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Essential implementation skills required in a small business

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Small businesses often allocate tasks to people that work for them above the level of authority in a larger business. This can be a great source of frustration for employees who have experience working in the industry.

As the team workers have direct access to the business owner who is used to doing the work themselves, often the business owner may not realize that they are actually allocating management tasks.

This may seem to the business owner as just how you do things in a small business. However, what you are doing is giving the worker management experience to put on their resume. This gives the worker the confidence to apply for management jobs, which pay better, even in a small business.

People don’t leave a job for better money. How do they know they can get better money for another company if they are not looking for a better-paying job? And a job is no longer an employment agreement.

What is a “Job”?

Working under an ABN as a “Solopreneur”, AKA, a business as a sole trader, is also considered a “job” by the ATO. It is categorized as a “self-employment agreement”, and now you can get funding (as a wage subsidy through Centrelink) and 12 months of coaching to set yourself up with a job. With all of the flexible work arrangements, the Fair Work Commission is trying to get larger businesses to do.

The key definition from the ATO as to if you are a “contractor” or under an “employment agreement” is contractors have the ability to set their own hours of work, and also are allowed to subcontract their work to meet the demands of the client outcomes. So if you are looking for that, read our previous blog on Thinking of starting a business, and want to know how to do that. But for Employers and employees, please read on.

You don’t hear people talking at the pub, saying “I love my job”, and their friends say “yeah, but you could get better money working for another company”. Usually, they say, “wow, how can I get a job like that”. Money doesn’t even come up unless they say they don’t like their job.

People who are doing what they love, and are allowed to do regularly, don’t say they don’t like their job. If they don’t love what the do in their job they say “it’s OK”, so don’t want to leave. However, this is what has been coined as “quiet quitting”, which is the situation employees (and business owners) find themselves in where they stay because they don’t know what else they can do.

This is becoming the biggest problem in Business today, as part of the “great resignation” debate. Job ads were at their highest levels since before the GFC. It takes 8 weeks (at least) to replace good employees, who only have to give you 1 or 2 weeks’ notice. That is a big cost to micro-businesses if 20% of their staff leave.

What’s the problem?

2 quotes spring to mind whenever I have this discussion with Small Business owners.

  1. The problem is not “what if we train them well and they leave?”, the problem (for any business) is “what if we don’t train them well, and they stay” – Henry Ford. That want really costs a small business money, customers, and time, as there is nowhere for them to hide
  2. Train them well enough so they can leave, then treat them well so they don’t have to – Richard Branson

A third quote, from this century, is “people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses” – Simon Sinek.

What makes a bad boss? Lots of things, but in this case, it’s poor delegation skills.

While leaders and managers may have been promoted because of their skills in the job they were doing, if they are not trained well in leadership and management, then this becomes a big problem.

Job ads are back to the level they were before the GFC, but this time, the unemployment rate is much lower. So if staff leave you, it will be very tough to replace them anytime soon.

From the Australian Government Internet Vacancy Index 2006 to 2022
From the Australian Government Internet Vacancy Index

What good leaders and managers both do

Good leaders and managers know the capabilities of the people in their care. If they delegate work above the person’s required skill level for their job, good managers reward their team no matter if they ask for it or not.

It’s not about the money, it’s usually acknowledgment that they are performing above their pay grade, and they feel appreciated and secure in their job. Why would they look for another one?

If this is a problem for you, here is something that might help you out. This list is from the core skills for work framework used in business training qualifications.

Do an audit on yourself and your delegation skills before saying “don’t you know how hard it is to get good staff”?

Maybe you need to employ a supervisor or manager, even if you have no other staff. Sometimes business owners need to accept they are not the best person to be managing the business

Team member skills

  • Plans a range of routine, and some non-routine, tasks, accepting stated goals and aiming to achieve them efficiently
  • Applies formal processes when planning more complex/unfamiliar tasks, producing plans with logically sequenced steps, reflecting some awareness of time and resource constraints and the needs of others in the immediate vicinity
  • Implements actions as per plan, making slight adjustments if necessary, and addressing some unexpected issues
  • Seeks assistance from more experienced colleagues as required
  • May use ICT based systems and programs to assist with planning, implementing and tracking progress
  • Assesses effectiveness in terms of how well-stated goals were achieved and how closely the process followed the original plan and timeframes

Supervisor

  • Develops plans to manage relatively complex, non-routine tasks with an awareness of how they may contribute to longer term operational and strategic goals
  • Begins to recognise the importance of other stakeholders throughout the process and is learning to clarify goals and proposed methodology with others, maintain communication and manage expectations and understanding
  • Monitors actions against stated goals, adjusting plans and resources to cope with contingencies
  • Uses a combination of formal, logical planning processes and an increasingly intuitive understanding of context to identify relevant information and risks, identify and evaluate alternative strategies and resources
  • Sequences and schedules complex activities, monitors implementation and manages relevant communication e.g. formal project management processes and associated technology
  • Reflects on outcomes and feedback from others in order to identify general principles and concepts that may be applicable in new situations
  • Recognises the need for flexibility and is learning how to adjust or even abandon plans as circumstances and priorities change

Manager skills

  • Develops flexible plans for complex, high impact activities with strategic implications that involve a diverse range of stakeholders with potentially competing demands
  • Recognises the critical importance of clarifying, focusing and aligning goals and expectations, and may use the process to build ownership of, and broad commitment to achieving outcomes
  • Uses a mix of intuitive and formal processes to identify key information and issues, evaluate alternative strategies, anticipate consequences and consider implementation issues and contingencies
  • May operate from a broad conceptual plan, developing the operational detail in stages, regularly reviewing priorities and performance during implementation, identifying and addressing issues and reallocating resources
  • Skilfully utilises existing structures and systems to coordinate activity, or designs new processes as required
  • Focuses effort on what is most important, delegating to others as required, managing interruptions, recognising potential issues and taking quick action to identify and resolve problems
  • Gathers data and seeks feedback from others to gain new perspectives and identify ways to strengthen planning processes in the future

If you need more help with this, or in a hole and can’t see a way out, let’s have a chat. Every business goes through this at some point. We have options anyone can do, and people in our network that can help anyone too.

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If this looks like you, you’ll feel much better if we are on the other end of the phone with options. Let’s chat.
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What does every successful TED talk do?

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TED curator Chris Anderson shares this secret. But is it really a secret seeing as so many speaker coaches out there can teach you how to do a TED talk?

When Inception Training started putting together the 8-week Professional Speaker Development Program, speaking to collaborators we wanted to work with, we discovered quickly Small Business owners don’t really need to be taught how to speak. In fact, getting them to shut up seemed to be a harder task.

The question was how do I write a speech? Speakers want to know what to say. And particularly when speaking one-to-many, how do you please everyone?

How to get everyone on the same page?

Stop TRYING to talk to everyone would be the first advice.

To do this, you have to trust that the organizer has not just attracted anyone to the room. then you’ll have a fighting chance of captivation your audience.

TED curator Chris Anderson says “your job as a speaker is to get everyone in the audience on the same page” (literally if you have a book). This is why TED talks are so successful and have propelled speakers like Tony Robbins and Simon Sinek into a continuing long-term speaker career.

There’s no single formula for a great talk, but there is a secret ingredient that all the best ones have in common.

In the video below, Chris Anderson shares this secret – along with four ways to make it work for you. Do you have what it takes to share an idea worth spreading?

So if you accept that your number one task as a speaker is to build an idea inside the minds of your audience, here are four guidelines for how you should go about that task: 

  1. limit your talk to just one major idea. Ideas are complex things; you need to slash back your content so that you can focus on the single idea you’re most passionate about, and give yourself a chance to explain that one thing properly. 
  2. Give your listeners a reason to care. Before you can start building things inside the minds of your audience, you have to get their permission to welcome you in. And the main tool to achieve that? Curiosity. Stir your audience’s curiosity. 
  3. Build your idea, piece by piece, out of concepts that your audience already understands. You use the power of language to weave together concepts that already exist in your listeners’ minds — but not your language, their language. 
  4. Here’s the final tip: Make your idea worth sharing. By that I mean, ask yourself the question: “Who does this idea benefit?” And I need you to be honest with the answer. If the idea only serves you or your organization, then, I’m sorry to say, it’s probably not worth sharing. 

You can watch the video here. And just to show you the skill of a true speaking professional, Chris Anderson’s talk is under 8 mins, 10 mins under the TED talk time limit.

Giving more doesn’t add value if your audience can’t use it right now.

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How to find your ideal client at an event

How do you find these mythical beings?

The diffusion of innovation has been around for years, so it is no secret. However, many speakers don’t how to use the diffusion of Innovation for what they do.

Professional speakers do know how to use this model, or they don’t get paid to speak for long.

Many speakers see their talk as a product or are doing the audience a service. But what a speaker is really selling an idea. What the Audience is buying is an experience.

the customer rarely buys what the company thinks it is selling them

Peter Drucker

Many learned through trial and error, but if you are looking to use speaking to build a business, any business, you can’t afford not to focus your efforts and know whom you are talking to.

Here’s how you can use the diffusion of Innovation to build your speaking business:

The speakers are the innovators

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Or trying to look like an innovator, but “fake it till you make it” rarely works in the information age. If speakers just talk about what they do/have done, only 2 out of the 100 people in the room will connect with their personality. When dealing with people you “know, like, and trust”, trust comes first.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Good speakers ask questions. “Have you ever…”, “who excited to be here?”, “is it just me or is it hot in here? Can we get the aircon turned down?”. All ways Professional speakers connect and score check who is in the room.

The early adopters

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These can be very disruptive and undermining at a summit. They are not potential clients, more looking for validation from you for what they do. early adopters want to know what speakers do, and how speakers do it, but have a desire to be the first out of their circle of friends to do it.

They generally have an esteem sensitivity, which means they have an unspoken desire to be acknowledged for their specialness.

Early adopters are unlikely to come up to a speaker directly, more likely identified networking saying “wow, how great was that talk, but here’s what I’m going to do…”. They generally have a fear of missing out, and that is their main motivation for buying a ticket.

Early adopters are also likely to pay for premium tickets if they get exclusive access to talk with speakers, so are the cash cows for an organiser. However, the early adopter is likely to just want to pitch their own ideas to the speaker. Good for the organizers to get a higher ticket price, but more of an annoyance to the speaker. None the less, they have high value to speakers as affiliate marketers.

 Early Majority

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The 34% of the population that ARE in your client target market at a summit is the early majority. Usually well researched, and ready to act, they just need know it will work for them and that is all the information the early majority will need to sign on the dotted line.

The Early Majority rely heavily on feedback from early adopters who have usually tested your products/service/advice. However, if a speaker has been too dismissive of the early adopters, it put doubts in the minds of the early majority too. It’s Hard to manage this at an event unless you have help from your network.

Speakers may also be excited about what they think are early majority running up and saying “just tell me what I have to do”. As Admiral Ackbar would say, “It’s a trap!”.

Red flags, in this case, may include horror stories of being ripped off, or not given enough support from other programs. Or when a speaker asks why the attendee wants to sign up you get “I just want to help, and can see how great it is what you do”.

Separation sensitive have an unspoken desire to be known as the victim in situations to get what they want, which in the case of a summit could be an even better deal on your amazing upsell offer. This could be extra support, but it is not support they want, Separation sensitive will want you to carry them. If 20% of your customers cause 80% of your problems, this client will be in your 20%.

I’m not saying don’t take them on as a client, but I’d suggest you offer “done for you” package. I’ve seen Separation sensitive often use “learned helplessness” to get attention even though you know they can do it, with a goal of maintaining the relationship. They can be very high maintenance clients.

Late Majority

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These are the people that “have to know” why. Not your why, why it works, and why other things don’t work. They need to know how the engine works to drive a car. Late majority are hard to deal with at a summit as you don’t have time to answer all their questions.

Late Majority tend to have a safety sensitivity. They want to keep speakers in the “goldilocks” zone of information. Lots of information about speaker is great, but the late majority usually are not prepared (particularly in public) to give away the information about themselves.

This open Late Majority up (in their mind) to manipulation and abuse. Speakers will not be able to find out enough about the individual to work out if the late majority is a suitable client, so don’t chase them. They’ll chase you.

This segment of the market is will to spend more, and will generally pay 3 times as much for a product they know is just twice as good. Late Majority see products and services as a long term investment, but can also be disruptive in a Q&A at a summit.

The early majority that has come to learn how to do it and is ready to buy gets frustrated with the seeming endless irrelevant questions, and can walk may out. Particularly if the late majority is an extrovert and thinks out loud. Everyone know “that person”, except if you are that person.

I suggest getting (an assistant to get) details and tell the late majority “I need to get more information from you about your unique situation” (which Late Majority likely believes they are in). I’ve seen speakers offer a 1 on 1 consult, booked at the event. Then I’ve seen the late majority give glowing endorsements about how much the speaker “must know”, even before they talk again.

If you dismiss the late majority and don’t want to answer all their questions (even if others are lined up waiting) they may see it as you don’t know what you are talking about. Even if you do get back to them, their research bias would have switched to negative, so already lost them as a customer.

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

Simon Sinek

Laggards

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Laggards are just there because they have been “told” it’s what they have to do. Not a potential client (yet), and may not even know whom the speakers are let alone what the speakers do. But if Laggards feel the speaker is like them, storytelling can confirm this and you can build trust. As trust comes first in “know, like, and trust, if you get the interest of the laggards, they won’t look at other options. They only need one

They are the reason speakers go over the speaker Bio in their talk. Sounds silly when you think about it. Why would someone pay for a ticket and turn up to hear people they don’t know. So why would speakers talk to Laggard? Because speakers chase people that are not their customers too.

This is why organisers should have the speaker bio’s and photo in a handout a registration, for the 16% of the population otherwise you exclude them from networking conversations. It saves the embarrassment (both ways) when an attendee goes up to a speaker during networking and say “so, what do you do?”.

How to get everyone on the same page?

Stop trying to talk to everyone would be the first advice.

Or, the TED talk option is “your job as a speaker is to get everyone in the audience on the same page” (literally if you have a book). This is why TED talks are so successful and have propelled speakers like Tony Robbins and Simon Sinek into a continuing long-term speaker career.

What to see this in action? Come along to the Professional Speaker Development Summit in Brisbane on April 4th, 2020.

Early bird tickets to the summit for $99 end Feb 29th, and go up to $247.

Get yours here: http://bit.ly/Speaker_Summit

See you at the summit!