Take Your Business Back to School

It’s August and that means parents everywhere are beginning the annual back-to-school rituals. Every parent knows (and sometimes dreads) the process. If you have school or college aged children, you’re probably dealing with it right now. Or maybe, yours are “grown and gone”, but you still remember the drill.

For business owners this adds more chores to your regular list. But have you considered that your business may need a back-to-school brush up as well? Once everyone is settled back into the classroom routine, it might be a good idea to have a chat with your VA (virtual assistant) or business advisor, while the issues are fresh in your mind.

While customs vary from family to family, and from region to region, there are certain necessities that are universal back-to-school activities.

New Clothes: Your students look forward to a new fall wardrobe when the school year begins. Everyone wants to start off right by looking their best. The same may apply to your business. Is it time for a fresh look for your website or updated info on your brochures?

School Supplies: Many children – and not just in the younger grades – really enjoy getting new pencils, notebooks, crayons, backpacks, etc. This might be a good time to evaluate and/or plan for business supplies. Do you often find yourself with too many or too few of needed items? Or maybe there is a big-ticket item that you would like to have. Now is a good time to plan for how to get these things to improve your business.

Health Check-Ups: With sports physicals, required vaccinations and developmental testing, a visit to the doctor’s office is often a part of the back-to-school routine. It’s important for educational progress and safety to make sure students are healthy and ready to learn. It’s also important to periodically assess the health of your business. Do you have adequate cash flow? What type of marketing will you use to ensure the health and progress of your business? Are you prepared for growth?

New Friends and Contacts: One of the exciting parts of a new school year is the opportunity to meet new friends and re-connect with past ones. And of course there are new teachers with policies to sign and contact forms to fill out. Your business can also benefit from new friends and contacts. What’s the current state of your social networking site pages? Do they need updating? Or perhaps you could benefit from a more regular schedule for these activities.

Enjoy August as a time of new beginnings for students and businesses.

Why Your Business Back Stage Is As Critical As Your Front Stage

It’s critical that you execute on your promises and deliver what customers expect. If they expect something great and receive something mediocre, their perception of you plummets.

Systems must be in place to ensure perfect delivery. If you don’t execute and keep your promises, these customers will tell everyone about it, and they have the web to spread their bad experience. In my small business marketing firm, we call this “front stage” versus “back stage.” It doesn’t matter how pretty and flashy your front stage is if your back stage doesn’t deliver.

Front stage is your high-profile executives and spokespersons, events, website, materials, and media. Back stage is your people and systems-the inner workings of your company that customers don’t see, but the results of which they experience.

I once purchased a training course from a company with an excellent front stage. The speakers were persuasive. The events were flawless. The results seemed inevitable. However, after engaging with them for about a month, it quickly became apparent that their back stage was a mess.

They wouldn’t return phone calls. They never delivered on their promises. What looked like a golden opportunity was quickly exposed as fool’s gold.

I wasn’t the only one with a bad experience. The company went out of business a couple years after opening.

My business partner Carl once had a conversation of the leader of the execution team for a major self-help author. The author had written many books and had phenomenal success. He had the ability to speak magically to the hearts of the audiences to whom he regularly spoke. He put on his own events where he offered and sold a number of in-depth solutions for personal growth and financial success.

Unfortunately, he had the bad habit of biting off more than he could chew. In other words, he over-promised on stage and his staff had no other option than under-delivering. They couldn’t create nearly as fast as he promised. In the end, customers felt slighted. His staff felt the pressure and ended up leaving.

Most marketing and advertising firms focus solely on your “front stage” messaging. But you must also build your “back stage” so that it supports and synchronizes with your front stage.

Are You Holding Your Business Back?

Defining a Breakthrough

A breakthrough is, in metaphysical terms, an expansion of energy. To move from one level of success to the next, you must expand your energy. You expand your energy by moving into a place you have never been before.

Steps for Creating a Breakthrough

1. Focus on the cause, not the effect: We have been conditioned to focus on the effect of our perceived problems. If you feel your business is not generating enough sales, it is natural to attack the effect, which could be anything from not making enough sales to high employee turnover. To make a positive change you must go to the cause.

2. Take Action: Ask yourself, “Why are my sales slipping or not where I would like them to be? What has caused this drop in business? How you feel is the key to all changes in your business. You must also examine all issues including a shift in the market, changes in staff, new technology, or expanded competition. The key here is going to the cause of the issue, and figuring out how and why it started in the first place; this will create a much different approach to problem solving in your business.

3. Accept that you are the creator: Successful people accept responsibility for all aspects of their business. You must accept that you, and only you, have the power to make the changes you desire.

4. You cannot play the victim: Becoming a victim lowers energy and weakens your power. Any time you blame outside conditions for your failure, you are acting as a victim.

5. Willingness: You must be willing to do whatever it takes to move forward. The moment you are not willing, all of your obstacles and unconscious fears come to the surface. If you truly want to succeed, you must be willing to take appropriate action and make necessary adjustments.

6. Embrace Change: The only thing you can count on is change. Many people in today’s business market are desperately holding on to the old ways of doing business. The world is changing and you must be open to moving with it. Most people do not like change, but those who embrace it will soar to new heights.