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Business Insights

What to Look For in Your First Office

By | Wish Group, Business Insights, Foundations of Success | No Comments

What to Look For in Your First Office

When starting off a business everyone needs a location work out from, but most bootstrap startups are unsure what options they have and what does it look like? Today we’ll discuss the best move for your bootstrap startup.

Working from home vs. office is a debate that nobody has mastered, but both provide their own advantages and disadvantages. Firstly, your main concern should be to keep costs down. Working from home gives you that freedom and space to move in a space which you’re comfortable and avoid having to sign leases. However, it may come at the disadvantage of not establishing the company culture and collaborate on ideas with others.

Working in an office is much easier today than its ever been. Things such as shared offices, small rental units, and collaborative spaces/software all help with growing a business. Staff get the chance to discuss ideas, build relationships and collaborate together. Although, this might require longer commute times to work, and additional costs for the renal space.

Ultimately, the decision will be based on the type of business you are conducting, and if the home/office culture is where you will thrive the most. For example, tech-based companies may be interested in an open concept area with lounge and relaxation space because staff want an area away from their computers. Contrarily, a sales culture where staff are working independently speaking to clients and want to be in a home environment or have a dedicated desk. Some companies are exploring the option of a hybrid office, which has both features, so they can cater to all personality types and working styles.

Finally, the hardest part is determining how much space you will need as a startup. As s bootstrap startup its hopeful to expect your business to grow as the years go by, but there is never a guarantee. Most rentals are 3-5 years so the best way to determine what to do is take a realistic approach to your business and assess if a larger office contributes to the growth of your business and the bottom line. A bad office lease or too expensive office can cripple your business quicker than anything else.

Always Be Selling Pt 2 – A Brave New World

By | Wish Group, Business Insights, Sales Advice, Foundations of Success | No Comments

Always Be Selling Pt 2 - A Brave New World

The sales industry has changed from the old school, knock on your door days, and referrals. People pick up the phones less, buyers are more educated, and sellers now need to take a modernized approach it customers. Understanding how to run a formalized BDR/SDR (Business Development Rep/Sale Development Rep) program is essential to staying active in the sales industry, including sending out emails and other touchpoints to prospective clients to make a sale.

Exhausting every option to gain a customer’s interest is now industry standard. The amount of activity and resources spent to make a sale has increased because the amount of relationship building with customers in the pre-sale stage has decreased. Sales are now primarily driven by campaign data, so business owners can start to understand where sales call drop-offs will be, expected responses, and bookings.

Hiring sales staff that are able to quickly understand the different types of personalities when speaking to people and adjust to them will bring in more sales every time. Using a combination of a call, voicemail, email, and backed up by marketing messaging (documents) provides the highest rate of success. Ultimately, coming up with a sales strategy, including script, target market, and campaign (based on data) will give your business the best opportunity to succeed in the sales field.

How to Set Up Your Finance Department

By | Wish Group, Business Insights, Business Growth, Business Health, Planning for the future | No Comments

How to Set Up Your Finance Department

Everyone is well aware that having a finance department is essential for any business in all industries to progress. However, when comes to startups its more about when is the right time to set one up, and who will be responsible for overseeing the company’s finances. We’ve seen the difficulties many startups are having with this conundrum and came up with a few tips to help you get started on setting up your finance department.

When a company is just getting started and can’t afford an accountant one of the best moves is look into accounting software programs. Options such as QuickBooks is reasonably priced and will do the number crunching for you. Most startups do their own accounting using multiple spreadsheets, ledgers etc. but technology has created a way for startups to save time on doing math and more time on marketing the business. Utilize the ability to let a computer do the work for you and start figuring out a way to get paid from any outstanding receivables.

Live within your means when it’s time to expand. As the business grows in revenue, you’ll need more help handling the finances, and hiring an accounting firm can be very time costly experience if you don’t know what you’re doing. Research both large and smaller firms, be clear about your expectations and budget when speaking to their agents. Do not discredit smaller firms because on occasion they can produce the type of financial assistance you require within your budget and building business relationships never hurts. A lot of startups can get swept up in the appeal of a large financial firm taking over but unable to maintain the costs associated. There is nothing impressive about going with a big firm if you don’t have the big budget to match it. Keep it simple.

Finally, consider hiring contract, part-time, or freelance bookkeepers to complete your finance department. Not every business needs a full time dedicated finance department. Take advantage of these options and seek outside help who can pick up some of the workloads where your business may be falling short. It’s usually just as effective and keeps costs low while you wait for your business to take that next step up in revenue to hire full-time staff.

Find time Today and for the Future

By | Entrepreneurial, Achieving Wealth, Business Insights, Business Growth, Business Health | No Comments

As you’re reading this I hope this finds you well. How was your Canada Day? I hope it was relaxing. This day means a lot of things to many different people but for me besides getting a chance to kick back and celebrate the birthday of one of the greatest countries on earth, I like to remind myself how wonderful it is to be in a country where anyone with a dream and a product or service that people need and can afford can compete in the free enterprise system.

This week I want to address an issue I’ve heard leading up to this holiday which is the question of time. I’ve heard this so many times: “but I don’t have time for that”. While it’s true that time is limited, time is our most precious and limited resource, when I start talking to people about why they don’t have enough time, the picture becomes a little clearer as to how they could take their power back and really clean their calendar. I’m going to share with you some of my real time-saving strategies, because ultimately if it’s not on your calendar and if it’s not a routine or a ritual in your life, it will not come into fruition. Whatever you want to create, whether it’s an incredible healthy body or a successful business or whatever it might be – whatever you want to create requires time to be scheduled in your calendar and requires you to actually show up!

If your calendar is full of all kinds of other stuff from other people you’re never going to find time for you, and unfortunately you’re just going to slide into a mediocre boring life. You will become so resentful that you either just resign and say that’s just the way life is, or you get fired up and you hit a bottom and you say I’m never going to let this happen again. Maybe you’re at that place where you’re feeling frustrated that you want to do that creative project or work on your exercise and diet but just don’t have the time. If your ambition is to become successful, time shrinks the more successful you become. I found I had more time when just getting started than I do now with all these pressures and different deadlines. The key is to get your time and calendar right, and here’s how you got to do it. It’s very simple:

Learn to say NO: That’s the word you want to learn. No is how you detox your calendar, because if you look at your calendar and all the time that you’re spending with other people or on projects that you don’t want to be on, you would probably be shocked. Or if you’re honest, how much time are you spending on Netflix, HBO, twitter, Instagram, Facebook, doing things where you just let time pass by? People ask me all the time, how do you manage all those companies and still find time to travel, golf, give back to students and young entrepreneurs? It’s because I’ve become really good at saying the word no to distractions. When you have a hard time saying no, there’s usually two emotional issues. The first one is being okay with letting people down from time to time. You can do this without being out of integrity by being in communication with that person and re-negotiating the timing of when you can be present with them. The other emotional issue is when you create time to work on your projects, usually you’ve been spending so much time focusing on other people that there’s usually unfelt negative emotions inside you that you’ve been running from such as fear, guilt, or anger. We got to work on those emotions, because ultimately if you want to work on yourself and really take your business to the next level, exercise and take your body to the next level, or take your relationship to the next level, you’re going to have to work on yourself.
When you clear your calendar, all those emotions are going to well up, mainly the emotion of fear. Fear of whether it’s going to work out or fear if whether you’re good enough. Then we get to the real issue, which is not time, but rather the negative emotions and fear. How well you manage unfelt negative emotions and fear will determine the quality of your life. If you want to detox your calendar, believe in yourself and develop a daily ritual or a behavior every single day that leans you in the direction of getting all of your goals met.

For me, I need to read and do yoga or work on my body every single day. I always struggled with the time to do both with all the pre bedtime routines so I found that I can perform some stretches while reading every night before I go to sleep. It gives me time to distress and tune out all the distractions before bed so I can have a sound sleep and be recharged for what always seems to be a powerful day. You want to set yourself up so that you can actually do the behaviors and the rituals that make you the most fulfilled.

With that said, that would be my advice for you this week. Really take your calendar back to get the business results you want, the body you want, the relationship you want and ultimately the life you want.

Yours,

Frank.

Integrity When Selling Makes A Difference

By | Comments & Opinion, Entrepreneurial, Business Insights, Sales Advice | No Comments

SuperBowl49_EMR0100a_2014_SCC_SRGBI have no doubt that many of you were glued to the TV watching the championship games to see who would make it to the Superbowl in a couple of weeks (Patriots vs. Seahawks in case you missed it). While the Seahawks incredible comeback is its own story, I want to focus on the Patriots.

On the surface, the Patriots dominated the Colts 45-7 and earned Tom Brady another trip to the Superbowl. However, what happened after the game were accusations that the Patriots were cheating – specifically for deflating footballs during their championship game. As of writing this, the investigation is fresh and will probably take a while to fully examine. That point though is that this isn’t the first time that the Patriots have been accused of cheating. Back in 2007 they were fined $250,000 after a NFL investigation found them illegally videotaping their opponents.

This leaves the Patriots in a very interesting position, regardless of whether the allegations are true. I know many people who instantly scoff at any mention of the Patriots because of all the constant cheating allegations that have followed them. While they’re undeniably one of the top football teams, their credibility is always up for debate. The question I ask you is this: has anyone on your sales team made it so that your company’s credibility is lost? Worst yet, have they ever blatantly lied just to make a sale?

Whether it’s stretching the truth or promising things that simply aren’t possible, there will be a time when your client finds out the truth and then your trust is broken. Having integrity when selling is something that you would think would be common sense, however I thought it would be important to discuss why being dishonest during your sales process is simply a terrible idea:

Distrust Leaves A Lingering Taste – The biggest problem with the Patriots’ latest scandal is the fact that people are generally saying “again?” Obviously this is not the kind of reputation that any team or company would want when nasty things are being said about them. This doesn’t always have to be about blatant “cheating” as well. Terrible customer service or anything that makes anyone’s experience with your company unpleasant will unfortunately linger a lot longer than a good memory.

Hard To Earn Back Trust – As mentioned above, it is going to take a long time for the Patriots to lose their reputation as cheaters, and for fans to just see them as champion-level team instead of anything else. Earning trust is already a difficult task, but earning back someone’s trust after you’ve wronged them is an entirely different beast. It’s simply much better to not get into that situation in the first place.

Ensuring that integrity is something that is constantly talked about to your sales team will ensure that your company’s reputation stays intact.

Limit The Options To Close The Sale

By | Comments & Opinion, Business Insights, Sales Advice | No Comments

Ever had those days where you just want a simple product, but are overwhelmed with the amount of choices involved? Let’s say you want to buy a MP3 player for Christmas and wander into Best Buy thinking it will be easy – but what colour do you want? What brand? Should it be water proof? Do you really need Bluetooth? What about the batteries it takes? There have been so many times where I go to buy something and am simply put off by the amount of options available that I lose interest in the product and put it off getting it – or sometimes I don’t get it at all!

This got me thinking to the typical sales person who tries to sell a “complete” solution to someone who doesn’t really need all of the bells and whistles. Offering the right solution to potential customers is critical to closing the sale, but giving them a list of too many options is bound to turn them off. Once your prospect suffers from information overload, they’ll either delay the decision or lose interest. Here’s what you should do to prevent this from happening:

Discuss Their Exact Needs: The first step of any successful sale’s process is having a deep understanding of what your prospect is looking for, meaning that you need to have an in-depth conversation with them – probably multiple conversations actually. It’s no secret that you need to develop a relationship with your potential clients since it’s rare that you’ll sell someone a product or service on your first meeting. As such, when you’re getting to know them you need to see what exactly they’re looking for in a solution and if you can concisely offer them the service instead of saying things like “You might like A, but B and C are probably better! And we can’t forget D, E and F either.”

Custom Tailor A Solution: Chances are that you may not one concise solution available to solve all of a customer’s problems, which is why you offer them so many solutions. In this case though, it would help a lot if you move things around to make a solution that best fits for them, that way they have all of their problems solved in one fell swoop. Sure, it might be a bit of a pain, but there’s no doubt that they’ll appreciate the effort you put into making something work for them. This will also limit their options to their yes or no, making the close dramatically easier.

By making the decision process for your prospects easier and making their choices meet their needs, I guarantee that you’ll have more success with closing sales.

Holiday Homestretch

By | Comments & Opinion, Entrepreneurial, Business Insights, Business Health, Foundations of Success, Planning for the future, Personal Accountability | No Comments

With 37 days left in 2014, families and organizations are undoubtedly feeling the pressure of holiday crunch time. I’m pretty guilty of waiting last minute to buy all of my Christmas presents, but when it comes to prepping for the next year I try hard not to lose my focus and keep it going.

This time of year it really does feel like everything is working against you, though. The dreary weather sometimes makes it impossible for you to even get into the office, unexpected family visiting, hysteria at every store you visit regardless of what you want to buy…. It seems endless. During this chaos though is when you need to carve time to review how the year has been, since you’ll be busy the next couple of weeks preparing for 2015.

Revisit Your Earlier Goals – Hopefully you made a list of goals at the beginning of the year to guide your business. With so little time left in the year, you shouldn’t be looking at your list and attempt a mad dash to the finish. Rather, it’s a time to look at your list and see what has worked well for you. Hopefully you’ll find that you not only surpassed some goals, but that you also surpassed goals you added on a little later in the year. You’re bound to find something that was meant to be your focus that you may have let slip through the cracks…

Tie Up Lose Ends – If you do see a few loose ends that you were supposed to focus on for the year, you should do one of two things: (a) see why you weren’t able to meet this goal and attempt it next year or (b) decide if you should make it a priority for the coming year or if it’s actually a critical goal. Losing sight of a particular goal isn’t always a bad thing. Perhaps you subconsciously realized that this goal wasn’t essential to growing your business – especially if you’ve experienced tremendous growth in the year without it. On the flip side, if your business didn’t grow as quickly as you expected, then you should probably make it a priority in 2015.

Plan Your Time Off Accordingly – You’re not seriously planning on neglecting your family over the holidays, are you? No matter what holiday you observe, this time of year is important to spend with your family. I’ve talked about balance before, but I can’t stress how important it is to actually put your phone and computer down for a bit and spend time with loved ones. I can completely sympathize if a 100% disconnect is impossible, but don’t completely neglect your family either!

I’m very interested to know what your game plan is for the final weeks of the year. Please share your thoughts with me in the comments!

Escaping Negativity

By | Comments & Opinion, Entrepreneurial, Self Education, Business Insights, Leadership, Personal Accountability | No Comments

escape-negativityYou know those days? Those days where everything seems to go wrong, be it on a technical level or something else entirely? Those days are extremely difficult to cope with, but that’s all they are – just single days. The trap to be weary of is letting these days turn to weeks, then weeks to months until you’re consumed by this negativity.

Doing your job becomes incredibly difficult when you constantly create barriers that stop you from performing well. As cheesy or clichéd as it sounds, your state of mind has a tremendous effect on your surroundings. I won’t turn this into a debate on whether you believe me or not, but I do want to offer some points on how to evaluate your negativity to see if something productive can come from it.

Talk It Out With Someone – This of course works with most difficulties in life, but its important to talk this out. Discussing your issues with different people in your life will give you a different view of your situation. You’d be surprised by how many coworkers might be going through the same situation you are. Don’t limit it to coworkers either. Friends, family, significant others… There are rarely any problems you experience that haven’t been dealt with by someone else. Perhaps you won’t like what you hear, but at the very least you’ll have a different opinion.

Pinpoint Your EXACT Cause – After you’ve discussed why you’re feeling so negative with other people, I imagine that you’d have a general idea of what type of negativity is consuming you. What’s important though is that you figure out EXACTLY why you’re being negative. Was it something that has been building over time, a bad experience that you can’t shake or do you feel unfulfilled with what you do? Pinpointing the exact reasons for of your bad vibes can have a better understanding of how to resolve these underlying problems.

Look At The Big Picture – After you’ve talked it out and narrowed down the exact reasons of your negativity, it’s time to act. This will depend entirely on you. Consider the options though, and don’t act on instinct. Perhaps you are long overdue for a vacation, or there’s been something brewing between you and your manager for a long time coming. As drastic as it sounds, you also have to consider that you are simply not happy with the organization you’re with, and its time to move on. As difficult as that might be, in the long run staying somewhere that makes you feel negative isn’t beneficial for either party.

Escaping negativity isn’t easy, but you’ll be thankful once all is said and done.

Is There A “Give Up” Point?

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virgin-galactic-crashSomething that really struck a cord with me was the news about Virgin Galactic’s failure of their SpaceShip2. The story itself is really tragic, and ended with the death of one of the pilots. There is a lot of speculation on what exactly went wrong, but that doesn’t matter. In the end, pioneering this new field of Space Tourism will continue to be inherently dangerous. Should they continue with this work though?

A gut reaction is to say “no, they should obviously stop with this because it’s too dangerous.” But Virgin Galactic remains undeterred, and will in fact continue forward with their company. Personally, I agree that they should continue as well. Space travel being dangerous is nothing new. In fact, earlier last week saw another spaceship malfunction too, which was luckily unmanned but still could just have easily ended in tragedy and ended up costing millions. NASA, of course, will continue their work despite the loss of the scientific equipment and resources.

Commercial space flight seems extremely dangerous, but it’s far too simple to forget that commercial airline flights took years of trail and error as well to get to safe standards. Even then, there are still unfortunately accidents involved with there flights, as pioneering commercial flights took plenty of years of persistence and unfortunately there were good pilots lost to reach the formula to what we have today. The same principle applies to the automotive industry, as accidents were a regular occurrence when cars first appeared and there were many civilian casualties in the process.

The fact that this sounds cold isn’t lost on me, but hear me out. Virgin Galactic is on the forefront of this industry and truly pioneering what’s to be expected in the future. Science fiction stories have romanticized what space travel could look like centuries away, but we have many years until we reach that point – if we ever in fact reach it. We are going to have to put up with the grim reality that if we seriously want to take a stab at making space tourism and commercial space flight viable, there are bound to be more casualties. Is it worth it? It may be a tough pill to swallow and face, but throughout history there’s always a tough road with tragedies, but in order to make progress it’s sometimes necessary.

I’m very curious to hear your opinions on this matter, both from a personal perspective and from an entrepreneurial point of view. Should Virgin Galactic continue with this endeavour?

“Thanks For All Your Hard Work”

By | Business Insights, Business Growth, Foundations of Success, Leadership | No Comments

86539528When you’re sucked into the day to day of running your business, it becomes far too easy to let some things slip through the crack. Administrative tasks, maybe a deadline on a project…but these things you can recover from. What you should NEVER let fall through the cracks is how much you appreciate your employees.

Your employees are the backbone of your company. Whether they’re in sales or operations, you wouldn’t have a business without them. You might be shaking your head in agreement, but I challenge you to remember the last time that you truly appreciated a stand out employee of yours. Taking the time out of your day to praise your employees can make the world of difference to them. Here’s why I think that appreciating your employees will work wonders for your company:

They’ll Work Harder – This should be an obvious point. If you never appreciate how hard your staff member’s work, they’ll eventually stop working hard for you. Everyone works hard for different reasons. Some work hard because they want to shine better than everyone else, while others truly believe in the growth of the company. It’s critical that you get to know your employees and what motivates them. Everyone takes appreciation in a different way, so you can’t assume that just telling one person “good work” will suffice. Take the time to examine how exactly their work has helped the business, and explain the positive impact to them. Doing this will make your appreciation towards them seem much more sincere.

They’ll Feel Needed – Have you ever worked at a company where you felt expendable? Those are the worst possible conditions to stay motivated in because you’ll feel that no matter how hard you work, it won’t make a bit of difference since you don’t think that your employer needs you. This is easily the most important reason to take the time to praise your employees, because they will understand exactly how all of those long hours are helping the company and having a positive impact. This is also the time where you can work in some mentorship with your staff, as they’ll not only be looking at your for guidance when they do things right, but also for some advice on how to always do things right.

If your staff feels needed at your company, they’ll want to stay at your company AND work hard to ensure successful business growth. It may look like these points can stand on their own, but it’s when you do a combination of all this appreciation towards your employees that you’ll really see your business grow and prosper.