9 Ways a General Manager Will Benefit Your Small Business

9 Ways a General Manager Will Benefit Your Small Business

Over the years, you built your small business on step at a time. Your hired more staff to sell and service your clients, then you added an office manager and/or an accounting manager. With each hire you expected to get “freed up” to act like an owner, not an employee.

Yet you are “crazy busy” every day– getting sales, monitoring if work is done, leading improvement projects, fighting fires, and otherwise tending to the daily work in your business.

What could be the cause? If you have 10 or more people on staff, you are likely missing a “level” of management.

You have level 1- individual workers, and you (level 4)- expecting to lead well-designed and highly functional systems run by others.
You might even have level 2- a “supervisor” who monitors daily work of direct reports (perhaps informally and tactically), and is concerned with the next week or month.

But if you want to plan 1-5 years out and make changes that will improve your people, process and profits, you have to get out of the “daily supervision” game.

You need a deputy.

Here is a list of 9 ways your deputy (general manager) can positively impact your organization:

  1. Watch the store– develop and implement dashboards with key business results, review regularly and alert you to any “exceptions” so you know things are on track and there are no surprises
  2. Process improvement – identify trends in your hassles, bottlenecks and other issues, research to find route cause and suggest solutions, then implement the solution
  3. Build your team– Identify new roles or more people before your delivery suffers. Recruit, screen, onboard and train new staff that are Ideal Candidates, build a virtual bench of pre-qualified candidates before a position opens up
  4. Coach the team– schedule, assign and coordinate work, monitor performance and attitude, give feedback, train and develop people for the best job fit and opportunities, engage the team to retain A players.
  5. Client experience building– handle escalation of client issues, routine relationship building, periodic follow up to uncover unreported issues and identify opportunities
  6. Get stuff done– Take your brilliant ideas for sales, marketing, process improvement, customer service and work with you to implement them
  7. Get Strategic – Provide another viewpoint and involvement input in annual goal setting, then cascade goals down to every person, communicate and implement via individual dashboards and team coaching conversations.
  8. Hold down the fort” so you can have dinner with your family and take several two-week vacations (almost worry free)
  9. Open up your schedule– so you can focus on thinking and planning, provide leadership and direction, building strategic relationships, and monitoring from a dashboard (instead of an avalanche of data)

Basically a deputy lets you guide the process while they drive the business.

Most owners wait far too long to get a deputy- a general / operations manager. The concerns are the usual- effort (how can I find and train a good one) and cost (how will I pay for him or her?).

Take a quick count- how many of these are happening now in your business?

What impact would these activities bring to your business if they were in place?

  • Would it tighten up your sales process to win more business and increase revenue?
  • Would it increase customer satisfaction leading to more sales and referrals?
  • Would it provide the systems for reducing your costs based on higher efficiency?

If you increase quantity and value of each sale 5%, and reduce costs 5% this can double your profit.

Can a deputy do this for you?

3 P’s Essential to Maximize Small Business Profits

3 P’s Essential to Maximize Small Business Profits

Most small business owners want two things from their business- a reasonable Profit for all their hard work, and the freedom to enjoy their Personal life (both in the business and outside it).

However, they often neglect the 3 other P’s that will create the Profit and Personal life they want.

To explain this concept, I created a formula:

Plan + Process + People = Profits —> your Personal life

You need to have all 3 P’s in this order:

  1. Planning— What are the Right Things? [the What]
  2. Process— What does Done Right look like? [the How]
  3. People — Do we have the Right People? [the Who]

Without Planning, people don’t know how what they do impacts your goals, so they are busy but not focused.

Without effective Process, you will have wasted effort, headaches and won’t deliver on your promises to customers.

Without the right People, you will be busy dealing with fires and drama, and trapped in daily effort to “manage” your people and customers.

—> You feel overworked, overwhelmed by your wish list of business improvement projects, and you feel guilty working long days instead of spending time with your friends and family.

Once you put the 3 P’s in place at your organization, you can transform into an organization with:

A Plan: when your staff know the “plan” and understand how they impact organizational goals, they work together as a purpose-driven team to improve and grow the business by delighting your customers.

Clear Process: when activities are standardized, clear roles and responsibilities are outlined, and key results are tracked to make informed decisions, this provides “autopilot” systems to run smoothly and scale easily.

Right People: when you have managers who build and coach a team of A-Players, you trust them to run the business and make decisions as you would.

This leads to your ultimate goal as a business owner:

  • The level of Profit (financial security) you desire, and
  • The Personal work-life balance you want … the freedom to do what you want, when you want to do it.

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Discover Which Plan, People and Process elements are Roadblocks in Your Small Business

Take our 3 minute quiz to find out how your firm compares to high-growth and high-profit firms.

Blog Author Diana Southall

Article by Diana Southall

About the author: Diana Southall is the creator of the People Plan. She helps companies that are missing out on opportunities because the owner is personally involved in every sale or client.

Want employees to tune out? Ignore them

Want employees to tune out? Ignore them

Perhaps you are you frustrated by a poor performer, so you avoid her as much as possible (you don’t want to be mean.)

Or you are getting tired of mentioning the same instructions to the new employee, so you have stopped giving him guidance at all.

Or you are “too busy” putting out fires and responding to urgent requests, so you have little contact with your staff other than the hallway.

After all, your employees should know their jobs and should know the company’s goals, so why do you have to keep reminding them?

 Ignoring your team members is actually 20x worse than being a critical boss!

In fact, a recent study of employees found that of employees who feel ignored by their direct manager only 2% reported being engaged with their job, compared to 45% of employees who report their boss focused on their weaknesses, and 65% of those with a positive focused manager.

Almost half of these “invisible” team members reported to be “actively disengaged” – meaning that they consciously perform lower – versus 1% of those with positive managers.

Seriously, if you are not coaching your team then they are like a boat without a captain—sailing towards the horizon with no particular place to go. (I just watched Pirates of the Caribbean again- what a fun study in leadership!)

To be effective, team members need to be

Still worried about coming off as mean or critical?

The data is pretty clear—even the negative manager has about half his team pulling in the right direction. This is a huge improvement from 45% pulling in the wrong direction when they are ignored!

So definitely work on your own development to be a positive focused manager, but don’t be afraid to start talking to your team. (See our video training for a simple system to do just that.)

{Graph from Zenger Folkman “Extraordinary Leader” webinar series}


Diana Southall is a fifth generation entrepreneur, and creator of the People Plan toolkit.™ Her firm specializes in coaching small business owners and managers to build, engage and reward a fabulous team!

You can start working with Diana with free members-only access to People coaching resources, including informative video training, articles, time saving documents and templates. Join the FREE membership club here.


 

Employees “get” their purpose with cascading goals

Employees “get” their purpose with cascading goals

The Balanced Scorecard Institute calls it “cascading goals.”

I love this term, because you can visualize how the organization has a strategy and a big goal for the year, and important bits cascade down to departments (sales, customer service, production, even accounting). Then the department manager lets each employee know how they contribute to this department goal.

A great example I heard last year at a seminar was how a chain restaurant made corporate goals tangible and clearly understandable to every employee.

The general manager had a goal of 5% increase in revenue this year (to achieve the corporate goal of 5% increased revenue at same locations.) She then computed what this meant for the hostess, servers, kitchen staff, and even the “busboys.”

The Hostess knew that the team needed to reduce wait time (goal- less than 10 minutes at peak hours) so they did not lose diners due to a long line. She worked with the busboys to clear dishes so that diners left faster after eating (goal- 2 minutes) and clean up tables for a new party (within 2 minutes).

Servers knew that they needed to increase their average sale per diner 5%- which equaled an extra appetizer or dessert for every 3 tables. Servers also concentrated on expediting orders, response to requests (ketchup, please) and rushing food to tables to decrease overall customer time at the table.

I think you get the picture… when employees have simple Key Performance Indicators, they understand their purpose, the results to achieve, and the priority actions that would achieve those results.

Then the restaurant manager would share daily and weekly results (average sale per diner, average time per table, table wait time at peak, etc) so that employees could see if they were on track to meet monthly goals. A simple visual dashboard of these KPI was posted in the employee area, and reviewed with weekly and monthly update and celebration meetings.

Different shifts and days even had a friendly competition going, and servers would stop to ask their KPI results after a shift!

After a few months, revenue increased 10% over the prior year, and better yet, customer satisfaction scores also increased significantly.

After all, those KPI weren’t just good for the restaurant, but also what customers want: no wait for a table, faster and more responsive service, being offered the specials of the day.

Here is a great free guide from Gazelles & Rhythm Systems:
5 Tips All Executive Teams Must Know About KPIs

Learn more about how Expectations, goals and KPI dashboards work as part of your People Plan:
Clarifying Expectations section of our free resources

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Diana Southall is a fifth generation entrepreneur, and creator of the People Plan toolkit.™ Her firm specializes in coaching small business owners and managers to build, engage and reward a fabulous team!

You can start working with Diana with free members-only access to People coaching resources, including informative video training, articles, time saving documents and templates. Join the FREE membership club here.


Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.com

10 Reasons Why Employees Don’t Do the Job – Part 1

10 Reasons Why Employees Don’t Do the Job – Part 1

Determining the cause of a performance issue can be like being a detective– here is a list of 5 major reasons employees “don’t do the job” with possible solutions. (See part 2 for 5 more).

Source: Expectations

1. They don’t know what to do
2. They think they are doing it
Solution: I read many job descriptions—hundreds per year from dozens of organizations—rarely do they clarify for me the specific job activities and key results areas, much less how the job will be measured. It is difficult to hold someone accountable to results when the manager has not made it crystal clear what those results should be and what s/he has to do to get those results. Otherwise employees just take their best guess and do what seems to be the most urgent.

3. They think something else is more important
Solution: A great survey report showed that employees only agree with managers on 1 out of 3 priorities! Frequent coaching and follow up makes sure that what a person is working on is the highest priority for the job and department. An employee does the best she can reading the tea leaves to guess what her manager thinks is priority. Don’t make them guess… also, remember employees often don’t have the broader view or much information outside of their own activities (and yes, the more they do the better decisions they will make.)

Source: Training

4. They don’t know how to do it
Solution: Work with employee to identify skill or competency to enhance with training, create a training plan with a timeline and hold employee accountable to stick to the plan (even if it means reminding her manager to schedule the time or resources).

5. They are uncomfortable doing it
Solution: Sometimes a little training can increase someone’s confidence and they become “comfortable” with the task and then perform it regularly. More likely this is a symptom of job fit—someone’s personality traits or competencies are not aligned with those required to excel in the job. A classic example is “asking for the sale”— a person who is cooperative (lower assertive) can be trained for years on sales techniques and given scripts, but he is always uncomfortable closing. For job fit, the remedy is to change the job duties to ones that correspond with the person’s strengths and attributes.

(Read 5 more reasons at the second part of this article)

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net