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How to Know What You Don’t Know

If you’re an entrepreneur, you understand the fundamental problem of not knowing what you don’t know. Most entrepreneurs learn the hard way, on the job. It’s this situation that causes us to ruefully say to each other, “Well, it was cheaper than a master’s degree from Harvard”.

When it comes to your salesforce here are a couple of things you don’t know (but you can!):

  1. Why do my top salespeople outperform my lowest ones by a factor of 300-500% or more?
  2. Why do the new salespeople I hire rarely succeed, causing me to deal with a revolving door and lack of traction in the sales department?
  3. How can I hire people that look a lot like my current top performers who will not only stay with my company but join the ranks of top producers?
  4. Is there something other than the salesperson that is causing my sales efforts to falter and my salespeople to fail?

If you would like the answer to any of those questions, I’ll give them to you during a free, information only telephone conversation. Simply give me a call to schedule 847-386-6556 or email me at tim@gobda.com.

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Fighting the Fire-Employee Burnout

Burnout- A Fire Waiting to Start

Recently, I attended the Next Gear Connect conference in New Orleans.  It was full of festivities, networking, and overall, great discussion about the future of the disaster restoration industry.  I talked with several owners there, and a few of them asked me for advice on “burnout,” specifically in reference to their employees and for themselves.  Burnout is prevalent in the restoration industry, whether it be from high demands from program work, TPAs, or unrealistic expectations from customers.  It’s safe to say burnout is a common problem in the restoration industry- but what exactly is it?

The High Cost of Burnout- What It Is, and How It Can Affect Business

Burnout is what your employees experience when they are working towards goals and objectives they don’t relate to, when they feel like they aren’t receiving proper support (whether at their job or at home), or when they feel like they aren’t in control of how a job is being carried out.  This can result in lethargy and skipped days, poor or inefficient work, and depression.

Plus, employee burnout- through lack of proper scheduling, time management, and loss of focus- can all have a large effect on your labor efficiency ratio.  Projects will stall out, customers will be unhappy, and your bottom line will essentially…well, burn out.  Harvard Business Review has found that an estimated $125 – $190 billion are lost per year in healthcare relating to physical and psychological burnout alone.

So how do you stop burnout from affecting your business and employees?

Putting the Fire Out

Here are some steps you can take to keep your employees from burning out and to keep them engaged:

  • Keep your employees’ workloads manageable, and give them time off.  Make this time sacred, and encourage them to take it.
  • Aim to offer all your employees the tools they need to complete their work.  Set the standard moving forward, starting with your new hires, and invest in the tools they need to get the job done well and effectively.
  • Be fair, and don’t pick “favorites.”  Promotions and salary increases should be based on performance, lest other top-performers become disenchanted.

For the overworking and overachieving employee that’s burned out:

  • Offer performance-based bonuses.
  • If there are no options for advancement, consider a lateral move for them.
  • Consider additional training or education for them.  Maybe send them to an industry event or webinar.
  • Give them a flexible schedule so they can pursue a higher education.

For the worn-out or underachieving employee that’s burned out:

  • Build in oversight of their work, but don’t hover over them like a hawk.
  • Build in encouragement and small, incremental, benchmark-oriented rewards along the way.
  • Reframe how you assign them workloads.  Instead of, “Do this,” tell them instead, “Start here.”  Then, once they’ve finished that, tell them, “Great job!  Now here’s the next step.”  That way, the workload seems smaller and more manageable, and they’ll see they’re actually making progress.

For the under-challenged employee that’s burned out:

  • These workers need variety and stimulation.  Redistribute work so employees share tasks with others and aren’t doing the same thing all day.  (Keep this within each employee’s position description- don’t go overboard and shuffle around everyone’s responsibilities).
  • Try challenging the employee by delegating more difficult duties to them.
  • Have them train or mentor others on the staff.

Burnout can be disastrous for you, your employees, and your company.  It’s something that affects work life, social life, and personal life- and it’s something we here at BDA don’t want you or your employees to struggle with.  To help you extinguish this fire, Business Development Associates (BDA) is offering you a FREE Gift in the form of a Profitability Assessment that is a value of $1,997. Contact me directly by email to schedule an initial discovery call to discuss your profitability.

May the Profits Be With You!

John Capponi, CR
Operations and Management Consultant • Business Development Associates, Inc.
john@gobda.com • Cell: 407-745-7698

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Financial Reports All Owners Should Know

The Importance of Financial Reports
A lot of the restoration business owners I talk to will ask me how to improve their bottom-line. I usually like to start by asking them questions about their financial reports, and I find that most owners don’t know much about their financials. They usually leave that task in the hands of a bookkeeper or their accountant. This usually means that the business owner has little to no interaction with the day-to-day recordkeeping and financial standing of his or her business.

Not knowing your company’s financials can be dangerous, as it removes accountability and financial direction of your business, e.g., budgets can be allocated incorrectly, distributions can be taken out when there’s a lack of cash to do so, and some employees might not get paid on time (or not at all). That’s not what you want for your business, and that’s not what we want for it either, which is why we’ll be teaching you about three financial reports that every restoration business owner should know.

The Three Basic Financial Reports

Financial reports provide you with specific financial records and the specific financial position of your business. The three most important financial reports a business owner needs to be tracking are the Profit and Loss Report, the Balance Sheet, and the Statement of Cash Flows.

  • Profit and Loss Report (P&L): Tracks your revenue, expenses, and net profit. You want your revenue to exceed your expenses to have a net profit. The P&L can be used by both internal and external stakeholders to determine your profitability and to assess the risk factor for potential investors. This report is also good for determining performance and incentives.
  • Balance Sheet (B/S): Tells you the financial position of your business in a specified timeframe. This report is a “snapshot” of your business- it records the transactions in a period and tells you what your business looks like for that period. This is the report lenders will use to determine your business’s creditworthiness. Your Balance Sheet consists of Assets, Liabilities, and Equity. Assets are what your business owns, Liabilities are what your business owes, and Equity is capital you’ve invested in the business.
  • Statement of Cash Flows: Your “Where did the money go?” report. It tells you where the money is coming in and out of your business and helps you to make sense of how your P&L and Balance Sheet work together. This report is good for figuring out your business’s key performance indicators (KPI’s). Activities on this report will all fall into one of three categories- operating, financing, and investing.

In Conclusion (Status Report!)

It’s important to know your financial reports to determine your business’s financial standing. It allows you to financially direct every dollar of your business and improve your overall bottom-line and profitability.

To help you get the know-how and “status” report on your business to make it more profitable, Business Development Associates (BDA) is offering you a FREE Gift in the form of a Profitability Assessment that is a value of $1,997. Contact me directly by email to schedule an initial discovery call to discuss your profitability.

May the Profits Be With You!

John Capponi, CR | Operations and Management Consultant
Business Development Associates, Inc.
john@gobda.com | Cell: 407-745-7698

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But I Hired a Consultant!

One of the things that drives us consultant’s crazy is the expectation on the part of the business owners that hired us that their problems will now magically go away with even less involvement on their part if at all possible.

It appears to me that the one constant of running a business is that you are always solving problems.

The big question is are your problems evolving into higher level challenges as the business grows and evolves or are you wrestling with the same problems over and over again?

The point is that when you hire consultant’s you’re their knowledge and experience working with companies like yours. You may be gaining access to proprietary systems, processes and information. You may be paying for their coaching and support of your personal and professional development.

But much like hiring a personal trainer, you don’t hire them to get in shape for you, you hire them to help you get in shape.

Owner abdication during a consulting project is a maddening and all too frequent problem that undermines the potential life-changing success of many important projects.

If you’re thinking about hiring a consultant—be honest with yourself. Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and solve this problem once and for all?

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Developing Your Company’s Meeting Rhythm


What Is a Meeting Rhythm, and Why Have It?

When you think of a meeting, what comes to mind? Boring? Repetitive? All over the place? Perhaps it feels unproductive, as studies have shown that many employees and business owners we’ve spoken with have come to the conclusion of.

Then why have meetings?

Most big and successful businesses that are growing quickly have meetings that are more productive and organized. That’s what a meeting  rhythm is- a schedule of productive, organized meetings that are planned in advance and have a set agenda to improve communication, efficiency, and profitability.

What Kind of Meetings Should We Have? When Should We Have Them?

Our  industry in particular should engage in daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual meetings.

Your meetings should have this in common:

  • Planned in advance, with an agenda.
  • Team members come prepared with their discussion items.
  • Don’t allow discussions to get off topic
  • Start by asking “What are your biggest wins?”

Daily Huddles

Each department gathers its team members in the morning and takes 7 – 12 minutes to discuss what they’re going to do in the day. Everyone should stand up, quickly express their needs, progress made from yesterday’s activities, production priorities, and any issue they might face today.

Weekly Project Field Coordination Meeting

Discuss open jobs and what constraints are blocking work flow.

Agenda:

  • Schedule and priorities.
  • Progress, milestones, and accomplishments.
  • Quality control and customer relationships.
  • Field issues and crew needs.
  • Job approvals, permits, inspections, or other document needs.
  • Jobsite management and safety.
  • Job site cleanup.

Monthly Project Meeting

Bring the managers of each business function together for a 45 – 60 minute meeting each month. Have them show you the progress on each one of their jobs.

Agenda:

  • Schedule and completion dates.
  • Jobsite requirements and cycle times.
  • Status of change orders.
  • Job Cost Reports- budget versus actual.
  • AR and AP.
  • Quality, safety, customer, supplier, equipment, etc.

Quarterly Management Team Meeting

Take all employees offsite for a 90 – 120 minute big-picture meeting every three months. This could be at a large office, warehouse, or other off-site facility.

Agenda:

  • Company’s direction.
  • What’s been successful and what’s not.
  • Biggest challenges.
  • Overall company progress and any  new goals.
  • New or updated procedures.
  • Questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions.
  • Employee awards.

Annual Meeting

Bring your management team off-site for a 1-2 day meeting. This could be at a hotel or a meeting room.

Agenda:

  • Year-end company performance.
  • Where is the company right now? Where is it heading? How are we getting there?
  • What are our Big, Hairy Audacious Goals? Develop new ones if necessary.

Summary

Having planned, transparent, productive meetings is imperative to the growth and profitability of your company. Employees will experience greater job satisfaction, will be more engaged, and will be more driven to achieve goals. Good, productive meetings are what’s going to improve communication, efficiency, and profitability in your business.

Are you taking steps to make your meetings a success? To help you get in the rhythm  of running a profitable business, Business Development Associates (BDA) is offering you a FREE Gift in the form of a Profitability Assessment that is a value of $1,997. Contact me directly by email to schedule an initial discovery call to discuss your profitability.

May the Profits Be With You!

John Capponi, CR
Operations and Management Consultant | Business Development Associates, Inc.
john@gobda.com | Cell: 407-745-7698

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Why You Should Pay Yourself a Market-Based Salary!

3 Good Reasons You Should Pay Yourself a Market-Based Salary!

What Is a Market-Based Salary?

Often, I’m asked by our clients, “How much should I, as the owner of my company, be making?”  What a great question! After all, as owners of restoration businesses, they’ve probably worked tirelessly day and night for that paycheck! But how much is too much, and how much is too little for all that hard work?

In my previous article, “Are You Making Money?” I mentioned that business owners should be making a market-based salary. A market-based salary is a method of compensation determined by using market pay data of comparable positions and functions. A good distinction to make early on is that a market-based salary is not the same as taking distributions. Distributions are a reward for running your business effectively and making your company profitable. Your market-based salary is what you get paid for doing your job.

Why Should You Pay Yourself a Market-Based Salary?

There are three big reasons as to why you should pay yourself a salary instead of just drawing your paycheck from your presumed profit. If you’re not paying yourself on a market-based salary, you’re:

  1. Not putting enough money into your Social Security. This can rob you of money you’ve earned for retirement.
  2. Distorting your financials, and consequently, they’re lying to you. This is because you’re not properly stating your profit before taxes.
  3. In risk of an IRS audit. Nobody wants this, including your employees.

Bonus- your employees are watching what you do in your business. If they know you’re taking a fair salary (like them) and not constantly paying yourself out of the company’s profit, your employees will be more engaged, happy, and productive.

How Much Should a Small Business Owner Be Paid?

Think of it like this: “If I were hired by someone else to do the job I’m doing right now, how much would my salary be?”

If you find that question difficult to answer and you’re wearing multiple hats in your business, make a list of your top responsibilities. How much would it cost you to outsource each of those responsibilities? Combining all of the wages that you would pay to outsource those responsibilities will give you your market-based salary.

You can find hourly and yearly market pay data specific to owners (as well as employees) of construction, restoration, and remediation businesses through these websites:

  1. Glassdoor.com
  2. Salary.com
  3. Payscale.com
  4. SBA has good resources as well- https://www.bls.gov/data/#employment

So what’s your salt’s worth? To help you get to the next level of profitability for your business (and yourself), Business Development Associates (BDA) is offering you a FREE Gift in the form of a Profitability Assessment that is a value of $997. Contact us by email to schedule an initial discovery call to discuss your profitability.

At BDA, we believe that every restoration business owner has the right to expect that their company can deliver to them what they want out of life- freedom and the ability to create wealth.

May the Profit Be With You!

John Capponi, CR
Operations and Management Consultant  |  Business Development Associates, Inc.
john@gobda.com |  Cell: 407-745-7698

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Outstanding Weather Tracking Website & App

In honor of Hurricane Florence and now Michael let’s talk weather tracking.

Windy (Windy.com) is a fantastic tool for weather forecast visualization. This fast, intuitive, detailed and most accurate weather app is trusted by professional pilots, paragliders, skydivers, kiters, surfers, boaters, fishermen, storm chasers and weather geeks, and even by governments, army staffs and rescue teams.

Windy.com has a ton of data that you can interact with in lots of ways and the app let’s you utilize the service on mobile devices. You can even embed the feature into your website.

In addition, there is a Windy Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/windyforecast/) an interactive blog and much more.

Have fun!

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“Are You Making Money?”


What is a Good Profit Margin?

As a veteran coach/consultant for small business owners, I am often asked for a guideline on how much money a successful restoration and reconstruction company should be making. The answer is always the same because there is no set amount of money that makes you a successful business owner or your company a successful business. It all depends on how much money your company requires to complete restoration jobs, pay your bills, pay your employees, and pay yourself for the work you do in your company.

A simple answer is your company should be making a minimum of 8% net profit before taxes after paying all cost of goods sold, sales/general/administrative expenses, employees’ salaries, and a market base salary for you the business owner. Profit is what is left over after all the bills have been paid.

It is important to understand that profit and the owner’s salary are two different items. This salary is for what you do in the company and profit is the reward for you running an effective and profitable company.

Is your business considered sick, healthy, or robust? To answer this question here is some basic data you need to consider about your company’s profitability- when your business net profit before taxes is hovering around:
• 5% the business is sick and on life support;
• 10% it is healthy and on an upward trajectory to provide rewards to both business owner and the key employees;
• 15% it is a robust company and prepared to sustain growth and take advantage of opportunities.

Which one is your company? To help you determine the profitability position of your company Business Development Associates (BDA) is offering you a FREE Gift in the form of a Profitability Assessment that is a value of $997. Contact me by email to schedule an initial discovery call to discuss your profitability.

At BDA, we believe that every restoration business owner has the right to expect that their company can deliver to them what they want out of life- freedom and the ability to create wealth.

May the Profit Be With You!

John Capponi, CR
Operations and Management Consultant | Business Development Associates, Inc.
john@gobda.com  |  Cell: 407-745-7698

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One Sales Success Formula

While there are some overnight sales (and business) successes, when you dig a little deeper you find that those overnight successes were more likely 20 years in the making.

And that tells us something important.

One formula for sales success is doing the right things (proper marketing strategy and sales process delivered by the right salespeople) over an extended period of time during which the message (and the service/product) is refined, tweaked and perfected.

And voilà! After months or years or decades—the breakthrough! The “overnight” success!

So, if this is the case, tremendous effort over lengthy periods of time with delayed gratification are going to be required. So how do we “stay the course” as we invest in our future success?

Now, I’m not a particularly religious guy but one client shared a Bible passage with me that I think of as words to live by for people of any faith. Here goes:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

We have to do the footwork but God will handle the heavy lifting (if we let Him!)

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Is Your Business Stuck In The Black Hole?

Navigating the Black Hole in Your Business

Many restoration and reconstruction companies get stuck at certain revenue levels and seem not capable of getting beyond these points. I have witnessed this situation many times as a consultant and coach to the restoration industry over the last four decades.

All businesses go through predictable stall points- what we call “black holes” and some businesses can disappear into them for many years.

According to Greg Crabtree, author of the book Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits, the “The Black Hole” for small businesses is between $1 million and $5 million in annual revenue. Greg says that “this is the time in your business growth when you are forced to add employees and infrastructure before you can really afford to. Even if you try to add it as late as possible and maybe even pay for only part-time help, at the end of the day you are going to drive profitability down and risk destroying your business.’

Most black holes are due to insufficiencies in the company’s underlying organizational structure and its resources such as:

  • Not having the right people doing the right things.
  • Lack of effective systems and processes.
  • No formal organizational structure.
  • Inadequate operating capital.
  • Lack of a Strategic Plan.

Do not fall into the “black hole” of letting your company’s revenue growth outpace your internal infrastructure. This typically happens when a company is making revenues between $1 to $5 million in annual revenue because at this phase of the growth cycle a business may need more management staff, production workers, vehicles, equipment, office/warehouse space, and financial resources before it can afford to build the infrastructure.

One key action you can immediately implement is to set aside core capital reserves of 2-5% of your collected revenue and make a transfer of funds to a separate bank account on the 10th and 25th of each month. You will be pleasantly surprised as the money builds up in this account. This will be a great head start to help you on your journey.

To get through the challenges of the black hole here are 6 business building blocks that you can begin to design, build, and implement in your company immediately.

  1. Company Vision, Mission, and Core Values
  2. Financial Rhythm
  3. Organizational Structure
  4. Leadership and Management Teams
  5. Employee Recruiting, Retaining, and Training Programs
  6. Meeting Rhythm

Contact me to discuss your business and how you can avoid being sucked in by the black hole. I will be happy to give you a FREE GIFT of a Business Profit Assessment valued at $997.

At BDA, we believe that every restoration business owner has the right to expect that their company can deliver to them what they want out of life- freedom and the ability to create wealth.

May the Profits Be With You!

John Capponi, CR
Operations and Management Consultant
Business Development Associates, Inc.
john@gobda.com
Cell: 407-745-7698

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