Your Business and the Power of Process

stock-photo-business-process-goals-target-success-graph

 

As founder and fractional chief operations officer (COO) of Meta Viable Solutions, I have realized the Power of Process and how it can benefit businesses regardless of size. Process is integral in building a strong business from the ground up. It allows you to provide efficient business models that will help your business produce, grow, scale and profit.

Process also allows you to pivot and tweak your business, when necessary, as all systems don’t work all the time. As a leader and visionary in your company, process allows you to execute your great ideas into tactical, approachable steps to reach high-level goals.

A Business Path to Better Precision and Perspective

The 4P Model for a Business Path to better Precision and Perspective allows business objectives to be realistic and manageable. This model helps with effectiveness and efficiency when managing your team and avoiding employee burnout. It infuses your company with productivity, motivation, ingenuity and progress.

Meta Viable 4P Venn Diagram

 

The 4P Model consists of Planning, People, Process and Projects.  These four elements are all interrelated and must work together for you to be successful. You can’t have new systems and technologies without people.

There needs to be planning, process integration, training and special initiatives or projects to get ideas and plans off the ground. One can’t exist without the other.

  1. Planning is key before embarking on a new initiative. We often refer to this stage as strategic planning. It allows you to put the required people, budgeted finances, and time in place
  2. People are one of your most valuable resources. You will need people both internal and external to your company to achieve your goals. What roles and expertise do you need to accomplish your business goal or project?
  3. Process is needed to integrate different business functions, experts, systems and operations in your company, so they are working well together. How will you get to where you are going? You will need to ensure everyone is working together and the right communication processes and workflows are implemented.
  4. Projects are a means to the end goal if they are planned, managed and executed well. Your company may have several business initiatives occurring simultaneously. How do you prioritize, track and manage them? Projects allow a way to assign responsibility to team members, evaluate goals and identify special projects to focus on initiatives that drive you toward professional growth and business goals.

Delegating people internally or hiring a team, consultant or Project Management Professional (PMP) can help create manageable and practical projects to reach your business goals.

Successful Businesses Realize What Process Can Do for Them

Let’s take a minute to focus on number three, PROCESS.

The EOS Traction method recommends that all you need is 80 percent of your six core processes documented at 20 percent. It suggests that every company has at least six core processes: Human Resources, Marketing, Sales, Operations, Accounting and Customer Retention.

Well-documented and communicated processes are invaluable and beneficial to your company. Whether you are a one-person business or a 250-employee company, you have processes within your company. You have a method and technique you have developed to work internally and externally with others. These “processes” may be documented, or they may be in your head.

The question is, are they effective, and is everyone working off your built-in processes?

Effective processes save you time, money, and resources in the short and long term.

Four Benefits of Establishing Processes

  1. Clear processes create a clear direction for your employees, customers and strategic partners. It develops transparency and sets expectations of how policies, procedures and tasks are to be performed. Everyone involved understands how matters will be handled before proceeding with a task. Process mapping, documentation and training are best practice tools to communicate your processes to all those involved internally and externally.
  2. Process ensures better quality assurance. Having clear processes allows for more consistency and less variance in errors. It allows for productivity and efficiency. Process helps your employees understand their role in the larger context of the company and better meet company standards. Additionally, customers can expect a certain positive level of customer experience when it comes to customer care. Process allows similar quality standards, so your team is accountable, responsive, and meeting a certain standard with your product, service and professionalism.
  3. Process allows you to build systems and capacity. It is a foundational element (a part of the 4 P model) to integrate different functions and people within the company. It allows for consistency across multi-sites and helps you expand your business once you develop a successful, efficient process model (one that works for you and your customers).
  4. Process saves you time and money. Everyone is on the same page and understands how things are done, avoiding the loss in time and “figuring things out.” You will experience higher employee and customer satisfaction and better external strategic partnerships with established processes. Process allows you to be resourceful and less prone to liabilities.

Oftentimes, business owners and leadership feel lost and overwhelmed when starting or pivoting a business. Consider Fractional Leadership. Hiring a Fractional Leader can help bring your team and business forward.

If you found these concepts helpful and would like a deeper dive into strategic, practical tips and an easy-to-follow guide on building a stronger foundation for your business, pick up a copy of my book, Striking Business Gold: Build, Scale, Profit for Success.

About the Author

Sasha Lalite, MPA, PMP, is the owner and Fractional Chief Operations Officer of Meta Viable Solutions LLC. As a Fractional COO & Strategic Operations Advisor, Sasha provides expertise to businesses on an outsourced, part-time, or project basis. Connect with Sasha here. She can also be reached at sasha@metaviablesolutions.com or 347-470-7901.

 

5 Tips to Get Your Revenue Flywheel Spinning for 2022

photo-closeup-of-professional-mans-hands-thumbing-100-dollar-bills

 

The Sales Funnel concept is increasingly being replaced by a new concept in customer acquisition — the Revenue Flywheel. I know this because the term keeps coming up in casual conversation with a few private equity folks I work with.

At first, I didn’t recognize the term. Then I remembered Jim Collins’ management book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t and his description of the flywheel effect.

He has the reader imagine a large and heavy metal flywheel (a wheel used to store and smooth out energy delivery, as in an engine) and the effort required to get it moving. The first push moves it very slightly, the second a bit more, the third even more (thanks to the momentum of the earlier two pushes added to its own) and so forth.

Finally, all those little pushes get the big flywheel rolling along with ease. Still, there wasn’t a single push that did it — you have to consider all the little efforts which contributed.

Applying this to a business, Collins explains that it’s the accumulated day-to-day effort of an organization that leads to its flywheel spinning faster and faster, rather than a single defining action.

Too often, however, teams change direction in attempts to bypass the “arduous buildup stage.” They lose momentum by chasing grand slams instead of simply getting on base. They progress in fits and starts, or not at all because efforts aren’t aligned. Some are pushing the flywheel forward while others are applying the brakes.

The Revenue Flywheel

Our approach at Volohaus has always been more flywheel than funnel. There are four main areas we focus on: PLAN, PEOPLE, PROCESS, PLATFORM.

Flywheel graphic

Tips You Can Use

Here are 5 tips to get started now to grow your revenue:

  1. Use a tool like PI (predictive index) to make SURE you have the right people in the right seats. If not — use 2022 to reshuffle.
  2. Gather data via a customer survey with embedded NPS (net promoter score) questions. You will learn what customers love and hate, competitive differentiation, messaging, referrals, and newfound revenue. DO THIS!
  3. Secret shop YOURSELF and three competitors. You will be AMAZED by the Buyers Journey and how your organization and your competitors show up.
  4. Interview EVERY client-facing Marketing and Sales Professional on your team. They have actionable information and will re-engage for 2022.
  5. Tighten up your sales metrics. Volo has delivered over 300 projects. Our Operators continue to lament the poor implementation of CRM, dashboards, good data and winning sales metrics (lead cost, client cost, average sale, loan-to-value ratio (LTV), revenue velocity, conversion % by sales stage, etc.

Know these numbers. Sales. Is. Math!

This all may sound daunting and expensive, but it isn’t. It’s high-value, game-changing work. I promise you — a process-driven, math-based sales process delivers scalable revenue and significantly increased enterprise value.

And if you need a fractional CRO, CSO or VP to help guide and implement the process, Fractional Leadership can assist.

About the Author

Shaun Alger is Practice Manager at revenue growth firm VoloHaus. To learn more about how VoloHaus can help you accelerate your company’s growth, contact Shaun at 760-815-4464 or shaun@volohaus.com.

Sign a Fractional Executive and Score a Superstar Free Agent

 

“We are tired of being the Detroit Lions!”

That’s what a former boss said to me when I joined his company as the operations leader. He was the CEO, and he was struggling to lead his organization out of what he called the “doldrums.”

He could not improve delivery to his customers or find the right people and in general and felt the company was in a funk. He was at a loss of what to do. When he hired me and asked me to get the company to where it would be at least “middle of the road,” he called me his Superstar Free Agent signing for his team!

My former boss’s situation is not unfamiliar to many small business owners. I hear similar laments today when I engage with clients to discuss their issues, such as “I can’t afford to hire somebody full-time” or “I just don’t like getting involved in that stuff.”

Let’s face it; many business owners may not be cut out to deal with the day-to-day operations of running their business.  Reality check time! It takes a certain mindset to enjoy the nuts and bolts of running a business, especially when working with people to maximize their talent. I happen to love it.

Part-Time Fractional Executives Can Be That Superstar

I’ve had conversations with small business owners who were perplexed on how to improve the performance of their business and struggled to find a solution. In many instances, they need help from a different level of talent than what they can afford. In fact, one business friend told me that he needed somebody like me but that he didn’t think he could afford that level of experience. Plus, he felt that I would become bored because the company was so small compared to what I was used to.

He was right — but only if he had hired me as a full-time COO. I countered, “But what if you bring me in as a part-time or ‘Fractional’ Executive?”

After a two-hour talk about how a Fractional Executive works and what they would do in his business, he agreed and asked me to find him a “superstar.” So, what happens when you sign a Superstar Free Agent on a part-time basis for your business?

One of my clients who brought me in as a Fractional COO said it best: “You can focus on multiple issues at once, and I can’t.”

What he meant was that he was good at sales and marketing but not so much at operations. And in operations, there are always multiple balls in the air that need to be juggled to ensure success. As a COO, I have experience doing just that. When I have my weekly update with this client, and I recount the issues I am dealing with, he laughs and says, “Glad you have to deal with that now and not me.”

He is right; he truly appreciates what I do and that he doesn’t have to handle that part of the business. Business owners should not have to take on that part of a business if they rather not or don’t have the time. Hiring a Fractional Executive from the Fractional Leadership network allows business owners to do what they do best, all while bringing balance back into their lives and growing the business.

With the help of a perfectly matched Fractional Executive Superstar, you and your team can be the “Patriots” of your market!

About the Author

David Baughman, the president of Fractional Executive Solutions, LLC, is a career operations professional who now serves clients as a Fractional COO and Integrator for companies operating on the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS). To learn more about FES, contact David at dbaughman@fractionalexecutivesolutions.com.

 

3 Steps CEOs Can Take Now to Get Back to the Work They Love

photo-young-businessman-in-a-suit-juggling-with-office-supplies-in-his-office-isolated-on-white

 

As a CEO or small business owner, you may find yourself wearing many different hats from time to time.

I worked with a home services business owner who hired a team of people at varying levels to support his marketing, sales, finance, and operations. However, he was even busier than before he hired them, working late every night and on the weekend. This happened because he had not yet come to trust his team. A big reason for not entirely relying on them was because so much of how he wanted his business run was still in his head. He felt like he needed to be involved in each step of the process to make sure it was executed correctly.

Now back to you. You are the CEO for a reason. You can see the big picture and know where action needs to be taken. However, sometimes this means you end up in the weeds. Perhaps you find yourself spending hours working on marketing materials, or you blew half a day managing your sales team.

If you ever get the chance to come up for air, you could take a step back and see that this is not the best use of your time and expertise. But how do you manage this?

Here are three steps that you can take right away to make a difference.

Leverage CRM and Automation Technology

First of all, properly leveraging technology is one great way to streamline processes and take the workload off yourself. Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms and marketing automation are two great tools to increase sales and save time. There are a lot of questions you need to ask when selecting a CRM. Check out these eight considerations you should keep in mind. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • It doesn’t track the information you need
  • The team doesn’t have the time to learn something new
  • It doesn’t match your process
  • Salespeople prefer tracking on spreadsheets
  • It’s just for data storage
  • You’ve been working OK with it for years
  • It’s too cumbersome

When selecting a CRM, ensure that it provides your team with a unified, integral platform and that your team is fully trained on and vested in the product.

Consider Delegating to a Fractional Leader

Next up, delegate. Sure this sounds simple enough, but do you have someone you can trust to do the job, right? As a CEO, you need people who work with you, not just for you. If you look around and don’t have the right person on your team, consider hiring a fractional leader. By hiring an experienced professional to be part of your leadership team, they can collaborate, lead and drive execution around a specific core function of your business.

Develop and Implement a Sales Process

Finally, develop a sales process and enforce it at all levels, including lead generation and tracking. This is a big one — it will take the time you likely do not think you have to put in place. However, in the end, it will make all the difference for you, probably giving you back weeks of your time every year. Who doesn’t want a couple of free weeks, so you don’t feel obligated to work on vacation?

What happened to our busy business owner?

After bringing in a fractional chief operating officer, or COO, and a fractional chief sales and marketing officer, or CSMO, our business owner was able to get all of his processes documented by his team so that they understood and followed them. Plus, he and his team began leveraging the technology and framework the fractional leaders put in place. His home services business grew since he could focus on the big picture again and even take some time off to celebrate his accomplishments with his wife and children!

Follow the three steps above, and you too can go back to doing what you love to do and not what you feel obligated to do.

About the Author

Kristen Diviney McGarr, the co-founder/CEO of Infinite Insights and founder/fractional CSMO of Adroit Insights, has more than 15 years of experience as a sales management and business executive for small businesses and Franchise 500 companies. Learn more about Kristen here.

Do You Need a Fractional Leader® or Another Set of Hands?

The main value of Fractional Leadership® is bringing experienced, been-there-done-that direction into your leadership team to collaboratively lead and drive execution by creating discipline and accountability around a certain core function of your business.
If what you need is primarily someone to personally get things done, then Fractional Leadership may not be right for you.

Instead, you might need to hire a manager-level person, elevate someone to a greater level of responsibility, or you may have the wrong person in a key role. If that person happens to be a family member, it creates a thorny issue. You may be tempted to retain an FL to escape having to make a difficult change with one or more of your people, in the hopes that the FL will “whip them into shape.” Unfortunately, the only solution to people issues is either helping them level up or replacing them with someone more suited to the role. Retaining an FL does immunize you from the need to make a change when you have wrong-person or wrong-seat issues. It simply costs more and delays the inevitable.

That being said, particularly with respect to operations, I have found that some smaller companies (usually those with five to twenty employees) match up well with FLs with experience at similar-sized businesses. In these engagements, the FL has a dual role of acting as a member of the leadership team as well as just getting stuff done. I call these “Doer Leaders”. Particularly for operations, there is sometimes a place for a dual head of operations and FCOO role, but it’s a tricky balance and you must ensure that your expectations are aligned with those of your potential FL. I’ll explain more about this in Chapters 8 and 9.

For example, Rachel Beider, founder and CEO of Press Modern Massage and author of Massage MBA, worked to scale a massage practice in Brooklyn, New York. She fought tooth and nail over about seven years to expand into seventeen treatment rooms in two locations.
But she was stressed out, overwhelmed, and anxious all the time. Everything was on her head. She had to supervise her staff, drive expansion to new locations, furnish the treatment rooms, lead marketing, and oversee everything else that went into running a business. She felt like it was actually running her into the ground. Rachel could not afford a full-time COO, so she finally connected with another woman who could act as her FCOO to take over supervision of the staff and execute on the various physical expansions. That way, Rachel could focus more on building the business, marketing, and clinical supervision and culture, things she loved doing and was great at. She credits her FCOO with restoring her sanity and her ability to expand her practice to five locations in less than a third of the time it took her to open just her second location.

  • For those who need more of a Doer Leader, there are two main approaches they can take:
    Hire a manager or head of operations full-time. They don’t have to be super -experienced in larger companies or be leadership team material. Business owners considering this route should understand that such a manager-level or head of operations will still cost more than the people they already have on board. Once they have a manager-level person on the team, they can then reconsider Fractional Leadership because the FL will then have someone they can rely on to drive day-to-day tactical execution while the FL brings greater strategic and accountability leadership.
  • Find a Fractional Integrator an FI or FCOO who’s looking for a more tactical, Doer Leader role in addition to the leadership element. I know many such people available and I usually introduce those business owners to two or three of them whom I can vouch for.
    In my experience, Doer Leaders are a relatively small part of the Fractional Leadership community because they work more hours for a smaller number of clients. Whenever I speak with potential clients, I always probe for a clear understanding of their expectations so I know if they’re looking for a Fractional Integrator more focused on leading, managing, and creating accountability (a “Manager Leader”), or if they’re looking more for a tactical, get’ ‘er done, head of operations (a “Doer Leader”). For those business owners who are looking for a Doer Leader, I let them know that I am more of the leadership, management, and accountability type of FL, and that I’m probably not a good fit for what they’re looking for.

For most business owners, the right time for Fractional Leadership is when they desperately need the experience, leadership, and ability to drive execution and accountability—that is, i.e., a Manager Leader. Fractional Leadership is usually not right for people who just need an extra set of hands.

Why Fractional Leadership Exploded: Crossing the Remote Work Event Horizon

Before COVID, I worked on business development, trying to find Fractional Integrator (outsourced COO) clients regardless of whether they lived in my local area (New York City area) or anywhere else in the world.
The problem I faced was that people couldn’t imagine someone working at the leadership level with someone they couldn’t sit with eyeball-to-eyeball. Many just could not get their heads around that even if they understood and believed that Fractional Leadership would have propelled their businesses far further than they could have taken them on their own.
Everything changed in March 2020. People were literally forced to work with all of their employees, including their leadership teams, remotely. Most discovered that the sky did not fall down and productivity did not plummet when people worked from home.
After months – or longer – of remote work, I saw a dramatic shift in attitude. When people began to get their bearings, they realized that they were not limited by geography when putting together their best team.
Starting around May and June 2020, I and many other Fractional Leaders I know began getting far more inquiries and filled up our client rosters much more quickly than before.
Personally, I refer to this phenomena, combined with the increasing effectiveness of remote work and collaboration tools like Zoom, Slack, Asana, and the like around that time, as crossing the “remote work event horizon.”
The term event horizon refers to the demarcation line around a black hole beyond which an object can pass by without being sucked in. But if something crosses within a black hole’s event horizon, even light, there’s no turning back.
As Zoom’s chief product officer Odel Gal said about the lockdown, “All the people that were resistant to using the technology were forced to use it.” Now my former colleagues are in no rush to bring their teams back to the office.
Even my own former company, which resisted my efforts to perform remote work experiments, decided not to return to in-person work even after it became permitted safety-wise.
Because remote work is now so prevalent, even at the executive level, bringing in experienced Fractional Leadership to solve the Entrepreneurial Catch-22 is much easier for business owners to wrap their heads around. Forbes now claims that its own prediction that over 50% of the workforce would be remote by 2027 was too conservative.
When leaders were forced to acclimate to people working remotely, they even realized that without time around the water cooler, so to speak, their people were about 13% more productive than they were in the office.
I think we have crossed the remote work event horizon. Once everyone was forced to try out remote work at least for several months, it let the genie out of the bottle. There will always be some people who are hard-wired to hate not working in person. And that’s fine. Very often people can find a Fractional Leader in their own city. If, before the pandemic, 15% of business owners would have considered a C-level, Fractional Leader, I estimate that perhaps 30-50% are now open to it.