1001 Business Bedtime stories… Michael Cleans Carpets and Builds Dashboards

1001 Business Bedtime stories…… Truth 3, Finger on The Pulse

Truth 3, Planning
Little richard measures and plans his business

Here follows another one of the “1001 Business Bedtime Stories” … Every story comes straight from the New Perspectives Small Business Bootcamp, stories of business and courage and they illustrate an aspect of one of The Ten Truths… You might recognise some of them from your own experience.

Once upon a time… a long long time ago in a country not unlike Australia… Michael had a carpet cleaningbusiness …

Michael owned a carpet cleaning business in Sydney. Michael had 10 vans on the road with carpet cleaning equipment and Michael would book the jobs and do the marketing and generally run the company.

Michael’s life was full of crises, in fact most of his days involved extinguishing brush fires and he would never know where the next crisis would come from. Most of the crises involved his staff not delivering the customer service or quality that Michael’s clients expected and the only way to manage these issues was by Michael going out and fixing the problems himself.

There were many factors at play of course but Michael found it difficult to keep his staff accountable to specific performance criteria on quality and customer service. How do you measure the quality of a cleaning job and how do you measure the level of customer service and satisfaction you have delivered? But as the saying goes, you can’t manage what you don’t measure.

“If only I had a simple way to measure “Good Work” and “Good Service” that I can apply across the board and use to manage the performance of the guys ?” kept going round and round in Michael’s head.
Michael was at the end of his tether.

The Bootcamp

Working in The Bootcamp with me, Michael learnt that you can create relative measures for intangible things. For example If you were asked to give a score out of ten how happy you felt at this moment, where “10” was that you felt delirious and “0” meant that you were at risk of self harming, you might say “6”. If I were to ask the same question again tomorrow you might answer with “7”. This would lead us to reach a valid conclusion on your state of happiness tomorrow relative to today.

This same principle can be used to measure all sorts of intangible things in life and lends itself really well to measure quality and service and satisfaction levels.

We went to work to create a self scoring system, where a staff-member filled in a small form at the end of each job in which he gave himself and the just completed job a series of scores out of 100 on a number of different measures (for example: “Give yourself a score out of 100 for being punctual”)

The forms would be collated in a spreadsheet and the numbers averaged for each staff member and for the business as a whole. Every week on Monday morning Michael received a report from his admin assistant with the average performance numbers across the company for service and quality in the last week. At the same time Michael had his assistant call 10% of all clients every week and ask them to rate the completed jobs in a similar manner and these ratings were listed side by side with the staff member’s own ratings. The staff members would be given access to the customer ratings as well and as required Michael would sit down with individual staff members, compare notes and generally help the staff improve on their ratings and become more accurate in their self-scores.

This scoring system completely changed the way Michael thought about managing his business and he realised that the way to build a great company and great business value was to step back and create management systems, scoreboards and dashboards.

So she did… and it took a lot of courage… Michael created 3 different weekly dashboards: one for operations, one for marketing and one for finances.

Now 5 years later Michael is negotiating to sell his business. The price he is likely to sell for  is at least 3 times what he would have been able to sell it for a few years back, because now he is selling a business that operates almost independently from Michael himself.

And Michael as well as the new owners of Michael’s business will live happily ever after… The End

Ask yourself… Where will you find the courage to make Profound things happen in your Business?

Find out more about the Small Business Bootcamp here

Or follow this link to New Perspectives Business Coaching

1001 Business Bedtime Stories… Laura Had a Fashion Label

1001 Business Bedtime stories… Laura had a fashion label… Truth 2

Here follows another one of the “1001 Business Bedtime Stories”. Every one of the “1001 Business Bedtime Stories” come straight from the New Perspectives Small Business Bootcamp, stories of business and courage and they illustrate an aspect of one of Ten Truths. You might recognise some of them from your own experience. This story is about Truth num 2: “A Business without a plan achieves everything in it”

Once upon a time… a long long time ago in a country not unlike Australia… Laura had a fashion label…

Laura had a little shop in Sydney and a fashion label and a small dedicated band of followers for her unique brand of office fashion for successful corporate women. Laura’s business was 4 years old and although it was gratifying to see the same customers come back season after season for her latest lines and to know how happy her customers usually were when they left her shop, Laura felt strongly that there was a wonderful opportunity for her to grow the business and bring her unique designs to a larger audience, but she just didn’t know where to start.

“Should I get involved in some social media, or maybe I need to take the plunge and open a shop in the cbd or should I look for a partner in Melbourne or knock on the door of Myer, and how will I finance an expansion, and can I continue to manufacture in Australia, and what if I am not good enough to manage more staff and various localities, and is the market in Perth the same as the market in Sydney, and what if Cue designs simply decides to knock off my designs, and if I grow will I lose the loyalty of my customers” etc etc etc

“There are so many what-ifs and so many different priorities to choose from, how do I know where to start?” was the constant refrain in Laura’s head.

Laura was stuck in a classic decision paralysis loop.

The Bootcamp

Working in The Bootcamp with me, Laura came to realise that the only way to cut through her dilemma’s was to face her lack of confidence of business planning head on and get to work with me to develop a thorough Business Plan, in a form that worked for her.

So she did… and it took a lot of courage… but Laura got under way and together with me she started creating a big mind-map in which she put all the dilemma’s and questions and start to work systematically to order them, prioritise them and answer them.

The mind-map evolved to a series of small one page documents for different aspects of the business and a time line with projections for different stages of the business development.

From there Laura simply started to work progressively through the plan, and every time another question or dilemma came up she could go to the plan and the mind-map, and find a place to house the question. This simple process of planning allowed her to be able to focus on the immediate step ahead without being afraid that she will forget something crucial.

Making this step to getting involved in an appropriate level of consistent planning is the one thing that started to shift Laura’s business into a new realm.

Now, 1.5 Years later, Laura has opened a second shop in Sydney. The planning process has helped her understand that her opportunities in the short to medium term are not in the CBD, nor in large scale production Off-shore, but in a series of small unique shops in specific inner city suburbs like Balmain and Mosman, followed by similar expansion in Melbourne and other major cities in Australia.

Laura is looking forward to the next 5 years of consistent controlled growth and building a loyal national following of her label.

And Laura and her business lived happily ever after… The End

Ask yourself… Where will you find the courage to make Profound things happen in your Business?

Find out more about the Small Business Bootcamp here

Or follow this link to New Perspectives Business Coaching

 

The Seduction of the Hammer

1001 Business Bedtime stories… The seduction of the Hammer… Truth 1

Truth 10 about the Business owner
Your time and your braincells are the most valuable assets of your business

Here follows another one of the “1001 Business Bedtime Stories” … Every story comes straight from the New Perspectives Small Business Bootcamp, stories of business and courage and they illustrate an aspect of one of Ten Truths… You might recognise some of them from your own experience.

Once upon a time… a long long time ago in a country not unlike Australia… Andrew was a builder…

Andrew had started his career in the building industry the same way many builders get their start, by doing a carpentry apprentice ship, becoming a full carpenter and at some point going out on his own, first as a carpentry contractor working for other builders and then slowly but surely taking on more and larger building jobs that incorporate other trades that are subcontracted to electricians, bricklayers, painters and the like.

Some years after having started out on his own, Andrew was working like a slave to his business. Because Andrew with his offsider carried out all of the carpentry and general building work on each of his jobs, Andrew had to be on site all day every day. Hence his day would start at 5am in the office, then on site from 7.00 am until 4 pm and then seeing clients and finally back in the office until 10 in the evening. Saturday was a workday as well and even Sundays were not normally work free.

Andrew wanted to Raise a Healthy Bouncy Business, with Raving Fan Customers, and a place where people enjoyed coming to work and be involved in something more than just making money and the opportunity to create a valuable asset for himself and his family.

But Andrew felt trapped by his business

“If I don’t spend most of the workday on site, I can’t ensure that things get done the way I want them to get done” was Andrew’s dilemma.

Andrew was tired.

The Bootcamp

Working in The Bootcamp with me, Andrew came to realise that continuing to be “the best man with a hammer this side of the Blue mountains”, might have been a good reason to get into business 5 years ago, but now he had to learn to resist “the seduction of the hammer”. Holding a hammer in his hands was not the best use of his time, his health or his braincells. it was time to let others take that hammer from him.

So he did… it took a lot of courage… but Andrew started by blocking 2 hrs every Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 7 am to 9.00 am in his diary as “Business development time” At this time he would not come to site and would not answer his phone at all.

At first Andrew felt guilty and anxious and as soon as 9 O’clock came he would race to site and try to make up for lost time but soon he started to notice that things went fine without him. He employed another carpenter to work with him and all his subbies and employees, and clients soon learnt that Andrew was not available at those times and managed fine.

This small change, consistently applied, was the key that got Andrew’s business unstuck and got Andrew on the way to creating something really special.

Now, 2 Years later, Andrew’s business is unrecognisable. Andrew rarely wears his toolbelt at all anymore these days. He likes to keep his hand in from time to time so he might do a set out for a staircase or hang a nice door every now and then but the rest of the time Andrew is building his business rather than building homes.

And what is more, the business has grown 30% and Andrew takes his son to soccer training on Tuesday nights.

And Andrew and his Business lived happily ever after… The End

Ask yourself… Where will you find the courage to make Profound things happen in your Business?

Find out more about the Small Business Bootcamp here

Or follow this link to New Perspectives Business Coaching

 

Tony Had a Cornershop

A 1001 Business Bedtime stories… John had a cornershop

Here follows another one of the “1001 Business Bedtime Stories” … Every story comes straight from the New Perspectives Small Business Bootcamp, stories of business and courage . You might recognise some of them from your own experience.

Once upon a time… a long long time ago in a country not unlike Australia… John owned a cornershop in the inner city…

Running a cornershop in the inner city is hard, there are corner shops everywhere and then there are the 7-Elevens and city express stores and even Woolworths and Coles get in on the act from time to time.

The hours are insane, profitability is minimal and the Competition is just crazy.

Tony often caught himself thinking: “How can I escape this trap of deadly competition with my neighbours, so we can all have a better life”

The Bootcamp

Working in The Bootcamp with me, tony came to realise that the only way to escape the competition trap was to make the competition irrelevant.

The way to make the competition irrelevant is by making yourself truly unique, by creating something that is completely different from everything else out there.

So he did… it took a lot of courage… But Tony decided to become “The Best Small Supermarket in Sydney”.

The day he made this decision, everything changed. Sydney has great corner-stores, handy convenience stores, big Coles and Woolworths, sexy delis and grocers, but there is only one “Best Small Supermarket in Sydney”.

2 Years later, Tony opened a second store and he is now looking for his third. Tony’s customers love him and love stores, profits are many times what they were 3 years ago and Tony is creating something really special in the Inner City of Sydney

Ask yourself… Where will you find the courage to make Profound things happen in your Bushiness?

Find out more about the Small Business Bootcamp here

Or follow this link to New Perspectives Business Coaching