• Dennis Kelley

    David Kelley

    Dennis Kelley is a seasoned professional with over 30 years experience leading teams and coaching people to success. Dennis is in high demand as a speaker, consultant, trainer and an author... Read More

    David Kelley

  • Inspirational Quote

    “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” -- Michalangelo
  • Connect with me on LinkedIn. Click here to view my profile and join my network. A strong, wide network is one of the keys to success. View Dennis Kelley's profile on LinkedIn
  • January 2018
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5 Reasons Most People Fail at Goal Setting

co_obj_114Now is a great time to review your goals for the year and determine how well you are doing at accomplishing those things you wanted to get done this year. If you are like many people, you probably have a few goals that you haven’t made much progress toward achieving. You may even have some that you haven’t even started. Maybe you started to set some goals but never even went back and finished them. Many people avoid setting goals because they tried it once and when they didn’t achieve them, they decided goal setting just doesn’t work.

The fact is the people who are most successful in the world are avid goal setters. They are driven to accomplish what they set out to achieve and they know what they are aiming for. That is what goal setting really does for you – it gives you a clear target to aim for. You are much more likely to hit a target if you have one to aim for.

So, why don’t goals work for most people? The reason goal setting fails is because the goal setter has not followed the steps necessary to establish clear, focused goals that create a roadmap for success. Here are the five reasons most goals don’t work and how you can avoid these mistakes to create powerful goals that lead you to the wealth, success, happiness and prosperity you seek.

1. Generic goals – many people set very generic goals that do not create a vision of what they are trying to accomplish. Goals such as, “buy a new house,” “increase my profits,” “save money for vacation,” do not inspire action and do not give you a specific target to achieve. If you want to buy a new house then set a specific goal for what kind of house your want to buy, where it is located, how much it will cost, what it will look like, how big it is and what amenities it has. Create a very clear picture of what you want and write your goal accordingly. Determine what your goals are and BE SPECIFIC. That is the key to avoiding the mistake of generic goals.

Be as specific as possible. Create a clear vision of what you are aiming for. Whatever it is, be specific when setting the goal. If you are trying to increase the profits of your business – decide exactly how much more you want to produce. Pick a dollar amount or a percentage increase you are determined to make. If you are planning a vacation and want to save for the vacation, then determine an exact amount, where you will go and what you will do.

No matter what the goal is, the more specific you are the better chance you have of achieving it. Why? Because the more clearly you define what you want the more solidly it will be locked into your subconscious mind. Locking your goals into your subconscious is a critical component of achievement. Once you have created a clear vision of the goal and locked it into your subconscious then you will find that the actions you take tend to lead you toward the accomplishment of the goal.

2. Inability to measure results – if the goal you set does not allow you to measure your progress then how will you know if you are getting closer? Specific goals will make it much easier for you to measure progress. Generic goals that cannot be measured are doomed to fail. Measuring your progress allows you to make adjustments along the way so you stay on track. Make your goals measurable and they will be more powerful.

3. Setting unachievable goals – if the goals you set are so outlandish that you simply cannot reach them in a reasonable time period then you will become discouraged and give up. Establish stretch goals but not unachievable ones. It is good to establish goals that make you learn and grow and challenge you to reach them. However, don’t hurt your chances of succeeding by being unrealistic. Strong goals are those that are realistic and achievable.

4. Setting goals that are not relevant– make sure the goals you set tie into your long-term plans and mission for your career and life. Too many times people set goals that sound good in the moment or are relevant to someone else’s plans but not yours. Make sure your goals support what you are trying to accomplish or else why pursue them at all. Don’t waste your time chasing unimportant goals.

5. Not setting a timeframe for achievement – if you set goals that are not time bound then it is easy to let yourself off the hook and not take action. Setting a timeframe to meet the goal creates an accountability to take action. It also allows you to adjust your activity and make corrections along the way. If you create a goal to save enough money for a dream vacation in June two years from today then you can regularly check your progress and adjust as needed. If you didn’t set a timeframe and waited until you were ready to go then you may be surprised by not having the money and have to delay your dream. That would be a shame.

Avoid these five common mistakes and you will find that you accomplish more than you thought possible. Another important point is to make sure you put your goals in writing. Once you commit your goals to paper they move from a thought to an action and you create a commitment. Share them with someone else and the accountability increases dramatically.

To your success,
Dennis

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Quick…When I Say Salesmen What Comes to Mind?

salesWhen I ask most people that question the typical responses are a wrinkle of their nose and words like, pushy, intrusive, won’t take no for an answer, an interruption, and even rude. It is a reaction born from experience and stereotypes. Just think of the last time you interacted with someone trying to sell you something. Was the experience a good one? Did you find yourself becoming defensive?

Salespeople who act in ways that make us uncomfortable have confronted us all.  For example, there is the sales person that just would not leave you alone or tried to push you into buying something you didn’t need. Not all of our experiences have been bad, but they are the ones we remember…and tell others about! The good experiences tend to be ones that feel right and you did not feel pressured into the purchase. The salesperson may have been very persuasive, but their style and approach did not leave you feeling pressured.

Many times, I find my clients struggling with the concept of truly selling in their business. They are concerned others will see their business in this same negative light. “If I’m just nice to my customers and give them a good product, then they will buy,” is the common position many owners take.

But, here’s the real shocker…we are all salespeople! That’s right; we are all salespeople.  We sell every day…in our personal life, with our spouse, kids, friends and others we meet, during our normal daily activities. In your business life, you are selling to your employees, co-workers, vendors, and yes, even with your customer.

You see, selling occurs anytime you are trying to persuade someone else. In fact, the most successful sales people are those who can talk to people, listen actively, and uncover their needs to reach agreement. Selling is actually a very positive activity and extremely important in every business. No business can survive if selling is not a key priority that is practiced and coached daily.

It is also critical to understand your sales numbers. Three areas you must focus on in order to improve your results are: your conversion of prospects into paying customers, the average amount each customer spends with you each time they make a purchase and how many times they buy from you. Let’s take a quick look at each one.

Sales conversion rate – set up a simple process to measure the number of prospects your business generates and how many of them make a purchase. Your business already generates prospects so converting more of those prospects to paying customers is a low-cost way to increase revenues. This includes how many people contact your business through website visits, phone calls, personal visits, pro-active salesperson contacts, etc. Improve your conversion rate and your marketing efficiency increases making your business more profitable.

Average amount sold to each client – measure the average ticket size per sale in your business. Increasing this average through cross-selling and up-selling will increase revenues very cost effectively. Your average will increase by offering your prospects and clients additional services or adding value to their purchase. It goes without saying that this must be done ethically and be in the interest of the client. However, there are many ways to increase the average amount sold. Some of these include offering additional products or services, service agreements, or other valuable items that are in the best interest of the customer.

Number of times a customer buys from you – keeping your current customers coming back again and again is cheaper than finding new people to buy from you all the time. Build a base of loyal customers and keep them coming back to grow your business. Successful businesses know how to keep their customers coming back while also attracting new ones. Build customer loyalty programs, communicate with them on a regular basis, understand and meet their on-going needs and be sure to thank them for their business.

I define selling as “professionally helping others to buy.”  Note the term professionally as that is a critical part of the process.  It is not about being pushy, rude, aggressive, etc.  It is about finding a need and showing the prospect how to meet the need through your business and its products…professionally. 

Changing perceptions, either yours or those of your team, about what selling is and how to do it will help you grow your business revenue and even more importantly your profits. 

Now go sell, sell, sell…professionally!

To your success,
Dennis

7 Questions to Ask Yourself to Confirm Your Leadership Success

puzzzle peopleIt’s no secret that leaders today must be able to balance many responsibilities and roles in their quest to succeed in business. Leaders are pulled in many different directions and can find themselves caught between what they need to do in order to create a winning team and keeping all their constituencies happy.

One of the big mistakes a leader can make is to believe the development of their team isn’t their top priority. The best run companies are the ones that devote significant time and resources to developing the skill, values, beliefs and identity of their team. It is impossible for any single person to accomplish everything that must be done in order for a business to grow and prosper. That is where the team comes in. A leader with a strong team around them will see exponentially greater results than a leader with a mediocre team. There is no greater responsibility for a leader than to recruit, train, develop, coach, recognize and reward the people who are responsible for the success of the leader’s business.

In order to make sure you are devoting the time and effort necessary to build a winning team ask yourself these seven questions and see how well you stack up. If you are strong in all these areas, then congratulations – you are well on your way to the highest levels of leadership success. If you still need to work on some or all of these areas, then make a commitment to yourself and your team to get started today.

Does your team possess a clear understanding of your vision?  Many companies spend time developing a vision but only communicate it to the senior team. A vision is useless unless the people responsible for delivering it through the company’s products and services know, understand and live the vision. As a leader, you must have a laser focus on your vision. You must communicate it to the team and then reinforce it through coaching, at meetings, and through your recognition and reward programs. People want to feel significant in the work they do. When they understand the company vision and how their job fits into it, they will feel connected and valued.

Does your team have clear, specific, measurable goals that support the vision? Once you communicate the vision and your team understands how their role fits into it, you must now make sure they have specific goals to measure their progress. The power of goals cannot be understated. Goals bring accountability to the team and allow the leader to measure how the team is doing in accomplishing the vision. It allows you to reward team members who contribute to the success of the team, and provide appropriate support to those who don’t.

Does the team understand the system of rewards and consequences? Strong leadership requires that your team understand the consequences of their performance. Too many businesses fail to develop and communicate clear systems for handling team performance. This is like a disease within the team. It destroys morale and creates mediocre performance because the team members begin to recognize that no matter how hard they work – or, for that matter, how little they achieve – they will be treated the same as everyone else. Why work harder or do more than expected if there is no consequence? Make sure the team understands there are consequences to not contributing to the team and consistently apply them.

Do you pull the weeds when you need to? Believe it or not, your team will respect you and perform better for you when you remove the weak members from the team – pull the weeds. Think about a garden of beautiful flowers and what happens when a weed shows up. The weed starts to grow and before you know it, it starts to choke off the flowers. More weeds grow and more flowers disappear.

The same is true on your team. If you have a team member that does not perform or creates conflict on the team, you must be willing to deal with it. Do not pretend it will get better or hope they choose to leave. One of the major mistakes leaders make is to let these non-performers pull the whole team down. The strong performers know who isn’t performing and they will respect you more if you deal with it.

 Does your team receive regular communication, coaching and development? Once you have communicated the vision, provided clear goals and communicated the consequences now you can kick back and take it easy, right? Of course not. Strong leaders are also great communicators and coaches. Your team will require regular communication as the business and environment change. Adjustments must be made to the strategy. The team must be kept abreast of updates and issues impacting their roles.

Does your team fear the “F” word? Teams that are in fear of failure in their day-to-day attempts to become better at their job will become paralyzed by that fear. They will fail to take action without first checking with you on even the most trivial point. Winning teams are willing to do what it takes to get the job done and will take reasonable business risks.

As a leader, you must support this risk taking. Trust your hiring decisions and your coaching talents and let them do their job with minimal interference. If you and the team communicate regularly and you are coaching effectively, your level of risk will be minimal and their development will soar.

 Does your team trust you and respect you? There is a saying in sales that if your customer likes you, trust you and believes you then, they will buy from you. The same is true in leadership. Understand that you are selling your team every day on what you need them to do and why they should do it. If your team does not trust you or respect you then they certainly will not buy what you are telling them. If you lose their trust and respect, it will be very hard to get it back and it will have a negative impact on their performance. Do what you say you will do – even if it is not popular.

Be fair, honest and ethical in your dealings with them and they will follow your lead. Never compromise your ethics or tell your team simply what they want to hear. There are times when confidentiality will prohibit you sharing everything with them, but do not hold it over their head. Deal with them honestly and keep their trust – it will pay big dividends.

As a leader, your primary role is to create the strongest possible team you can. The more successful the team the more successful you will be. Many people say that your employees are your greatest asset. The truth is that it is the RIGHT people on your team, doing the RIGHT things, which are your greatest asset. Work harder on developing your team than on anything else – if you do then you will be successful.

To your success,
Dennis

Secrets of a Top Salesperson – Special Offer

51glYO9FnqL__SL500_AA240_Today Sales can be one of the most fulfilling, exciting and lucrative careers you can choose. But let’s face it—sales can also be very frustrating—financially, emotionally, and intellectually. If you are a professional seeking unlimited success and financial freedom–or if you aspire to be– you want to minimize your learning curve.

Especially during a tough economy. How? By learning from someone who has been through the exact challenges you are facing—and succeeded superbly.

Introducing Paula Pagano, 30 year top producer, sales trainer and author of Secrets of a Top Salesperson – How Emotions Make or Break the Sale. Paula writes with raw honesty and heartfelt humor about the emotional journey of succeeding in sales. That’s right – the part most people gloss over when they leap straight to the end of their success story.

Secrets of a Top Salesperson is where Eat, Pray, Love meets The Art of the Deal. This new book has sparked much praise within the business and literary communities:

• Barbara Corcoran, NBC’s Today Show Current Real Estate Guru says, “Secrets of a Top Salesperson is a powerhouse of ideas for entrepreneurs and anyone who has been hit by the mortgage/ real estate crisis.”
• Ray Brown, best selling author of ‘Home Buying for Dummies’ and 15 Year KNBR radio host recommends Secrets to all real estate agents.
• Mike Larsen, well-known literary agent claims, “Secrets of a Top Salesperson is truly inspirational!”

SPECIAL OFFER – today only buy one copy of Paula’s book during our special promotion, and you will instantly receive several hundred dollars of bonus gifts from experts—workbooks, audio materials, and coaching by these pro’s—including free sales coaching by Paula.

You can even enter a drawing for a 3 day/2 night cruise! Discover all the bonus gifts here: http://topsecretsofasalesperson.com/?id=0022. Paula knows that life is about more than making money. It is about the journey of personal transformation that you absolutely must experience in order to become highly successful.

Act now! Learn the coveted secrets of a top salesperson today. http://topsecretsofasalesperson.com/?id=0022

What if It Cost You Money to Buy Time

Lost time = lost money!

Lost time = lost money!

If you are a solo-preneur, a sole-proprietor or a small business owner, then one of the biggest double edged swords in your business is that you don’t pay “cash” for the inventory of time you sell. One edge of the sword is the amount of money you can make selling your time. The other edge of the sword is the self-defeating tendency to give away your time for free since there’s no hard cost associated with it.

Your time is one of the most valuable assets you have. Giving it away for free just doesn’t add up. Think about it like this. Imagine that every day you show up at work and before you can begin work you have to pay $800 to purchase a bucket with eight gallons of liquid time in it. You have to sell those eight gallons during the day. If you don’t then you won’t have the cash you need to buy your liquid time tomorrow. Of course, your goal is to sell those eight gallons for more than $800 so you can make a profit. 

Also, the bucket has a small hole in and will leak liquid time and there isn’t anything you can do about it. This hole represents the amount of time wasted from interruptions, distractions and delusions during the day. In order to not lose too much of your valuable time, you need to stay focused on selling it quickly. The more time you waste the more time runs out of the bucket and won’t be available to sell.

Regardless of the type of business you are in, you have to ask yourself if you are being honest with yourself. Are you frustrated every day because you know that you are wasting your time on insignificant things that you really shouldn’t be focused on? It happens all the time where business owners become so bogged down in the day-to-day minutiae and don’t sell their time for the maximum value.

Becoming or staying profitable is all about doing less insignificant activity! Remember, you can buy a bucket full of time for a personal assistant or virtual assistant for a lot less than what you can sell your time for. You can outsource your bookkeeping. You can delegate less valuable task to subordinates, or simply cut out those things that aren’t necessary. 

The real key is having the discipline and accountability to minimize “procrastination” or “avoidance” behaviors yourself. If you take a hard look at your day you’ll know what I mean. Staring at your emails while they download, surfing the web, doing non-productive tasks and the list goes on and on while your bucket continues to leak your time away!

One of the biggest mistakes small business owners make is letting the fear of paying for an assistant hold them back. They see the cash expenditure required and tell themselves that someday they will be able to afford it. Meanwhile, they will continue to perform administrative duties they could pay someone $8 – $9 an hour to do while they could be selling their time (products, services, advice, etc.) for 5, 10 or even 20 times that amount. 

Ask yourself, how much an hour of your time really is worth. If you were out doing the things necessary to build your business, sell your products or services how fast could your business grow? How much would you need to sell in order to cover the cost of a part-time or even full-time assistant? Way too many businesses are held back from reaching their full potential because the owner isn’t applying their skills and talents to the most important part of the business. 

Your bucket continues to leak all over the floor while you are doing the minor work that best fits someone else’s skills. Make the decision to invest your time in those things that will bring the highest return for your business. If you want to someday become successful enough to step back and enjoy the fruits of your labor, then you need to begin right now. Be honest with yourself and evaluate how much of your time is leaking out of the bucket each day and then fix it.

Build a Successful Business Through the Art of Budgeting

Budget Your Way to Success

Budget Your Way to Success

Statistics show that only 43% of small businesses that have employees prepare a budget that projects revenues, expenses and profit. If you include sole proprietor type businesses then that number is closer to 80%. There are many reasons for this staggering statistic. Many owners simply believe their business is too small to need to budget. Others feel they don’t have enough money to worry about budgeting. Probably the biggest reason small business owners don’t manage their business with a budget is that they don’t like to do it and they don’t know how to do it. 

What is a budget? A budget is a plan that establishes goals for how you will manage the financial resources and expenditures for your business. It is a simple equation of revenues (sales) minus expenses (costs) to determine profit. An annual budget, commonly referred to as an operating plan, broken down into monthly projections allows you to capture infrequent expenditures as well as see trends and the seasonality of your business. 

A budget creates the plan that allows you to determine if you are making progress toward your goals. It gives you the information you need to make informed, intelligent decisions about how to run your business successfully. Budgeting is important because it helps you determine if you have enough money to fund operations, expand the business and create profit and long-term wealth for the owner. Every small business owner should budget, no matter the size of the business. 

In 84% of small businesses, the owner or a partner prepares the budget. This can be done in conjunction with your accountant or CPA. There is nothing difficult about this task, however, most small business owners are not familiar with the process and therefore avoid it. 

Business budgets do not need to be a monster. You can create simple and effective business forecasts using a simple set of guidelines. If you are still unsure of how to approach it, ask your CPA or a trusted business peer. There are also many great resources from books to on-line programs to seminars on the subject. Accept the fact that there will be a learning curve in both how to create a budget as well as how to use it to manage the business decisions. 

Here are some guidelines to follow in creating an operating plan and using it to build a strong company that provides a great return for you. 

Review Your Financial History or Industry Standards

If you have been in business for a few years, pull out your records from the past 2 or 3 years and build a spreadsheet of the revenues and expenses. Break the expenses into fixed costs and variable costs and by easily identifiable categories. If your business is new, research industry standards to determine your starting point. Not all businesses are alike, but there are similarities. You can also check the IRS Website to get an idea of what percentage of revenue goes to various cost groupings. Once you have this information, you will be ready to build your forecast. 

Build a Spreadsheet with Your Expected Results

Construct a spreadsheet to estimate the dollar amount to budget for each revenue category and expense category. Review your history and / or research to determine how much to budget for each category. As your revenues increase, your expenditure for materials and other variable costs will also increase. Be sure to consider this as you create your spreadsheet. Factor in any seasonality to your estimates. Don’t just decide what your annual expense is and divide it by twelve unless your business has not seasonality or you are not expecting growth. Don’t forget to budget for marketing and promotion to build your business. 

Look for Ways to Reduce Costs

Now that you have your revenues and expenses plugged into the spreadsheet, take a look at the difference between the two. This is your profit. Is it as large as you want it to be? Fine-tune your numbers by looking for ways to cut cost. Where can you get a better deal from suppliers or make adjustments that will add to your bottom line? Or you can reallocate to give you more money for marketing that will improve results. Every penny saved in expenses will boost the bottom line. Small changes can add up quickly. 

Err on the Side of Conservative

Watching expenses and cutting wherever possible is important however, you still need to be conservative in your estimates. Be realistic in your revenue expectations and build in some cushion for expenses, as there will always be surprises along the way. 

Review Your Results Against the Plan Regularly

After each month, compare your actual result to your budget. Look for any variances and make sure you can explain them. By understanding why you missed the budget you will be able to better manage the results. If costs increased then maybe you need to review pricing or service providers. Are lower revenues a result of ineffective marketing, pricing or some other factor? If necessary, make some minor adjustments to the plan to improve your forecast for upcoming periods. By actively reviewing your results, you will quickly get a clear picture of your business and be in a position to manage it effectively. 

Use Your Budget as a Form of Restraint

The budget is not intended to constrain your business but to help you restrain from making poor decisions. Sticking to a solid plan is the most effective teacher of fiscal restraint and teaches discipline. However, don’t let the plan keep you from busting the budget on occasion should something exceptional occur. As an example, if you have discovered a marketing program that drives exceptional results, invest more in it even if it exceeds the budget. Take advantage of opportunities that arise to grow your business and adjust your plan accordingly. 

Budgeting is an easy but essential process that all business owners should use to forecast results. The goal is to provide enough fiscal discipline to keep your business running smoothly and growing to ensure success. In addition to the operating budget, it is critical to develop a cash flow budget to monitor cash levels. This is a separate but critical budget for business owners. Learning to apply the fiscal discipline of budgeting to your business will keep the business healthy. 

To your success,
Dennis

More Great Learning Tools Available

0f5a1v1dI’ve talked before about a great product that I recommend and use for my own business called iLearningGlobal.com.  The worldwide launch of the program occured at the end of March and the program is in an amazing growth pattern right now. Thousands of people around the world are seeing the value in this continuous learning program and taking advantage of it. These are the people looking to build their wealth, success and personal growth. 

The team at iLearningGlobal are introducting new products all the time. One of the new programs is called The E.D.G.E Business Training Program.  It is an incredible 52-week training and development package designed to specifically give personal, small & medium size businesses the EDGE to succeed, even in today’s economy. The unique format to this system ensures you will have up-to-the-minute, cutting-edge information and strategies along with action plans, implementation systems, accountability and support.

Some of the topics covered include; business strategy, tax strategy, asset protection, hiring, team development, sales, leadership and much more.

Vist www.ilearningglobal.biz/dkelley57 to learn more about this program and all the rest of the great content available through this great program.

To your success…