12 Disciplines Of Every Successful Company

October 14, 2011

A common daily question that business owners have is:  What should our company be doing better?  I literally hear this every time I meet a business owner.  Initially, I thought the answer to this question depended on what that business did, or their industry, or maybe several other factors that were unique to that business…  BUT what I’ve found after studying this for several years now is that almost everything you need to do to improve your business will fall into the following 12 Disciplines.  If your company can master these and constantly work on them, you will see tremendous results.

So here are the disciplines and a brief outline of what I’m talking about for each.  More info to come on each of these in the future….

1. Optimizing – Most people are great at starting new things or doing stuff the same way forever.  But to build a truly amazing company, you must have a focus on improving and optimizing what you are doing.  I like to focus on a couple of areas first.  I like to work on current promotions, tracking leads and opportunities, and expenses.  These areas can have a fast impact and boost your bottom line quickly.

2. Team Building – If you want a strong company that operates with or without you, you need a team.  The foundation of the team is your leadership team.  The core of your leadership team is built on communication, mindset and beliefs.  Your building blocks for making it all work together are your Vision, Culture, Integrity, Accountability, and Systems.

3. Sales Process – Map it out from first impression to a closed sale.  Use a CRM!  This is a nonnegotiable.

4. Sales Scripts – What do you say and when do you say it in the process?  What phrases work and which ones cause problems during a sale?  Know this stuff and teach it to EVERYONE on your team!

5. Overcoming Objections – Start by making a list of common objections.  Address common objections during the sales process to minimize them at the end.  Position all your interactions with the prospects so they expect the sale…

6. Customer Service – How do you treat your customers?  Do you survey them?  Do you have standard response times?  How about WOW factors?  What information do you gather about your clients so you can impress them?

7. Knowing Your Ideal Client – Know who you like to work with and who you don’t.  Know who’s a good fit for your company and when you are forcing a round peg into a square hole just for a dollar.  Have a set of criteria that you use to accept a client.

8. Telling Your Story – What makes your company special?  What problems does your company address for the industry.  What makes your product/service better than the rest?  What are the real intangible benefits to working with you?

9. Perfecting Your Follow Up To Current Customers – The first sale is only the beginning of the relationship.  How can you keep your customers coming back over and over again?

10. Hiring – A bad hire will cost you as much as 60K.  Learn how to find, recruit, screen, and train good talent.  It will change your business from the inside out.  Very powerful.

11. Strategy – This is the long-term piece of your planning.  Thinking and planning 5 years or more out, creating a roadmap, milestones, and targets.  Involves thinking about what you want to accomplish and working your way backwards to the present day.  Also includes thinking of ways to accomplish more with each move you make.

12. 90 Day Planning – The strategy is great, but if you don’t get out the business every 90 days and clear your mind, review where you are, and get down in the details, you are going to be in trouble.  This is a key part of growing and maintaining an amazing business.

Want to know more about these 12 disciplines?  Want to Master them?  I have a 6 month training series coming up on this soon.  Email me  michael@michaellejeune.com and set you up with all info…


Mike’s Top 10 Ways to Grow Any Business

October 5, 2011

I get asked all the time about how to quickly and easily grow a company.  My short answer is that there are NO silver bullets!  It doesn’t matter what business you are in, there’s no single way to jump your sales overnight.  And there’s really no way at all to do it effortlessly.

That said, if you want tried and true ways to grow literally any business on planet, read on…

Here’s a list of my personal 10 favorites that work in literally every situation I’ve ever been in.  And by the way, that ranges from advanced business solutions to manure farmer (Yes, I’ve actually coached a manure farmer).  I’ve used this in all situations and they flat-out work!

Mike’s top 10 ways to grow any company

  1. Reach out to past leads that didn’t close and see if they are now ready to buy. – Most sales are lost for lack of follow-up.
  2. Reach out to current customers and see if they could use an upgrade or cross sell them into another product or service.  What if every one of your customers purchased just 10% more from you?
  3. Ask everyone, past clients, current clients, people who don’t close in a demo; for a REFERRAL!  People will give you referrals if you ask.  Even if it doesn’t work more than 10 or 20% of the time, that’s better than 0% which is what I bet most of you reading this are getting right now.
  4. Increase your prices.  If you are worth it, charge more.  Cheap = you get what you pay for.
  5. Review your promotions and discounts to find ways of adding value instead of just giving discounts.  I recently reduced the cost of a promotion for a client from $15 to $9 (a savings of $6 per sale).  We reduced the plain cash discount to $5 cash off and a product that cost him $4 but had a perceived value of $10 (still a $15 value to the customer).  Doesn’t sound like much until you hear that he sells 200 of these deals per month.  That equals 200 sales times $6 or $1,200 per month/$14,400 per year.
  6. Review your marketing to see what’s working and what isn’t.  Cut what isn’t working and redirect those funds to what is.
  7. Pick up the phone and call all your customers just to see how they are doing.  You will be amazed at how many will refer business or let you in on a need they have (that you can help with) if you just communicate with them regularly.
  8. Invest 1 hour a week honing your sales skills, presentation/demo, etc.  Get better at closing!
  9. Implement a multi-touch sales and marketing system so that every lead gets “touched” a minimum of 20 times before you give up on it.
  10. Be authentic! – It’s not enough to be funny, cute, or original.  People want to see how real you are.  Show a real side to who you are and what your company is about and more people will buy.
Bonus 11th and 12th Tips…
11. Implement KPI’s in each key area of your business.  Tracking is actually a strategy that will improve your performance.  This one is highly underestimated.
12.  Implement a CRM into your sales process.  There’s no excuse here.  Zoho.com has an amazing free system, Salesforce.com is superb.  This step will increase your sales departments effectiveness by 40% or more.

For more strategies and tips on how to grow your business, email me at michael@michaellejeune.com

Have an interesting tip or strategy you want to share?  Send them in.  I’d love to share with the world!


What are KPI’s and why are they important?

May 12, 2011

One of the most important factors in running a business is actually one of the most overlooked areas of business. I know this because I talk to hundreds of business owners every year and I only find about 5% of them that have a clue about KPI’s.

So what are KPI’s?    KPI’s are Key Performance Indicators. These are the specific numbers that tell you what’s going on in your business and enable you to make educated strategic decisions to improve your business.

An example of KPI’s could be: sales, number of calls received, close ratio, amount of sales per product or service, amount of hits on your website, average AR days, etc. These are just some of the KPI’s you should be tracking in your business. Some of these should be tracked daily, some weekly, some monthly, and some quarterly.

Each business needs to customize their KPI’s to fit their business and start by selecting the most important 5 or 6 to start tracking immediately. Over time your list will grow as you learn what numbers you need to know.

So why do you want to pay attention and implement KPI’s? Simple… If you want to learn the fastest and most effortless way to grow your business, you need to master KPI’s.

Here’s a simple example of KPI’s for a Hair Salon.  For this example we will use just two KPI’s:  Average clients serviced per day and average sale per client.

Now those are just 2 KPI’s, but let’s see how this could be helpful to that business….

Let’s assume that the average clients serviced per day is 4 with an average sale of $45.  If this person works 5 days a week we can come up with estimated revenues of $900 per week (4 clients per day times 5 days in a week times $45 average sale per client).  Let’s also assume that these numbers are the same for 10 stylist that you have in your business.  So now the revenues are $9,000 per week ($900 times 10 stylists).

Now to put these KPI’s to work for you, let’s assume you can come up with 1 strategy for each KPI that will increase it by just 10%.  That brings your average clients serviced per day to 4.4 and your average sale to $49.50.  Doesn’t look like much until we multiply it out.  Now our weekly revenues per stylist are 4.4 customers times $49.50 in average sales for a new total of $1,089 per stylist or 10,890 for your whole team of 10.  When you look at it over time it’s even more attractive.  That extra 1,089 per week turns into 56,628 over the course of just 52 weeks (1 year) and over $283K over 5 years.  That’s a lot of money if you ask me.

But here’s the fun part.  If you know your average client visits per day and your average sale, it doesn’t have to stop here.  You could continue to work these numbers and improve them dramatically just by adding a single strategy here and there that will increase both areas.

Another KPI for this type of business is called, “Frequency of Purchase”.  To some people it can be referred to as average number of transactions per year, but I like frequency of purchase.  Think about this for a minute.  If your client visits you once every 8 weeks that winds up being about 6.5 visits per year.  Not bad, but if I know this number I can now work to improve it by implementing simple strategies.  So lets say I can reduce this to visiting me every 7 weeks.  I now go from 6.5 visits per year to 7.4 visits a year.  Again it doesn’t sound like much, but what if you have 1,000 clients like most hair salons?  You’ve just added over 900 visits at about $50 each to your bottom line.  That’s another $45K just by getting clients to come back a little more often.

These are some great practical examples that I actually use for a hair salon client of mine. 

Just remember to start small with a couple of KPI’s and build from there.  I like to start with 5 to 6 KPI’s at first and build up from there.  Just think about the numbers you need to know to manage your business and over time others will show up.  Also, be sure to monitor these weekly.  After all, you don’t want to wait until the end of the month or end of a quarter to spot a trend and make adjustments.  You want to make adjustments quickly so you can maximize your efforts and reduce loss of possible revenues.

If you have questions or want help setting up your KPI’s, just send me an email at michael@michaellejeune.com and I’ll setup a free KPI coaching session for you.  Just act fast because I only have 3 to 4 sessions like this open per week and they will fill up.