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ActionCOACH Review From Business Coaching client

Climate Technology Grows Stronger Thanks to ActionCOACH Janna Hoiberg

Sometimes owning your own business can feel like banging your head against a wall.

When you own the business and dread going in everyday, there is no escape, but there is a solution.

For the owners of Climate Technology, that solution was bringing ActionCOACH Business Coach Janna Hoiberg into the fold to help the company become what the owners had always hoped it would be: the best place they, and their team members, ever worked.

“Work wasn’t fun anymore,” Lisa Coffy said. She, along with her husband co-owns Climate Technology. “We were going backwards. Personnel was a big issue and the business wasn’t growing like we thought it should. We’d built the business to the level our skills would allow, but we knew to be happy and fulfilled, we had to go to the next and that was when we found Janna.”

In January of 2010, Coffy was at a networking event in Colorado Springs, where she met Janna.

Coffy was already familiar with ActionCOACH and the connection Coffy felt with Hoiberg was immediate.

“We were ready for coaching. We had to trust in someone to improve our business, so we really didn’t have a choice,” Coffy said. “And the fact that ActionCOACH had a guarantee on coaching made the decision a no-brainer.”

While many business owners take their time getting involved in coaching, beginning with group coaching and then moving on to 1-on-1 coaching, Coffy and Climate Technology went straight into 1-on-1 coaching. However, Coffy still finds time to attend as many of Hoiberg’s group coaching seminars as possible.

“I feel it’s important to go to as many of Janna’s events as I can. I really respect and appreciate the message she delivers and it reinforces what we need to do as a company to continue moving forward.”

The changes Hoiberg helped make to Climate Technology were many, including goal setting and leadership.

“Our business is 180 degrees from where it was before Janna. We weren’t accustomed to even setting goals. We weren’t enjoying work, and felt drained by some customers and a couple of employees. To put it simply, we were too nice and needed to start running the business like a business. Janna gave us that push. Today the quality of life at work and our work itself, is better than ever.”

So what do you need for a Business Coach like Janna Hoiberg to change your business and your life?

According to Coffy, all it takes is a realization that things aren’t as good as they could be and, of course, a commitment to change for the good.

“The success we’ve had with Janna isn’t about changing one or two things in our business. It was the culmination of changing a million little things and the most important change was the change in our mindset. Now we think as business owners,” she said.

Of course, the relationship a client has with their Business Coach is vital to the success of the coaching process.

According to Coffy, Hoiberg’s personality is one of her greatest strengths and a key to her success as a coach.

“What makes Janna so effective is she is strong in many ways. She is empathetic, but never coddles you and her personality brings an element of fun to coaching. She knows when to push us and she is tough, but I always look forward to seeing her and hearing what she has to say. Most importantly, the accountability is there with Janna,” she said.

“I have her ear for business and life and she’s been a great role model for me to aspire to. She is truly someone you can learn and grow from and I really admire and respect her and what she does.”

Thanks to Janna Hoiberg for giving us this great ActionCOACH Review.


Consistent Testing and Measuring Leads to Success

Do you ever wonder how the top businesses got that way? How their marketing seems to reach exactly the market they are looking for? Why it seems they hit the mark time and again while in your business you may feel like you aren’t hitting the target as often as you should (or could) be?

You may be giving these people a bit too much credit. You see, the greatest businesspeople and marketers in the world are not necessarily the smartest or most innovative. Most simply understand the concept of testing and measuring.

These people aren’t caught up in the idea that they may fail. They know that when you are testing and measuring there is no failure (except the failure to record and analyze your results). Every step brings you one step closer to the right formula and right approach.

You can’t always get it right the first time. Nobody is perfect and even Steve Jobs (or any other success you can think of) failed at times. If you approach most aspects of your business (including marketing) expecting everything to work first time, you’ll be bitter and twisted when you discover it doesn’t. You will be harder on yourself than you have to be and your business and your life will suffer, which means you may give up before you should.

Remember this: marketing has certain rules, business has certain rules, but success in both areas can still largely determined by trial and error. You give it your best guess and then find out for sure.

So starting today, it’s essential that you meticulously record every result. Its extra work, but you’ll be glad when you have a strategies that you know will produce results. That confidence only comes from testing and measuring.


How to Create Your USP

To ensure you never have to compete on price, you’ve got to develop your company’s USP. Your USP is the one thing that is truly different about you, or at least the one thing you can promote as being different.

A successful USP should be:
• Truly unique.
• Exciting to your target market.
• Something that will have your customers telling their friends about it.
• Something that can’t be easily copied.

A lot of business owners wonder why they need to find something unique at all. Shouldn’t there be room for dozens of “me-too” businesses? The fact is, there isn’t, and most “me-too” businesses will ultimately fail.

If you don’t have an existing USP, you’ll need to find one. Start by listing everything you do that could be considered even a little bit unique. These points don’t have to be earth shattering; they just need to be different enough to stand out.

To get you started, here’s a list of some possible USPs you could adopt:
• You sell a higher quality product or service, and you can specifically show how it benefits the customer in a meaningful way.
• You provide better customer service and you can easily explain and promote why you’re better.
• You offer a better or longer guarantee and you have it written down.
• You offer more choice/ selection/ options, and this is something people want and always look for.
• You offer a trade-in program and no one else does.
• You serve a specific (yet sizable) demographic group that is overlooked by most competitors.
• You offer a better or more generous bonus points or loyalty club system and your product or service is at least as good.
• You have the best after-sales service, and this is something you can explain to people easily when they buy.
• Your product or service has unique features people care about.
• You offer attractive products or services no one else does.
• You have a “special ingredient.”
• You install and deliver for free.

These are just a few examples of unique, salable points. If you think hard enough about it, you’re sure to find something you are currently doing that is unique. It’s also possible you’ll discover something you should be doing that would make you unique.

Basically, your uniqueness comes from one of seven areas: quality, price, service, delivery, speed, convenience, and experience. Regardless of what it is, you need to promote it at every available opportunity.


The Steps to Creating A Strategic Alliance- Part 5

As we continue our focus on creating profitable strategic alliances for your business, we move to the next step of finding an ally that can help your business grow. Here are two more things to look for in an ally.

Their Customers Like Them and They Like Their Customers

This may sounds obvious, but it isn’t. There are two things you don’t want. The first is an ally business with customers that hate it, and the second is to get a whole bunch of new customers who the ally business owner hates. You need to check that the ally business thinks highly of its customers before you get into an agreement with them. Think about it, if they hate the first business, what chance do you have to make a good impression and will they really give you a chance?

Large Number of Customers

If the ally business has dealt only with a very small number of customers, why would you bother, unless you were in the type of market that only has a handful of customers? Yes, those markets do exist, but if your business isn’t going after them, stick with allies who have many customers.

If they have a huge number of customers, you may even want to offer exclusivity to the business in exchange for access to the whole customer base, including phone numbers and email addresses.

Of course, the more successful businesses will be harder to convince. They don’t need the customers that you will send them, especially if you are smaller than they are, so you’ve got to find a way to make it worth their while.

You need to ask this question when considering an ally business: “They’ve got so much to offer me. Do I have anything to offer them?” If you don’t, you may have to think again. It’s probably worth a try, but you may have to be a little less ambitious in finding that ally.


The Steps to Creating a Strategic Alliance- Part 4

In our most recent blogs, we’ve talked about how you can develop a strategic alliance to grow your business. This week we continue with more hints and strategies that you can use. Let’s continue with what you should look for in a strategic alliance.

Same Target Market

This is the most important consideration. The ally business must have the same or a very similar, target market to yours.

For example, a high-class beauty salon and an exclusive hairdresser are very compatible, a Ford dealership and an auto-electrician specializing in Fords would also work well.

Think about what businesses you deal with yourself. Chances are, your customers have similar interests as you. Best of all, if you are already a loyal customer with one business, it should be easy to set up an alliance. For example, if you are a beautician and you’ve been going to the same hairdresser for years, it shouldn’t be too difficult to say, “Why don’t we help each other out?”

They Have a Database

Of course, it’s not entirely essential. You can always ask the ally business to simply hand vouchers out, or make a verbal recommendation to their customers, but having a database gives you more options.

For instance, if they have a database, it means you can introduce yourself by letter. Better yet, get the owner of the business to write a letter recommending you and your company and you’ve already created an incredible reference that will help your business.

Right Attitude

Be aware that many business owners are very cynical people who think the world owes them a living. Stay well clear of them. If their attitude doesn’t match yours, the alliance may self-destruct.

It’s better to find someone who’s willing to give you the support that you need. There are people out there like that, and they’ll love to get involved. They love to help and make new connections and friends. These are the business owners you want to work with.


The Steps to Creating A Strategic Alliances- Part 3

Which Business Will Make a Good Ally?

Now that we’ve identified the who in a strategic alliance, you need to find the right business to help you reach potential customers.

There are a number of criteria for selecting an ally business and this week and next we will go over that criteria to give you a good idea of what kinds of businesses should be your ally.

If you can think of another company that matches all of these points, you can feel secure in selecting it as an ally. If you can find a few that meet most of the criteria, it will probably still be worth running the strategy.

Here’s the first part of your checklist:

Noncompetitive

This means that they don’t sell what you sell, or anything that could be considered a replacement for what you sell. An ideal example of noncompetitive businesses would be a carpet dealer and a lighting store. The major market for both is people moving into new homes and people can’t choose to buy lighting or floor coverings, they buy both. Each would tap into the customers the other business is attracting. These customers should be almost identical.

Of course, if you manage to get a semi-competitive business to promote you, then more power to you. It’s their loss, not yours. Usually, there’s a lot of grey area here as all businesses are competitive in one way or another and everybody wants a customer with money to spend.

Positioning

Of course, you do need to give consideration to the positioning of the ally businesses. Here’s what this means: The businesses creating the strategic alliance need to be at the same end of the quality and price spectrums. For example, if you deal only with sophisticated and wealthy customers and your prices would send most middle-income earners into a panic, there’s no point in creating an alliance with a discount business. Choose a business that shares a similar ethic to you.

Next week we will look at a few more factors that go into choosing a compatible strategic alliance partner.


The Steps to Creating Strategic Alliances Part 2

Last week we talked about the first step in creating strategic alliances, why you should use a Strategic Alliance. This week we take it a step further so you can build strong alliances with companies throughout your area.

Before you even start making a list of strategic allies, you need to identify exactly who it is you’re trying to reach. In other words, precisely who is your target market?

A failure to answer this question will lead to failure in your campaign because it will mean you won’t be going after the people who can make you rich, you’ll just be going after random customers who may or may not help your business.

For example, imagine a company who sells in-ground swimming pools doing a mailing campaign to a block of high-rise rental apartments. You’d be a fool to bet on anything other than a dismal and costly blowout. So which companies in your area are already working with people you want to become your customers?

To avoid mistakes, you need to know exactly who your potential customers are before you start arranging alliances with anyone.

So let’s get specific: Who are the people most likely to be interested in your product or service? If you haven’t done it yet, take some time to figure it out and before you do, keep in mind that these are the kind of characteristics to identify:

Age: Pretty self-explanatory, how old are they?

Sex: Are they male or female? You may not think this matters but the reality is, your business probably appeals more to the male psyche, or the female psyche than it is neutral.

Income: How much do they make? If your customers are quality driven, it may be time to reassess those half-price ads. If you discover that they want the cheapest thing they can find, you’d better start looking at the offers you’re making.

Where do they live: Are they local, or do they come from miles around to deal with you? This will dictate how you communicate with them. If your customers are local and it’s unlikely they’d travel more than 10 miles to deal with you, you should search for a strategic ally that is based close to where you are. People generally do not drive all the way across town to get their hair cut, at least not on a regular basis.

Next week we will be back with more steps to creating profitable strategic alliances…


The Steps to Creating Strategic Alliances- Part 1

Step 1: Why Use a Strategic Alliance?

Before doing anything, you need to work out whether a strategic alliance is for you. You need to compare its potential returns against other strategies for marketing yourself.

For example, if your market is broad and your offer is very appealing, why not use traditional advertising or social media instead? It’s easier and probably cheaper too. These methods will give you immediate access to a large market and you don’t have to worry about setting up a middleman. Of course, this will work only if your business has broad appeal, and a point of uniqueness (a great deal, exclusive products, or an amazing service).

A strategic alliance is ideal when you have a specific group of people you want to advertise to and there are other noncompetitive businesses already dealing with them and they work best because potential customers think the other business is doing them a favor by giving them a tip.

The customer believes that the business has gone out of its way to make a recommendation, which will help them. Because of that, they feel some obligation to take action.

To make this successful, you need to find businesses that are willing to get behind the idea 100 percent.

This brings us to the other consideration. Are there any businesses out there that are willing to open their minds enough to run with the idea?

Of course, it depends how you bring it up with them. If you say, “Listen, I want to use you and then steal your customers,” you’ll have a bit of a battle getting their agreement. On the other hand, you could try an approach like this, “Hi there, I’ve got a way we can help each other. I’ll get some new customers, and you’ll get some new customers. We’ll also start making more money every week that is pure profit.”

Next week we will move onto Step 2 in creating strategic alliances


How to Develop and Write Your Systems Part 2

Now it’s time to rewrite, with the assistance of each team member, the daily, weekly, and monthly task descriptions. Alter the job descriptions and KPIs accordingly. Monitor how they are performing and coping for a month, then test and measure the work descriptions against the KPIs once more. You should see a huge difference in performance levels, job satisfaction, and results.

If the new job functions are performing according to plan, then consolidate at this new level over the next 12 months. Let things settle so they become standard procedure.

Do the same for all the other positions in your organization, then bind all the resultant documents together, sorted by functional area or department, and the result will be a complete systems manual for your business.

So, how do you go about actually writing the systems manual? It’s not as daunting as you’d imagine. Here are some considerations:

• Start with the work flow descriptions.

• Use bullet points and concise headings.

• Start with the first, or most important, or regular task.

• Itemize each action that is needed to handle or complete each function and write briefly what needs to be done.

• Mention what the desired outcome is, and what happens next.

• Don’t forget to mention what happens if things go wrong or if another action is called for.

Now you’ve got a good way to start developing your systems. Come back next week and we will get further into building systems in your business that lead to balance in your life.


How to Develop and Write Your Systems

When it comes to getting the time and balance you need to enjoy life, for business owners, creating systems is vital. But creating systems can seem overwhelming if you don’t know where to start… so here’s where you start…

First, get a complete and detailed description of what your entire team does. Once you have that complete and detailed description of what your team members do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, your next task will be to test and measure what they are doing to see if it is producing the required results.

This is the time to compare these activity schedules with their respective job descriptions and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The aim here is not to catch people or to go about pushing them to work harder in a sneaky way; it’s about finding better ways of doing things.

The Japanese have a great word for this. They call it Kaizen, and it means constant, never-ending improvement. Think of your quest for improvement as a circle; it has no beginning and no end. It is a never-ending quest. You just keep getting better all the time. When you have reached your goal as far as improvement is concerned, raise the bar a little and try again. When you reach that level raise the bar again and improve some more.

Test each job one at a time. Start by comparing what is actually done with the KPIs. Are the KPIs being achieved? Are they all being achieved on time, or only some of them? What are the reasons for this? Can steps be put in place to correct this?

Once you have ascertained how each job scored, you need to involve your team members. Get them to do the following:

• List their top 10 time-consuming tasks.

• List their top 10 stressful tasks.

• List their top 10 productivity-related tasks.

• List their top 10 tasks that bring them the most happiness.

Now, how can you accommodate the above four lists in their daily, weekly or monthly routines? Can you streamline, adapt, amend, correct, or include something new here?

Ask your team members to think about any bottlenecks they are aware of. Get them to list the three that they believe are causing the greatest problems to customers or to your bottom line. You’d be surprised what your team members actually know about your operation- they do, after all, work closely with it day in and day out.

Work at eliminating these problems one at a time. Then have a look at making absolutely sure the team members’ 40 points are taken into account. Not only will you be taking their concerns on board, you’ll be seen as doing something positive to address some of the major job-related issues facing them. Having satisfied or content team members means that your business will operate more efficiently and cost-effectively. There will be a real sense of purpose and pride, and your customers will pick this up.