Working in franchising I meet lots of people who have to decide whether they can or not. As Henry Ford said “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, your right.” and in franchising this is very much the case as it works for some people and sadly not for others.
Before running The Bugs Group and Inspired Selections, I had a very successful career in recruitment consultancy. As an industry, recruitment has a very high churn rate for employment. Offering graduates decent basic salaries and exciting huge bonuses it attracts a lot of talent. The truth is though very few actually stick. The problem is they are enticed by the decent basic and like the sound of the big bonus, but in reality they actually know they can’t do it. They are not prepared to put in the hours, pick up the phone and deal with lots of rejection. The sad thing is they never thought about this before taking the job. That is why Henry Ford’s quote is relevant even today. When you are preparing to undertake any task you need to ask yourself the question, ‘can I do this?’
This is a deep and searching question and one that will require you to be very honest with yourself. When people decide not to purchase a Bugs Group franchise, I am always relieved. They have made a decision and been honest with us and themselves. We have many successful franchisees, so the proof is there that it can be done, but they have assessed their options and decided that they can’t do it. As Henry Ford said, they were right. On the flip side, that is why a new franchisee is very exciting. They have decided they can and because of this more often than not they are successful.
It is all a question of attitude. Once we decide we can’t do something, all we see is problems. Think about electricians. Two equally qualified electricians, but one is going bust, while the other has just brought a new car and been on holiday. The one going bust is blaming the recession for downturn in business, and so only see’s problems and in his mind because of the recession he can’t be successful. The other electrician has ignored the recession. Even in a tough economic climate people still require his skills. He has realised this and because of this he can be successful.
This is a really simple business rule, but if you are considering buying a franchise it is perhaps the most important. Just make sure you answer the question honestly.
If you think you can, click on the link below to find out more about YogaBugs.
A successful business presentation can make a huge impact on achieving your goals. Here are my top five tips to giving a business presentation that will blow your audience away.
- Be visual. Whilst you have to be careful that you do not deliver death by PowerPoint, PowerPoint can be a great tool to support your presentation and give it a real focus. The key when using PowerPoint is to try and be different. Traditionally this presentation tool is used as much for the benefit of the speaker as it is for the audience. Used poorly it is little more than large memory prompter. All too often I have sat through presentations where slide after slide has been bullet points. At best these bullet points might be accompanied by a picture in the corner. I say lose the bullet points. Go for one or two big striking images that fill screen but illustrate the point you are trying to make. You shall end up with loads more slides than usual but they will be of interest and if chosen correctly immediately memorable to your audience.
- Use props. I love PowerPoint but it can’t jump off the screen. Props shall give your presentations texture. It is a different way of bring your audience to life and engage them. Remember that many people best receive information by touching and doing. Props that can be passed around will really benefit your kinaesthetic learners. It also allows your audience an opportunity to focus on something other than you without being rude.
- Video gets people excited. You may be the funniest most entertaining speaker in the world. The sad truth is that if you are speaking for longer than half an hour your audience are going to find it difficult to concentrate. There is a really simple solution. Give yourself and the audience a break. Use relevant video clips. Just like the difference between live theatre and the cinema, you can use special effects and music much more effectively on video. Use this different medium to break up the presentation.
- Be interactive. People will be far more willing to buy into what you are saying if you give them a sense of ownership and get them involved. Tasks and questions, whilst basic techniques, if deployed correctly and at strategic times can make a real big difference to your audience. They will feel involved with your message and indeed the right task or question can really re-enforce key points.
- Make use of social media. This last tip is perhaps the most advanced but in this day and age of smart phones there is no reason why social media cannot form part of your presentation. Encourage your audience to take pictures or tweet interesting parts of your presentation. Time a tweet a to be released mid way through your presentation and then direct your audience towards it. The depressing reality is that in the 21st Century people are constantly desperate to check their mobile phones. This technique gives them permission to do so, but you are in control. As ever, it is always good to communicate to your audience through as many different mediums as possible.
If you follow all of the five tips above your business presentation will be totally different and make a huge impact on your business.
What is the first thing you do when you get into the office? Ok, after you have got yourself a coffee? Are you proactive or reactive?
Being a business owner it can be difficult, lots of people want our attention, time and often money. Every morning I have a full email inbox, my phone ringing and staff knocking on my door. All of this is really important, and I will need to react in a clear decisive manner. The problem is, my agenda is now being set by other people. I am the business owner but if I am reactive I am no longer calling the shots. Other people and circumstances are now dictating how I run my business.
This is not a good situation. By starting my day off by being reactive I have set the tone for my whole day. All the things I wanted to achieve that day, are now being put off to deal with other tasks. These other tasks may be important, but they are not necessarily business growing. Whilst I accept I may have to deal with all these other tasks, is it right they take priority?
I would argue that they should not. There is a reason you have staff, a diary, an email inbox and voicemail. The most important thing for me as a business owner is that every day I take business a step in the right direction. That is why I always try and do the right things in the morning.
Let me explain…
Yes I will send emails first thing in the morning. I do not however respond. An email should never be that urgent. If it is urgent they would be trying to speak to me in person. I do not take calls I have not pre-booked first thing. I make the calls I need to make. As for my staff, I value their input and my door is always open, but the first person I see is the one I have chosen. Once those calls are made, emails sent and I have spoken to who I need to speak with, I am now in position to deal with everything else.
You see by taking control of my mornings I have gained control of my entire day. Therefore decide what is really important to your business and do that first thing every morning.
My biggest weakness is perhaps that I talk too much. The thing is, when it comes to business, this weakness is an epidemic effecting most business owners and their employees. You see we have two ears and one mouth and that is the proportion in which we should use them. But in reality, we talk more than we listen. This is a real shame. You see, most businesses are created to meet a need or solve a problem. When you listen to someone they will reveal what their problem is or what it is they really need. If you can develop this understanding you will stand a much greater chance of doing business with them.
It is our desire to impress that causes us to talk to much. I have lost count of the number of times I have been bored rigid by a sales rep who has given me a 20 minute history of their company before they have even explained what they do or how they can help me. It can get worse. They then spend another hour explaining in detail every last thing that they are able to do. As a business owner this is not helpful to me as I do not have the time and I am losing track of what is relevant to me. In my career I have possibly missed out on some great opportunities simply because the sales person never took the time listen, get me to reveal my problem, understand it and solve it for me with their product.
To be successful you have to ask the right questions. This will allow the other person to reveal what it is they are looking for. The world famous sales trainer David Sandler suggests that you should only talk for 30% of the time. That means the prospect will be talking for 70% of the time. How often does that happen?
So in future, whenever you meet someone decide what you want to get out of the meeting and then decide how much you need to talk and how much you need to listen to achieve your aims. Even when you are in the position of being the buyer you can save so much time, by shutting the sales person up, telling them exactly what you want, and then asking them if they can do it for a price you can agree on.
If it could all happen like that, wouldn’t life be much simpler?
Yes is the word you most want to hear in business. ‘Yes I would like to buy.’ ‘Yes, I would use you again.’ ‘Yes, I would recommend you.’ The word we dread is no. ‘No, I do not want to buy.’ ‘No, I would not use you again.’ ‘No, I would not recommend you.’ Yet all to often we get neither. The answer we get is maybe. ‘Maybe I will buy.’ Well I don’t like hearing the word no, but I prefer it to maybe. All a maybe means is that the job has not been done properly.
Whilst I do not like hearing the word no, I appreciate it. It is a definite answer, it allows me to move on and plan my next move. The shrewd approach to a no is to learn from it. In fact if you ask the right questions you may well learn how to change that no into a yes. I do not need to say much about yes. After all, if you get the answer of yes you have succeeded.
Time needs to be spent however considering the word maybe. All too often when I speak to people, they come back to me saying, ‘its gone great, they are thinking about it, it’s a maybe.’ They then appear shocked when I say ‘well it hasn’t gone great, because they haven’t said yes.’ You see, maybe is a word used by someone who doesn’t like to say no.
More often than not maybe is the no of tomorrow. Think about your own time in business, how long have you spent chasing after the maybe for it only either to result in a definite no or to just fizzle out entirely? Probably a lot more often than it resulting in a yes.
Whilst achieving the right results has to be the primary aim of any business, I accept that an overly aggressive sales strategy is likely to do more harm than good in the sensitive 21st Century. In pushing someone to either a yes or no you risk alienating them. The truth is you are never going to eradicate the maybes.
The key to success is two fold. Spend longer on finding the yes’s and creating the right process that yields more yes’s and do not ever fall into the trap of false success by thinking a maybe is as good as a yes.
Therefore below is an advert and link giving you the highlights of the YogaBugs franchise opportunity.
The selfie taken by Bradley Cooper at the Oscars went viral to such an extent that it broke Twitter. Looking at the picture you have to admit it is pretty A-list. To see some of the biggest names in the world behave like mere mortals proved to be very popular. If only companies could produce such a powerful viral image to promote their brand. Of course, since Sunday night there have been some amusing Photoshop amendments, designed by marketing teams and keen Internet amateurs. Including this one by own team.
We tweeted this picture on the Monday, following Sunday night’s ceremony. It was Re-tweeted 10 times . This meant that our branding extended beyond it’s usual social media reach of 45,000 to nearly 100,000 people. This perhaps has become one of the best adverts I never brought.
What this famous selfie has once again illustrated is the true power of social media as a business growing tool. As a business owner you ignore it at your peril. I am not necessarily talking about your personal account however, it is your company that needs to be seen as active. Over the last couple of weeks I have heard of people winning business simply by using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to check in. They are constantly updating where they are and what they doing. It is always relevant. None of the ‘I’ve just eaten an egg’ nonsense.
They are winning business based on letting potential customers know (in a none salesy way) that they have their finger on the pulse and that they are constantly active. Indeed we have just booked a speaker who originally came to our attention by being active on social media. In fact he has worked his social media so well, that his existing customers even worked on his behalf, by recommending him through social media.
On no account should social media ever become an excuse for not working and it can of course be a big time trap and distraction. But, if you use it to demonstrate to people your activity, then people first of all become used to seeing you, and then they actually start to look out for your messages. Therefore should they ever need or desire the service you provide, you will be the first person in their mind. Oh and of course having something interesting to share can also be very helpful.
Although you may struggle to find something as a effective as Bradley Cooper’s selfie.
Sales and marketing can be an expensive business. But if the money is spent well and ROI is monitored then, it is money well spent. Yet, a lot of businesses totally ignore one of their most powerful marketing tools. A marketing tool that actually costs very little apart from time. And even then, not much of that. Great testimonials can be key to running a successful business.
People, myself included hate being sold to. We are constantly wary of the flash salesman in the suit trying to get his hands on our wallets as quickly as possible. That is how people are used to and expect to be sold to. If you want to be successful you need to do something different. No matter how reputable and trustworthy your company your potential customers are always going to be sceptical about a corporate message. Whilst you have to blow your own trumpet, it is a sound that your potential customers are already used to.
So how do you get above the competition? The most effective way is to ask for the help of your existing happy customers. Get them to say a few words about how great you are. To record their comments is simple also. You can use your phone to record their voice, scribble their comments on a piece of paper of even film them.
You will be surprised at how easy it can be to get people to sell your product for you. Sometimes you just have to ask. People are always naturally keen to help, especially if they have received good service. Once you have collected your testimonials you must make sure that your customers see them.
These testimonials should be all over your website. You should be getting them out on social media. Testimonials should feature prominently on all promotional literature and you should be showing them directly to potential customers at every possible opportunity.
People buy people and recommendations are great for driving business so get out there and get those testimonials. Make sure you use them!
From an early age our parents teach us good manners. They tell us to play nice and share our toys. We do this naturally with our friends. We don’t need to be reminded, in fact we offer to share to bring our friends closer and to involve them in our games. Sometimes we were made to share with children that we didn’t like. The result however was usually a positive one. A new friend who in return for playing with our toys would share their sweets. Happy days!
Then we grow up. We still share with our friends. But we do not often take this valuable life lesson into business. Even the shrewdest business people who really know their figures and see good return on investment would like to spend less on advertising. This is why networking clubs continue to grow in popularity. Yet, we are still paying for these.
I believe that that there is more low hanging fruit out there than we realise. We just have to ask. Imagine this dreadful scenario. A loved one is in desperate need of a kidney. What would you do? You may well spend every penny you have on advertising your need for a kidney, but the first thing you would do is ask your family and friends and get them to ask their family and friends. And you would keep asking them.
Have you done that in your business yet? If not then get that email written and get sending. Get your staff to do the same. It may or may not achieve results, but so might that expensive advert. It costs nothing but your time to draft and send the email. If your family and friends care then they will pass it on.
Also who do you know in business. Whilst your direct competition may not be willing to share your message, a business with a similar customer base that compliments your business may be willing to, especially if you are willing to do the same. And so a new friend is made.
What is it worth to you to acquire a new customer? Incentives can be a great way to ensure that your message continues to be shared. If you have enjoyed this blog, then please forward it to anybody else who might be interested. I am always looking for the right people to join our YogaBugs franchise network. I will let you know about incentives.
I love CBeebies, obviously being the CEO of YogaBugs I have a natural love for the yoga inspired Waybuloo. Indeed the founder of YogaBugs Fenella Lindsell is consultant to the hit children’s show. I also think that In The Night Garden is ace. You see, CBeebies and the creators of these shows really understand their audience and that is to be truly admired.
These shows are full of bright colours, distinct noises, repetition of the best bits and good moral messages. I would go as far as to say that Waybuloo is possibly the most beautiful thing on television. Unlike many other kids favourites these shows do not operate on different levels, with little in jokes for the grown ups. And do you know what? They are all the more enjoyable for it. The beauty of the programme and the intention of the programme is not diluted to make the adult feel clever, it is purely about the enjoyment of the little one. Funnily enough, this is why I love it so much. It’s message and intention is so clear that you cannot help but be engaged by it.
Think about the adverts you see on prime time television. Even if you can remember the advert, can you remember the product it was promoting? I’m guessing it is about 50/50. All too often in business we get so carried away with delivering our messages in creative clever ways that we actually forget to get the message across. A bit like the sales brochure, with the world’s best design, but no contact details.
Waybuloo and In The Night Garden use techniques to directly appeal to small children such as big faces, funny noises and bright colours. Sometimes, the creators even prioritise these techniques over the story narrative. But the children remain engaged. As a business owner I believe there is a lot to be learnt from these shows. After all who wouldn’t want their customers hanging on every word of their message.
Waybuloo caters for its audience and so develops a huge fanbase, thus creating many revenue streams, beyond the show itself. In order to run a successful business your message must be as clear and as appealing to your target audience as Waybuloo is to theirs. If you audience like bright colours, give them bright colours. Simply give them what they want, not what you think they should want.