What does it take to be a compelling business leader? We hear all this talk about leadership styles but, really, is any one style preferable to the others? In my observation, there is no single, universally superior leadership style. Some people are in business to save the planet or share their unique gifts with the world. Some people are in business just to make money. Either way, whatever a business does, it succeeds by making money. So let’s forget about social value, put aside purpose and look at a simple question: How do I make money in my business?
For most business owners, the answer is simple: We only get what we want if we manage it consciously. Do you manage your company’s money every day, every week and every month? Whether you’re hard-driving with huge goals or you just want to see results improve a little, a simple plan and a bit of attention will go a long way.
If we don’t make a money plan and track it daily or weekly, then our subconscious attitudes and assumptions will manage our work, time and money. That will keep us locked in at the same level of profit – and net revenue – month after month. When things are going well, you put on the brakes and go easy on yourself. You do that each week. You push when it’s slow; you ease up when you are doing well. That’s exactly the mentality that limits your business’s potential. And results never improve. That’s the problem. What’s the solution? Make a plan, track work, income and expenses daily or weekly, define the work, and track progress monthly.
1. Make a plan.
Your money plan can be a simple Excel spreadsheet. The key is to link work activities to income. What does each employee do that makes money? What do you sell?
If you sell products, you need to make individual sales projections. If you sell flat-rate services, then you need to track contracts closed and the rand value of each contract.
If you sell hourly services, track contracts closed and billable hours. The basics are:
- Up goals and consequences.
- Let each team member know what they contribute to the team, and make sure they get incentives. Whatever is good for the business has to be good for the employee. Incentives include recognition, thanks, appreciation and, of course, more money.
- Give each team member a choice.
- Set a range, with a low goal and a high goal, and provide tangible incentives for achieving the high goal. This gives the employee a sense of control. During a good month, they make the high goal. During a month when their kids get sick a lot, they still know what they need to do to satisfy you and be secure in their jobs. When people feel safe but also have an opportunity to contribute to get more, they are highly motivated.
- Avoid demotivators.
Keep distractions away from your team. If team members are worried they aren’t doing well enough, or that the company isn’t doing well enough, they won’t work well. If they feel threatened, they won’t do well. If there are unclear expectations about some part of their job, it will cut into their work time. So give everyone a clear job description and let them go for it.
2. Track work and income daily or weekly.
Check in weekly. Each week, track employees’ time and numbers with them. Ask how things are going and how they can do better. Don’t pile on pressure. Do be clear, encouraging and specific. Look at the work in relation to the plan.
This is key. Don’t look at work in relation to interruptions or excuses, or anything else. Begin with a clear commitment and, in a no-blame environment, take an honest look at the gap between the plan and actual achievement. If the team member isn’t meeting the goals, find out why. When you find the cause, determine if it’s a one-time thing or if it will happen again. If a blizzard buried your town or the guy was off on his honeymoon, then let it go and get back to work.
But what if the cause of the problem is ongoing?
This is when you need to decide whether the cause of the problem is in your control, under your influence or outside your influence entirely? Then begin working to fix things that are either in your control or under your influence. If it’s out of your control, accept what you cannot change and figure out what you can do to reach your goals. Sometimes the solution will be obvious and practical. Other times, you’ll have to get creative. Do whatever it takes.
3. Define all the work.
Employees who aren’t in sales may not be adding to revenue, but they’re affecting the bottom line. Every team member contributes to delivering value to customers, reducing cost or reducing risk. Find the critical success factor that each employee contributes to the company. For example:
- A marketing assistant may send out notices, announcements and ads that increase business
- Your tax accountant reduces your taxes
- A security guard prevents break-ins, thefts and attacks on employees
When critical activities are defined, it makes the employee’s job worthwhile. This is not a job description to file with HR. This is a tool that the team member uses daily to stay focused and that you review with them to help them improve and add more value.
4. Track expenses daily or weekly.
Too many businesses let their financial information pile up in a shoebox until the end of the year. Money is the lifeblood of a business, and you should be taking your financial blood pressure at least on a weekly basis. How much money are you spending? How does that compare to your plan? Are you spending the way you planned to spend? If you know the answer to those questions weekly, you can correct course and speed, and reach your destination.
5. Track progress monthly.
The final step of this plan is checking progress – or income – monthly. Ask yourself what you can do to earn more and spend less, and how you can deliver results sooner and get paid faster. As you keep finding ways to improve in these areas, you’ll build momentum and reach greater net revenue sooner. Businesses succeed by linking each job to earning money, reducing cost, delivering better results sooner or reducing risk. Motivate your team members by letting them know that what they do matters. Then show them how to make more of a difference, week by week and month by month. Do this and you won’t just meet your goals – you’ll exceed them.
Jeff Bezos Reveals 3 Strategies for Amazon’s Success
One of the richest men in the world shared his leadership tips for running a company.
“It remains Day 1.” That’s how Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, signed off in his 2018 letter to shareholders. He’s been propagating the “day 1” mantra for decades, and it’s meant as a reminder that Amazon should never stop acting like a start-up – even though the company now boasts more than 560,000 employees and more than 100 million members of Amazon Prime, the company’s paid service for free shipping on select items.
Here are some of the most useful nuggets of wisdom Bezos shared in his letter and during a recent onstage interview:
1. Standards are contagious
Bezos says he believes high standards are teachable rather than intrinsic. “Bring a new person onto a high standards team, and they’ll quickly adapt,” he writes. “The opposite is also true.”
If a company or team operates with low standards, a new employee will often – perhaps even unwittingly – adjust their work ethic accordingly.
He also says that high standards in one area don’t automatically translate to high standards in another – it’s important for people to discover their “blind spots.”
Try making a list of your duties, then ask trusted colleagues to tell you which responsibilities are your greatest strengths. If certain things from the list don’t come up during the conversation, it might be useful to think about how you can up your personal standards in those areas.
2. Set clear, realistic expectations
If you’re looking to raise your standards in a particular area, the first course of action is to outline what quality looks like in that area. The second is to set realistic expectations for yourself – or for your team – regarding how much work it will take to achieve that level of quality.
Exhibit A: You won’t find a single PowerPoint presentation at an Amazon company meeting. Instead, teams write six-page narrative memos to prepare everyone else for the meeting.
Bezos says the quality of the memos vary greatly because writers don’t always recognise the scope of the work required to reach high standards.
“They mistakenly believe a high-standards, six-page memo can be written in one or two days or even a few hours, when really it might take a week or more!” Bezos writes.
3. Stay involved with the people you’re serving
Whether you’re selling a product or service, it’s a good idea to make sure you never lose touch when it comes to the people you’re serving – no matter how high up the ladder you climb.
Bezos says he still reads emails from his public inbox (firstname.lastname@example.org) as a way to keep his finger on the pulse of what’s happening with Amazon customers.
He says he believes focusing on what customers are saying is much more important for success than focusing on what competitors are doing, and he often compares customer feedback to company data to see where they misalign.
“When the anecdotes and the data disagree,” Bezos said at a recent leadership forum at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, “the anecdotes are usually right.”
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
You Don’t Have To Go It Alone: How To Find A Mentor As A Freelancer
Need a mentor but don’t know where to start? These tips can help you find your perfect mentorship match.
As a freelancer, having enough time to not only grow your business, but also grow your career can be challenging. Who can you turn to for guidance when you’re the boss? For those who strike out on their own, putting time and effort into finding a mentor (or several) can make a huge difference in establishing a successful freelance business.
Among small business owners who have professional mentors, the five-year survival rate for their businesses is 70 percent, according to a survey by BCSG; among those who don’t have mentors, the five-year survival rate is half of that.
Now that you’re settled into the new year, it’s the perfect time to reach out to your network (or establish a new one) and find a group of mentors. Here are some tips for identifying those who can help you achieve your personal and professional goals.
Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses
As a freelancer, it can be challenging to find the time to step back and examine your professional strengths and weaknesses. While it can be tempting to rely on a mentor to give you guidance on where you need to improve, you’ll get much more out of any mentorship relationship if you’ve done some self-reflection first.
Both will provide you with a detailed explanation of your personality, including analysis about workplace habits, relationships and ideal career paths. The results will help you understand how you interact with clients and colleagues, as well as what types of careers and working styles are likely to be a good fit for you.
If you need more help determining your working style or how to achieve the next step in your career, a career coach could be a great investment. Finding the right coach can help you develop a strong understanding of your own personality and work style. Once you know more about yourself, you’ll be able to better identify mentors who can help you play to your strengths and improve upon your weaknesses.
Form relationships through networking groups
Once you’ve had time to reflect on your professional needs, it’s time to find a mentor. As a good first step, look into virtual and in-person networking groups where you can meet people in your industry.
Networking groups and programs, like Entrepreneurs’ Organization, allow you to connect with other freelancers and business owners so you can learn from what they’ve experienced over the course of their careers.
This can help you find a mentor who’s also gone through the challenges of becoming a freelancer.
The location of your potential mentor can be a determining aspect as well. Having a mentor that lives close by gives you access to knowledge of the local trends and makes it easier to scheduling a quick chat. Meetup.com offers access to thousands of organisations around the world in sectors ranging from outdoors and adventure to fashion and tech to writing. If one event looks interesting, take the time to attend and talk to the other participants. One (or more) may have helpful insights for your career.
Keep in touch with former colleagues and associates
Just because you’ve decided to strike out on your own doesn’t mean you can’t still rely on former coworkers, bosses or other working relationships that you developed before becoming a freelancer.
Those you’ve worked with in the past are already familiar with your working style and approach to business, which is helpful context for any mentor/mentee relationship.
Make sure to keep in regular contact with former colleagues, especially those you admired when you worked together, so that you can use each other as a resource for professional questions or opportunities. Haven’t been in touch for a while? Reaching out can be as simple as sending your congratulations about a new job or reminiscing about an old work memory, but it can go a long way toward helping secure a valuable mentor.
Seek out people who inspire you outside your professional realm
Inspiring mentors can come from unexpected places, not just your professional bubble or your fellow freelancers. Take a few minutes to research interesting organisations in your local area, perhaps through volunteering, and get involved where you can.
Other volunteers might come from unique backgrounds and work in different fields or industries, so their points of view can provide you with unexpected perspective that may help you think about a challenge or client differently. A mentor from a different field has a unique opportunity to see your business from the outside and won’t be bogged down by conventional solutions.
Finding a mentor is one of the most valuable investments you can make for your future as a freelancer and for your personal work enjoyment.
Mentorship makes a difference all the way to the top – 71 percent of CEOs said having a mentor directly improved their company’s performance according to a study in a book by Suzanne de Janasz and Maury Peiperl.
Beyond the financial returns you can see from mentorship, having advisors you trust can make freelancing feel less overwhelming and more rewarding. So, make sure to put yourself out there and start building your mentor relationships.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
A World Of Opportunity Awaits With Peli Peli
Business ownership has always been the entrepreneur’s way of shaping their future. If you’ve always wanted to experience life in the US, this is your chance.
Global media has been reporting that the chances of non-American citizens being granted access to move to the US are getting slimmer with the new administration. However, there is still one channel of access that allows people the opportunity to relocate that hasn’t been amended by the presidency.
The EB-5 Visa programme was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the US economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under a programme initially enacted as a pilot in 1992, and regularly re-authorised since then, investors may also qualify for EB-5 classification by investing through regional centres designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
The question most commonly asked by foreign investors is where to start selecting a relatively low-risk company to invest their money into. One such entity that has been granted designation under the EB-5 programme is the restaurant group Peli Peli.
Peli Peli is a South African cuisine restaurant that has gained incredible traction in the competitive American restaurant industry. They currently have six successful branches opened in the Texas area. Peli Peli Vintage park, which opened in 2009, generated revenue of $5,3 million in 2016.
Peli Peli Galleria opened in 2015, and had $5,2 million revenue in 2016. Peli Peli Kitchen, their first fast casual concept, opened in October 2016 and reported revenue of $2 million in 2017. Peli Deli, a downtown fast food casual lunch concept and Peli Peli Cinco Ranch, which opened in February and July 2017, respectively, are both showing incredible growth to match their predecessors.
At least two more locations will be opening in 2018, and as all new Peli Peli locations have historically generated positive cash flow within the first year, the company expects to increase its revenue exponentially.
The power team behind the brand
The restaurant chain has garnered popularity, and won a multitude of awards, including Best Service & Best Atmosphere — Readers’ Choice Award (Houston Press) and 2013 Diners’ Choice Award winner for the Top 100 American Fare Restaurants in the United States (OpenTable). Peli Peli is also rated in the top ten in Houston, Texas (which boasts over 12 000 restaurants) on both Tripadvisor and Yelp.
The Peli Peli trio who own the business are Chef Paul Friedman, Thomas Nguyen and Aiki Tran. These three dynamic businessmen have their own share of accolades to speak of. Chef Paul, who is a born and bred Joburger, has been a contestant on Cutthroat Kitchen for multiple episodes on the Food Network. He won the People’s Choice Award and was placed third as a judge in the Gumbo Smackdown 2014. He received the 2013 Chef of Chef Awards in the 9th Annual Houston Wine and Food week, as well as being the 2013 Cadillac Culinary Master. He was also one of 60 Houston Chefs to be listed in the book Best Chefs America.
Thomas Nguyen, who is Chief of Marketing for Peli Peli, graduated from the University of Texas School of Law and was a former litigation attorney. He was the Houston Business Journal’s 40 under 40 award recipient in 2015 and an EY Entrepreneur of the Year Gulf Coast finalist in 2016 and 2017. He was Entrepreneur of the Year — Houston Asian Chamber of Commerce and is also a freelance writer for the Houston Press.
Peli Peli’s CEO, Aiki Tran, has over 12 years of experience in restaurant technology and won the 2007 Entrepreneur of the Year award — Houston Asian Chamber of Commerce. He was responsible for streamlining the technology infrastructure for franchises such as Popeyes and Wings, Pizza N Things. He also became the number one reseller of Aldelo and Dineware POS systems in Texas, with installations in over 200 restaurants.
Joining their ranks is South African Ryan Stewart. Having owned 16 restaurants throughout the country, he is also the CEO and co-founder of the Mozambik restaurant chain. Ryan has 17 years’ experience in the industry and is being brought on board by Peli Peli to assist in their revenue and store location growth.
Your path to the US
With the combined talent, brainpower and experience of these four businessmen, it’s no wonder Peli Peli is achieving success. The investment required to qualify for an EB-5 Visa through Peli Peli is an amount of $500 000 and is structured as an equity investment at risk. It entitles the foreign investor to permanent residency, and within two years of living in the United States, a green card for the investor and his/her dependents.
For more information on how
You can be a part of the EB-5 Visa programme through Peli Peli.
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