Monday, August 3, 2009

Hire a Business Consultant With Relevant Industry Knowledge

By: Grayson Thrush

There are many benefits to hiring a Denver business consultant. If you are considering hiring one, you already recognize that fact that your organization suffers from at least some deficiencies. By bringing in an expert, your business will get an immediate infusion of knowledge and insight. But what defines an expert? How do you know which Denver business consultant is right for your organization?

There are many expert business coaches available to step in and help you problem-solve. What differentiates between a good fit and a lesser one is simply experience. Not necessarily how much experience, but what kind. For example, if you run an information technology (IT) company, you should seek to employ the services of a Denver business consultant with an IT background. Having similar industry knowledge will allow the consultant to truly understand existing problems, and even to foresee forthcoming ones.

Furthermore, an individual whom has spent a period of time working in your industry will have a broader and deeper pool of knowledge to draw from than one who hasn't. More resources mean more possible solutions. The Denver business consultant will have built up a network of industry-relevant contacts over his or her career. Not only will they be able to leverage these contacts, they may also openly share them with you.

Clearly, it is important to hire a competent Denver business coach. At least as important is finding one with masterful competency regarding industry knowledge that applies to you and your organization. Never underestimate or discount the importance of a strong knowledge base that is relevant to your industry.

Business Coaches - Why You Should Consider Hiring One

By: Grayson Thrush

Hiring a Denver business coach can be extremely useful, even transformative, for a given organization. There are several reasons for this; nevertheless this type of expense can be a tough sell to key decision makers. After all, who knows more about the business at hand than they?

For one, a good Denver business consultant will bring perspective to the table. He or she will see your organization, and its strengths and weaknesses, the way only an outsider can. A Denver business coach will help identify successes to be celebrated, as well as opportunities to be pursued. Missed opportunities plague countless organizations, and a mentor figure can help mitigate this problem.

A qualified Denver business consultant has insight into market conditions of which management may be wholly unaware. This ties back to missed opportunities in that, if one is even somewhat blind to the true conditions of the marketplace, projects can and will be steered in the wrong direction. If you can gain a broader sense of your competitors, potential clients and market trends, you will find yourself poised for greater success.

A mentor can also assist in identifying opportunities for improvement with regard to organizational structure and human resource issues. Most organizations are not structurally optimized. You should seek to fully utilize each employee's skill set. Furthermore, a strong tradition of continuous learning will foster growth, and therefore effectiveness, within each and every employee in your organization.

Many regulated industries face mandatory compliance issues. There is Denver business consulting available for just this purpose. A seasoned professional will help you through the compliance process in the most efficient manner possible. For example, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act created enormous burdens on corporations with regard to financial reporting. Entire information technology (IT) systems and accounting departments had to be overhauled in order to ensure compliance. This type of paradigm shift can cause ill-prepared organizations either to spend more money than necessary, or fail altogether to achieve compliance. In this case, failure itself can bear out to be very costly indeed.

In many cases, it is simply the need for a fresh set of eyes that drives corporate leaders to consult with a Denver business coach. It is all too easy for an organization to get bogged down in old paradigms that are now outmoded by new ones. The money that is spent to hire a business coach will be recuperated many times over through gains in efficiency and avoidance of costly mistakes.

Life and Business Coach - Do You Need a Life and Business Coach?

Hiring a Denver business coach can be a life-changing decision that creates dramatic transformation in your life. A good Denver business consultant is entirely devoted to your personal success and evolution and will help guide you to the life that you genuinely desire. Rather than focusing on your problems and pains, a life coach helps you identify your innate strengths that have likely been suppressed. From a Denver business consulting perspective, allowing your innate gifts to surface and be fully expressed is the ultimate antidote to so many of the problems you may be facing in your life.

Most of us learn at a very young age that the most important pursuit in life revolves around the attainment of personal security and stability. We are taught a lot of so-called functional knowledge that will enable us to have the skills and education to get a good job and carve out a stable role in our life. The problem is that this learning process typically dwarfs our true genius and creativity. The conditioning that is imposed upon us serves as a direct barrier to the unfolding of who we really are and why we are here.

A skilled Denver business coach recognizes this modern trend as one of the primary inputs into so much of what our society struggles with, from chronic health problems to financial stress to emotional ups and downs. The good news is that, no matter how old we are or how far away we feel from our true purpose, it is never too late to establish an entirely new way of being that reflects our core wisdom. A Denver business consultant is like a mentor who can guide you through this process with grace and awareness.

The deciding factor in whether you are ready to hire a Denver business coach is your willingness to change. If you are ready to evolve emotionally, spiritually, financially, and in your work, then a life coach should provide an incredible level of support. The key is that you have an inner knowing that you are indeed ready for change. You see, most of us have been taught to resist change. This is part of the conditioning we experience that suggests that change is threatening to our quest for stability and security. True change involves leaping into the unknown. We have to be willing to relinquish our need for control and stability. Your interest in the mystery of your own nature must outweigh the fear you have of the unknown. So long as you are attached to what you think about yourself and how life is, there is very little that anyone can do to guide you to a more evolved life.

Once you are ready, however, there is truly no limit to the quality of life you can create. It all depends on if you're ready to take responsibility for your life and choose a new way of perceiving yourself and the world in which you live.

(Source: Kevin Doherty, ezinearticles.com)

Become a Business Coach

Coaching someone when it comes to business can be hard, but for many people, teaching others is what they do best. Is this you? Well, let's see. Do you enjoy helping others when they open a business for the first time? Do people always come to you for advice when they want to start a business? These are all indications that you could be a great Denver business coach. To become a Denver business consultant will require some training that is very easy to do, and then you can hold your own seminars and work within workshops to assist others to become better businessmen, and succeed in their business ventures. So, let's look at how you can become a business coach.

To start off with Denver business consulting does require you to know and understand every aspect of opening and running a business right from the business plan, to the finances, to the day to day running, to the employees, to the accounting and legal aspects and more. Obviously this will all be based on the type of business you are Denver business consulting people in, whether it is general business practice, or specific to a certain industry.

The Denver business consulting can also be done in sections, for example, if you want to become a business coach for finances, then you will host workshops and teach entrepreneurs in detail about the financial aspects of a business, like how to collate tax forms, how to budget correctly, how to prevent a business from becoming bankrupt and more. You could be a Denver business coach for problems in business, teaching people about all the different things that can go wrong and how to fix them. These are just some of the types of business coaching that you can get and you will have to look at what you are good at and what are of business you were mainly involved in to see what business mentoring you can do.

To become a Denver business consultant does not mean that you have to be a business owner either. If you are an expert in the field of accounting, you can become a business coach teaching this aspect only. If you were involved in marketing, this could be what you teach people. These specific coaching jobs can be used to form a workshop of different business coaches, but you can still hold your own seminars if you wish.

When you want to become a Denver business consultant, you have to possess certain qualities and characteristics. These include being friendly and energetic, being positive and easy to talk to. You should be a good public speaker, although you can also learn how to do this, and you must most importantly inspire people in your teachings. If you want to improve people's lives, help people with their businesses in terms of finances, customer relations, employee relations, and more, then it is a great idea to get a little extra training and become a business coach. You can start a new business being a Denver business coach and is great for those who want a change from the corporate way of life.

(Source: Desmond Jenkins, ezinearticles.com)

Business Coaching - Change That Makes a Difference

A friend of mine has an interesting philosophy: that every person is right about half the time and wrong about half the time. My friend's perspective has given me food for thought over the years, because I'm generally the type of person who takes a position and tends to dig in. I can convincingly and vociferously argue my point of view, substantiating it with examples and "facts," until the proverbial cows come home.

What I began to realize, though, was that for every person I converted to my way of thinking, I alienated two or three. Moreover, I discovered that, when I began to actually listen to others' perspectives, I had a keener understanding of how they arrived at their points of view. As a result, I found that I began to modify some of my firmly held beliefs about issues great and small.

Like most people who become less rigid, I didn't have a single "light bulb moment." My change was gradual. Looking back, I can see that the seeds of change were planted when I wasn't moving forward in my career as quickly as I had hoped. I thought I was a stellar performer, and could efficiently and effectively complete the tasks assigned to me. However, my workplace evaluations, while generally favorable, noted that I had difficulty working in teams and motivating those around me.

Eventually, my frustration led me to engage the services of a Denver business coach. I know that some people swear by business coaching and life coaching, but I was resistant at first. A former colleague, who had really moved up the corporate ladder with the help of a Denver business consultant, was instrumental in getting me to visit my coach. Early on, I recognized that self-development and self-improvement were critical to my success. I don't usually go for the self-help gurus, but I have to say that my Denver business coach really helped me. In large part, this was due to the coaching tools he used.

Although he used a variety of strategies and coaching games to help me with introspection and self-development, the one that really changed my perspective involved associative playing cards. These Denver business consulting cards helped me to understand how specific issues were manifesting in my career, and taught me that there were multiple ways to view a situation. They weren't at all like tarot cards, but rather were a launching point for me to examine the ways in which my rigid framework was holding me back.

My Denver business coach guided me through these exercises, and shared with me a book that had sections corresponding to each of the cards. For each card, there was a story, relevant quotes, questions, and associative thoughts. Afterwards, he'd work with me to compile insights that arose from the coaching cards, and them to devise an action plan to integrate those insights into my career and my life.

Since then, I've changed employers and have been thriving in my new position. I find that I'm more open to other people's perspectives and that I'm a much better team player. I've also realized that my friend was correct: I'm only right about half the time, so it pays to listen to what others have to say.

(Source: Chris Robertson, ezinearticles.com)

Business Success - Do You Really Need a Business Coach?

Lately, in the last few years or so we see thousands and thousands of websites popping up with so-called Denver business coach. Perhaps, this is because the word Denver business consultant is now dead, beaten to a pulp and over used. Today, anyone who is a Denver business consultant is mostly likely unemployed, ah, but a Business Coach, well that is something truly incredible we are led to believe. Denver business coach is the new buzzword and even people with Six Sigma certification are using it, but why?

A consultant with a Six Sigma certification is certainly worth their salt, so why are they starting to use the word; Coach? An even better question is; why would an entrepreneur or CEO hire such a "business-coach" who had never been in Denver business consulting or worked at the level they are? Interestingly enough, Dave Thomas Founder of Wendy's Hamburger had an interesting saying; "Why on Earth would I take advice from someone about financial affairs from someone with less money than me?"

Now, many coaches might say that sports coaches are older and cannot compete with their star athletes, but they still do a great job. Do they? A good sports Denver business coach in my opinion would be someone who had achieved the same level previously, even if they are older now and cannot today.

So, does Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretsky, Pele, Magic Johnson really need a coach? If you say yes, and I say no, then this is where we disagree, but that's okay, because you are probably a coach and I am not buying your services you see?

(Source: Lance Winslow, ezinearticles.com)

How to Boost Your Credibility As a Coach

Each Denver business coach understands the process of coaching and how it can help most people. It can help people figure out exactly what they want to achieve and helps remove any mindset issues that's stopping a client moving forward. Most coaches understand the importance of having a niche so that they can focus on one area for marketing, and business success.

I have listed 3 main areas on how you can boost your credibility as a Denver business consultant.

• Become an Expert. 
• Write Articles online or in papers. - Become an Author. 
• Organise talks in your area.

1) In order to boost your credibility Denver business consulting, you do need a niche so that you can tell your clients about your expertise in the particular field you have chosen. When you share information openly with your clients, they will begin to trust you and your expertise and are more than happy to spend more on one of your Denver business consulting programmes. If you read 7 or more books on similar topic, you will know more than most people on that topic. Check your home library to see what type of books you are reading to help you choose.

2) When you have lots of information in your head, it is easy to get it down on paper. All you need to do is figure out what you want your readers to get from the articles your are writing. By using points, it helps separate each point and helps your mind focus on a small paragraph for each point. You should start each article with an opening paragraph, some points with additional information and a closing paragraph.

3) Start talking at every chance you get, local clubs, TV, Radio . . . anyone who will listen to you! By talking to people about your subject for free, you then will start getting paid offers for speaking. Check out community centers, churches, the local library, business talks etc

These are just some points to help you gain creditability as a Denver business coach.

(Source: Anne Geraghty, ezinearticles.com)

What Exactly is Business Coaching?

Based on relevant studies and research, there are still thousands of people from the business world who still get confused about a Denver Business Coach. Are you one of them? Then, let me explain to you what corporate coaching is really all about.

A Denver Business Consultant is involved in the process of conducting one-on-one or group meetings with employees within a certain organization to conduct training and development sessions in order to achieve performance improvement. In simple terms, its main focus is to help employees become more efficient and more productive in the work place.

Based on several researches, Denver Business Consulting, when done correctly can improve a business' ROI by up to 400%. You see, when you equip your workforce with knowledge and you take time to really improve their skills, they are most likely to perform better and bring more business to your doorsteps.

Corporate coaching is often confused with life coaching. Although these two aim to help individuals realize their full potential to succeed in life, they are very different in the sense that a Denver Business Coach focuses more on the professional level. Life coaching on the other hand, is all about improving someone else's relationship with other people, helping him manage his time wisely, and sometimes, help him find his purpose in life.

Denver Business Consultant services can be delivered through either a designated business coach or through a third party (freelance corporate consultants or consulting firms) who is very knowledgeable about the goals and the mission of the company and who have what it takes to deliver measurable and specific results through pre-determined benchmarks.

(Source: Sean R. Mize, ezinearticles.com)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Small Business Coach - Announcing 6 Proven Steps to Explode Your Company in Coaching Small Business

By: Sean Mize

As a business coach, you can help businesses struggling in this lagging economy improve the way they run their business. Businesses hire consultants on a regular basis. When businesses really need to know how to solve a business problem, they will hire a coach. You can use this idea and others to improve your incidence of getting more customers. Announcing 6 proven steps to explode your small business coach company.

1. Build a trusting relationship with your customer. Provide them with quality content in your coaching programs, information products and services. They will be your friends and customers for life.

2. Recommend to your customers products, programs and services you believe in. This includes affiliates and business from which you get no revenue for referrals.

3. When you are wrong in your approach or have made some kind of a mistake with your training, admit it. Do what you can to make it right instead of stalling and digging yourself in deeper. Just correct the error and move on.

4. As applicable, when suggesting a solution to a client's problem, tell the advantages and disadvantages of using that solution. They can then make a more informed decision for their situation.

5. Don't patronize your client. There is nothing worse than patronizing another. Your clients dislike it and it leaves a black mark on your reputation. Treat clients respectfully and professionally.

6. Keep using different sales approaches for your various types of clients. Use the one that works best for each individual so they can successfully benefit from your quality training.

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Business Consulting - 10 Qualities of a Successful Consultant

What Sets Successful Consultants Apart? Are you part of a Management Team that is considering engaging a Business Consultant? Are you a Consultant who is considering a Consulting Job? This Article Covers 10 Qualities of a Successful Consultant.

1. Know the Client. It is not enough to know about the client's business or industry, or to offer up boilerplate solutions. Consultants must understand the history, mission and goals as relates to their tasking and, any relevant information about competitors and stakeholders. In essence, they are being paid to be an extension of the organization's team by helping to carry out key objectives through successful execution. In order to do that, it is critical that consultants understand the client's business.

2. They Listen. Consultants need to be expert listeners in order to accurately assess, advise and apply their expertise and acquired discovery for the benefit of the client. It's important to note that there is a substantial difference between hearing and listening. Listening gives us the ability to formulate the right questions and deduce accurate information from which to base our solutions.

3. Proper Connections. The sooner a consultant connects with the right people in the organization, the better. Too often, consultants misread the inner workings of an organization or miss important elements that may be key to their decision-making by catering exclusively to the top level. Successful consultants will pro-actively engage and connect with all of the key people who in any way, relate to their objectives.

4. Customization. When it comes to processes, people, communications, strategies and solutions--one size does not fit all. Great consultants put their experience and intuition into practice while analyzing, discovering and rendering solutions, and looking to best practices as a companion guide, but not as an exacting science.

5. Discernment. Critically, they must see the whole picture--that includes processes and people. Once they have identified all relevant components and dynamics, they will be able to start outlining how things fit together and begin to work toward formulating successful solutions. They also have a knack for not only seeing what is there, but what's not there--discernment can be pivotal.

6. They Deliver. Perfectly crafted proposals, shining referrals and resumes do not guarantee success. When a business pays for expert analysis, skill and advice from outside of their internal pool of expertise, consultants need to deliver-and deliver to the client's satisfaction.

7. Best Alignment. Not all consultants are cross--functional. Oftentimes, at the point a consultant is hired, the organization is desperate for help in building, making an important correction or securing a very specific skill set. They cannot afford to lose time or money. A consultant can hold multiple degrees or have decades of experience under their belt and still not be a good fit. Both the organization and the consultant need to be sure that they are the best alignment for one another.

8. Communication Excellence. Apart from possessing excellent verbal skills, the consultant should also have excellent listening skills and the ability to articulate. They need to be able to articulate pain points, goals and solutions. They should also keep all stakeholders informed, be prompt and clear with reports, and issue relevant feedback throughout the process.

9. On Their Game. Detail-oriented preparation, process and delivery are all important. They are also prompt, professional, organized, responsive and reliable. Staying on top of the latest trends and intelligence and being able to apply anything of relevance will also set them apart.

10. Create Value. Successful consultants create value by demonstrating business acumen and have the ability to lead and manage both processes and people. They are pro-active in understanding what the client needs, act as trusted advisors who bring the best solutions to the table in an effective and profitable manner, and they produce on their deliverables.

By author April McCallum -- who is passionate about Communications, Strategic Process, Innovation, and People. Her experience spans from International Global 500 and privately held companies, to Non-Profit and solo professional sectors, in the global high-tech, healthcare and media industries. Contact Info: http://www.linkedin.com/in/AprilOtisMcCallum

Is your small business losing thousands of dollars a month due to marketing failures?

By Brent Brien

Even the top marketing experts make many fatal mistakes in their marketing campaigns. However, when they are working for the huge corporations and Fortune 500 Companies, a massive marketing mistake can be fixed. But for the small business on a small budget, a marketing mistake of similar size may cause the failure of your business and spirits. So find out what you can do to prevent these disastrous errors.

Small business consultants often excel at marketing for small businesses because that is there specialty. Even if you have the capital, spending more does not always lead to better results because small business consultants know what kinds of errors the business can handle and what kinds will end up taking the business down.

What can you as a small business executive do?

• Surprisingly, the most prominent error we have seen with regard to marketing, is that the small business simply doesn't have a marketing campaign. The executives take the, "If you build it, they will come" approach which fails miserably, except in some very unique instances that do not apply to 99.9% of business executives. You have to develop a marketing campaign, and you have to implement it, whether it's developed by you or a consultant.

• Many businesses fail to combine online and offline marketing into their efforts. They pick one and neglect the other. In today's highly competitive marketplace, that simply won't work. You need to take advantage of every opportunity you have to sign clients and pick up customers. Neglecting half of the potential marketplace is simply not smart business. So make sure your marketing campaign encompasses both of these arenas.

• Another fatal error is the failure to track marketing efforts. Some ideas, no matter how well planned out, and how forcefully implemented, simply don't work. Either because it's not the right method for your industry, or the timing isn't right. You need to know which ones are working and which aren't so you can pursue the successful ones with more effort, and slow down or stop the unsuccessful ones. That's not to say that you should stop an ineffective campaign. Some just require small changes which can result in a drastic inflow of traffic. Or maybe, the first month it wasn't implemented forcefully enough, but in months after it picked up steam. Don't completely give up on ideas, but don't follow them into the ground. At some point, you need to know when to stop.

• Finally, you must follow up with your prospective clients or customers. If you get information about a prospective client, the worst thing you can do is send one email and forget about them. They have already requested information from you, so you know they are interested in your services or products. With the amount of time and money put in to attract new clients, you simply cannot afford to give up on someone who has already made an effort to contact you. Make sure you follow up enough times to let them know you care about their business. But remember, don't push too far; if they say they aren't interested, ask why, maybe try once more, and then leave it at that. They may be interested at a later time, and you don't want them to be so angry with you that they don't give you a chance.

If you plan on hiring a small business consultant to do your marketing, make sure they know that you want increased business. Ask them questions, and make sure they are doing everything they can to help you and that they are not committing any of the fatal flaws.

Brent Brien is the CEO of Brien Private Finance. Brien Private Finance is a small business consulting and personal finance consulting company based in Pennsylvania with services both online and offline. They specialize in working with small businesses as they are starting out and through the initial months.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Small Business Marketing Strategies to Level the Playing Field

Small businesses and entrepreneurs who want to market online may find their business competing against much larger companies with deeper pockets. However, don't let the size of the competition intimidate you. To market your business successfully, regardless of size, start incorporating some of the following marketing tips as part of your online marketing strategy to help grow your business fast.

Identify Your Niche Bigger isn't always better. It's impossible to be everything to everyone. If you can determine which group of prospective customers you're getting the best results from then narrow your niche to cater to that specific group and give them what they're asking for.

Position Yourself as an Expert Assuming you know everything there is to know about your product and/or service, position yourself as an expert. Those who are known as experts can command more money and often get more media attention, which translates into free advertising. Truth be told, the title of specialist and/or expert status is more credible than the generalist or even professional.

Build Relationships Building relationships with your customers is an important piece of any successful marketing strategy and will have you rise above your competitors. Taking the time to get to know your customers needs, wants and desires will prove helpful in creating any future products and/or services and leaves the customer feeling important and special. Imagine how you would feel if a business you frequented used your feedback to better serve you. There is no better way to market your business than word of mouth referrals and it's always easier to get business from existing customers who are happy with your product/service then to try and recruit new ones.

Follow Up Set up a system to keep track of all your customers and prospective customers who show an interest in your product/service. Collect names and contact information and be creative in keeping in touch with them on a regular basis. Send emails or cards on their birthday and holidays. Invite them to sign up for a free newsletter and include quality content, special sales, discount coupons and other valuable goodies.

Create a Marketing Plan Customize your marketing strategies to fit your target audience and make it an integral piece of your marketing plan and business. Plan your marketing activities to take place daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly and then stick the schedule.

And now I would like to invite you visit http://HighProfitsMarketing.com to discover more about marketing strategies for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

From Andrea Chin an online marketing consultant passionate about helping small businesses and entrepreneurs market themselves more effectively to boost their business and produce more profits.

The Need for a Business Consultant

Business consultants are very useful in setting up and running businesses as they can provide useful advises and related help on Management consultancy, Business consultancy, online business management, performance management, workforce management etc. Management consultants help speed up matters when the going gets tough.

The present business environment is not very encouraging. This makes it all the more important to optimize your resources by planning well and executing the ideas derived immediately. Denver business consultants face intellectual challenges on a daily basis as they have to cater to different businesses working in different environments and resource levels, but nevertheless have to create good results all the while.

Sufficient professional expertise is required for a business management consultant to become successful. Some start by working under proven and experienced seniors, but later set up own shop after gaining enough knowledge. They need to accumulate skills for solving unseen problems, should have excellent communication skills, management capabilities etc. The ability to schedule and delegate work, computer proficiency and competence to work in extreme pressure situations make a consultant stand out in the field.

The business consultants do not even need a degree in business administration. Practical knowledge acquired by self-education (reading business journals and other related literature) and working for experienced consultants can mould any interested person into a good business consultant. Some greenhorn consultants deliberately work for non-profit organizations, internship or associate himself with a consulting firm on a part time basis to gain valuable experience.

There are many consultants who specialize in specific areas, like organizational management, work management, job management etc. A typical assignment involves making the proposal, conducting brainstorming sessions for the clients, gathering of data, analyzing the data and final presentation before the clients. The work is not as simple as it seems, because the prestige of the consultant is also at stake here. If a company flops even after implementing the blue print prepared by the Denver business consultant, the reputation of the consultant would suffer.

Business consultants can help you irrespective of whether your company is old or new. An experienced consultant can easily give new ideas for your unsuccessful old business venture. They are in great need all over and corporations, multi-nationals, non-profit organizations, government institutions etc employ their services.

I told you earlier that business management consultants are in great need these days. So there have been efforts from many quarters to create a directory of all such consultants in UK with their names, addresses, web site details, contact numbers etc. This kind of an endeavor is helpful for both the consultant professionals as well as those looking to acquire their services. If you are a consultant professional, you can provide all your details to such online directories and people would come in search of you. On the other hand, if you are the proprietor of a firm and want to employ a business consultant, there is no better place to look than such a directory.

If you are looking for more information then feel free to visit Business Management Consultants and Business Consultants.

Business Consultants Can Help Your Company Achieve Better Positioning

An important factor in any company's success is their market position and this is an area where a business consultant can have a positive effect. Achieving the best position can best be accomplished by utilising the services of a professional who knows how to guide your efforts.

You may have started your company with a clear vision for its future but chances are that, as the years passed, you lost sight of that original focus. Success depends on knowing where you want to go and then working backward to ensure you get there. One way a business consultant will help you to achieve position is by working with you to define your company's mission, values, and vision.

The Mission

A company mission statement clearly identifies its purpose. It should be based on the reason you are in your business and keep in mind your motives and values. Think of a mission statement as a way of expressing why you do what you do: why you offer your products or services, why you are targeting particular customers, why you want to make your business profitable.

Company Values

The values your company integrates into doing business are largely tied to a personal belief system. Values create meaning which guides your personnel, as well as their behaviours. A business' values dictate how people and the environment are treated.

The Vision

Think back to that first vision you had for your company. This concept of the future needs to remain clear in order to become the motivating factor in your success. Assess whether or not your current business environment is conducive to that original vision. If you have already achieved your preliminary goals, then it is time to set new ones and create a new vision that will cover the next five years of operation.

Positioning

You will want to ensure that all stakeholders in your business are aware of the mission statement and values and vision you created. Promote these concepts through consistent publication. Don't make customers or vendors guess what you stand for or what you wish to achieve. They can become your strongest allies in getting your company to a better position in the market.

Too often a company forgets its vision of the future, but a Denver business consultant can quickly and efficiently get them back on track. By examining, or re-examining, the mission statements and values and vision of the business, it will be poised to achieve a greater market position.

Chris Jenkinson has been a business consultant for many years. He provides further advice about consulting services on the GizTheBiz blog.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Business Tip of the Week "You Don't know What you Don't Know"

For more tips by Mike Tafoya, check out his blog: www.denversbusinesscoach.com

The Importance of Business Consulting

Business consulting provides advice and experience as a valuable resource for every country and every industry. There are several different areas in which this position applies, such as organizational development, technology, e-business, operations, communications, human resources, marketing, strategic planning, small business and other organizations that find the advice of professionals necessary for their growth. When this professional advice is needed, executives turn to analysts for their expertise to help them find ways to manage obstacles and create solutions to increase productivity and efficiency.

This consulting is provided with the receipt of a lot of respect in their area of expertise and is heavily relied upon for its skills and talents in every country and in every industry. Their independence is admired because it creates a flexibility when working with clients to meet their needs at a time that is convenient to the client.

It is also known as management consulting as well, and provides problem solving as well as plans and goals to help companies achieve success. In the United States, this position generates in the area of $100 billion each year. Even if the economy is slow and suffering, these specialists are needed to increase profitability for a company.

As an example of the extensive work that is involved in the process to assist clients with their needs, business consulting requires a needs analysis for clients to help them determine their goals and what areas the company needs to focus on for improvement. Once a plan has been laid out, the specifics of the project, the team that will be needed to implement the process, a timeline for results and the budget required to obtain those results will be outlined.

Business consulting is then implemented through the identification of solutions by presenting recommendations through a presentation and then implementation of the recommendations are covered. Once the process has been put in place, clients are encouraged to provide their feed back in a post-project review. This is only a very simplified version of what occurs during a consultation and the actual process includes much more.

Business consulting also includes the qualitative and quantitative ability to research and gather information when completing projects. The techniques used in the implementation of tools to complete projects are interviews, observation, focus groups and case studies, as well as surveys that allow an analyst to determine what the best route to follow will be in helping clients to achieve their goals.

Monday, April 20, 2009

How to Choose the Right Coach for You

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT COACH FOR YOU

The coaching industry attracts consultants, therapists, and people with good intentions who want to help. But because there’s currently no regulatory board or set of, the prospective coaching client should choose a coach wisely.

Evaluate their credentials
A business coach should have some formal training, and have some understanding of organizational dynamics including how to navigate corporate culture.

Other questions: Is the coach part of any organizations? Does the coach publish books or articles? Does the coach offer products and services in addition to coaching?

But don’t take degrees and certifications at face value. They tell you nothing about the quality of the coaching.

Evaluate how they work with clients
Many organizational consultants direct you toward answers without involving you in the solution. That’s not coaching. A skilled coach will engage you in dialogue, give you a new look at an issue, and ultimately let you decide what’s best.

The coach’s role is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that you already have. Coaches are trained to listen, to observe, and to customize their approach to meet your needs. Coaches will elicit solutions from their clients; but a skilled coach also knows when to jump in and provide direction when you get off track.

Make sure they’ve been in your shoes
Make sure your coach has experience in your area and speaks your language.

Many therapists jump on the coaching bandwagon. While the therapists may have skills and knowledge that help them work on personal transformation, they’re not necessarily best at helping you adapt your leadership style or improve work performance.

Other ways to learn about a coach:
-- Read their bio, and ask about their background.
-- Ask them if they’ve worked through the issues you’re having.
-- Visit their website and see how they market themselves.

Look for testimonials and get real referrals
Most coaches will post a client list or testimonials on their website so you can see what their clients think. Beware of anonymous testimonials.

Ask for names and numbers of clients to contact, to validate the coach’s work. Call them. Ask specific questions such as:
-- What was it like to be coached by this person?
-- Did they help you achieve your goals?
-- Would you hire this coach again?

Make sure you fit with your coach
Trust your instincts when deciding whether or not the coach truly understands who you are and what you need. You may want:

-- A coach who’s direct and will act as a constant “swift kick in the behind.”
-- A coach who provides advice and talks about their experiences.
-- A coach who listens as you pull the answers from inside yourself.

Ultimately, you will want a business coach with whom you have great rapport, who you would trust with certain details of your life as well as your observations, who will not judge you.

Different Types of Business Coaches

There are several types of coaching to choose from:

Life coaching – Focuses on inspiring life-transforming experiences. These include: creating personal joy and freedom, developing a better sense of self, building stronger romantic relationships, or learning to let go of old fears and doubts.

Business coaching – Focuses on issues of running a business. It ranges from individual and executive team coaching, to coaching owners of small- to medium-sized businesses. Coaches help executives, staffs, and businesses develop, promote, and grow.

Executive coaching – Builds highly collaborative, individualized relationships. The aim is to bring sustained behavioral change and transform the quality of the executive’s life.

Pick the best type of coaching for you. Then find the coach with the experience, education, and skills for supporting others that you’re looking for. But beware: There are some people without formal training or background who call themselves coaches.

Choosing The Right Business Coach

Consider this scenario. A colleague suggests you get a business coach. Via the Internet, you find one close-by and decide to give them a call. The woman says she’d love to help and that you should stop by. She charges $300 a month for two 30-minute sessions. It seems like a good deal, so you eagerly sign on the dotted line and hope for your prayers to be answered.

Next, you are sent to a website to learn your Enneagram type. This personality quiz doesn’t seem to connect with marketing your business. You call the business coach. She says that you rank a “two” and that you’re trying to please everybody. She says that you should take better care of yourself by taking nature hikes, yoga lessons, and long bubble baths.

You have yet to get real business coaching from the so called expert. Sadly, this scenario plays out often, usually resulting from a lack of understanding on how to choose the best coach for your business.

In the past several years, coaching has become one of the most effective ways to cultivate the professional and personal skill-sets of teams and individuals. Coaching has proven results. Fast Company magazine reports that up to 40% of Fortune 500 companies hire coaches to improve their businesses. There’s a proven, significant return on investment. A 2001 study by the Manchester Review said that the output of executives involved in coaching programs averaged nearly 5.7 times higher than the initial investment.

But you must do your homework before choosing a good Denver Business coach. For coaching to work, it’s vital to have a basic understanding of a coaching relationship.

What is Coaching?
Coaching is a conversation, a dialogue between a coach and a coachee. Through coaching, you will learn how to:
Communicate better
Balance priorities
Make effective presentations
Better understand strengths
Identify new competencies needed.
Understand what you don't know

So how do you pick the right business coach? Make sure to get references or experiences from someone they have worked with in the past. Ask questions like "Have you worked with a business owner of the same size" or "Do you hold your clients accountable"? Make sure they are well rounded and respected in your community. Have they been published in news articles, magazines or even online articles. See if they have a blog. This way you will be able to understand the way they view simple things, do they give any pointers for free?

Hiring a Business coach can dramatically improve your business and cut spending. Just make sure they are the right business coach.
(source: Jim Jenkins)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Communication

Mike Tafoya discusses the importance of communication and how meeting agendas can keep your lines of communication clear with your employees and managers. If you would like to see more business video tips like this, check out Mike's video tips of the week.


Denver Business Coach Denver SEO Business Training Denver Estrada Strategies Mike Tafoya

Why Have Systems?

Why do companies need systems? That's easy, systematizing your business can provide you with the ability to delegate, track and forecast predictable results. Systems allow you to monitor your company's tasks, sales & marketing efforts, (really every aspect of your business). In addition, let's say you lose a top performer in your business, with systems in place you can provide those proven systems to your new hire and focus your efforts on other high impact areas of your business rather then spending so much of your time on training from memory. Remember, you lead people and manage systems.

Estrada Strategies invites you to sharpen your business skills and devise a working strategy for success. Register today and see what Estrada Strategies is all about "YOUR NEXT MOVE"

Find out more or register to attend:

Sincerely,
Mike Tafoya
Denver Business Coach
Estrada Strategies-DTC
Phone: 303-524-1270

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Denver's Best Business Coach

If you are a business owner or manager, you are probably wondering what you can do during these tough times to keep business up and your employees motivated. Have you ever considered hiring a mentor or business coach? There are many areas a business coach can help you improve the way you not only run your business but the way you manage your staff.

Mike Tafoya is one of the best Denver Business Coaches and has worked with many business owners throughout the Denver metro helping them increase sales and cut expenses. The difference between Mike Tafoya and the other business consultants in Denver is he has ran many successful businesses himself, all of which he either started himself or helped start up. Mike is able to use his previous business experience along with the Estrada Strategies business training program to ensure the ultimate training and optimal results.

If you are interested in working with a Denver business coach, check out some of Mike Tafoya's video business tips: Business Tips. This is a great way to get to know Mike a little better and see if you like what he has to say. A business coach is more than just a teacher, they are a mentor, an advisor and friend.

Mike Tafoya can be contacted at (303) 524-1270 or emailed at miket@estradastrategies.com

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Business Tip of The Week: March 15th, 2009

Executive Briefing for Denver Business Owners

Mike Tafoya, one of the best business consultants in Denver will be giving a an executive briefing for business owners about marketing, advertising and branding.

Mike will be discussing the differences between marketing, advertising, and branding in this action packed presentation. Learn how to use marketing to create market exposure and name recognition. Also, learn how to identify the most productive advertising campaigns for you business and much more...
  • What roles does marketing and sale play in growing sales?
  • How does advertising differ from Marketing?
  • What role does branding play in the sales process?
Reserve your space today! Take advantage of this opportunity to increase your tools for growing your business.

Upcoming Dates:

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
@ 9:30 a.m to 11:30 a.m Register Here

Friday, April 17th, 2009 Register Here
@ 9:30 a.m to 11:30 a.m

Many people are in need of a Denver business coach but do not know where to go and possibly believe they cannot afford it. This is completely wrong, business coaching is very affordable and is sure to increase the profit of your business. Mike offers this executive briefing at no charge so you can get to know him without the concern of finances. You will get a taste of what he has to offer you and then you can get an idea if working with a Denver Business Coach would be ideal for you.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Out of Touch Means Out of Business

(Source: Rieva Lesonoski)

"I am a positive person, an optimist, almost a Pollyanna. I generally see the upside of most situations and keep the light at the end of the tunnel in my sights. However, even I have my limits.

Things are bad out there. Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton and current professor at University of California at Berkeley, said Tuesday morning that we are rapidly heading from a recession to a depression. Hopefully we won't get there, but does this really surprise anybody? From November 2007 to November 2008, 2.5 million Americans lost their jobs. Just last week the Wall Street Journal reported that an additional 45,000 people were about to lose their jobs. And we all know it's not going to end there. Bankruptcies and foreclosures are up and it's anyone's guess what big name retailer or manufacturer is going to shut down next.

A few weeks ago I asked if you were a lion or a mouse. So how do you feel after reading that last paragraph? Do you lions take all this bad news as a challenge, inviting you to be more creative, innovative and, well, thrifty? Or are you a mouse, scurrying for a corner and waiting for the storm to pass? Or perhaps worse (and this is what has my dander up) you are an ostrich, burying your head in the sand, refusing to listen to or even be aware of what's going on in our world.

Apparently, there are a growing number of people out there who think that this will all go away if they don't think about it. Seriously. I won't name names, but there's a well-known, feel-good author/speaker who's telling people to stop listening to the mainstream media for 30 days. That way they can stop hearing all the negative things being reported and just focus on the positive. I was trolling around Twitter the other day and someone wrote how she told a journalist at her local newspaper to stop "being so negative." And she blamed the paper's falling circulation on all that negative reporting!

Get real, people. The media, mainstream or not, is not making the bad news up. Nor is writing about it the reason they're losing circulation (could it be the Internet?). Not paying attention to the bad stuff doesn't make it go away. When you open your eyes in a month, it's still going to be bad out there and you'll just be more ignorant than you were 30 days earlier. And while a few of you may believe that "ignorance is bliss," believe me, it's not. Ignorance is, well, ignorant. And you can't start, grow, or even maintain a business if you are out of touch with reality.

Don't get me wrong. I am a big believer in the power of positive thinking. But in business, positive thinking is more than learning the "secret" of willing yourself a great parking space. Everything you do needs to be put in context. Your customers and clients are changing their behaviors based on today's economy. You need to know what's going on, so you can tweak your offerings to appeal to their new mentality.


I don't want to sound unsympathetic, but someone else's bad news can be good news for you. If you don't know that Circuit City is closing its doors, you're going to miss out on some great deals. Or if you sell electronics, wouldn't you want to know that one of your biggest competitors is gone and their customers are now up for grabs?

Tuesday's New York Times reported that the transition industry is booming right now. These are the companies that prepare and train laid-off workers for future employment. Is it possible someone reading this article will decide to start a transition company and join the ranks of successful business owners?

In the long-running musical The Fantasticks the young heroine is encouraged to put on a mask every time she spots something bad to block out the reality. But she only finds true love and happiness when she sees the world as it really is (warts and all) and makes the decision to live her life with her eyes wide open.

In the closing lines of his inaugural address President Barack Obama told us "with [our] eyes fixed on the horizon" we can get through "this winter of our hardship." That doesn't mean bury your head and hide from reality. It means keep your head up and focus on the better times ahead.

Business Tips: Tom Smith on the change of social media

Here is a great video on business tips using social media:

Is 2009 the Year to Buy a Franchise?

"Almost every day the majority of Americans (and an increasing number of people around the world) spend money at a franchise. Whether we're buying donuts, hamburgers, or sporting goods, whether we're getting our taxes done, our carpets cleaned, or a package mailed, chances are the business owner we're doing business with is a franchisee.

So, when you're standing in line at Dunkin' Donuts or sitting in the drive-thru lane at McDonald's, do you dream about being on the other end of the action? Have you ever thought about what it would be like to own a franchise? Well, you're certainly not alone. In fact, according to the Franchised Business Economic Outlook for 2009, prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the International Franchise Association (IFA), there are over 850,000 franchised outlets in the U.S. alone, earning a total of $835 billion. Franchising dominates some industries -- well over half of all quick-service (industry term for fast food) restaurants are franchises.

Buying a franchise is not for everyone, but if you're considering starting a business this year, you should at least take a look at the franchise option. There are inherent advantages and disadvantages to being a franchisee. Let's look at the positive side first. If you buy a franchise from an established company, you are essentially investing in a proven business concept. There's no experimenting with recipes or figuring out where to source products or how much cat food people buy in a month. You don't need to come up with a catchy company name or design an eye-catching logo. The franchisor has already done all that for you.

Franchisors recognize that every outlet carries their name, not yours. So with their reputation on the line, they do their best to make sure you are fully trained, equipped, and ready to run the business. In many cases, help is but a phone call away. You get to take advantage of their name recognition, the power of a bigger marketing budget, and the know-how that can take years to learn on your own.

You pay for this, of course, in the fee you pay when you purchase the franchise and the ongoing royalty fee that's collected from you, which is generally a percentage of your gross sales. Your initial investment will vary greatly depending on the industry and type of business you're interested in. These startup costs can be relatively low (less than $20,000) or fairly pricey (over $1 million). According to the IFA, the average investment is between $350,000 and $400,000.

Is it worth the money to buy a franchise? Well, that depends. Buying a franchise gives you, in most cases, instant familiarity in the market. In established industries, this can make a big difference. Say you've always wanted to own an ice cream store. Opening a Dairy Queen is going to initially bring you more instant recognition in your market than , say, a Dairy Princess.

On the other hand, if the franchise you're thinking about buying has little name value, you want to make sure what you're getting is worth what you're paying. For instance, if you want to start a business in a field you know nothing about, then buying a franchise might make more sense, since they'll show you everything you need to know to run that business.

Before you buy a franchise, you need to fully investigate the franchisor. By law, the franchisor must give you their FDD (Franchise Disclosure Document) before you sign a deal. Read it over carefully. It gives you the inside scoop on what you can expect from the franchisor in return for your fees: the level of training and ongoing support you're going to get, the background of the people who run the company, and the franchisor's financials.

Perhaps the easiest way to start researching a franchise is to find and speak with existing franchisees. Sure, a list of franchise outlets is listed in the FDD, but why wait for the document? Call franchisees in your community and across the country. Since franchisees all use the same company name, they're easy to locate. Ask the franchisee about their experiences with the franchisor. Did they get adequate training? How's the support from headquarters? Ask about their challenges and concerns. And most important, ask if they were buying into the system today, would they still do it? Why or why not? Franchisees, happy or unhappy, love to share their experiences.

Franchising is not recession proof. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is predicting the number of franchised units to decline somewhat in 2009 (except for fast-food and full-service restaurants), but franchising is a fairly resilient industry. From 2001 to 2005, PwC reports that franchising grew at a faster pace than many other sectors of the economy, expanding by more than 18 percent.

Franchisors are optimistic. According to an IFA Franchise Business Leader Survey, more than 85 percent of them expect to see unit growth in 2009. And almost half believe their companies will do better this year than last.

As I've said, franchising is not for everyone. If you yearn to be an entrepreneur because you can set your own hours, not have to follow orders, and march to the beat of your own drum, you are likely to not be a good fit, since as a franchisee you must follow the system the franchisor has set up. On the other hand, as a franchisee, you're still responsible for your own unit's success. You're likely to be responsible for hiring, local marketing and advertising, attracting customers and clients, and being involved in your community.

Buying a franchise is not a decision to be made lightly. Before you join the hundreds of thousands of happy franchisees, make sure you do your research and weigh your options carefully. In fact, we've already done some of your initial homework for you. Take a look at our new AllBusiness AllStar Franchises for 2009, a list of the 300 franchises we feel are the strongest and best opportunities out there. Happy hunting."

(Source: Rieva Lesonoski - small business blog)

More on Business Tips

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mike Tafoya's New Blog

For anyone out there interested in business consulting or business coaching, Mike Tafoya is one of Denver's leading business coaches. He has helped business owners of all different sizes and is ready to help you with your business needs today.

Mr. Tafoya has created a new blog with weekly video business tips along with his submitted articles. There is also a detailed biography, a list of his future speaking engagements and a place to sign up for Tafoya's Executive Briefing.

Check out his new blog at www.denversbestbusinesscoach.com

Client Retention: What Keeps Your Customers Coming Back?

Written by: Mike Tafoya

What keeps your customers coming back? An important aspect of Customer Service (CS) that all successful companies address is Client Retention. Remember, client retention is growth, and without it, you are forever replacing customers. A well-thought-out plan that defines how to keep your customer’s business is vital to the long-term success of your business.

Discipline: Client Retention
You may offer excellent products, but if the process of dealing with your business is an unpleasant one, your clients are likely to begin looking elsewhere. This is especially true if you are in a highly competitive field, and who isn’t these days. If you have a competitor whose product is equal to yours and the CS experience clients have with your company is a poor one, what’s to keep them from checking out the competition? Not much!

Creating a high quality customer experience

CEO Rule #1: “Customers remember the experience, not the product.”

That’s why good companies place a great deal of emphasis on making sure that their CS representatives provide clients with a high quality customer experience that covers these important areas:
1. New/Existing customer expectations/orientation. Do you know what your new and existing customers expect from your business, and does your CS staff properly orient them to know what to expect from you?
2. New order verification. Does your company have a clear process to verify orders for your products, especially from new clients?
3. Communication. When it comes to this important (and oft’ neglected) subject, your CS department needs to be pro-active, initiating frequent, open and honest contact. Sometimes they need to just call a client to ask how they’re doing!
4. Customer contact. A warm greeting, genuine friendliness and an intimate knowledge of their history with your company should characterize every interaction a client has with your business. 5. Timeframes for order fulfillment. Do your customers know all the steps required when ordering a product from your business, as well as the timelines involved for shipping, delivery and payment? Keep these matters as simple and clear as possible.
6. Knowledge of the customer—the company and the person. Don’t require your CS reps to merely know about the company they’re dealing with, insist that they get to know your clients on a personal level in order to build a strong relationship with them.

Assessing Your Company’s Performance
To begin assessing your business in terms of Client Retention, make a list of the things your Customer Service department currently does well, particularly in the above-mentioned categories.
1. When greeting prospective clients, does your staff connect on a personal level? This is very important when building trust with new contacts.
2. During client meetings, does your staff listen and record what the prospect is really saying: their wants and needs?
3. During the order process, does your staff acknowledge the order formally in writing? This is very important. Clients often feel forgotten once the order is placed. Order acknowledgement should be done in writing and in person or over the phone.
4. Once the order is acknowledged, does your staff explain the process for order fulfillment? The process review meeting will help the client to understand the procedure and manage expectations. If you don’t explain the process, the client sets all the rules for engagement—and you might not be able to satisfy them.
5. Once the order is filled, does your staff make contact to identify any problems with the order or the product? Order follow-up creates an avenue for the client to express their satisfaction or lack there of. Remember, a client’s unspoken complaint leads to a lost client.
6. When there is a problem, does your staff take care of the problem, or do they avoid the issue? Don’t ask the client if they are satisfied if you are not willing to fix the problem.
7. After the order is completed, and the client is satisfied, does your staff stay in touch with the client? Occasional messages sent to your clients keeps you at the forefront of their minds. When they need more of your service or product, you will be the one they call.

Some Practical Examples
Now, let’s take a look at a three CS scenarios for your consideration:
1. We once worked with a mortgage company that was fielding up to 30 calls per day from potential new customers. The business was losing many of these prospects simply due to the length of time it took to process the application and obtain approval. Their receptionist (CS rep) was spending a tremendous amount of time taking calls, forwarding messages from customers to other company personnel and ultimately having to deal with unhappy customers, complaining about the same issue multiple times. Upon investigation, we determined that there were three key contributors to the customer’s frustration: 1) The customer was not providing the necessary information to complete the process. In other words, they weren’t oriented well enough to the business to know the process, and weren’t being prompted by the CS rep to provide the required info. 2) The customer did not know the timeframes needed to move through the process. Again, the company was failing to provide this vital information to their clients. 3) The mortgage business was not keeping the customer informed about their loan status. Another failure of communication. Imagine the feelings (experience) you would have, if you didn’t know that status of your loan when attempting to purchase a house or other property!

CEO Rule #2: “An unfulfilled request is an unspoken complaint.”

2. We once worked with a company in the service industry that had over 3,000 active customers. One client had four full-time CS employees who spent 100% of their time taking incoming calls. We discovered that this business was losing 32% of their client base annually, and that the entire CS department was blaming the industry for their losses. Upon close analysis, we discovered the following three issues: 1) Each CS rep was fielding 25 customer request calls per day. There was greater emphasis on speed than providing a quality client experience. 2) 65% of all the calls were customer “call backs” on previous inquires—i.e., the subject of their original call had not been addressed, and/or no one was calling them back. 3) 100% of customer inquiries were sent to a Sale Representative to handle, when only 10% of them were sales related—a majority of the calls were about billing, production, service or general information.

CEO Rule #3: “Responding to a request is as important as fulfilling the request.”

3. A company had 32% to 35% customer losses per year. The owner committed to decreasing their losses to less than 5% over a two-year period. In an effort to do so, the owner implemented good CS systems, A/R systems and was working on implementing client appreciation systems. However, his efforts were undermined by the fact that his department managers all blamed each other for the client losses, and could not see (or admit) how the failures in their particular department contributed to the company’s losses. While it is, of course, primarily the CS rep’s job to ensure that a firm’s customers have a positive experience that leads to their continuing business, everyone in the company needs to contribute to the process.

CEO Rule #4: “Client retention is EVERYONE’S job.”

Retaining clients is a vital part of any business. It is far less about the product(s) you offer than it is about producing a positive and high quality customer experience with your company. The way that everyone in your organization—especially your Customer Service people—communicates with those who purchase your merchandise is especially important to keeping them coming back to you, instead of a competitor. Regularly assessing your business’s performance in this area is a wise practice. It is also useful to think about the good and bad customer service experiences you have had. What impressed you, and what didn’t? In many ways it comes down to the Golden Rule: Do unto others, as you would have them do to you. It’s really about building a strong relationship with those with whom you do business. So, how is your company doing when it comes to client retention?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Who Holds You Accountable?

Working for yourself is great, but how do you know if you are doing the best job you can possibly do? What if there is a better way to complete the task(s) you've set for yourself. Are you really making the best use of your time?

Having a Business Coach who takes the time to understand you and your business, and can help in holding you accountable for the task you have set for yourself can make all the difference in continued growth or stagnation.

Estrada Strategies invites you to sharpen your business skills and devise a working strategy for success. Register today and see what Estrada Strategies is all about "YOUR NEXT MOVE"

Find out more or register to attend:

Sincerely,

Mike Tafoya
Estrada Strategies-DTC
Phone: 303-524-1270

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Business Leadership Training

(Source: Thomas Morva)



Today's businesses operate in a uniquely competitive world. Not only is there cut-throat competition among companies, but there is also an acute shortage of people with the right business leadership training to take business outside the clutter of the competition. Most of the people who hold the top positions have gotten by hard work and by learning from their experiences. However, in a fast-paced business environment, learning by experience and mistakes is indeed a very slow and unsatisfying process for many. The best way then to acquire business leadership skills is by attending business leadership training programs that are now being offered by a lot of institutes and universities across the country.

Business training is held in an organization in order to equip and develop successful executives and managers. These trainings help to redefine people's visions and broaden their horizons. In turn, those who have received the training are able to help boost the profits of the company. Such training has also proved to be quite successful in lowering people's stress levels and enable them to manage stress effectively and to avoid panic. There are many types of business leadership training programs available in the country. While the most obvious ones are classroom seminars on imparting skills, there are others that have gone beyond this age-old method and now offer books, tapes, audio newsletters, and even telephonic consultation and training.

The main idea of such a seminar is to provide information about the changing market scenario, what needs to be done individually and at the organizational level to keep pace with it, boost market share, compress sales cycles, and build dependable and successful leaders. Thus, these seminars motivate people to manage the company irrespective of the unfavorable factors and enable them to deal with crisis. The idea behind such business training is to give concrete ideas and workable plans that individuals and organizations can implement.

Many people undergoing such business leadership training often express surprise and delight at the things that they have learned and how their new knowledge has enlightened them and helped them to see things with a new perspective. They are now more determined and optimistic than ever and carefully plan out their every move.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thriving In A Down Economy


Written by Mike Tafoya

Okay, so we are in a recession, but how will it affect you and your business? Money is tight. People aren’t spending. Companies are struggling—some are going out of business. The future looks bleak. What are you going to do? Is it really possible to thrive in a down economy? We at Estrada Strategies believe it is. However, it depends on how you manage a number of important factors, beginning with you and your mindset.

What is your outlook?
Your outlook will largely determine whether your company dies, barely survives or thrives during difficult economic times. If you pay too much attention to all the negative comments coming from the media, other businessmen, clients, friends, etc., you may come to the conclusion that all is lost and that your chances of success are so slim, you might as well give up and close your doors.

What conclusions do you make about the economy based upon what you are hearing? The first step toward forming a healthy outlook for your business when the “bears” are all around you is to be aware of the messages you are receiving. So, make a list of everything you have heard about the economy in the last 90 days, and access the effect they have had on you as the leader of your business. In short, what is your current outlook?

Next, identify the steps you have taken in the past or that you already plan to take to deal with the economic situation as you see it today. These simple actions will help give you a clear picture of where you are and how you may need to take some additional steps to alter your outlook.

Create a Place for Growth
One of our CEO RULES is: “People tend to be down on what they are not up on.” That means that in the absence of good information, we tend to form negative opinions. It is especially important in a down economy to be well informed. A few keys to remember in this process include:

1. Don’t Believe Everything You Hear on TV or in the News
Remember that the popular media thrives on bad news, and that often the easiest way to “sell newspapers” is to claim that the sky is falling. If you allow the media to determine your outlook, you may never see any good—ever!

2. Understand the Indirect Impact of Negative Talk
It is virtually impossible to maintain a positive business outlook if you make a habit of speaking negatively, or surrounding yourself with people who do. You set the tone and the pace for your business. If you constantly talk down the economy or your company’s prospects for the future, it will affect everything that takes place in your organization. Your words will become a self-fulfilling prophecy, so watch what you say and what you allow those around you to say.

3. Be Positive and Proactive
Smart people and business leaders find opportunities in difficult times. They’re not unrealistic dreamers; they merely look for the silver linings where everyone else only sees the dark clouds. If you can maintain a positive attitude when everyone else is down instead of passively waiting for things to get better, it will position your company for the kind of pro-activity that will lead to success and growth.

4. Keep Your Outlook and Your Information Fresh
If ignorance feeds negativity, then knowledge is key to maintaining a positive outlook. So, be as informed as possible about what is going on in your line of business, about trends, best practices, the latest technology, etc.

5. Set Specific Goals for Growth and Believe in Them
Even in a bearish business environment, growth is possible. Don’t let the market determine whether or not your company prospers. Maintain a positive outlook and set realistic goals for growth that you truly believe your business can achieve.

Refocus Your Growth Strategies
CEO RULE for Marketing: “Know who should know you.”
Not only should you know all the “players” in your field of business, but they should know you. That includes your competitors, client pool, related business, chamber of commerce, potential advertisers…

1. Increase your Visibility
What activities and events can you host to attract those in your target market, whom we refer to as “suspects”? For one, you can give seminars or presentations to past clients, or host social gatherings. These provide valuable opportunities to connect or reconnect with others that could lead to future business. Networking is another way to increase your company’s visibility in the marketplace. Attend strategic professional or trade association events, where your suspects hang out on a regular basis. Write articles for your local newspaper and place them on the Internet. Post videos on youtube.com. Don’t sit in your office hoping for business—get out and make yourself visible.

2. Build on Your Existing Relationships
What have you done for your clients lately? I am not talking about delivering products or services. They pay you for that. What are you doing to make them feel special and show them you really care about them? Have you taken them out to dinner, or to the theatre—maybe a sporting event or concert? And, I mean with no strings attached: no sales pitch, and no business talk. Just to have fun! Do this, and your clients will become raving fans. Don’t do this, and you will be just like everyone else. Next to your employees, your existing clients are your most valuable assets! Oh, and by the way, what have you done for them lately?

3. Strengthen your Strategic Alliances
This is HUGE. Building strategic alliances is an art. Everyone talks about them, but seldom does anyone really get any measurable results from these relationships. The first step is to establish the ground rules. What is expected of the members, especially in terms of commitment and accountability? How will you track the results? Once you establish the ground rules, you have to follow through. We have a rule that says, “Your Future is in Your Follow-up.” This is so true with alliances. Alliance participants should regularly attend each other’s activities, introduce clients to each other and invite one another to client events. These kinds of activities will lead to future business, even if you never give a referral.

Rules for Advertising
CEO RULE: “Advertising is for the consumer, not your ego.” Things to consider when developing your advertising plan are:

1. Know how your competitor’s are advertising.
2. Know your market.
3. Know your business cycles.
4. Be committed and consistent.
5. Advertise with a result in mind (goal is to be top of mind).
6. Track, measure and monitor the results.

What are Your 10 “Balloons”
Balloons are your sales channels that bring leads, prospects and sales. How many balloons do you plan to float this year? The more the better! Where and how are you generating leads for future sales? Do you know where to find them, or are you just making sales by accident—a chance meeting or some other weird situation? Balloons are defined strategies for mining, developing and harvesting leads. From there your sales process takes over. Here are some balloons:

1. Speaking engagements in your community.
2. Networking at the chamber of commerce.
3. Networking at professional and trade associations.
4. Alliances: events and referrals.
5. Direct mail advertising.
6. Yellow Pages.
7. Warm calls connected with a direct mail campaign.
8. Community service.
9. Referrals from existing and past clients.
10. Internet leads through SEO Strategy.

There are as many possibilities as there are fish in a pond, but if you have only one channel of business, you may be just one moment away from losing all your business. I always shoot for at least 10 channels. What were your 10 balloons again?

Once you have established a positive, forward-looking outlook for your business, have gathered as much information as possible related to your product/services, have reviewed and adjusted your marketing practices and have established realistic goals and a strategy for increased sales, you have done everything possible to position your company for continued growth. Of course, these practices are always beneficial for any business, but they are especially important in a down economy.

For more information you can contact Mike Tafoya at (303) 524-1270 or email him at miket@estradastrategies.com