Coachfirm July August 2019

You see problems. We see possibilities.

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July/August 2019

LEADER WORKER VS. MANAGER

Common Hiring Mistakes in Small Businesses

Running a small business may be more complicated than it seems at first. Here at

Coachfirm, we’ve helped countless small-business owners get their companies off the ground and into a place where they can grow comfortably. As such, we’ve seen plenty of common mistakes along the way, and one of those is misunderstanding what management actually looks like from a practical standpoint in your organization. When you’re first getting started, the small-business entrepreneur likely has their hands in just about every part of their brand. Even if you have a partner to fall back on, you’re likely to run into some unintended setbacks once you see some success. Growth can open up some doors and close others. The last thing you need when your business is getting off the ground is to have the wrong people in management. That’s why we wanted to take a closer look at why this sort of thing is so common. When you think of smaller companies, you’re likely envisioning the owner being in charge of every facet of the organization. You wouldn’t be wrong, but that soon takes a turn when it comes to expanding your staff. It’s not just enough to have people in the lower levels of your company; you need a select group of experienced professionals to ease some of your burden with the more intricate operations. It’s at the point of serious growth that you understand what management actually is. A true manager should be overseeing myriad specialized areas that help the company stay on track, function smoothly, and move forward. A common pitfall takes place when the operators of a company make the mistake of hiring a “leader worker.” This person is normally an exceptional or trusted employee who has worked their way up in the eyes of the owner. Then, when they aren’t capable of adequately holding the position, you end up losing both a manager and a great employee. A manager needs to be in a position where they can readily and easily manage and analyze important numbers, projections, and projects, not just someone who shifts employee schedules around. The position of manager entails a lot more than you’d realize. Nowhere in the description of their current job do these employees know how to do any of the work it takes to be a manager. A salesman doesn’t have the skill set to oversee a floor of salesmen because they aren’t trained to

The last thing you need when your business is getting off the ground is to have the wrong people in management.

do so. When they go from worker to some sort of pseudo-manager, everybody involved quickly realizes just how incapable they are. That’s the danger of moving up internally instead of turning to an outside source to bring in a capable party.

If you truly want to know the best way to tackle these problems, turn to your friends at Coachfirm. We’ve encountered just about every problem that business owners face, no matter if it’s a new startup or a Fortune 500 company. We have the specialized knowledge and years of experience to give you the advice you need to succeed. Don’t let your growth undermine your success. To find out more about what we can do for you, give us a call at 888-777-0303 or visit our website anytime at Coachfirm.com. We’ll be standing by.

-Bob Scott

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COMMON BRANDING MISTAKES That Can Torpedo Your Company’s Image

The value of a strong brand cannot be overstated when it comes to growing your business. We call adhesive bandages Band-Aids and cotton swabs Q-Tips because those companies excel at creating memorable, trusted brands that consumers can rely on. There’s no recipe for creating a brand so strong that the name of your product becomes common vernacular, but developing a strong, consistent brand is within the reach of every business owner.

somebody else’s. The best brands stand out. Think about the iconic Nike swoosh, one of the greatest logos in business history. There was nothing like it at the time, and there’s little like it today. Sloppy Copy Branding is far more than just a cool logo and a flashy website. The words you use to convey your values — and the value you offer customers — are crucial. Bad grammar, weird word choice, and other linguistic faux pas can make you look silly. Make sure you have professional editors look over your copy to ensure it relays the message you want it to. Platform Inconsistency Have you ever logged onto a mobile version of a website and wondered if you were in the wrong place? When that happens, it’s because a company hasn’t made the effort to mirror their branding across all platforms. It’s one thing to have an irreverent online presence — look to MoonPie’s Twitter feed for an example — it’s another to have such disparate branding that you leave customers confused. A great brand synergizes all aspects to create one indelible image for consumers. Share your values, convey clear messages, and provide a professional image. Once you’ve done that, you’re on the road to building a brand that people want to support.

This is why it’s frustrating to see companies hurt their branding through easily avoidable mistakes.

Business owners often deprioritize branding in the early stages of their company, but that’s a dangerous mistake. If a potential customer interacts with your brand and it doesn’t resonate with them, it’s going to be hard to win them back. By avoiding these common errors, you can create a brand that people will support and interact with. Bland Branding “Branding is deliberate differentiation,” says author and consultant Debbie Millman. In other words, don’t create your brand by copying

Smarter Systems, Easier Solutions How Artificial Intelligence Will Soon Change the WayWe Do Business

As it stands, we’re living in the most advanced society that has ever existed. Even so, there are so many more exciting prospects on the horizon for the modern business owner. Assuming we don’t throw our business’ growth to the wind to do things “the old-fashioned way,” there are many ways technology will completely revolutionize our outlooks. One of the major changes we’re already seeing is the advent of artificial intelligence (AI). Although sci-fi movies tend to give sentient computer programs a bad reputation, the truth is that these programs will lend a helping hand to us in more ways than we can count. Here are some ways AI can help our businesses grow right now. Image and Facial Recognition Those of us with the latest smartphones may already be familiar with how facial recognition works. By analyzing and recognizing images, these programs will be able to offer their users massive security improvements. Although they’re still working out the kinks, this could mean a revolution in fraud prevention. A few decades ago, any hacker with enough time on their hands could navigate to your most important information by simply bypassing a few outdated documents. With facial

recognition software, it will be harder to gain access to documents you don’t have explicit permission to view. This will also allow for easier entry for those who do have permission as well, so tasks like entering secure areas of your business or opening important financial documents will be made that much safer. Say Goodbye to Static Intelligence Faceless market trends can only get you so far. For decades, companies have looked to business intelligence for gathering key information on their competitors. By analyzing past data trends, the business person was able to plan their mode of attack against their competitors. Eventually, as technology continued to grow, this has proven to be too unreliable to make informed decisions. The use of artificial intelligence will allow companies to view the outcomes of the past, present, and future so they can anticipate and plan for the coming trends. This will pave the way for useful business insights and analytics; the historical data will give the programs a look behind the curtain and allow them to accurately depict what might occur next, giving your business a distinct advantage.

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Does the Review Site Do More Harm Than Good? Yelp and Small Business

‘FIERCE CONVERSATIONS’

Learn How to Get Your Message Across

“Yelp is destroying my small business.” These words are becoming more and more common. Small-business

So often, we talk to our friends, coworkers, and loved ones without actually saying anything. We’ll beat around the bush on important subjects or hesitate to bring up sensitive matters. Global business coach and best-selling author Susan Scott has set out to change that. In her book “Fierce Conversations,” Scott argues that the key to get more out of our personal and professional relationships is to learn to lower our barriers and convey our message honestly. “Fierce Conversations” is one of those works born out of a simple idea with big implications. As the author explains it, “While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a company, a relationship, or a life, any single conversation can.” By having the communication skills necessary to create lasting bonds, handle strong emotions, and overcome barriers, you’ll be prepared when crucial conversations present themselves. Those who tend to judge a book by its cover may make the mistake of associating the word “fierce” with “aggressive.” However, as a master of meaningful communication, Scott has found that it’s important not to force emotions one way or the other. As she observes, “If your behavior contradicts your values, your body knows.” Instead of relying on fake bravado or false modesty, the author argues it’s better that the bravery be genuine. Breaking down those social barriers to be authentic in our conversations takes true ferocity.

owners are taking their stories public, claiming Yelp is hurting their brand. But is this true? Can Yelp harm businesses?

At a glance, Yelp is a website and app where people can promote their businesses, and

consumers can post reviews of those businesses. Yelp can be a consumer’s deciding factor in which restaurant to visit, which cleaning service to hire, which grocery store to shop at, and so on. Business owners claim that Yelp tries to extort them. For example, Yelp calls a business to sell ads. The business declines and, suddenly, good reviews get buried. Some business owners have even claimed that the best reviews disappear altogether. In their place are the lowest reviews, or even poor reviews that weren’t there before. When people search for the business, the worst reviews are front and center. Additionally, business owners have noted that Yelp cold-called them with the news that they have won an award for exceptional reviews. However, Yelp charges for the award, which is a plaque that can be displayed in the business, costing hundreds of dollars. While the second example certainly isn’t extortion, it raises questions. The fact is that Yelp does cold-call businesses to get them to sign up for advertising packages, and in this, Yelp has leverage. If you don’t comply, they can alter what people see when they search for your business. Business owners also point to discrepancies in reviews on Google, Facebook, and Yelp. They may have four- or five-star reviews on Google and Facebook, but their Yelp reviews may be noticeably lower. It’s no secret that advertisements represent Yelp’s primary source of revenue, and cold-calling businesses can help drive that revenue. But can businesses defend against ad extortion? The answer is not really, unless businesses are willing to pay a big expense. Instead, the best defense is focusing on stellar customer service — and directing customers and potential customers to Google and Facebook reviews, ignoring Yelp altogether.

Scott does more than simply explain why frank and honest communication is important; she gives readers the tools to get there. Having spent years as a business coach, and now as the head of a firm that trains CEOs around the globe, Scott is well-versed in the art of teaching exercises. “Fierce Conversations” is brimming with action items, tactics, and tailor-made examples of how to communicate in every situation, from board meetings to parenting. If you’re someone who likes concrete guides over vague concepts, this book will pleasantly surprise you.

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BUSINESS COACHING

INSIDE

Common Management Mistakes Made When Hiring

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Are You Ruining Your Brand?

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How AI Will Change Our Businesses

Is Yelp the Enemy of Small Business?

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Make Yourself Heard With ‘Fierce Conversations’

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Bluetooth Speakers for a Bumping Summer

SET YOUR MUSIC FREE

Bluetooth Speakers for a Bumping Summer

The sounds of summer are here, and thanks to the growing availability of Bluetooth speakers, you can take your

resistant material. But if you want crisp, high-quality audio without the wires, SoundLink is the best of the best.

UEWonderboom Ultimate Ears (UE) has defined its brand with fun, accessible sound. The Wonderboom continues this tradition by making a splash in the portable speaker market — literally! This little party ball isn’t just waterproof; it also floats. If you’ve been looking to take your pool parties to another level or just want to drift in an inner tube listening to lo-fi hip-hop, the Wonderboom’s going to be your new best friend. With pricing as low as $59.99, this latest UE marvel delivers great sound while keeping your wallet afloat. Sony SRS-XB501G Sometimes you just need a party that fits in a backpack. To that end, Sony delivers a powerful, lightweight speaker that bridges the gap between wireless and home entertainment systems. The portable XB501G will keep even the rowdiest outdoor gatherings bumping, and it even comes with its own light show. Add in the fact that Google Assistant is built into the speaker, and Sony’s powerful hybrid is well worth the $200 price tag.

jams with you wherever you go. Whether you’re looking to fill your home

with your favorite tunes, rock out poolside, or throw a truly mobile party, this list has you covered. Here are three speakers that will have you ready for any summer adventure.

Bose SoundLink Revolve+ You don’t have to be a hardcore audiophile to know Bose doesn’t believe in half-measures, so it comes as no surprise that their newest entry into the portable speaker market is sleek and impressive. The SoundLink Revolve+ has 360-degree sound quality, delivering deep, punching bass notes that will have guests wondering where you hid the subwoofer. Of course, at $299, you might hesitate to take this speaker out of the safety of your home, despite its water- and fall-

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