Customer service can make or break your business

Posted by gillbailey on January 12, 2018
Customer service

Customer service

Customer service is a pretty hot topic and can make or break your business. Consumers have little patience for poor customer service and easily get tired of waiting in long lines, trying to get a live person on the line, going through an interrogation to return something or trying to communicate through a language barrier.

If you provide them with a simple, efficient, pleasant experience they will revisit your business over and over. More importantly, they will tell everyone they know!

There are three secrets to good customer service, the first one we’re going to conquer is knowing exactly what YOU want.

You are the captain of the ship and the visionary for the future of your business, so you need to have a clearly defined plan for your business and that includes customer service. There are three main goals you need to consider:

  1. It needs to be easy for your customers to do business with you. You can do this with advertised discounts, kiosks, your website and other technology based programs to help them shop.
  2. Doing business with you needs to be a warm and pleasant experience. Your staff have to be knowledgeable, approachable, warm and patient. Your customers need to feel like they are getting a good value for their time and money. Perceived value goes beyond the price of the products and extends to their shopping experience.
  3. Change your mind set and ask yourself “How can I NOT afford to do these things?” This shouldn’t be a question of expenses, but making and keep happy customers.

Which these thoughts in mind you also need to take a few things into consideration when deciding on the actual programs and standards you’ll put into place.

  • Share your customer service vision with the rest of your staff.
  • Connect your incentive programs and bonuses directly to customer service.
  • Monitor the level of customer service your staff is putting out.
  • Know when you can ignore what your customers want.
  • Continuously focus on your goals.

Now, that you know what you want you can starting thinking about how to meet those wants and create a positive customer service experience.

If you’re having a hard time deciding on what you want, the tools, resources and coaches in our FREE test drive can help you define the wants and needs of your company in relation to customer service.

4 strategies for a Franchise

Posted by gillbailey on December 13, 2017

Planning a strategy

In the last post we talked about the first three of the 7 specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process. Here are all seven again:
• Primary Aim
• Strategic Objectives
• Organisational Strategy
• Management Strategy
• People Strategy
• Marketing Strategy
• Systems Strategy

These 7 areas will fine tune your plan for the ultimate level of success. Today we are going to cover the last four.
Think of constructing your business model like planting a tree. At first, it’s so small and weak you wonder if it will even make it through the night. But, you keep watering, fertilizing and nurturing it. Your ideas will grow the trunk and each of these strategies will extend out as the branches of your now strong tree. Finding the perfect support staff, employees, vendors/suppliers and other relationships will make your tree flourish with leaves and flowers.
Management Strategy
The way you structure your management team is not only essential to your growth, but the happiness of your employees and, ultimately, your customers/clients. This strategy is results-oriented and doesn’t depend on the people, but the actual system that’s in place.
A management strategy is, in short, a set of standards that include goals, rules, a mission statement and other concrete things that tell your employees how to act, your management how to grow your business and your customers/clients what to expect.
These should all be in perfect alignment with your business goals.
Employee Appreciation
You need to put together a people strategy that shows your employees how you feel about their job performance and dedication to your business. They also need to understand “why” they are doing specific tasks. This helps them to personally connect to their job which in turn leads to better production and a happier workplace.
There are a number of strategies you can use to keep it interested at “the office”:
• Performance Incentive Programs
• Contests that reward high performance
• Employee of the Month
• Performance/Holiday Bonuses

These are just a few of the ideas you can use. One of the best ways to appreciate your employees is by calling a meeting and asking them how they would like to be rewarded. Think about it for awhile and put the best strategy into play. Keep it fresh and change up the strategy you use from time to time to keep your employees guessing. Once they get used to the prize, it’s time for a whole new approach.
You need to build a community within your company. There needs to be support, appreciation and respect. The more “at home” an employee feels, the better they will perform and the higher their level of loyalty.
Marketing Strategy
Marketing is, of course, essential to the success of any business, but it also must work cohesively with the other strategies you’re using. There are two major pillars of a successful marketing strategy-the demographic and psychographic profiles of your customers.
The psychographic tells you what your customers are the most likely to buy and the demographic tells you who they are, which can help you learn why they buy specific items. Without this information it simply doesn’t matter how good your business prototype is.
Systems Strategy
There are three types of systems in every business:
• Hard Systems
• Soft Systems
• Information Systems

Hard systems refer to inanimate system or systems that have no “life”. Soft systems are those that could be living. Information systems which are, of course, everything else, including customer data, product information, financial…anything with data and numbers.

The most important of all three systems is the soft systems because it includes the sales systems your business uses. In your sales system the two keys to success are: structure and substance. Structure being what you sell and substance being how you sell it.

All three systems are essential to the success of your business and while they all have their own very specific roles, they all must work together to get the job done. This also goes for your entire business development program.
I want to take a moment to recap on the ideas we went over through the business development lessons.

An entrepreneurial myth, or e-myth, is an assumption that anyone can succeed at business with:
• Desire
• Some capital
• Projected a targeted profit

There are essentially three key roles that need to be filled to set your business up for success:
• The Technician
• The Manager
• The Entrepreneur

The four different stages of a business life cycle are:
• Infancy
• Adolescence
• Growing Pains
• Maturity

There are a few things we are going to talk about:
• Business Format Franchise
• The Franchise Prototype
• Franchise Prototype Standards

There are three main areas of business development:
• Innovation
• Quantification
• Orchestration

7 specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process. Here are all seven again:
• Primary Aim
• Strategic Objectives
• Organisational Strategy
• Management Strategy
• People Strategy
• Marketing Strategy
• Systems Strategy

We can help you work through all of these areas and give your business a jumpstart that puts you ahead of your competition right from the start. Use our FREE test drive and work with one of our coaches, plus gain access to a wealth of tools and resources.

To learn more just book a free discovery call.

7 Key steps to franchising your business

Posted by gillbailey on December 5, 2017
Franchise your business for future growth

Franchise your business for future growth

Continuing our information on franchising, let’s look at the 7 specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process:

• Primary Aim
• Strategic Objectives
• Organisational Strategy
• Management Strategy
• People Strategy
• Marketing Strategy
• Systems Strategy

These 7 areas will fine tune your plan for the ultimate level of success. In this blog we are going to cover the first three.

Primary Aim

It’s essential in business development to set goals and see a vision for the future. This needs to go beyond the business and you need to think about what you want out of life. What do you dream about? How do you see your success unfolding? Knowing and understanding these things will give you the momentum to get started and the stamina to see it through. Even take a minute to write them down and tape to your desk for a constant reminder of what you’re aiming for.

Strategic Objectives

These are essential in taking your business from surviving to thriving. All of these objectives should offer solutions for how to get to your primary aim. There are many things you can use to set strategic objectives, but here are a couple of the most popular:

1. Money: Setting monetary goals is a great, simple way to see how you are doing at any point in the game. It’s easy to measure and easy to find adjustments to help meet this goal.
2. Worthy Opportunities: When considering partnerships and other business opportunities you need to think about whether or not they will help you reach your primary aim. Those that will are the best opportunities to seriously consider.
The key in setting standards and goals is not to limit you or stress yourself out. You need to find some quantifiable things you can use to measure your progress toward your primary aim. These are just two suggestions, but make sure no matter what you standards you set you are paying attention to the details, as these are one of the biggest keys to your success.

Organisational Strategy

The strength of your organisational structure can make or break your business, so it’s important to take the time to put together a solid structure for your business to grow from. Generally a company is organised around the roles and responsibilities that need to be taken care of on a daily basis and the personalities that need to fulfill those roles.

No matter what roles and responsibilities you’ve defined for your employees, you must always keep your personal primary aim separate from your company’s primary aim or mission statement. Once you’ve identified the primary aim for your company it will be easy to set up a position structure that will work.

Don’t forget to put together position contracts. Your employees should sign a statement of their roles and responsibilities. This helps keep them clear for you, the employee and other employees/vendors or other individuals.

You can see how these areas all work together to build a solid structure on which to build your business. We work with both the Franchisor and the Franchisees helping them to grow faster and profitably.  If you need help defining any of the areas discussed here, you can check out the resources, tools and speak with one of our fantastic coaches during your FREE 30 minute discovery call.

3 keys to a solid business foundation

Posted by gillbailey on November 21, 2017
Building Business Foundations

Building Business Foundations

Lets look at the three keys to business development and how you can put these in place to build a solid foundation.

There are three main areas of business development:

  • Innovation
  • Quantification
  • Orchestration

If done well these three areas will help you build a solid foundation for you business. Let’s talk about each one of these for just a minute.

Innovation

Innovation should not be confused with creativity, which is the expression of ideas. Innovation is taking these ideas and putting them into action. This is where a large amount of your focus should be in the beginning and even throughout your business’ entire lifespan.

Quantification

This, of course, refers to the numbers. We are talking about the value of your innovation. The best way to gauge this is by your customer response. Look to positive responses for what you are doing right-and keep doing it. Look to your negative responses to find out what you’re doing wrong-and fix it. This will enable you to keep growing and progressing with the needs of your customers and business climate.

Orchestration

Once you’ve had a chance to find what areas are working, you can narrow down those areas and concentrate on making them the stand out ideas. You shift your focus here to get the most out of your business and to meet the needs of your customers.

We can help you work through these three areas to put together your franchise prototype during your FREE test drive.

In the next few lessons we are going to transition to the 7 specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process:

  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organisational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy

These 7 areas will fine tune your plan for the ultimate level of success.

News of business funding to create six figure growth

Posted by gillbailey on November 12, 2017
Business growth funding for 6-figure profit

Business growth funding for 6-figure profit

We’ve been informed of a new phase of Lancashire funding for business growth support for local, mainly business to business customer focused, small to medium sized businesses.

This is £5,000 of ERDF funding which will end next year. So you can be looking to develop your strategy, improvement processes, HR, competitive advantage, leadership, marketing and sales, new products or resource effectiveness with the support of professional consultancy.

The Funding

Phase 1 is FREE and delivered by the Funder to provide £2,000 worth of business analysis.

Phase 2 enables the business to access up to of 50% funding for a consultancy business growth project to the value of £6,000. So you get up to £5k of business support

Funding for Strategic planning, Leadership and Marketing

LinQs have been working with funded business growth projects since we established our consultancy in 2001. We pride ourselves in working with the latest easy to use resources to plan and enable SME business owners and their managers to execute profit making strategies. Our expertise is in small to medium sized business development developing business owners and their leadership teams to undertake strategic planning, leadership, marketing, project planning and map their processes and quality systems to establish priorities in resource management. Geared to generate 6-figure profit increase.

Funding For Senior Leadership Development

LinQs coach senior managers, one to one, to an accredited postgraduate development standard covering over 18 management areas. This latest funding ceiling enables the business to have up to 2 senior managers coached at 50% of our cost. The senior managers on our programme execute a strategic business plan for their area of responsibility, reflecting competence matched to an international management development standard. This has proven an asset to the business leadership team, the CV, and business profiles when tendering for new contracts.

Access the funding

This ERDF Lancashire funding is subject to the organisation and agreed programme meeting the eligibility criteria of the funding terms. So we work closely with the funders management team and the business. It’s also important that businesses move quickly to deliver their project using this ERDF funding which will end next year.

If you are interested in growing your business just contact us for a free chat and we can look at prospective business projects with you. With our 25 years experience in business growth development, we are experts at positioning a business for growth projects that deliver 6-figure profits.

Gill Bailey

Business Coach and Mentor

Author of ‘How to Build the Passion & the Profit For Your Business’