. 

Reinforce your ‘trust’ culture in at every level of the hiring process. Practice what you preach and communicate your key culture points to new candidates. This transparent culture will be transferred to your clients and customers. 

Working with a professional and certified ActionCOACH can help you develop a solid company culture and environment to help build and keep powerful teams that will help you run your business. 

We guarantee results and the first coaching session is on us. 

Edited from the Original Article by Carmen Gigar 

Will Rappole
April 30, 2024

When to Trust the Voice Inside Your Head

“It’s what you say to yourself, about yourself, when you are by yourself that is the most important.” This quote from Brad Sugars, Founder and CEO of ActionCOACH and the world’s #1 Business Coach, reminded me that we can turn that ‘voice’ in our heads, into an amplifier of success. The self-affirmations and the commentary running as the soundtrack of your life can be powerful catalysts for the success you reach. 

As negative talk is a silent destructive force to self-development, positive self-talk can go a long way to build up confidence, strength, and skills. 

We are bombarded every day with other people's opinions about ourselves. Often, we internalize and replay those ‘tapes’ until they become part of us, and our internal voice begins to mimic and repeat them. “You aren’t good at numbers” or “You don’t communicate very well” or “You aren’t focused”, these phrases from supervisors or co-workers can permeate even the strongest of minds and begin to tear down the positive membrane of your psyche. When we develop as children, we carry the criticism or the admissions of our parents, family, and siblings. Often, they become self-fulfilling prophecies. “You are the black sheep of the family”, “You aren’t as smart as your sister” or “You’ll never amount to anything unless you apply yourself”, rings in our ears and become part of the fabric of who we become. 

“Positive self-talk is not self-deception. It is not mentally looking at circumstances with eyes that see only what you want to see” (Jantz, 2016). 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hope-relationships/201605/the-power-positive-self-talk 

“So, it’s important that you don’t always believe what you think”, says Sugars in his video. Regardless of whether the notion is positive or negative, ask yourself what you want to be. Turn the tables on the tape and position the thought as a statement of who you are becoming or want to become. Working on your own progress and development is key to actual self-determination. 

Tracking your progress forward is more important than focusing on what you have been told or thought in the past. If there is positive motion and traction forward, your life is improving. You are improving. 

To keep improving, you must keep learning. You must keep working on yourself daily. With some cases, it is a physical exercise to banish the negative voice and replace with positive self-talk. It’s worth the effort because experts and scientists have found a causal link between health and wellness and positive self-talk. It reduces stress and anxiety. Less stress helps with sleep patterns, and which increases stamina and productivity. 

https://www.wellandgood.com/positive-self-talk/ 

But changing your internal monologue can be difficult, and takes practice. Positive self-talk doesn’t happen overnight and you may struggle with the old habits creeping back in, that’s human. It is a discipline you must develop to ensure you keep yourself listening to the ‘best’ voice in your head above all others. 

To implement a strong, positive self-talk regiment consider some of the following techniques: 

1. Make sure your self-talk is authentic and true 
2. Change your behavior 
3. Start in one area with positive self-talk 
4. Collect data, not judgement 
5. Question your thoughts 
6. Work with a professional 

“Learning positive self-talk is not the same as donning rose-colored glasses. It boils down to treating and speaking to yourself with love, grace, compassion, and kindness—and seeing the whole picture versus only focusing on your faults. It doesn’t have to be overly cheerful, either. Taking a more balanced self-talk approach can be very beneficial if the positive self-talk doesn’t resonate” (Estrada, 2020). 

Edited from the original article by ActionCOACH Carmen Cigar 

Will Rappole 

April 23, 2024

My Coaching Story - Doug Winnie

Some of the things that happen to you in life are not under your control. I've had what many consider to be a tough life, from moving house to house as a child in a financially challenged family, to having to raise my younger brothers when I was only 13, to being shot at while delivering pizzas in a Detroit suburb at 17, to running away from home and moving across the country at 19, to enrolling myself in college and writing the deposit check with no money in the bank. After having several jobs and growing a couple businesses, the struggles and successes had little meaning.  

 

Beginning in 2009, I started as a brand new action coach and what I've learned about business and life is they aren't easy or hard, it's exactly what you make of it, and I am a believer. On day one of ActionCOACH I wrote 20 I am statements and every one I wrote, except two which didn't matter to me after a few days, have all come true.  

 

I am a proud parent and wasn't before ActionCOACH. I am a dynamic public speaker and wasn't before ActionCOACH. I am talking with my mother daily and wasn't before ActionCOACH. I am a multi-millionaire and wasn't before ActionCOACH. I am getting amazing results for my clients. I am sought to be a coach. I am a proud owner of a Tesla. I am so proud of myself for doing all it took and all it takes to achieve greatness for our clients, for my family, and now for the entire world. I am proud to be an action coach and I am Doug Winnie.  

Will Rappole
April 16, 2024

Teaching Teams New Tricks

While watching the U.S. Olympic trials, it struck me how much time and energy each athlete must put into their discipline to reach the level of success necessary to reach the Olympic level of performance. Whether a single sport or a team endeavor, the skills, knowledge, and experience feel daunting. 

In a work environment, there may be Olympic-size projects that a team must come together to accomplish. Whether they be an established team or newly formed units, these teams must learn not only their roles within the team, but they must also come to understand the desired outcomes. Then, interact successfully with the other members to reach their ‘podium’. 

Before you can try to teach a team something new, there are three critical elements in place within each team member.

 

  • A willingness and openness to learn 
  • Basic skills for the execution of the project 
  • Basic knowledge of the tasks needed to achieve the goals 

 

In a team setting, not every member will be at the same level of expertise in all three areas. You must manage to move the team forward while helping to fill in the skill or knowledge gaps. 

But there is an area that must be inherent in the minds and hearts of all the team members. The willingness and openness to learn. Each team member must demonstrate they are ready to take on a new challenge even in the face of doubt. A willingness to fail and some level of risk-taking is going to be necessary if the team is going to succeed. Keep in mind, for the most part, skills can be taught.

Knowledge can be shared or learned over time. However having the willingness and openness to receive new information, coaching, and formative feedback for improvement lies squarely in the heart of each team member. The individual fire or spark can’t be manufactured. 

Once you have a clear picture of where each team member stands with regards to these three critical areas, you can move on to the next step of teaching or coaching the team. To begin imparting knowledge, you must understand the three types of learning styles. 

Members of your team may be kinesthetic, auditory, or visual learners. The dominant learning style will shape the way you have to deliver information and impart new skills. Are your team members doers? Do they need to be hands-on to learn? Are your team members auditory, where they must hear information in various forms to learn? Or are your team members, visual learners? Do they require visual tools and cues to spark the learning? 

The delivery of training, coaching, and education needs to be varied and tailored to the individual learning styles as much as possible. Keep in mind, that all team members don’t learn at the same pace and some may need additional support along the way. 

Ultimately, team success is going to come from shared goals and timelines. If each team member works with the end in mind, they have a better chance of success. You must let the team set boundaries and consequences for each other and a clear accountability plan must be in place. 

Personality styles are also going to be a factor to contend with as you prepare your team for loftier goals. Whether you use Meyers Briggs®, DISC®, or other personality tools to help you better understand how to best communicate with each team member, it is vital that they all understand each other’s styles for maximum output. 

Further complicating team learning dynamics are external factors and internal politics. If you don’t monitor the outside forces that could derail you, your team won’t be ready to adjust your strategy. Internal politics also work against you as team members vie for promotions, recognition, or attention. Be mindful of the internal forces driving motivation. 

Once the team demonstrates mastery or achieves a certain outcome, it is time to reward them. Consider that every member of the team is motivated in different ways. Group rewards rarely fit the bill. Remember always that the team members are individuals. You must consider the implications of group rewards on the entire team. 

Clearly, training for a place on the Olympic Team isn’t for everyone and that is why only a small number of athletes make that dream come true. Your teams can achieve greatness, but it is a manager’s role to guide, develop, challenge, and motivate their team to exceed even their own expectations to truly reach for the gold. 

 

Edited from the original article by ActionCOACH Carmen Cigar 

Will Rappole 

April 9, 2024

Systems Don't Kill Creativity

In today's fast-paced business landscape, the intersection of creativity and efficiency holds the key to sustained success. This article dives into the critical role of creativity within the workplace, emphasizing the need for businesses to find a delicate balance between systemization and innovation. By exploring metrics for measuring creativity and advocating for collaborative communication, the article sheds light on how businesses can transform their organizational frameworks to become both systematically efficient and creatively agile, to ultimately gain a competitive edge in the dynamic business landscape. 

 

We are all familiar with IQ Testing designed to scientifically measure so-called intelligence in adults and children. While there is a great debate over the accuracy and relevance of IQ testing in today’s business world, there is no doubt that fostering and measuring innovation is critical to business success. Innovation is a direct result of creative thinking, and if a business can crack the code to foster a more creative workplace, it could have a distinct competitive advantage. But where to start? 

 

Some might start with the TTCT test or the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking. Designed by Dr. Ellis Paul Torrance in the 1960s to measure creativity in children. This series of tests were designed “in an attempt to measure divergent thinking”. But what type of evaluation tool is available for adults?  

 

There are several online tools and evaluations to help business owners measure creative or divergent thinking in their teams and often they boil down to measuring four criteria. 

  • Fluency: how many responses a person, team, or process can generate
  • Flexibility: how many different types/categories of responses are generated
  • Originality: how different are the responses from the norm
  • Elaboration: how detailed are the responses 

Most businesses just want consistency and efficiency, (thus establishing Standard Operating Procedures for everything under the sun), seemingly draining the creative juices of their teams. System overload bogs down their teams when every step-by-step activity is mapped out and systemized, repressing the creativity of team members.

 

“When systems are set up that restrict freedom of thought, and when individuals perpetuate those systems through controlling approaches and actions, creativity has no room to flourish.” 

 

Systems don’t have to be the killers of creativity. Conversely, they should be the catalyst to foster creative thinking. Systems are not supposed to slow progress, they are by their very existence designed to enhance productivity and efficiency. So why do so many businesses fail on both ends of the scale? Because they haven’t found the balance between systemization and innovation. 

 

Let’s take the Apollo 13 mission as an example. This historic moon mission in April 1970 sent four highly qualified astronauts up into space for the seventh moon mission in United States history. During the flight towards the moon, the Apollo space capsule experienced an electric fire that damaged the oxygen tanks and the mission to land on the moon was aborted. Even more pressing was how to get the crew back safely under extremely precarious circumstances. Famous for the quote, “Houston, we have a problem”, astronaut Jim Lovell reported the emergency to the ground control who was then tasked to solve the problem of low oxygen, reduced power, and a capsule that was too heavy to enter the earth’s atmosphere safely. 

 

Faced with life-and-death decisions, the ground control crew and support teams spent hours breaking down process after process and examining each system to find the right answers that would bring the Apollo 13 crew home alive. They used the systems and processes at their disposal to come up with creative solutions for both oxygen generation and for re-routing the Apollo module around the moon and bringing the crew back home safely. 

 

This seven-day mission, which didn’t achieve its original objectives, was actually a success. The recovery of the astronauts and the splash down in the Pacific Ocean sparked innovation that was the catalyst for future advancement in space travel for the next two decades. 

 

The team at NASA, using their creativity, knowledge, and skills, avoided tragedy by using the systems and processes available to solve a “new” problem. 

 

In Brad Sugars book, Instant Systems, Sugars discusses the importance of systemizing business to foster efficiency and creativity. 

 

As the CEO and Founder of ActionCOACH®, the world’s largest business coaching franchise, Sugars, and his coaches have helped thousands of business owners unleash the power of systems and processes in their organizations and foster creative problem-solving simultaneously.

“This is one of the most misunderstood areas of business today. I find this rather strange because it’s one area of business that’s easy to implement, and one that will make your life, and those of your team members, so much easier.” - Brad Sugars

Download our ActionPlan Systems Slides to Learn More!

Sugars outlines four board areas to systemize your business and goes into more detail about the types of systems and processes any successful business should have in the book. The four areas are: 

  • People and Education
  • Delivery and Distribution
  • Testing and Measuring
  • Systems and Technology 

Sugars stresses planning, communication, and team involvement when systemizing your business to improve both efficiency and problem-solving. Focusing your team’s creativity on specific areas will help you gain a competitive advantage. 

 

The journey toward business success is not a contrast between strict systems and uncontrolled creativity; rather, it is an integration of both. Sugars emphasizes that fostering a workplace culture that values creativity within the framework of well-designed systems is not only feasible but imperative. Businesses stand to gain a competitive advantage by embracing the harmonious relationship between innovation and efficiency. By recognizing the potential of systems to fuel creativity and engaging in strategic planning and communication, organizations can navigate the complex terrain of modern business with resilience and adaptability.  

 

Edited from the original article by ActionCOACH Carmen Gigar

Systems Don’t Kill Creativity. - ActionCOACH 
April 2, 2024

Principles That Guarantee Success

Have you ever found yourself scrolling through LinkedIn or Facebook, marveling at someone else’s success, wondering why your time hasn’t come yet? Maybe you’ve procrastinated on that passion project last quarter, or perhaps you lost interest in the new business you wanted to launch. With the smoke and mirrors of social media, it’s easy to question if success is even in the cards for us. I invite you to wade through those smoke and mirrors with me and evaluate what principles can guarantee success.   

Strive for persistence, not perfection  

It’s easy to get caught up in the perfectionist mindset. The reality is it doesn’t exist. That’s why it’s so important to prioritize persisting day by day, instead of setting unrealistic goals and standards we can’t hold ourselves to. Persistence is the foundation and structure to your ultimate success. When faced with a roadblock or struggle, many people opt to retreat, it’s hard to blame them. Failure can be embarrassing, and hitting roadblocks along the journey can feel like a punishment at times. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the rich didn’t get rich overnight. Their rewards came after painstaking behind-the-scenes work that most didn’t see happening. Persistence is the only thing that will move you forward to join the other success stories. The alternative? Anxiety, dissatisfaction, and regret. Don’t let the temporary pain of a slower process stop you from moving forward. Your future self will thank you.  

  

Develop and maintain good habits for your lifestyle   

If you want to succeed in business or any goals you’ve set, you first must develop good habits that rule your life. Here are a few habits that are essential in today’s day and age:  

  • Eating healthy (coffee doesn’t count as a meal)  
  • Challenging your body, working out (even when you don’t feel like it)  
  • Sticking to a regular sleep schedule (that means getting proper sleep)  
  • Meditating and practicing mindfulness (it actually does help reduce anxiety)  
  • Reading new books and listening to educational podcasts (take a break from Netflix)  
  • Planning and goal setting (try making a vision board to help visualize your goals)  

Take care of yourself, and your business will take care of itself.   

  

Taking action now   

We live in a world with an overflow of choices everywhere. It’s no surprise that analysis paralysis happens in our personal and professional lives as well. Analysis paralysis is a state that you can find yourself in when feeling extraordinarily overwhelmed because there are too many choices presented to you. Usually, to make a thoughtful decision, a person might weigh pros and cons, consider different viewpoints, detailed pieces of information and potential outcomes. This can create a sense of confusion and anxiety. As we become more confused, we can experience finding ourselves caught in a whirlwind of thoughts that might leave us feeling as if making a clear, confident decision is impossible. Analysis paralysis stops us from moving forward and keeps us swirling in the whirlwind of thoughts. It can lead to inaction or more dreaming rather than doing. Action is what breeds results and allows you to reach your goals faster.  

Remember success is a journey, not a destination.   

To work with a professional business coach and get onto a path a of success go to BusinessAsATool.com and click on Get a Coach. 

 

Edited from original article by ActionCOACH Carmen Cigar 

Will Rappole 

March 16, 2024

Raise Your Hand Marketing: How to get Engagement

We all remember in school that if you wanted to participate, you raised your hand. It was a response to a question or perhaps to add to a discussion, but it was part of a structured dialog format we learned early on in our lives. In today’s digital world, sometimes we forget to engage with our audiences and begin the dialogue. We bypass the inquiry and interest phase and jump straight to trying to sell something to a contact or follower we haven’t engaged with. 

 

Much like the pushy car salesman who doesn’t let you out of your vehicle before he starts spouting off random sales information on a vehicle you don’t want, you are turned off. Engaging your audience by asking them to ‘raise their hand’ if they are interested in what you have to offer is a better way to start the relationship. 

 

Recently, CEO & Founder of ActionCOACH, Brad Sugars outlined the basics of ‘Raise Your Hand’ Marketing in a webinar. In this session, he identified the steps and process to ensure your social media posts become a magnet for engagement and ultimately turn suspects into prospects. 

 

Sugars starts by setting the stage and defining Marketing from his point of view. “Marketing is the process of profitably buying lifetime customers”. With this unique perspective in mind, he leads us to the first step. 

 

I. Who’s the Target? 

Identifying and segmenting messaging to specific personas and target customers is vital. The more targeted a message is, the more valuable it is to that specific audience. Create a list of the targets you want to focus on. Start broad and narrow as you add attributes. For example: 

Broad Category = Business Owner 

Narrow Category = Bakery Owners 

Super Targeted Category = Female Bakery Owners 

By narrowing the field, you can then focus on the pinpoints that challenge this target. 

II. What problem does this target struggle with? 

Check Google Trends and discover the search activities and habits for this target. Then, create content that speaks to the challenges the specific target is facing. 

For example, female bakery owners may be struggling with hiring or establishing a robust supply chain. Regardless of the issue, consider the benefits that this audience would respond positively to, if you offered it. 

Again, an example of your research may find that women-owned bakery businesses need more finance options to ensure supply lines are solid. You can create content that speaks to ways of finding new finance options, resources for financing, or best practices when looking for additional funding of a business.

 

III. Create content in multiple forms 

Consider writing a long-form blog on the issue at hand. Then break the blog into smaller posts, create an infographic from the research data, record a video highlight of your findings, and create a checklist or tip sheet filled with nuggets of information. You may also find articles written by others or resources you can share that you don’t have to personally create. 

IV. Don’t give it all away at once 

When your content is created don’t simply post it and hope for the best… Consider some alternatives. 

Post a Headline: “Found a great article on (TOPIC)” to get more information – or the link TYPE IN (WORD OF CHOICE) below. This is asking the followers and your targeted audience to ‘raise their hands’ and start a conversation. This will boost the engagement of this post. Additionally, ask for a DM or private message: Ask the audience to private message you or DM you to get a link or content. 

V. Respond in a timely manner 

You must respond to all messages, reactions, and request promptly to keep engagement high. Following up and asking more questions after the fact is a great way to get feedback. 

Remember to vary your content and posts. Not all posts need to follow the ‘Raise Your Hand’ guidelines. Mix up when and how you ask for engagement, but always ask.  Make sure your focus is on providing value: educating, entertaining, or inspiring your followers and audience. 

Mix up the type of content you post to ensure you are keeping your audience interested. 

Ultimately, getting your targets engaged in a conversation, exchanging feedback, and getting them to raise their hand to participate will give you a more effective conversion strategy. 

 

To learn more about marketing strategies you can use to grow your business, join us at Entrepreneur Training Day on Wednesday, March 20th from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm for only $19! 

 

Edited from Original by ActionCOACH Stacy Spahle

https://www.actioncoach.com/blog/raise-your-hand-marketing-how-to-get-engagement/

Will Rappole, ActionCOACH Houston

March 19, 2024

What Does Consistency Mean in the Workplace?

What does consistency mean in the workplace?

Consistency is all about the results and deliverables. It is the McDonald’s model, we know exactly what to expect every time we order a Big Mac; whether I order it in California, Texas, or Dubai. Good or bad, like it or not, it is always the same! This consistency gives us confidence. At the end of the day, it is about consistent processes, policies, procedures, and the expectations from the customer side.

Consistency is the key to success in any business. The business needs a consistent flow of customers, who need to be serviced by consistently motivated and qualified employees who are going to deliver consistent quality to the customers.

What drives consistency in the workplace? The answer is a consistent workforce. Let us define the characteristics of a consistent workforce. Consistent results come from a higher level of discipline of the smaller tasks and habits we do consistently. Those positive habits we call them RICHUAL… I know, I know I spell it RICH YES… because they are habits that make us rich.

Self-mastery is key to any successful employee. It starts with mindset and the willingness to be better every time. Prioritizing the tasks that are going to get us closer to achieving our goal. For example, creating daily RICHUALs, like waking up 30 minutes earlier to meditate and drinking water to hydrate. If we want to get more out of life and our business/career, we need to maintain our body and make sure it is in optimal shape. Mastery of yourself is mastery your life.

Self-mastery is also about being disciplined to use the MAGIC word. Not PLEASE and THANK YOU like we learned in kindergarten. The most important work in self-mastery is NO. Prioritizing what we do is about managing our schedule in a proactive and intentional way. Saying NO to repetitive meetings and random events. Only say YES to the activities that serve your business purpose. Famous billionaire investor Warren Buffett once said, “The difference between successful and less successful people is the successful say ‘no’ to almost everything.” Wouldn’t it be a relief to feel confident enough to simply say ‘no’ when someone asks you to take on yet another task or commit to another event? (BBC article “Why saying ‘no’ will boost your career”)

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20140314-just-say-no

Practicing gratitude is one of the most transformational practices you can implement in your life. Since we are all grateful for the positive things in life like our family and the roof over our heads, and the wonderful things that we own, my challenge for you is to practice gratitude for the less fortunate things in your life. Like, “I am grateful for the dream car that I cannot afford, as it’s making me more disciplined to work harder in life in order to get it one day.” Or “I am grateful for the years of civil war and living in bunkers because I learned how to be resilient…” That extreme was to make a point. Learn to use wants as motivation to action. Finding the positive in the negative is what differentiates successful people from the rest.

Now I know I said practice gratitude is the most important skill you can start implementing today, well this one is a close second. Successful people always consistently ask for help. They surround themselves with people who they look up to. Jim Rohn once said that you are the average of the 5 people with whom you spend the most time. Look around you. Is it time to upgrade your entourage? If today, you are the smartest person in the room you need to be in a different room. And start learning from others.

Finally, never stop learning. We are one of the luckiest generations to have privilege of accessibility to knowledge. From YouTube to podcasts to print to everything in between, the main quality of consistency in the workplace and when our employees want to learn new skills and are constantly evolving.

Consistency starts with the individuals and systems that are consistent and disciplined. Now let us compare a successful workplace to a successful Major League Baseball team. All players have these characteristics to stay on the team. They recruit the best, they have a rigorous training calendar, they are constantly learning and evolving their skills; and most important they act as a unit helping each other. And that is the kind of consistency we need in the workplace. The consistency of how each team member shows up to practice with the same attitude when showing up to the game. A WINNING attitude.

Consistency at work is important because it helps create a predictable workplace. When employees can predict what will happen at work, they are more likely to be able to maintain consistency in their own behavior. This can help prevent problems from arising and help the workplace run smoothly. This will create an environment of trust and high productivity. Consistency in the workplace can also provide several benefits for both employees and employers. For employees, consistency can lead to increased job satisfaction and feelings of stability. For employers, consistency can lead to increased productivity and decreased turnover. In addition, consistency at the workplace can help to create a positive work environment.

And like everything else in life, if you would like to practice being more consistent, you need to start small and build your consistency muscle.

Edited from the original by Hala Dabboussy, ActionCOACH

https://www.actioncoach.com/blog/what-does-consistency-mean-in-the-workplace/

Will Rappole, ActionCOACH Houston

March 12, 2024

Increasing Conversion by Adjusting Your Processes

What does it mean to adjust processes for better conversion?  

Essentially, it’s about identifying the areas of your business that need improvement and making changes that will streamline and optimize those processes. Here are some strategies that Daniel Priestley recommends for adjusting processes to improve conversion: 

  • Understand your customer journey 

The first step in adjusting processes for better conversion is to understand your customer journey. Map out every step of the customer’s experience, from the moment they first hear about your business to the point where they become a paying customer. Look for bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and areas where customers might drop off. By understanding the customer’s journey, you can identify the areas of your business that need the most attention. 

  • Simplify your sales process 

One of the most common areas where businesses lose potential customers is in the sales process. To improve conversion rates, Daniel Priestley suggests simplifying your sales process and making it as easy as possible for customers to make a purchase. This might mean reducing the number of steps involved in the checkout process, offering clear pricing and product information, and providing excellent customer service. 

  • Improve your marketing message 

Another key area where businesses can improve conversion rates is in their marketing message. Your marketing message should clearly communicate the value of your product or service to your target audience. It should be tailored to their specific needs and pain points, and it should be communicated in a way that resonates with them. By improving your marketing message, you can attract more qualified leads and improve your overall conversion rate. 

  • Streamline your operations 

ActionCOACH suggests streamlining your operations to improve conversion rates. This might involve automating repetitive tasks, reducing wait times, and improving the overall customer experience. By optimizing your operations, you can create a more efficient and effective business that is better equipped to convert leads into paying customers. 

In conclusion, adjusting processes for better conversion is an essential part of building a successful business. By understanding your customer journey, simplifying your sales process, improving your marketing message, and streamlining your operations, you can optimize your business for better conversion rates and increased profitability. 

 

Edited from Original by Carmen Gigar, ActionCOACH 

https://www.actioncoach.com/blog/improving-conversion-by-adjusting-your-processes/

Will Rappole, ActionCOACH Houston

March 7, 2024

The Importance of Connection in Your Business

Have you ever attended a webinar that just left you buzzing with inspiration and ideas? Well, let me tell you about my recent experience at Paul Dunn’s ‘Running a Business in ‘24!’ webinar – it was an absolute game-changer! 

Picture this: 75 minutes packed with insights from Paul Dunn, a four-time TEDx speaker, award-winning entrepreneur, and co-creator of an extraordinary initiative that’s already generated over 340 MILLION impacts around the world. Yep, Paul Dunn knows his stuff when it comes to running a successful business. 

So, what was the big takeaway? Connection. In a world where it sometimes feels like we're drowning in a sea of social media noise, Paul reminded us of the fundamental importance of genuine connections in every aspect of our businesses. 

“Connection is why we're here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”  

- Brene Brown 

 

First up, let’s talk about standing out to those potential customers. With social media oversaturated like never before, it’s no longer enough to just talk about your product or service. You’ve got to find a way to shine amidst the noise. Think personalized messaging, unique content, or tapping into niche audiences that resonate with what you offer. 

But it doesn’t stop there. Once you've reeled those customers in, it's all about creating a sense of belonging. At ActionCOACH, for example, we host monthly workshops to bring our clients together, fostering relationships beyond mere transactions. It's about making them feel like part of the family, not just customers. 

And let’s not forget about your team – they’re the heart and soul of your business. Hiring the right people is crucial, but it’s equally important to create an environment where they can thrive. We use tools like DISC/Motivators Assessments to ensure we've got the right people in the right roles, setting them up for success from day one. 

But hey, it’s not all about external connections. It is crucial to connect with yourself too! What gets you out of bed in the morning? Understanding your own purpose and motivations can drive your business forward and inspire others to join you on your journey. 

Now, here’s the real kicker: transitioning from a transaction-based business to an impact-based one. At ActionCOACH, it’s not just about making money – although that’s important too. It’s about standing for something bigger, enriching lives, and making a real difference in the world. We want to assist small business owners in growing their businesses without allowing work to consume their entire lives, providing them with the freedom to pursue other interests and activities. 

Because here’s the thing, people do business with those they know, like, and trust. By building genuine connections, you’ll not only attract the right clients and team members, but also create a business that people love to buy from, work for, and refer to others. 

So, let’s make a pledge to shift from chasing clients to choosing the right ones. Let’s become magnets for talent and beacons of positive change. Together, we can create a world where businesses thrive, relationships flourish, and lives are enriched. And that, my friends, is the power of connection. 

 

Will Rappole, ActionCOACH Houston

February 27, 2024 

Leading with a Positive Mindset

These days, you are bombarded with negative news and images more than ever before. From TV programs and news broadcasts to the endless updates and notifications pinging your smartphones, it's hard to avoid negativity seeping into your mindset. Negative thinking and a ‘glass half empty’ mindset can make navigating uncertain times even more difficult, especially as a business owner.  

It is difficult to keep your teams motivated during normal conditions, but when stress levels increase and negativity takes hold, it can be even more devastating. Jon Gordon reports. “a Gallup study estimates that negativity costs the economy $250-300 billion a year and affects the morale, performance, and productivity of teams. (businessknowhow.com, 2020). 

As a business leader or business owner you have access to even more information that can further sour your attitude and turn your focus towards negative outcomes. As you wrestle with the onslaught of information and news, it is important to keep yourself in a positive space. If positive thinking doesn’t come naturally to you, there are steps you can follow to put you and your team in a better mind space so you can navigate difficult times. 

Positive leaders not only have higher success, but they also tend to have a workforce that remains solution-based and keeps finding ways to move forward in the face of any crisis. Acclaimed business leader Brian Tracey has several keys to staying positive; 

  • Remember that it’s your response that determines the outcome of a situation. 
  • Use positive affirmations or phrases to chase off negative thoughts. 
  • Find inspirational quotes and messages to bolster your positivity. 
  • Decide to be happy by being grateful and assuming the people around you have the best of intentions. 
  • Challenge yourself to maintain a positive attitude when something goes wrong—show the world how resilient and positive you are! 

 

Staying positive doesn’t mean living in a fantasy or giving you license to avoid reality. Don’t become a Pollyanna, become a conduit of confidence. Through acceptance and resiliency, you can move yourself and your teams to a constructive mindset. 

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/17/business/work-from-home-setups-coronavirus-trnd/index.html?cid=web-alerts&nsid=67764543 

Positive leaders are pragmatic and find constructive options. They celebrate small victories and find productive ways to move forward. Positive leaders are proactive, good listeners, and well-informed. These leaders demonstrate to the collective that even in the face of insurmountable circumstances, negative outcomes are not inevitable. 

These ‘transformation’ leaders change the culture within organizations and alter the trajectory of their business. They say an optimistic culture is contagious and can raise morale and productivity. The cliché of “walking the walk and talking the talk” demonstrates to teams and staff members that there is light at the end of the tunnel. How do they do it? They live in what ActionCOACH describes as “above the point of power.” 

The Point of Power is the space where you focus on ownership, accountability, and responsibility. When you blame others, make excuses, and deny a situation actually exists, it brings your power down and you are powerless. Powerless leaders stop progress and eliminate innovative thinking. They stifle creativity and deter solutions from being shared or developed. You can’t afford to live below the point for very long, and your business can’t either. 

The most powerful leaders, those focused on positive outcomes, see failure as a lesson to learn from and not a setback. They view obstacles as the catalyst for change and innovation. Leaders with positive outlooks inspire and motivate others to think differently and find new perspectives. You can take tangible steps to further influence their teams. 

  • Connect on a 1:1 basis with team members. 
  • Encourage and reward the right behaviors. 
  • Focus on results; demand excellence but without retribution. 
  • Chart a clear vision and reinforce goals and objectives regularly so everyone knows what direction you are going and what success looks like. 

 

Ultimately, it is difficult to change anyone’s behavior or actually alter their thinking, but practice can help you change course. To master any skill, practice is crucial to develop habits, and keeping a positive mindset will take daily work. Develop positive habits and try unplugging from negative new sources if you find yourself going down the rabbit hole. Make physical changes that will help you stay on course. Discourage negative chatter and unproductive thinking by demonstrating a more productive alternative. Change notifications on your phone, disconnect from social media, create visual reminders in your workspace, and get a buddy or mentor to keep you accountable and help you keep old habits from creeping back into your mindset. 

After any crisis new and innovative solutions emerge from those who persist and refuse to be consumed with negativity. Those with positive outlooks find ways to not only survive, but to thrive. 

To learn more about ActionCOACH, give us a call at 713-936-3814 or email us at willrappole@actioncoach.com 

 

Edited from Original by Stacy Spahle, ActionCOACH 

https://www.actioncoach.com/blog/leading-with-a-positive-mindset/  

Will Rappole, ActionCOACH Houston

February 20, 2024

Four Efficient Ways to Leverage Your Business   

It’s no secret that leveraging your business for efficiency is key to achieving success. That’s why Brad Sugars, founder and CEO of ActionCOACH, puts such a heavy emphasis on it. By optimizing your operations, you can save time and money while boosting productivity and profitability. One of the best ways to do this is by investing in your employees through ongoing education and training. This helps foster a culture of productivity and teamwork that leads to increased efficiency. Plus, streamlining your delivery and distribution processes can save you even more time and money, allowing you to get your products or services to customers faster, with fewer errors.  

But don’t stop there – implementing a system for testing and measuring your business processes is crucial to identifying inefficiencies and areas for improvement. And with technology and automation, you can improve accuracy and reduce errors even further. By leveraging these key strategies, you can optimize your operations, improve your bottom line, and stay ahead of the competition. 

People & Education 

Business owners are always on the lookout for new ways to boost their bottom line and make their company more efficient. Often overlooked is investing in your people and their education is essential for reaching those goals. When you prioritize the growth and development of your team, you’re setting your business up for long-term success. 

So don’t forget to invest in your most valuable asset – your people! 

Improved skills and productivity: 

When you invest in your employees’ education and training, you’re not just doing them a favor – you’re doing your company a favor too. By giving your team the chance to learn new skills and gain valuable knowledge, you’re setting them up to perform their jobs more efficiently than ever before. And when your employees are working at their best, your business outcomes will improve too. 

A culture of innovation: 

Keep your employees up to date on industry trends and best practices. It can help employees bring fresh ideas to the table and implement innovative and efficient work processes. Plus, when you encourage collaboration and idea-sharing, you create a culture of innovation that can fuel your business success. So, make education and collaboration a priority in your company, and watch your team thrive! 

Employee engagement and retention: 

Employees who feel valued and supported are more engaged and motivated in their work, which means lower turnover rates and less time and money spent on recruitment and training costs. If you want to keep your team happy and your business running smoothly, it’s time to start investing in your employees’ well-being. 

Improved problem-solving: 

Having a team of well-trained and knowledgeable employees can make all the difference when it comes to improving your business processes. Your team is on the front lines every day, which means they’re equipped to identify inefficiencies and suggest improvements. By tapping into their collective brainpower, you can identify and solve problems faster and more efficiently – leading to better outcomes and a stronger bottom line. 

A strong employer brand: 

Investing in your employees is the key to building a strong employer brand and attracting top talent to your business. By prioritizing your team’s growth and development, you’re not only setting yourself up for greater efficiency, productivity, and profitability, but you’re also positioning your business as a desirable place to work. Invest in your people, provide training and education opportunities, foster a culture of innovation, and engage and retain your employees. Your business success depends on it! 

Delivery & Distribution 

In today’s fast-paced business environment, delivery and distribution can be critical factors in a business’s success. In today’s fast-paced business environment, delivery and distribution can make or break your success. It’s crucial to get your products or services to customers quickly and efficiently, and failure to do so can have serious consequences. It’s important to focus on streamlining your delivery and distribution processes, so you can get ahead of the competition and achieve long-term success. 

Faster delivery times: 

Streamlining your delivery and distribution processes can have a huge impact on your success. By doing so, you can get your products or services to your customers faster, which not only improves customer satisfaction, but also increases their loyalty. And as we all know, loyal customers are the lifeblood of any successful business. By making it easier and quicker for them to do business with you, you’ll see an increase in repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals. Focus on streamlining those processes and giving your customers the best possible experience. 

Reduced costs: 

Don’t overlook the cost-saving benefits of optimizing your delivery and distribution processes. By minimizing shipping times and distances, you can cut down on shipping costs and reduce the chances of damaged or lost goods. These small improvements can add up to big savings over time, work on optimizing those processes and maximizing your profits. 

Improved inventory management: 

Optimizing your delivery and distribution processes isn’t just about speed and cost savings. It can also have a big impact on your inventory management. By ensuring that products are delivered on time, you can avoid overstocking or under-stocking and optimize your inventory levels. This will save you money, reduce waste, and help you better meet the needs of your customers. 

Greater scalability: 

As your business scales, your delivery and distribution processes become more critical than ever. By implementing reliable and efficient systems, you can handle increased order volumes without sacrificing quality or efficiency. This will help you grow your business smoothly and efficiently, without any hiccups along the way. 

Competitive advantage: 

In today’s competitive business landscape, having an optimized delivery and distribution process can give your business an edge over your competitors. By providing faster and more reliable delivery services, you can stand out and win over customers, thereby increasing your market share and profitability. 

Testing & Measuring 

As a business owner, testing and measuring can be a crucial component to improve your business’s efficiency and profitability. By understanding five key reasons for implementing testing and measuring strategies, as emphasized by business coach Brad Sugars, you can optimize your operations and improve your bottom line. 

Identifying inefficiencies: 

Through testing and measuring, businesses can gain valuable insights into their operations. By tracking key metrics and analyzing data, business owners can identify inefficiencies and make targeted improvements to streamline processes and increase profitability. 

Optimizing performance: 

“Testing and measuring is the key to optimizing your business processes. Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) can help you monitor progress, identify areas for improvement, and fine-tune your processes for maximum efficiency. By doing so, you can stay ahead of the competition and achieve greater success in your business,” says Brad Sugars, business coach and founder of ActionCOACH. 

Data-driven decision-making

It’s important to make data-driven decisions that can lead to better business outcomes. Testing and measuring can help you collect and analyze data, providing insights that can help you avoid making decisions based on assumptions or intuition, leading to more effective decision-making. 

Continuous improvement: 

Testing and measuring can encourage a culture of continuous improvement by setting specific targets and tracking progress towards achieving them. This can motivate employees to make incremental improvements and achieve better results over time. 

Accountability: 

Testing and measuring is a powerful tool to hold your employees accountable for their performance. By setting clear, measurable goals and tracking progress, you can identify areas where your team may need extra support or training. This allows you to provide valuable feedback and coaching, helping them reach their full potential and drive better results for your business. 

From identifying inefficiencies and optimizing performance to enabling data-driven decisions and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, it’s a key strategy emphasized by Brad Sugars for achieving long-term success. These remarkable benefits highlight why investing in testing and measuring is worth it for your business’s efficiency and profitability. 

Systems & Technology 

Business owners are constantly seeking ways to optimize efficiency and maximize profitability. Amidst these goals, one critical factor tends to be overlooked: testing and measuring. In this blog, we unveil the significance of this often-neglected practice, shedding light on its potential to revolutionize your business’s performance and drive it towards unparalleled success. 

Identifying inefficiencies: 

Testing and measuring, according to Brad Sugars, plays a pivotal role in identifying inefficiencies within business processes. By collecting data and analyzing performance metrics, entrepreneurs can effectively pinpoint areas that may be causing bottlenecks or delays, allowing for targeted improvements that drive enhanced productivity and success. 

Optimizing performance: 

Once entrepreneurs identify areas in need of improvement, Brad Sugars advises them to leverage testing and measuring to optimize their business processes. By consistently tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), business owners can monitor their progress over time and fine-tune their processes to achieve maximum efficiency. This iterative approach enables continuous improvement, leading to remarkable outcomes in the long run. 

Data-driven decision-making: 

Brad Sugars emphasizes the significance of testing and measuring, stating that it enables entrepreneurs to make data-driven decisions that yield superior business outcomes. By diligently collecting and analyzing data, business owners can avoid relying on assumptions or intuition, leading to more effective decision-making and ultimately driving their businesses towards success. 

Continuous improvement: 

Put your focus on testing and measuring, you’re really setting the stage for a culture of non-stop betterment in your business. With goals in sight and progress in your sights, you’re motivating your team to reach those targets and make steady strides forward, one step at a time. 

Accountability: 

Testing and measuring isn’t just about making improvements, it’s also about holding your team accountable. When you set those clear, measurable goals and keep an eye on progress, you’re spot-on in pinpointing areas where your employees might need some extra support or training. That way, you can dish out some valuable feedback and coaching to help them up their game. 

Embrace testing and measuring to transform and empower your business to identify inefficiencies, optimize performance, make data-driven decisions, foster continuous improvement, and uphold accountability. By prioritizing this practice, entrepreneurs can pave the way for enhanced efficiency, productivity, and ultimately, sustained success in the competitive business landscape. 

 

Edited from Original by Oscar Gonzalez, ActionCOACH 

https://www.actioncoach.com/blog/4-efficient-ways-to-leverage-your-business/

February 13, 2024 

The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Small Business Marketing 

The use of AI has become universal in today’s fast-paced digital landscape, changing the way businesses approach marketing. In particular, small businesses can benefit greatly from incorporating AI into their marketing strategies, as it provides tools to enhance creativity and effectively reach target audiences. Gone are the days when marketing teams had to rely solely on their own creativity to generate content.  

“Of all a company’s functions, marketing has perhaps the most to gain from artificial intelligence. Marketing’s core activities are understanding customer needs, matching them to products and services, and persuading people to buy—capabilities that AI can dramatically enhance.”  

https://hbr.org/2021/07/how-to-design-an-ai-marketing-strategy  

Artificial Intelligence in marketing can change the way small businesses reach their audiences. AI in the workplace has sparked a new era where businesses can utilize intelligent algorithms to assist in content creation and marketing campaigns. This shift allows for greater efficiency and scalability in marketing efforts.   

While AI is a powerful tool, businesses should not view it as a replacement for human creativity. Instead, AI should be embraced as a resource to enhance and streamline creative processes. Small businesses can harness AI to brainstorm ideas, generate content, and improve overall marketing strategies. However, it is essential to review and validate the content it generates, as much of it can easily be caught by readers. Maintaining a keen eye on the output ensures that the content aligns with the brand's values and goals.   

In an era where everyone is always online and the media is oversaturated with content, it is important to stay authentic. While AI can assist in content creation, it is crucial for businesses to maintain their genuine voice and authenticity. Consumers are perceptive and seek authenticity in their interactions with brands. Staying true to the company's identity and values builds trust and strengthens the connection with the audience. As we teach at ActionCOACH, people do business with those they know, like, and trust. So keep your content authentic! Emphasizing what makes your brand unique, what your values are, and what your guarantee is will set you apart from the competition. AI can aid in expressing these qualities effectively, but the core message must remain authentic to resonate with the target audience.  

When using AI tools such as ChatGPT, it is crucial to provide specific prompts, the more specific the better! Clearly defining the target audience, values, mission, goals, and tone of voice allows AI to generate content that aligns closely with the brand identity. This targeted approach ensures that AI becomes a valuable asset in conveying the right message to the right audience.   

The integration of AI into small business marketing is an exciting prospect that opens up a wave of new possibilities for efficiency and creativity. By understanding the dynamics of the growing AI landscape, utilizing it as a creative resource, fact-checking outputs, providing specific prompts, and emphasizing authenticity, businesses can harness the true potential of AI. While AI can greatly enhance marketing efforts, it should be embraced as a tool to support human ingenuity rather than a replacement for it. Finding the right balance ensures that small businesses stay at the forefront of innovative marketing strategies in today's digital age.   

Other valuable AI resources we use at ActionCOACH are:  

Use wisely! 

 

Will Rappole, ActionCOACH Houston

February 6, 2024

The Power of Numbers: Unlocking Success for Small Businesses Through Marketing Mastery   

In the dynamic landscape of entrepreneurship, small business owners face countless challenges and opportunities. Two critical pillars of success in marketing are knowing your numbers and understanding your target market. Understanding the numbers and harnessing the potential of marketing can pave the way for sustained growth and prosperity for small businesses. 

Knowing Your Numbers 

Understanding profit margin, gross profit margin, and the distinction between markup and margin is paramount for business owners. The profit margin, expressed as a percentage of revenue, reflects the true profitability of each sale. Meanwhile, gross profit margin considers production costs, providing insights into operational efficiency.

 

For small businesses, every lead is a potential customer. Knowing the number of leads required to acquire a customer and the conversion rate is crucial. This data empowers owners to refine marketing strategies and streamline sales processes, ultimately boosting customer acquisition efficiency. 

How frequently do customers return, and what's the average spend per transaction? These metrics illuminate customer loyalty and contribute to revenue forecasting. Armed with this knowledge, businesses can tailor marketing efforts to enhance customer relationships, fostering repeat business. 

Small businesses often operate with limited budgets. Knowing the cost to acquire a customer allows for smart budget allocation. This data-driven approach ensures that marketing initiatives yield a positive return on investment, a critical factor for small business sustainability. 

Understanding Your Target Market 

Understanding the market's size and demographics lays the foundation for targeted marketing efforts. Small businesses can focus their resources on reaching the right audience, optimizing their reach and impact. For example, a bakery wants to increase sales by promoting their diverse goods to a wide audience, without understanding their target market. This approach fails, as their marketing messages fail to capture the attention of their potential customers. After closer examination, the bakery identifies their loyal customers are health-conscious individuals. They refine their marketing campaign to target health-conscious individuals, and their sales skyrocket.  

By understanding the preferences and needs of their specific audience, the bakery not only attracts new customers but also strengthens its relationship with existing ones. This example underscores the importance of a well-defined target audience in shaping a successful marketing strategy, leading to increased relevance, engagement, and ultimately, business success. 

Understanding the numbers and mastering marketing is not reserved for big corporations. In fact, it is the lifeline for small businesses seeking to establish themselves in competitive markets. Embrace financial literacy as the backbone that supports your business decisions and wield marketing as the strategic tool that propels your brand into the hearts and minds of your target audience. 

In the world of small business, knowledge truly is power. Equip yourself with the insights derived from your financial metrics and harness the strategic prowess of marketing. By doing so, you unlock the doors to sustained growth, customer loyalty, and enduring success. 

Will Rappole, ActionCOACH Houston

January 30, 2024

The Path to Prosperity: The Art of Continuous Learning

In the dynamic landscape of entrepreneurship, the famous quote "the more you learn, the more you earn" holds true. Small business owners, the driving force behind local economies, must embrace a culture of continuous learning to not only survive, but thrive in today's competitive business world. 

Successful People Learn More: 

The only constant between successful and unsuccessful individuals is the choice to learn more. Successful business owners understand that knowledge is power, and investing time and effort into continuous learning is an investment in their business's success. Whether it's gaining expertise in niche areas or acquiring a broader understanding of the market, the pursuit of knowledge is a defining characteristic of prosperity.  

Continue Educating Yourself: 

As a business owner, ignorance is not bliss; it's an obstacle. If you find yourself in the position of not understanding crucial aspects of your business, whether it's marketing strategies, team leadership, or financial management, the remedy is simple—educate yourself. The responsibility lies with you to bridge the knowledge gap. Don't be afraid to seek help from experts or tap into resources that can enhance your understanding. 

Learning Beyond the Conventional: 

The word "learning" often conjures images of traditional education, but the reality is far broader. While formal education has its qualities, there are various paths to acquiring valuable knowledge that can significantly boost your worth in the business world. Trades, for instance, offer not only practical skills but also lucrative opportunities. Mastering the intricacies of running a successful business requires a diverse set of skills, and being well-versed in these areas ensures sustained growth. 

The Constant Pursuit of Knowledge: 

Regardless of the nature of your business, the potential to acquire more knowledge is ever-present. Even in physically demanding professions, continuous learning is the key to staying relevant and competitive. Embrace new technologies, stay updated on industry trends, and seek out opportunities for personal and professional growth. 

Diversify Your Learning: 

If what you're learning aligns with the masses, it might be time to diversify. Identifying which skills are in demand and aligning your learning objectives accordingly can make a significant difference in your earning potential. The ability to make informed decisions about what to learn is as crucial as the skills themselves. 

The path to prosperity for small business owners is paved with the commitment to continuous learning. Don't shy away from educating yourself, whether through formal education, practical training, or seeking guidance from experts. Embrace the diverse opportunities to expand your skill set, stay informed, and make strategic decisions about what to learn. Remember, the more you learn, the more you earn—both for yourself and your business.

 

Will Rappole, ActionCOACH Houston

January 23, 2024

Empowering Excellence: Make 2024 a Year of Inclusivity, Inspiration, and Accountability  

As we embark on the exciting journey of business growth in 2024, let's embrace the positive practices that foster an inclusive, inspiring, and accountable workplace. 

Firstly, inclusivity is the cornerstone of business success. We believe in involving everyone in the company's growth. From the company picnic to daily operations, every team member plays a vital role. Our goal is to make events and initiatives accessible to all, recognizing the value each individual brings to the table. Let's celebrate our diversity and tap into the collective brilliance of our entire workforce. 

Moreover, we understand the power of inspiration. Being an inspirational leader is not just a responsibility; it's a privilege. Sharing the 'why' behind our business, the passion that drives us, and the vision for the future creates a workplace where great employees thrive. We are committed to providing a roadmap for success, ensuring that each team member understands their role in our shared journey. 

Equally significant is accountability, a positive force that propels us forward. Our commitment to holding team members accountable to their plans is rooted in our belief in continuous improvement. If a target is not met, we see it as an opportunity for growth. We set clear paths for improvement, fostering a culture where goals are not just aspirations but tangible commitments. 

In the spirit of collective growth, if you ever find yourself unsure about involving everyone, inspiring your team, or holding them accountable, remember that help is just a step away. We are here to support you in building a workplace that thrives on inclusivity, inspiration, and accountability. 

Here's to a year filled with positive collaboration, boundless inspiration, and shared success!

Will Rappole, ActionCOACH Houston

January 2, 2024

Mastering Holiday Time Management: A Lesson in Self-Management 

As we enter the festive season, time seems to be slipping through our fingers like sand. Amidst the holiday cheer and celebrations, the clock continues to march forward. But, what if I told you that the key to effective time management isn't about controlling the clock, but rather, mastering the art of self-management? 

 

In the hustle and bustle of holiday activities, it's crucial to take a step back and evaluate where your time is truly going. As we often hear, there's no such thing as time management; it's about managing yourself. Let's start with the basics – create a time log for yourself over the next two weeks. What are you doing with your time each day? How much time is dedicated to management? How about customer interactions? 

 

The next step is identifying the top five time-consuming activities during your day. Many business owners find themselves strapped for time because they struggle to let go of tasks. It's about systemizing, delegating, and training others to handle these tasks, liberating you to focus on what truly matters. The belief that "if you want it done right, do it yourself" can be a roadblock to growth. 

 

Time management isn't just about doing more; it's about doing the right things. Often, success in time management lies in what you need to stop doing rather than what you need to start doing. What are the non-productive tasks that consume your time, preventing you from being more proactive and strategic? Letting go of such tasks can open doors to increased productivity and growth. 

 

Consider the story of a business owner who, to save a wage, handled deliveries himself. While saving $50 a day, he overlooked the potential for sales that would have generated $500 a day. This illustrates the importance of distinguishing between owner's work (long-term returns) and employee's work (one-time returns). Investing time wisely can make all the difference. 

 

As we approach the end of the year, reflect on your business priorities. Focus on owner's work that pays back in the long term. Remember, the more you learn, the more you can grow. This holiday season, let's not just manage time but master the art of self-management for a more prosperous and balanced new year. 

 

Wishing you a joyous holiday season filled with growth and success! 

 

Will Rappole, ActionCOACH Houston

December 26, 2023

Elevate Your Business in 2024 with Vision, Mission, and Culture!

As we step into the promising realm of 2024, let's make sure your business is geared up for success! Here are three critical elements to consider: 

 

#1 – Having a vision 

Stupid is – Not having a phenomenal vision for your business. Do you know where your business is headed? A compelling vision not only guides your journey but also motivates your team. Don't risk losing valuable talent – ensure your business has an inspiring message and a clear vision for the future. Let us help you avoid the pitfalls of a visionless strategy. 

 

#2 – Having a mission statement 

Stupid is – The business that doesn’t have a very good mission statement. Your mission is the roadmap to your vision. Craft a mission statement that defines who you are, who your customers are, what you do, and what makes you unique. If you need assistance in creating a powerful mission statement, we've got you covered. 

 

#3 – Having an amazing culture 

Stupid is – The business that doesn’t have an amazing culture. Cultivate a work environment where your team is not just engaged but excited. Define your values and integrate them into your culture. Whether it's a commitment to education, having fun, or expressing gratitude – let your culture shine. Need guidance? Reach out to us to build a culture that sets your business apart. 

 

Don't be a stupid business – let's make 2024 the year your business thrives! Whether it's crafting a vision, refining your mission, or enhancing your culture, we're here to support you every step of the way. 

 

Will Rappole, ActionCOACH Houston

December 19, 2023

Planning: Why it is Critical for Success

As we approach the start of 2024, a year that promises both opportunities and uncertainties, the importance of strategic planning for businesses becomes increasingly crucial. Much like any well-thought-out trip, a business must have a plan—a roadmap to guide its course and ensure it not only survives but thrives in the face of challenges and opportunities. If you can’t rely on a plan to help you chart a course, why should you do it? Why waste the time? If you follow the definition of planning as your guide, you will see why the process is so critical to any business’s success. 

 

"Planning always has a purpose” 

 

You would never take a trip without at least knowing where you were going right? Planning for a business is much the same. Planning is a must if you have ideas of where your business should be or where you want your business to be. To plan means you have a purpose in mind. Tactics and strategies set to achieve your goals might change, but the PLAN, the foundation of what you want to accomplish shouldn’t. 

 

Business planning has many characteristics which include; https://businessjargons.com/planning.html 

  • Intellectual and Mental Exercise 
  • Managerial Function 
  • Goal Focus 
  • Based on Continuous Improvement 
  • Positive and Persuasive 
  • Future Facing 
  • Decision Oriented 

At ActionCOACH, planning is central to everything we teach business owners to do. Whether at 1:1 sessions, group coaching sessions, or quarterly GrowthCLUB meetings, business owners are challenged to set actionable, attainable, realistic, and measurable goals that they can use to chart their progress. 

 

GrowthCLUB is a Quarterly workshop that was created to help clients and their management team plan and prepare their 90-day plan. The day's purpose is to assess how far the business has come on its long-term plan in the last 90 days, and what needs to happen in the next 90 days to propel the business to achieve that plan. This is also an ideal workshop for other business owners and employees to attend, as it helps to increase learning and gives them a structure to plan growth in their business and personal lives.  

 

Remember, tactics and strategies can change. You can deploy resources differently or allocate them in new ways to meet market conditions, but you should never abandon your plans of being bigger, better, and stronger. Only with a road map, a chart, and a course, can you stay on track and achieve the business goals you want in 2024.

 

Edited from the original article by ActionCOACH Carmen Gigar 

https://www.actioncoach.com/blog/planning-why-its-critical-for-success/ 

December 12, 2023

The OWNERSHIP Mindset: The Most Powerful Weapon in Business

“Responsibility = Accountability = Ownership. And a sense of ownership is the most powerful weapon a team or organization can have.”    ― Pat Summitt

 

You have heard the saying, "I own that". You have heard of people taking ownership, but what does that really mean? What does it mean to operate with an ownership mentality and how does that translate into today's business world? People can ‘own’ an idea or even a company, but if they do not have an ownership mindset they often fall short of the results they want.

 

Building a culture of ownership takes time and consistency and needs to start at the top levels of the company. There are several steps you can take to build a culture of ownership throughout a company. Here are the five steps to encourage an Ownership Mindset at all levels of your organization, outlined by Forbes.com in 2017. 

  • Support Freedom and Responsibility
    Empower employees to drive change, innovate, and improve processes and practices so that they can build customer intimacy and loyalty.
  • Change the Mindset
    Focus on contribution vs. control and encourage employees to add value, knowledge, and innovation to the company.
  • Embrace Shared Values
    Communicate that the success of the company hinges on the values that guide the desired behaviors and actions of employees.
  • Focus on Positive Reinforcement
    Encourage employees to use discretionary decision-making to solve a problem or to better serve the client, and aim to give that person positive reinforcement.
  • Support Entrepreneurial Thinking
    Promote transparency and support a focus on generating sales, cutting expenses, and looking for alternative sources of revenue.

Setting the tone of ownership is the first step to getting a culture moving in the right direction. Employees will understand their role more if you and your leadership team actively practice what you preach. It is impossible for leaders to know it all, so you must operate ownership by relinquishing control.

 

Share your vision and ensure that all employees at every level of the organization understand the “WHY” of decisions and direction. Get your teams involved in goal setting and planning so they feel part of the process and not just cogs in a wheel. Often, allowing creative approaches to finding solutions may take teams in different directions. Getting involved and instilling an ownership mindset across your organizations ensures you are tapping into the skills and resources you might have left undiscovered.

 

Start by finding a spark in your organization to blaze the trail to establishing an ownership culture in your company. Find those that react to problems quickly and decisively. Recognize those who are delivering more than expected and harvest their passion.

Encourage ownership by sharing it. It’s not about what or how much you ‘own’, it is more about how much you are willing to give away to gain.  

 

Edited from the original article by ActionCOACH Carmen Gigar

https://www.actioncoach.com/blog/the-ownership-mindset-the-most-powerful-weapon-in-business/

December 5, 2023

The Power of Gratitude

As the holiday season approaches, one of our coaches Stacy Spahle, advocates for the celebration of achievements, the expression of gratitude, and the cultivation of a mindset that attracts abundance in her article. Through her insightful exploration, Stacy invites readers to embrace gratitude as a powerful force for positive change in both personal and professional spheres. 

 

We remember when our parents or grandparents said to us, “Say the magic words”, usually that meant “please”. But there are two additional words, "thank you", that are just as magical. Who would have expected two words to have so much power? Showing appreciation and acknowledging gratitude for others can have cathartic results in all areas of your life. Since ancient times, philosophers have touted the benefits of living a life filled with gratitude. But you don’t have to be Socrates to understand being thankful and demonstrating appreciation adds to your overall well-being.  

 

Saying ‘thank you’ without intent, however, can come off as insincere and hollow. So, it is important that gratitude and the acts of thankfulness become habitual and organic to your personality. This doesn’t mean thanking people for expected behaviors; it means you are in tune with critical moments that call for you to send and receive the benefits of gratitude. Ask yourself a few check-in questions…  

  • Do you send handwritten notes of thankfulness to a colleague, supplier, or employee?  
  • Do you keep a gratitude journal where you memorialize thankfulness?  
  • Do you meditate, pray, or find time to be calm and reflect to help center your thoughts and feelings?  
  • Do you actively and mentally show YOURSELF gratitude for accomplishments made or goals achieved?  
  • Do you celebrate the small victories and the small steps forward in your life and business?  

In times of crisis and as life begins to enter a new norm, gratitude will be a useful mindset to help us move forward. A couple of years ago, the fear and uncertainty of the pandemic, led many of us to forget to be thankful for what we have and instead, yearn for what we have lost. This becomes the fictitious circle. The less satisfaction or appreciation for the new state of what we have, the more you will attract more positive results.  

 

Finding something to be thankful for when your business is closed, your bills are mounting, and when the future is unsure, can seem insurmountable. You may have to dig deeper to find smaller things to be thankful for. Government assistance with payroll demands is something businesses can be thankful for, but like most habits that stick, you have to verbalize it. Say it out loud: “I am thankful for the resources available to me during the pandemic to get my business reopened and restarted”.  

 

The article "Gratitude Appreciation" at PositivePsychology.com defined gratitude in an article in May 2020 as “. . . gratitude is more than feeling thankful: it is a deeper appreciation for someone (or something) that produces longer lasting positivity” (Ackerman, 2020). Becoming more grateful and allowing more grace into your life can have the following outcomes: 

  • Enhanced well-being with better Physical and Mental Health  
  • Deeper Relationships  
  • Improved Optimism  
  • Increased Happiness 
  • Stronger Self-Control 

The article "Benefits of Gratitude" at Happierhuman.com outlines the benefits of being more thankful outside your personal life. Businesses and careers can see tangible improvements by being more grateful to employees, clients, and yourself. Here are a few benefits: 

  • Becoming a more effective manager  
  • Helping you network  
  • Helping you achieve and attain goals  
  • Improving your decision-making capabilities  
  • Increasing productivity  

During the holiday season, finding ways to bring more gratitude to your life can benefit your personal and professional growth. Celebrate the smallest of achievements and share that gratitude with those in your circle. Spread gratitude, add a thank you, and remember to appreciate life’s opportunities to bring more abundance to you in return.  

 

Edited from the original article by ActionCOACH Stacy Spahle

https://www.actioncoach.com/blogs/the-power-of-gratitude/ 

November 28, 2023

Systems Don't Kill Creativity

In today's fast-paced business landscape, the intersection of creativity and efficiency holds the key to sustained success. This article dives into the critical role of creativity within the workplace, emphasizing the need for businesses to find a delicate balance between systemization and innovation. By exploring metrics for measuring creativity and advocating for collaborative communication, the article sheds light on how businesses can transform their organizational frameworks to become both systematically efficient and creatively agile, to ultimately gain a competitive edge in the dynamic business landscape. 

 

We are all familiar with IQ Testing designed to scientifically measure so-called intelligence in adults and children. While there is a great debate over the accuracy and relevance of IQ testing in today’s business world, there is no doubt that fostering and measuring innovation is critical to business success. Innovation is a direct result of creative thinking, and if a business can crack the code to foster a more creative workplace, it could have a distinct competitive advantage. But where to start? 

 

Some might start with the TTCT test or the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking. Designed by Dr. Ellis Paul Torrance in the 1960s to measure creativity in children. This series of tests were designed “in an attempt to measure divergent thinking”. But what type of evaluation tool is available for adults?  

 

There are several online tools and evaluations to help business owners measure creative or divergent thinking in their teams and often they boil down to measuring four criteria. 

  • Fluency: how many responses a person, team, or process can generate
  • Flexibility: how many different types/categories of responses are generated
  • Originality: how different are the responses from the norm
  • Elaboration: how detailed are the responses 

Most businesses just want consistency and efficiency, (thus establishing Standard Operating Procedures for everything under the sun), seemingly draining the creative juices of their teams. System overload bogs down their teams when every step-by-step activity is mapped out and systemized, repressing the creativity of team members.

 

“When systems are set up that restrict freedom of thought, and when individuals perpetuate those systems through controlling approaches and actions, creativity has no room to flourish.” 

 

Systems don’t have to be the killers of creativity. Conversely, they should be the catalyst to foster creative thinking. Systems are not supposed to slow progress, they are by their very existence designed to enhance productivity and efficiency. So why do so many businesses fail on both ends of the scale? Because they haven’t found the balance between systemization and innovation. 

 

Let’s take the Apollo 13 mission as an example. This historic moon mission in April 1970 sent four highly qualified astronauts up into space for the seventh moon mission in United States history. During the flight towards the moon, the Apollo space capsule experienced an electric fire that damaged the oxygen tanks and the mission to land on the moon was aborted. Even more pressing was how to get the crew back safely under extremely precarious circumstances. Famous for the quote, “Houston, we have a problem”, astronaut Jim Lovell reported the emergency to the ground control who was then tasked to solve the problem of low oxygen, reduced power, and a capsule that was too heavy to enter the earth’s atmosphere safely. 

 

Faced with life-and-death decisions, the ground control crew and support teams spent hours breaking down process after process and examining each system to find the right answers that would bring the Apollo 13 crew home alive. They used the systems and processes at their disposal to come up with creative solutions for both oxygen generation and for re-routing the Apollo module around the moon and bringing the crew back home safely. 

 

This seven-day mission, which didn’t achieve its original objectives, was actually a success. The recovery of the astronauts and the splash down in the Pacific Ocean sparked innovation that was the catalyst for future advancement in space travel for the next two decades. 

 

The team at NASA, using their creativity, knowledge, and skills, avoided tragedy by using the systems and processes available to solve a “new” problem. 

 

In Brad Sugars book, Instant Systems, Sugars discusses the importance of systemizing business to foster efficiency and creativity. 

 

As the CEO and Founder of ActionCOACH®, the world’s largest business coaching franchise, Sugars and his coaches have helped thousands of business owners unleash the power of systems and processes in their organizations and foster creative problem-solving simultaneously.

“This is one of the most misunderstood areas of business today. I find this rather strange because it’s one area of business that’s easy to implement, and one that will make your life, and those of your team members, so much easier.” - Brad Sugars

Download our ActionPlan Systems Slides to Learn More!

Sugars outlines four board areas to systemize your business and goes into more detail about the types of systems and processes any successful business should have in the book. The four areas are: 

  • People and Education
  • Delivery and Distribution
  • Testing and Measuring
  • Systems and Technology 

Sugars stresses planning, communication, and team involvement when systemizing your business to improve both efficiency and problem-solving. Focusing your team’s creativity on specific areas will help you gain a competitive advantage. 

 

The journey toward business success is not a contrast between strict systems and uncontrolled creativity; rather, it is an integration of both. Sugars emphasizes that fostering a workplace culture that values creativity within the framework of well-designed systems is not only feasible but imperative. Businesses stand to gain a competitive advantage by embracing the harmonious relationship between innovation and efficiency. By recognizing the potential of systems to fuel creativity and engaging in strategic planning and communication, organizations can navigate the complex terrain of modern business with resilience and adaptability.  

 

Edited from the original article by ActionCOACH Carmen Gigar

Systems Don’t Kill Creativity. - ActionCOACH 
November 21, 2023

Mastering Work-Life Balance and Navigating the Holiday Season

During the holiday season, maintaining a work-life balance becomes even more crucial, and proactively setting realistic expectations, planning time off, and fostering a supportive work environment can help entrepreneurs enjoy the festivities without compromising professional responsibilities. Coach PJ Weiland's article "Tackling work-life balance" explores the challenge of a work-life balance that we face, especially during the busy holiday season.

 

As a business owner or entrepreneur, you may have the freedom to control your work schedule, but that doesn’t make it easier to achieve a work-life balance. In fact, a study conducted by Melissa Milkie and her colleagues at the University of Toronto found that people who set their own working hours and work over 50 hours a week tend to have more, not fewer, work-life conflicts.

 

If it seems the work will never end, making changes in how you work can reduce your workload, free up time for your non-work life, and prevent burnout, can help move you in the right direction. Here are three ways to better manage your work hours by delegating, being productive, and segmenting smarter. 

 

Delegate

If you’re just starting out, you may not be in a position yet to delegate much of what you’re doing to get your business off the ground. But experts say that three years in, you still shouldn’t be putting in 70 hours a week. Hiring right and training well will keep you from doing the job of two people.

How to Delegate Effectively - ActionCOACH  

 

Be Productive

There are so many distractions to draw us away from the task at hand, and I don’t just mean the obvious ones like social media. You can get sidetracked from pursuing your most important goals by day-to-day emails and calls. If you’re not achieving what you set out to do each week, look closely at how you spend your time at work and consider trying a different time management system. We have a default calendar we share with our clients to help them more effectively manage their work days, that we're sharing with you!

Download Sample Calendar for Balance

To Segment Smarter

Achieving a work-life balance doesn’t mean sticking to traditional working hours of Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, and not working the rest of the week. You might find mixing work and non-work segments throughout your week is more effective for your schedule and workflow. For example, managing email in the evening when there are fewer distractions might help you get through your inbox faster, and work more efficiently the following day, opening up time for a non-work activity.

 

As we navigate between professional responsibilities and personal well-being, the importance of maintaining a harmonious work-life balance becomes even more pronounced during the holiday season. By proactively setting realistic expectations, planning intentional time off, and fostering a supportive work environment, business owners can embrace the joy of the holidays while safeguarding their mental and physical health. 

 

Edited from the original article by ActionCOACH PJ Weiland

https://www.actioncoach.com/blogs/tackling-work-life-balance/ 

November 17, 2023

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