How to grow your business by managing the right numbers

Management guru, Peter Drucker famously said “what gets measured gets managed.” I’m a great fan of managing your business by key numbers. It gave me a clear pulse of the business and gave me clarity on what I needed to focus on before it’s too late. The challenge is that many times entrepreneurs don’t measure these important numbers or they end up tracking the wrong numbers. In this blog I’d like to share four key learnings in this matter:

  1. Leading vs. lagging indicators – My biggest “AHA” moment came when I learned this distinction. I will give you a simple example of weight to illustrate the point.If you want to manage your weight then getting on the weighing scale will only tell you the current situation. No change will happen by getting on the weighing scale daily. This is a lagging indicator. It is the result of all your previous decisions and actions.If you want to change your weight then you need to focus on monitoring and measuring 2 key numbers that can proactively help the end result of managing your weight. These would be considered leading indicators. Take for example you can focus on:(a) your calorie intake – you could limit your daily intake to below 2000 calories per day.
    (b) amount of time you exercise in a week – you could decide to jog for half an hour three times a week.You could set goals here on the amount of calories you burn. It’s easy to measure these days with various watches in the market.

    Both are measurable and both are actions that you can proactively take in the future. If you focus on taking actions on these two indicators daily or weekly, then over time they will impact your weight (lagging indicator).

    For example in a business context, one of your goals this quarter could be to generate 1 crore of new revenue. This is the Lag measure.

    The lead measures or Income Producing Activities (IPA’s) that can impact the business generation are:

    (i) Number of Qualified New Prospects that you have contacted.
    (ii) Number of existing customers you have met or called today to upsell.
    (iii) Number of people on your database or social media channels.

    In one of my earlier blogs I shared a slidedeck on how to get teams to execute key goals in more detail. Have a look at how to lead and manage winning teams.

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Seven Steps to Successful Delegation

One of the most important things we can do to scale up a business is to develop a team. Successful delegation is a crucial part of team management and a powerful way to boost your productivity. While most people think they know how to delegate I have found them to be ineffective because they miss crucial steps. With these seven steps you can become an expert delegator:

 

Step #1: Decide on what to delegate

Before delegating anything, first ask yourself whether the task needs to be eliminated or automated? If the task is necessary and cannot be automated then I put it through the following matrix to see what to delegate:

As a general rule I want to keep all items in zone 1 – The Flow Zone with me. These are tasks that I’m highly passionate about and I’m very proficient at too. These are items that energize me and add the most value to my business.

I want to delegate all other tasks in zone 2, 3 & 4, starting with those tasks in my disconnection zone first. These are tasks that I have a low passion and proficiency for.

Step #2: Select the appropriate person to delegate to.

It was a revelation for me to find that there were things that were in my “disconnection zone” that were in the “flow zone” for other members of my team. This is why it’s important to build a complimentary team. (more…)

3 powerful systems to turbocharge your business growth

If you want to scale up your business and create a saleable asset then you will need to have a systems focussed business. I look at 3 specific areas where your business can deploy systems to scale up and 5 easy steps to create a system.

One of the ways in which I was able to scale up BNI India was through having a clear written sales process. Initially we tested various methods of converting sales. For each test we only changed one variable at a time so that we could clearly see how it impacted conversion.

We kept the things that increased conversion against our benchmarks and we discarded things that were lower than the benchmark.

The research shows that if you have a written sales process that you and your team follow it increases your sales by 20% compared to companies that don’t follow a written sales process.

I am great fan of systems because they allow my business to have consistency and get predictable results. Systems enhance my team’s productivity.

My advice to entrepreneurs is to initially focus on these 3 systems:

  1. Marketing systems – You need to have systems where by you get the right qualified prospects into your funnel. I only focus on 3 areas within marketing:
    (a) Systems to get new clients.
    (b) Systems to get existing clients to spend more.
    (c) Systems to get existing clients to spend more frequently.
  2. Production systems – These are documented workflows on how to execute a particular job. I put emphasis on quality, consistency and speed of the output. These are relevant whether you are in a service or manufacturing sector.
  3. Administration systems – This is the support system that makes everything work in a cohesive manner. This would include things like your accounting, human resources, vendor management and customer support amongst others.

These are 5 simple steps I use to systemize any process in my business:

  1. Identify – which processes are (a) key to your business and (b) repetitive in nature.
  1. Document – Like a recipe, note down every ingredient and sequence you take to successfully complete the task. I use Evernote for capturing the steps.
  2. Optimise – Once you have captured all the steps ask yourself these 3 questions: (i) Which of these steps is unnecessary? Eliminate this. (ii) Which of these steps can be automated? (iii) Which of these steps should be done in a different order to improve the results?
  3. Test – Go through your recipe again, executing only what’s written. Do you get the expected result? If you don’t then it’s likely you missed a vital step in writing down the recipe.
  4. Share – Once it passes step 4 it is ready to share. Systems are a key to successful delegation. If your team is able to replicate the results following your process “recipe” then you have truly created a successful system.

Systems create consistency, enhance productivity and make delegation possible. A systems driven business fetches a much greater valuation for your business. After all my definition of a business is that you can be away from it for up to 4 weeks and will grow by itself. If you don’t have systems then you won’t have a business that can grow by itself.

So which part of your business are you going to systemize first? Please share in the comment box below.

7 Powerful Life Hacks To Be Happier & More Productive

How do you accomplish more in one day than some accomplish in a week? We may desire it, but many of us don’t know how to stay the course. We procrastinate and focus on small, mindless tasks—rather than the stuff that brings about results—and joy!

I see this among entrepreneurs who often complain they are too busy and struggling with managing their time; consequently, they aren’t seeing results.

Perhaps Janet Polivy is correct in stating that “we fear large projects.” We wonder what it will demand of us and if we have enough to give. Kenneth McGraw expands on this point: “Getting started is the hardest part.”
Research shows that willpower is not enough to become super-productive. We need a paradigm shift. According to Tony Schwartz of the Energy Project, we need to focus less on time management and more on energy management. To do so will demand the development of healthy habits. Check out the 7 Habits to be happier and more productive:

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4 Powerful Ways This App Helps You Manage Email Better!

So It Doesn't Manage You

We all suffer from email overload. Between personal & business emails the average user receives over 200 emails per day! In 2015, the number of business emails sent and received per user per day totals 122 emails. This figure continues to show growth and is expected to average 126 messages sent and received per business user by the end of 2019. According to some research, the average office worker spends 25% of their time responding and processing email. 30% of the emails we receive are not important. So how do we deal with all of these so that we can manage email better?

Over the last month, I have been testing a brand new iOS app which I LOVE – called TIMYO. It is a FREE Gmail plugin, that is also available on Apple Mail and there is an Outlook plugin coming soon. There are a number of key benefits Timyo has which are aligned with email productivity best practices. If you are a GTD (Getting Things Done) enthusiast I think you will love this too.

  1. Process email that matters when it matters – Only 30% of email is important. Timyo allows you to cut through the clutter and to process email by tagging a due date. Swipe left on your screen and it will give you an option of when you want to schedule to read and respond to the email. Don’t worry about the rest. It colour tags emails for today in yellow, future dates in green and overdue in red. You can then just click on “today’s” email folder to see what you need to process for today and no other email. It frees my mind to focus on what’s important today without fearing that something has fallen through the cracks.
  2. Plan your days – One productivity tip I swear by is batching my email processing twice a day – once at 12 noon and once at 4 pm. With Timyo it will tell me if I have a lot of emails to process the next day or week in the agenda view so that I can allocate sufficient time for the same. It allows me to be ready for whats coming up the next day when I plan my next day in my evening planning ritual.
  3. Clarity in your communication – This is one of Timyo’s coolest feature – when responding to an email or sending a new email to a user you can be clear about what sort of response do you want from them and when you want them to do it by. For example is only to be read or do you need a response by a certain date. This gives clear expectations in your emails even if the user does not have Timyo. If you are copying someone you can also assign what sort of response you require from them which may be different from the person you are sending the email to. Because the email is sent with clear expectations, Reply tracker feature allows you to stay on top of pending replies. Email remains the #1tool today’s workforce uses to communicate. Unfortunately, it was not designed for the ‘always on’ expectations that have become the norm. Thanks to Timyo, users can now benefit from clear and proactive communication.
  4. Link multiple accounts – Timyo allows you to link multiple Gmail accounts so you can use both your work and personal email accounts with Timyo.

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[Slide Deck] How to Lead and Manage Winning Teams

Clarify priorities, Increase Engagement & WIN!


HOW TO MANAGE WINNING TEAMS – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Leading teams that are clear about what needs to be done, who play full out and achieve their goals is every leaders dream. While most business schools tend to focus on strategy, entrepreneurs really struggle with execution. Management guru, Ram Charan says that 70% of strategic initiatives fail because of poor execution.

So why is executing difficult? Execution is difficult because there is a battle between the URGENT vs IMPORTANT things. Let’s look at these in more detail:

Urgent work is the daily work – operations, support, sales etc. Urgent things drive us. We tend to react to these things. Onthe other hand important things are our goals – Where we want to be. This is what we drive. Unfortunately we are busy being busy. Urgent work always wins over important, unless we develop some key disciplines to help us execute.

There are 4 tried and tested disciplines to great execution that have been identified by authors Chris McChesney, Sean Covey & Jim Hulling in their excellent book: “The Four Disciplines of Execution” 

  1. Focus on the Wildly Important Goal (WIG)
  2. Act on the lead measure
  3. Create a compelling score board
  4. Cadence of Accountability

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The Ultimate Productivity Hack

While most people focus on ‘doing’ more to achieve more, ultra successful entrepreneurs have a morning ritual that sets them up for success. Their morning ritual is about focusing on ‘becoming’ more so that you can start doing less, to achieve more.
Most of them nurture their body in the morning with water, a healthy breakfast and light exercise. They nurtured their mind with meditation or prayer, inspirational reading, and journaling.

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Let me share a powerful template that I have been using with incredible results. I would say this one productivity hack was the biggest game changer for me. I start the day with a couple of glasses of warm water to hydrate myself.

The Hour of Power

  1. 20 minutes of energizing exercise – I do an unusual exercise that gives me both a physical and also a mental workout. Not to mention that the exercise also gets your ‘happy hormones’ like endorphins and dopamine activated. I use a rebounder or mini trampoline. There are 3 brilliant benefits of bouncing on a trampoline:

    (a) A great cardio workout with minimal stress on my joints. I suggest that you wear a heart rate monitor to monitor your progress too. The one I love is the Fitbit.
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