According to Wikipedia, confidence (or lack thereof) is a mental process that arises from considering if a person or thing is capable of something. Self-confidence is having confidence in oneself when considering a capability.

Jack Welch once said: “Confidence gives you courage and extends your reach. It lets you take greater risks and achieve far more than you ever thought possible” (Capitalism Magazine, 2002).

Recently a group of coaches and Master Licensees agreed that having and exhibiting confidence is one of the top characteristics of successful coaches. There are many lists on what to do about confidence. Here’s one from writer Kent Sayre:

1. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” 
Too often, we place excess importance on potential problems. We all have a certain amount of energy so let’s apply it to creating extraordinary relationships, advancing our careers and meeting our goals INSTEAD of wasting that energy worrying. Take action on what you have control over and minimize risks for what you don’t. Then invest your energy wisely.

2. In doing something for the first time, imagine that you have already done it in the past. Close your eyes, then vividly imagine you succeeding wildly at what you are really going to do for the first time. The mind does NOT know the difference between something VIVIDLY imagined and something real. Make it vivid by involving all 5 senses.

3. Find someone who is already confident in that area and copy them. 
Model as many of their behaviors, attitudes, values, and beliefs for the context you want to be confident in as you can. How can you do this? Talk with them if you have access to them. If you don’t have access to them, get as much exposure to them as you can. This could be talking to people who know the person and/or buying their products if they have some.

4. Use the “as-if” frame. I literally love this frame of mind. If you were confident, how would you be acting? How would you be moving? How would you be speaking? What would you be thinking? What would you tell yourself inside? By asking yourself these questions, you are literally forced to answer them by going into a confident state. You will then be acting “as-if” you are confident. Now just forget you are acting long enough and pretty soon you’ll develop it into a habit.

5. Go into the future and ask if what you’re faced with is such a big deal.
 This might be a bit morbid and yet this works tremendously well. Imagine yourself on your deathbed looking back over your life. You are surrounded by your friends and family. You’re reviewing your life. Is what you’re faced with now even going to pop up? That’s highly unlikely. Keeping things in proper perspective really diminishes fear.

6. Remember that you lose out on 100% of the opportunities that you never go for. 
To get what you want, ask for it. I fully believe that if I ask enough people for whatever I want, I can get it. This is not necessarily true and yet it’s a useful belief. As you think about your goals and what you are striving for, how effective would it be for you to believe that all the people out there want to help you if you only ask? Whether that is true or not in the “real world” does not matter. If you find that belief empowering, I invite you to adopt it as your own.

7. Disarm the nagging, negative internal voice.
 That negative internal voice can keep anyone stopped. To disarm the internal voice, imagine a volume control and lower the volume. Or how about changing the internal voice to Mickey Mouse? Do you think you could take Mickey Mouse seriously if he were criticizing you? Change the voice to a clown voice. The point is to disarm the voice by altering the way it nags at you. If I hear my own voice nagging me, it stops me. If I hear a clown voice, I laugh and continue onward.

One of the most critical elements I have found in the business world that prevents people from achieving greatness is ignoring problems at the "tap-tap" stage the initial stage when the person knows, or at least senses, that a conflict exists.
It doesn't matter who you are - business owner, corporate executive, CEO, parent, teenager, social worker, celebrity or everyday person - you can't reach your full potential unless you learn to deal with and quickly rid yourself of the fear of confrontation in conflict resolution.
A great number of people who do not deal with problematic situations in their business or personal lives develop a tendency to bury their emotions. In their own mind, they may believe they have not only addressed the problems but they have dealt with them as well. But that's a short-term solution that rarely solves anything.
What those people are really doing is developing a bad habit. They are still not dealing with the core of the complication and, over time, the quick-fix solution can manifest trouble of its own and lead to more extreme confrontational situations.
It's like getting hit by a 2x4 because you did not deal with the problem at the "tap-tap" stage; worse yet, delaying the 2x4 stage would be like getting hit by a big truck.  When you run from your problems, they only get bigger.
If you find yourself reacting to another person over the simplest problem in a frustrated, angry, defensive, distant manner, or you find yourself trying to escape by indulging in vices, it is most likely because of a past situation that has not been resolved.  You may be so used to it that you may not even be aware of why you are reacting in a particular way.
So why would you avoid a situation where you differ from another person?

You may feel insecure or intimidated by certain people when you disagree with them or they confront you.  It may make you uneasy to see other people emotionally upset, crying or talking loudly. But differences and confrontations are a part of life and occur in every business. How should you start to deal with this problem?
Here are some suggestions on how to approach confrontation and how to respond to emotionally charged situations:
Don't blow up or clam up; open up communication. Anger is not bad; it is what you do with it that is right or wrong. Anger just means that you are not happy with a situation. In your opinion, there is something that is not right, and it needs to be addressed. There are two negative reactions stemming from anger that shut down the communication: blowing up and clamming up.

When people "vent" and yell and raise their voice, it shuts down the communication. No one listens to a hot head, and no one likes to be yelled at or criticized. There is another response to anger that can also cut off the communication: clamming up. When a person sulks, holds grudges or just refuses to talk, the problem does not get addressed. Both reactions prevent dealing with the core issue. Instead, you need to speak your mind clearly, but with kindness and gentleness and in consideration of the other person's feelings.
Defuse emotion by being proactive, not reactive. There is no good reason to respond to an upset person in like kind. It takes two people to argue, and arguments do not solve problems, but instead drive people farther apart. You need to calm down and be in control of your emotions before working on a problem. Thank them for bringing the situation to your attention. You cannot fix what you don't understand. One of the best ways to diffuse anger from another person is to listen to them. Much anger and frustration stems from people feeling misunderstood, ignored or not cared for.
Seek first to understand and only then to be understood. Get a complete understanding of the problem from the other person's viewpoint, and then repeat that understanding back to him or her in your own words. Once you have restated that person's perspective in your own words, ask whether you have a correct understanding. Ask the other person to do the same.
Attack the problem, not the person. Once you have a clear understanding of the problem, look for areas of agreement before addressing the differences. Then you will have a basis to find solutions and resolutions where you differ. Often, just listening and understanding each other will resolve a problem. Invite the other person to help you find a solution. Look for win/win resolutions. Find out clearly what the other person wants, and clearly state what you want. Then work together to find a mutually satisfactory solution. There are many ways to solve any problem. Be innovative and creative. If necessary, find an outside mediator whom you both trust to facilitate the communication and a solution.
Consider talking through the situation with a neutral party to gain perspective and clarity from that person, and also to better understand the conflict. It is helpful to get a problem out in the open and to get input from people you trust.  They can help you better understand what you are going through and tell you, for better or worse, whether they think you have properly judged or handled the situation.
Abandon the concept of winning and losing. Instead, when faced with conflict, adopt a strategy of resolution. Unless you are on a battlefield, chances are the person you come into conflict with is not the enemy, but instead is someone whose goals are generally similar to yours, or at least interrelated with yours.
Avoid negative or confrontational language. Rather than "buts" and "you're wrongs," try using positive language that disarms rather than confronts, such as: "I understand your position..." or "I can see your point and here is where I'm coming from ..." Although war is part of our nature, most successful societies have been built on cooperation. Common goals are great unifiers. How many stories have you heard of strangers acting together in times of emergency? When a common goal is made obvious, the natural reaction is to put differences aside. Make a mutual commitment to the greater good.
Be flexible. Rather than approaching the conflict with the attitude of stopping it or overcoming it, think of redirecting the energy toward a common target. Look for similarities in your positions rather than focusing on your differences. When the other side senses that you are interested in finding a solution, you likely will have created an ally where a potential adversary once stood. Rather than confrontation and conflict, you can cooperate to find a solution that suits both sides.
Move to a private setting. Most people do not want an audience when discussing a problem that has upset them. Go to a place without the distraction and concern of uninvolved parties.
Don't be afraid of confrontation. Too many people become agitated out of fear when they encounter conflict or disagreement. This is unfortunate, as confrontation and conflict are a part of nature, a part of life. Unless you are a hermit, odds are you will have run into confrontational situations, as they are inescapable in business and personal life.

You need to approach confrontation calmly, as an expected part of dealing with others. Consider confrontation as a way of learning to see issues more clearly. And deal with confrontation immediately when you know or sense the "tap-tap."

Don't wait to be hit by a 2x4 or, even worse, by a big truck.

Intellectual reasoning and practical behavior aren’t always congruent. Professional results commanding high remuneration only occur when they are preceded with a mind-set on victory and the disciplined behaviors that one can refine to optimize results. Often is-the-case where the "hoped for" results are much greater in magnitude than the rigor and discipline people commit to achieving them.

Logically people know one won’t occur without the other, yet often people are surprised when they don’t. This frequently occurs with Time.

Would results in your life and business be more significant if your decisions about how you use time were congruent with the following beliefs?

Time is your most valuable asset – Only you truly decide how to invest your time. Your decision about that comes before any activity or result in life or business can occur, which there in makes the value of that moment in time more valuable than the result. Your ability to make the use of time more valuable correlates to the quality of the dreams and goals that attract you and drive your decisions about time.

Time is finite, and it all gets used – No one knows when they have nothing left in their time account. Without setting clear goals about when life or business results are desired, will you use time “in your comfort zone” getting results similar to what you experience today? Or will you use time to “step out of your comfort zone” to implement the new behaviors and habits that will contribute to newer, better results?

Someone makes a decision about how you invest your time 
– How much of your time are you choosing to invest the way you want and need to and how much do you invest because someone else needs your unplanned focus? Someone else may distract you – who is making the choice to let that happen?

Keeping score regarding time is a discipline professionals embrace to help them win - Keeping score about the amount of time lost to distraction or activities where the real value is overestimated could guide focus on those that truly are important to your success. That which gets measured gets managed and can easily be improved.

Beliefs any of us hold always show up before sustainable results do. Is your intellect enough to influence more productive behavior where time is a factor? Or are you more influenced to act when you witness someone else’s success story in an area you are pondering a next step? Perhaps something else is your influence, are you in touch with that?

Achieving the lifestyle quality you dreamed about when you first started your business is a marathon, not a sprint.

Discipline to set clear and motivating goals, to step out of your comfort zone to try new things, to truly own your choices for your time investments, to make critical decisions about what to do with your time and to keep score regarding your planned and actual use of time fosters the habits professionals rely on for success. If now is not the time for you to examine your beliefs about time, when will it be?

To be meaningful, any change in life or in business has to be dramatic. Minor change is easy to accomplish but results in only minor differences.

To increase the sales in your business by say 150% in three months will take massive changes in both your thinking and the way you do things. In order to HAVE anything in life we all recognize that we have to DO something to achieve it.

If you want wealth you must invest. If you want love you must first give it. If you want respect you must earn it.

No matter what you want, you need to DO in order to HAVE. But DOing is not the only thing you need to change in order to HAVE. You must BEcome the person who would have the things or persona that you desire. You must develop the identity, beliefs and values that the person who has those things has.

We've all heard of the Lotto winner who, within three years, lost the several million he won. He didn't become the "millionaire". Let's talk a bit about BEcoming.

Everyone has an identity that they developed, usually at a very young age. That identity has values and beliefs that can limit you. Perhaps you believe that customers are always looking for a discount. You will attract that sort of customer to your business because of your belief.

Maybe you believe that business owners are greedy. What do you suppose you will be when you own your own business?

In order to HAVE something like a million dollars, you have to develop the beliefs and values of a millionaire, and believe me they have an identity that needs to be copied.

In fact it is said that you will earn + or - 10 percent of the earnings of the three people you associate with the most. Why? Because you develop the values and beliefs of these people.

Business is no different. In order to HAVE amazing customers, (and amazing businesses need amazing customers) you must develop your business into one that will attract amazing customers.

What is an amazing customer?

It is specific to your business. Only you can define for yourself the characteristics of your amazing customer. Perhaps it includes a customer who always pays cash. Maybe one who sends you lots of referrals?

You must identify who your amazing customers are and what these customers want. You must know how these customers shop.

You must BE the place where these customers want to shop. And the same is true of an amazing business. It is one where your amazing customers shop. It consistently delivers more than your customer expects.

The amazing business attracts these amazing customers. Once you are the business, then you must DO the things that make these customers know what the perfect business will do for them.

Imagine, if you will, an owner of a Jaguar leaving his automobile at the local garage that looks as though it has never seen anything better than a '64 VW Microbus. Not likely. If you want the customer to come to you, you must BE the business to which he will come. If you are the person or business that attracts the people in your ideal target market, then they will come. Just remember you must Be as well as Do in order to Have.

There are two things business people find very challenging: thinking ahead and doing things in order of importance. Doing these two things makes the difference between success in business and just surviving. And the same is true for all areas of our lives.

Leadership trainer and author John Maxwell says, "Thinking ahead and prioritizing responsibilities marks the major differences between a leader and a follower."

Most people have heard of the Pareto Principle, more commonly known as the 80/20 Principle. Roughly stated this says that in most businesses 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customers.

Other examples of the Pareto Principle are:
Reading: 20 percent of the book contains 80 percent of the content.
Job: 20 percent of our work gives us 80 percent of our satisfaction.
Products: 20 percent of the products bring 80 percent of the profits.
Picnic: 20 percent of the people will eat 80 percent of the food!


Hence, 20 percent of a business owner's priorities will give him 80 percent of his production if he spends his time, energy, money and personnel on the top 20 percent of his priorities. When a business owner does this, he can get a 400 percent or fourfold return in productivity.

Every business person needs to understand the Pareto Principle as it applies to the areas of customers, team and leadership. In the area of customers, it is vital to identify the 20 percent who account for 80 percent of one's business. These are also known as 'raving fans' and strategies must be put in place to care for them appropriately.

Within his team, the business owner must identify the top 20 percent producers. It is important for the business owner to spend 80 percent of his people time with these top performers, in order to develop them to their full potential.

In leadership, it is crucial to take an honest look at the question, "What do I have to do that no one else can do?" A leader is in a position to give up everything except final responsibility. A leader should decide whether he will be reactive or proactive when it comes to the use of his time.

The question is not, "Will I be busy?" but, "How will I invest my time?" It's not, "Will my calendar be full?" but, "Who will fill my calendar?" It's not, "Will I see people?" but, "Who will I see?"

Having one's priorities in place can boost one's productivity and personal satisfaction and make businesses grow to their full potential.

Have you set any goals in your business or for your life that you haven't managed to accomplish? Or, maybe you started to set some goals but never went back and finished them or checked to see if you really accomplished them?

Many people avoid setting goals because they tried it once and when they didn't achieve them, they decided goal setting just doesn't work.

The fact is the people who are most successful in the world are avid goal setters. They are driven to accomplish what they set out to achieve and they know what they are aiming for.

That is what goal setting really does for you - it gives you a clear target to aim for. You are much more likely to hit a target if you have one to aim for.

So, why don't goals work for most people?

The reason goal setting fails is because the goal setter has not followed the steps necessary to establish clear, focused goals that create a roadmap for success.

Here are the five reasons most goals don't work and how you can avoid these mistakes to create powerful goals that lead you to the wealth, success, happiness and prosperity you seek:

1. Generic goals - Many people set very generic goals that do not create a vision of what they are trying to accomplish.

Goals such as, buy a new house, increase my profits, save money for vacation, do not inspire action and do not give you a specific target to achieve.

If you want to buy a new house then set a specific goal for what kind of house your want to buy, where it is located, how much it will cost, what it will look like, how big it is and what amenities it has. Create a very clear picture of what you want and write your goal accordingly.

Determine what your goals are and BE SPECIFIC. That is the key to avoiding the mistake of generic goals. Be as specific as possible.

Create a clear vision of what you are aiming for. Whatever it is, be specific when setting the goal.

If you are trying to increase the profits of your business - decide exactly how much more you want to produce. Pick a dollar amount or a percentage increase you are determined to make.

If you are planning a vacation and want to save for the vacation, then determine an exact amount, where you will go and what you will do.

No matter what the goal is, the more specific you are the better chance you have of achieving it. Why? Because the more clearly you define what you want the more solidly it will be locked into your subconscious mind.

Locking your goals into your subconscious is a critical component of achievement. Once you have created a clear vision of the goal and locked it into your subconscious then you will find that the actions you take tend to lead you toward the accomplishment of the goal.

2. Inability to measure results If the goal you set does not allow you to measure your progress then how will you know if you are getting closer?

Specific goals will make it much easier for you to measure progress. Generic goals that cannot be measured are doomed to fail.

Measuring your progress allows you to make adjustments along the way so you stay on track. Make your goals measurable and they will be more powerful.

3. Setting unachievable goals If the goals you set are so outlandish that you simply cannot reach them in a reasonable time period then you will become discouraged and give up.

Establish "stretch" goals but not unachievable ones.

It is good to establish goals that make you learn and grow and challenge you to reach them. However, don't hurt your chances of succeeding by being unrealistic. Strong goals are those that are realistic and achievable.

4. Setting goals that are not relevant Make sure the goals you set tie into your long-term plans and mission for your career and life. Too many times people set goals that sound good in the moment or are relevant to someone else's plans but not yours.

Make sure your goals support what you are trying to accomplish or else why pursue them at all? Don't waste your time chasing unimportant goals.

5. Not setting a timeframe for achievement
 If you set goals that are not time bound then it is easy to let yourself off the hook and not take action.

Setting a timeframe to meet the goal creates an accountability to take action. It also allows you to adjust your activity and make corrections along the way.

If you create a goal to save enough money for a dream vacation in June three years from today then you can regularly check your progress and adjust as needed.

If you didn't set a timeframe and waited until you were ready to go then you may be surprised by not having the money and have to delay your dream. That would be a shame.

Avoid these five common mistakes and you will find that you accomplish more than you thought possible. Another important point is to make sure you put your goals in writing. Once you commit your goals to paper they move from a thought to an action and you create a commitment. Share them with someone else and the accountability increases dramatically.

Now that the year is winding down, this is the perfect time to reflect on this past year and plan for NOW!

Were you satisfied with your business results last year? What are you going to do differently this year? Have you established your business and personal goals for the new year?

You know the old adage "Failing to plan is planning to fail!". Think of the subject of business planning - does it sound like a difficult chore like cleaning out the garage or going in for major dental work? Necessary but painful tasks.

Do you know why most people resist planning, or at least resist putting a plan in writing? Most people resist planning because they don't want to be held accountable (or hold themselves accountable) for the results. Well, don't put anything in your plan that you don't want or plan to achieve! A plan is for you, not to impress someone else!

If you are a business owner, you are truly fortunate. You can plan for yourself and don't have to come up with a plan to achieve some global objective for the company handed down from on high! Take advantage of this and plan to conquer your own destiny!

The key to good planning is to just do it. Here are four quick and easy steps for doing your business plan that you can use to get started and stay with it.

1. Your present vs. your target position. This is the opportunity to realistically assess where you are today and where you want to be. What are your unique strengths and weaknesses? How will they help you define your vision, mission and strategy?

Remember that this is your plan and goals. Make it work for you and be easy to follow. You might have one, three and five-year goals but focus on one 90-day plan at a time that leads you toward your goals incrementally. This will be easier to visualize and easier to start on.

2. Strategy. Strategy is your high level assessment of resources needed to achieve your goals and objectives. What resources (time, team and money) do you need to get your desired results? What will you need to do differently? So it begins with choosing/defining your objectives.

The key to a successful strategy is to set S.M.A.R.T goals and objectives. S.M.A.R.T goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-oriented. Then you identify a set of resources you will devote to achieving each objective.

3. Tactics. Tactics are the specific tasks that must be executed in order to support your strategy. What is the most cost effective (and quickest) way to get your desired result? Who, what, when and where?
The tactics need to support your overall plan and priorities. Remember that you may need to be creative and flexible in re-aligning the resources in order to meet your goals. There are many ways to get the desired results. Don't get bogged down in the tactics.

4. Feedback. Feedback is a key element of the planning process. How are these strategies and tactics working for you? Is this a realistic approach? What is working and not working?

Remember, that you have S.M.A.R.T. goals and objectives. You have to measure the results you get and compare the results to the stated objectives. Then take that learning and factor it into the next planning cycle. This last step is key to having a plan that actually moves you closer to your goals.

Bah humbug!

"It's the most wonderful time of the year," as the song goes. In the hustle and bustle, it is real easy to "let up" on marketing and default activity because "everyone's distracted". Years ago my track coach trained me to sprint to the finish line and not let up just because the "end" was near. Here are 3 things to remember so you can finish the year STRONG!

One of the most important things to your clients and your organization is Consistency. Methodical, systematic, and disciplined delivery of your products, services, and, yes, your marketing are essential to success. If you "start and stop" or "hit and miss", your customers and Team won't know what to expect and your Testing and Measuring will not yield relevant results. Stick to your plan, even during the Holiday Season. This positions you as a professional and you still get to enjoy all the festivities.

Plan Ahead, realizing that deadlines may change and timelines of communication may be disrupted. You only have so many "selling days", each month, each quarter, each year so don't throw any away. Incorporate your marketing strategies into the calendar and execute them with the consistency mentioned above. You certainly knew this time period was coming, so work ahead to harvest your rightful reward. Make sure your sales, marketing, and activity goals take this into account. That way, you're ahead of the curve, instead of struggling to keep up with it.

As with all things business and personal, Balance is vital. Take care of yourself, get enough rest and exercise. This is not the time to sacrifice all your good habits and you can still treat yourself to some Holiday treats without all the guilt. If you don't take care of yourself, nothing else really matters. Take care to balance your activities, remembering that you still have goals (and bills) that rely on your ability to generate results. Your professional reputation is what you have made it and your willingness to stay disciplined sets you apart from the rest. Even during the Holidays, business goes on. As Jim Rohn says: "The pain of discipline weighs ounces, whereas the pain of regret weighs tons."

Business owners often ask me what they must do to maximize the sale value of their business. It is not simply the bottom line that determines the sale price.

The most common issue is that the business simply will not operate effectively without the business owner and, when this happens, the business is worth very little, no matter how good the bottom line.

So you must think like a buyer and focus you on those areas that will create additional value and make you redundant from your own business in order to maximize your sale price.

For many the following are key strategic areas to consider:

1. Customer Diversity - If a large part of your business relies on a small number of customers, it can be a negative. So start focusing on diversification.

2. Management and staff- Ensure your business has a clear goal and that your team both understands it and their role in delivering it. If you have a great team in place, make sure they stay on during the transition process.

3. Systemization - A buyer will have a greater value and desire for getting into a business where the processes are streamlined and systems are in place. Make sure you have a written system for all those business activities that are repetitive so they can be done consistently and quickly by anyone. No one person is vital to the successful running of the business- least of all you - the business owner.

4. Recurring Revenue- All revenue is not the same. If you have recurring revenue as a result of a contract or agreement like annual licensing fees, maintenance fees, etc. These are much more commanding drivers of value than revenue pounds that result from projected sales or other such non-recurring revenue streams.

5. Desirable Proprietary Products/Technology that cannot be copied easily - A buyer will tend to value a business with unique products, services or systems higher than one that is considered as a "me too" business. So, find out what is unique about your business, and then think of ways in which your product/service is unique. Communicate this uniqueness effectively and you will be able to increase the desirability of your business.

6. Team of professionals - Using professionals like accountants and lawyers will help reduce the buyer's perceived risk. It is essential to get your financials audited by a reputable accounting firm and use a good solicitor to go through the papers.

7. Product Diversity- A narrow product set increases risk and decreases value.

8. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)- Make sure that you have a clearly defined and meaningful set of KPIs that not only show how the business is currently performing but also help demonstrate how it performed over the past year- this will demonstrate clear trends.

9. Written Growth Plan - A 2 or 3 page long written, strategic growth plan that identifies and lists the areas your company is expected to grow in can help maximize its value.

10. Book Keeping - Your style of bookkeeping will greatly influence the buyer as this is an indicator of how your business was run in the past. A good quality bookkeeping system also reduces the risk and helps during the due diligence stage.

During my own coaching session with clients, I use the concept of a 'business in a box'- one place where everything required to run the business is set out so that anyone- a general manager or a new owner, can take this and run the business successfully from day one without the input of the owner.

By following the points above, you will be able to achieve just that. In this manner, you will be able to shorten the sales cycle and maximize value.

By Mark Cadbury

Have you ever been persuaded to do something you didn't want to do? You may have given money to someone in the street; signed up for a marketing program that with hindsight was never going to work for you; bought a product you had no need for; or maybe let a person push ahead of you in a queue for no logical reason.

In all of these instances you were 'influenced' by another person in a way that caused you to act differently to what you would normally do if left to your own devices.

In business, it's important not to be unduly influenced by others to your detriment, yet your ability to influence the actions and beliefs of customers is crucial and should be paid attention to, since you are doing it all the time.

So when thinking about the concept of influence, some useful questions to consider are, "How, when, where, and why do we influence others”, and, “How can I use influence to my advantage in business? "

In his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini addresses the 'how' by describing Six Principles underlying the process of influence and why they work.

He also explores in which instances (when) and in which situations (where) you can use influence ethically and successfully: a win-win approach which benefits both parties in an influence scenario.

Interestingly, Cialdini also demonstrates the types of individuals who are eventually unsuccessful and unethical in the application of these principles to influence others.

Here are the first three principles of influence in brief, with examples of how you might use them in a restaurant or bar (I own 2 restaurants myself). As you read them, think about how you could apply them in your business… 

1. Reciprocity

Do you have friends who always ask you to dinner, and you feel you need to “return the favour”?

When we give something, whether it is information, food, money or whatever, the other party feels compelled to give back equitably what you have given in order to cancel out the obligation. Be the first to give service, information and concessions and your customers will repay in kind.


  • A small tasting dish of nibbles arrives on the table when the menus are delivered - enough to whet the appetite and show the generosity of the owner. You are more likely to 'order up' from the menu.
  • A server offers you a great window seat/nice compliment/free extra serving, which is likely to be repaid with a good tip.

2. Scarcity:

Ever bought something at a sale because it was the very last one – yet you didn’t need it?

Possessing scarce or exclusive items conveys information about one's status, intelligence and wealth. As objects of value become less available they increase in value. By being aware of the unique information that you possess and then using it strategically, you can harness this rule.


  • 'This duck special is very complex to make - so Chef only made a few, and we only have three servings left tonight'.
  • 'We don't take bookings, but if you are here at 6pm you’ll be able to get the window table...'
  • 'The treacle pudding sells out every time Chef makes it – would you like me to keep one aside for you?
  • 'No-one has been able to get XYZ Chardonnay after that great review, but we've pulled some strings and managed to secure one case...'

3. Authority

Even as adults, we become susceptible to individuals in positions of power. By establishing your business position through professionalism and credentials, you are more in a position to execute influence. You've probably heard statements like, 'nine out of 10 dentists recommend...' etc.


  • The wine waiter says: 'I've tried all of these cabernets and I would recommend this as the best to go with your meal...'
  • 'We have been testing new coffee blends and after 3 months of trials, we have decided this is the best one...'
  • 'The chef recommends the pea and mint puree as the best side vegetable with the duck, it complements the flavors...'

Remember that you and your team are always influencing your clients, whether you mean to or not.  So why not influence them with intention and purpose, to create a better experience for your customers and bring more revenue to your business?

The other three principles in Cialdini’s book are Consensus, Commitment & Consistency, and Liking.  I’ll cover those next month. In the meantime, enjoy influencing your customers with Reciprocity, Scarcity and Authority - to everyone’s benefit.

By Stephen Wanmer

When you hear people talking about sales goals, they're almost always referring to revenue. "I want to do $1,000,000 in sales.  I want my company to grow to $10 million, $100 million, even a $1 billion.”

But, which is more important, revenue or profits?  They’ve probably got it wrong.  Shouldn’t the goal be to dramatically increase net profits - the money you keep after paying your expenses?  And don’t get fooled into thinking that doubling your revenue is going to automatically double your profits.

In many cases quite the opposite happens.  Sales may increase, but the profits lag far behind.
Perhaps a better idea is to prune your business - stop calling on the unprofitable and time consuming accounts - so you can reduce your costs and dramatically increase your profit margins.

With these thoughts in mind, let’s consider the situation a business owner we’ll call John found himself in. John owns a manufacturing distribution company, doing nearly $6 million in total sales.  The manufacturers pay his company commissions of 30 percent, so his organization earns $1,800,000.  It costs him $1,500,000 to pay his 50 employees and other expenses, so John takes home about $300,000.

He has nearly 600 accounts, but the bottom 200 doesn’t do much business with him.  They do, however take up a lot of the sales and service department’s time, effort, and attention.

Doing an analysis, John discovered his 200 smallest accounts spent only $500,000 with him…but took up over one-third of his company’s available time.

As he considered the implications he came to these conclusions:

  • If stopped calling on these small (bottom third) accounts his sales would drop to $5.5 million.
  • His commission income would be $1.700, 000.
  • He could reduce his employee count and total costs by 1/3, to $1,000,000, saving $500,000.
  • This would increase his share to $700,000 in income…an increase of $400,000.

Target Your “A-class” Customers:

“Pruning” his business was the first step in John’s plan.
The second was to have all his people focus their efforts toward improving the quality of their service to their best, or “A-class” clients.  This was easy to do because they were no longer wasting their time calling on, and/or servicing the unprofitable accounts.

This meant his team could easily keep their best customers very happy by making them raving fans who referred lots of other businesses to John’s company…and they were just like the “A-class” clients who had referred them.  They were also able to find additional products and services they could sell to those “A” clients.
John and his sales team created a list of the top accounts they wanted to do business with...and went after them.

The attitudes and morale of his organization changed.  His sales people were making more money, and everybody was having more fun because they were spending their time, energy, and effort serving their “A” customers; and with their new-found, free time, they’re now able to look for new opportunities and clients with the same profile as their best customers.

John is now setting his sights on growing his business to $8 million, and then $10 million in sales, by doing business with only the “best” clients... and figures he’s going to have much higher profit margins.

Growing Your Business

Here are three things you can do to make more money:

  • Prune your customer base and stop calling on those who take up lots of your time, but don’t do much business with you.
  • Give your best customers incredible, outrageous levels attention and service. Under commit & over deliver.
  • Create a profile of your ideal or “best” client, then find more clients who match it.

You’ll have more fun, and make lots more money.

First, it's virtually important to understand the meaning of "targeted marketing."

From my experience, most business owners who have learned about this still don't really understand it well enough. When I talk about "targeted marketing" I mean marketing with a laser beam rather than a shot gun. 

Imagine there is a shooting target with the red rings and the bullseye 50 feet away from you. Some people would consider it "target marketing" to shoot at that target with a shot gun. In other words, they understand that their target market is out there, and if they market in enough different places, they'll get in front of them. 

But why not shoot at that target with a rifle and a laser focus? With the shot gun you'll probably hit the bullseye with one or a couple of the shot gun's sprayed BBs. But with the laser focused rifle you can hit the bullseye with the entire bullet and put a much bigger hole in the target. 

By "rifle target marketing" I mean finding your target market in more condenced, smaller groups, and marketing to them again and again. Here's an example: let's say Mr. Business has $1500 to spend on a marketing campaign. He's in the Twin Cities which has a total population, with suburbs, of around 1.5 million people. So Mr. Business has a choice to put out some marketing that will reach many of the 1.5 million people, or he could try to locate his target market in smaller groups and market to them several times. For $1500 he can probably only market to a larger portion of the 1.5 million people once. But if he finds his target audience in smaller groups, it's far less expensive to market to them and so he can do so multiple times for the $1500. 

Let's say to have a successful campaign he needs 20 new customers from it. Now, many times business owners look at this and say, "I only need 20, for $1500 I can get XYZ to about a million people. I should get 20 customers from that many people." Well, let's go back to the gun target. Imagine that the target represents the entire 1.5 million people. Let's look at how much money we can spend per person for $1500: the average home has 3 people, so that would be 500,000 homes ($1500 divided by 500,000 homes). So that would leave us about 3 tenths of one cent per home. 

Now, let's imagine that we find our target audience in groupings totaling about 6,000 homes. Now we can spend about 25 cents per home ($1500 divided by 6,000). Which do you think will get better results? The ladder will inevitably get better results almost every single time. So, why do most business owners not do this? A) I believe most still really think that "casting a wider net" is always better because they don't want to miss any prospects, and B) I think those that do understand it sometimes just don't go through the work of narrowing down who their target market or audience really is (it's actually usually fairly simple to do this, but that's for a later article). So, get out there and find your target audience in small groupings and save a lot of money and frustration by marketing to them with much better results. 

During a pandemic, nobody can afford to spend money on ineffective marketing. This is THE BEST strategy to use to develop killer marketing campaigns without spending insane amounts of money. This brings me to my second principle: Now is not a time to experiment in marketing, unless you've never marketed before. Businesses need to really focus on the basics right now regarding marketing. 

Whatever has worked in the past, do more. Whatever has performed poorly, dump it now. Those that you're not sure about: start tracking with extraordinary diligence. 

If you're at least breaking even on them, keep them (my opinion is that if you break even attaining a new client, it's a good campaign because of potential repeat business and referrals). If not, dump them. It's not a good time to experiment with new marketing ventures. 

When cash is tight, you don't want to get burned on a new marketing campaign that fizzled. Go back to all the marketing ads and basics that have always worked or worked in the past. Also, review your marketing messages (particularly your headlines) and be sure to adjust them to an audience that is afraid to spend money.

Grow Your Customer Base

One of the biggest tragedies I see in business is watching a business owner spend significant time and effort generating leads for their business, but then not acting on them in a logical, methodical, repeatable way to convert those leads into paying customers.

You haven’t done that in your business have you? But I’ll bet you know someone (better to keep them nameless) who has a stack of business cards on their desk that they have collected through their networking activities but they have not been added to their customer database, no follow up has taken place, and they are essentially growing colder by the day. If that is you, no need to raise your hand. But it is time to get out of the trap and start turning those leads into paying customers- wouldn’t you agree?

To get started, take a few minutes and write down the specific steps that you take each and every lead through to get them familiar with you and your business. Each business has a different set of steps in their selling process. Some have just a few steps- most often where the average ticket price for a transaction is relatively small. Others have many steps- most often where the average ticket price is relatively large. You must decide how familiar a new prospect needs to be with you and your business in order to pull out their wallet and make a purchase. If it is a complicated product or service, you will likely need more steps in your selling process.

Once you have your current process steps written down, ask yourself, is everyone in my business doing it the same way? If not, why not? How can you have a “best in class” approach if you allow each individual to “roll their own”? How can you test and measure new approaches if you don’t first start with a standard? How can you improve and predict your outcome if there are multiple approaches? The answer to all of these questions is you cannot!

Establish your specific selling process steps, train your team to follow the selling process, support it with the necessary materials, and measure the results of each specific step. Make changes to your sales process based on the results of your measurements. Test and Measure. Test and Measure. Again and again. Make incremental improvements and hold yourself and your team accountable for the results. 

This is a recipe for success.

Get Your Priorities Straight!

The first area that my clients and I spend time on when we start working together is mastering the fundamentals of running a business. And, the key to having a healthy business is managing your money, your time, and the consistency of your delivery effectively.

Why are the fundamentals so important? Well, it goes back to the old saying, “You can take any road if you don’t know where you are going.” Setting goals and measuring your team’s progress (or lack of progress) toward those goals will determine your course and eventual outcome. And, if you don’t test and measure your results, how do you really know what is working and what isn’t?

Once you start getting into the habit of managing your fundamentals this way, an amazing thing happens. You start using your information to manage proactively instead of reactively. Once that occurs, you really take control over the results. You will become an expert in running your business, not simply an expert in delivering the product or service.

When setting your key performance metrics, you should have no more than five to seven measurements that act as business drivers. Tracking the number of clients you have, sales you generated, or profits you attained are obviously important, but they are results, not drivers. Rather a business driver is a metric that you can act upon that will impact your bottom line performance.

For example, your average dollar sale, the average number of times your clients purchased are from you and your profit margin are drivers. A good rule of thumb is that unless it makes a difference and can be acted upon, it is not a key performance indicator (KPI).

Start by tracking and trending your financials. Learn how to use your income statement, cash flow statement, and balance sheet and, more importantly, tie your actions back to them. Second, track the key business drivers or leads per month, your conversion rate, your average dollar sale, and the number of times your customers buy from you. Third, have one or two satisfaction and productivity measures; find and track the ones that increase productivity and customer satisfaction at the same time. Improving your KPIs become your priority. And if they are your priority, they will also become your team’s priority.

Set a goal for each KPI. Compare your actual results during the reporting period to the goal or budget. Have your team get in the habit of explaining why there is a variance and, if negative, what action is necessary to improve. If positive, discuss what you did to obtain those results and make sure you continue with them.

Work Less for More Cash

When I talk with professional business owners about building their business, I often get an interesting response… “No more. Please! No more! I couldn’t handle any more work; I’m flat out as it is.” This seems strange because many times their business is far from what would be considered massively profitable and by their own admission is often not a fun place to work.

The problem lies in a common misperception that ‘building business’ means just getting more leads. The reality is that business building is more about ‘quality’ than quantity. You can achieve a better quality of client by following these steps:

Step One: Define Your Clients: We all have clients that drive us mad. They might always pay late or complain and haggle over invoices or prices, wait until the last minute to lodge important paperwork, put unnecessary demands on you, have questionable hygiene habits… the list goes on. The first step is to define your clients into 4 classes A, B, C, & D class clients. The definition is up to you. You might also find an ‘A’ class client might be one that always pays a month late but never questions the price.

Step Two: Tell them where they rate: Send all your ‘A’ and ‘B’ clients a letter telling them that you appreciate their effort in the relationship, that you enjoy working with them and will always strive to do the best for them. Then send your ‘C’ and ‘D’ class clients a letter suggesting that it might be time for a ‘new approach’. State your commitment to service and explain how important their participation is in the relationship. If there is no change after a couple of more contacts, you might refer them to your competition. It costs you to work for these clients. You make a living working with numbers… if you make $100 profit on doing a job for a client who haggles, complains, and wastes another few hours of your time and then starts on your staff members, you’d be better off without them. In the least, they vastly increase the chance of a heart attack or other stress-related disease (like divorce).

Step Three: Fill the void: The time you recover when your ‘C’ and ‘D’ grade clients take their business to your competitors and driving them mad, can be used for marketing; attracting clients that want to work for you and that you want to work with. Alternatively, you could work on systemizing to increase productivity in your practice. You could even go home early and spend some extra time with your family or on that neglected hobby or passion.

It’s important to inoculate yourself against more ‘C’s & ‘D’s… Make sure that your new clients are educated on the fact that the unique and outstanding level of service that you provide for them is possible because your clients commit to participating in the relationship and define what you expect of them. This is an important strategy to get YOU more in control of your business, improve your profitability and most importantly, reduce the stress levels of you and your team.

Good luck!

Are You on Track?

As a business owner, the key to time management is to build your personal and business life around your individual needs and desired outcomes through planned and measured activities. Time management is, in fact, the ultimate in self-improvement because it is the foundation for achieving your goals in every aspect of your life. 

With the current economic crisis, running a business is getting tougher. I often hear flustered business owners say things like, “I don’t have enough time to get everything done,” and “How do I become more efficient at time management?” 

Time is a limited resource, and it cannot be managed. What you CAN manage are the activities that take place over time by defining the desired outcomes and then taking a course of action to reach these goals. 

As a business owner, the process of determining which activities you should be focusing on begins with goal setting. This helps to document your personal and business roadmap in levels of detail that represent periods of time. 

The bigger picture will be visionary including broad strategies to achieve the vision over a three to five-year period. The next level of goal-setting will be for the upcoming 12 months and this will require documenting specific S.M.A.R.T goals – goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

Here are seven suggestions to apply personal discipline within the context of achieving better management of business operations and the more effective utilization of your personal time: 

Delegate: Delegate activities to the staff with the appropriate skills. Manage this approach through an organizational structure and individual Positional Agreements appropriate to the size of the organization.

Prioritize: Prioritize your daily work by reviewing the next day’s important activities in a ‘to do list’ at the end of each day. You can maximize personal productivity by focusing on this list the next day. And don’t do what’s not on the list – resist the urge to be distracted and to do things that you enjoy more. 

Handle each piece of paper only once and never more than twice: Don’t set aside anything without taking action. 

Clean up: Clean up your desk and office shelves once per month. Categorize everything into four groups: ‘Do it’, ‘Delegate it’, ‘Defer it’, and ‘Dump it”. Before getting rid of anything, just ask the question, “What is the worst that can happen if the item was gone?” If the answer is “nothing,” then dump it. 

Put personal interruptions on hold: Put your calls and personal interruptions on hold for one hour, two hours, or whatever is appropriate to your task at hand. It is amazing how much work that can be achieved by using this simple technique and not being distracted by a phone call or personal interruption – and most of these potential interruptions will not meet the definition of ‘important’. 

Learn to say “No”: This may be the most effective way to maximize your personal utilization of time and is often the hardest word to use in business. Make sure that if you don’t say “No,” it is because the activity is important in the context of your own role in the business. 

Make sure you set aside personal relaxation time during every workday: Don’t work during lunch. It is neither nutritional nor noble to skip important stress-relieving time or important energy input. Take vacations, particularly mini-vacations. The harder you work, the more you need to balance your leisure and exercise time. 

Time is a limited resource for most business owners, so it must be “managed” if you want to achieve your goals within the timeframe you set. Time management (or SELF-management) is all about setting priorities and sticking with them.

When it comes to managing your time (or self) consider this: There is a big difference between activity- tasks that keep us “busy,” and productivity tasks that take us closer to our goals. Most business owners are busy, but are they busy doing the right things?

Self-management requires discipline (no doubt about that). And at the end of the day, you need to find what works best for you.

Know How You Spend Your Time. Begin to track your tasks for a two-week period and be specific. Then build a list of tasks and people that wasted your time (or money) each day. Make a special note of the interruptions. Most people find this eye-opening. Once you recognize the time and people wasters, you can take action to fix the problems.

Get Organized. It is easier to perform tasks when everything is where you need it and out of the way. This means clearing off your desk so you have room to work and eliminate distractions. Everything should be in a file or binder (in a drawer, cabinet, or bookshelf). If you need help organizing your space, check out “Organizing for Dummies” or get help (there are people who do this).

Create a “To Do List” and Use It. When you identify a task that needs to be completed, put it on the list and give it a priority (low, medium high). When you plan your weekly work, pull tasks from the list and always do the high priority tasks first. Don’t forget to continuously evaluate the priority levels you have assigned; time can change some of these.

Plan Your Work. At the end of the week, plan your next week AND at the end of each day, plan the next day. According to Brian Tracy, every minute spent in planning saves as many as 10 minutes in execution. In other words, 10-12 minutes planning can save you two hours in wasted time and effort throughout the day. What would you do with an extra two hours per day?

Block Off Time to Work on Tasks. The tasks on your “To Do List” will remain there unless you block off time to work on them. When planning your week, block off chunks of time and assign tasks to them. Don’t work on anything not on your list and don’t try to accomplish everything in one week.

Break Down Big Tasks. Big tasks can appear overwhelming (so they quickly get put aside). Break them into smaller chunks that are more manageable. Then schedule time to work on them.

Delegate or Outsource. Always look for opportunities to delegate or outsource recurring tasks or low-value activities. Did you know that 50 percent of time wasted in business is due to lack of trust? This is because the owner doesn’t think others can do it as well or micro-manages the team. Give your team the tools and processes; then watch them shine (and see how much time you gain for more valuable activities).

Don’t Procrastinate. Work on the tasks you dislike (or those that are more complex) first. Then, they won’t be hanging over your head or causing your mind to wander. Plus, you’ll feel great when you check tasks off the “To Do List.”

Hold Calls (Or Send to Voicemail). If you block time to work on important tasks hold that time sacred and don’t permit interruptions except from a handful of VIP’s. Block off time to return calls each day at your convenience. You may also find that when you are not so accessible, others will handle the “issues” and some problems will actually resolve themselves.

Handle Mail (or Email) Once. When you go through the mail apply the following formula: Delegate, Action (add to ‘To Do List’), File or Trash. Do not put aside to handle later or you simply end up with multiple piles of unaccomplished tasks.

Strive For Excellence, Not Perfection. Results come from taking action. By striving for perfection, you delay taking action or delegating tasks to others.

Learn to say NO. Those two letters are the best time-management tools there are.

There is a saying, "the only thing that stays the same is change." In today's world we are subject to change more than ever, because we now have much more choice than ever before. Through the internet, we now have access to unlimited amounts of information – we Google something and we get thousands of opinions, options and choices.

All this choice is both a good and a bad thing for us.  On the plus side, we like to have options, and freedom of choice is something we continue to fight for.  On the negative side, too much choice and constant change can be very stressful and overwhelming.  So what is best?

The simple answer is we need both, and how much of each really depends on the individual. Some people like constant change and risk taking, whilst others prefer to maintain the status quo.  So how is this relevant to business?  

Well, we need to recognize that our customers now have greater choice - they have unlimited access to buy products and services from anybody else and in some cases from anywhere in the world.  So no longer can we rely on the fact that as long as our customers are satisfied with what we do, they will stay with us.  They will be constantly bombarded with new choices and even if they have the most anti-change personality, can we really afford to just sit back and hope that they don’t go and try our competitors?

In his book “Customer satisfaction is worthless, customer loyalty is priceless,” Jeffery Gitomer identified that we have to work as hard on keeping our existing clients as we do getting new ones.  This is a really important issue.  I had a client who was spending tens of thousands of pounds on generating new leads for their business, but the customer base was not increasing year on year.  When we looked in detail at what was happening, we found that they were losing as many clients as they were bringing on.  So we took some of the marketing budget away from lead generation and put it towards looking after our existing customers and this helped the business to start growing again through improved customer retention.

So the key question to ask yourself is, WHY should your customers stay with you?  The first answer is, of course, the product or service you supply.  This must be first class and give great value for money.  In ACTION we call this Delivery Mastery and it is this that stops your customers going elsewhere.  However, it is not sufficient to make your customers WANT to stay – the real key to building customer loyalty is going the extra mile for them and creating the “WOW factor”. So what is the “WOW factor?”

Think of it the little extras that you do for your customers over and above the normal product or service you provide. It is the things that you do that tap into the emotions of your customers and leave a lasting impression.  A classic example is of a top hotel in New York that ensured its top guests’ rooms had their favourite flowers, wine and chocolates waiting for them when they arrived.  It also trained its staff to remember the little details that would make their guests’ stay so much more memorable and ensure that they would never even think of staying anywhere else.

Paddi Lund, the most successful dentist in Australia, built his entire business on referrals and loyal customers.  He called these extras “critical non-essentials” or CNE’s.  The key to their success is that they are not directly related to the product or service you are offering.  Just giving more or better service is not enough; your customers expect the best, so when you deliver it, they are just getting what they have paid for.  The WOW factor comes when you surprise the client with something different and unique to them, so much so that they not only say WOW to themselves, but they also go and tell everybody they know about it.

An example of this recently happened to me playing golf at Celtic Manor. Being taken to the locker room and shown to my own personal locker with my name on it, two lockers away from Tiger Woods’ locker, was such a memorable moment that I tell people about it whenever I get the opportunity!

The key to successful CNE’s is to overcome the 3 reasons NOT to do them:

1. Lack of ideas – give yourself time to think.  Talk to your customers find out more about them and what interests and excites them.  And speak to friends and colleagues too - it is always easier to come up with ideas for other people’s businesses than it is for your own.

2. Lack of money – if you remember that your CNE’s are marketing, then you should be allocating some of your general marketing budget to them.  Also be creative - some of the best CNE’s don’t have to cost a penny.

3. Lack of time – always make sure that any CNE you start you can continue to do however busy you become.  You can do this by systemising the process, training and delegating responsibility to your team.

So now you know how to create the WOW factor, you just need to put it into ACTION, because if you don’t your competition might beat you to it!

Capture Opportunity & Tackle Challenge

There should be a playbook for running a family-owned business. The stakes are high and you’ll need a winning strategy to successfully work together. If you do, you can create opportunity and avoid common pitfalls. 

At ActionCOACH WilCo, we understand the highs and lows of a family run business, because we ARE a family business. My father, Andy O’Brien, and I are owners. I am also the COO and dad is designated as one of the top business coaches globally within the ActionCOACH organization.

We work through the same dynamics in our business that you do: 

  • Losing, gaining and growing clients
  • Creating a system for smooth operations
  • Adapting to challenges like COVID

Our first-hand experience, and expertise in coaching puts us in a great place to help others struggling with the challenges of finding success in family business. 

In our upcoming workshop 6 Steps to Building a Great Family Business on Sept. 8th, we look forward to helping business owners position themselves and their businesses for great things. If you would like to learn more or sign up, just click on the link. In the meantime, let’s talk a little more about success. It’s one of our favorite topics.

When we coach clients with family businesses, we start by making sure everyone is on the same chapter and page. Answer these questions honestly: 

  • Do you and other family members in your business share the same vision for growth? 
  • Is each family member doing his/her share keeping up with market transformations? 
  • Do you agree on a shared approach when problems arise with customer retention? 

If you answered “yes”, congratulations! If you answered “no”, understand that you are not alone.  

It’s safe to say that family owned businesses are the backbone of the American economy. They account for half of the country’s employment and gross national product. Flip the coin for a sad truth: Only 40% will be passed on to a second generation, and less than 15% make it any further.

It’s our job, in fact our passion, to turn that around. Let’s start by acknowledging the elephant in the room. Family relationships are tricky. When you a mix shared history with the day-to-day workings of a business, you could easily be headed down a slippery slope. You can find sure footing with guidance in key areas.

Communication It’s important to communicate openly and often, in any business but especially in a family business. You want to see your spouse, child or sibling in the best light. It can be difficult to be up front in business with someone you’ll be sitting down to dinner with that night. In coaching our clients, this is something that we tackle right away.

Conflict Mediation The worst thing you can do is sweep conflict under the rug. It helps to have a designated person to make a final decision. But who should that person be in YOUR organization and should you include someone from outside of the family as a trusted advisor? We talk with our clients about conflict resolution and what their plan should look like.   

Evaluate Skills And Invest in Education What is your interest, background, forte? Answering these questions will allow each family member to identify jobs that will best suit them and allow them to contribute comfortably to the business. Then, it’s important to make a commitment to continuing education and workshops in each area of expertise. We help our clients clarify what roles family members can happily and successfully fill, and what kind of continuing education will best suit their company’s needs.

Share Your Family Story The exercise of talking about your history and values helps to build a powerful and binding synergy between family members and it gives customers a chance to support people they know, and trust. We explore the many ways you can leverage your family’s story by identifying the most effective ways to share it through marketing, advertising, and community involvement.

Have A Transition Plan To do business from a position of power, you need to establish certainty around what CAN be controlled. A transition plan gives everyone in the family shared expectations, and a roadmap for the company’s future. Our clients find that having a coach to discuss the best course to take, helps to clarify their options.  

Create A System For Operations  As COO of ActionCOACH WilCo, I can tell you that having a documented system for day-to-day operations is vital. This system should be all encompassing and serve as a resource for management and employees alike.  

We have a Systems Checklist at ActionCOACH WilCo, which you can download here, free of charge. It covers everything from daily office operation systems, to product development, inventory and tracking, accounting, customer service, sales and marketing, education, and legal issues. 

Are you ready to position your family business for success? Sign up for the upcoming seminar, 6 Steps to Building a Great Family Business on September 8, 2021. Check out the topics on the link, give us a call at (641) 420-5917, or contact us at or visit our website, to learn more.

At ActionCOACH WilCo, we return fun and energy into your business and provide a path to achieving your lifelong dreams and goals.