10 Steps To Build Your Sales Confidence

  • By Gareth Manger
  • 11 Apr, 2016

What many solopreneurs or recent business owners often fail to realise is that having – at least basic – sales skills is vital. Unless you can afford to employ staff or have experienced family members who can help out, chances are that you are going to be the sales person for your small business in the early stages.

As you can imagine, getting into sales for the first time can be quite nerve-wracking as it can push you out of your comfort zone. Thus, allowing yourself time to build your sales confidence in advance is important.

Here, I have shared with you a few tips our BLAM team swears by that can help strengthen your sales confidence:

1.  Build your knowledge. Knowing what you are selling is essential in terms of both your success as well as self-confidence. Studying your product in depth until you become unconsciously competent in selling it is the first and most important step in boosting your self-assurance. A successful salesperson is nothing less than an expert in their respective field and that is what you need to accomplish.

2.  Define what a quality lead looks like. Until you sit down to specify the characteristics of your target audience, expect to waste a lot of time on unfit contacts. Trying to sell to people who are by default not likely to buy will not do any good for your sales confidence. Therefore, defining what a quality lead looks like should take place very early in the process as it is a critical step in getting you started with your sales.

3.  Understand your role. It is important that you perceive yourself as a problem solver, trying to help others with your products. Focusing on the money a client is required to invest for your solution is a bad idea. In fact, try not to think about money at all and instead concentrate on how your product can make someone’s life better.

4.  Believe in your power of influence. Getting to know the other person, their values and establishing common ground can increase your power of influence when talking to someone. Engaging them in the conversation by asking questions and involving them in the solution can also be very effective. Feel free to experiment with different techniques until you determine which works best for you and you will find yourself becoming more confident as you discover your very own power of influence.

5.  Have a structured pitch. When building your pitch, make sure you follow an effective structure which guarantees you talk about everything important in the correct sequence. For instance, rather than beginning by describing the product, it would be better to identify the problem first and set the scene so that your client can understand the need to buy it. As previously mentioned, taking the first few minutes to get to know the other person’s background is important. Even more so when you are in B2B – understanding your client’s business and industry will definitely win you points of confidence when dealing with them as they are far more likely to appreciate your insight and accept your solution.

6.  Focus on the benefits of your product . As important as having a varied pitch is, concentrating on the benefits your product can offer is without a doubt the most important part. Highlighting all the positive aspects of your solution can motivate you to feel more confident in selling.

7.  Be prepared for a no. The sooner you realise how unlikely it is to sell to every single person you have contacted, the better for your sales confidence. Be realistic here – not everyone is going to be interested and that is absolutely fine! Knowing when to let go is an important trait of every salesperson. There is always the next time.

8.  Practice, practice, practice. Cliché, but practice makes perfect and with sales that is definitely the case. There is nothing wrong with rehearsing your pitch in front of the mirror or with friends and family who can offer their honest feedback. In fact, it can save you and your client from a lot of awkwardness later on.

9.  Don’t be one of those people that are afraid to fail. A lot of people – often myself included – become devastated in the mere thought of failure. In many cases, these are successful people who are simply too scared to ruin their track record of excellence. Let’s get one thing straight though – in sales there is no excellent track record. Failing to close a sale is in most industries much more common than closing one, so you better get used to the idea and embrace the failure. Once you do that, you will stop feeling so self-conscious every time you are about to make a sale.

10.  Review all your past sales and client touches. You might want to start taking notes every time you finish contacting a prospect as reviewing your past sales, whether successful or not, can be a great lesson moving forward. Having a record of which technique has worked on each different type of client can prove invaluable for confidence building.

I hope you enjoyed this blog. If you have any sales tips, I would love to hear them so don't hesitate to comment below!


By Gareth Manger 30 Oct, 2017

This weekend, I've been chilling out with my family after an eventful trip to the Isle of Man last Thursday and Friday. I paid a visit to   John, our AMAZING Isle of Man Partner. John is a great guy who's been with BLAM! for over 18 months. He's the type of guy who isn't technically minded but he's successful because of the way he builds a client database, and he has an incredible work ethic (more on John in future email).  

John hosts business and sporting dining events on the island every other month, and has had many successful entrepreneurs and sporting legends attend as speakers. His most recent speaker was a huge hero of mine,   Warren Gatland, Wales, British & Irish Lions rugby coach. As a proud Welshman, rugby is in my blood and it was an event I didn't want to miss. However, getting to the Isle of Man wasn't as straight forward as I would have expected! In fact we nearly missed the flight! This is what actually happened...

My colleague Ed (our International Partner Manager and all round top guy) and I, planned to visit John and attend this latest awesome event. John had promised me a seat on the top table, next to Warren Gatland and to say   I was excited   doesn't really cover it!

I set off at 9:30am from Cardiff on Thursday, heading towards Worcester to pick up Ed. We were aiming for Liverpool Airport and our flight was at 4:30pm. So that meant we had plenty of time...

The weather was horrendous, it just wouldn't stop raining, but I eventually arrived at Ed's at around 12:15pm, a little later than expected. But, we still had plenty of time, as the Sat Nav stated we'd arrive at 2.30pm, no problem.

We set off up the M5 and within 15 mins of driving, Ed realised he'd forgotten his Passport. I immediately called him a WALLY and managed to come off at the next exit to head back to Worcester, picked up his Passport and left his house again at 12:50pm.   The Sat Nav said we'd arrive at 3.05pm which still gave us time to get there, fine.

But then something bad happened...

Within 30 minutes of getting back on the motorway, a road sign appeared "INCIDENT LONG DELAYS 30-45 minutes" and the Sat Nav jumped up to 3:30pm! This was the first time we started to become anxious. I made an executive decision to come off at the next junction and by-pass the incident on the motorway detouring through Dudley in the midlands. It wasn't plain sailing driving through Dudley, as we made a wrong turn, the traffic was bad and had further poor driving conditions. We finally managed to get on to the M6 but due to poor weather conditions and heavy traffic our speed didn't exceed 60mph for miles. The Sat Nav was showing 3:45pm,   aaaarrgggh!!!   We knew the gate closure was 4pm and this was going to be close! If we had one more traffic jam,   we wouldn't be making the flight.

Then, what we had feared, happened! Another traffic jam by Stoke. We felt sure we'd been defeated as the Sat Nav was showing 4:00pm.   This was the moment when we could have given up, but we still   believed   we could make the flight. I made the decision to come off the motorway again and head though country lanes, dodging sheep, hitting big puddles and overtaking tractors. Ed contacted Liverpool Airport Customer Service to see if there was anything they could do for us. Deep down we knew they couldn't delay the flight, but we were running out of options.

We managed to get on to the M56 and the Sat Nav was showing 4:05pm, the road was clear and Ed and I were shouting to each other,   "WE ARE MAKING THIS FLIGHT! NO WAY ARE WE GOING TO MISS IT"   Clearly our determination was all we had left, and we knew that we would be arriving after the gate closure time. Then   something incredible happened.  

We were approaching Runcorn and out of what seemed like nowhere appeared a   new bridge   called the Mersey Gateway. We couldn't believe it, this bridge had only been opened a few days and didn't show up on our maps. Ed and I were confused and so was the Sat Nav. After crossing the fantastic Mersey Gateway bridge we joined the A533 and the Sat Nav came back to life and was showing 3:55pm!!!!!  

We'd taken a vital 10 minutes off our time.   This was a defining moment. Ed and I were shouting with joy but we still only had 5 minutes to park the car, get through security and then get to the gate! This wasn't going to be easy and the odds were still against us.

We arrived at Liverpool Airport at 3:56pm and headed straight for the long stay car park which wasn't too far from the terminal, or so we thought. All we had to do was park the car and get to the airport as quickly as possible, sounds easy right?

This is when the worst happened. Zone A... Full, Zone B... Full, Zone C... Full!!!! We entered Zone D and it turned into a single road.   There were no spaces available   and it turned into a dead end, grrrrrr! There was no way we were coming this far only to be being defeated by the car park. I reversed all the way out of Zone D and headed for the furthest Zones. Again, Zone E... Full, then eventually arriving at Zone F we found a space, phew. It looked like we were at least a 5 minutes walk/run to the terminal and the time was now 4:05pm!  

We knew the gate would be closed but we grabbed our bags and ran as fast as we could to the terminal believing we would still get on the plane. Being younger and fitter than Ed (probably doesn't appreciate me saying that) I ran ahead and entered the terminal building. I saw the Easy Jet customer service booth and shouted " HOLD THE ISLE OF MAN FLIGHT". The lady radioed through and said   "run as fast as you can".  

We got to security and I pushed my way to the front, asking all the passengers to let us through as we had an imminent flight to catch! Every passenger complied and let us through. We could hear over the tannoy   "FINAL CALL ISLE OF MAN". Rushing through security we ran as fast as we could towards Gate 10, the furthest gate away (of course it was). We were like the McAllister family running for their flight in the Home Alone movie!

Again, I ran ahead of Ed until a gentleman shouted in a Liverpool accent   "HEY MATE, ARE YOU THE GUYS FOR THE ISLE OF MAN FLIGHT".... "YES" I shouted being almost gassed out.  

We made it!!!   I could not describe the elation! The impossible became possible and we boarded the flight high five-ing all the passengers on the plane as we walked to our seats. "WE MADE IT" we shouted, it was a great moment, as if we'd secured the best deal of the year. I had no idea where I'd parked my car but at that moment I didn't even care!

The most important part of this story is that we never gave up! We could have given up in Stoke, but we still believed and kept going! Despite all the odds, and despite the Sat Nav telling us you're not going to make it on time, we both believed we would make the flight!

Having a never give up attitude is the best formula to ensure business success. If you are   persistent and consistent   with your work ethic and determination,   you will succeed. Hard work will always beat talent and add that to following a consistent business plan with defined goals and it is impossible to fail!

By Gareth Manger 24 Aug, 2017
I wanted to take a couple of minutes out of my day to talk about my first ever sale for my own business.

The value was only £599+Vat but it was a thrilling moment, I felt like I had conquered the world! The reason I had this amazing feeling, was because up to that point I had convinced myself that I was a failure, and that it was the moment that I realised "I can actually do this!"

My first ever business was a franchise opportunity providing mobile apps to small businesses back in 2011. I had taken action and purchased the business opportunity because I was fed up in my 9 - 5 job. It was a choice my friends and family didn't agree with but I took the brave decision of going ahead with it despite their protests.

I was so excited to get started, but it was a shock to the system and a real eye opener when I first started out as an entrepreneur.

As soon as I bought into the franchise, I just wanted to get out there and talk to people about my fantastic product! At first I had no problems speaking to people, despite my nerves and inexperience. I started by cold calling small businesses on the local high street during my lunch hour (I was still in full time employment), as well as trying to book appointments over the phone.

It took a while but eventually I managed to secure my first few meetings with small business owners. Despite my excitement and enthusiasm my first couple of appointments turned out to be a disaster! I worked myself up so much I completely crumbled. I couldn't get my words out, I didn't know what I was talking about and felt every anxiety symptom known all in one moment! It was horrible and I started to feel like I couldn't do this, I wasn’t a salesman or a businessperson and I wanted out.

After a lot of soul searching I decided to stick with the franchise, but I knew I had to do something different. I created something called a hot prospects list. A list complied together of every single person I’d ever been in contact with and started using this as the basis of my business sales strategy. I also decided that if people were going to take me seriously, then I had to be an expert in my industry.

So I started learning and educating myself about mobile apps and digital marketing every single night. I watched business motivational videos on youtube and began following successful entrepreneurs such as Tony Robbins, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg on social media.

Slowly but surely my confidence began to build. I had an appointment booked with Ten Pin bowling in Swansea, and this time I felt more confident and prepared. I was so much more knowledgable about the product, I had a constructive pitch and I felt completely relaxed, as if all my other meetings had never happened. The meeting went well, I was relaxed, answered all the questions and without any hesitation the gentleman agreed to go ahead and said “I’m happy to go ahead and give this a go. Do you accept a cheque?” I couldn't believe this was happening, but I said “of course” in a very calm way. He wrote the cheque out in front of my eyes for £718.80 and asked me If I’d send an invoice as soon as possible. I walked out of there as if I’d scored a goal from 30 yards in the Champions league final! I actually did it, I had my first sale.

My Customer said that he gets pitched on products all the time but said that I was different. He believed that I was genuine, constructive and could see I was offering an awesome service for him.

Six years later, I am now very good friends with my customer who bought off me that day, he even still attends our works parties! We always talk about that day, that sale made me into a Businessperson, and gave me the confidence to continue.

After that, I didn't look back. I became the Top Franchisee which ultimately allowed me to build another business, offering further digital marketing solutions.

What I learned was, that if I can do it, anybody can do it. But... you have to build a winners mindset or you’ll be like "most people", and most people give up. You have to believe in what you’re doing and you have to work your ass off to get the results!

I found out that in the early days you have work and learn, work and learn! Become an expert by learning your product and business inside out. Have a plan and strategy and put it into action even if you fail at first. And finally, associate yourself with successful people and DO NOT listen to the naysayers.
By Grant Stain 04 Jun, 2017

If you’re in a business where you are aiming at generating multiple leads a week, you’ll need a system to manage those leads.

In the most basic form that means you’ve got a spreadsheet where you list your prospects name and contact details and have a notes field for each time you make contact with them. This simple form of contact management does the trick to begin with but is only good for a basic sales process and soon becomes tiresome when your list starts to build.

You now need a Customer Relationship Manager or as we say in the trade, a CRM.

There are plenty of CRM’s out there that will allow you to import this list when you are ready, so you can start managing your data more efficiently. We’ve tried a few of them at BLAM and find that they tend to fall into two categories, those that have marketing tools and those that stick to contact management.

At BLAM Partners we’ve been using our own CRM for a few years now, which is a white label product based on an American platform. We’ve found this system to be extremely useful in our business due to it’s powerful marketing integration tools that not many CRM’s offer at this price point.

Pretty much all CRM’s these days offer great contact management tools, that’s almost always a given. A lot of them also offer a deals tracker tool which is a great way of managing a sales pipeline for forecasting, follow ups and general sales best practice. What we like about the BLAM CRM falls into three categories:

1. Ease of use: All elements of the BLAM CRM come with a video tutorial that simply shows you how to make the most of the system. All too often these days it can take a long time to get used to a new CRM system and can often require expensive training from a qualified specialist. We have found that even the most adamant technophobes can get to grips with our CRM within a few hours.

2. Landing pages: These easy to design pages can be built with a form to capture information that will go directly into the CRM with the appropriate tags attached. This means if you run a Facebook campaign to capture leads from a specific industry for example, each time the lead is filled in it will be tagged with that industry. Further email campaigns directed at that industry can then be managed and sent easily.

3. Autoresponders: All contacts can be added to an autoresponder campaign that is pre-defined by you and can run for months there after. This powerful tool allows you the sophistication of some much more complicated and expensive CRM’s and means contacts can be communicated with automatically without any further action. These campaigns can also overlap, meaning if a prospect on the fifth email in the autoresponder campaign turns into a customer they can be added to a different autoresponder campaign for new customers.

Some of these functions can be gained through using email campaign software such as Mail Chimp (which is great) but the ease of having everything work seamlessly in one place is really convenient.

To find out more about the BLAM CRM or any of our other partnership programmes get in touch here .

By Grant Stain 31 May, 2017

If you’re a businessperson, you are a salesperson whether you think you are or not. In fact, I would go as far as to say that everybody in a business, from the bottom to the top is in sales. After all, the sum of every single part of the business contributes to the whole, and that’s what people are buying when they make a purchase.

When I’m dealing with BLAM Partners, they are nearly all engaged in direct selling, but often say “I don’t want to come across as a salesperson” as there are lots of negative connotations to the word and the role. The truth is, because when we’re in business we are all salespeople so lets get over it and learn how we can sell best!

There are many ways to improve our competence at selling but first and most important is changing the mindset and embracing that we are all salespeople on some level. We are currently running a course for BLAM Partners called our Super Sales Training Day and on it we begin by helping people understand that being a salesperson doesn’t have to be a dirty word. Once that has been accepted, the real leaning can begin and from there leads success.

In order to help you embrace the inner salesperson a friend of mine Phil Jones, wrote a book called Toolbox. This useful guide to sales is full of great information that will help any salesperson develop their skills at this ancient art. You can get a free copy on Amazon here if you are quick, the offer ends tonight (Wednesday 31st May 2017, midnight UK time).

One of the great parts at the beginning of the book is a list of people who are awesome salespeople. The list includes Nelson Mandela, Katie Price and Jamie Oliver among others, all experts at getting us to buy from them in their own way. These people are not typically the kinds of people that spring to mind when we think of "salespeople" but without the skills of a true professional salesperson they'd be far less effective.

So the next time you hear the word salesperson, give a thought to the job and what it entails. After all one way or another we are all in sales!

By Grant Stain 14 May, 2017

"Sorry Grant, but I've been too busy, so there wasn't enough time to do that task you set me." grrrrrrr!

Anyone that's been mentored by me or attended one of our BLAM courses will know how annoyed I get when I'm told that someone didn't have enough time to complete an important task. "Being too busy" is a bloody epidemic that is infecting a huge amount of people and in most cases it's just an excuse.

Don't get me wrong, a lot of us have very busy lives and it can be challenging getting all of our tasks completed. The order in which we undertake those tasks though, is completely under our control, we decide which tasks we prioritise.

In nearly all cases, when we hear these kind of "too busy" excuses, there definitely was enough time, it's just that we chose to do something else instead.

If you fall into this trap, you may have been prioritising family time, relaxing in front of the tv or having a night out with friends. It's not that you were too busy or didn't have enough time, it's just you chose to do something else instead, which is fine. What's not fine is kidding yourself that you didn't have enough time, because I'll bet you did!

Acknowledging that there was enough time and that in fact you weren't "too" busy but you decided to prioritise something else instead is a huge step change in your thinking that can help you make decisions about how you spend your time most productively.

So next time you catch yourself saying, "I've been too busy" or "I didn't have the time to do that", remember you weren't too busy and there was enough time, it's just you chose to do something else instead.

Have a great week.

By Grant Stain 07 May, 2017
My mentor often has to remind me, "focus, focus, focus" when he thinks I'm taking on too much. As a typical entrepreneur I am easily distracted by a new "shiny" business idea and can find myself being stretched too thin.

This is a common issue in business and one I often here about from our BLAM Partners too. I've compiled this list of suggestions to help you find laser beam focus, some of which I use regularly. The key is to find the tools that work for you and diligently stick to them, it's really easy to loose focus on what helps you focus!!!

1. Prioritise your tasks daily , making the fastest way to the money your first task. There are a thousand ways to organise your to do list but by focusing on the fastest way to the money first, if you do loose focus, at least the money will still be flowing in.

2. Work at the right time of day for you. Are you a morning person or an evening person? Studies show that most people focus best at either first thing in the morning or late in the evening, allocating important tasks to the time that suits you, gets "stuff" done.

3. Train your brain. Your brain works like a muscle and will learn by repetition. If you are constantly multitasking and being distracted by numerous devices and communication tools, your brain will learn to focus only in short bursts. Train your brain to focus by allocating time every day without any interruptions. Turn off the phone, email and TV and work totally undistracted-try and build up to 90 minutes a day working in this way.

4. Shut your door. It may seem rude or against the "my door is always open" mentality but shutting your office door to avoid unnecessary interruptions can help when you need to get in the zone. I know of people who like a witty message like "only knock if the office is in fire", it may remind you of a teenagers bedroom but it does the trick!

5. Keep a tidy desk. A desk full of clutter and paperwork not only kills your feng shui but also distracts you from your focus. By getting into the habit of tidying your desk last thing before you leave it or first thing when you arrive at it you'll ensure the least amount of distraction right from the start of the day.

6. Diarise your tasks like they're an appointment. Studies show a large number if successful people diarise their to do's as appointments in their calendar. If tasks are treated this way, they are given an allocation of time with a deadline and therefore more focus can be given as the are treated more like goals that need to be finished within a given period. This is s personal favorite of mine and I've definitely found my productivity increase since I began employing this tactic.

I'd love to hear of any other hacks to help keep focus in business, in world full of more and more distractions we all need to focus more on our focus.

Have a great week.
By Grant Stain 01 May, 2017
I couldn’t help but laugh last week. Gareth (co-founder at BLAM Partners) told me that a potential partner who had been on one of our screen share demo’s didn’t want to go ahead because he thought he was being sold to! He then took umbrage when Gareth found that funny and used “lol” in his email message. I’m relieved it wasn’t me that replied as I would have used “LMAO", as I found the statement hilarious, maybe I’m a bit jaded?

As businesses owners, we are always selling our businesses whether people like it or not. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t sell hardly anything and then there would be no business to sell in the first place. In our BLAM world of helping people take the first steps into business we have heard every reason in the book as to why people don’t want to take the plunge. It really was a shock to me when I first started dealing with wannabe business owners, how much procrastination there is in the world.

This could be construed as "hard selling”

So, here at BLAM, we have a philosophy that we use called “go for the no”. It means we are pretty direct when it comes “helping” people make a decision. This could be construed as "hard selling” but for us it means that when we sign a partner up (a big step for most of them) they get given a choice, and a "maybe" is not one of those choices. In our business, statistically a “maybe" is very often a no, but with lots of extra time involved chasing up the prospect before they finally admit it’s not for them. Lots of people just genuinely find it hard to just say no!

So when Gareth gets “pushy” he’s pushing people to go for the no. Our view is that they are absolutely right to say no if they don’t like that style of selling. If they are so put off that they need to make an excuse like “I don’t like to feel like I’m being sold to” then running their own business probably just isn’t for them. An honest, "your business just isn't for me" is fair enough.

Some would argue that a great sales pitch should not feel like a sales pitch, and I do agree with this to a certain extent. Tactics such as telling people that it’s not for them can often have the reverse effect, but most sales people are not brave enough to try it. Sales people that pussy foot around and are afraid to ask for the money never get the kind of results a dynamic “closer” gets, this is just a fact.

In our world of BLAM, we have a products and service package that we are totally confident in. We believe it is by the far the easiest and most cost effective way of getting into the business of selling websites and apps that there is. If we come across as pushy, or “salesy” we don’t have a problem with that. We’re selling something we believe in passionately and it’s hard not to be enthusiastic and pushy when that’s the case. Our most successful partners have also found this to be the case and they too go for the no, a "no" is no problem, lol.
By Grant Stain 24 Apr, 2017
Having been in the app development business since the start, I try my best to practice what I preach by using a variety of apps for my business. The technology is ever evolving as we rely more and more on these amazing devices called smart phones to improve our work and home lives. I’ve listed below the top five apps that I use daily and find to be the most useful, inspiring and helpful when managing a full on entrepreneurial lifestyle!

1. Reminders. The reminders app is included on the iPhone as standard and there are several similar apps available on Android. It sincs seamlessly with iCal as you would expect. The great feature that I love on this app is the ability to set reminders that are triggered by location. This means you can organise your to-do list and trigger a notification when you arrive or leave a specified destination. I therefore get a notification for my tasks for the day as I pull to up to the office which I find invaluable.

2. Think Up. Daily affirmations have been used by pretty much every top entrepreneur I’ve ever read about. Programming your subconscious for success has never been easier now the smart phone is in our lives. Think Up is available on Android and iPhone allows you to record your own voice and then set reminders to play your affirmations back to you twice a day, accompanied by music.

3. My Gratitude Journal (Mojo). This is an app I’ve been using for years and it really is a great tool for keeping your positivity focussed on the important things. It also builds up a nice diary of events as when I look back the images and notes really are windows back to how I was feeling at that time. In essence each day you can use a picture and as many gratitude “moments” as you like, the theory being that being grateful is a key ingredient to keeping your mindset positive.

4. Gekoboard. This app links up with Google sheets spreadsheet to build beautifully designed graphs to track all of the KPI’s in your business. At a glance you can keep an eye on all of the important stats and quickly see that things are going on the right direction (or not).

5. Audible. A firm favourite with many people I know, but this list wouldn’t be complete without it. I listen to books daily on this app and it is the source of much entertainment, inspiration and relaxation. My library is filled with all manner of business books and entrepreneurial autobiographies as well as the odd novel for when I need to switch off (not often, lol).

This list was tough to compile as there are so many great apps out there, I’d genuinely love to hear from you with your favourite apps that have made you live a more successful and productive life.

Have a great week!
By Grant Stain 19 Apr, 2017

Running   BLAM  Partners gives me the privilege of meeting lots of people starting a business for the first time. This can be a daunting prospect for them and, let's face it, it's not for the faint hearted!

We provide plenty of resources to help these first timers, but with this article I wanted to reveal some of the less conventional tips that I've seen used to great effect for start ups. They may not be for you, but that's what makes life interesting, it takes all sorts!

1. Develop morning routines   - This may seem a fairly ordinary tip, but that does very much depend on the routine! Having a sequence of practices that are geared around your businesses performance from the moment you wake up, puts you in the right mindset as the day begins. I know of some entrepreneurs that get up at 4am to get their work done whilst there are no distractions at all, so after their first stint of work they can fit in a gym session at 6.30am then a family fix around 8am, then they finally go into work.

2. Affirmations   - Writing down a statement of intent and then repeating it out loud several times a day may sound a bit crazy, but thousands of successful millionaires do this, as described by Napoleon Hill in "Think and Grow Rich". There are numerous variations on this practice and it’s not for those that feel self conscious when caught doing it. I’ve had many a weird stare from other drivers when they catch me talking to myself on my morning commute in the car!

3. Meditation   - Meditation can help you focus on your goals, define your purpose and relax your mind when the stress of running a business gets to you. It is becoming a more conventional tool these days and there are plenty of apps that will help you begin your journey to reaching mindfulness nirvana. How much meditation you undertake though is down to you, but it's all too easy to say "I'm too busy to meditate”. I’ve even gone as far as getting a meditation teacher in to the office to educate the my team on how to get the most out of their meditation.

4. Talk to your pet   - I recently read an interesting article from a fantastically wealthy entrepreneur who gauged his motivational talks by how long he could keep his pet Great Dane sat paying attention to him. If the dog lay down whilst he was practising he would assume it wasn’t good enough and adjust it until he held his attention for the full speech. So, I am now suggesting that we all practice our pitches on our pets, if we can’t hold their attention, what chance do we have with prospects?

5. Dress to impress   - Think about what you wear and the way you look every single day because like it or not you are judged by the way you look. Unless you are a Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg (who are on another level entirely) looking as good as you can, appropriate to the business you are in, can give you the edge. If you are the best dressed person in the business meeting you are already making a good impression and for the right reasons.

If you find these tips interesting and want to find out more about how we help our BLAM Partners achieve success check out one of our webinars that we run every week, available to all   here .

Have a great week!

By Grant Stain 09 Apr, 2017

One of the hardest parts of growing a small business is managing staff. Dealing with the day to day issues that come up preventing you getting on with growing your business is one of the most frustrating parts of running your own company.

I've listed five tips here that have helped me manage my staff over the years that you may find useful.

1. Build systems: If your internal business systems are designed around the roles of your staff it can save a lot of problems along the way. If each time you have a staff issue you amend your system to accommodate the situation, your systems should evolve and avoid similar problems in the future. An example of this would be a member of staff consistently forgetting to undertake a particular task. By applying a flagging system, a reminder, alert or trigger, you will then either solve the problem or have the evidence to discipline accordingly. My motto is, always be improving the systems, always keep learning from mistakes.

2. Communication: One of my personal weaknesses this one! Quite often I have found that I have neglected to communicate new initiatives in my businesses appropriately to all of the organisation. This sometimes causes me to verge on paranoia and end up repeating myself a lot to my team! By keeping all of the staff informed on the business goals, objectives and general on-going issues, you can build a fantastic team atmosphere. Regular team meetings, social events and a communication system that fits appropriately with your business are key. In my various businesses I have used a variety of different tools for doing this and they change depending on the level of staff I'm communicating with. For example, I often use a What's App group for management teams and then email communication, triggered from our CRM for more general staff matters.

3. Set goals with rewards: I use a staff review system that includes goals and targets set on a quarterly and annual basis. Each quarter the previous goals are reviewed and marked by achievement. My managers also use this system with their staff and it works consistently down the managerial line. When goals are achieved rewards are based on the achievement. There are several rewards systems available to employers now such as Perk Box  but I've used a variety, from a good old fashioned bonus through to a holiday.

4. Work with strengths: I few years ago an extremely successful entrepreneur showed me how he managed his staff from the very beginning of their employment by assessing their strengths. I found this to be completely in line with my core values and love the positive approach of focussing on strengths rather than weaknesses. There are various strength finder tests that are available along with books that help you best understand the way to utilise the strengths and manage accordingly. Each member of staff takes the test and then you can see what their strengths are and what job roles will suit them best. I have now taken this to the next level by employing team members based primarily on their core values fitting with the business and then fitting their strengths with the appropriate role there after.

5. Know the law: On more than one occasion I have found myself in need of an employment solicitor when dealing with a tricky staffing situation. Employment law can be a minefield and when faced with a situation you need to know you’re getting the right advice. For many years I have been a member of the Chamber of Commerce who offer a free employment support line. They gave me invaluable advice and support and I highly recommend their membership for that service on its own. There are other organisations that provide similar services and for the business owner with only a small team this is a great first step in resolving issues or making sure you are operating correctly and in accordance with employment law. Of course, for more serious instances, a employment law solicitor may not be avoided!

Despite this article having elements relating to staffing problems, I would like to end it by saying that despite having my fair share of issues over the years, my team have been awesome. When you find the right people, they are the greatest asset your business has and are the foundation of the organisation.

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