Category: Education

“VIP Tooth Brushing Service” Or Why Do You Need Standardization In Your Business

Let me tell you why YOU need standardization in YOUR business. Bear with me for a second!

We all brush teeth every day, right? At least we all should. Let me show you how I see this from the process approach!

This is a pretty simple process and can be broken down into the following steps:

  1. Wash the brush under running water
  2. Squeeze some paste on the brush
  3. Brush the teeth
  4. Wash the brush
  5. Wash the mouth

Simple? Yes! Let’s use it as an SOP!

But wait!

  • How much toothpaste do I squeeze each time? Or;
  • How long do I brush the teeth? And;
  • How do I know when to stop?

Even this, seemingly simple process still has so much room for variations. My way of following these 5 steps can be dramatically different than yours. Why it is important?

Let’s imagine for a minute that I run… a “VIP Tooth Brushing Service” at 7 stars super-duper all-inclusive mega-hotel! Where the staff takes care of all of your needs and even toothbrushing is included!

My service is so popular, that now I want to hire somebody to help me brushing my clients’ teeth.

The problem is if me and my employee do the job differently, it will be hard for me to accurately predict my business expenses. How would I know;

  • How much paste do I need per 1000 clients?
  • Do I order enough brushes?
  • What is my current cycle time – meaning how long it takes to complete a process for one client?

Can you see now how following a standard process, with controlled variables, can be important even in a silly example of a Tooth Brushing Service?

How about your business? How much time and money do you waste allowing your processes to be all over the place?

Any business is driven by results, by the bottom lines. When I speak about expenses and overheads most of my prospects and clients will jump right into cost reductions and cuts in consumables and materials. But how about labor? It is always one of your largest expenses. When was the last time you looked at the time spent on the jobs and ways to reduce it?

The only way you can do it is by following the exact same process again and again and tracking its performance and results.

The principles are pretty simple:

  • Break the job, a process, into separate steps and see how can you do them faster and more efficiently.
  • Anything you do more than once, on a regular basis, is considered a repeatable process and should be looked at and examined.

Here what you can do:

Look at your business… Do you have a rockstar? Somebody that just nailed it, and rocks it every time?

If yes, great! Let’s try and duplicate THEIR process!

First, break the process into single steps by following the rockstar and note the sequence of steps, how long they take and what tools and resources are used. This is called Process Mapping.

Remember the teeth brushing service? Toothpaste and brushes are the resources and tools…

Second – review the document you just drafted with the rockstar. Is it exactly what is done? Add any comments and make changes if needed. 

Third – try to follow the steps and see if your end-results are identical.

If not, find the reasons… Sometimes it is because of the skillset differences. If this is the case – CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve found your first IDENTIFIED training opportunity.

Four – test your newly created work instruction with somebody new to the job and observe them doing it. Is it easy to follow? Do they get the results you want?

No..? Back to the drawing board! Refine the instructions.

Yes? Awesome! Make sure everybody does the job this way.

One pro tip here:

Even in the “tooth brushing service” work instruction, we could potentially create separate instructions for the technical steps. For example, for the brushing, it could be a sub-instruction to describe the proper holding technique, brush pressure, and stroke. It is your discretion if you want to include these details in your main instruction or leave it out, assuming a person who does the job was trained to do it.

Now, one HUGE bonus you’ll get from this activity is an opportunity to question the current way of doing things, probably tune it up, or even re-do it completely. I’ve seen it happen many times! Because often, you so used to do something in a specific way, you just don’t question it.

And, when you examine the process, noticing the time, tools, and resources needed for each step… All of a sudden you start to see the obvious cuts and savings, otherwise hidden in the process…

To wrap it up:

  • If you think YOUR business doesn’t need standardization, think twice…
  • It doesn’t matter if it is a product or service-based business or how long have you done that. If you don’t have it – you need it.
  • With very few exceptions, standardization will save you time and money!

Start small. Complete one process. Move to another one. You will see the gains. I promise you!

And if you need a little help along the way, me and my team are always here to help with this, and any other business growth strategies.

Because remember? At Congruent Clarity – Your Success is My Story

Are you a Product or a Customer of Your Favorite Social Media Platforms?

There is one question I always ask my clients and prospects:

  • Are you a Product or a Customer?

Why do I care? In my work with clients, I focus a lot on where their time goes. To help us understand it, I use what is called the “Eisenhower Matrix”. And usually, we place the daily scrolling through Social Media feeds in the Quadrant of Waste (see my article/post about that). With one exception:

  • It is a waste of your time only if you are a Product for social media!

Andrew Lewis worded it very nicely:

“If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer. You’re the product being sold.” 

You see, all the “free” social media platforms, are here to generate profits. And they generate it by selling you and your personalized interests to the real customers:

  • Those who pay to get their message in front of you.

Social media deliver masses who use the “free media”, spending time scrolling their feeds. This puts the word “Feed” into a different perspective, isn’t it?

Back in 1973, artists Richard Serra and Carlota Fay Schoolman broadcasted a short video titled “Television Delivers People”. The video was nothing but a blue screen with text scrolling on it. The key messages were:

  • Commercial television delivers 20 million people a minute.
  • In commercial broadcasting, the viewer pays for the privilege of having himself sold.
  • It is the consumer who is consumed.
  • You are the product of TV.
  • You are delivered to the advertiser who is the customer.
  • He consumes you.
  • The viewer is not responsible for programming…
  • You are the end product.

Since then, internet search engines and social media took over a big chunk of our attention, but the statements still hold true and new media do exactly the same: deliver YOUR attention to the real customers.

So.., to the main point of all this:

If you want to be on Social Media, at least make it your business tool! And then you can transform the “time-waster” into your strategic “time-investing”! Become a customer, and enjoy the free service! And it will change the way you see your feeds forever!

Digital marketing is a great opportunity to generate more leads and convert them into happy customers. And it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune!

There are few different ways to approach this. But in a nutshell, they all do the same. You need a strategy and execution plan.

Start by deciding who you are going after, what are the pain points you want to address, how you will help them, and why you are better than your competition.

The exact strategy will vary based on your product/service offering, and there is no “one size fit all” solution. Otherwise, like with diets, we would all know about it, right?

Your strategy will require some brain-storming and creativity. And time… Time invested in it. But in the end it all worth it!

The goal of this short article was to make you stop and think. And I hope I achieved it. No one wants to be a Product, and you shouldn’t too!

As always, looking forward to your comments and questions. And if you need a little help with this or any other business-related issue, me and my team are always here to help! And if you find this article helpful, subscribe below to receive notifications when I post something else!

Because at Congruent Clarity Your Success is My Story

Why You Need a “My Crappy Life” Vision and How to Use The Not-To-Do Lists

Give me a few minutes and I’ll explain why you need to have the “My Crappy Life” Vision and as a bonus how your Not-To-Do list can help you in achieving your goals.

So…

The other day I delivered my “Intro to Strat Planning” workshop, I’ve explained the importance of the Big Goal and the Vision. And how they motivate you.

And while they DO give you the energy to keep going, and getting things done, it is not always about this kind of motivation.

You see, your motivation is always fluctuating. It is completely normal. What is not normal is to allow your productivity to fluctuate! At least I think it is not a good idea. Here where the Discipline is coming to help!

Let’s talk a little about the discipline. If you google it, the first definition that you’ll find is:

“Discipline is the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience”

Interesting, right?

Brings us right to the “Carrot and Stick” argument in team management.

I’ve gone through a lot of leadership and management training, personally, I don’t see a general agreement on when, how, and why we use the Stick and when, how, and why we use the Carrot. But one thing I know for sure:

In certain circumstances, both have their place, and both are working.

So while the majority of the coaches and consultants out there are speaking about the Carrot side, the positive motivation. I want to invite you to the dark side!

Charlie Munger once said that people would be far better served to replace their “What My Ideal Life Would Look Like” picture with the “What My Crappy Life Would Look Like”. I think there is some rationale in this statement.

My idea is to combine the two visions in Strategic Planning. You are going to work on the “My Crappy Life Strat Plan” EXACTLY the same way as you did with your positive Start Plan.

Grab a piece of paper and draw a vision of your “Crappy Life”! How would it look like? What you’d feel?

But hey, don’t get dramatic, because you may end up with something like this:

“I wake up in a flat TV box under the bridge. Drink my morning river water and go to collect garbage for my breakfast”

No… Be realistic… You know what kind of life you want to avoid, right?

Now, when you have it in front of you, start planning the actions you need to take! What do you need to do to get this “Crappy Life” Vision closer?

Do you start to see where I’m going with this?

Here is your Not-To-Do List!

Put it beside your To-Do List and here you go! You’ve got yourself a “Discipline booster”! And now, every time you do something, you know which of the visions is getting closer!

So when you are taking some time off the hard work on getting closer to your “Ideal Life” Vision, put your “Crappy Life” together. Then work on your No-To-Do List. I promise you a few “aha moments” if you approach it seriously.

I hope this little article made you stop and think. Please comment and add questions. Argue! We’ll get it refined!

As always, I’m looking for your questions and comments. Please see my other articles for more ideas and insights.

And if you need a little help with this or any other business-related issue, me and my team are always here to help!

Because at Congruent Clarity – Your Success is My Story

Are You Trapped In Tactical Hell?

Recently I’ve got a response to one of my articles from a reader. And she mentioned that it reminded her of a concept from the book:

“The Laws of Human Nature”, by Robert Green.

I’ve never heard about the book, so I had to look it up…

“Tactical Hell”… Boy, how many times in the past I found myself in it! And how many times I had to grab myself by ears and pull myself out of it!

The concept is applicable to a wide variety of areas. But I wanted to share what resonated with me in the context of business.

“Tactical Hell”, is the inability to accept being in the dead end. When you’ve made a wrong turn, and now stuck in it only because you won’t admit the mistake. Situations, where your attempts to force your way through, are not a matter of “getting closer to your goals”, but asserting your ego. Proving you are right!

When you fall into the “Tactical Hell” you lose the ability of Strategic Thinking. The voice of the ego is so loud… you feel so invested in the situation, that you don’t realize that you waste your energy and time on a tactic that doesn’t work!

One of the questions that should guide your decision making is simple:

  • Does this support me in achieving my goals?

And here the tricky part! You need to be brutally honest with yourself! Because often there is a very fine line between the “giving-up” and “tactically change the direction”.

How do you distinguish one from another? One is leading you toward your goals and the other – doesn’t.

Nothing wrong with persistence! We were not born with all the skills and abilities we need, and it takes time and practice to learn new tactics and strategies. But you also need to know when you grasp into something only because you don’t want to be wrong.

So, next time, when you realize that you struggle in a situation. Fighting the same battle over and over with the same result, ask yourself:

  • Does this support me in achieving my goals?
  • Why do I keep repeating myself? And,
  • Why don’t I use an alternative?

Then use your Strat Plan as a validation tool! A properly made plan will sort out subjects that don’t deserve your attention.
Don’t have a Strat Plan yet? Let me help you draft one to serve YOU and YOUR business better!

Like always, I’m looking forward to your questions in the comments or private messages. Please visit my e-learning system for more insights and strategies you can apply in your business today. Because at Congruent Clarity, “Your Success is My Story”.

Super Power You Can Learn

Have you ever wondered what could it feel like if you had a superpower? What you’d be able to accomplish? How much more could you have? 
All these great opportunities that this superpower would give you! What would you be ready to give up for having one, ah?

Well, I have some bad, and some good news for you. Let me clear the bad one out of the way first: No… You won’t be able to fly like a superman or have the strength of the Wolverine.

Sorry about that.

But the good news is that you still can get a superpower without a need for any creature to bite you! The one that ANY successful person has.

I’m talking about the power of “Self-Control”! The formula is simple:
Control your Attention! Let me show you how you can gain it and get reduced stress levels as a bonus!

In this day and age, we are bombarded and over-flooded with information. Naturally, we are attracted to bad news and this is what media is offering us in abundance! This can be very distracting and drags the attention from where we need it to be.

As a result, things are NOT getting done, your goals are missed and the outcomes are not there. There is a simple trick I’ve learned, that helps me to stay focused on where I want to focus for longer, get more things done, and overall reduce the stress level!

I want to use three circles to illustrate my idea. Let me introduce you the Big Three:

Circles of Concern, Influence, and Control!

“Circle of Concern” is everything that matters to you. All of your interests, things that you care about. Some of them will impact your life, and some don’t.
Your local weather. Results of the elections. Rumors about your favorite and not “that much favorite” celebs.
All this is in the circle of your concerns. The rest existing, but you don’t really care about it. The vast majority of this list is not only out of your control, but also not influenced by you. Like weather or election. Well, maybe the elections are somehow influenced by you, but it is not certain.


It brings us to the next circle: “Circle of Influence”.
It circled around all things that you can influence. I’ve heard that sometimes even your kids are in this circle!

In general, your circle of influence is things that you cannot directly control but can influence through other people who do control it.

Last, but not least is the “Circle of Control”. Here you list all of the things that you can directly control by your choices and actions. There are many things that can be in this circle. And this circle is straight forward.

Why do I speak about these? The circle that you need to focus most of your efforts is your “Circle of Control”. Less attention in “Circle of Influence” and be very selective with the “Circle of Concerns”.

Here where you can see a lot of gains when you start to exercise your power of Self-Control:
The more you control yourself and directing your focus and energy to the inner circles, the better your results will be.

So, how do you learn the Self-Control superpower? Start noticing where your attention is and ask yourself – what circle is it?

If you are out of your “Circle of Control” and even not in the “Circle of Influence”, chances are that you can find something better for your time. Switch your mental channel to the right circle. With time, you’ll get better and better at controlling your attention and directing it where it needs to be.

The first outcome will be more things done and the bonus is reduced stress levels because you’ll feed less and less on all the negative news that are definitely not in your circle of control.

For more tricks on how to get better in your business, please visit our GUIDED TOUR for the state of the art e-learning system at my website. Link in the description.

Good luck superheroes!

Make It Pop

There are 5 major components to good advertising copy: (The order of these is essential to success)

  • Command Attention
  • Showcase Benefits of Products/Services
  • Prove the Benefits
  • Persuade People to Embrace the Benefits
  • Call to Action

Advertising is sales in print. So, you need to think about the unique benefits your products/services offer and showcase that in a persuasive way. You need to emphasize results, not features.

Let’s take a minute to talk about each of these components:

  1. Command Attention: This is usually accomplished with the headline. You need an attention-getter that makes people want to know more about your products/services. The best headlines give a vivid portrayal of the benefits or show how a problem can be avoided with your products/services. The headline is the advertisement for the advertisement.
  2. Showcase Benefits: You have to showcase the benefits of your products and services and, more importantly, show how they will solve or prevent a problem. They need to know what’s in it for them. Include useful, factual and clear information to show precisely what the benefits are and how they are going to help the customer.
  3. Offer Proof: This is where you prove what the advertisement is offering. You need to establish you have a method to deliver. Consider information that establishes credibility and past performance.
  4. Persuade: You need to add compelling reasons for your potential customers to purchase your products/services. Use a hard sell approach and create scarcity. This will enact your potential customers to feel like they have to act now. Which leads into
    the last component.
  5. Call to Action: You need to compel your potential customers to DO something. They need to check out your site, sign up for your newsletter, purchase your products, contact you about services…something.  Offer a freebie-a booklet, sample, product, bonus, demo, consult, limited time price…the list goes on. There are lots of ways to get potential customers excited about ordering and help them feel like they are getting an amazing deal.

Good advertisements include all of these components and are not complete without any of them. You can sit down and think through any one of these components, then figure out how to best place
them together for the most effectiveness. 
We can help you with this too.

Try our GUIDED TOUR to learn how to put together great advertisements from some of the
best in the business.

Educate Your Customers

Educate them about what, you may be thinking. Well, consider this, many businesses focus solely on attracting new customers, but you NEED to spend a good chunk of your time retaining current and former customers. These are people you already know to be a good sales potential…they’ve already bought from you!

Take the time to market and sell new products to your old customers and less time trying to sell old products to new customers and you will see a drastic change in your sales, customer quality and branding position.

Here are a couple of key elements to use to retain your current customers:

  1. Stay in contact: This means by phone, email, e-newsletter, in person-by pigeon if you have too!
  2. Post-Purchase Assurance: This means you need to follow up with customers. Your customers need to feel like they are being supported for their purchase and with the item they purchased. How many times have you purchased a product, then felt completely abandoned? Something as simple as a Thank You note with your contact or customer service information can go along way in retaining a great customer.
  3. Deals & Guarantees: Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you have. Show them you appreciate their business or even come up with a club specifically to reward loyal customers. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option.
  4. Integrity: Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty go along way with customers. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of swindling and crap out there and the safer and more confident you make your customers feel, the more they will trust you and that makes for an amazingly supportive and loyal customer.

There are three cornerstone ideas to a successful business:

  • Quality product/service
  • Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer
  • Offer subjects your customers find interesting

Use this approach of educating your customers and offering them real information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success.

Stop wasting all your time on new prospects while your current customers fall by the wayside!

As Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and diverts some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers. In every ways possible – through package inserts, regular mailings, special offers – stay in touch with those customers and get them used to buying from you.”

So, there it is! Remember, we can help you put together the resources and tools to do exactly that. We can help you educate your customers and you can watch the benefits pay offer many-fold.