Archive for the 'Business Builders' Category

16
Nov
15

PART TWO: How “Systems” Drive Profit

This will be your last Monday Morning Wake-Up – unless …

When I started writing the MMWUs in January 2008, I was writing it exclusively for salon/spa leaders. Within a few months, I started receiving requests from general business leaders for a MMWU that they could share with their teams that didn’t have the salon/spa verbiage and advertising for salon/spa coaching and training. So, in early 2008, Strategies created a special MMWU for general business.

As many of you know, for over 22 years, Strategies has been providing coaching and training for the salon/spa industry. The general business version of the MMWU has always been the exact same text as the salon/spa MMWU without the salon/spa references and ads.

So after eight years, of sending dual MMWUs, it’s time for the general business version to ride off into the sunset after today.

We went through all the email addresses on this list and moved the all of the addresses we could identify as salon/spa over to our main email list.

IMPORTANT: Click here to continue to receive the Monday Morning Wake-up for salons, spas and medspas. You will read the same MMWU content as always, but with the words “salon/spa” in the title and text.

We hope you continue on as a reader. If not, I thank you for taking the time to read my MMWUs and hope that you found value and inspiration in them.

Neil

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system_gears2Systems bring structure and discipline to the profit creation process. Accuracy and extreme attention to detail is nothing short of non-negotiable. As a business coach, I’ve seen more than my share of “garbage in – garbage out” accounting and financial reports. Blatant errors, improperly posted or categorized entries, expense line items that no one can explain, and huge miscellaneous accounts, are just a sampling of the financial nightmares that regularly occur when poorly designed systems exist. The end result is totally useless financial reports. You just can’t make the best financial decisions with bad data. And with all due respect, sloppiness in the bookkeeping office is a darn good signal that compromise exists at the leadership level. Otherwise, such nonsense would never be tolerated for even a nanosecond.

Profitability systems extend far beyond general bookkeeping. When revenues are generated, there needs to be financial systems in place to ensure proper reporting. And wherever money is spent and purchases made, financial systems must be in place. Checks and balances, there is no other way to control and drive profitability.

Remember, a system is a set of procedures that, when followed, produce a predictable and consistent outcome.

Here is a quick hit list of profitability processes that must be systemized:

  • Proper categorizing of revenue streams
  • Invoice entry and generation (you just can’t have errors on customer invoices)
  • Accurate and timely posting of payables (improperly categorized expenses will make your profit and loss statements useless)
  • Deadly accurate processing of payroll and payroll taxes
  • Purchase Order system to control EVERYTHING that gets purchased (If it’s not in the budget, it doesn’t get spent)
  • System to run weekly financials – complete, accurate and on time
  • Review of weekly “Actual to Budget” comparison reports
  • Weekly accounts payable report (who do you owe money to)
  • Bill paying: What’s the cycle? Who approves what gets paid?
  • Periodic update of cash-flow plan and budget
  • Competitive vendor cost analysis
  • Debt management and reduction
  • Inventory level management
  • Creation of new project budgets
  • Weekly leadership team cash-flow planning meetings (procedures needed to complete the meeting in 30 minutes)
  • Scoreboard updating (daily/weekly/monthly)
  • Financial performance data report distribution to managers and staff
  • Expense reports: Who’s approving them? Are expenses verified and legitimate?
  • Office supplies: What’s the budget, the system, and who’s accountable for it?

Depending on the size of your business, this may come across as totally trivial. It’s not. There are still multitudes of salon/spas that still pay bills and write checks by hand. Today, accounting software like QuickBooks and online bill paying make hand written checks something you’d see on display at the Smithsonian Institution. Hand writing checks may have been fine for Fred Flintstone, but not for anyone doing business in today’s automated world.

Paying bills through your accounting software is a non-negotiable because of the speed and accuracy to financial reporting that computer checks and online payments deliver. Pay a bill by computer and the first thing it asks is, “Who are you paying?” Now you have vendor tracking. Next, it asks, “How much?” Now you have an expense amount. Then it asks, “What expense account should it be allocated to (i.e.: rent, office supplies, cost of goods sold, etc.).” Insert your computer checks and hit “print.” “Cash – Checking Account” on the Balance Sheet is reduced by the amount of the check and the expense is recorded on your Profit and Loss Statement. Out comes the check nicely addressed and ready for a double-window envelope.

I’ve been pounding away at running your financials weekly. The only way to do this is to totally and completely (that means 100%) automate all of your bill paying and accounting procedures. Until this is accomplished, you’re never going to see the whole picture.

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09
Nov
15

PART ONE: Disciplines of Creating Profit

profit#1Profit is simply a measurement of business performance. It’s the reward for generating revenues, doing great work and staying within budget. Job security, advancement, better benefits, being able to invest in the best training, getting the best equipment, etc., are all part of profitability. Realizing all of the amazing opportunities that profitability can deliver will require a no-compromise sense of urgency. Urgency is paramount to achieving profitability.

When a business culture takes a lethargic, lack of urgency, approach to profitability, it gets in its own way. It’s akin to letting go of the controls that allow leadership to guide business activities toward its profitability goals. The cash-flow plan is demoted to the “optional task list,” or evolves into nothing more than an annual ritual that is rarely, if ever, looked at or put into play. Reviewing financial reports or having cash-flow planning meetings happens when it happens, if at all. Financial discipline and consistency is out the window.

Profitability will not take care of itself. Leaders must not only lead by example (that means you don’t violate the budget and expect everyone else to follow it), you must keep profitability at the forefront of all decisions and actions — at all levels of the business. Sense of urgency causes a production worker to suggest a better technique or adjustment in a process to improve quality and trim costs. It causes retail staff to design a special promotion to move out that slow moving merchandise. It causes service providers to multi-task when there’s downtime rather than hire more support staff. It causes sales representatives to make that next sales call, or book that flight in advance to get the best fare.

Here are the essential no-compromise disciplines that must be in place to begin achieving your profitability goals:

  • Can you read and understand every line item on your financial reports? This includes your Balance Sheet, Income Statement, and Statement of Cash Flows. If not, what’s your plan to learn how? This is non-negotiable.
  • How often should you receive complete financial reports on your business? If it’s not at least monthly (that’s only twelve sets of financials a year) it’s not often enough.
  • How much time lapses from the end of the month until you receive your financial reports? If this exceeds two weeks, it’s too long. Find out why and address it. If you have in-house bookkeeping, there’s no excuse not to have timely reports within days after the end of the month. Any good in-house accounting software and a competent bookkeeper should be able to produce timely weekly financials. This is non-negotiable.
  • Do you have a cash-flow plan that guides your revenue targets and expense budgets? If not, why not? Financial reports tell you the score during and after the game ends. Your cash-flow plan is your financial playbook. Follow the plan, be fiscally responsible, and your financial reports will improve. You cannot grow a business without following a cash-flow plan. This is non-negotiable. The plan is simply a “best guess.” The more you do it and the more you live your cash-flow plan, the better you can predict the future.
  • Do you have weekly cash-flow planning meetings? If not, why not? Having a cash-flow plan is pointless without comparing it to actual revenues and expenses. Are you over or behind your projections? Why? What do you need to do today or over the next week to correct or get back on track? This is why I prefer weekly over monthly financials. I don’t want to find out at the end of the month that we were overspending mid-month.
  • Who attends your weekly cash-flow planning meetings? (I hope you’re still not stuck on the sharing numbers thing.) All department leaders need to be present. In larger companies with many departments, separate cash-flow meetings focusing on numbers that are key to that area need to be held weekly.
  • Do employees know the score? If your response to, “Hey boss, how’re we doing?” is “Not good enough,” the people responsible for doing the work have no idea what’s going on. Scoreboards and daily huddles are non-negotiable.
  • Does your company require purchase orders to control spending? If not, why not?
  • Is your payroll percentage under control? What is the ideal target payroll percent for your business? What will it take to achieve this?
  • Are your inventory levels under control? Money that’s tied up in excess inventory is a cash drain. What’s the plan to get inventory under control?
  • If you’re a retail business, are you controlling inventory levels and turning your inventory as often as you need to? Slow inventory turns, in retail, kills cash flow.
  • As the leader of your company, department or division, are you setting the right example to create a fiscally responsible business culture? If not, why not?

There is no debating that the profitability begins with the right disciplines. Creating sustainable and predictable profitability begins at the leadership level. It cannot be faked or given lip service. The no-compromise leader must live financial disciplines, inspire it and relentlessly build a culture to support it.

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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click below to comment.

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They will appreciate it.

02
Nov
15

You, Your Salon/Spa Business And The Path To Greatness

greatness2There is a huge difference between having the desire for success and actually achieving your definition of it. Desire is a longing for something; success is an outcome. Greatness is something else entirely. Success, based on your interpretation, is earned, while greatness is bestowed. Greatness is how your peers and the world around you define your success and that of your company.

What does greatness looks like? For a company to enter the coveted realm of greatness, its values, thinking and actions must synchronize to create an unyielding gravitational pull that draws it through levels of success to greatness. The only thing that can disrupt this gravitational pull is a compromise in the company’s values, thinking and/or actions.

Let’s explore what this gravitational pull looks like in a successful company versus a great company. Yes, there is a huge gap between success and greatness.

  • Doing many things right: It has a leader (or leaders) capable of inspiring performance and consistency. It demonstrates steady sales, financial discipline and profitability. It has functional levels of authority. It delivers on its brand promise, giving it impressive customer loyalty. Employees have opportunities for growth, giving the company a reputation as an attractive place to work. The company is regarded by its peers as a worthy competitor in its marketplace or industry.
  • Values and purpose driven: A company that lives in the greatness realm certainly does all of the above, but there are distinct differences. More than any other single factor, great companies are both values and purpose driven. This instills the highest degree of trust throughout the company, because intentions are clear. Values, purpose and trust create a rock-solid foundation to support a dynamic and empowering culture. The company culture is transparent – no hidden agendas exist.
  • Cherish your mojo: Even in the most competitive of industries and marketplaces, a great company stands out, not only as a brand leader but in the manner in which it conducts business internally with its employees and externally with its customers. It innovates faster than the competition. It does things so differently and consistently well that it wows its customers and leaves the competition asking, “How do they do that?”
  • Capacity to embrace change: Another mark of a great company is its ability to adapt, respond and change as the world it functions in evolves. Call it optimal leadership, innovation or a superbly accurate ability to predict the future, but great companies always seem to already be where the competition wants to be. Again, competitors ask, “How do they do that?”
  • Successful but not great: A company can be successful, even though its leadership is a bit inconsistent, some of its systems are weak, follow-through is sometimes spotty and performance is average. It will work through challenges and find a way to grow and prosper. But a successful company will never rise to greatness as long as it continues to ignore or tolerate its propensity to be average.
  • Average ‘anything’ warning lights: In fact, average anything barely stands a chance of gaining a foothold. Why is this? A great company’s values, beliefs and standards simply won’t allow it. Average anything is quickly identified and cut out. It’s no different from the values, beliefs and commitment of a world-class athlete to do everything it takes to win, including relentless training, to do it better than anyone else.
  • Enduring greatness: Successful companies come and go; great companies have the capacity to endure. But to endure, great companies can never falter, even for a moment. Compromise of values, beliefs or trust is the beginning of a fall from greatness unless resolutely and completely restored. Yes, many great companies will fall from greatness and remain successful, but the magic will be gone and is unlikely to return. For greatness to endure, no-compromise leadership is not optional. It is an ongoing process. The leader of a great company must continually review the practices of the company. Companies that coast along will not achieve greatness.

In his book Small Giants: Companies that Chose to be Great Rather than Big, Bo Burlingham profiled 10 diverse companies, from a document storage and retrieval company to a delicatessen. Burlingham sought out successful companies that had the opportunity to go big but chose greatness instead. They resisted the temptation to expand beyond what the owners felt was right for their companies. Simply put, they chose to nourish and protect their greatness.

The path to greatness begins with one question … how good do you want to be? If your answer is to be the best, you chose a road less traveled, a road that will test your determination to create something worthy of admiration. Only a few go the distance; you can be one of them. Small giant or big giant, it doesn’t matter. Go for greatness.

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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click below to comment.

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They will appreciate it.

26
Oct
15

Grow Your Business, Not Columns On The Appointment Book

BizGrowthI just read in the New York Post that salon industry icon Nick Arrojo is suing former stylist Paul Fox from his Varick Street salon for $3.5 million in damages for stealing five employees and his confidential client list … and opening a competing salon just 13 blocks away. The article states that Arrojo spent years training the former staffers, a fact that is touted in the former staffer’s bios at the new Paul Fox Salon. The suit states that the ex-staffers violated confidentiality and non-compete agreements.

Arrojo had a walkout … no different than the countless walkouts experienced by salon owners since the birth of the professional salon industry. Ask any gathering of salon owners if they have experienced a walk-out and all but a fortunate few will confirm they have. Like Nick Arrojo, the stories are like rubber-stamped accounts of broken trust, lost investment, plotting, collusion, stealing, lost revenue, bad-mouthing and the arduous task of rebuilding. All are stories of a business that took years to build that were blown up with their once employees, clients and cash flow relocated down the street.

The traditional approach of growing a salon is truly the definition of insanity. What most owners don’t realize is that the traditional, and inherently dysfunctional, business model feeds the walk-out scenario in a big way. Simply apply the rule of “what gets measured gets repeated”, and the traditional salon business model virtually assures the perfect conditions for a walk-out are in place. Consider the following:

  • You tell stylists to “build their book.”
  • You tell stylists to build their “request rate.”
  • You tell them to promote “themselves.”
  • You measure their success based on “their” request rate and how “booked” they are.
  • You increase “their” prices based on how full “their” column is.
  • You pay them a commission or sliding scale based solely on “their” sales.

Given the preceding points … how can you possibly build a viable company and brand that isn’t susceptible to the ravages of a walkout? Keep working the same business model and you keep proving that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Here is my five-step approach to building a business – not just columns on the appointment book:

STEP ONE: Resolve the conflict between “I/me/mine” and “We/us/team.”

  • All systems, pay included, must acknowledge and reward thinking and behavior that support teamwork.
  • Overhaul your company’s language and terminology. “We/us” replaces “I/me.” “Our” replaces “mine.” It’s subtle but VITAL to creating a true team-based culture.

STEP TWO: Stop tracking “Request Rate.” Request rate is your “walkout factor.”

  • Do you really want to measure your company’s walkout factor?
  • Do you really want to track and reward employees based on how much damage they can do should they walkout?
  • Do you really get how contradictory request rate is to building a sustainable business?

Replace “request rate” tracking with first-time and existing client retention rates. It doesn’t matter who clients return to … as long as they return to the company.

STEP THREE: Eliminate “Column Vision.”
Ask your busiest stylist to look at the salon’s appointment book and tell you what he/she sees. 99.9% of the time, the answer will be “I’m booked.” All the stylist sees is his/her column. That’s the resulting mindset of request tracking, I/me/mine and commission compensation.

  • Daily huddles engage team thinking and focus on team priorities.
  • Scoreboards that identify team goals and track team progress to goal, replace the constant and repetitive emphasis on driving individual sales.
  • Waiting lists for the already too busy service providers shift from ego and gridlock to the team sharing the workload.
  • Double and triple booking to drive more business through one column on the appointment book is recognized for what it truly is … a compromise of the customer service experience.
  • The busiest service providers recognize and understand that their future earning potential resides in the hours and talent available on other columns on the appointment book. (This is the foundational component of Team-Based Pay.)
  • AND … it just never made sense for a salon to have some overworked stylists with waiting lists and other stylists waiting for something to do.

STEP FOUR: True teamwork is about driving Overall Company Productivity Rate.
This is a major shift from the time and inefficiency of growing columns on the appointment book. It is the ultimate culture shift from column vision and I/me/mine. Strategies catch phrases are:

  • Everyone is responsible for every hour the company has available for sale.
  • The skills of the entire company are available to each and every client.

Growing a viable business is about driving your Overall Company Productivity Rate. That’s why as an owner, you obsess over white space on the appointment book.
QUESTION: How quickly would that white space fill if it was a team responsibility and owners no longer had to obsess alone?
QUESTION: How much better could you pay service providers if your company consistently enjoyed the efficiency of higher productivity rates?

STEP FIVE: Your Brand IS everything
There is a radical difference between a salon filled with stylists with followings and a salon filled with clients being serviced by a team.

  • The “stylists with followings” model is highly vulnerable to walkouts.
  • The “clients being serviced by a team,” although not immune, is significantly less vulnerable to a walkout.
  • If salons trained clients to be loyal to one stylist … then salons can train clients to enjoy the benefits of being serviced by a team of professionals.
  • The stronger your brand and team-service concept – the greater client confidence in utilizing the skills and talents of the entire company.
  • You may have an amazing looking salon, but if the clients that patronize your company are loyal to one service provider … you have failed to create a viable brand that attracts and retains clients. You have simply created a great space for stylists to service “their” clients until they leave.

“Sense of Urgency” for differentiation
Many stylists with client followings see little difference between working in a salon on commission and renting a booth or suite. When you factor in “column vision” thinking, they are, in many ways, functioning as an independent.

Employee-based salons have an opportunity to end the devastation of walkouts and the insanity of hostage management. To do so will require a shift to a team-based business model.

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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click below to comment.

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They will appreciate it.

12
Oct
15

FIVE Growth Drivers That Can Transform Your Business

tree_growthGrowth doesn’t happen by accident or good luck. In business, there are Outcomes and Drivers. Outcomes are measurements and scores of the company’s ability to execute. Drivers are the mini-engines that work in unison to deliver the energy to produce the desired outcomes. The better you dial in the Drivers the more impressive the Growth Outcomes.

Here are the top five Growth Drivers that, when dialed in, can deliver next level growth beyond your wildest dreams:

Driver 1 … Productivity Rate:
In a service business, you sell time. You buy that time in the form of payroll hours. The more hours you buy from employees, the more inventory of hours you have to sell. The total of all salable hours for a day, week or month represents 100 percent of your inventory. The more focused and strategic you are at buying and selling hours, the higher your productivity rate. The optimum productivity rate target is +/-85 percent. If your total productivity rate is running below 70 percent, you’re buying too many hours because you’re operating inefficiently and not producing enough demand.

RECOMMENDATION: Productivity must be relentlessly managed daily. Schedule hours to match customer demand. Never buy hours you can’t sell. Expedite the training and ramping up of new staff by developing expert level skills in the most basic services first. If your extended training program for new talent is plagued with turnover – it’s too long and needs to be condensed. Lastly, make it your company’s battle cry that, “Everyone is responsible for every hour that’s available for sale … in all columns on the appointment book.” This is the cornerstone of the Team-Based Pay business model and something that commission fails miserably at.

Driver 2 … Referrals:
Referrals are the “brass ring” of the salon industry. A salon can spend a fortune on advertising and time working on Social Media … but the truest and most significant source of new business is through existing clients referring friends, family and co-workers to their favorite salon. Referrals are earned each and every day, not just by service providers — but by all staff members, including front desk/guest services and anyone that has client contact in any form. Yes, a great haircut and color is key, but an indifferent and grumpy employee at the front desk can turn a possible referral from an elated client into a review that sounds like, “Great haircut and color … but rude treatment at the front desk.”

RECOMMENDATION: Create a company Code of Conduct that states, “Everyone is responsible for creating extraordinary client experiences.” It should include all service providers whether the client is in their care or not. It should include front desk, guest services and call center staff, as they are the frontline of creating and maintaining every client’s experience from phone, to check-in to check-out. It should include shampoo assistants, apprentices and housekeeping staff. More than anything, earning referrals is a team sport. Anything less is a compromise.

Driver 3 … Rebooking:
Rebooking is “Salon Business 101.” Haircuts grow out. Hair color grows out. One facial or massage doesn’t fix skin issues. To complete an otherwise perfect professional service and not give a client the recommended maintenance cycle — and rebook the client’s next visit or two — is simply allowing growth opportunities to walk out the door. Rebooking is THE most potent Growth Driver because it feeds two other Critical Numbers … Productivity Rate and Client Retention Rate (First-time and Existing).

RECOMMENDATION: All it takes to drive impressive rebooking numbers is a system that links stylists to check-out at the front desk. The stylist gives the client a verbal and written pre-book maintenance cycle with the next visit date … and that goes to guest services at check-out. Guest services says, “[stylist’s name] recommends that your next cut/color be done on [date]. Do you prefer the morning or afternoon?” That’s all there is to it. The one phrase that should be banned from the rebooking process is, “Would you like to book your next appointment?” That’s a YES/NO answer.

real-time montoring
Here’s a screenshot from a Strategies coaching client who uses Millennium that shows a rock-star rebook rate of +/-90 percent. In the bottom left “Rebook” box, you can see that this salon had an 87 percent rebook rate for the month of February 2014. Out of 804 client check-outs, 699 clients have rebooked a future appointment. Bravo to YOU Salon in Ellicott City, MD. YOU Salon is a Team-Based Pay company and consistently achieves +/-90 percent rebook rates.

Driver 4 … Client Retention Rates:
There are two measurements to Client Retention. The first is the conversion rate of first-time clients to a second visit. First-time client retention rate is the ratio of the total number of first-time clients in a specific month that return within 90 days from the end of that month. If you average 100 first-time clients a month and 35 of them return within 90 days, you have an unimpressive first-time client retention rate of 35 percent. This means that 65 percent of first-visit clients were not impressed enough to return. What does Strategies consider impressive? Impressive is 50 percent or higher. Rock star status begins at 65 percent.

The second measurement is Existing Client Retention Rate. This is the ratio of how many multiple-visit clients in a specific month return within 90 days from the end of that month. If you average 1,400 existing client visits a month and 1,190 return within 90 days, you have an acceptable existing client retention rate of 85 percent and a client base attrition rate of 15 percent. In this example, 210 existing clients failed to return.

RECOMMENDATION: Retention rates are a direct measurement of how well your customer service and experience systems are working. If you have a low number of first-time clients per month, a first-time retention rate below 35 percent, and an existing client retention rate below 85 percent … red warning lights are flashing and demanding immediate and decisive action. It’s time to totally rebuild your phone scripts, front desk/guest services procedures, consultations, service conclusion procedures (recap, recommendations for service and retail, and rebook). Any service providers with low first and existing clients retention rates must be retrained. If retention rates are seriously ugly, they should be on your competition’s payroll

Driver 5 … Retail Recommendations:
Ever since the 1970s when professional product retailing became mainstream in salons, the, “I’m an artist — not a salesperson” excuse to growing extraordinary retail sales has plagued the industry. The truth is, historical approaches to selling professional products in salons just don’t work and actually feed frustration. Retail commissions motivate the few, not the many. Too many stylists just opt out of the retail game. Front desk staff can’t close sales without recommendations. The result is that mass quantities of clients are walking out of salons with great hair and no professional products to maintain it. That’s why the vast majority of salons struggle to get retail sales over 10% of gross revenues.

The standard routine is for salon owners to set retail goals of approximately 10% retail to service sales. They measure the results and the results are typically the same; two out of ten stylists recommend and sell retail while the eight out of ten do little to nothing. For an industry that loves its professional products, it is incomprehensible why the simple and professional practice of conducting a rather straight-forward “This is what I recommend for home care …” process meets with such widespread stylist indifference.

RECOMMENDATION: Tracking a stylist’s retail sales percentage and average retail ticket is essentially tracking “the outcome” and not “the driver.” The driver that creates impressive retail sales is the number of verbal and written retail recommendations going with clients to check-out where guest services can “close” the retail sales and rebook future services. Track each stylist’s verbal and written retail recommendations that go to check-out and you’ll be tracking the real driver of retail sales. Strategies has a simple system called “The Happiness System” that accomplishes this task. For information on The Happiness System, contact Bruce Hourigan at 800.417.4848 ext. 203.

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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click below to comment.

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They will appreciate it.

24
Aug
15

Dynamics of Productivity Rate

ImageHeader-productivity

 

 

17
Aug
15

When You Want It Bad Enough

Yes_I_canEverything changes when you want it bad enough. It doesn’t matter if it’s advancing in your career, starting and growing your own business, achieving a once unthinkable goal, or mastering new skills and abilities. When you want it bad enough, it exists with absolute clarity in your mind. When you want it bad enough, the path reveals itself. And when the path is uncertain or brutally challenging, you push forward because lowering your expectations … and quitting … is not an option.

I started Strategies 22 years ago with nothing but a credit card, a couple of computers, the ability to effectively write and speak about business concepts, and an unrelenting desire to teach others about leadership and what it truly takes to grow a profitable company. For the two years prior to Strategies, I became part owner of a commercial printing company. (Yes, it was an odd path for a former hairdresser and multi-salon owner.) I knew all about graphic design and pre-press, but very little about running the production floor of a printing company. My grand plan was to print Strategies magazine on my own presses. The short story is, that path became brutally challenging. Aging presses, broken machinery, a bad partnership and no cash required tough decisions before I lost everything.

On September 13, 1993, I founded Strategies and stepped up from a crushing two-year experience back onto the path where my passion truly thrives. The two years of stress and sleepless nights taught me many lessons about business and the process, timing and urgency of making tough decisions. Without those lessons, Strategies would never exist or experience its 22 years of successful training and coaching. And I would never have been able to write my No-Compromise Leadership book that was honored with the 2010 IPPY Award for Business and Leadership. It is also the primary reason that cash-flow planning is a non-negotiable part of Strategies coaching training. And for 22 years, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else than the work I do at Strategies.

When you want it bad enough, you do whatever it takes to achieve it. Here are some No-Compromise Leadership insights on what happens when you want it bad enough:

  • Purpose driven: Everything you do has a singular purpose to move you closer to what you want. Because you are purpose driven, you filter out what doesn’t belong and focus on the work, tasks and endeavors that make you better. Your selectivity keeps you on a more direct course. You live by the rule that if it doesn’t fit what you want or what you want to become – don’t waste time on it.
  • It’s vividly evident: When you want it bad enough, your determination and commitment to your goal is vividly evident to those around you. It’s clear that you’re not dabbling, just hanging out or satisfied with where you are. Your focus, determination and seriousness is something you wear proudly every day … so much so that it earns the respect of those around you. Simply put, you are a strength to be reckoned with. You get results. You get noticed. You get recognized. You get rewarded. You make progress.
  • The leader inside: No-compromise leaders embody the vision of a company. When you want it bad enough, you are forging new ground. You are taking the lead. You become a natural leader that others what to follow. More importantly, your followers will stand by you when the going gets tough. They believe in you because you believe steadfastly in yourself and what you want.
  • Success is not a solo act: For you, it’s not just about getting what you want. Why? Because rarely, if ever, can you get what you want by doing it yourself. You need mentors. You need a support network. In a company, you need a dedicated leadership team and employees that want to be part of something special. If you win … everyone wins. If you win … you make it their win too.
  • Tough decisions don’t linger: When you want it bad enough and hit a roadblock, you know it’s time to make the tough decisions. Those that don’t want it bad enough keep staring and obsessing over the roadblock – or simply pretend it isn’t there. They remain stuck in indecision until things get really bad and they finally throw in the towel. What they feared most they allowed to happen. When you want it bad enough, you assess the situation, measure your options and make the tough decisions – even if those decisions are unpopular and require sacrifice. When you want it bad enough … you do your job.
  • You are not infallible: No matter how bad you want it, you are fully aware of your strengths and weaknesses. You will make mistakes, but you will own them and learn from them. You will get too wrapped up in your quest and forget just how much others depend on you for support. You will charge off into the unknown without thinking it through and smack into a wall. You forget to acknowledge and show appreciation for the great work others do. You will hold on to control and stifle team members when letting go of control is the prerequisite to empowering others. When you accept that you are not infallible, you will learn and grow … and achieve what you want.

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