How to pick yourself back up after a fall
Jon has been interviewed for a series of articles in the MPA online magazine (Mortgage Professionals Australia).
Every business goes through its rough patches, and many brokers have had more than their fair share in recent years. So how can you pick yourself back up after a setback? And what happens if you have to completely rebuild?
Jon Dale, director of Small Fish Business Coaching, learnt his lessons the hard way, when tough times during the GFC forced him to shut down his franchises and downsize his business.
“I went from being the CEO of a global business coaching franchise back to being largely a business coach again. It was a complete rebuild, going back to focusing on doing my own marketing and meeting clients… back to the basics and all the things you did in the beginning – except you’ve got no money to do it with.”
While Dale admits his confidence was shaken, he didn’t let his setbacks bring him down. He put in the hard yards to keep his business afloat, and now employs a team of business coaches across Australia, with a view to continue to expand Small Fish in the future.
“I’ve gone out there trying to be a business coach and find clients again, and it’s harder than it was in 2006 when I started but there’s still business out there. I’ve worked really hard and done all of the things that I know worked, and lo and behold it’s starting to pay off.”
The key to finding the motivation to keep going has been the realisation that, while the market has shrunk, it hasn’t disappeared altogether, says Dale.
“I use that to reassure myself that I’m not wasting my time. You have to focus on the process a little bit too and you have to know that going to your networking group or investing time and energy in your website is worthwhile.”
Persistence is one of the most crucial, and difficult, aspects to recovery after a setback, says Dale.
“It’s very easy for people to try things and give up, move on, say ‘That’s not working’ and go and try something else, whereas really a lot of these things that we do require a good long go. You can’t go and see five people and say ‘Oh no one’s interested anymore I’m going to stop' or 'I’m going to stop putting my ad out there because of four people who called me who weren’t suitable'.”
Dale found breaking goals down into manageable chunks, using something he terms ‘reduction to the ridiculous’, helps with this.
“How many loans are written every year? Millions. And how many does a broker need to succeed?,” he asks.
Work out approximately how many loans you need to write each year to earn a comfortable income, break that down into a weekly and daily number, followed by approximately how many meetings or phone calls you think you'll need to have to write that number.
“It’s about breaking it down into things you can influence,” says Dale. “You can’t sit there and say ‘I’ll write 200 loans in a year’ but you can get up every day and make enough phone calls or go to enough meetings to get you on the right track.”
Dale gives similar advice to his staff, and also requires them to report to him regularly on their marketing, lead generation and communications.
“If you’ve got mortgage brokers working for you hold them accountable for that activity. I’d ask my clients to report back to me and I’d ask them ‘How many times yesterday did your business ask somebody to consider your service or product?’
“It’s particularly important for people like mortgage brokers because we’ve got to go and prospect ourselves. You can’t sit and expect your aggregator’s website to send you enquiries. You can buy a shop front if you’re Mortgage Choice or somebody and expect your signage to draw a few people in but you’ve got to go and see people and network and ask them to consider you in a very direct way.”
Picking yourself back up after a fall is never easy, but by focusing on the small things and determining what gets you motivated you can find success again, says Dale.
“It’s about that persistence. Most of the people that have failed have failed because they gave up. If you keep the faith and you do the things that you know work you can succeed.”
Have you faced setbacks in your business? How did you deal with them? Share your thoughts below.
Written by: Amy Rosenfeld - Mortgage Professional Australia
Why business coaching works - Number 4 in a series of ruminations
Carl has requested the rest of us contribute to his series of articles exploring why it is that business coaching works.
Here's today's thought, fresh from the desk of Jon, who is spending the day with his friends at Gold Coast Graphic Design.
Business coaching works for many reasons but because this is a blog, I'm going to talk about just one today and save the others for another article.
This keeps my article short, saving your short attention span and my typing fingers.
It works because it's expensive.
This probably sounds like self-serving bullshit which it is but there's truth in it, too. Just as with many alternative medicine treatments (and the placebo effect) a good part of the effectiveness of a treatment is the very fact of taking action.
Taking that first decisive step and doing something, while not enough on its own, is a huge contributor to making change. I'm sure it was someone wise who said (I probably saw it on Facebook) "every journey begins with a single step".
Well I agree. A good part of the value in business coaching lies in making a real and genuine decision to change the way you run your business. The cost of it is part of this.
It's easy to decide to change things and then not to follow through, though. New Years resolutions are a prime example. Diets are another.
Well business change and business coaching are another.
So the fact that it is expensive does a couple of things - it makes you think about the decision and not take it lightly and, once you've made it, it helps you stick to it.
There's something about spending a lot of money that makes you value the thing you've bought more than you would have if it was cheap (I expect there's a name for this in psychology).
And there's something about your expensive coach coming to see you for your coaching session (with his invoice in his hand, symbolically, at least) that makes the thought of not having done anything anathema. So the expense that you committed yourself to willingly and consciously, counters your natural inclination to stick to your old habits and resist the change you want.
Right, I'm off to put my price up.
Small Fish Business Coaching Gold Coast
Suck it up and get on with it - Tackling jobs you hate
Jon has been interviewed for a series of articles in the MPA online magazine (Mortgage Professionals Australia). This first one talks about how to tackle those jobs you hate and how to 'suck it up and get on with it.'
'Excuse #1: “I don’t have time.”
Jon Dale, director of Small Fish Business Coaching, takes a no-nonsense approach to confronting your excuses for what they are.
Often the tasks brokers enjoy doing are the ones that have more urgent consequences – dealing with your existing clients, processing current applications etc – whereas jobs such as marketing and prospecting new clients can often be postponed.
“Nobody is going to shout at you if you put your marketing off until tomorrow,” says Dale. “But if you don’t do Mr Jones’ mortgage, he’s going to be pretty pissed off.”
This makes it easier for brokers to ignore these deferrable tasks under the guise of concentrating on more urgent matters. What’s key to understand here, says Dale, is one doesn’t exclude the other.
“People waste a lot of time, and the reality is you can fit it in. Doing some sales and marketing doesn’t really mean that all of your customers are going to have a shit time forever from now on.”
Do the urgent tasks, says Dale, but schedule in time for the things you don’t like eg. ‘From 10-12am tomorrow I will call X amount of prospective clients’.
“What happens then is they realise it’s not true that they stop doing all the other stuff. Things carry on going as before, but the change they’re looking for also comes.”
Excuse #2: “I already tried that.”
So maybe you have tried tackling these tasks before, and maybe things didn’t work out so well.
“So many people have been damaged by an experience they’ve had,” says Dale. “Maybe they’ve taken out an ad and spent their $300 and not got any calls, so they think ads don’t work. In reality, that ad didn’t work, but it’s not quite the same thing. By no means have we established that ads in general don’t work or that they will never work for you.”
This kind of resistance often comes out of embarrassment over past errors, and this only serves to add to the fear of what can be a daunting task.
“Most people say they don’t know what is going to work, they’re uncomfortable not knowing and they’re scared of wasting time, making mistakes and looking like a fool. The reality is most of it does work and it’s not that hard, but it is a bit scary.”
As a broker selling a service, it’s hard not to take every ‘no’ as a personal rejection, says Dale, but it’s important to understand that most things in business involve a process of trial and error – some with more errors than others.
Excuse #3: “Nobody else can do it as well as I can.”
If you really, really don’t want to do something, and you have the resources to do so, outsourcing or delegating to someone else is a great option, says Dale.
“We all think we have to do everything but you can get someone else to do it if you want. It costs money, so everything is a trade-off, but for example I don’t like admin or bookwork so I pay someone else to do it.”
This can often be a struggle for brokers if they have tendencies to micromanage every task, but if you hire the right person, you can learn to have faith in them. The key is having some realism, says Dale.
“Getting someone else to do something that you do really well doesn’t really mean that it’s going to be crap forever and everyone is going to hate you and your service is going to drop,” says Dale.
Excuse #4: “What jobs? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
When there’s nobody around to call you up on it, denial can be a little too easy, says Dale.
“[Business owners] usually understand when I point it out, they know they’ve been hiding from it or ignoring it or pretending they’ve got better things to do.
“If I say to someone ‘How many times today has your business asked someone to consider what you do?’ and they reply ‘None’, it’s a bit hard to hide from that.”
If you’re in a situation where you really are the only one that can tackle a task, and outsourcing isn’t an option, it’s time to take a reality check, says Dale.
Break the tasks up into achievable chunks, and then find someone to hold you accountable for completing them – whether that be a business coach, a sales manager, another broker or a partner.
“Look at the activity and not the end result. Rather than try and persuade yourself you need to turn into a sales and marketing demon and be amazing at it, do something like make two calls a day. When you do that and you get a few coffee meetings and people are generally supportive and nice, you continue to expand your circle and suddenly calling two strangers a day is a habit - and business comes out of it.”
It’s not always easy to hear, says Dale, but sometimes you need to face some hard truths as a business owner.
“If it was easy everybody would be doing it. You can either do it or get a job for an organisation where somebody else does all the hard bits. If you want to work for yourself you’re going to have to spend at least some time doing the things you don’t like – suck it up and get on with it.”
Enterprise Connect - Free Government Money!
Enterprise Connect is a Federal scheme that helps you hire useful consultants to help you grow your business.
Sometimes they'll pay for Business coaching, if they think that's what you need but they'll cover other consultants too, including marketing consultancy, strategic planning, HR, training (including leadership training for you and your team)
Don't hold me to this because the commitment is not clear - you have to go through the process and see what the government consultant recommends after consulting with you.
It's clear, though that's there is money to be had and that they are keen to give it to you. So do you qualify?
You should be $1m or $1.5m in turnover (sorry minnows - we missed out, too) and in the following industries:
- Creative Industries
- Defence Industry
- Information and Communications Technology
- Professional Services
- Transport and logistics
- Printing and Publishing
- Clean Technology
- Food Processing
- Resources Technology
- Remote Enterprises
Check out the website. If this is too impenetrable, email me and I'll call the Enterprise Connect Business Adviser that I know and connect you with him. These guys are pretty helpful.
And if they suggest you get yourself a business coach, think of us :)
Small Fish Business Coaching Byron Bay
What happens when you have to rebuild
As some of you know, I had a difficult year last year. Our franchise has come to a halt, due mostly to the GFC and I'm back to being a business coach instead of the CEO of a global business coaching franchise. (And divorced, broke, single Dad, reduced to eating worms from the garden)
Yes, I know, it's all very sad. I can hear the violins and your tears splashing on your keyboard as you read.
Well I'm fine, thanks for asking and this experience of rebuilding my personal coaching business has been interesting. I thought you might like to hear what I've learnt lately.
The markets are still a bit tough - people are a lot less ready to spend money than they were in 2008. They look a lot harder at your value and your cost before they commit.
Is it the same in your industry?
I'm told it is in business coaching - lots of coaches have gone off to find other income sources and given coaching away. Including most of the fishes, actually....
The markets appear to be picking up a little bit now - this year money has been freeing up slightly, small businesses are feeling a little less scared and starting to think about growth instead of survival. There's a palpable sense of coming out the other side everywhere you look.
So what did I learn?
You have to keep your head down and work harder and you have to keep doing what you know works.
Keep turning the wheel, as they say. I joined some networking groups and have been turning my marketing wheel as hard as I bloody well can for a year and a quarter. It's hard work and it takes stamina. But it is starting to look like I'll have a business again soon. Note that I'm not enjoying foreign holidays yet - it will take longer before things are right financially but know that sticking with what you know works, works.
That's the lesson - if you have a business that has something good to offer, the markets are still there. They didn't go away, they just stepped back a bit.
Vitally, don't panic and change direction. Certainly, don't panic and change direction over and over again. It doesn't work. Consistency (of your marketing especially) is a good thing and people are responding more to someone's longevity than ever.
I think I'll expand on this theme over the coming weeks as I get back into writing articles and get my head out of my own bum.
Ahh! Sunlight. It hurts my eyes...
Now that I've confessed it all to you, I want to know your story... have you learned a hard lesson this year in business? Leave a comment below
Small Fish Business Coaching Byron Bay
Free Wealth Accumulation Seminar in Murwillumbah
Jon's friend in Murwillumbah is hosting another in their ongoing series of seminars. Not Jon speaking this time, but a firm of financial advisers and wealth managers who will help you understand some wealth accumulation strategies.
So you have the full team - a business coach to help you make more money, an accountant to help you keep more of it and a wealth (investment) adviser to help you grow it.
COME ALONG AND LEARN:
- Dividend Investment – The Hunt For Yield
- SMSF Property Strategies
Presenters will be available during the break and after the seminar if you have any specific questions you would like to ask.
And yes….. the chocolate mudcake has been ordered……….
The following experts will be there during the night:
Elston Partners, including CEO Andrew McKie
Mark Shultz – Senior Strategy Advisor & SMSF Specialist
Robert Berry – Investment Advisor
Robert Scobie – Private Wealth Advisor Advisor
Tuesday 23rd July at 5:30pm
315 Tweed Valley Way Murwillumbah
If you wish to attend please contact Kerry on 02 6672 4044 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Small Fish Business Coaching
Seth Godin Rants Against Fast Food Marketers
I know I share his stuff too much but he speaks truths that elude many commentators. This feels at first like a diatribe against fast food but it's more about the responsibility that goes with the power that goes with marketing.
In small business, this ethical consideration feels less like it applies to us - we have far less power to influence people for starters.
But do we? We spend a good amount of our money trying to persuade people to buy our services or our products with our marketing or our sales people or our merchandising. And it works - some of them allow themselves to be persuaded.
So, I put it to you - we have a responsibility to persuade people ethically, to only sell them what is decent, honourable and good for them.
I imagine we all believe in our product, I know I do. but can the marketers for fast food honestly say the same thing? Maybe it's time to have a little look at your business and ask yourself the question Seth is asking.
Small Fish Business Coaching Byron Bay
End of Tax Year Advice
OK, I know we're not qualified to give tax advice, we are, after all, business coaches and not accountants. But, we've been told by people who ought to know, that small businesses can spend money on capital equipment ($6000 or so) and write the whole amount off this year.
This sounds to me like something not very interesting (which is why it took me until a few days before it's too late to pass it on) but it seems it might actually be worth considering.
Normally, when you buy something the accountants call capital (equipment and cars and suchlike) you have to depreciate them over a number of years. if you buy something this week, you can write the whole thing off against your tax for this financial year when you do your tax return.
I was going to try to explain it properly just then but as I did, I felt like crying tears of boredom and horror so I stopped. I guess that's why I'm not an accountant.
If you buy something now it will be a bit cheaper than if you buy it later. My friend Ian who sells Lexmark Printers told me this and he's doing a special end of month pricing deal. I won't attach his catalogue because he asked me not to but if you want it, let me know and I'll email it to you (he said that was alright)
Small Fish Business Coaching
New Homepage - Does it work?
We're hoping our new home page helps people make a quick decision about whether to try a free coaching session.
Does it make you want one?
Look here and, if you can be bothered, let us know if it makes you all hot for a free session :)
If you actually want one, that's even better !
Small Fish Business Coaching Byron Bay
Currency Exchange for Small Business
I attend a BNI meeting every week. I'm not going to preach the joys of networking, don't worry. One of the members of my group is a currency exchange and they often transact large international transfers for businesses - usually exporters or importers, sometimes migrants (like me) coming into or leaving this island.
This week, my friend said something interesting. The Aussie dollar has fallen below parity for the first time in like a million years (it seems like that anyway). She said "the Aussie dollar goes up the stairs and down the elevator"
Obviously, I'm easily amused and it appealed to me. She means that those in the game say that it goes up slowly and down quickly.
Now a cheaper dollar is probably better for our exporters but it's worse for importers. But importers can lock in a forward rate for quite a long time and hedge against a falling dollar. I just checked and it's still at 97c or so so it's not zoomed down that elevator yet.
So, if you need to buy some foreign currency and you're nervous about the dollar buying you less foreign money, why not lock in a rate today and give yourself some certainty?
My friend is Kylie from Atlas Currency Exchange, by the way.
Please don't call me or send me any money.
Small Fish Business Coaching Byron Bay