Create The Process, Solve The Problem

Decision-making was the topic of one of my recent blog posts and then just the other day, I came across this fantastic quote:

“Most business activity is slowing down, not accelerating. In benchmarking the speed of key processes across the corporate sector, we find again and again that decision-making at even the most basic level has slowed materially over the past five to ten years.”

– Tom Monahan, CEO of CEB

Monahan wrote an entire article with supporting data around this topic and I wanted to weigh in, as well, because one of the key factors in growth is finding rhythm in decision- making.

Making decisions in business is an everyday activity. Whether you are a one-person show or on a team of dozens, finding a way to come to a decision (right or wrong) should be broken down into a standard process.

Don’t have one? Create one.

Depending on your industry, your team (or no team) and the decisions at hand, the process you create will look different, but having one gets the ball rolling and stops you from getting stuck.

For example, your office is in need of new accounting software. Everyone is complaining about it being outdated and they’re just sending emails back and forth without actually working on a plan to change the situation.

Maybe it’s simply because they don’t know what to do? Who do they tell? What do they tell them? When do they tell them?

For this scenario, you would create a decision-making team. If you don’t have a team, find friends or colleagues to support you.

You need a researcher, someone to compile all the research, someone to present the research, a meeting to discuss the findings, a decision by vote at the end of the meeting, someone to order the software and someone to learn the software and train the rest of the office.

Delegate people to each task and set realistic deadlines and expectations. Often it’s the lack of scheduling and firm timeframes that delay decisions.

Now, anytime the office comes across an IT or software related decision need, a process and a team is in place.

Problem: Outdated software

Step 1: Research team starts looking for options.

Step 2: Interns compile all the research into Excel…

And so on and so forth.

If you want to work on creating a process for decision-making in your business, let’s chat. Reach out to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com.

Making Decisions

The first thing I want to say is that I am sending prayers and well wishes to everyone affected by the scary weather situations happening in our world.

The decision. Do I stay or do I go? The ultimate question on the minds of so many in the past few days and weeks, as Hurricane Irma was set to begin her destructive path.

My aunt left to go back to Florida after spending Labor Day here in New York City for a family reunion. Even though the family wanted her to stay, her decision was that it was important for her to be home. She lives in the Palm Beach County area and got to a safe place for the storm.

Other family members in the area include a young couple, expecting their first child. They packed the car and headed to Orlando, also making backup reservations in Atlanta.

When they made this decision, no one expected Irma to head in this direction. They made their decision and took action.

Many people stayed. Many people left. It was their decision.

Of course, all decisions come with multiple factors. There is often no right and no wrong, there is only the best decision in that given moment. We can then make the next decision and the next decision.

The smart way to approach any decision, whether it’s about a storm, a family situation, a business opportunity – is not to make a panicked one. Look around the strategy around the decision, the opportunity and best case scenarios.

It’s easy to be taken over with fear, and frankly feeling the OMG that is often around decisions and the pressure of making a great, smart, perfect one. The best thing to do is remain focused and look at all the options available.

Talk to others, find support, ask questions, in the questions the various or best potential answers arise.

You don’t have to make the decision alone and always trust your gut.

Don’t stay in indecision. You must come to a resolution.

Every day you are faced with decisions. Some are small and some are major. It’s something we have to learn to do as business owners, parents, leaders, etc.

Be informed and never hesitate to ask for help.

A Goal Accomplished

I’ve always been a firm believer in goal setting and I’ve worked with all of my clients over the years on defining their goals, setting out the action plans to achieve them and then taking the steps to make that happen.

One of the keys to success in goal achievement is about the specificity of the goal, the definition of the clear and consistent actions to get there and, of course, the celebration in the achievement.

This has all been brought back to me in the last week on both the business and personal front.

On the personal side, I watched my son graduate from his dream school last weekend, not only graduate but do it surrounded by our family.

Six years ago, he defined what he wanted in his college life and knew the industry in which he wanted to work. He set out creating and following through a clear course of action with a combination of classes, internships and creating his network.

As he completed his finals and papers and got ready for his graduation, he managed to schedule three interviews for companies in his chosen field. Believe me, he is not perfect or different from any other graduating seniors who have had a clear course of action and definite goals. But without actions plans, goals can’t become realities.

When I was in San Francisco last week, I was speaking to two different groups. One evening we spent time talking about the importance of having a goal and the connection to the goal. There were many new entrepreneurs in the audience and this was and is a groundbreaking piece of advice for anyone starting out in a new business. It is also relevant any time you are expanding a business or starting a new project.

Here are the steps I teach around goal setting:

  1. Identify the goal.
  2. Review the goal and make sure you it is specific. (General goals are often overlooked and become unmeasurable)
  3. Create or identify the “specific” actions you need to take to achieve the goal.
  4. Calendar out the actions in a realistic schedule.
  5. Celebrate. When I say this, it’s not just celebrating when you’ve achieved the goal, it’s celebrating every small action step you take towards the goal. I must say our family celebrated all weekend especially when a job offer came through 12 hours before graduation.

Share with me on the SSC FB or LinkedIn page your goals and celebrations. We are all in this together and if you want to talk in more detail, please reach out to su pport@slatersuccesscoaching.com.

Are You Willing To Fail?

Last week I attended a great conference called NY Moves that is focused on women’s rights, social fairness and equal opportunity. The day was filled with amazing speakers, including an interview with Maggie Siff from the Showtime show Billions, on being a working mom and the decisions she has made.

The speakers were powerful and, of course, I took pages of notes. One of the comments that truly impacted me was when Elizabeth Bierman, Senior Technical Manager at Honeywell Aerospace said,“Put yourself out there and be willing to be uncomfortable.”

This came out around a conversational topic of FAILURE. Several of the ladies spoke about the importance of failing and being willing to fail. A great quote mentioned, “There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” – Brene Brown

If we think about all the inventions, advancement and growth from people who have been willing to fail, it’s pretty extraordinary.

Success takes time to achieve.

-Steve Jobs being fired from Apple before his return years later that completely transformed the brand.
-Bill Gate’s first company Traf-O-Data failing, before finding massive success with his next company, Microsoft.
– Thomas Edison trying 1,000 attempts before his successful creation of the light bulb.
-Vera Wang, who didn’t make the U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team so she took a position at Vogue and ultimately went on to become an iconic fashion designer.
-J.K Rowling, who received 12 rejections to the first Harry Potter book, before creating a beloved franchise that now includes books, films and theme parks.

The stories go on and on.

One of the women at the event shared a quote I really liked by Mae West, “An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.”

Are you willing to be in action and be uncomfortable? Are you willing to fail?

I know in my 25 years as a business owner I have made plenty of mistakes or “failed” many times. I have also been willing to be in action.

When I was in printing, I had mere minutes to make a decision for a deadline.
I made the best decision in that moment.
In less than two minutes, I knew it was the wrong decision.
It resulted in a loss of $60,000.
The next step was getting into action and seeing what options I had to course correct.
It took me about a year but I did course correct and made back $85,000.

Are you willing to fail, be uncomfortable, and be in action, no matter what?

That is the definition of success.

A Nor’easter story today

It’s a snowy day in New York City as we deal with the latest winter storm, Stella, which got me thinking about storms in business and storms in life.

How do you react when a big storm, either professional or personal, comes into your life?

The saying that it’s not about the problem or the crisis, but how you respond to it that matters, is so very true in both scenarios.

It’s happened to me a lot in my life, an easy example is when I travel. I’ve left early, stayed an extra day, changed the original plan and didn’t let it affect my mood. Sure, I might have felt inconvenienced or even a little angry at first, but responding with a negative attitude and letting it take over, is just about as useless as it gets.

This week I’m hosting a BSR and normally I’d be spending extra time in the office to get everything ready. But I planned ahead and knew I’d be working from home, so I spent time yesterday gathering everything I needed and talking with my team to make sure we were all on the same page.

If you make things into a big deal, then they become a big deal. If you go with the flow and continuously show up 100%, you are on the right path.

Today, we were prepared for this storm. We knew it was coming. We planned on working from home, we rearranged travel plans, or maybe we got on Netflix and planned an entire snow day of watching movies!

Other storms, we don’t see coming. We can’t see coming. How do you respond to those?

A client isn’t happy, a technical problem ruins a webinar, someone in your family becomes ill, you need to repair a major issue in your home.

Do you get upset and begin to stress? Or do you break down your options and take action?

You know I always say, TODAY I CAN. Figure out what you can do to navigate through the storm.

And ask for help if you need it. We shouldn’t weather any storm alone. We are all on this journey together.

What are you doing today? How did the storm affect your plans?

Share with me on the SSC Facebook page.

Scared to be alone with them?

Welcome to the month of love! My life is full of things I love. My husband, my children, my family, my friends, my clients and colleagues.

And of course, my business. And along with that, the numbers in my business. When you give more love, you receive more love. And taking the time to get along with my numbers opens up the opportunity for a lot more of it to come my way. I invite you to try it.

If you aren’t in love with your numbers yet, if you’re still a little scared to be alone with them, try these icebreakers to get started on a path to love:

1) Simply, write down on a piece of paper, a financial goal at the beginning of the month. Let’s say it’s $3,000. Support that goal with your actions. Anytime you make money, write down the amount on that sheet and celebrate your way to the goal. Money becomes fun this way.

2) Look at your overhead, bills, invoices, upcoming events. Knowing your numbers is empowering and gives you the knowledge to make decisions for growth. If you have a huge tax bill due on your house in a certain month, it might not be the best time to plan a pleasure trip or invest in a new training. If three months out of the year, you don’t pay car insurance, use the extra money to invest in your business by attending a conference you know will net a great ROI or put more money into advertising. When you truly know and understand your finances, they become easier to manage.

If you’re struggling to find love surrounding your numbers, let’s chat. You can always reach out to me at support@slatersuccesscoaching.com. Or head on over to the SSC FB or LinkedIn page and send me a note there.

Do this every day…

I’m all about looking toward the big picture, putting plans in place to reach financial goals, sales goals, client goals. But the big picture isn’t available right in this moment. Not for you, not for me. Every day is a step, an opportunity to increase our chances of eventually securing that big picture.

Decide on three actions, just three, you will do every single day to move your business forward. They don’t have to be the same three things every day, you can change them up as often as you need to, say weekly.

For example, three actions you might take today would be:

  1. Making at least one sales call.
  2. Spending 30 minutes on marketing.
  3. Reviewing numbers and finances for one hour.

Create this list for yourself and don’t stray. You’re having a tough day and a sales call doesn’t seem like your favorite thing to do? Do it anyway. That call might turn into a client that changes your financial situation and brings you one step closer to your yearly goal. And suddenly, the tough day just turned around. If you never make the call, you never receive the result.

30 minutes on marketing might seem minimal. But if every day for a week, you spent time on it, what would you accomplish? You post in some of the Facebook groups in which you belong that you’ve been neglecting and suddenly you’ve connected, received access to a free training or found out about a really great networking event in your area.

Looking at your numbers forces you to make decisions. Looking at what is coming in, what is going out. Looking at what will change as a new season approaches, a new program launches, a new team member is added. You might find yourself planning ahead because you dedicated the time and since you weren’t rushed to figure it out quickly, you were able to make smarter decisions.

This is a simple exercise to practice when moving your business forward. And another tip, why not add a fourth action item every day specifically for you. A health and wellness action, a mind reset. A spin class, yoga with friends, happy hour. These are important actions to take to keep you moving, too.

What three actions will you commit to today? Share with me on the SSC Facebook or LinkedIn page. And if you want to talk further, reach out anytime to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com

Will it be big or small?

IMG_6017It’s our wedding anniversary tomorrow and as we talked about what we were going to do this year to celebrate, it got me thinking about presents.  

You might find this strange, but it brought up the image of a slide I use when I teach about packages and pricing. Business on the brain all the time, I guess!

The slide shows different size boxes, representing different types of packages.  

I have no idea what size box I will receive as a gift, it might be small it might be big.

Honestly, I will be happy with any box that is filled with VALUE.

That is the key to packaging and pricing.

Your packages need to be the right fit for your client. Some clients want that big package filled with information, access to you, feedback, worksheets, etc.

While others, want something small. One training, one report, one course.

It doesn’t matter if one package compared to the other includes more. What matters are the client needs and what level investment they want to make.

Get out of your own head and into your clients when developing packages. Listen to them. Hear their pain points and create a list of ways you can help or support those pain points. Then get to work on package options.

I suggest thinking of three packages: small, medium and large. Every single one has value and meets the client where they are.

Understand that packages can and will overlap. It makes total sense that they do.

If you want to learn more about creating packages, you can watch a video I made on it here.

If you want to know what I will be doing to celebrate my anniversary, stay tuned to the SSC Facebook page and LinkedIn page for updates!

$100 For A Bottle Of This?!

People invest and pay for value! It’s true. During my retreats last Slater Success Coaching Ivy Slaterweek, one of the activities we did was take a private tour of a five-year old distillery, Hillrock Estate. It was interesting and exciting to learn about the development of the business, the marketing and sales strategies, as well as how they’ve grown since their inception in 2012.

One of the facts we found most interesting was that their first bottle was not put out to market at a low price point. In fact, it cost $100! And five years later, their products consistently range from $80 to $100 per bottle, including Bourbon, Rye and Single Malt.

The SSC retreat ladies had a lot of questions…

Your first bottle at such a high price?

Don’t you start low and build up?

Did people actually pay that?

Slater Success Coaching Ivy Slater 2I sat back listening to this and realized it’s such a common thought amongst business owners. That a low price point is the only way to start.

I don’t agree with this thinking at all, by the way. Why do we always want to start small? Do you really want to play small?

Hillrock had a lot to say in response to those questions…

They told us they knew from the beginning they were going to enter the market with a product that had value and wanted to set themselves apart from the little guys. They felt they had too much integrity to put out a product that was not high-quality, and they consulted with the best people in their industry to make sure their standards were exceeding the average.

I got to thinking about the beginning of SSC. I came into this business with little self esteem and hence did not see my value.

I was running a seven-figure printing business and didn’t see the correlation in the experience I brought as a business coach. I invested in training in one of the top international coach certification programs, yet still didn’t see the value I brought to the table.

I was new, so I felt I had to price as a newbie. I hear this so often, especially at retreats when we really dig into things like rates and value.

I grew and learned that the value is in the results in which the client receives. Once I figured that out, I stepped into my value. I now guide my clients to step into their value and shift their business perspective.

Here’s a great example: Just a couple of years ago, I had a client who launched a line of young girl’s clothes with a specific niche market. Yes, I love and endorse a niche market. The price point when launched was approximately $100 per dress for a 2-6 year old.

I can hear some of you saying “WOW, who puts their little girls in a $100 dress?”

They were so well received that it was picked up within the year by some of the top department stores. The buyers of this line as well as Hillrock, value high quality, something that is special and important to them.  

How do you price and ask for your value?

  • First, identity the pain points of your client and what the problem is you are solving.
  • Next, see the value in the results for the client.  
  • Step out of the “am I worth it”  – “am I good enough” emotion and see the importance to the clients in the investment.

This was a game changer for me when I struggled with this in the early days. Then I started seeing the results. Clients doubling their income and a client who went from $25 per hour to $20,000 per month. Get out of your own way!

If you’re struggling with this, STOP, click right here and schedule some time to chat with me.

Stop, Analyze, Adjust

Wow, a week ago today I was holding my third annual SSC Live event. I can’t
believe how fast time flies.

It’s hard to believe we’ve done this three times and even harder to believe it’s already behind me for 2016.Ivy Slater Slater Success Coaching.com

This past weekend, I spent some time reflecting on the event, as well as the process that went into the planning and execution.

I did an analysis of the expenses, pre-planned budgets, team, support and all the other details that went into producing a large scale event. The notes I have from that analysis ensure that 2017 will be better, bigger and even more successful. I’m already excited!

When you think about it, how often do you really stop and break down the steps you are taking in your business? I know I do.

I am always encouraging you to move forward to take that next step and in order to do that, the steps before that have to be firmly planted.

  • Stop

  • Analyze

  • Decide what’s working and making you happy

  • Decide what’s not working and making you crazy

  • Adjust

One of the exercises we did at SSC Live was to look at who we need to be and how we will show up to accomplish the goals we set out for ourselves.

In producing SSC Live, there were tons of decisions to make. There were people to manage, details to decide on, content to write, people to talk to, invites to send, follow-up to do (happening right now) and there are steps within each of those action items. Who am I, how am I showing up as the CEO and as the leader, as a team member?

My team is a big help, but I’m a part of every aspect of my business, because it’s important to know exactly who is working on what and how I can support that work.

How are you running your business?

Are you reflecting and learning from those reflections?

Are you making adjustments as you move forward? 

Are you aware of how to show up as a business owner?

It doesn’t matter whether you’re solo or have a huge team, you must raise your level of awareness on how you show up daily to accomplish your goals and what steps will get you there.

Pay attention to details and always be ready to jump into all the roles in your business.

Reflect on something that has happened in your business recently. A launch, a webinar, an event…
Then head on over to the SSC Facebook Page and/or LinkedIn page. and share your biggest takeaway from that reflection.

Ivy