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From Chaos to Process in 7 critical steps

Most small businesses operate in chaos each day! Why? They lack a way of consistently operating their business in a repeatable way.    They typically lack Process SO, how does one change their fortunes? Turn the ship, Invoke manifest destiny?Preparation and research will assist you greatly in Creating Process in your Company. Step 1 View your business as “The Product.” …

Sometimes, even your best employees can fall into a rut or make poor decisions.

It’s time to have one of those discussions with a team member.   Your expectations are not being met and you can’t let the situation fester. Sometimes, even your best employees can fall into a rut or make poor decisions. How do you get your point across?Your discussion should have three elements: Direct Specific Non-punishing Let’s take them in order. …

The Process of Business

Develop Your Team’s Path To Success. Why are some companies wildly successful when others flail and can never seem to move ahead and grow?    Process Yes, it really is that simple. A series of steps designed to bring an action to a successful conclusion. Do you have processes in your business? In fact you do. Have you thought about …

Trying Out Sales Techniques

Trying the Unknown.   In previous parts of this sales blog we have discussed several topics designed to give you a chance to improve sales success, build better customer relationships and enjoy the job of selling more. Future installments will cover additional ways to make selling more successful while building stronger relationships with your customers. No doubt for some people …

How Do You Assess a Team Member’s Value to the Organization?

We interrupt this leadership series for a math lesson. Here’s the question: How do you assess a team member’s value to the organization?  The math:    Contributions – Distractions = Value It’s really that simple and really that difficult.  The most perplexing decisions I had to make as a leader involved high performance team members in critical jobs who were …

The Heart of The Sale

Profitable Companies learn how to charge for their services and how to pitch their value.   Value is dependent on internal systems as well as commitment and discipline to support and iterate these systems.   This guides employees through proven processes to achieve predictable and quality results.  By tracking all aspects, especially labor, firms know both their true costs for …

Control Your Destiny

Control Your Destiny How did you get here? Did you plan to be a custom AV integrator? When the other kids in school were talking about sports, music, girls, etc. were secretly wishing you could be in an attic pulling wires in Florida in August? Probably not! Of course for most of us in the industry that answer is  a …

Coach them up or coach them out!

Coach them up or coach them out.  As a leader, you have the same decision for every person on your team.  Does that seem a bit over the top? It’s not. Let’s discuss why: What motivates employees?  Money can attract employees, but non-monetary factors will cause you to lose them.  You can find a number of recent studies that show …

Opportunities hang out in the wrinkles!

If you don’t track it, you lose it I recently had a meeting with a builder in my community.   We started to talk about the importance of numbers and metrics when running a profitable enterprise.   He is a leader in his Industry having operated successful and meaningful construction businesses. We discussed my somewhat clumsy and crude business software, …

Features and Benefits 

We all live in a highly technical world. Even more so in the integrator smart home smart office world. Almost everything there is to do with the products you sell, install and service has a big technical aspect. So it is natural that one of the first tendencies we might have when dealing with a prospect is to talk about …

How Public Relations Can Help Build Your Business

Public relations (PR) is one of the most misunderstood parts of marketing. Many organizations treat it as a department separate from marketing to avoid mixing it with advertising and other promotional efforts, but in the end, there is one unified purpose for PR and marketing: creating awareness about your company. It’s not just glitz and glamour, and it shouldn’t be …

How to Deal with Negative Online Reviews

You work hard to run your business! You work hard to run your business and always try to do the right thing, yet that challenging customer decided to go online and speak badly about your company and team. Don’t fret. There are a few things you can do to mitigate the occasional bad review. Most people understand that you can’t …

Measuring Performance

Successfully measuring and improving your team members’ performance must be an ongoing process, not an event.  It’s an absolute truth that team members should not hear negative feedback for the first time in a performance review meeting.  The opposite is also true: positive feedback should be delivered when good performance occurs. Without the benefit (or hindrance) of an employee review …

Achilles Heel

Only 35% of Time Gets Billed Years ago, when I was running my Custom Installation A/V Business, CEDIA published some statistics that shocked me.   They had done an indepth member survey and determined that on average only 35% of the time we paid our trades was being billed.   I’m a pretty good numbers person, but realized this wasn’t a …

Qualifying

What is Qualifying? Qualifying your prospect is a sales step common in almost every sales process on earth. You may call it something different but whatever the label qualifying is the process where the salesperson decides how likely a specific prospect is to buy, and based on that assessment what future actions with this prospect make sense to how you …

Growth

GROWTH What one word will define your 2019? As I was listening to my flash briefing this morning, delivered via Alexa, and provided by LinkedIN. An interesting idea was mentioned in one of the stories, at least interesting to me. The article posed the idea that rather than writing out your list of activities and things you are going to …

3 Marketing Tools Every Integrator Should be Using

I get it – you’re busy. You start your day early and end it late. The days don’t necessarily go the way you plan them. Yet, it’s important to keep new sales coming in and establish yourself as an expert in your community. Here are three simple tools you can use to keep the referrals and new clients coming in …

Meet the Faculty: Coleen Sterns Leith

Coleen Sterns Leith, President, Marketing Matters Coleen loves technology, startups and making PR and marketing strategy work. Favorite analog activities include growing orchids, partaking in great food and drinking pink champagne, my French bulldogs, spending time on the water, and being a volunteer and board member with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

The True Cost of Labor

How Much Are Your Billable Employees Costing? The Situation Experience teaches that customers inevitably value hard assets over labor. Even though we depend heavily on labor to design, manage, fabricate and install systems, the consumer is thinking only of the ‘gear’ they’ve procured and the benefit they anticipate. Often too, consumers push back on post-installation service, believing that for the …

What’s more important, managing or leading?

Hint:  that’s a false question. The reality is that to build and sustain a high-performing business you need both.   Simply Reliable’s suite of products help you profitably manage your business, from sales through customer satisfaction.  In this blog series, our goal is to assist you in excelling at leading your business. I was once fortunate to be selected to the …

Meet the Faculty: Santo Cannone

Santo Cannone, Principal Santo Cannone, LLC EIR Tampa Bay WaVE, Ex Fiserv, ConnectWise Santo Cannone’s experience includes leadership positions in sales, product management and operations for companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500, including EDS, Fiserv and ConnectWise. I am now providing management consulting services around product management, sales and operations to select clients.

Meet the Faculty: Marilyn Sanford

Marilyn Sanford, CEO, Ideator, Co-Founder LincEdge Marilyn is a Professional Accountant. She spent 23 years running trade based businesses, offering Low Voltage Custom Integration solutions to demanding and discriminating customers for high end residences and businesses. She has served on boards, taught in her Industry and is a Fellow of the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA). Marilyn Co—founded …

Meet the Faculty: Mike Humphries

Mike Humphries, Managing Partner at Turn Eight Group LLC For over 25 years Mike has worked at growth oriented companies with responsibility for producing revenue, revenue growth and profits. The last 14 of those years have been spent producing the same results for clients either assisting their team or as an interim part of their exec team. His knowledge and …

How Does Every Project You Now Have or Will Have Begin?

Well, virtually.  Every project past, present or future – with very few exceptions. It begins with a sale. Someone wanted something that your business happens to do. And before it became a real project a deal was closed to provide specific products and services for an agreed upon set of terms. Not many sales leading to a project happen without …

Sales Definitions and Terminology

Understanding the Language of Sales Allow me to introduce myself — my name is Mike Humphries. I’ve work with growth-oriented companies with responsibility for producing revenue. As part of the smartPRENEUR faculty, I plan to talk about process and the need for it in sales. This blog sets the stage for the language that will be used — the language …

Are the tariffs good or bad for the Custom Integrator?

The new price sheets keep coming. When they are from manufacturers with 1,000’s of skus it can be a time intensive task to update all those prices. But you have to stay current on your pricing or you will have no idea whether your proposals  and job costs are profitable. One integrator I spoke with the other day spent an …

The Mastermind Process

“The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.” Napoleon Hill – Think and Grow Rich Above is one of the most famous mastermind groups of all time; Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and John Burroughs, The Vagabonds they called themselves. They would arrange camping trips …

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