This week on #Smallbizchat LIVE our show featured three guests, HR Expert Oginga Carr @OgingaCarr Sales Expert Shawn Karol Sandy @ShawnSandy1 and Veteran Entrepreneur @Twyla Garrett I pulled three of the best questions from each of them to share with you. Every third Wed of the month, Smallbizchat Live is broadcast on my SmallBizLady Facebook Page, YouTube channel and on Twitter @SmallBizLady.
Oginga is an author, organizational structure expert and HR consultant. He brings 19 years of experience in Sales, Management, and Human Resources. Oginga focuses on productivity through structure and human capital development. He has trained tens of thousands of HR Professionals in 49 states. He consults with and trains organizations in Human Resources and compliance. For more information www.ogingacarr.com
SmallBizLady: How do I hire better employees?
Oginga Carr: Finding an employee that is a proper fit for your organization is one of the more difficult issues for small businesses. To find a terrific employee, we must first be clear on what we need. This requires a great job description. Our job description must include the minimum qualifications for the job, an expectation of the job duties, and the ergonomic, environmental, and physical needs of the job. If we can be clear about the structural needs of the job, it makes it easier to find the employee we want.
SmallBizLady: Does my business need a handbook?
Oginga Carr: In a short answer, YES. Your handbook decides the structure of your business. We need a foundation to be able to achieve the vision of our business. Once we have set the vision, the policies and procedures lead the way to that vision. There aren’t that many laws. We just need to set our organizational standards so that we can be consistent in our treatment of our employees. Lack of consistency is on of the biggest road blocks to running an effective team. When we set standards, then monitor and adjust those standards as our organization grows and evolves, we can achieve the visions of our business. A handbook is where we commit to those standards.
SmallBizLady: Is my worker an employee or a contractor?
Oginga Carr: The US government operates from a position that all workers are Common Law Employees, we have to prove that they are different. Common Law Employees are subject to all of the payroll taxes, so you will never run afoul as a business owner by making someone an employee. In order to make someone an independent contractor, we have to be able to prove how we came to that assumption. We prove that through a three prong test, called the ABC test. Some states have modified tests, both in most states, we have to prove that we don’t control the direction of the worker’s work, that they are providing an outside service, and that they are an independent business or trade. There are individual qualifications that must be attained in each of these categories to prove that you are working with a contractor.
Shawn Karol Sandy is the Chief Revenue Officer of The Selling Agency, Shawn helps small businesses deeply differentiate their offers and go-to-market strategies to build competitive advantages that increase revenue. Her bold and cheeky approach to selling helps small businesses level the playing field with their competition in highly competitive, highly commoditized, and mature industries. He website is www.thesellingagency.com
SmallBizLady: How does “Prequalifying” potential customers lead to increased revenue?
Shawn Karol Sandy: When I think of all the thousands of hours I have spent trying to force square customers into a round hole – it kind of makes me ill. I left prequalifying up to a loosely knit set of parameters bound together by hope and sometimes desperation. Hope that a customer will do business with me and desperately needing a win makes you vulnerable to taking “bad business” – business with terrible margins, terrible deadlines, or even TERRIBLE customers.
According to this statistical nugget cited from The B2B Lead, “50% of sales time is wasted on unproductive prospecting.” That’s REALLY scary when you take a look at some of the statistics about how much time sellers actually spend selling – somewhere between 15% and 50%. By improving our ability to prequalify prospects, we could improve how we spent our time selling successfully. The benefits of having a higher closing potential mean you waste less time chasing leads, you have stronger relationships with more loyal clients, and often, those accounts prove to have higher margins because they are in your value “sweet spot”.
SmallBizLady: How do I determine what criteria to use when prequalifying?
Shawn Karol Sandy: This is the time to be detailed and specific. This is painting a picture of your ideal customer. Use insights from your pool of stellar successes to outline exactly who you want to add to your pipeline. Create a profile by answering a bank of questions such as these –
Document the Attributes of a High-Quality Lead:
- What Size of Company
- Which Industries (Vertical Markets)
- How Many Employees
- How Many Locations
- What’s the Organizational Makeup (decision-making structure or authority)
- Geographical Location/Territory
- Cash Flow Required for Solutions
- Talent Required for Solutions
- Symptoms/Triggers That Indicate They Need Your Solution
- What Solutions Have They Tried (failed/successful)
- Current Vendors (like your or unlike you) That Indicate an Ideal Match
- Needs (do they align with your results)
- Timeframe (focus now or planning long term)
- Culture (primed for change or to shift)
- Leadership/Project Management Needed (to implement solution)
Use this bank of qualifications to jump start your prequalification process. Some of these you’ll be able to research to quickly determine fit and others you’ll need to incorporate in your discovery conversations to continue to nurture prospects to leads and leads to opportunities.
SmallBizLady: Aren’t I missing business and leaving money on the table?
Shawn Karol Sandy: Here’s the painful truth: not everyone is going to buy from you. Not everyone SHOULD buy from you and you shouldn’t sell to everyone. Get selective. Improve your process. Stop throwing darts and hoping you hit the target.
If you provide a service that others find valuable, there is a qualified pool of customers for you. You are not a vacuum cleaner looking to suck up everything within your arm span. As a small business, you need filters for your time, energy, and limited resources.
Prequalifying is a filter. When you go through this exercise and paint the most detailed picture of what a successful, happy customer looks like, you can then reverse engineer your sales and marketing messages – using specific details about your target clients to promote and position yourself to attract your future ideal customers.
Twyla Garrett is an extraordinary serial entrepreneur, corporate speaker, and author. Garrett is known for her notable business deals and providing excellent opportunities to individuals needing a second chance. She started off in the federal government and in 2000 she is founded, IME, which she sold 2016. She currently runs, GMS a General Contracting Firm located in North Carolina and Texas as well as IRG, an independent claims management firm. Her first book “My mother’s Word” was just released. For more information go to her website at www.mymotherwords.com
SmallBizLady: Running is business is so isolating, how do you stay motivated?
Twyla Garrett: Running a business Is tough, but you must learn how to motivate yourself. I learned early in business that I need to stay focused not get distracted, so I took up Vikrim Yoga. At first I thought it was something that wasn’t for people like me. I’m from a broken home and a rough streets of Cleveland. It clears your whole mind. You must stay positive no matter what happens. You will not be able to handle at the ups and downs that go along with running a business.
SmallBizLady: How important are relationships to growing a business?
Twyla Garrett: Relationships are critical. Be the person you want to be around. If you can’t stand to be in a room with yourself, how do you think anyone will want to be around you? No one wants to be around people who are negative. Relationships are the key to business success, your relationships with your employees, your customers, your brand and even your landlord will be a major part if your business success formula.
SmallBizLady: How can you build a great team when you don’t have enough revenue?
Twyla Garrett: We have had great success with my new business leveraging interns. We are based in Raleigh, NC and we have a lot great universities in the area. We have had teams of interns in five different disciplines in the 18-months since launching my construction company GMS. They’ve made a huge impact on our business and we’re going to hire many of them to join our business as full-time employees once they graduate.
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