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Australia's $15m e-commerce king says "get a Business Coach"

Our friends at Reid-McGill sent us this article. It's good advice, we reckon (well, we would wouldn't we?)

Eddie Machaalani, of BigCommerce gives one great piece of advice of how his start-up rose to success. He lists many more, but of course we found this one the most important.

Quoted from

"3. Call a coach

Behind every successful athlete lies a good coach. A business owner can benefit equally from a coach, who need not be incredibly successful running a business or have the skills you do.

Instead, the coach should have good systems and processes to teach and help keep your emotional rollercoaster under control.

A good business coach is worth their weight in gold.

You can read the rest of the article here.

So, maybe it is time you really do think about picking up the phone?

Jon Dale

Small Fish Business Coaching Byron Bay

Starting A Small Business? Read this First!

Starting A Small BusinessWhat do you mean you are leaving a full-time job to go into business? “ARE YOU NUTS?” If only I had a dollar for every time I had heard those inspiring bits of wisdom and encouragement, I would be at least a hundred bucks richer!

So why did I leave my employer, hand back my nice new fully maintained company car, fuel card, expense account, laptop, mobile phone, regular guaranteed income and sanity behind? Possibly people were not wrong when they suggested I was nuts?

The actual reason was that I could see the downturn of the economy and it’s impact on the company that employed me slowly unfolding. Those above were feeling the pressure. In turn, their stress was being unleashed on those below. Cuts were being made everywhere; staff were not being replaced and those who remained looked as disenchanted as I felt. More than 50% of my pay was made from bonuses. As those around me starting losing confidence and motivation they stopped performing. I could see that it would mark the end of bonuses for everyone, not just those under performing. Micromanagement kicked into full gear, all of a sudden I had to explain my every move. For someone who actually enjoys work and loves achieving goals, this was nothing short of degrading.

What was I really leaving behind? Stability? Nope… nothing about my position felt stable. A regular income? Yes, but not the income I agreed to when I signed the contracts. I knew that no amount of time and effort invested would allow that income to increase anytime soon. What a frustrating place to be stuck in. Do I miss my company car now? Not really. Do I miss my fuel card? Heck YES! I loved that little bit of plastic. Would I trade any of it for being self-employed? Absolutely not!

So you may be thinking that this is a blatant plug to join Small Fish Business Coaching as a Business Coach, it actually isn’t! It is a plug for small business. If companies were thriving and bonuses were flourishing I possibly would not have made this choice. For me it is about (not to be cheesy) “being the master of my own destiny”. In this economy nothing is certain, being employed for me was no less risky than being self-employed. How stable do you feel right now?

Melanie Miller
Small Fish Business Coaching Gold Coast

Delegation - How To Make It Work

Delegation - How To Make It WorkWe often talk about how do you make things easier and free up time to get things done. If you are going to achieve more you are going to need to delegate more as you can’t do everything yourself.

We are often relectant to do this: "no one does the job as well as me" is an often quoted statement. My answer to this is how well did you delegate? Delegate badly and instead of improving your day, your frustrations reach on all time high. Delegate well and you will start to see genuine progress.

The difference between these two contrasting scenarios comes down to one thing. How clearly did you explain the delegated task? Each time you delegate a task, understand that that the task must be clear before it can be succesfully completed.

  • Connections. How does this relate to what I do?

  • List of steps. What do I do know now?

  • Expectations. How will I know when I’ve succeeded?

  • Ability. What support will I have?

  • Return. How will the company benefit from my efforts?

If you put these simple steps into place, your delegation will be succesful, freeing up time to get other things done.

Nigel Hobbs
Small Fish Business Coaching Sydney

Staff - Who Needs Them?

Staff- Who Needs Them?Staff are one of the biggest headaches for small business but are also something that you just can’t do without.

Over the last month I have been talking to the staff of different businesses. From this a number of things have become apparent:

  1. They didn’t have staff meetings or if they did then they weren’t effective – the staff didn’t know what work was in the pipeline and who was doing what. There was never any reflection on what was working and what wasn’t
  2. Processes, if in place, were not followed by all staff
  3. Communication between staff was poor – little issues were getting out of control while fundamental issues weren’t being raised.
  4. The owner/manager was too much on the tools.
  5. The owner/manager had a very different perception of what was happening in the business than the staff did.

The overall result was disgruntled staff – which means poor work performance...

So what can be done?

Someone needs to MANAGE.

Management is crucial because you don’t get paid for what you do, you get paid for what your employees do. As such you have to do everything in your power to help them be successful – you succeed when they succeed.

Employees need the person in charge to make time to:

  1. Provide understanding – talk about the strengths and weaknesses in the business and how you are managing them. Ask for their input and ideas for improvement.
  2. Provide direction – 80% of the time talk about the future of the business. Let them know that they are a part of it.
  3. Walk the Talk – encourage and reinforce what you love about your business
  4. Understand the roles of the staff – make sure they are well defined and you have the right people in them
  5. Plan – set budgets or targets and review in team meetings – what is working what isn’t and Why? Delegate and mange workflows so that no-one is idle or too busy. Communicate what has to be done by when.
  6. Have procedures – how do you know something is being done effectively or not getting missed if you don’t have a benchmark to measure against. They don’t have to be complicated – it can be a simple checklist.
  7. Supervision – no one enjoys a micro manager but you need to take time to sit with each staff member every couple of months to see how they are doing their job. Ensure procedures are followed and ask for their ideas on improving them. Check that they have the training and tools to do the best job that they can.
  8. Give feedback – always respond immediately to a job well done or a job done badly.

Feel free to write a comment on how you manage staff issues.

Mariejan Bigby
Small Fish Business Coaching Toowoomba

Tips For Getting The Best Out Of Your Team

Tips For Getting The Best Out Of Your TeamAt Small Fish Business Coaching one of the areas we concentrate on to improve profitability is Increased Productivity. This means getting the best out of your team which leads to better performance and in the end –increased profitably.

After all, its Business coaching isn’t it?

Here are some tips for business owners and managers to improve profitability and performance in their teams:

  1. Communicate clear expectations - For people to perform well and continue to grow and learn they need to know what’s expected of them. At Small Fish we help business owners formulate a “Strategy on a page”. This clearly defines the Vision for the business, the VITAL FEW things that need to be done to achieve that vision and the individual strategies that must be accomplished. This can be shared with staff and strategies can be related to individual expectations, which become the standards by which performance will be judged. At least they will know – “this is what I need to do to achieve the strategies”
  2. Focus on specific areas that require improvement - To get the best out of your team it’s a good idea to pinpoint exactly what needs to be improved. If Sales are low and sales require quotes to be produced, then focus on driving improvements in the number of quotes put out. Monitor them and put KPI’s in place. Provide feedback and assistance to the Salesperson to make sure they are meeting their targets.
  3. Help remove obstacles - To perform anywhere near top capacity, individuals may need help in removing obstacles. Managers and Business owners should be that “snowplough” that keeps the road clear for their staff to perform at top capacity. For example if a staff member was having trouble getting work done because their computer was slow or old; it may be time to upgrade it so they can work faster. Keep your eye open all the time for obstacles that could be holding back your team and remove them. People have improved motivation when they see you actively helping them do their job better.
  4. Gain a commitment to Change - Unless you can get a commitment from a staff member to improve in any area, that member may not attain the higher performance. They must want to do it, and they should communicate that to you genuinely. There’s some skill to get an intuitive feel when employees are serious or not about performance improvement. Look out for clues like: over agreeing about the need to change and agreeing to change without any emotion. These may be hints that they aren’t genuine about it.
  5. Applaud good results - Always praise people when they’ve made their targets or gained that improvement no matter how small. There’s nothing like genuine encouragement and positive reinforcement especially in front of their peers to make them feel good about what they have achieved. Managers often forget this important facet of their role. Enforce that encouragement with a small gift like movie tickets or a book, because this makes them feel good about the achievement for longer, and gives them the opportunity to tell their family and friends about it.

So there you have it ...- Five ways to improve productivity in your team.

Steve Eastwood
Small Fish Business Coaching Melbourne

Are You Going Backwards or Forwards - The Importance Of Business Planning

Are You Going Backwards Or Forwards?I was sitting in a train today facing the wrong way I was travelling and was thinking to myself I can see where I have been, but not where I am going. This got me thinking about life and also about how this may be relevant to business.

How many times do you look at where you have been, but not where you are going?

We always look back and say things like ‘that promotion didn’t work’, ‘I hired the wrong person’, ‘sales were bad last week’ etc. But how often do we look forward?

Looking forward to determine where it is you are going (or want to go) is a critical part in your planning for your business success. Take the time to work out where it is you want to go and look beyond the immediate horizon.

If you are ‘looking backwards,’ take the time to now start ‘looking forward’ at where you want to head. Make a plan, write it down and work out what needs to be done to get there.

It may be as simple as defining what your ideal team member looks like, does, and needs to do, or to plan sales forecasts, marketing plans etc.

The most important thing is to DO IT, and now is a great time.

Good luck!

Tony Ozanne
Small Fish Business Coaching Canberra