Business Coach John Layzell's Blog

Effective time management

The 80/20 rule* that is so present in your business that it extends to the things you do and how you do them.  80% of the results you get come from 20% of the effort you put in.  By shifting your focus on the 20% that really matters you will be able to achieve so much more. These 10 tips will help you to use your time effectively and get the most done.

  1. Think of your dreams, and then set S.M.A.R.T. goals. Write down your goals, short term and long term, so that you can move onto a plan of action to achieve them. M.A.R.T. = Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results oriented, Time bound.  What’s the difference between a Dream and a Goal?  A goal is just a dream with a date attached!
  2. Your to-do list. Actually, I prefer ‘to achieve’ Write your tasks, organized by importance and urgency, and work through them.
  3. Schedule: Use your prioritized to-achieve list to make yourself a schedule so that you can stay on track with what needs to be achieved.
  4. Eliminate procrastination. Ignore the feeling that it’s not the right time to do something. Instead, just do the things you need to do, when you need to do them. JDI!
  5. Get a handle on your emails and phone calls. As part of your schedule block off times in your day to make all your phone calls and deal with your emails.
  6. Keep track of your time. Jot down how much time everything takes you and when you feel most productive. This will also guide you in how to write your schedule.
  7. Break times. Breaks are necessary for productivity. The Pomodoro technique is a well known technique for taking breaks to get more done. You work in 25 minute segments, each segment followed by a 5 minute break. After four segments take a longer break.
  8. Spending some time organizing your filing systems for emails and documents will save you time in the long run, not having to deal with it every day.
  9. Of course, you can’t do everything yourself, so give some of the smaller, more monotonous tasks to someone else who can handle them.
  10. Say no. There are only so many hours in a day! That means you can’t do everything. Only say yes to things you really want, or choose, to do and say no to the rest. Avoid time vampires!

By following through with these ten tips, you can manage your time most effectively and be the most productive.

* The 80/20 rule is actually The Pareto Principle, named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed in 1906 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population, and that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas!

If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog give me a call at 305-899-9963 or email me at [email protected] and we’ll make it happen.

Coach John
“Living beyond the ordinary”

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How to lose customers

Having a solid client base is an invaluable source of good publicity and business. In order to keep this customer base, there are a few things you can avoid to ensure you keep your loyal customers.

  1. Overly promoting to them they already buy. A sure way to drive away your customers is to offer them, over and over, something they already buy from you. You are wasting money on marketing a product to people who are already buying it.
  2. Your customers want and need confidence that you will be consistent each time. If you deliver good quality products and services every time, your customers will trust you and keep coming back. Consistently providing ‘good’ service is far better than providing ‘excellent’ service one day and ‘mediocre’ service the following day. People like to know what to expect!
  3. Raising your prices without reason or explanation. Unless your product or service is so unbelievably remarkable you will drive away your price shoppers and subsequently much of your business.
  4. Slow responses. We now live in a technologically advanced, ‘fast food’ society, where instant, or almost, gratification is expected. If you take longer to respond than they expect to someone who wants to do their business with you, it is likely they will search elsewhere for swifter service.
  5. Seeming indifferent. Statistics routinely show that fully 55% of customers leave a business because of “perceived indifference”. People like to feel important, if you have an A+ customer, make sure they know that. By staying in the line of sight of the best customers they will keep coming back to you.

If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog give me a call at 305-899-9963 or email me at [email protected] and we’ll make it happen.

Coach John

“Living beyond the ordinary”

Posted in Customer Service, Growing Your Business | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Prioritize and strategize

Feeling like you’re working hard and not getting anywhere is a common problem. Often, people work just a little bit on a lot of different tasks. Then at the end of the day it feels like you worked so hard but didn’t get anything done. Fortunately there are strategies you can employ to stop that from happening.

In Stephen Covey’s book, First Things First, he discusses a method to organize and prioritize your tasks. Take a sheet of paper and keep your to-achieve list handy. Fold your new piece of paper into four.

Label the top left quadrant “urgent and important,” top right is “non-urgent and important,” bottom left is “urgent and non-important,” and bottom right is “non-urgent and non-important.” Now, go through your to-achieve list and put each item in the appropriate quadrant of the paper.

With your new, organized to-achieve list, you work through each quadrant at a time and deal with the most urgent, the most important first. A list completed in this way will keep you focused on your current goals and will help you achieve your long-term goals like your quarterly and twelve month goals.

Now consider why you have any, or so many, items in your top left “urgent and important” quadrant!  At one time these items were probably in one of the other three quadrants!  What can you learn from this?

To your success!

If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog give me a call at 305-899-9963 or email me at [email protected] and we’ll make it happen.

Coach John
“Living beyond the ordinary”

Posted in Business Planning, Growing Your Business, Personal Growth, Time Management | Comments closed

Hiring the right person the first time

When you are hiring a new employee, getting the right person the first time around saves you a lot of time and money. These simple tips will ensure that you hire the right person.

Rather than calling them employees, let’s start out by calling them team members

  1. Group interview: While a person might seem like a great fit, they might not get along with your team. A good office environment makes everyone more productive and a group interview is a great way to asses if the person will fit in. With a group interview, you get chance to see how the person truly interacts with others. It also saves you time.  Instead of 6 individual interview at one hour each, you interview all 6 in one hour, saving yourself 5 hours!  Golf anyone?
  2. Look beyond the resume: Putting so much stock in a person’s resume could hurt you. In business, it’s not all about how many degrees you have but often about how much experience they have. A person with fewer credentials may have more experience and be a better fit for your company. Most people get hired because of aptitude, and most get fired because of attitude.  A person with a great attitude can be taught the aptitude.  The person with great aptitude and lousy attitude will never get it! Why not hire on attitude in the first place?
  3. Natural timing: Meeting people, asking them about themselves and their careers will help you put together the right team. Let the right people come to you naturally and let your hiring process happen organically. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care

Be yourself, put the potential new team member in a real setting, and think realistically about what your business needs and your business will thrive with the right team members. Get the right people ‘on the bus’ and get the right people in the right seats on the bus!

If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog give me a call at 305-899-9963 or email me at [email protected] and we’ll make it happen.

Coach John
“Living beyond the ordinary”

Posted in Business Planning, Growing Your Business, Team Building | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Look back and plan forward

The New Year is a natural time to want to start making some changes. Which is why now is the time to look back on your year. While experience is great to have, you need to evaluate it to get the most out of it. In order to be more successful in this New Year, you must take a look back at last year and understand what it is you need to change exactly to get want you want.

The first thing you should do is go through your wins and losses during the past year. Events such as significant meetings, decisions, or accomplishments, anything you feel made an impact on your year, positively or negatively. Use that list of important events to continue your reflection and help push yourself closer to your goals.

The next step is to write down and reflect on a few questions:

  1. What shouldn’t I have done? Think about what did you neglect, what did you miss out on that you should have done?
  2. What did I do last year to help someone else? Consider how you can do this again and how to improve upon this year?
  3. What helped me grow the most last year? Take this question a little further with “can I repeat this again? Can I make this a habit?”
  4. How can I do better this year? This requires a little more thought and reflection. Think about how you can exceed your own expectations and outperform yourself, how you can grow more and make yourself more satisfied with your life.
  5. What did I fear last year? Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make you a far happier and more productive person.

When you write down these questions and really ask yourself, you will learn so much about yourself and you can then apply what you learn to change in this New Year. This is necessary because you must connect your current habits with what you want; evaluate where you are, where you choose to be, and identify how to get there.

If you study your performance last year and use the leverage of the New Year, you can effectively make positive changes throughout your life.

To your success!

If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog give me a call at 305-899-9963 or email me at [email protected] and we’ll make it happen.

Coach John
“Living beyond the ordinary”

Posted in Business Planning, Growing Your Business, Personal Growth | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Identifying your customers- how and why

There is an 80/20 rule that shows itself in several different places throughout your business.

The 80/20 rule is actually The Pareto Principle, named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed in 1906 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population, and that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas!

In business, the following usually applies:

  • 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients
  • 80% of your sales come from 20% of your products
  • 80% of your headaches come from 20% of your clients

If so much of your sales come from only 20% of your clients, you want that 20% to be your best. Those are your A clients and you want to keep them to be happy, so that they return again and again, and recommend you to others. After you know who they are, you must reach out to them, learn where else they shop and what else they buy. By closely observing these clients you can focus on their needs, and ensure they remain the 20% who continue to provide your sales, while you always provide them with they want.

Give the people who deserve it more time and attention. Shift your focus away from that 20% who gives you headaches and work with your A and B customers.

Grazie Vilfredo!

If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog give me a call at 305-899-9963 or email me at [email protected] and we’ll make it happen.

Coach John
“Living beyond the ordinary”

Posted in Customer Service, Growing Your Business | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Mark up vs. margin

The terms markup and margin are often mistakenly used interchangeably, though they are quite different. Getting this right makes a big difference in the profitability in your business.

Markup is percentage amount added to the cost price to arrive at the selling price. Margin is the amount of gross profit made on the selling price, expressed as a percentage.

For example, if the cost price on an item is $100, with a 50% mark up, the sales price is $150 ($100 x 1.50 = $150)

The gross profit on the item is $50 (150-100) and to get the gross margin take your $50 gross profit and divided by $150 sale press, expressed as a percent (50/150 = 33%)

Gross profit is always expressed in Dollars.  Gross margin is always expressed as a Percentage.

Imagine the scenario of a women’s wear shop that buys a dress for $100, marks it up 50% and puts it on the sales rack for $150. A month goes by and the dress doesn’t sell.  To get rid of the dress, the shop owner decides to discount it by 50% – “hey we marked it up by 50%, so let’s discount it by 50%, get rid of it, and break-even!”  Makes sense, right?

NO!   50% discount on $150 is $75 ($150 x .5 = $75), and the owner bought the dress for $100!  A $25 loss!

Just suppose he did that for a whole rack of dresses – a $25 loss on each one!

All because this shop owner didn’t understand the difference between mark-up and margin!

It’s critical you understand and get this right!  It could be the difference between making a profit, and going out of business.

If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog give me a call at 305-899-9963 or email me at [email protected] and we’ll make it happen.

Coach John
“Living beyond the ordinary”

Posted in Business Planning, Growing Your Business, Money & Finances | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Why Service Really Matters

During difficult economic times, service is especially important. During good times people may not notice your efforts as much because they make quicker decisions. When times are tight people are more cautious of how their money is spent and will notice your efforts. Your customers will respond to more attention, appreciation, and recognition for their purchases.

Saving money and getting a good value are common topics among people during tough times and a powerful marketing tool (all the time, not just the tough ones) is word of mouth.

Great service just makes sense! Using the following ideas, you can achieve it…

– Quality service will differentiate you from your competition. Going the extra mile and being responsive makes you stand out and allow you to be remembered.

– Managing your customers’ expectations is essential.  It is impossible to give your customers everything they want all the time. Brining their expectations to what you can provide and “under promising and over delivering” are the best options to manage expectations and to keep your customers happy.

– When things go wrong, do everything you can to make it right again for your customer.  Restoring things for your customers will ensure future business.

– Spending a little time learning what it is like to be a customer in your own business, make a phone call or try out your competition. Take note of what your customers experience.

Focus on providing the best customer service and remember it is service that will keep the economy moving.

If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog give me a call at 305-899-9963 or email me at [email protected] and we’ll make it happen.

Coach John
“Living beyond the ordinary”

Posted in Customer Service, Growing Your Business, Personal Growth | Comments closed

Managing your results

Mastering the basics of running a business is the first thing I work on with a new client. Managing your money, your time, and the consistency of your product and delivery are the key to running your business.

These fundamentals are so important to running your business because you need to know where you are going in order to get there. Your eventual outcome and how you get there are determined by the goals you set, and measuring you and your team’s progress. To know what’s working and what isn’t working, you must test and measure results.

The first to set is your KPMs, Key Performance Metrics. You should have no more than five measurements that act as business drivers, something you can act upon to impact your bottom line performance. For example, your average dollar sale and your profit margin are business drivers.

Learn how to use your cash flow statement and your income statement to track your finances and your actions that tie them all together. Then, start tracking your average dollar sale and your conversion rate, your key business drivers. Next, find and track two things that are connected to increased productivity and customer satisfaction at the same time. Improving your KPIs, Key Performance Indicators, need to become your priority and your team’s priority.

Setting goals and comparing results of the reporting period to the goals is how you measure progress. Get in the habit of asking your team why there is a variation of results and the actions that led to variation, positive or negative. Discuss continuing the positive actions or changing the negative ones.

You have all the information you need to manage the results in your business. Master the fundamentals of running your business and be proactive. 

If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog give me a call at 305-899-9963 or email me at [email protected] and we’ll make it happen.

Coach John
“Living beyond the ordinary”

Posted in Business Planning, Growing Your Business, Personal Growth, Time Management | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Relax and improve your business

You may find it difficult to relax after long days in your business. In fact, it is a challenge for many business owners. Disorganization, inattention, mistakes, and general frustrations are obvious side effects of tiredness. But the problem is, in trying to counteract those symptoms, you work more and harder and that only intensifies the issues.

– Don’t spoil your day off with turning your computer on, opening your briefcase, or even thinking about work!

– Hire an assistant (or housekeeper) so that you don’t waste time off with chores- always delegate where you can.

– Silence your phone and turn on the answering machine when it’s time to switch off.

– Go to bed earlier (or later) so that you get the perfect amount of sleep for you and wake up feeling rested and recharged.

– Think about what you’re reading. The magazines, newspapers, and books you’re choosing should be uplifting, and generally make you happier.

– Unless you have specific programs you watch, try to avoid television. What you watch will affect the quality of your life.

– Whatever takes up space around you will take up space in your head, so clear out all the clutter.

– Plan for four weeks of vacation a year and be sure to secure that time well in advance. Yes, America, that’s for you.  Busy people like you in other countries do it!  Why not you?

– Give yourself 20 minutes of deep relaxation or meditation a day.

– Wherever your relaxation space is, your bedroom ,  living room, or cave, clear out all work materials so that you can completely separate yourself.

Use these tips to get the most out of your relaxation time so that you can get the most out of your work day, and more out of your life!

And just this past weekend, a dear friend and successful professional reconfirmed that a 1-20 minute nap early afternoon does wonders for re-invigoration. Try it!

If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog give me a call at 305-899-9963 or email me at [email protected] and we’ll make it happen.

Coach John
“Living beyond the ordinary”

Posted in Growing Your Business, Personal Growth, Time Management | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed
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