Are You Having Growing Pains?

What barriers keep you from growing your business to the size and profitability you want? How should you tackle them to grow to the next level? Our free webinar shows you how.

What’s keeping you from growing your business to the size and profitability you want? Has your growth been slowed by things that keep dogging you? How can you smash through those barriers and move to the next level?

Here’s what I hear all the time from owners:

— You’re a solopreneur, and you want to grow beyond what you can handle by yourself.entrepreneurial vision

— You have a handful of employees, but everybody’s reporting to you, driving you to a frazzle.

— You’ve got managers, but you’re still running day-to-day operations, and you’d love to hand this off to a trusted top manager, to free you up to focus on growth—and a vacation!

If you’re nodding your head yes to any of these, check out our free webinar, Smash Through the Top 10 Barriers to Growth, on June 4.

I’m doing it jointly with two other small business experts: attorney Nancy Lewellen and productivity consultant Rosie Aiello.

Here are the details.On that page, scroll down to see the 10 barriers we will cover.

I will focus on three areas:

1. Management style for growth. Make sure you’re not the bottleneck to your company’s growth.

2. Profitability. See how you stack up against the 12 Principles of Profitability.

3. Marketing & Sales. Make sure your Magic Chain of Marketing has no missing links.

This free webinar will be an exciting tune-up for you, to help you quickly discover ways you can overcome your own growth barriers.

Check it out and sign up now while you’re thinking about it.

Call me at 415-491-1896 if you want to find out if it would be right for you.

How NOT to introduce change to your employees

The 12 worst ways to introduce change to your organization

What are the WORST ways to introduce change to your employees? Yeah, I’l be glad to tell you the BEST ways, but first see if you’ve used any of these approaches:

  • Surprise your people by springing it on them.

    How well are changes accepted?
  • Issue a fiat: “Starting Monday, everyone must . . .”
  • Introduce change on a whim: “Hey, I had a good idea; why don’t we…”
  • Assume you know best and ignore people’s questions and concerns.
  • Seek the input of your people and then ignore it.
  • Say one thing, do another.
  • Keep everyone guessing.
  • Let negative rumors spread because you haven’t said enough–or anything.
  • Play down the burdens and hassles involved.
  • Start the project and then abandon it.
  • Make the change seem like punishment or extra work.
  • Wait until the change is forced upon you, then do it in crisis mode.

So this is what you want to avoid. What’s the best way to introduce change? That’s the next post.

 

The Inner Game of Business Growth

Why do some businesses grow rapidly while others struggle for growth and profitability? Here are examples of what holds people back.

Why do some businesses grow rapidly while others struggle for growth and profitability? The difference often lies within the noggin of the owner. You are the biggest asset of your business, and more than likely the biggest bottleneck as well.

How about you? Is the way you run your business a barrier to your growth, profitability, and ease of operation?

Self-defeating management habits, attitudes and beliefs pervade the “crazy makers” I hear from business owners all the time. If you look at yourself, you may notice contradictory attitudes like these:

On the one hand . . . On the other hand . . .

• I can’t get all my work done. . . . I’m not hiring another employee.

• I must learn how to manage my time better. . . . I can’t find the time to make the needed changes in how I use my time.

• We’ve got to stay on budget. . . . I can’t resist making last minute design changes.

Pulled by conflicting attitudes

• We’ve got to watch costs. . . . I can’t be bothered to review the financials.

• Low margins are killing us. . . . I can’t bring myself to raise prices.

• I’ve got to take more time away from the business. . . . I can’t leave my managers alone. I can’t totally trust them.

• I need more skilled employees. . . . I’m afraid I’ll just train my own competition. I’m afraid I won’t have enough work to keep them busy.

• I need more sales. . . . Marketing scares me. I wish customers would just come.

• I get so tangled up in day-to-day operations that I lose sight of my vision. . . . I doubt the value of having a plan.

• I want to ease up and work fewer hours. . . . I can’t change my belief that hard work is necessary.

If you are nodding your head, “Yep, that’s me!” for any of these, you’re not alone. Crazy makers like these bog down many entrepreneurs.

This is the theme of my new ebook, “The Inner Game of Growth,” which shows you how to resolve these crazy makers.

I also offer you a freebie phone session on how to tackle contradictory attitudes like this using two simple tools. Just call me, 415-491-1896.

Business Culture of Innovation and Growth: Netflix

Thanks to Frédéric Filloux, of Monday Note, March 18, 2012, for permission to adapt his post.

Does your company’s business culture support your desired growth? Here’s a culture statement from Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, which has rocked the streaming media sector like never before. How does your culture compare?  How could you apply these? Are there things here you think would not apply to your company? Why not? Leave a comment below.

Here’s an excerpt:

Behavior and skills. “We hire and promote people who demonstrate:

1. Judgment

2. Communication: Listening others and articulating views

3. Impact: “You focus on great results rather than on process. You exhibit bias-to-action, and avoid analysis-paralysis”

4. Curiosity : “You learn rapidly and eagerly”, “You contribute effectively outside of your specialty”

5. Innovation: “You challenge prevailing assumptions when warranted, and suggest better approaches ”

6. Courage: “You say what you think even if it is controversial”, “You make tough decisions without agonizing”, “You take smart risks”

7. Passion: “You inspire others with your thirst for excellence”, “You celebrate wins”, “You are tenacious”

8. Honesty: “You are quick to admit mistakes”

9. Selflessness: “You are ego-less when searching for the best ideas.”

Other Netflix core values include:

— “Great Workplace [means working with] Stunning Colleagues : Great workplace is not espresso, lush benefits, sushi lunches, grand parties, or nice offices. We do some of these things, but only if they are efficient at attracting and retaining stunning colleagues.”

— “Corporate Team:  The more talent we have, the more we can accomplish, so our people assist each other all the time. Internal “cutthroat” or “sink or swim” behavior is rare and not tolerated.”

— “Hard Work = Not Relevant : We do care about accomplishing great work. Sustained B-level performance, despite “A for effort”, generates a generous severance package, with respect. Sustained A-level performance, despite minimal effort, is rewarded with more responsibility and great pay.”

— No room for what Hastings call “Brilliant Jerks”. His verdict:  “Cost to effective teamwork is too high.”

— About processes: “Process-focus Drives More Talent Out. Process Brings Seductively Strong Near-Term Outcome.  Then the Market Shifts… Market shifts due to new technology or competitors or business models. [Then] Company is unable to adapt quickly because the employees are extremely good at following the existing processes, and process adherence is the value system. Company generally grinds painfully into irrelevance.”

— “Good” versus “Bad” Process:
“Good” process helps talented people get more done.
- Letting others know when you are updating code
- Spend within budget each quarter so don’t have to coordinate every spending decision across departments.
- Regularly scheduled strategy and context meetings.”

“Bad” process tries to prevent recoverable mistakes:
- Get pre-approvals for $5k spending
- 3 people to sign off on banner ad creative
- Permission needed to hang a poster on a wall
- Multi-level approval process for projects
- Get 10 people to interview each candidate.”

— ” We realized… [that] We should focus on what people get done, not on how many days worked . Just as we don’t have an 9am-5pm workday policy, we don’t need a vacation policy. No Vacation Policy Doesn’t Mean No Vacation. Netflix leaders set good examples by taking big vacations – and coming back inspired to find big ideas.”

“Expensing, Entertainment, Gift & Travel: “Act in Netflix’s Best Interest” Generally means… Expense only what you would otherwise not spend, and is worthwhile for work. Travel as you would if it were your own money. Disclose non-trivial vendor gifts. Take from Netflix only when it is inefficient to not take, and inconsequential. “Taking” means, for example, printing personal documents at work or making personal calls on work phone: inconsequential and inefficient to avoid.”