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September 2008

Do you love being the boss?

September 23, 2008

Sept23likebeingtheboss_2 Being the boss is not always what it’s cracked up to be.  You have all of the responsibility, accountability and some times risk on your shoulders. Additionally, you have people, projects and profits depending on you.  No pressure, huh?  But there are ways that you can ease this burden and at the same time become a boss everyone loves. 

Delegation is a good thing.  If you have a very entrepreneurial spirit, this may be hard for you to believe.  But when you delegate to those people upon who your success depends, it makes them better team members, and shows you trust them and value their opinion.  But here on the blog, we like to put things into practical terms. So, let’s take a look at HOW you might start to delegate things in order to be more successful as a boss and a company.

A sales department always makes for a nice take away example since all companies have to sell something – either a product or service.  Let’s say you have 4 regional managers.  These managers are responsible for producing $300k in revenue every quarter. At their disposal, these managers each have 3 sales people. So, do you hand hold each new sales rep and explain how you did things “back when you were on the phones”?  No.  Here is a likely schedule that may work.

Owner meets with regional sales managers on a monthly basis.  Don’t take these managers out of the field in order to meet. Have them do a web conference with you so you can see their “poker” faces.  Clearly set out expectations and deadlines.  Empower them with bringing back a certain amount of closed revenue by the next monthly meeting, and then make yourself available for then to reach out to you as they work independently to achieve those goals. Sales people love contests…see who can bring back the most!  You’ll be able to see by the looks on their faces (via webcam) which managers are most excited.

Regional sales managers meet with local reps on a weekly basis.  If you’re motivation was contagious, the managers will pass it on to their reps.  The first meeting of the month should be done via web conference or a live meeting – to really get sales reps pumped up.  After that, the meeting should be done via conference call. You don’t want to pull your great sales reps out of the field too often.

Regional teams (sales managers and sales reps) all conduct one meeting a month together via video conferencing.  This will give the sales managers a real hands-on experience and allow the sales reps a chance to shine. 

By using communication tools at your disposal and instilling a sense of responsibility in your team, you can see great success.  If you’ve experienced success by using these (or other) delegation methods, please share them below.  Or, if you have questions for other SMB owners let’s hear them!

Take a break, Road Warrior!

September 10, 2008

Sept10roadwarriorWhen you travel, do you battle fatigue, jet lag and insomnia?  Are you back in the office and struggling to be productive, meet your milestones and keep your budget in line?  No wonder they call you a road “warrior”! 

Running a successful small or medium size company means that you wear a lot of hats. Some times, that means you are the sales force pushing the adoption of your product or service.  Unfortunately, this means that you may have to travel more than you care to.  But, meeting with people in different regions of the country or world does not mean you have to sacrifice your work/life balance.  By choosing to do conference calls or web conferencing you are choosing a more flexible and cost-effective way to do business.  Conferencing will never completely replace the face-to-face meeting or hand shake but it can make your life a little easier.

Here are a few ideas of when you can use web conferencing instead of traveling:

Sales presentations – instead of going out to a prospective client’s site, do a presentation via web conferencing.  This will help you better qualify the prospect and still allow you to share a website or demonstrate software.

Interviews – most web conferencing options today have a capability to incorporate video via web cam.  Don’t spend the money to fly in a job candidate when you could easily meet them via a web cam and conduct the interview.

Telecommute – many companies are now allowing members of their team to work from home at least part time. With web conferencing, you can still have team meetings and collaboration sessions, keeping the personal communication lines open.

Lead Generation – free webinars are a great way to generate qualified leads if you are a service oriented company.  Leading a web conference or web cast will position you and your company as an industry leader and give you a pool of possible leads.

Focus Groups – conduct a virtual focus group to gauge the satisfaction level of your customers or to test a new product, service or piece of creative material. By hosting a virtual group instead of a live one, you can easily make the group national or global in its range.  Additionally, the money you save in travel costs can be used for great incentives to those giving their time to help your marketing efforts.

Then, of course, there is the great advantage of not traveling.  When you replace travel with web conferencing, you save time, money and hassle. Here’s a short list of things you won’t miss when doing web conferencing instead of travel:

  1. Delayed or cancelled flights
  2. Time zone changes
  3. Going through airport security
  4. Over crowded airplanes
  5. $15 peanuts from the hotel mini bar
  6. Living out of a suit case

If you’re a road warrior, tell us about some of the challenges you face when traveling. Or, if you have questions on how to conduct online meetings versus live meetings, please ask! We’re here to help.