3 steps to turning your business into a valuable asset

11156283_10153303242804365_8882445748495223375_nThe Liber8 team held a powerful workshop a few weeks ago.  Twelve people in a room had the courage to look at their mindset around money, wealth and business.  On their feedback sheet after the workshop, 80% of them mentioned the realisation that a business should be an asset not a job, and the keys to getting there were key out-takes for them.  This is what we teach at Liber8.  We are passionate about it and we strongly believe that if every business owner in New Zealand set out to create an asset rather than a job, we would see a very different economy and a very different Country.

In a moment I’ll share three of the keys to building a valuable business… but first let me explain this flip chart from the workshop.

If you business requires you to go to work every day in order for it to continue to exist… and you don’t have a plan to change this in the future – you don’t have a business, you have a job.  And it may even be a job that pays you less than someone else would pay you to do the same job, makes you work twice the hours, puts too much stress on you and doesn’t let you take enough holidays.  Sound familiar?  A job is something that pays you some income, but doesn’t allow you to build wealth on the way.

If your business is able to generate income without you having to be there – it has become an asset.  If your business has value to someone else, who would like to pay you a significant sum of money to buy it – it has become asset.  An asset will feed you long after you stop working.

Which is your business?  A job or an asset?

If it’s still a job, don’t panic.  Every business starts out that way.  But its the business owners who make a conscious decision to transform it into an asset over time that really win.  This is what we teach at Liber8.  Financial freedom by turning your business into an asset.

Here are just three of the steps we encourage our members and clients to take:

1. Decide that you want to create a valuable business not just a job for yourself.  Think about your own mindset and paradigm, what are you telling yourself on a regular basis that would prevent you from striving for this.  Question your own belief systems around growth, wealth and what is possible for you and your business.

2. Address your business model.  What is holding back the growth right now?  Have you created something that is very dependent on you?  If so, what changes could you implement that would reduce this dependence?  Do you need to find a way to duplicate what you do and train others to deliver?  Do you need systems and products that can deliver without you?

3.  Create recurring revenue streams.  The most valuable businesses are those where cash flow can be predicted into the future.  Clients who are locked in to regular income – income not dependent on the owner – this is where value is created.  There are many examples of business models with this value well and truly in place.  I will share some of these in my next blog.

In the meantime, think about the three steps above.  And feel free to email me with your questions at laura@liber8u.com

Yours in freedom

laura-signature

The all new Acceler8or Programme

We are looking for business owners ready to get serious about transforming their business into a valuable asset.  Our next Acceler8or Programme kicks of end of July.  Do you think you have the right mindset to join us?  Email me laura@liber8u.com for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

Want to create a business success story? Learn to see the future

fortune teller

I’ve interviewed many wealthy entrepreneurs as part of my mentoring programmes, always seeking to find out what makes them so successful.  How do they build businesses that achieve such growth and generate such great financial returns?  The number one trait that comes through without exception is their ability to look into the future and see what their business looks like five, ten or fifteen years out.  Successful business people have a really clear picture of their business when it’s ‘complete’, they can see where it is all heading.  Rarely do they start a business without a clear idea of where they will take it.  They do not randomly wander into business, nor randomly wander out or give up when it gets too hard or they run out of money.  Successful entrepreneurs know where they are going.

One of the first things a successful entrepreneur will do is create a vision for their business that is set firmly in the future.  They are very clear that the business is separate from them and as such it must have a reason for being that is bigger and more inspirational than the owner/s of the business.  When I started my advertising agency I knew it needed a higher purpose, something clearly articulated that would attract clients and talented staff and give us something to strive for.  We set out to ‘change the face of our industry by setting a new benchmark for agency service and quality of results’.   This vision for our future kept us focused and ultimately created the success that attracted a multi-national company to want to buy us.

What is your vision for the future of your business?

How to motivate your team… take the check list challenge

motivation-newIn my latest book, The Liber8 Disciplines, I’m working with HR consultant Antonia Haythornthwaite on the key strategies to build a high performance team.  Antonia advises that you find out what key factors motivate a particular individual and then use these to encourage the best performance from this person.   Knowing what motivates an individual and then building this into their goals and challenges can make a stunning difference to a person’s performance. In the book, Antonia provides a check list you can give employees to find out what drives them.  I’m going to share it with you in this blog.

Take a look at the check list below.  Your challenge is to book a time over the next few months with each of your team members to begin an informal evaluation process.  Create a form for them using the following checklist. Get them to complete this check list and begin to work out the high performance formula for each individual.

MOTIVATION CHECKLIST – WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU?

Tick the five factors that are most important to you at work:

¨  Pleasant physical work environment

¨  Sense of achievement, pride in a job well done

¨  Being treated fairly compared to others

¨  Job security

¨  Knowing that I’m doing what I’m best at

¨  Variety of work

¨  Challenging work

¨  Safe working conditions

¨  Promotion opportunities

¨  Freedom to do the job as I want

¨  Collaborating with others

¨  Project work

¨  Being well paid

¨  A good relationship with my manager

¨  Study and training opportunities

¨  Spending time socially with the people I work with

¨  Flexible working arrangements

¨  Regular feedback on performance

¨  Clear systems and processes to follow

¨  Goals to work towards

¨  Recognition of a job well done

¨  Perks

¨  Communication about the direction of the organisation

¨  Knowing how I can do better

¨  New, untried experiences

Once you know what motivates someone and build these things into their work day – their happiness and desire to perform increase dramatically.  Give it a try – and let me know how you get on.

Happy team building

laura-signature

 

From the desk of Liber8me: Business mentors and publisher of Liber8 your Business:  The revolutionary business planning technique that will set every business owner free

 

Business mentor tip # 87 – Why company culture is critical to the success of your business

company cultureI’m working with a number of small businesses at the moment.  All are committed to growth and as such are bringing on new staff members to ensure this growth can happen.  All have accepted that as owners they must let go of certain aspects of their business to allow them to focus on the really important stuff – business development, new business, structure, strategy, vision and… the word so many small business owners forget about… culture.

There’s one question I’m asking all my clients at the moment: what’s the culture you are inviting people to join?

What would be your answer if I asked you the same question?  Have you given it some serious thought?  You should do – because your culture is CRITICAL to the successful growth of your business.

What do I mean by culture?

Your culture is the world you bring people into; the world that will ultimately influence how they behave.  I assume that, as the business owner, you want a highly motivated, fully committed and productive team working alongside you.   As the leader of this team, your job is to ensure they know what is expected of them and to provide an environment in which they can thrive.

Your culture is made up of 4 key components:

  • Vision
  • Values
  • Rituals
  • Attitude/personality

Vision:  What is your business doing that means more than just making money?  What are you aiming for and how will this make a difference to your industry, community, country or the world?  People want to be part of something, they want to be inspired and feel they are contributing.  Your job as leader is to paint this picture for them.  Give them a vision they can believe in.

Values:  What do you really stand for, and how is this reflected in your business?  A company’s values usually stem from those of its founder.  Just think about Apple for a moment.  Steve Job’s personal vision was to ‘put a ding in the Universe’.  His pioneering spirit impacted directly on the values of his company. Now take a look at the Apple Values as outlined in the Apple employee handbook 1993: http://www.seanet.com/~jonpugh/applevalues.html

Who wouldn’t want to work for a company like this?  So what are your values and how can share them with your team?

Rituals:  These are the glue that binds your team together.  The things your company does regularly that people can always expect.  These include the regular meetings you have, the celebrations, the rewards and prizes your team might strive for.  At my advertising agency we met at 8.30am every Monday morning for Work In Progress.  The agency always supplied muffins.  On Fridays at 5pm we stopped to celebrate a team win for the week. The agency supplied drinks and nibbles.  On a team members birthday we organised a cake for morning break. Staff members were day off – to be taken in the month of their birthday.  When someone left there was always a gift and leaving drinks.  Every year we went off site for a planning day, with accommodation and a big dinner for all the team.  These things always happened, and the team knew they could rely on them.  Our rituals defined our team experience together.  What are your rituals?

Attitude/personality: What kind of company are you? And what attitude would you like to see from your team?  Think about these questions and how they apply to your business.  Are you a creative company, do you want your team to come to you with new ideas? Are you willing to hear those ideas?  Is your business a fun place to work?  Or is it very serious?  Does your company inspire people with the vision and life up to its values?

There is a Sicilian saying: “the fish rots from the head down”.  Which means, in the context of this article, that the leader sets the tone for the rest of the team.  If you are serious, hard working, focused and driven…you’ll probably create a culture around your own personality type.  If you are young, a bit crazy and full of mischief… this will probably reflect in the type of culture you create.  If you are stressed and worried all the time, this too will probably impact on the happiness of your team and find its way unwittingly into your culture.

With leadership comes great responsibility.  Creating a culture where people learn, grow, thrive and flourish.  This is as important as developing new products, or creating a clever marketing campaign.

Look after the culture.  The results will show you the value.

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and publisher of Liber8 Your Business.  Click here to be notified of launch date http://liber8yourbusiness.com/

Want to work with Laura? : http://www.liber8yourbusiness.com/one-on-one-mentoring-programme/

 

 

 

Business Mentor Tip #81 – Rate your scalability

I had a very enjoyable interview with John Holt (co-founder of HR Software provider Sonar6 which was sold to NASDAQ listed company Cornerstone On Demand) for my regular NZ Business Magazine column.  He said many wise things.

One was about a key factor a potential buyer would be looking for in a business to purchase.  And that was scalability.  Quick Wikipedia definition coming up:

Scalability is the ability of a system, network, or process, to handle a growing amount of work in a capable manner or its ability to be enlarged to accommodate that growth.

Or… does your business model support rapid and sustainable growth?

An interesting question and one I think every business owner should ask themselves right now.  What is your model for growth? And how will a future potential buyer be able to take your model and add it to their own for their own advantage?

Love to hear your comments on what makes a business scalable.

 

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness. Businses mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.

Business mentoring tip #77 – The leader versus manager debate…

In my last tip I was pretty tough on us entrepreneurial types, stating boldly that if our employees were under performing it was our fault not theirs.  I do believe this is true in very many cases, although of course not all.  Some employees do simply suck and I’ll talk more about this in future tips.

However, there is a further distinction to be made on the subject of staff performance (in fact there are many distinctions and an expert in HR is the right person to make them, not me).  I’ve been noticing this one a lot recently as I observe so many small business owners struggle with growth.

The thing about growing is that it means employing people.  And when you employ people you need to manage them.  This is where the potential pit fall lies for many small business owners.  Typically someone who has the gumption to start their own business is likely to be a driven personality.  In the workshop with nine different businesses I held last weekend, nearly all could be described as ‘A’ type, dominant, strong and determined people.  All in my view had leadership quality.  They had vision, enthusisam, confidence, personality… they had ‘mana’.  They were the type of people other people want to follow.

So why would they struggle with growing a high performance team?  Because they are leaders, not managers.  There is a big difference between the two.  Another client recently told me she was going to invest $8,000 in a leadership course.  I looked at her vibrant, powerful personality and the amazing business she had built and asked her why.  She told me it was because she was crap at management.

And in that moment I saw the problem.  She was a good leader already – sure she could learn some new skills and talents in this area – but this course wasn’t going to help her with her management skills, nor with the lack of motivation engulfing a few of her team members.  She needed someone with different skills entirely to help her.  I suggested she spend that $8,000 on an independent HR consultant who could help her implement a more people driven culture.  Regular reviews, clear expecations, set KPI’s and measurements.  These are things that she neither has the time nor the inclination to spend time on herself, but are critical to the success of her growth plans.

The same issue came up for nearly every business owner at my workshop.  As we assessed the business growth plans we could see a distinct lack of planning around the processes that would be required to manage the people.

So I have now become the world’s biggest advocate for independent HR advisors.  Wonderful people who love to manage people and know exactly what you need to have in place to bring out the best in them.  I would engage one of these people to help with your growth from the minute you think about employing people.  You can always learn to be a better leader.  But if your staff have left because no one ever cared enough to manage them properly, you won’t have anyone to lead.

Get your processes in.  Learn how to manage.  Then lead the way.  In that order.

 

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies. 

Business Mentoring Tip #76 – Your team don’t suck. You do.

Having frustrations with staff seems to be a theme for the small business owners I’ve been working with this month.   Employees under performing, not taking responsibility for their outcomes, having little initiative and being too content to let the owner do the lion share of the income generation.

Does this sound familiar?

It certainly reminds me of my early days in business.   I remember like it were yesterday the mind blowing frustrations of having to take back project after project and do it myself… because no one else seemed to care enough to get it done right and on time.  The resentment ate away at me like a festering wound as once again I was at work before everyone else and working late on jobs I shouldn’t even have had to look at.   And the harder I had to work the grumpier I got with everyone else.  My fuse was short and my tongue sharp.  Mine was not a happy workplace…  for anyone.

It took me a few years and a nasty personal grievance claim to realise where the real problem was.  And it wasn’t with my staff.

It was me.  I was a crap manager.  I’d been so busy expecting everyone to be like me that I’d overlooked a fundamental life truth.  Most people are nothing like me.  I am actually quite unusual.  I am an entrepreneur.  I see the problem, I leap in with the solution, I get it fixed, I charge onto the next problem, seeing opportunities where others see barriers.  I get impatient with other people when they don’t behave the same way.

And this, my friends, is where the real problem with employees lies.

If you have started your own business there is a very good chance that you are not a great people manager.

Ask yourself this:  why are you not an employee?

Because you are a self starter, you want to be in charge of your own destiny, you want to achieve great things and realise your own dreams, in your own way.  You place high expectations on yourself and are willing to push yourself to make it all happen…Right?  You own your own business because you have taken a leap of faith and let go of the pay cheque.

You also have a lot at stake.  You have to make money to survive, to pay bills and grow your team.  Your customers are everything to you and you will bend over backwards to make sure they are happy.  You will do whatever it takes to succeed.

So why don’t your employees feel the same? Why does no one else work as hard as you? Why don’t they care as much? Where is their ambition? Their initiative?  Their drive?

Here’s a newsflash.  If your employees had all the same qualities as you they would not be your employees, they would be your competition!

You simply cannot expect your employees to have the same levels of drive about your business that you do.

But you can create an environment where they find their own sense of empowerment and passion.  Where their own unique skills are recognised and their efforts rewarded.  Where you see their strong points and use them to the company’s advantage, making them feel useful and treasured. They can come to work with a fire in their belly and work harder than you do to achieve amazing results.

As long as you get out of the way!

If you are struggling with your staff right now, take a look at your management skills.  How is the culture of your company?  Are you expecting everyone to behave the way you behave?  Are you behaving like a resentful parent… picking up after your kids then berating them for being messy?

If you are having team problems, it’s time to change your approach.  My world changed the day I realised that I was the problem.  I knew that my strengths lay in other areas, so I hired someone who was an amazing manager.  She took over the hiring and the management of people and left me to do what I was excellent at… being the leader, the visionary and the inspiration.

Maybe you should do the same.  If you are not ready to hire a General Manager as I did, bring in an HR expert on contract.  Get them to help you re-engineer your culture and your management style so that you get to empower more and work a whole lot less.

If you’d like the names of some excellent HR experts email me at laura@liber8yourbusiness.com

 

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.

Business Mentor Tip #65 – The high performance formula

This tip comes to you from Antonia Haythornthwaite of Blue Dot Human Resources http://bluedot.co.nz/

Once you’ve made the decision to employ people you need to ensure you can get the best possible performance out of them.  Antonia outlines four key elements that need to be in place

 

 

1. Skills, Knowledge and Talents. If you’ve followed the recruitment steps outlined previously you can be confident that your people have the technical ability to do their job and the knowledge and attributes to do the work that they’ve been employed to do

2. Direction. Now you need to make sure that they understand the big picture, they know what’s expected of them.  These things come from the direction that their manager or leader gives them.

3. Opportunity.  This is the time or resources that they have to be able to do their job – have you given them the opportunity to excel?

4. Motivation. And finally is the motivation factor which is about ensuring people feel their work is important, that it’s worthwhile and they are making progress towards their personal goals.

Blue Dot is a leading HR consultancy specialising in performance solutions for small businesses.  Check them out at www.bluedot.co.nz

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness. Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.  Based in Wellington, New Zealand.