THE TEST OF A TRUE ENTREPRENEUR: CAN YOU STEP AWAY?

This article from Inc. Magazine, The Test of a True Entrepreneur: Can You Step Away? is such an independent validation of everything ActionCOACH stands for, that we couldn’t resist re-posting it.

It begins with the question: “Can your business run indefinitely without you at the helm?” This is exactly what we at ActionCOACH strive for for our business-owner clients: That they are able to put a self-sustaining company into motion that has the right employees and systems in place that the owner knows it can run on its own. What does that mean for you? Very simple: More time and money to enjoy your life.

READ ON:

Business owners, especially those just starting out, often make the mistake of getting caught up in the day-to-day operations of their businessthe work of running the businessso much so that they don’t take time to consider how the business runs.

Are you guilty of putting your nose to the grindstone and forgetting to come up for a look around?

If so, it is critical that you understand the point I’m about to make. For if you do, neither your business nor your life will ever be the same.

Your business is not your life.

Your business and your life are two totally separate things.

At its best, your business is something apart from you, rather than a part of you, with its own rules and its own purposes. An organism, you might say, that will live or die according to how well it performs its sole function: to find and keep customers.

Once you recognize that the purpose of your life is not to serve your business, but that the primary purpose of your business is to serve your life, you can then go to work on your business, rather than in it, with a full understanding of why it is absolutely necessary for you to do so.

This is where you can put the model of the Franchise Prototype to work for you.

Working on your business rather than in your business will become the central theme of your daily activity, the prime catalyst for everything you do from this moment forward.

How do you work on your business?

Pretend that the business you ownor want to ownis the prototype, or will be the prototype, for 5,000 more just like it.

Not almost like it, but just like it. Perfect replicates. Clones.

In other words, pretend that you are going to franchise your business.

And if you are going to set up a model that is the prototype, there are rules you must follow:

  • The model will provide consistent value to your customers, employees, suppliers, and lenders, beyond what they expect.
  • The model will be operated by people with the lowest possible level of skill.
  • The model will stand out as a place of impeccable order.
  • All work in the model will be documented in Operations Manuals.
  • The model will provide a uniformly predictable service to the customer.
  • The model will utilize a uniform color, dress, and facilities code.

If you are going to create a business that serves your life, you must create an organization that will stand on its own. You need a model that is systematized so that it functions the same way every time, and can be run by people with the lowest skill level. Then, you can step away. And that is the mark of a true business ownerthe ability to enjoy the freedom of owning a business, without the requirement of doing work in the business everyday.

Look at your business – Can it function in your absence? If not, what would it take to get it there? Get to work on your business today.

ActionCOACH has helped hundreds of businesses right here in Northern California achieve this kind of freedom. Are you ready to let go? Give us a call to set-up a completely COMPLIMENTARY meeting with our coach Bob Britz at no obligation to you: 925-270-1790.

GETTING READY FOR THE REBOUND: PREPARING FOR THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY

Optimism among company CEOs has been at an all-time low these past few years since the recession hit. The uncertainty caused by the crisis has frozen many companies- they’ve simply stopped planning for growth. In fact, many consider themselves lucky just to tread water.

But signs are pointing to the fact that that the economy is on the rebound, and it’s very important that your company be poised to harness the upswing when it reaches its full momentum. Here are some ideas that may inspire you to make the best of NOW, so your future is more profitable.

Invest in technology- Many companies have a difficult time researching new technology and implementing it when they’re in the middle of doing a lot of business. Research takes time, and time is a precious commodity when you’re busy. So take advantage of the fact that your business may be running at less than full capacity and figure out how technology can streamline your operation and save you money. Take a look at billing software, or an online ordering system, for example. These are simple additions to your current set-up that can bring the money in more quickly and accurately.

Hire brilliant talent now while you can- Now is a fabulous time to hire because the market is flooded with qualified applicants. This will not be the case for ever. Bringing in new blood when you have more time to train them only secures their success at your company even more.

Increase training- Education is key for your team. It boosts productivity as well as morale. Invest your down-time now in training your team in skills that you foresee them needing later once they begin to get really busy. Think about a time when your business was running at capacity: What were some of the things you wished your team could do, but were unable to? Train them on that.

Get to know prospective customers- Now is a great time to forge relationships with potential business. Set meetings with key decision-makers at those companies and let them know that though you understand things may be tough right now, you want to get to know more about their business for meeting their needs in the future. This type of networking will help you to stay on top of how your customers’ needs have changed in the last few years, and help you provide a better product or service.

Research loans or lines of credit- Though banks are more cautious these days, it still is possible to get funding. When the economy starts to hum, having liquid capital on hand to invest in your business will propel you above and beyond the competition.

At ActionCOACH we have numerous, tested ways that can help your business plan for the inevitable economic upswing. Are you prepared? Find out at a complimentary coaching session with Master Business Coach Bob Britz: call 925-270-1790 or email  

DRIVING SENIOR MANAGEMENT FORWARD

Working in business you quickly learn that a partnership with your senior management team is like a marriage, only there’s no physical relationship. The playbook and attitudes you all took on over a few beers as the company may have started are often in need of refreshing. Seriously, you spend 8-12 hours a day with them, more than with your spouse, and chances are you have discussions over wins and disagreements that may blush a customer if they walked in. So what are three key ways to ensure a happy and profitable relationship?

First, act your role in the situation. No one is perfect but you can affect how you’re perceived in a heated discussion in several ways. Check in with yourself first. Are you coming from a position of being a victim in the situation? Victims can come across in a “poor me” stance that unwittingly invites the onslaught in a disagreement. Are you angry and wanting to change things? That’s not a good or bad position to take and it may motivate you out of a victimized inactive state into action. Be sure to stop and think before engaging to find the best “win-win” outcome for everyone involved. Usually there is a way both or all of you can win, and you’re often best to lead with that rather than an angry stick or as wounded animal.

Secondly, get your money discussions under control. Many partners and senior teams differ about money and its use in the business. My first question to them is whether they’ve taken the two to three day retreat together at the beginning of the year to actually set goals and plan.  It’s all about having accurate financial reports, creating a budget, and looking at KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) for all areas of the business to build a great foundation and future communication. Most businesses find that when they get away and actually work on these things, action driven goals and objectives can be created. Generally speaking, management teams should spend 2 days a year offsite before year end, 1 day per quarter, 4 hours per month, and 30 minutes weekly reviewing their plan to ensure goals are on track and financial decisions make sense. All these times of review should occur PRIOR to the end of the period in question. Financials can catch up in a few weeks. Stay focused, stay strong.

For more information on Robert Britz see:  www.actioncoach.com/robertbritz or email robertbritz @ actioncoach.com

Finally, define the relationship. Many of my clients who have a partnership or corporation should have a plan in place if one partner dies or becomes unable to conduct their duties. Simple key-man insurance covers the death issue, and disability and other legal language can mitigate a long term disability for both the injured party and the business. A worst case scenario occurred last week with a new business I began working with: One partner was in the final stages of buying out the other partner in a long running business. After final negotiations were completed, and before paperwork had been signed, the exiting partner suddenly died in an accident. There was no key-man life insurance in place and now the remaining partner is in business with his deceased partners’ spouse. It’s unclear whether the surviving spouse had been made aware of the negotiations to sell at all. Now it’s unclear what she may want to do with her half of the business. It’s a mess.

As business coaches, we frequently engage attorneys or CPAs  and sometimes counselors to help our clients. Helping clients avert the proverbial train wreck is common-place in my role. As a coach, we help businesses define the plays in the playbook, create new ones so that they win faster, and measure their success against a scoreboard of opportunities that lie ahead.

If you’ve never experienced any of these three situations, consider yourself lucky. If not, it may be time for us to talk further.

DEFINING YOUR PERSONAL PRIORITIES FOR GREATER BUSINESS SUCCESS

As an entrepreneur, do you ever feel like you are working way too many hours? Is an 80 hour-plus work week normal for you? You know the old saying that on their death bed, nobody ever says they wished they had worked more. They always say they wish they could have the time back they did not spend with their loved ones.

At ActionCOACH, we feel your pain. In fact, most of our clients come to us just at this stage of working too many hours and beginning to resent what they initially set out to do- their dream. This stage is called burn-out, and often happens at about the five year mark of being in business.

Our philosophy at ActionCOACH is you must, must, must put your personal life as a first priority, above all that your business is pulling at you to get done. We know it’s hard, but there are proven strategies that will allow you to do this. The first step in this process is for you to decide what, in fact, your priorities are. Consider the following questions which were written in an article titled, “10 Questions That Create Success” in Inc. Magazine. The author introduces them by saying, “Ask them at the end of each day and I absolutely guarantee that you’ll become more successful”:

1. Have I made certain that those I love feel loved?
2. Have I done something today that improved the world?
3. Have I conditioned my body to be more strong flexible and resilient?
4. Have I reviewed and honed my plans for the future?
5. Have I acted in private with the same integrity I exhibit in public?
6. Have I avoided unkind words and deeds?
7. Have I accomplished something worthwhile?
8. Have I helped someone less fortunate?
9. Have I collected some wonderful memories?
10. Have I felt grateful for the incredible gift of being alive?

These are great questions to get you into the right mind-set for defining your priorities, and ultimately, where you really do want to allocate your very precious time. Put these things first and your business will likely become much more successful too.

Need help figuring out how to navigate a transition away from your all-encompassing role as a business owner? We can help you define your personal priorities and make them align with your business vision. Email robertbritz@actioncoach.com or call 925-270-1790 today.

KEEPING YOUR CLIENTS FOR THE LONG HAUL

Let’s keep your clients happy and coming back over and over to your business, shall we? Post New Year regrets come home to roost in many a business as clients evaluate their commitments amid newfound doubts. That sounds so dark and dim but there’s a reason for why clients go through this process. Luckily, there are also ways to help them out of it so that they keep being good clients for your business.

If you’ve every embarked on a new gym membership, you know when you sign up you’ll have to work harder on your mindset than your body to keep your commitment to weight loss alive. You’ll notice that the gym only has a startup fee and a monthly pay option. There is no end date to the agreement. Why? Because many commitments we make become suspect at the half way mark. Half way is when the normal client will begin to re-evaluate the relationship. So like a gym, avoid the half way mark altogether in your business- don’t offer an “end date” to divide in two. Personal trainers often prescribe programs that take 2, 3 or 6 months. It’s important for them to regroup at the half way point and motivate their client to continue. Personal trainers and floor staff ensure the experience continues beyond the hump.

Well that’s simple, but what if you do have a fixed contract? You might be a contractor building on a house, or an Information Technology (IT) Professional installing a network, or even a clothing store with a personal shopper. All of you have a point in your delivery process that the client must get over to keep going. When building a home, it’s when the owner gets to selecting the finishes – paint, fixtures, carpet – that they get burned out and want to quit. It becomes the cranky phase for the owner that often leads them to withhold part of the payment in the end. They can’t leave but they want to. So how does a contractor keep the client moving forward? By setting an upfront agreement at the onset: “If we all agree that this particular phase or that will be trying, how do I encourage you through that when we get there?” Pre-loading the expectations of the client almost always helps when things get tough.  When expectations are outlined and reinforced throughout the process, the client is less likely to try to get off the bus before their scheduled stop.

What if your product is complicated? If you’re in IT, installing a network is often subject to the 90/10 rule. It takes 90 percent of the time to install the actual infrastructure, and the last 10 percent takes 90 percent more time again to finish. Clients become frustrated when they don’t understand theproduct fully enough to appreciate the complexity. Often, projects creep with issues surrounding data migration or new code or many other issues that frustrate clients. Education is the key along the way to ensure the client knows what is happening and why. Let them know of any anticipated issues as they arrive so as to avoid surprises and costs. When the intellectual level of the project exceeds the knowledge level of the customer, it’s time to stop and bring them up to speed to keep them on board (and as your client) for the long term.  An appropriately educated customer is often a much happier customer from start to finish, and generally pays on time.

If you’re struggling with your sales or delivery processes, a complementary consultation with an ActionCOACH can assess where the bottleneck might be in your method:  www.actioncoach.com/robertbritz

What if your product lends itself to the “multitude of choice” issue? Men’s clothing is pretty simple; waist and length, black, brown, beige – done. Women’s clothing is not so simple. (Keep in mind that I am a guy and in dangerous territory, but here goes.) Many fine women’s stores have personal shoppers. But why, you may ask? Isn’t that an extra cost to the store? Not really. A trained personal shopper will help pull together outfits, find the right accessories and hopefully be honest with the customer that the outfit works. Not only do they increase the average sale for the store, women who enjoy shopping will return because of the relationship they develop with the shopper. The difficult part in this sale is having 10 -15 items picked out and deciding which ones to actually purchase! Shoppers often tire mid-way through the process if left on their own and end up leaving stores with little or nothing. Adding a personal shopper to the mix will not only make the experience better, but the store is more likely to have repeat business in the long run. Keep your customers moving through the process by providing specialized employees or repurposed employees to keep them engaged.

In every case above, the solution is human intervention. In a fast growing world of social media, the answer isn’t always another tweet, but could be a human spoken word or a smile that makes the difference. Use social media to get them there, and when they’re yours, do all in your power to set expectations, give advice and educate, and coach them through the process.

At ActionCOACH we help clients understand over 65 ways to deliver their products and services better so that their clients are satisfied, and their business thrives as well. To find out more about ActionCOACH or arrange for a complementary consultation go to:  www.actioncoach.com/robertbritz

EFFECTIVE MARKETING STRATEGIES THAT ARE PRACTICALLY FREE

Traditionally, marketing was expensive. It involved running costly ads in publications, or hiring a p.r. firm to manage a campaign for your company.

Yet there are many ways that a small business with a tight or limited marketing budget can get great results with marketing efforts that are run in-house for very little money. Here are six ideas:

1. Blog. You should definitely have a blog that links to your Web site, and that you are posting content to each week. It takes time, we know, but it’s free and your business can get really great results from it if you’re doing it right. Here’s a fabulous how-to from Hub-Spot which will give you some good pointers on how to blog properly for the most return on your time invested: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/30766/7-Fatal-Business-Blogging-Mistakes-And-Easy-Fixes.aspx

2. Post to social media. OK, so now that you are writing blogs at least once per week, it’s easy to leverage your posts across social media platforms. Your company should already have a Facebook business page, a LinkedIn page, a Twitter account and a Google+ Business page. If you don’t they are super easy to create, and they’re free! Once you have these set, post what you have in your blog to them each week. This keeps the feed live and interesting.

3. Track your leads. When you blog and do social media, carefully track where you are getting a following or comments. What type of content are people gravitating toward? Post more of that. The more original content you post, the better. Become a thought-leader in your field. This gives your brand credibility and when people start to perceive you this way, you get that organic validation that even the most expensive marketing campaign can’t promise.

4. Email marketing. Do an email blast at least once per quarter. Create a newsletter format in which you provide its readers with valuable information (don’t just sell your product or service!) which will make them want to open it. Provide some sort of discount or incentive to buy from you which will also get them excited to open the email. (If you use MailChimp to send your blasts, it’s completely free until you reach 1,000 contacts!)


5. Network. Where do you get the email addresses to email your email blast to? Networking events! Go to as many events as you can handle and add them to your email list. Aside from possibly meeting a great allian

6. Re-connect with previous customers. It’s a proven fact that it is much easier to make a sale to a customer who has already purchased from you than it is to convert a new lead. So sit down with your list of previous customers and give them a call. At the least you will make thece or potential customer, your sphere of contacts grows.


m feel good that you are reaching out to them to see what their needs are, and at best, will likely get a few repeat buys.

As you can see, there are many tactics that can be employed to help market your business which don’t have to cost very much. If you like what you’ve read here, we have many other insightful business strategies which will help you become the business you’ve always envisioned. Contact us for a complimentary coaching session to see if business coaching is right for you.

HOW DOES “WHO YOU ARE” AFFECT YOUR BUSINESS GROWTH?

How could who you are NOT affect your business is the real question. Some people just seem to be successful. They constantly seem to win, dress the part every day, are probably fit and have great attitudes whether they’re winning or losing. How is all that possible?

It all starts with ice. Actually an iceberg if you will. You see all of us live like icebergs showing only a small part of who we are above the water line. How these people behave helps us predict how they’re going to act in various situations; it’s about what they do. Below the waves are a myriad of factors that make what’s above the ice how it is. If you were to dive down and look beneath the water’s surface of one of these successful people you’d be surprised what’s down there.

The first thing we see is that they have a net full of SKILLS. Skills they learned in college, skills they learned from experience, and things they just learned from life. All of us have skills stacked and sorted, some of them used, some of them not so much. The more skills you can use in your day, the more effective you’ll be in business and in life. Use what you’ve got.

A few feet further down and you’d run into their BELIEFS. Beliefs are simply things that are held to be true but are not proven by facts. For many people their faith or spirituality is just that. But used in life, these beliefs become powerful assumptions that are applied to every situation. It may be called the lens through which people view the world. These beliefs impact which skills we acquire and which skills we use in creating the behavior for each situation.  Limiting beliefs are also just as real. If we believe we are not good in sales, that may be something you believe but may not be proven out by fact. Beliefs are like the gas pedal on a car propelling us forward if positive, or limiting us like the breaks if they’re not.

Dropping another few feet in the water we find VALUES. Values are the things that tell a successful person why they do what they do. For example, if you enjoy the use of money you’d be considered to be utilitarian in nature, appreciating what money does. If you constantly sought out knowledge for knowledge sake, reading book after book, taking course after course, earning degree upon degree, you’d be motivated by knowledge itself. If the most important thing to you is harmony in the workplace or the home, then an aesthetics motivation would keep the peace. Being a winner, you may enjoy the lime light and want to be compensated for your contribution to the team – people like this tend to be individualistic in their goals and motivations. Looking back into history, the law or other bodies of documented success take a more traditional view and are motivated by the anchors of society and methods. Finally there are the social animals who derive much of their worth and well-being through encouraging and being with others. They bring the party to the rest of the world and enjoy doing it in every way. The good news is most of us are motivated by our top two of the six values listed. Successful business owners can be any of these combinations because they are driven by their beliefs which are applied to their skills and expressed in their behavior.

Lastly and most important near the bottom of the mass of ice is our identity. Identity is often in successful people, tied to their role. They are defined by their assumed dentity. Some options you may choose could include: SUCCESSFUL, HUMBLE, CARING, SLOW TO ANGER, RELIGIOUS, SPIRITUAL, HEALTHY, HUSBAND, WIFE, PARTNER, ATTENTIVE, PEACEFUL, CLEAN, SON, DAUGHTER, MENTOR, GROUNDED, WEALTHY, OUTDOORSMAN, ARTIST, NON-JUDGMENTAL, PROBLEM SOLVER, FRIEND. Each of these might be a part of your identity.  (Take a moment and write down yours.)

I put success as the first part of the list because most people who are in business want to be successful. The problem with success is you can’t acquire it, you can only attract it to you by being the type of person that desires it. The same is true of wealth, love or money. You have to attract these things by being the type of person who has the same dreams and motivations as those who are those things.

So ask yourself, what’s your dream identity? How is it different perhaps than who you are now?

What do you want out of life anyway? Make yourself a Dream Board with clips from magazines that represent who you WANT to be, and put it up on your office wall 22 x 34” so you can see it daily.

What makes up the dreams you have assuming you give yourself permission to lean back and dream? Who else is personally involved in your dream attainment? What are you reading? Do you have a dream board? Who do you share your dreams with? Do you keep a list or a journal and check them off when they become real? Then, do you dare to dream again?

Identity is fascinating when you find a business owner who has dreams and is living them. I met a man in San Francisco who we were meeting to see if he was in need of business coaching.  Already successful, I asked him what one thing he did to ensure his success. Earning over $600,000 per year, every year for the past 8 years, he leaned back and said it was simple. It almost always is simple. This man made a “To Achieve” list every Monday and spent 3-4 hours deciding what and to whom he could delegate among his staff of 125 employees. He kept only the most important 1-2 for himself and worked the rest of the week on those only- a pattern of success worth replicating down the line. His identity was that of a successful leader, who trusted his employees explicitly and grew beyond his and his wife’s wildest dreams.

So now that you’re in deep, let’s look at how all this puts itself together. The results you have today are from the behaviors you have exhibited. What you Do creates what you Have. Most people when asked how to double their income would say Do more, Do double to Have double. The truth is, you have to Be a different person to Do things differently, to Have what your goals say you should have. Creating an Identity shift to Be that new person that you’re dreams say you are. Start with a dream board and give yourself permission to dream…

…that’s not practical, that’s not possible you say?  Now that’s a limiting Belief that should be worked on.

IT’S LONELY AT THE TOP: WHY YOU NEED AN ActionCOACH

To get the truth about how you are running your company, you need someone with an outside, neutral perspective. It’s not enough these days to analyze reports, or get feedback from a trusted employee; that’s why having a business coach has become very common.

Nearly all coaches will tell you that the most important benefit they provide their clients is to be a trusted sounding board. Business owners say they appreciate their coach more than anything for much-needed objectivity.

When you are a business owner, the decisions you make can have huge consequences for your company’s success, as well as for the lives of your employees. They are weighty choices, and it’s crazy to make them in a vacuum. The perception of a lone CEO cowboy is not only outdated, it’s being phased out because you make more money and are actually happier when you make decisions with others involved.

Good coaches will tell you like it is. They will assess the situation and using their years of experience in working with CEOs and businesses of all kinds, will not hold back on their frank evaluation. They strive to be honest with ideas, suggestions and opinions. They will test your assumptions (possibly the single-most destructive problem CEO’s have is taking as hard fact something that is only their belief). A good coach will gain your trust throughout this process. Their role in your life as a business owner is singularly unique.

So while it may feel as if it’s lonely at the top, it doesn’t have to be. A business coach is your ally. Like all of our current and past clients will tell you, their businesses grew in direct proportion to the amount of weight lifted from their shoulders when they brought a business coach onto their leadership team.

MAKE 2012 YOUR YEAR WITH CAREER COACHING

The beginning of 2012 is a prime time to reassess your career goals. Yes, there is still a lot of uncertainty in the job market, promulgated by political tensions at home and abroad, and the US economy is only just beginning to turn around. But you can’t control any of that. You can only control yourself. If you have been laid-off recently, or have been wanting to make a career move, now is the best time in decades to redefine your career goals and sharpen your outlook.

With 24 years of experience in coaching and mentoring, I recently launched a coaching program specifically targeting those who are re-entering the labor market, or are wanting to make a move into a new field.

Below are profiles of my typical clients- do any of them resonate with you? If so, please give me a call to arrange a complimentary Alignment Consultation. It’s your chance to have a CareerCOACH evaluate your business and personal life, and identify many different areas of untapped potential. I can be reached at 925-270-1790 or at robertbritz(a)actioncoach(dot)com.


Profile Descriptions:

Chris and Julia – 20-30 year-olds seeking first career in a good culture with opportunity for growth.

I can help you find a career, one that you will enjoy, one that you’re skilled to do and, one with a great culture in which you can grow.

I recently worked with 6 college graduates to help define who they were, what motivated them the most and coached them through the resume and hiring process. All of them have great jobs that they love through this process.

Does this profile sound like you? Please give us a call to set-up a complimentary Alignment Consultation, and see what Career Coaching is all about! I can be reached at 925-270-1790 or at robertbritz(a)actioncoach(dot)com.

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Steven and Sarah — 30-40 year-olds looking to change careers to work less and enjoy their families more.

Changing careers in this economy could be tricky, unless you have a solid game plan. I can help you change careers, to one you will enable you to advance, that better uses your skills and talents, and that gives you more time for your family as you grow.

I worked with a young man who had followed in his family’s footsteps to a career that was frankly boring. It lacked passion and purpose for his life even though the money was good. We redirected him to a new career that used his skills fully and as a result work wasn’t a long drudge anymore. He has time now for his family, friends and sports; life is feeling full again.

Does this person sound like you? Please give us a call to set-up a complimentary Alignment Consultation, and see what Career Coaching is all about! I can be reached at 925-270-1790 or at robertbritz(a)actioncoach(dot)com.

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Gina and Bill – 40-55 year-olds looking for similar work, but better cultures to work in.

In an economy of 9% unemployment, you have to realize that 91% are STILL WORKING. Finding a job is as much about how you go about it as it is who you are.

Are you looking to get back into the workforce? Is a healthy culture something you are looking for? Does a shorter commute and good pay make the top of your list? Career Coaching helps you get there with a proven process to finding your ideal employer, in your backyard if possible. We just helped a man who was making good money but driving 90 minutes each way, every day, find a local job that worked. The process of finding who to interview with is as intriguing as developing an interesting resume to capture their attention.

Does this profile sound like you? Please give us a call to set-up a complimentary Alignment Consultation, and see what Career Coaching is all about! I can be reached at 925-270-1790 or at robertbritz(a)actioncoach(dot)com.

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Mary and George - 55-65 year-olds looking for rewarding work where they can manage and ease into retirement or non-profit work.

Many of us are working towards retirement, with respect and dignity in our careers. Finding that great job you can take into retirement or into a non-profit opportunity is the goal of many.

Are you full steam ahead in your desire to work in a meaningful career? Are you aiming at both travel and your investments for you and your spouse? Is “giving back” something you’re contemplating now or in the future?

Many of us are looking for that one final career path that both rewards our experience as well as allows us the luxury of occasional travel. How many times have you wanted to get involved in a non-profit to help it grow and thrive? Career Coaching can help you get on that path with your own passions and desires driving your next career.

Does this person sound like you? Please give us a call to set-up a complimentary Alignment Consultation, and see what Career Coaching is all about! I can be reached at 925-270-1790 or at robertbritz(a)actioncoach(dot)com.

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Below is a typical timeline of what you can expect when working with me:

Career Coaching Sessions:
There are four career coaching sessions after the initial consultation is completed. Each session will last up to 90 minutes and will result in discussions about the topic, progress from the last week, and goals and homework to be completed in the time between meetings.

Session 1:      Discovering your Passions

Objective: Understanding what motivates you and what you would do regardless of pay, pain or obstacles because you are passionate about it.

To Do: Workbook completion / Discussion

Session 2:      Finding a Job You Will Love

Objective: Take an online assessment that defines for you your natural behavioral style, your personal values and your task desires in the work environment.

To Do: Take online assessments review / Discussion

Session 3:      Creating Your Resume

Objective: Complete a finished resume designed to reflect your passions, style and motivations as well as past successes.

To Do: Create a base resume for review and editing by your coach and you.

Session 4:      Getting to Interview for Your Perfect Job

Objective: Learn how to find interviews without monster, craigslist or hiring a placement firm. Using resources at hand, carve a path to your perfect job.

The Alignment Consultation

It’s your chance to have an CareerCOACH evaluate your business and personal life, and identify many different areas of untapped potential. This process is a vital first step in getting maximum value from your commitment to the Coaching Program. Call us today to schedule your complimentary consultation, and start making the changes you desire! I can be reached at 925-270-1790 or robertbritz(a)actioncoach(dot)com. 

Career Coaching, where Progress is a Matter of Choice.

GOALS YOU CAN KEEP FOR 2012

In a Harvard study lasting over 25 years, some interesting facts were determined about having and executing goals. They found that 70% of all people tracked had no written or even verbal goals. Further, 27% had verbal goals in that they could express their goals to you. Sadly only 3% of those tracked had both verbal and written goals. That same 3% possessed 98% of the wealth of the group.

There is a correlation between success, having, and executing your goals. So why do so many shy from creating them?

Everyone knows someone who makes new years resolutions just to find in a matter of weeks that the goals have been forgotten. They are disappointed for a few weeks and shrug it off for another year. This post will help you not only stay on track with what you want, but will help you set reasonable goals you can achieve and exceed.

First, you need to put your goals into buckets: Personal, Sales, Marketing, Delivery, Administrative. If you have more than one business, create a goal sheet for each one. (To get an actual goal spreadsheet email rebecakrones@actioncoach.com.)

So let’s talk about smart goals: S.M.A.R.T. - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-oriented and Time sensitive. Have you ever has someone say, “I wanted to go to Greece this summer.” Past regrets for something that hasn’t even happened yet. This is not reflective of a goal. To say “I am going to Greece on July 10th, for 10 days, and I’m saving 150 per month to pay for the plane ticket I will buy on March 1st”. See the difference? S.M.A.R.T!

I start with Personal Goals because that’s why I work- to have a better personal life- not the other way around. I want to work out with a partner three times a week to maintain fitness and a weight level -which takes both commitment and scheduling. We also take long weekends, and a vacation a couple times a year. Time with your partner? Dates with your kids, sport events and school plays, scouts, volunteer time? If you don’t put those goals in first you will NEVER fit them in around creeping business activities. Issues of Health, Faith, and Family should be addressed first.

I usually focus on the goals I am not doing well and goals that are core to my success so that my sheet doesn’t become cluttered.

Now you’re thinking about business goals. Which area you chose to work on first should be the most difficult or that which you procrastinate over. (Read  Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy.) I’ll illustrate some goals for Marketing since that’s what most new clients want to focus on. Your goals may start with Sales or Delivery/Client Retention if that’s where your needs are.

Marketing:
Do you know the characteristics of your top 3 target markets - many companies don’t. Others say “we sell to anyone”. Hogwash. Defining your 3 markets is a great goal.

S.M.A.R.T-ize it:
Three distinct markets in our geographic territory - Specific. Determine the number of sales made to each of the three groups over the past year to see how much revenue (and profit if you can) for each of the 3 markets. You may, by the way, have 4 or 5 core markets and that’s o.k.- Measurable.

Do you have the data? Does your CRM or Accounting Package track enough data on your three groups or is that an intuitive manual process that can be done? How will you store the new data and how will you sort and manipulate it?- Attainable.
Figure our your 3 markets, percentage of contribution to your revenue and profit and be now ready to apply marketing methods to each specific group, product line or however yore business divides up. - Results

The analytical process could take day or three weeks to complete. In any case it should be done before ANY new marketing is started. - Time sensitive.

So now you have the 5 S.M.A.R.T goals defined of which several break down into smaller chunks and dovetail into the time line of other goals.

EXAMPLE:

Figure out your 3 Target Markets.

Step 1. Collect data. If you have a killer CRM system with full client data and details on every sale. Likely not for many small businesses that aren’t retail or restaurant based. Get what you’ve got printed out and go from there. It could take 1 day to 1 week: put it in your goal planning sheet in the week of the new quarter- you or your staff will start this step.

Step 2. Analyze data. It may take one or two meetings to get input and draw conclusions.

Step 3. Compare findings to existing marketing plan results from the prior year. Or if you didn’t have a marketing plan, begin to construct one.

Steps 2 and 3 may take a week each or a month depending on your company complexity and team buy-in. In any case you can see how a simple marketing goal can take more time than just a day or two you may have envisioned in your mind.

Another example from the Administrative section may be a new hire. New hires take 4-6 weeks to hire from conception to the first day. But you may envision needing them tomorrow. Realistic goals with real time frames get done, and done right.

Plan your goals and work your plan. Have your quarterly goal sheet plastered on the wall in your office, in your day timer, on your computer desktop where you will see and use it each week of the quarter. If you review the goals for each week as they progress you find progress in your company and your life.

And remember: Progress is a Matter of Choice.