The Difference Between Systems and Processes

the-difference-between-systems-and-processes

Your business can have solid products + services, clear direction, great branding, strong leadership and dedicated staff, and yet if you miss this piece of the puzzle, time will be wasted and targets won’t be met.

I’m talking about systems and processes…. the glue that holds your business together.

Without systems and processes you’ll work longer hours than is necessary and won’t be able to take a holiday, lest your empire crumbles.

Without systems and processes, you’ll have weekly team meetings but still spend a huge amount of time explaining things, discussing issues that keep cropping up and solving problems that could have been prevented.

In short, without systems and processes you’ll feel as if your business runs you and not the other way around.

“It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.”
~ W. EDWARDS DEMING

(1900-1993: American professor, author + management consultant)

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THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES
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SYSTEMS help you run the business and is made up of several sub-systems, processes and technology.

In fact, your entire business is a system in itself with several core systems that help to make the business work.

Systems can be found in all business areas e.g.

  • Operations systems
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Customer Service
  • HR
  • Admin
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SOFTWARE SYSTEMS
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Are mostly, but not always, cloud-based computer programs used to perform a particular function e.g.:

  • Accounting: Xero, MYOB, QuickBooks
  • Admin: Dropbox for file storage + sharing
  • Marketing: Capsule, Infusionsoft, Aweber, MailChimp, Ontraport (Customer Relationship Management systems)
  • eCommerce: Paypal, Stripe, ConvertKit
  • Operations: e.g. SAP is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to help large businesses manage + control sales, delivery, operations, production and inventory.
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Think of business systems as the umbrella and business processes as the spokes that hold the umbrella up.

Most of the time you’re not even aware of the actions you take, until you need to explain it to a new employee or a business consultant like me coming in to assist the business.

A process is a series of steps or actions performed to achieve a particular goal and forms part of a larger system.

The steps are linked to each other, where each step affects the efficiency (success or failure) of the next step. The process can be manual or automated and should ideally be documented.

As a visual person, I find it very helpful to map out business processes as a workflow of steps e.g. the steps you follow when someone asks for a quote via your website.
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TYPES OF PROCESSES
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Like with systems we find processes in the areas of management, financial, sales, marketing, operations, product/service delivery, customer service, HR – basically in all areas of your business.

Here are only a few examples of business processes:

  • Financial e.g. the invoicing process or credit checking process
  • Operations/ Manufacturing e.g. a planning process, product assembly process or a quality assurance process
  • HR e.g. recruitment process, staff on-boarding process, complaint process, staff exit process, holiday/sick leave request
  • Marketing e.g. customer on-boarding process or follow-up process.
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BUSINESS SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES WILL HELP YOU:

  • troubleshoot day-to-day issues
  • streamline daily operations
  • increase efficiency
  • better evaluate client needs, and
  • on-board/ train new staff.
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FAMOUS EXAMPLE: AMAZON
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Famous brands like McDonalds, Amazon, Fedex, Apple, Microsoft, Virgin and Zappos come to mind as companies who make systems and processes look sexy.

Every second, thousands of customers are searching and ordering products on Amazon and depending on the product, delivery will be immediately (think Kindle or audio books) or within days.

All systems and processes need to be reliable, fast and secure e.g.:

  • Information Systems e.g. to collect, filter, process, create and distribute data
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  • Transaction Processing Systems e.g. 1-click purchasing system, secure payment system and a recommendation system
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  • Supply Chain Management Systems e.g. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system with all customer information, automated communication systems like emails and an order fulfillment system.
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It’s clear from this example that effective business systems and processes are the backbone of a successful company.

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“94% of problems in business are systems-driven and only 6% are people-driven .”
~ W. EDWARDS DEMING

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Systems and processes become the framework for understanding how you run your business.

Once systems and processes have been outlined + documented, it shows everyone from staff members to stake holders how things are done in the business to get the desired results.

They also increase the value of your business immensely because your business can now finally run without you – nirvana for every entrepreneur on the planet.

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QUESTION:

Which system or process will make the biggest difference in your business right now? Leave your comment below.

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#smallbusinesssuccessskills

Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld is an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 17 years who loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to small business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and productivity for individuals and teams. Streamline your business to support your lifestyle.

3 BARRIERS TO BEING PRODUCTIVE

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When you look at your calendar what do you see? I’m sure there are client calls and meetings, project deadlines, perhaps a team meeting, new inquiries to deal with and maybe a few supplier-related activities.

Do you see any dedicated blocks of time scheduled in for the important but non-urgent business activities like strategy, planning, marketing, sales, team training, product development, finance + admin?

It’s so easy to stay busy, fighting fires and ticking things off your to-do list but can you show any real accomplishment that added value to your business by the end of a day or even a week?

Busy work involves switching often between tasks and although it might feel as if you’re getting a lot done, research has shown the exact opposite.

In fact, a study by Professor David Meyer from the University of Michigan’s Brain Cognition and Action Laboratory concluded that by switching tasks often we lose 40% or more of our productive time per day.

The reason we don’t get to the productive work isn’t because we’re not trying or because we don’t have enough time, it boils down to a lack of planning, processes and a lack of discipline.

Let’s look at how we can overcome these three barriers to productivity.

3 BARRIERS TO BEING PRODUCTIVE
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POOR PLANNING + STRUCTURING OF DAYS
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Better planning and execution is key to being more productive and getting stuff done. I talk about quarterly and weekly planning and execution in more detail here.

Create blocks of 1-4 hours uninterrupted productive time every day to work on what matters.

These various blocks of uninterrupted time should ideally be allocated to the important drivers that will move your business forward, like:

  • client work
  • creative work
  • thinking time
  • planning + strategy
  • marketing + sales
  • staff time e.g. mentoring, progress catch-ups and training
  • admin e.g. finances, emails + phone calls.

By allocating dedicated time blocks for different activities, we won’t worry about missing things and we’d be less tempted to check things as they come in and stay in reactive mode.
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NO PROCESS TO STAY FOCUSED
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A process is simply a predefined way of doing something, it’s simple with easy-to-follow steps. You have a process for making tea or coffee, or putting the rubbish out.

Now it’s time to create a process to help you stay focused during your blocks of uninterrupted productive time when you work on activities that will move your business forward.

1. Schedule blocks of uninterrupted time

Schedule uninterrupted time in your diary every day and make it a non-negotiable appointment with yourself – see Point #1.
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2. Remove Bright Shiny Objects

  • Ensure you have everything you need before starting your uninterrupted productive time e.g. note pads, pens, reference guides, financials, client files, refreshments and set an egg timer/ phone alarm to track your time
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  • Turn off your phone, close all internet browsers and remove clutter that might distract you
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  • Let people in the office know how long you’ll be unavailable and appoint a person-in-charge to deal with emergencies
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  • Only have the document(s) you’re working on open in front of you. If you need to check something, make a note and do it after the dedicated time has ended.
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3. Be Smart

If you struggle to say no to temptations and notifications, try the SelfControl app on your computer that blocks distraction websites for a set period of time.
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4. Stop Worrying

  • Set-up a permanent email notification to let people know the times you check your email in a day e.g. 8am, 1pm and 4pm and when they can expect to hear back from you. It’s about setting expectations and communicating clearly.
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  • Provide an alternative way of contacting you in the email for real emergencies e.g. a mobile number or calling the office.
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When you respect your own time, other people tend to do the same.

Clients don’t have a problem with processes – they have a problem with their expectations not being met and vague communication.

Be clear at the start of a business relationship or new project about how things will work, agree deadlines upfront + provide regular status updates to stay productive and exceed your client’s expectations.
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 LACK OF DISCIPLINE
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Self-discipline is a learned behavior which requires practice and repetition. It’s like any learned skill e.g. confidence, learning a new language or playing the piano.

The right mindset and the discipline to keep a routine are two of the most important qualities needed for sustainable long term success in all aspects of life + business. They are also two of the hardest things to master.

When we try something new and fail, we tend to beat ourselves up about it. This makes us feel crappy about ourselves and what we’re capable of doing, which in turn could lead to more failure.

Here are a few ideas to help you when establishing new routines.
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1. Acknowledge That It Will Take Time

Change is not easy because our brains love operating on auto-pilot.
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Be prepared and know that it will take time for new habits to ‘feel right’ and become natural. Help yourself by creating a process to remove temptations + distractions – see Point #2.

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.2. Reward Yourself

Keep yourself motivated by scheduling rewards along the way e.g. plan ‘me-time’ into your weekly schedule and stick to it!
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Do something you love in that time e.g. a hobby, reading a book or sitting next to the river.

It’s your reward for working hard, making changes + building a great business.
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3. Forgive Yourself + Move Forward

There will be setbacks. Expect them, notice them + learn from them.

Ask: “What’s the learning opportunity in this?” 

Dissect the hiccup, forgive yourself (you’re still learning), tweak your plan and move on.
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Busyness is a disease that keeps us from working on the difficult-to-do but high-value activities in our business like planning, creating systems, building a team or doing marketing + sales.

Start saying Yes to being productive and focusing on activities that will move your business forward.
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QUESTION:
What do you do to overcome busyness and be more productive at work? Leave your comment below.

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#businessconfidence

Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld, an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 16 years, loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to successful business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and effectiveness for individuals and teams. Design your business to live the life YOU want.

business-performance-scorecard-preview

ON A SCALE OF 1-10* HOW HAPPY ARE YOU WITH YOUR BUSINESS RESULTS?

(* 1 = lowest, 10 = highest)

Score your business against the 7 Signs of a High Performing Business to pinpoint problem areas.

Learn how to optimize your business to improve your revenue + results this quarter.

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GRAB YOUR SCORECARD NOW.

19 Easy Ways To Make More Sales

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It astounds my clients when I show them how many sales and money they leave on the table from not servicing their existing customers effectively.

Most businesses are obsessed with getting new leads and pour all their marketing money into lead generation while they literally forget about their existing customers.

I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s easier to sell to an existing customer than to land a new one. In a recent study Gartner said:

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65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers, and it costs

5x as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one satisfied.”

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Some sources say the cost to attract new customers is anything between 3 – 30 times more expensive than the cost of keeping an existing customer, depending on the business + the industry you’re in.

One would think that business owners are obsessed with building a sustainable business model and investing in strategies to keep their customers happy and coming back for more, but it’s most often not the case.

I would like to challenge you this year to focus the bulk of your attention and resources on your existing customers and extending their Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
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Be prepared to be amazed at how quickly your business grows when you actively

search for ways to serve your customers better and wowing their socks off.

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Existing customers already know, like and trust you that’s why they buy from you… but then after the sale most business owners give them NOTHING… not a thank-you card, a follow-up call or an email.

Worse, business owners also don’t bother following up months later to re-do services, offer replacements, upgrades or up-sells but you’ll never run be stuck in the feast-famine cycle again, if you build relationships through small consistent action over time.

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19 EASY WAYS TO MAKE MORE SALES AND WOW YOUR CUSTOMERS

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Let’s look at 2 real life examples to explain how easy it is to get it right… or wrong. 

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How to get it WRONG – a Pest Control company.

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We’ve used a pest control company in 2015 to remove spiders around the house. They said the treatment would last about 12 months, and it did.

The easiest sell in the world for them would have been to email or call me 10-11 months later and ask me if I wanted to re-do the treatment. The answer would have been Yes because they did a great job and I was a happy customer.

Instead, I had to call them in 2016 to organise another treatment. This time they sent out an inexperienced person to apply the treatment who started before all the doors and windows were closed and he was finished in just 15 minutes.

No one called afterwards to hear if I was happy or needed anything else. Two weeks after the treatment I still found new cobwebs and spiders inside the house.

Then the huge struggle started to get hold of them to redo the service as it was still under warranty.

It was just before Christmas and after many phone calls and emails without reply, I decided to wait till I was back from holiday in January. In January, the owner told me they’ve been bought out by a larger company and complained about how tough the economy was.

Are you kidding me?! Of course times will be tough if you don’t deliver a quality service, don’t apologise for incompetent staff or the inconvenience caused and if you let customers chase you.

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HOW TO DO IT BETTER

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1. Deliver a quality product or service. This should go without saying but I feel compelled to remind business owners to ensure that they themselves, their staff and suppliers know how to deliver a quality product or service. 

2. Care about your customers
Call customers after a product was sold (if appropriate), or after a project or service has been completed for feedback and to iron out any potential issues. If you did a good job, you might even get a glowing testimonial to use in future marketing material.

3. If your type of product/ service needs replacement or upgrades e.g. software upgrades, water filter seal replacements, patio or pest treatments, schedule reminders to follow up with customers at regular intervals.

To do this, you can use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that links to your calendar or simply schedule reminders straight into your calendar. Capsulecrm.com is a CRM system with a free option for up to 250 contacts and a small monthly fee for more contacts.

It integrates with MailChimp, a marketing automation tool that allows you to send out newsletters and bulk email your customers. MailChimp also has a free version.

4. If a customer complains, fix the problem! Do it as quickly as possible and offer them something for the inconvenience your company caused them e.g. discount voucher or a free product or sample, if applicable. Mostly, people just want to be heard and acknowledged. Use their feedback to train your team and to improve your processes and systems.

5. Make it as easy as possible for customers to get hold of you or someone who can help them to solve their problem. Don’t hide your contact details or force people to complete a contact form. If people can’t get hold of you, they take their business elsewhere.

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How to get it RIGHT – a Mortgage Broker

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We met a lovely broker in 2010 when we built a house in Perth, Western Australia. Nadija was so friendly and knowledgeable – a real pleasure to work with – if she promised us an email tomorrow, we received it today.

What could have been a frustrating process to organise a mortgage in a new country, became hassle-free and dare I say… enjoyable?

6. After our business was completed, we received complimentary tickets in the post to the screening of a new movie which was a complete surprise to us and added an extra WOW-factor to her already outstanding service.

7. Thereafter we received the occasional postcard in the post

8. A personalised email on our birthdays

9. A simple email with interest rate updates whenever applicable

10. And a quarterly newsletter with actual useful information (gasp!) for six years in a row.

Because her marketing was always well timed and useful, I never felt the need to unsubscribe from her newsletter, unlike many other businesses who bombard you with emails. (I once received 15 emails in 7 days from one company… WTF?!)

11. Let customers know when you expand your product range or services. When she let us know that she’s expanding her services to include real estate sales and property management, we welcomed the news and told our friends.

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Do you think we recommend her to everyone who wants to buy or sell a house? Hell yes!
And who do you think is the only person we use when buying an investment property?

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You guessed it, and that is the power of nurturing existing customers over a 6-year period – be useful and provide VALUE.

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HOW DO SMART COMPANIES MAKE MORE SALES?

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12. Smart businesses like hair salons, beauty salons, spas, doctors, dentists, restaurants, coaches, consultants and many others all use appointment scheduling software to make it as easy as possible for customers to book appointments 24/7. Most software has a free version to get you going – have a look at 10to8.com, Calendly, SetMore etc. 

13. They also use text reminders 1-2 days before the appointment with the option to text back to confirm or to call them if you need to change the booking. This ensures that they’re nearly always fully booked and give them time to fill a spot if someone cancels.

14. Smart businesses also keep waiting lists of people to call in case of a cancellation 

15. Salons, spas, doctors etc. also tend to book the next appointment at the end of an appointmentThe business who treated our patio locked in a date to re-do the treatment 6 months later on the day they finished the job and the business who installed the water filter lock in a date to replace the water filters every 6 months.

16. Create maintenance packages or retainer services. Our gardening guy mows the lawn every 3 weeks, come rain or shine. We’ve now used him for 4 years and he’s so busy with existing client work that he doesn’t have capacity to take on new clients unless he employs a team of people! This is a quality problem to have in your business.

17. Up-sell and cross-sell your customers. My husband and I don’t have green fingers and after all the plants in the back yard died AGAIN, our gardening guy asked if we would like a quote to fix up the flower beds. Of course we said Yes.

After he planted new plants and installed reticulation, he suggested we added the maintenance of this area to our existing lawn mowing services. We were super grateful and now have a blossoming garden like our neighbours.

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YOUR TURN

TAKE 10 MIN TO BRAINSTORM IDEAS 
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It takes so little effort to keep existing customers happy and to stay light years ahead of your competition, take 10 minutes right now to brainstorm what you’ll focus on in the next 90 days.
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1. Call your existing customers that bring in 80% of the revenue once every 90 days to touch base and hear where they are at. (if applicable to your business)

2. Send existing customers a personalised email with a heartfelt message once every 90 days or at least on their birthdays (use marketing automation tools if you have a large database)

3. Map out the marketing activities you plan to do to stay top of mind at the beginning of each quarter. This will help you stay focused and be more organised. 

4. Send a handwritten note, postcard or inexpensive novel item to thank customers after a purchase.

5. Consider adding an inexpensive (and unexpected) item in the box of a physical product e.g. chocolate at the bottom of your Nespresso order, a material shoe bag for your leather shoes, toffees with your book order.

Start small and start today. Decide on ONE THING you’ll give attention to over the next 90 days.

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QUESTION:

What will you focus on first to start selling more to your existing customers? Leave your comment below.
#smallbusinesssuccessskills

Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld, an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 17 years, loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to successful business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and effectiveness for individuals and teams. Streamline your business to support your lifestyle.

3 Ways To Improve Your Marketing Results

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On a scale of 1-10 (1 = lowest, 10 = highest), how happy are you with the results your marketing produced for you this last quarter? If it’s anything below 7/10, do you know why your marketing wasn’t effective?

More importantly, do you know what to change in the next 90 days to improve your results?

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At the start of a new year we all feel energised about the opportunities awaiting us and the dreams we will realise this year.

Sadly, no changes or improvements will happen in your business or life without:

  • being more strategic about your decisions
  • planning your approach 
  • being committed to executing the plan
  • measuring and tweaking for better results.

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“Without strategy, execution is aimless. Without execution, strategy is useless.”  
~ MORRIS CHANG (CEO of TSMC)

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Let’s look at how you can improve your results and make the most of your marketing without reinventing the wheel.

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3 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING RESULTS THIS QUARTER

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KNOW WHAT WORKS

With a new year well under way, now is the time to dig into reassessing your business marketing strategy and really understand what worked well and what did not perform up to standard.

The key to marketing success is:

  • knowing your customers
  • using tactics that deliver results for your business
  • mapping out your marketing 90 days in advance, and
  • consistently executing and tweaking the plan as you go.
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Having worked with hundreds of business owners, I find that too many businesses try their hand at a new shining marketing tactics without stopping to get all the facts or ask how it fits in with their existing strategy or their customers’ needs.

To make things worse, a lot of people choose marketing tactics using their ‘gut-feel’, they hardly ever track the results they get and they only try a tactic once or twice before letting it fall by the wayside.

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Be smart about your marketing this year. 

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Reviewing your results and numbers monthly will lead to making smarter business decisions about where to spend your money, knowing what brings in sales and not being seduced by the latest trends because you know your customers and your business.

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MARKETING REVIEW

  • List all the marketing activities you’ve done in the past 3-6 months
  • Decide what worked well and list the reasons why it worked well
  • Decide what didn’t work well and list the reasons why it didn’t work well
  • Inspect the cost of every marketing campaign and the sales it generated
  • Review your products and services, and marketing numbers – find a post with questions to ask yourself here.

These exercises will give you fact-based insights into what to repeat or enhance, and highlight poor-performing products, services and tactics that need to be retired.

Then create a 90-day Marketing Plan, outlining your marketing objectives and sales goals, and list 1-3 key marketing tactics that you’ll focus on for the next quarter.

Set up success criteria when you do the planning and put systems in place to track your results the next 90 days.

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MAKE YOUR CUSTOMERS A PRIORITY

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customer-the-hero-of-the-storyThis sounds so obvious but if you look at the poor customer service we receive daily, I think it’s important to note that without customers there is NO business!

So make your customer the hero of the story this year and see how your business thrives.

Start by mapping out the typical journey your customer will take and who they will interact with at every point – from the moment they hear about your business until a sale is made.

The journey after the sale will be a separate process.

Review who truly is the ideal customer for you to work with and think about the problems you solve for them.

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Every interaction or touch point with your customer is a marketing opportunity.

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If your receptionist isn’t professional or knowledgeable enough about the business, start with training.

If your website isn’t mobile friendly, easy to navigate or invite people to leave their details and ask for quote, start making changes there first.

Review your customer’s journey when you do your 90-day marketing review to ensure continuous improvement and involve any staff in your review process. Two or more heads are always better than one.

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ELIMINATE. SYSTEMATISE. AUTOMATE. DELEGATE.

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Business owners want to better engage with their customers but they find they don’t have time to do it all. This is a sign that elimination, systemisation, automation and delegation is needed in your business.

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#1 ELIMINATE

The first step is to get rid of all recurring tasks currently being done in your business which does not help the business to function effectively. This could include ineffective use of email, several phone calls to set up a client meeting or too many steps in a process.

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#2 SYSTEMATISE

The second step is to document step-by-step how you currently handle tasks required for your business to function. For a detailed blog post about creating business systems, click here.

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#3 AUTOMATE

Once you understand your processes and know it can be automated, you can start thinking about specific tools or a machine to do the automation for you.

A simple task businesses automate is social media, using apps like HootSuite, Buffer or SmarterQueue to schedule updates ahead of time. Finding the right marketing technology for your business to engage with your customers on a regular basis, is a great long term investment.

Core areas to consider automating this year could include your:

  • enquiries and quoting via your website
  • social media posting
  • email newsletters
  • customer email follow-ups via systems like ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, Ontraport or Infusionsoft.

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#4 DELEGATE

The reason delegation is last is because you should only delegate tasks that have documented procedures, and only those that could not be eliminated or automated.

When handing over certain tasks to employees or virtual assistants be prepared to take the time to train them on how to execute each task successfully.

I talk in more detail about the preparation you need to do before being able to delegate tasks effectively in this post, here.

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KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK:

// Which tasks/ activities that aren’t delivering results, can I completely eliminate from my marketing?

// Which marketing systems will give me the highest ROI in my business over the next 3 months?

// Which 3 routine tasks I can automate in my business? What technology or tools can I use?

// Which 3 tasks am I ready to start delegating right now?

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LET ME KNOW:

Which of these three tips on improving your marketing results will work on first? Leave your comment below.

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#smallbusinesssuccessskills

Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld, an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 16 years, loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to successful business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and effectiveness for individuals and teams. Design your business to live the life YOU want.

3 REASONS WE DON’T REACH OUR GOALS

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Have you ever said in January, ‘This year will be different‘?

Let me guess: you said you’re going to lose weight and get fit, get organized, spend less money, work on your business and spend more time with your family.

I have… on many occasions. And sometimes three to six months down the track I couldn’t even remember which goal I was supposed to work on!

The reality is that you have good intentions for the week or day, but then you get to the office, the phone rings and…  

  • an angry customer didn’t receive their order
  • a team member misunderstood the priorities so a project deadline won’t be reached
  • a key supplier is off sick
  • a piece of equipment broke down or
  • a family emergency pops up.

Sounds familiar?

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On a scale of 1-10*, how happy are you with the progress you’ve made towards your business goals?

(*1=lowest, 10=highest)

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If you scored yourself a 5 or below, you’re not alone.

Studies in both Australia and the US have found that on average close to 60% of people have given up on the goals they set 6 months later. And only a mere 8% of us achieve our goals in a year.

Let’s look at the three main reasons why nearly 60% of people don’t reach their goals and what you can do differently so you don’t become a statistic.

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“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as who you become by achieving your goals.”  
~ ZIG ZIGLAR

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3 REASONS WE DON’T REACH OUR GOALS

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HAVING TOO MANY GOALS TO FOCUS ON

According to Finders’ research, one of the top reasons people don’t reach their goals is because they have too many goals.

In this diagram we can see the main categories of goals Australians set for themselves. At 54% the biggest category by far is Health + Fitness.

The problem is that in January we feel refreshed and make a large wish list for the year including extreme improvements in both our work and personal lives.

We underestimate the various everyday competing priorities we’ll have to deal with and overestimate our available time, energy and willpower in a day.

We also don’t put enough thought into planning exactly how we’ll make the goal a reality.

So we take on more than we can handle, feel despondent after the first month or so when we fail to keep up and quit before we even really got started.

.blog-image-key-ideas1

WHAT TO DO NEXT
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#1 KEEP FOCUSED
Choose one life goal and one business goal that will make the biggest impact in your life and business over the next 90 days while moving you closer to your annual goal.

Focus all your actions and resources on that area for a full quarter. Set specific milestones that will indicate progress and tweak the results as you go.
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#2 KEEP IT SIMPLE
Whether you’re looking to boost your fitness or grow your profits, look at small simple changes you can implement in your daily and weekly routine that can easily become habits over the next three months.

Small daily increments will quickly add up to big transformations.
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#3 DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Whether your goal is to save money towards a vacation, to refresh your brand, try out a new marketing tactic or simply to cut costs in your business, it’s important to take time to brainstorm ideas and compare products or services before making a final decision.

Hire a professional to look with fresh eyes at your situation and identify any gaps in your plan to ensure you don’t waste time or money on something that’s not right for your business.

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alicia-menkveld-point-2a

FORGETTING ABOUT THE GOAL

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It’s easy to be enthusiastic about our goals when we start out but everyday challenges quickly erode that inspiration and six months down the line 15% of people reported that they forgot about their goal.

The main reason is a lack of visibility and accountability, so experts recommend keeping your goals front of mind.

.blog-image-key-ideas1

WHAT TO DO NEXT
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#1 Keep your goal list in a prominent place like the fridge or bathroom mirror, or use a more visual representation like a vision board.

#2 Share your goals with friends, family and on social media. Research shows that those who keep their goals to themselves are 64% more likely to fail than people who share their goals.

There’s a saying, ‘It’s not official till it’s on Facebook‘, so start posting.

People like Anna Newell Jones even took it a step further by starting a blog to help her get out of debt. It took her 18 months to go from shopaholic to paying off all her debt.

If social media feels too daunting, consider a fitness group, running club, weight loss group, individual coaching or business groups as the group dynamic helps to keep you engaged, motivated, on track and accountable.

.alicia-menkveld-point-3a

NOT KEEPING TRACK OF YOUR PROGRESS

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Achieving our goals takes more than good intentions. You have to take action and systematically track your progress.

One quarter of goals are abandoned because people fail to track their ongoing progress. According to the Finders study this is the #1 reason why people aren’t reaching their goals.

Setting a goal and writing it down, significantly increases your chances of achieving a goal.

The best way to keep your momentum as you start hitting bumps in the road is to track your progress on paper or electronically.

It’s important to choose a method that works well with your personality and lifestyle.

The last thing you want is for your goal tracking method to become another distraction standing in the way of achieving your goals.

A trend is to use apps that serve as reminders, track your goals progress and habits, and record your wins consistently.

Goal setting apps include GoalsOnTrack (paid) and LifeTick (free + paid). Habit tracking apps include Strides (free) and HabitList.

It’s not easy to change behavior and to make your goals a reality.

If you fell of the wagon, acknowledge yourself for trying in the first place, dust yourself off and try once more.

Remember, goals can be set any time of the year not just in January, so never wait for a new week, a new month or a new year to start over. Do it today because life is too short to not be everything you can be every day!

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QUESTION:

Which of these three reasons is the main culprit standing in your way of achieving your goals? Leave your comment below.

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#audaciousbusiness

Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld, an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 16 years, loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to successful business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and effectiveness for individuals and teams. Design your business to live the life YOU want.

business-performance-scorecard-preview

ON A SCALE OF 1-10* HOW HAPPY ARE YOU WITH YOUR BUSINESS RESULTS?

(* 1 = lowest, 10 = highest)

Score your business against the 7 Signs of a High Performing Business to pinpoint problem areas.

Learn how to optimize your business to improve your revenue + results this quarter.

.

GRAB YOUR SCORECARD NOW.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE

Before I Die I Want To

Are you fulfilling the hopes and dreams your younger self had for you?

What would you still like to do before you die?

As a teenager I dreamed about traveling the world as a flight attendant, meeting interesting people, doing business and having fun.

We all start out bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with big, big dreams. Anything seems possible and we believe in the magic of life.

Then society’s prescribed recipe for life kicks in – study, work, mortgage, marriage and having kids.

When you blink, you wake up in your 40’s or 50’s and wonder how you ended up here and if there’s still time to live the life you’ve always imagined.

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
~ OSCAR WILDE

I’m extremely blessed and grateful to have fulfilled a few dreams my younger self had for me:

  • I’ve traveled to 20+ countries and various cities (but not as a flight attendant)
  • I’ve met very interesting people along the way and a few became dear friends
  • I’ve lived on three continents to date
  • After a few false starts I’ve managed to find love and settle down in my late 30’s
  • I’ve set up successful businesses in South Africa + Australia
  • And I most certainly had some fun along the way.

However, there are still so many things I would like to do.

Over time I’ve compiled a list of 101 goals that I would like to achieve in my lifetime, an exercise I learned from Jack Canfield, famous co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, and I revisit my list often to ensure it stays front of mind.

My 101 Goal List includes goals from all areas of life – personal, professional, emotional, wealth, health, social, contribution and spiritual. The aim of the list is to dream the seemingly “impossible” dream.

For the most part, I have no idea how I’ll achieve all my dreams but I believe that if you have the desire to do something, you also have everything you need to achieve it.

“If you believe in anything, believe in yourself and the power within you,
to realize your dreams.”

My goals + dreams are based on what matters most to me and range from mastering my mind + emotions, living a happy + harmonious life and having a fulfilled relationship, to a few more challenging ones.

I thought I’ll share a few of my big ones with you. Before I die I want to ___________________:

  • Travel the world more extensively
  • Impact the lives of six million people
  • Write a New York Times best seller
  • Spend time on Necker Island with Richard Branson + other change makers
  • Speak in a stadium of 50,000+ people.

It doesn’t matter if your dreams look different to mine. All that matters is that it’s something YOU want and it’s meaningful to YOU.

Now take a moment to think about the hopes and dreams
your 20-year old self had for you.

Write them down as you go and start your own 101 Goal List today.

Great Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • What dreams did you have for yourself?
  • Have you realized any of them?
  • Is it still something you would like to do?
  • What new dreams would you like to add to your list?

 

“You can get anything you want. It doesn’t take talent or luck to succeed, you just need to decide.”
~ MARIE FORLEO

 

Before I die… Walls

I thought I’ll quickly share the story behind the Before I die… walls with you, as I love the concept.

After losing someone she loved and experiencing deep depression, artist Candy Chang created an interactive wall on an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighborhood.

She created the wall with chalkboard paint and stenciled it with a grid saying, “Before I die I want to _______.” Anyone walking by could pick up a piece of chalk, reflect on their lives, and share their personal aspirations in public space.

Before I Die Wall - 2011, New Orleans, LA. Photo Credit: http://beforeidie.cc/

Before I Die Wall – 2011, New Orleans, LA. Photo Credit: http://beforeidie.cc/

 

It was an experiment and she didn’t know what to expect. By the next day, the wall was full of responses and it kept growing:

Before I die I want to… sing for millions, live my best life, own my own housesee my daughter graduate, abandon all insecurities, change the world with love + compassion, own a boat, learn French, be completely myself, explore the world, find my purpose, be famous, follow my childhood dream…

Photo Credit: http://beforeidie.cc/site/about/

Photo Credit: http://beforeidie.cc/site/about/

 

After posting a few photos online, the images spread and she received hundreds of messages from people who wanted to make a wall with their community.

She created a website with resources and now over 1,000 Before I Die walls have been created in over 35 languages and over 70 countries.

QUESTION:
What is one of the things you would like to do before you die? Leave your comment below.

 

#businessconfidence

Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld, an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 16 years, loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to successful business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and effectiveness for individuals and teams. Design your business to live the life YOU want.

business-performance-scorecard-preview

ON A SCALE OF 1-10* HOW HAPPY ARE YOU WITH YOUR BUSINESS RESULTS?

(* 1 = lowest, 10 = highest)

Score your business against the 7 Signs of a High Performing Business to pinpoint problem areas.

Learn how to optimize your business to improve your revenue + results this quarter.

.

GRAB YOUR SCORECARD NOW.

3 COMMUNICATION MISTAKES THAT ENRAGE YOUR CUSTOMERS

3-communication-mistakes-that-enrage-your-customers

 

How many times have you contacted a business for a quote and they didn’t get back to you?

Or you waited an hour at the doctor’s practice for your appointment? Or your supplier forgot to tell you that your order won’t be there on time.

Poor communication is one of the main reasons businesses and relationships fail.

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“Unmet expectations and poor communication will sink your business.”  
~ ALICIA MENKVELD

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HOW I WAS DRIVEN CRAZY

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I finally arrived just after 8am at the hotel in Singapore. I’d been travelling for 17 hours, my flight had been delayed and I was tired, hungry, grumpy and hot. Not my best combination…

All I wanted was a hot shower, a dark room and crisp white linen to take me off to dreamland for a few hours. I checked in…

Only to be told that the room I had specifically booked as an early check-in, wasn’t ready!

I patiently explained that when I confirmed an early check-in the day before with Michelle (I always ask for names), she assured me that it wouldn’t be a problem.

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“Why isn’t the room ready?” 

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The receptionist on duty clearly also wasn’t happy to be there that morning.

She gave me an incoherent excuse, a half-hearted apology and I was informed with a dismissive look that the room won’t be ready for another two hours.

I know myself when I’m hungry, tired and hot so I took a few deep breaths and decided to make the best of a worst situation.

It was my first time in Singapore, so I decided to explore the area and get a decent breakfast to shorten my wait.

Back at the hotel two hours later at 10am, I was informed that the room now won’t be ready till noon.

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I have to admit… I made a scene.  I demanded to see the manager (which I should have done in the first place) and a room magically became available 20 minutes later.

As I gathered my bags, I heard a nearby couple complain that their room wasn’t ready either and I saw at least two other groups of people hanging around in the lobby playing the waiting game.

It seemed that whoever put up the biggest fight got the next room.

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The message was loud and clear. Customers are NOT important in this hotel.”  

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Think about it… How would this experience make you feel?

// Would you use this hotel again?

// Would you recommend it to friends, family, colleagues or clients?

// Would you feel that this hotel took pride in their operations + valued their customers?

I think not…
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Businesses need to remember that customers have more choice than ever before and they’re not afraid to vote with their feet, their wallets or their social media reviews.

It’s a death knell to your business when you or your under-trained staff communicate poorly with your customers.

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THE MESSAGE IS CLEAR

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Whether it’s in person or via email, effective communication serves as the very bedrock of business.

It can sway public opinion, give teams a sense of purpose, persuade shareholders to invest and boost your project success rates.

According to PMI’s Pulse of the Profession™ In-Depth Report: The Essential Role of Communications companies that communicate more effectively have more successful projects.

pmi-successful-communication-statsOf the companies that are considered to be highly effective communicators:

  • 80% met their original project goals
  • 71% delivered their projects on time and
  • 76% delivered their projects within budget.

The companies with poor communication skills trailed dismally behind, with only 52% meeting their goals.

Only 37% delivered on time while 48% delivered within budget.

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“1 in 5 projects are unsuccessful due to ineffective communications.”
~ PROJECT MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE, INC

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Bad communication has a domino effect that very few business owners consider when they choose not to update their customers in terms of timeline changes, delays or bottlenecks.

The long terms benefits of a happy, loyal customer will always outweigh the short term discomfort of having the uncomfortable conversation.

Your business’s livelihood depends on you and your team getting it right.

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3 COMMUNICATION MISTAKES THAT ENRAGE YOUR CUSTOMERS

alicia-menkveld-point-1

OVER PROMISE + UNDER-DELIVER

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SOLUTION:

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At the hotel in Singapore, I was promised an early check-in when I phoned the day before arrival.

Now perhaps Michelle (in the office) honestly thought that the room will be ready or maybe she felt too uncomfortable saying No while having me on the phone.

Either way, the promise was a room on arrival (over-promise on their side) and the reality was no room when I got there (under-deliver).
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This makes customers hopping mad

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It’s the same when starting a new project with a client.

Set out and agree project timelines and milestones with your client right at the start, and be realistic in your expectations of yourself and your suppliers.

Don’t be over ambitious as it’s best to deliver a project on time or even early, rather than letting it run over.

If there are any delays or bottlenecks communicate it early + often.

Here a mapped out business processes will help you save face and save you a great deal of frustration.

Manage your customers’ expectations by being open + clear about what can and can’t be done in certain time frames or what the situation is really like, rather than over promise and under-deliver.

They might be disappointed today but they will respect you + your business in the long run.

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alicia-menkveld-point-2

TREATING CUSTOMERS WITH DISDAIN

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SOLUTION:

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It leaves a bad taste in your customers’ mouths when they feel that they or their business is not important to you.

This goes back to business processes and good staff training especially for your front office staff.

Everyone has a bad day, but it should never be taken out on your customers.

The receptionist at the hotel was in a bad mood and that’s possibly because she had to deal with several angry customers before me who were also promised a room on arrival and then didn’t get one.
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The problem is two-fold:

  1. a promise by a back-office person who either doesn’t know the hotel procedures well, didn’t check the system correctly or simply can’t say no
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  2. insufficient training for the receptionist in how to effectively deal with customers and not having a process mapped out to follow when dealing with disgruntled customers.

But getting angry at the customers and treating them with disdain is NOT the answer.

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Business reviews + testimonials are the lifeblood of your business, and customers want to feel valued + respected before they’ll give a glowing business review or choose to remain loyal to a business.

Everything you do in your business from the amount of training you give staff to how well they can communicate or manage expectations have a huge impact on customer relationships and whether customers will sing your praises or not.

Show your customers that you take their needs and expectations seriously and appreciate their business from the get-go.

That way in the event that things go wrong (and they do tend to go wrong), you’ll have a strong foundation to work from.

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alicia-menkveld-point-3

NOT COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY OR OFTEN ENOUGH

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SOLUTION:

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At 8am I was told that the hotel room will be ready in two hours but when I went back at 10am, the goal posts have been moved again to noon. I’m sure you can see just how infuriating this will be for any customer.

Given that we started off on a bad foot you would think that the hotel would now do everything in their power to rectify the situation + try and wow the customer.

Well not this one!

The moment they realized that the room won’t be ready on time (the promise), they should have called me or sent me a text to communicate this.
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This would’ve given me two options

// I could carry on exploring the area (and cool down) or

// I could choose to go back to the hotel but my expectations were managed.

Instead they did nothing, which meant I got back to the hotel to be angered + disappointed again.
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Can you blame any customer for making a scene at this point?

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On client projects
, you might feel that you don’t want to send updates or clutter up inboxes before you have ‘good news to offer’ but in my experience when it comes to updates, customers always want more communication than less.

At the start of a project, schedule project milestones + regular updates so everyone knows what to expect.

The hardest part might be sticking those agreed updates when things fall behind or setbacks need to be communicated.

It’s also important to document any changes (good or bad) in writing and then follow it up with a phone call.

A paper trial can come in very handy when there are disputes about services and what has or hasn’t been delivered by when.

Friendly check-in calls every couple of months are also welcomed and will keep your front of mind.

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Effective communication instills trust, loyalty and respect.

It builds strong relationships between parties and shows that you value your customers and put them first, and we all know happy customers = better business, so make your customers happy.

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“Happy Customers = Better Business.”
~ ALICIA MENKVELD

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QUESTION:
What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to bad business communication? Leave your comment below.

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#businessconfidence

Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld, an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 16 years, loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to successful business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and effectiveness for individuals and teams. Design your business to live the life YOU want.

business-performance-scorecard-preview

ON A SCALE OF 1-10* HOW HAPPY ARE YOU WITH YOUR BUSINESS RESULTS?

(* 1 = lowest, 10 = highest)

Score your business against the 7 Signs of a High Performing Business to pinpoint problem areas.

Learn how to optimize your business to improve your revenue + results this quarter.

.

GRAB YOUR SCORECARD NOW.

3 REASONS BUSY PEOPLE DON’T STOP.

 

3-reasons-busy-people-dont-stop

Don’t you just love being busy?

You might say No when I ask you and you might even complain about it, but you won’t fool me!

The reality is that you’ll freak out if the fairy godmother pitches up at your doorstep this very second to take your busyness away.

How can I be so sure? I’ve been an addict myself and still fall off the wagon often.

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We’re all addicted to the Cult of Being Busy!!

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Here’s why I say so.

We love being busy because it makes us feel in demand and important. It became some sort of delusional measure of success to the outside world, especially among (busy) business professionals.

Listen to what people around you say over the next few days… or make that hours!

  • “I’ve pulled an all-nighter to get this done.”
  • “You have time to sleep 6 hours a night?! I operate on 2-3 hours a night.” (chest puffed out)
  • “Hustle is what it’s all about baby!”
  • “Who have time to eat? There are so much to do.”
  • “Sleep when you’re dead.”
  • ” I don’t know how I’m going to get through this week with everything I have to do.”
    .
Apparently the more we have to do in as little time as possible, the more important we are.

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Instead of bragging about being efficient + planning ahead to be more productive, we brag about our chaos and firefighting skills instead.

Not you? Listen closely when your phone rings or when you get an invite via email.

If you hear yourself say, “Sure, I’ll be there.” or “I can do that.” (and it won’t bring in money or is critical to your business’ success) and your calendar is already bursting at its seams, it’s time to stop.

You have a case of FOMO (fear of missing out) on your hands.

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3 REASONS BUSY PEOPLE DON’T STOP

alicia-menkveld-point-1

YOUR EGO


It took me forever to learn this lesson and my ego still trips me up.

Deep down we all want to be wanted, like the Chris Isaak song “I Want You To Want Me”.

We like to feel important and included in events. We love being needed by others + we love to “save the day”.

That’s why we keep on saying Yes when we’re already overflowing with other commitments.

There’s a huge difference between your ego and being confident. The ego gives us an illusion of importance + superiority while confidence is about knowing your worth.

Confidence says: “I’m valuable.” while Ego says: “I’m invaluable.” ~ 99u.com


The ego is also responsible when we play the victim or when we easily get offended, but more about this in a future post.

SAY NO.

In the beginning, I felt like a junkie deprived of her next fix every time I said No to a meeting, a coffee or a networking event.

I thought the world would come to an end without me being there… and the surprising reality was, it didn’t!

I started asking myself 3 questions when I felt a case of FOMO coming on.

HOW TO CHANGE

CLARIFYING QUESTIONS:

#1 On a scale of 1-10*how much do I really want to do this thing?  (* 1 = lowest 10 = highest)

I realized that there were very few things that scored a 7 or above… interesting.

#2 How will this thing move me personally forward or move my business forward?
Is this the most important thing I can do for my business right now? How will it help me grow as a person?

#3 Will money be generated (within 1-3 months) as a result of saying Yes to this thing?

Unless the answers were crystal clear, I said No, no matter how awesome I thought it would be and how hard it was to say No + possibly disappoint people.

Remember, when we say Yes to something, we always say No to someone or something else.
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Who Gets The Short End of The Stick Every Time You Say Yes to Something?

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Are you saying No to your:

  • self by not booking “me-time” to look after your health, fitness, energy levels + mental well-being?
  • partner or family because you’re always on the go and never have time to be with them?
  • business by not giving yourself a chance to work on important, but not urgent, tasks like planning + marketing?
  • clients when you have to extend a deadline… again because you have too much on your plate?

An overflowing calendar has a cost, either to yourself, your clients, your family or your team. It’s your choice.

Being busy is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.
~ ALICIA MENKVELD

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alicia-menkveld-point-2

GUILT + JOY


How many times have you dreamed about your holiday for months and when you get there, completely exhausted after you’ve done three weeks’ work in a week to ‘make up for the time you’ll be away’, you struggle to unwind or enjoy yourself?

I’ve been there many times myself.

We feel guilty when we take a much-deserved break. We feel guilty for stopping and wanting to do nothing. We feel lazy. And we feel most guilty when we start to enjoy doing nothing.

Normally this is after more than half your holiday is over and you finally dared to step away from your laptop!

“Joy is the most vulnerable emotion we experience, and if you cannot tolerate joy, you start dress rehearsing tragedy.” ~ Dr. BRENé BROWN


Have you ever thought,“This is too good to be true.” or “This can’t last.” just after you’ve realized how happy or loved you feel?

It’s called “foreboding joy” and Dr. Brené Brown explains it as anticipating bad things to happen when in reality nothing is wrong.

Brené is an American researcher + speaker who has done very interesting research on vulnerability and she wrote an amazing book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead  that certainly changed my life and millions of other people’s lives.

The truth is, a break allows us to revitalize ourselves, be more creative + be a lot more productive.

Alleviate guilt + enhance your joy by implementing processes and systems that allow your business to run while you’re away.

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alicia-menkveld-point-3

SCARED OF FACING FEARS


Are you keeping busy to avoid facing fears? When was the last time you sat by yourself for 30 minutes with nothing but your own thoughts?

I love spending time on my own… being, dreaming or thinking. But we all know people who would rather be thrown in a glass box filled with their biggest phobias than spend 15 minutes alone with themselves.

Constant busyness could be a way of validating our own worth, not dealing with unresolved feelings or not having to face difficult confrontations.

Reflection is the answer to be stronger and smarter in yourself + better in business.

Once we press pause we can:

  • gain insight + learn from the past by seeing the full impact of our decisions.
  • deal with messy feelings + difficult confrontations (not nice but necessary for a happy, fulfilled life)
  • see new possibilities because we look with fresh eyes.

alicia-menkveld-key-ideas

HOW TO CHANGE

  • Stop saying Yes to things that keep you busy + distracted.
  • Stop saying Yes to things that don’t add any value to your life or business.
  • Give yourself time to reflect + figure out what you’re running from.
  • Get help if you struggle to face feelings, issues + fears.
  • Schedule daily quiet time in your diary to improve productivity + problem solving.
  • Try yoga or go for a walk if you struggle to sit still and think.
    .
Nothing ever stops unless you make it stop.

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Embrace the sound of silence. A study from Duke University suggests that it’s your brain’s best productivity hack, will improve your memory and enhance your awareness – all essential qualities in business.

QUESTION:
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What have you done to break free from the ‘cult of busy’? Leave your comment below.
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#businessconfidence

 

Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld, an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 16 years, loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to successful business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and effectiveness for individuals and teams. Design your business to live the life YOU want.

business-performance-scorecard-preview

ON A SCALE OF 1-10* HOW HAPPY ARE YOU WITH YOUR BUSINESS RESULTS?

(* 1 = lowest, 10 = highest)

Score your business against the 7 Signs of a High Performing Business to pinpoint problem areas.

Learn how to optimize your business to improve your revenue + results this quarter.

.

GRAB YOUR SCORECARD NOW.

5 WAYS TO GET MORE CONFIDENCE

5-ways-to-get-more-confidence

 

Have you ever failed at something in life or business? Perhaps you failed at securing an important contract for your business, maybe you didn’t get the job you interviewed for, perhaps your relationship failed or you ate junk food on the second day of your diet.

We all fail, every day at various things in life + business.

The problem isn’t the failure but the meaning we attach to the failure – regret, anger, disappointment, shame or frustration – and the consequence is a blow to our confidence.

You might think that you either have confidence or not, but it’s not true. All of us operate on a sliding scale of confidence depending on the activity we do.

If you do something you’ve done before, your confidence will be higher in that activity. When you try something new, your confidence will initially be lower and you might even feel terrified to do it.

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HERE’S MY STORY
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I wanted to start making videos for my business as part of my marketing plan…

It took me about a year to pluck up the courage to record my first video from the first time I thought about it. Then it took me at least another six months before I actually posted one of the videos I recorded on Facebook.

You see, I didn’t feel confident that they were “good enough” and I worried about not looking polished enough in the videos I shot while I was on holiday.

For some people it’s the easiest thing in the world to record and post their videos or do Facebook Live sessions. I break out in cold sweat and look like a deer caught in the headlights when I make videos.

Here’s a photo of me recording video on green screen for the first time.
Alicia Menkveld recording videos

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What would YOU attempt to do if you had more confidence?

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When we don’t feel very confident about ourselves we might wonder…

Can I really do this?”  orWho am I to dream this big?”

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You’re not alone. Whenever I speak with business leaders about their greatest struggles in business or life, confidence always comes up as an issue in various activities.

So how do the confident people we admire like Richard Branson or Oprah accomplish bigger and better feats than most people?

They consistently face their doubts and fears head on, they take risks and they put themselves through anxiety-provoking situations to stretch their comfort zone and grow their confidence.

Luckily, studies proved that confidence is a skill that can be learned and practiced like any other.

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HERE ARE 5 STRATEGIES TO HELP YOU GET MORE CONFIDENCE 

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First off you need to identify where in your life or business you need more confidence.

Ask: “Where am I holding myself back because of a lack of confidence?”  or  “What would I do if I had more confidence in this area?”
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GET CLEAR

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Get clear about the outcome you would like to achieve and what’s at stake.

Outline the milestones, identify the people + resources you’ll need to achieve your goal.

Preparation is key and it will give you focus and ultimately the confidence to continue forward and win.

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GET A GROWTH MINDSET

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Many people have created a false belief that they are just not good enough.

Whether you’re asking for someone’s business or asking someone on a date there’s always a chance you could be rejected.

If we don’t actively control our thoughts and the critical voices in our heads, we could say:

I’m so bad at sales, I’ll never make it.” or “What does it help to go on a date, my relationships always fail.”

Confident people take the risk of being rejected, they focus on how far they’ve come instead of judging themselves for not being further along and they are kinder to themselves when things don’t work out as planned.

Every day, they choose to focus on what they want to achieve because they know that where attention goes, energy flows.

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GET INTO ACTION

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When you face what scares you most and stay the course, you’ll grow your skills and capabilities.

Most people wait to feel confident before they take action, but ironically it’s taking the action and getting through the experience, that gives you confidence and a belief in yourself that you can do it again.

Everyone wants to quit at some point but successful people never give up and the reward is confidence and a life and business most people only imagine.

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GET SUPPORT

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Leaders might feel that they need to have all the answers or can’t admit a weakness or vulnerability.

Confident leaders know they need others to help them reach their goals and they’re not ashamed to ask for help or admit when they were wrong.

Getting the right support will keep you motivated, help you get better results, keep you accountable and help you stay clear and focused.

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GET SUCCESSFUL

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The more often we try new things and succeed at it, the more confident we become in our ability to pursue bigger goals.

As we achieve our goals, it’s important to stop and celebrate our wins.

Confident people use the positive feelings and sense of pride they experience because of their win, to spur them on to reach new heights of success.

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Use these five strategies to get more confidence and start believing in yourself and your ability to turn your dreams into a reality.

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QUESTION:

Tell us about something you’ve achieved once you’ve improved your confidence? Leave your comment below.

 

#businessconfidence

Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld, an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 16 years, loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to successful business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and effectiveness for individuals and teams. Design your business to live the life YOU want.

business-performance-scorecard-preview

ON A SCALE OF 1-10* HOW HAPPY ARE YOU WITH YOUR BUSINESS RESULTS?

(* 1 = lowest, 10 = highest)

Score your business against the 7 Signs of a High Performing Business to pinpoint problem areas.

Learn how to optimize your business to improve your revenue + results this quarter.

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GRAB YOUR SCORECARD NOW.

5 Steps To Chase Your Dreams

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Are you wishing for things to happen or are you actively chasing your dreams?

As a young girl growing up in a small town in South Africa I had many dreams. I fantasised about travelling the world, meeting interesting people and having fun.

To date I have lived on three continents and traveled to 65 cities and counting. It hasn’t always been rainbows and unicorns… far from it.

When I first moved to the UK in 1997 my parents were dead set against it and they didn’t support my decision emotionally or financially. In fact, my dad didn’t speak to me for the last month before I left!

My husband and I moved to Australia in 2009. We had to move house five times in three years, and I lost my job and 457-work visa within six months of moving here due to the global financial crisis.

We nearly had to leave the country before our permanent residency came through.
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When we try something new and get out of our comfort zone, we win and we lose.

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I have lost special places, friendships, possessions and identities but I also gained new perspectives, friends and experiences.

I had many moments of doubt. “What if I couldn’t find a job? What if it didn’t work out? What if I was making a huge mistake?

Are you waiting for the right time? Are you waiting until you feel ready, until you’re settled in, until the kids go to school or until they leave home?

There isn’t a perfect time to follow your dreams, there is only now. And all great adventures start with a decision to make it so.

Whatever your dream is — whether you’re halfway there or haven’t even started — you need passion, perseverance, self-belief and a plan to make your dreams a reality.

 

5 Steps To Chase Your Dreams 

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DEFINE YOUR DREAMS

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Make time to sit down in a quiet spot and get clear about who you would like to be in your life and what you would like to have and do in your life.

Get clear on what matters most to you (your values) and define what success looks like for you.

e.g. I was very clear about my dream to travel the world and freedom is important to me, so I set my life up to be as commitment-free as possible and I use all available money to travel often.

It’s different for every person and there’s no right or wrong answer, only what will make you happy and lead a fulfilled life.

Write your dreams down in a journal or diary and refer back to it at least weekly. This ritual keeps your dreams top of mind and helps you commit to make it happen.
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CHOOSE THE RIGHT PEOPLE

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You only need a few people who understand you and what you’re trying to achieve. This could be your family and friends or not.

e.g. I thought my family would be excited for me and support me, but they didn’t and still don’t in most of my endeavors. So I don’t speak to them about my dreams, I speak to my husband and a handful of close friends and advisers who support me.

You’re looking for people who can encourage you, uplift you, be honest with you and who live their own out-of-the-box version of life.

Make a list of 3-5 people – family, friends, mentors or peers – who will support you in chasing your dreams and keep you accountable to do what you say you’re going to do.
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WHAT’S THE PLAN?

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Writing down your dreams is a great start but nothing gets accomplished without a plan.

What are the steps you need to take to make your dreams a reality? Work backwards from the end result and write down everything that needs to be done.

Initially you can feel overwhelmed when looking at the list and that’s why we need to chunk it down in main sections before setting daily and weekly goals.

e.g. if you decide to live abroad there is quite a lot to plan for. Start by breaking it down into main steps or buckets of things to do:

  • Planning: where would you like to go, how long for, do you need visas, how will you get there, do you have enough money, what happens to the place you’re currently living in, what happens to pets?
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  • Accommodation: where will you stay, if long term do you need to speak to real estate agents before you leave, what’s included in packages?
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  • Packing: what will you take along, will you pack light and buy as you go, take unaccompanied luggage or ship belongings over?
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  • Work: do you need to work while you’re away, what do you need to do your job, do you need to find a new job, do you have the right to work abroad.
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There’s so much more I could add but you get the picture. There are a lot of things to do in each bucket, so now it’s time to chunk it down and schedule smaller monthly, weekly and daily goals in your diary with milestones.
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Remember what gets scheduled in your diary, gets done.

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Become aware of what might hold you back and what might stand between you and your dreams. Obstacles can include your mindset or everyday practicalities. List them out and come up with a plan to overcome each obstacle.
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STOP WAITING

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It’s never the perfect time to start a business, have kids, write a book or move cities or countries.

It’s easy to use one challenge or obstacle as an excuse when we’re scared.

Fear tends to be the #1 reason why we don’t take action towards our dreams – fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of looking ridiculous and even the fear to be yourself!
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4 Great Reasons to Stop Waiting:
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  1. Tomorrow is not promised – things happen in the blink of an eye – let it happen while you follow your dreams
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  2. Nothing happens until YOU take the first step – the Fedex guy won’t deliver your dream at the front door… unfortunately!
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  3. Possibilities you cannot imagine are waiting for you – doors open when you take the first step
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  4. And the ultimate reason – you’ll die happy and avoid the #1 regret of the dying: “I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself and not what others expected of me.
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Find a way to make it happen.
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ASK FOR HELP

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Someone somewhere in the world has done something similar to what you want to do. Connect with people and tell them about your dream and ask them how they overcame their obstacles.

People know people and when you talk about your dream you might just find people who can help you with the next piece of the puzzle – advice, resources, money or whatever else you need to make your dream a reality.

e.g. I spoke to people who lived in Australia to get first hand knowledge of what it’s like and I asked for recommendations from where to stay, which doctor and dentist to use to where to do food shopping and which brands to use.

And it was a good friend from a previous workplace who organised an interview for me in Perth, that resulted in my initial work visa being organised.

This is by far the best way to shorten your learning curve and not reinvent the wheel.

If you can find a mentor or invest in a coach grab the opportunity with both hands – it will save you money, time, energy and lots of frustration.

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Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream.

Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.

~ LAO TZU

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QUESTION:
Which dream are you chasing at the moment? Leave your comment below.
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#smallbusinesssuccessskills

 

Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld is an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 17 years who loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to small business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and productivity for individuals and teams. Streamline your business to support your lifestyle.

Bad Business Habits (Part 1) Multi-Tasking

multi-tasking-is-killing-your-business.

We went into business to be our own boss, earn more money and have the lifestyle we only dreamed about while working for someone else. However, most business owners I speak to complain about:

  • working longer hours than they ever imagined
  • always having a fire to fight
  • worrying where the next customer and dollar will come from
  • missing out on events and having very little to no free time.
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I find that it’s our bad business habits that get in the way of having a successful business and one of these bad habits is multi-tasking – a huge business and productivity killer.
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CHASING TOO MANY RABBITS 

Does this sound familiar? You’re on a client call and it’s been going on for a while so you text your next appointment to let them know you might be 5 min late.

Then an email notification pops up so you decide to quickly check it that out before you need to wrap up this call and go….

But there’s silence on line… because the client is waiting for you to respond to their question. Oops! Has this or something similar ever happened to you… because it has certainly happened to me!

More frightening… studies have shown that people distracted by incoming emails or text messages (multi-tasking) have seen a 10-point drop in their IQ, which is more than twice the effect of smoking weed!

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“You can do two things at once, but you can’t focus effectively on two things at once.” 

~ GARY KELLER (Book: The ONE Thing)

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THE COST OF MULTI-TASKING TO YOUR BUSINESS
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The problem is, that by doing several things at once, we trick ourselves into thinking that we’re getting more done when in reality, study upon study has shown that our productivity decreases by at least 40% or more while we’re switching tasks.

That’s because we’re not actually multi-tasking – we are simply switching tasks – and while we’re shifting from one thing to another we lose time in the process.

After many studies, researchers have concluded that on average it takes 12 minutes before you get back into a state of flow once you stopped working on something. For more complex tasks, it can take up to 24 minutes to get back to your state of flow.

Let’s put this in perspective… if you switched tasks 5 times in an hour, and on average it takes 12 minutes to get back into a state of flow, you wouldn’t have done any productive work in that hour because you were multi-tasking! e.g.

  • you work on a client project (task 1)
  • an email notification catches your eye so you check your email (task 2)
  • while you’re doing that the phone rings, so you take the call (task 3)
  • you get back to answering that email (task 4)
  • you decide to get a coffee or check your social media before getting back into the client work (task 5)

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Poof! One hour of potential productive work gone… Can you business afford these distractions?

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HOW TO DO IT DIFFERENTLY

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As business owners, we’ll always be juggling various roles, tasks, projects, deadlines and ideas at the same time… perhaps it’s lots of client calls, employees interrupting you or maybe you have various client projects on the go.

But unless you find a better way to work, you’ll end another day, week or month disappointed with your results. 

You’ll wonder why you haven’t reached your goals and why there wasn’t any time for marketing or making more sales… again!

Luckily all isn’t lost! Here are a few ways to stop multi-tasking and be more productive.
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FOCUS

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Many business owners are stuck in their busyness instead of getting on with business.

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A lot of business owners aren’t very productive or highly leveraged in what they do in a day. If you want to reach your goals, stop multi-tasking and start focusing on the high-impact activities that will bring in money and create leverage in your business.
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NEXT STEPS
  1. Decide on the quarterly goal that will drive the biggest growth in your business
  2. Break the main quarterly goal down into monthly + weekly tasks and activities
  3. Schedule daily/ weekly progress check-ins with yourself and/or your team to ensure milestones are reached
  4. Say No to every invite, activity or distraction that won’t help you to achieve this goal
  5. Stop being reactive – do the work that will grow your business first before you do anything else – and stop multi-tasking.
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CLARIFYING QUESTIONS:blog-image-key-ideas1

  • Where is my biggest opportunity for growth right now?
  • What is my ONE main goal for this quarter?
  • Which activities can I do today and this week to help me achieve that ONE goal?
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e.g. a Product Launch

  • Annual Goal: A main goal could be to generate $50k from a new product this year
  • Quarterly Goal: Launch the product in 3 months’ time
  • Main Activities: Finish the product >> market the product >> launch the product
  • Tasks for the Month: Create Module 1 + 2, create a sales landing page + shopping cart, create ads, post on social media, etc.
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In this example, the main rabbit is to launch the product, but there are many moving parts (activities + tasks) that need to be completed for the launch to actually happen.

The example above is only a glimpse of what needs to be done for a product launch.

That’s why it’s crucial to stay focused, stop multi-tasking and say No to any other distractions like new marketing tactics or revamping your website while you’re working on catching that ONE rabbit.

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KNOW YOUR DISTRACTIONS

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Over the next 30 days
, identify when and how you tend to keep yourself busy and distracted when you’re trying to do important work.

Come up with a few simple steps you can take when you catch yourself being distracted or multi-taking, so you can quickly get back to the tasks that will make the biggest difference in your business and to your bottom line.

Work on developing your self-discipline and the habit of catching only one rabbit at a time. It’s not easy, as I know so well, but I promise you it will make a world of difference to your business!

You’ll stress less about missing deadlines and start making consistent income because you’ll focus weekly on income-producing activities and not only when you run out of business.

You’ll feel more organised and in control of your days, and you’ll make things happen in your business at a pace you’ve never experienced before – you’ll experience tremendous growth and satisfaction not only in your business but also in your life.

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Starve your distractions. Feed your Focus.

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QUESTION:
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What is your Top Tip for staying focused during the day on one task? Leave your comment below.
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#smallbusinesssuccessskills

Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld is an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 17 years who loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to small business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and productivity for individuals and teams. Streamline your business to support your lifestyle.

Avoid These 5 Common Marketing Mistakes

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[Article originally published in Business News]

The key to success is planning and consistency, so reassess your marketing strategy today to avoid these five common marketing mistakes that can stand in your way of success.

In general, business owners know they need to do marketing but it’s often coupled with urgency and no plan. In most cases, many marketing activities have been attempted but not on a consistent basis and results have not been tracked.

Enthusiasm without a plan will put any business at risk and result in thousands of dollars spent on marketing that doesn’t deliver results.

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NOT KNOWING YOUR POSITION 

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Knowledge really is power because you can’t improve what you haven’t measured.

Not taking stock of what you’ve done or knowing what results you got means you’re throwing darts in the dark. Start by knowing your position.
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WHAT TO DO NEXT:
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  • Make a list of all the marketing activities you’ve done in the past 6 months.
  • Decide what worked well and why it worked well.
  • Do the same for all the activities that didn’t work well.
  • Use your current results as a benchmark to judge future marketing performance against
  • Set realistic goals for the next quarter for each marketing activity.

With the right knowledge, smart decisions can be made and you won’t be caught off guard by the latest trends or bright shiny objects.
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NOT HAVING A MARKETING BUDGET

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Most business owners believe that creating a marketing budget is “too hard to do” and that it will limit you, so they don’t have one. The reality is that a budget will empower you and help you make smarter decisions.

If you’re clear on which marketing activities performed best and what needs to improve over the next 90 days, you can budget for the training and implementation needed to improve your results.

Allocate a percentage of the budget to activities according to its performance.

You’ll also be less prone to bright shiny object syndrome when you know what delivers results and you’ll know how much is available to spend in the next quarter.

Having a budget will give you peace of mind, lower your stress levels and keep the business on track to reach its goals.
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 NOT KNOWING YOUR TARGET MARKET 

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If you’re not super clear on who your target market is, what their biggest pain points are and where to find them, how will you be able to target them effectively with your marketing?

Get clear on the media your target market uses, both online and offline, and gain an understanding of when and how they search for businesses like yours.

A good way to get this information is by phoning existing clients and asking them a few questions or creating an online survey with SurveyMonkey* and posting it in Facebook Groups or directly to your email list. (*It’s a free online survey tool where you can create and publish surveys in minutes and view results graphically and in real time.)

By knowing your target market and where to find them, you can fine-tune your marketing message in a way that will really speak to your ideal customers and compel them to interact with your brand, products and services.
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 NOT REVIEWING YOUR MARKETING PLAN 

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A 90-day marketing plan encourages you to sit down and review your business and marketing numbers in a formal manner at least once a quarter.

This simple habit will put you streets ahead of the competition and anyone else who only think about doing marketing when the business dries up.

Reviewing the marketing plan with your team or an outside consultant will help you: blog-image-key-ideas1

  • be more effective in your business
  • focus your efforts to achieve specific goals
  • be more diligent about how you spend your marketing dollars
  • track the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, and
  • create a road map of where to tweak and improve for the next quarter.

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NOT BEING CONSISTENT 

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Every marketing strategy has several key components that need to be executed successfully to ensure overall marketing success and reaching your sales goals.

Although this is a simple and logical concept, it seems to be human nature to get side tracked by everyday life in the execution of our strategies.

We tend to start with enthusiasm, a great idea and a plan but then before we know it, we find ourselves working on something else. We forget our aim and we lose our direction.

Stay consistent and on track this year by writing down your plan and using it as a blueprint for all your marketing activities.

Schedule time on a weekly basis to work ON your marketing, and use outside support and accountability like this business community to stay on track and combat procrastination.
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Small steps every day win the game, and marketing success is simply a collection of small steps.

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It’s never too late. Make a decision today to start spending time every day on marketing and other income-producing activities and you’ll achieve all the goals you set for yourself each quarter. It can be done.

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QUESTION:
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Which one of these marketing mistakes are tripping you up most often? Leave your comment below.
#smallbusinesssuccessskills

Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld is an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 17 years who loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to small business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and productivity for individuals and teams. Streamline your business to support your lifestyle.