Here’s What I Think About Bank Managers Pt1

Here’s What I Think About Bank Managers. Pt1

What’s Your Bank Manager’s First Name?

I was having a discussion recently with a bank manager I was seated next to at an event. She said she found it odd that the only time people sought her out was when looking for a loan, or when they were in trouble with the bank.

What’s you bank manager’s first name? Have you ever asked your bank manager out for a cup of coffee? If not, why not?

Getting to know your local business banker or bank managers is one of the smartest things people in business can do. Bank managers are a very important cog in the operation and growth of many businesses, and therefore have many eyes that your business can benefit from.

Your business banker or local bank manager can be one of your greatest business assets. Especially when you’re just starting out, because initially you’ll need as many experienced sounding boards, and as much good advice as you can get.

Bank managers and business bankers are often completely under-valued as the true business assets they are.

A good local bank manager or business banker is probably more ‘in-the-know’ with what’s going on within your local business community than anybody. They have their finger well and truly on the pulse in relation to much of what’s happening in your business industry or community.

Your bank manager will bring a wide range of business knowledge, experience, assistance, support, connections and resources to your new or existing business to help it grow – if you ask for their help.

There are very few people as well connected and ‘in-the-loop’ within a business community than a local business banker. And even fewer who are qualifed, and willing, to sit with you and discuss the important issues your business is facing – at no charge.

I truly believe that business bankers and bank managers are the most under-valued business partners in the small business community, and that this could be either the result of never having it suggested, or it’s from having a ‘small business’ mindset. Just look at all the large, successful businesses and you’ll see that their relationships with their banks and lenders are some of their most valued relationships.

If you have plans to grow a strong, profitable business, then your bank manager is one of the first people you should be connecting with. Business growth and bank managers have a long-standing history and connection. Just look at the top-end of town to see if what I’m saying is true.

You never know, it could be the beginning of beautiful relationship that provides insight, connections, intelligence and support as your business grows.

To be continued……..

Gaye Crispin

Founder

Women On Top Business Planning


Here’s What I Think About Business Coaches: Part 1.

Here’s What I think About Business Coaches – Navigating the ‘Business Coach’ Maze: A business coach dialogue. Part 1.

Are you confused about how to find a great business coach? Does the world of business coaching ever have you befuddled and confused? Do all business coaches appear to “look the same, sound the same and blog the same” to you? If so, then welcome to the “I’m Confused about Business Coaches Club.” My name is Gaye Crispin, and I’m the current President of this Club.

I’ve been looking at the world of business coaching as an outsider, and I’m seriously questioning everything I see and read.

My goal is to source innovative and original coaches, who are at the forefront of their game, to refer my clients to. If a coach isn’t occupying that space in their industry, how can they help my clients occupy that space in their industry. Sound too simplistic? Why does it? Sound heretical or offensive? That’s a shame, because it’s not.

I’ve recently been on a journey to try to discover what makes for a good business coach, and how to identify them.

This is an important journey for me. If I’m going to recommend any person or service to my clients, friends or associates I need to be 100% confident that the people I’m recommending are up to delivering a superior quality product or service that’s in line with my own.

While trying to identify good business coaches I’ve trawled through possibly hundreds of coaching blogs and posts, and guess what I’ve discovered? Most of them say the same thing, just in slightly different ways.

That was useful in establishing what coaches obviously consider are important points, but too many of these blogs were too similar.

That alarmed me and raised issues in my mind concerning originality of content:-

  • Are the similarities simply unoriginal thinking? If I suspect so, then I won’t refer that coach.
  • Are many of these blogs and websites simply ‘copy, cut and paste’ from other people’s blogs and manuals? Well, I’m certainly not recommending those.
  • Are some of these ‘coaches’ actually students in training, working through similar coaching material? I suspect so.

This type of thing is common in many unregulated industries…but in business coaching too? Unfortunately, it would seem so.

That could mean the coach may only ever be just one step ahead of the client, if we’re lucky. Now that’s a worry! It seemed the more I read, the more I was seeing re-shuffled wording taken from someone’s hard work. But whose?

So how are we, who don’t have the inside running on this unregulated industry, supposed to know how to locate the real McCoys in this high-dollar ‘Sea-of-Sameness?’ I’m still not 100% sure, but a picture is emerging.

With any unregulated industry, and particularly business coaching, where anybody can open shop we need real disclosure:-

  • Real disclosure on their business and coaching experience, and
  • Real disclusure on their client testimonials and success stories, and especially before paying over enormous coaching fees, or investing any time and/or money based on their leadership or ideas.

We need legitimate successful coaches to lead the way in providing greater transparency in relation to their own results and claims to fame.

We, the consumers, have a right, and a duty to ourselves to investigate the validity of the claims of testimonials made on a website or blog. We need to begin to investigate them thoroughly.

The business coaching industry owes us the truth if it expects any small business to pay multiple thousands of dollars for a brief meeting/weekly phone-call/webinar service… which doesn’t guarantee tangible returns.

I believe this industry needs a regulatory body, and there needs to be consequences for false and misleading advertising.

Currently, the business coaching industry seems to be writing its own rules. 

Apparently a good coach charges quite a  few hundred dollars an hour, which is fine if they achieve superior results. But we need to remember that’s a highly professional fee, and is as much as a good lawyer charges.

Plus, a good lawyer studied for years, had to qualify in a very heavily regulated field, work their way up the ladder, continue with professional development, and abide by certain scales of fees according to their experience and expertise.

From what I’ve been able to gather, many coaches have just come out of  nowhere after failing in a business or two, read a few books, set up a coaching practice, created some testimonials or had their friends write them, and began charging an ‘industry standard’ of a few hundred dollars an hour.  And it seems many in the industry know this, are quite happy for this to remain the case, and are quite happy to remain silent about it as well.

But it’s we, the consumers, who pay the price for any incompetence, and also for this conspiracy of silence, because we are none the wiser of the real quality of a particular coach till after we’ve paid. Surely this alone needs addressing. With so many small businesses struggling, and failing, I’m hoping there’s no correlation between that and the sea of green coaches I’m hearing about.  I know from my own business and experience that my clients who have coaches are just as troubled as the ones without coaches, or they wouldn’t have called us.

Then there are the so-called ‘testimonials.’ 

Testimonials are traded like cattle everyday of the week. Don’t rely on them! Whenever we see testimonials for a coaching service that don’t provide contact details, these need to be seriously drilled down into and questioned before doing business.

If no satisfactory answer is forthcoming, these testimonials should be dismissed as fabrication, rubbish, and the coaching service dismissed as questionable.

Coaches, please name names and businesses.

How often do we see and hear coaches telling us how well their clients are doing? Sorry coaches, I want proof. I want to see the history: the before and after. A lawyer can’t falsely claim to have won a case they lost, and remain lawyer. A financial advisor has to ensure everything they advise is supportable. 

Business coaches are actually in the business of influencing people . If  there is an incompetent coach influencing business decisions, and even controlling business owners thinking, currently it doesn’t look like they can be held accountable or responsible if the business goes belly up. This seems wrong, and is another reason why I think the industry needs a thorough overhaul.

Any coach who is advising, guiding, influencing (call it what you like) people in business should  have to measure up to some agreed minimum standard. And there needs to be consequences. One ‘cowboy’ can do a heck of a lot of damage in a short period of time. I repeat, I’m beginning to wonder if there isn’t a correlation between the sea of coaches out there and number of businesses in serious trouble. Poor coaching is a serious cash-flow drain on any business, but would be a killer for an already struggling business. 

The coaching industry really appears to have no rules to abide by other the ones they agree on amongst themselves. 

We need to be aware of that, and demand that when coaches offer testimonials as evidence of their expertise, which is usually all they have to offer, that they can back up these success stories with legitimate bottom-line, actual results.

We have a right to insist on seeing the business figures of their clients, signed off by the accountant, if a coach is using such client success stories in their marketing materials (or face-to-face) to try to win our business. 

Mr or Mrs Coach, I need to know that the results you are telling me you achieved are true, and that they came about as a direct result of your coaching. I want to see something concrete before I hand over $1,000, $10,000 or $25,000 a year to you. This is not too much to ask.

I would happily recommend any coach who was able to support his or her claim of their coaching being directly responsible for doubling a small businesses bottom line in a year.  Hey, I’d probably even engage the coach myself.

But you don’t always get what you pay for – and especially in business coaching.

I know this because of some of my clients horror stories with business coaches… which is why I embarked on this journey in the first place.

I heard one horror story where a young graphic designer, whose business was obviously failing, bought a coaching franchise for around $25K,  hung out her shingle and began selling her coaching services.  A woman I know engaged her services based on how impressed she was with the information on the parent company’s website.

The monthly coaching fee was $2,000 a month, and she was locked into a 12 month contract. 

This coach missed their first appointment and didn’t call to re-schedule. There was no 7 day cooling-off period in the contract so the client couldn’t get out of the contract.  Another appointment was set and the ‘coach’ missed this appointment too. That wasted 2 weeks of the client’s first month into the contract. 

I suggested she take her complaint to the top, which she did.

In trying to explain away and excuse this young coaches unprofessional conduct the area manager of the franchisees explained that this girl was new to coaching: had no experience: had been a graphic designer: was young, etc etc. This is appalling. Why didn’t they tell the client this in the first place?

This franchisor’s policies are appalling, irresponsibly signing up ‘just anyone’ who has $25K to spend and a franchise, and not subjecting them to serious, qualified training. 

There are many more horror stories I could share but I won’t. What I will say is this, I’m determined to understand how this industry operates, and how to identify a good coach.  

If you’ve been searching for a good business coach, and my words resonate with you, I’d love to hear from you.

If you are a good business coach, and can help me understand how to identify and qualify a good business coach, I’d love you to leave a comment and share that information with us.

Next week I’m uploading a dialogue I had a couple of weeks ago with a few coaches. It was a very interesting conversation that touched on a few of these points, so I hope you’ll stay tuned.


12 Essential Tips For A Strong Cash Flow

12 Essential Tips For A Strong Cash Flow

 

‘Happiness Is A Positive Cash Flow’ isn’t just a funny bumper sticker, it’s a deadly serious business fact. Just talk with any business owner whose business is dying, and who’s on his way out the back door, and see how unhappy he is.  Every day of the week for the past 3 years I’ve been  heavily involved in helping people in this situation,  so I know little about it.

If you want to avoid major, unnecessary cash flow dramas in your business it’s vital to take out the time to look at your current cash flow policies,  and ensure that your accounts receivable system isn’t from the bronze age.  It is YOUR MONEY after all!

If your business will be, or already is, running accounts and issuing invoices these 12 tips are an indispensable check-list for the health of your accounts receivable system.   

12 Ways To Set Up A Powerful Accounts Receivable Policy 

1.  Put strong Terms and Conditions of Trade in place. These need to be clearly stated on all your quotes, credit application forms, agreements or contracts prior to commencing work or supplying goods. 

2.  Conduct a credit check on your potential new client before providing them with goods or services.  You must understand who it is you’re extending credit to so you can set terms appropriate to that risk.

3.  Keep informed of the credit worthiness of your existing client before extending more credit. Just because they passed a credit check 3 months ago doesn’t necessarily mean they are still a good financial risk.

4.  Request business references, and actually contact them.

5.  Be sure your Terms and Conditions allow you to pass on ALL debt recovery costs to your client.

6.  Be sure your Terms and Conditions incorporate serious consequences for late payment, including things like penalty interest at 2.5% per month.

7. Send out your invoices the same day goods are shipped, not a week or two later.  

8.  Follow up on late payers promptly with phone calls and letters. Don’t waste time in endless discussions with late payers. If the money isn’t received when promised, have a collection agency in place to take the matter over for you so you can get back to business.     

9.  Empower your bookkeeper to chase your accounts by having a robust Terms Of Trade in place. This way your bookkeeper can refer the client to particular clauses that will be invoked if payment is not made.

10.  Don’t continue to supply goods or provide services if bills remain unpaid, or if periodic payment arrangements aren’t being adhered to.

11.  Bank cheques received immediately….. and don’t delay!

12.  Negotiate with your bank to obtain funds availability of 0 to 2 days on cheques deposited. Don’t accept the general rule for the public from the bank that availability of cheque deposits is 1 to 5 days. Speak with your bank manager and enquire about its “availability schedule.” Insist on receiving fast availability of two days or less.

Don’t be an unsecured, interest-free, line of credit to your clients or customers any more!

Take control of your cash-flow by contacting your accountant or a credit management service and asking for a free invoice and quoting  ‘check-up.’ Even your bank manager can help you there. I find many business owners don’t recognise what a great asset and resource their bank manager can be to their business.  Whatever you do in relation to overdue accounts – don’t do nothing.

If you’re from Australia and would like some help you can contact me by leaving a message in the box below.  I can put you in touch with someone in your city or state who can help you.

Remember, if you take care of your business, your business will take care of you.  

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Copyright Gaye Crispin 2011

About Gaye.

Gaye Crispin is a sales and marketing trainer, artist and writer. By the time Gaye was 25 years old she already owned 3 businesses, including a restaurant and a Solace Window Tinting Franchise.

In 1988 Gaye established a large telemarketing organization in Sydney, which was the first of its kind to market residential investment property to interstate investors over the phone. Her system was so successful and cost-effective that it quickly became the standard throughout the industry, and is still in use today.

She has successfully designed and implemented sales and marketing systems for motor vehicle accessories, art, skin care, health food, advertising, insolvency services, credit management systems, seminars and investment products.

Gaye has a debt collection and credit management agency, and is also the founder of Women On Top Business Planning, a group of individually successful business women who are passionate about helping business owners write powerful business or action plans for their business.

You can contact Gaye Crispin on 0416 926 533
Email: admin@womenontopbusinessplanning.com
Website:  www.womenontopbusinessplanning.com


The Unsaid (Pt1) The Dangers Of Ignoring The ‘Unsaid.’

  ‘The Dangers of Ignoring The Unsaid’ by Gaye Crispin

Part 1 of a 3 part series

The ‘Unsaid’

How effective are your communication skills? Are you a good listener? Are you a good talker? If you’re both, congratulations because that means you’re an excellent communicator, you’re worth your weight in gold, and the world is probably your oyster already.

But for many of us that’s still not the case….yet

And it’s interesting that so many people still believe great talkers and great listeners can’t possibly inhabit the same body, basing their whole world view on this subject on a few catchy clichés like; “If we were meant to talk more than listen, we would have two mouths and one ear,” or; “A man has two ears and one mouth so that he hears much and speaks little.”

When we look at the complexities and enormous benefits of the human mouth, I wonder if having two ears wasn’t just an evolutionary necessity for our species survival.

Not only was it vital to hear predators approaching, but multi-directional hearing was essential in knowing which direction that mother of all T-Rex’s was coming from. Not to mention how important it is to understand which direction the dinner bell sound is coming from – or more importantly – where that particularly passionate and enthusiastic wolf-whistle just hailed from!

Sure, shutting-up and the allowing others to speak is important. But that alone doesn’t equate to being a good communicator.  It could simply mean that we’re a well-mannered indifferent type, or we’re bored spitless and just happen to have the memory of an elephant.

I’ve worked with and trained some truly remarkable sales people over the past 30 years. Most of these people could talk all 3 legs off a cast-iron pot, yet in a sales situation they were outstanding communicators, influencers, persuaders and achievers.

What made these people so brilliant was their great ability to hear and process what was being said before responding, alongside an extra capacity for hearing the ‘unsaid’ in communication. Processing ‘unsaid’ information (which obviously also includes body language) along with stated information, all at the same time, is a wonderful talent. And if you don’t have it naturally within your business, fear not, it can be learned or even bolted on to your organisation via a consultant.

The late, great Peter Drucker said, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”

We’re surrounded by ‘the unsaid’ daily, and if we’re not hearing it we can also  tend to take everything very literally, and that too will cause us more problems than a monkey at the control panel. 

Why? Because if we devlop the capacity to hear the ‘unsaid’ we’re strengthening the communications process. If repeatedly ignored the ‘unsaid’ will either explode in our face, or become increasingly quiet and reserved until the speaker eventually disappears from view – and from our life, business, shop, database or member list.

The ‘said,’ on the other hand, is easy to hear, tends to get louder if ignored, and is often eventually heard, even despite our best efforts to the contrary.

In business, as in all relationships, developing the ability to ‘tune in’ and hear the ‘unsaid’ is a vital key to success.

If we’re aware that this ability doesn’t come naturally to us then we need to proactively create ways for the people we wish to engage with to freely express their thoughts and needs to us – without fear of ridicule, retribution or recrimination.

We need to ask ourselves, “Do we have systems in place which ensure we, and all those in our business, are hearing what’s being ‘said’ and ‘unsaid’ by our key stakeholders and market?”

If we don’t, the best and easiest way to correct this quickly is to engage an expert or organisation that does, that can and will do it on our behalf. This is one way to immediately address the situation, 

Market research companies are a great resource for gathering information on our behalf, and in helping us translate the language of our market.

Outsourcing our listening requirements is a great option while we work on putting systems in place to develop stronger in-house business listening and communication skills.

Here are a couple of questions to finish on:-

1) How do we know that we and our organisation have great listening and communication skills? 2) When was the last time we conducted an anonymous survey about how ‘heard’ our staff, clients, customers and prospects feel? Have we ever had our communication strengths and weaknesses professionally measured or tested?

If you can truthfully answer these  questionsto your own satisfaction then congratulations again, you must be a champion communicator.

Please leave any comments you’d like to make about this article below.

Copyright Gaye Crispin 2011

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About Gaye.

Gaye Crispin is a sales and marketing trainer, artist and writer. By the time Gaye was 25 years old she already owned 3 businesses, including a restaurant and a Solace Window Tinting Franchise.

In 1988 Gaye established a large telemarketing organization in Sydney, which was the first to market residential investment property to interstate investors over the phone. Her system was so successful and cost-effective that it quickly became the standard throughout the industry, and is still in use today.

She has successfully designed and implemented sales and marketing systems for motor vehicle accessories, art, skin care, health food, advertising, insolvency services, credit management systems, seminars and investment products.

Gaye has a debt collection and credit management agency, and is also the founder of Women On Top Business Planning, a group of individually successful business women who are passionate about helping business owners write powerful business or action plans for their business.

You can contact Gaye Crispin on 0416 926 533
Email: admin@womenontopbusinessplanning.com
Website:  www.womenontopbusinessplanning.com