Speaking at International CONFEX

Video Transcript:

MC:
Ladies and gentlemen good afternoon. Put your earphones on. Oh, I’ve moved my page now. I know the gentleman is called Chris Simmance and he’s from Chris Simmance Limited. And he’s going to talk about, please forgive me because this gentleman behind me has thrown me completely. The secrets of high-performing teams that leading businesses want to keep quiet. Well if you’ve got those secrets Chris, come and share them.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
All right. Thank you. Okay. Hello. Thumbs up if you can hear me. Good, because I can’t hear you at all and when I say funny stuff I need to see shoulders moving, belly laughs, that sort of stuff. Otherwise, I’m just going to think that my jokes haven’t landed and I took more time on the jokes than I did on the presentation. So we got there with the screen, everyone can see my lovely egotistical branding, you’re going to see that everywhere throughout here. So we’ve got a lot to talk about in a relatively short amount of time so I’m going to do my absolute best to whistle through it and then I can catch you all at the end if you’ve got anything that you want to talk about or go through separately.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
First of all, who the hell am I? I’m Chris Simmance. I ran, built and exited several digital agencies. I actually wrote the book On-Page SEO. I’ve got two awesome dogs. I just live down the road so if you’re here for another couple of days you’ll probably see me walking by tomorrow. I’ve just started a podcast about running an agency and running a business and I use the dog as part of the branding collateral to kind of steal some extra tweets. It’s a good podcast but I really wish I hadn’t started it. Bit of a caveat though, I learned most of this stuff the hard way I’m afraid. So in a good way you’re learning from my screw-ups which is good for you, expensive for me. I do believe though that agendas are for dummies and that bullet points kill kittens so most of this presentation are gifs and me. There are things that you’ll learn but it’s mostly me talking and joking.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
I’m going to do my best where I can to make this as fun as possible. You’re listening to something you’re going to learn so hopefully if you enjoy it then it will sink in. Question is, where do you start? What do the best do differently? There’s so many different things from Elon Musk all the way down to someone running their own shop down the street. The real thing here is the biggest secret, not real secret is that the best work their asses off. And the problem with working your ass off and not knowing where you’re going is you know the turn of phrase, the blue-arsed fly. You’re running around from one place to another you’re a busy fool, you don’t really know where to start and you just want to do your business a bit better. I’m going to get straight to the point.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
There’s three key things that the best do differently. They have a relentless focus on strategy. They focus on their people, whether that’s learning and development but also the cultural aspect of your teams. And they have awesome marketing machines. That’s it, so we’re all done ahead of time. Everyone okay with that? Some jokes, head moved, yeah brilliant. Okay, because I’m obviously just joking because… But wait, there’s more. It is a massive job. If you really want to be successful, if you want to run a successful business you really have to put an awful lot of effort in and expect some mistakes. But it’s not really all worry time everybody, you don’t have to worry about it because for a limited time only as in until 3:50 I think, I’m here. That’s me, I’m here to help.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
There’s some quick, basic, dirty things you can do immediately that will improve any business that you’re running. Regardless of what industry it’s in, what niche it’s in, what you’re supposed to be doing, how you’re supposed to be selling it. And I know that I said bullet points kill kittens but there’s some incoming kitten murders I’m afraid. Sorry. There is a quick and dirty option here. It’s the things that you do before you try and tackle the hard hitting stuff. The first thing is put up your prices. It sounds scary sometimes, sounds really easy and a bit obvious but if you put your prices up and some of your clients leave, well that’s fine because you’re doing less work for the same amount of money and then you’ve got more opportunity to sell that spare piece of time for more money. You’re doing more, you’re getting more immediately. Reduce your direct costs where possible.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
This isn’t cost slashing, this isn’t buying things cheaper, this isn’t doing those sorts of things. It’s actually looking really deep, in deep detail in your P&L reports to see what you’re spending on and see where little spends are going in different places. In some businesses you might have a few accounts on a few pieces of software and things like that and not realizing that this bank account has a slightly higher fee than that bank account and things like that. Cut some direct costs where you can, try and save on space that you don’t use, things you don’t use. Stuff that sits there and is basically wasteful is costing you profitability in your business which reduces your cash flow and stops you from being able to actually grow. And quite a big one, but again, relatively quick in the scale of three to five years this is a couple of months time, fix your under performers. If you’ve got people in the team who aren’t either pulling their weight or aren’t able to do what they need to do then you need to fix them. It’s simple as that.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
And I mean this in the nicest possible way, sometimes you can’t fix people and they have to move on. But the first thing you should work out is, can you fix them from a training point of view or do you have to try and fix them from a behavior point of view? Training is that they get the job, they want to do the job and they really are trying but they can’t quite do it. So you spend time and effort and energy and money training them so they can be high performers. Or if they’ve got behavior problems and they’re not part of the team, they don’t follow the values of the business, then what do you do? You have to try and either work on modifying their behavior or you have to work out whether or not they’re a fit as much as you’re a fit for them. Sometimes the cultural fit in a team isn’t quite right, sometimes people don’t share the same values. That’s life because that’s how people work.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
Once you’ve done that though you kind of have to do the harder stuff. And the harder stuff is quite a lot of theory, it’s quite a lot of time spent on it, it’s basically lots of mistakes on paper but it does work. Let’s start from the beginning. As I said before, you need to have a relentless focus on strategy. Strategy, strategy, strategy, strategy, duh, duh, duh. Really you have to know where you’re going in order to start where you’re going. You can’t blindly go, we’re going to make more money or we’re going to sell more stuff or we’re going to do more things. You need to know how you’re going to do it, when you’re going to do it, at what point you’re going to have to spend more money on something, at what point you might need another office or another hire and you need to know that way before you even start doing it otherwise it’s just a massive risk and there’s lots of errors along the way which actually just grinds you down. It’s very exhausting.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
The best way to start with your strategy is to literally start with you. I’ve got this little funky wheel thing, hopefully you can see it on the squashy screens. Can everyone see that? Hopefully, yeah. Little woo style wheel thing. What you do is you mark off 1 to 10 little cross where you feel it is. 10 being the best 0 being the worst. And you mark off things like your career may be 6 out of 10, you’ve got your businesses doing quite well. You feel like you’re doing well, but obviously you can do better. Social life is terrible because all you do all day every single day is work, work, work, which is why your career is great and your business is doing okay. Your wellbeing is suffering because you’re not having any time for yourself. That’s really hard. Your finances are doing great because you’re not spending any money on beer which is depending on your job, pretty good.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
Your health is doing okay but because your wellbeing is suffering and you’re not spending any time on yourself you might end up seeing that change. And depending if you love your family or not, 0 might be that you don’t see them or 10 might be you don’t see them. For me, that’s a bad thing rather than a good thing. You then might think, I’m not having any fun because all I’m doing is working and I don’t have any time for myself. I’m not having enough trips to the pub or seeing my friends or seeing my family. Wellbeing starts to suffer and you don’t have any fun doing what you’re doing and you start doing worse in your career and your business. Join them all up and you got a weird shaped thing.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
Ultimately, you want to end up getting to a point where that’s a perfectly nice round circle, regardless of how close to 0 it is or close to 10 it is. You want to be as kind of well rounded as you can. Ideally, 10 out of 10 for everything, and you’re some kind of superhero. The next thing to do which when you know who you are or where you are personally you then need to kind of benchmark your business. Now there’s five areas that every business has. You have your finance, your marketing, your operations, your people and your culture. Your people and your culture are kind of embedded between each other. But a business can’t work without cash flow. It can’t work without money in the bank. It can’t work without money going out and in. Your finance, if you don’t have that sorted your marketing’s going to suffer because you can’t spend on bringing in new work. If you don’t have good marketing you won’t necessarily sell more stuff for your operations people to deal with.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
If you operations aren’t doing so well then your marketing will suffer because you have bad reviews which then ultimately culminates in unhappy people, a low culture and your finances then suffer completely. And the next time you come to one of these shows you’re coming and hit me around the head and saying I didn’t help you enough. A good way to benchmark the business is to a look at things around finance, marketing, sales, people and operations as basic numbers. O1 out of 10 again. 10 being great, 1 being it’s terrible. If you do this every single month you can just work out what it is that’s changing that’s moving the needle. Let’s say in month two of doing this you realize that the finance is going up, the marketing is going down. That’s a leading indicator that your finance may well go down in the future because you’re not necessarily marketing well enough. Or maybe your sales are going up massively and your marketing isn’t changing.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
That suggests that if the marketing improves the sales team are going to are going to luck out. Their commissions will be massive. Operations might be terrible but sales and marketing might be great which means everyone’s going to hate you eventually. Sorry. When you benchmark your business there are three things that you can use from the finance, the marketing and the operations side of things. These are a few. Essentially, if you’re looking at it you can think, okay turnover revenue is quite important to the business. That’s massively important but maybe not as important as your cashflow or your run rate. It really does depend on what kind of business you’re running. If you’re running a high cash business, high cash flow business, you do need to look at cash flow over revenue because ultimately that’s the thing that’s going to drive you to doing your next thing whatever that might be.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
On the marketing side of things, marketing isn’t good if you just assume that once someone’s a customer you stop marketing to them. Your client retention is part of your marketing. And if you’ve got low client retention, your marketing may well not be that good as well. On the operation side of things, it might be utilization rates, the amount of people having unplanned absences, the number of times that people require training rather than go on training and things like that. Using those sort of ideas of numbers you can benchmark your business. Then you know where you are and you know where the business is at which point you kind of have to start with the end in mind. And this is why I was saying strategy, strategy, strategy, strategy. You just mark the headlines off on this. It’s literally in three years personally I want to be able to have three holidays a year. In three years I want to be the go-to person in the industry for my thing. And on a business point of view, in three years I want to be turning over 3 million pounds.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
In order to be there in three years I need to be here in two years and I need to be here in one year and I need to be here now. They’re just the headlines and you can work back from there but this is kind of like the mental piece of the homework that you do on your own, separately to any other founders or directors in the business then you pull it all together. Because your personal stuff and your career stuff will certainly be different to theirs. You end up with some kind of big grid like this when you all work it out together. I always like to do things a little bit analog which is ironic because everything I do is digital. Big sheets of paper and you work out from year three what I want in year three from a finance point of view, marketing point of view, sales point of view, people point of view, operations point of view.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
And then you think, okay, if I’m here in three years time with this turnover at this net profit which is this amount which means this many clients, this low churn rate, this many staff is required at that point, which means I need another office at this point, which means my costs are at that point. And you do it kind of mathematically. You make the mistakes on paper. You then work back and you say, if I’m here in three years where am I going to be in two years? Well I need to be here. I need to be selling this every single month. I need to be churning that every single month, I need this many people because then I can get to three years. Then you look at two years to one year and then you work your way back. And hopefully if you haven’t screwed it up then you get back to now and the numbers match up to year three. It’s an idealized strategy. So then you are thinking, this is where I want to be going and the maths should work.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
That doesn’t mean that you’ve got the right product. It doesn’t mean you’re able to do the work. It just means you’re able to do some maths. That being said, if you make your mistakes on paper first the best thing that you can do is come back to it, edit it and work from it there. It feels like you’re making your mistakes now rather than extensively later. You could do a really ugly version and get everyone in the business involved. And this is what it turns out to. It’s really horrible. It’s really hard to work through. But again, it gets more people involved in working out where they need things to go. Then you can have different departments feeding in. But the best thing to do is only have like your core c-suite, your core director team involved in these sorts of things because you really need to then focus.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
Once you’ve got your strategy in place you need to focus on the people. The people bit is ultimately the thing that drives any business unless you’re just an AI tool and you’re sitting in your bedroom on your own. The people bit of a business is the thing that drives every single business. People do the stuff, people do the marketing, people do the buying. Every business essentially is a people business. If people are involved you have to make sure that your people are the right people as well.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
Now you’ve got to build a healthy team. Not just physically healthy which is obviously lovely. Everyone being physically healthy, especially after the last couple of years. You need to have the right organizational health. Organizational health is essentially a healthy team where the good things happen that should happen amongst each other. So for example, to build good organizational health you would need the right kind of clarity internally and clarity of things like we’re all heading in this direction, these are the ways that we work, here’s the processes, here’s the systems. So you have things around purpose and values. The purpose of this organization is to do this in the world and our values are be nice and all those sorts of things. But essentially something that everyone can get behind and say, I’ve got my own values but we all agree that these are the values that are good for us all.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
You then have the right leadership in place. Leadership is very different to management. Leadership is following and driving people with clarity into the direction that the business wants to go, that the people want to go. With the right kind of informational leadership you can actually make, make it’s probably wrong word to use. You can get people to do way more than you would expect them to do. They will love doing it and they’ll be remunerated in the right way, whether it be cash or rewards and other ways. So you need to have the right management in place. And most importantly, build on accountabilities. There’s an incredible difference between accountabilities and responsibilities. Responsible things, many people can be responsible for. And an accountable thing is just me. My head will roll if it’s done wrong, my head will roll if it’s broken. My head will roll if it’s not right.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
If you get your team accountable for everything, managed properly following the right purpose, everyone who has the ability to be creative they can do their own thing but everyone’s working in the right direction and knows when it’s wrong, when it’s right and how to make it work. Then you’ve got to think about your structure. Now if you think right now you might be three to five in your team but in your three year plan you might be 30 to 50 in your team. You need to plan your structure properly because without the right structure, you lose accountability. Leadership is really hard. Clarity gets messed up. People don’t know what the values or the purpose of the business is. So to have the right structure you need to think of the size of teams and the roles within the teams. So I typically kind of subscribe to this rule of seven. So no more than seven executive level people to one manager and no more than seven managers to one director.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
But then equally if you have a client based service business you might not want to have more than seven clients per exec per manager. Because if you do it roughly around that or you need to work out the maths against the paperwork. But if you do it that way then people don’t have to context switch too much. It’s not so much of a taxing process for them to understand where they’re going. But it also means you’ve got seven people to manage as a manager and seven managers to direct as a director. And it actually flows quite nicely as a business. I don’t know why seven just seems to work. In order to have a healthy team you need to create this shared vision. It’s a thing which everyone’s working towards. The reason they’re working towards it is whatever it might be to the business.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
As a business owner you might say internally as the business owner to the other directors, our vision is to make shit loads of cash. But you then have to work backwards and work out how do we say this to the team without thinking we’re just using them for labor to get some cash. So the vision for the business is something that you would expect to see in a press release or on the front of a magazine cover with all of your team in it. So our vision for the future is this as a business. Our vision for the future is that we’re the biggest X in Y’s area for whatever thing might be. Then you need to make sure you create the right levels of trust in a team. Trust comes from clarity. Trust comes from everyone sharing a vision. Trust comes from everyone understanding where things are. Every time I see that slide I worry for that dog’s neck but this poor little thing. I’m sure it’s fine. It does it all the time when you move the slide. Watch, there he goes again.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
So if you have the right levels of trust in a business people can talk to each other at any level in the organization because they understand where they’re working towards and they understand their accountabilities. The good thing about trust is that you can then facilitate conflict in an organization. And by conflict I’m not saying fisty cuffs at dawn. I’m talking along the lines of people challenging each other when they don’t think something’s quite right but they can then go back and have a conversation which says, I don’t quite agree with that. This is why, here’s some alternatives let’s discuss. And you walk away thinking, I didn’t really like that conversation. But because conflict is quite good, in this sense you actually get a good outcome because I trust that the person that I’ve committed some time and effort and energy to to go their direction and not mine is aware of what they’re supposed to be doing. I trust that they know that we’re all traveling in the same direction.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
Then you’ve got to bake in layers of accountability. Accountability is absolutely essential in every organization. Accountability is what makes it kind of all tick. And if you think about all of your staff, if you think about all of the teams, if you think about everything that everyone’s doing. If you think someone has to get reports done on a certain time, they should be accountable for that rather than responsible for that. Other people might be responsible putting components of that report together. But if Dave or Mary don’t get that report out on time to the client they miss their accountability. And that’s a thing that you can kind of measure. But it’s also a way of making sure that someone knows that I’ve got to do this as part of my job which drives towards that purpose that we have that helps me get paid and have a good opportunity in the future. Sadly, you do need to have a bit of numbers in place. And if you have numbers in place you can actually kind of focus people, people will follow what’s going on. People will understand where they’re coming from.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
If you are measuring people in the right way as opposed to tracking them, don’t track your staff. If you’ve been one of those people that had like keystroke trackers and cameras on when people were working from home last year, shame. But if you didn’t, good. But you should be focusing on what people are doing in their business, in your business in terms of have they met their accountabilities? Are they working towards the company’s values? And those sorts of things that should be things you should be able to track. Time tracking is essential in most businesses but not for the purpose of telling someone off for not logging on at 8:30 in the morning. More for the purpose of did this thing take the time it should have done? No, let’s work out why. If you’re measuring people, you’ve got commitment from people. You’ve got, damn tripped here. Commitment, that’s the next one. I forgot. So if you’re measuring people and you’ve got the trust and you facilitate the right kind of conflict with all these accountabilities in place, everyone is committed to a single path.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
Everyone in the business knows where they’re going. If they’re a junior they know that there’s a structure where they can grow into the future. Everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing and it feels great or it should feel great. The third thing here is that there are awesome marketing machines. And by awesome marketing machines as I said a minute ago, marketing doesn’t stop the second you’ve got the customer, marketing doesn’t stop until the customer’s gone. Or when the customer’s gone you can kind of re-market to them in a way. If you are marketing to people throughout their journey as a customer you should be doing the same sort of thing internally where you get good feedback from people. Think of your team as kind of a sounding block for your own marketing because they have to eat their own dog food effectively.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
There’s some good reasons though why they’re awesome marketing machines. And the first question, it’s kind of a question for you guys but don’t answer because I won’t be able to hear you I’m afraid. Why don’t you sell more? There’s probably a good reason why you don’t sell more. It’s probably because you see things like five stars. You see things like you’re unique, you’ve got a brand new unique proposition. You’re the best at this thing. You’ve got an award of some sort. You work like dogs or you might have a dog in the office that’s on the website that says we’ve got an office dog so we’re awesome. We’re unique somehow because of that. But you may work really, really hard. But what most of your customers see unless you’ve got the only business in an industry and that’s either because you’re first there or you’ve got a monopoly which is illegal.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
They see that. They see everything kind of looking the same, a bit bland. They don’t know what to pick but effectively they’re going to come out with some biscuits anyway, they don’t really care. They see kind of the same thing all the time. They’re not seeing any kind of difference there. There’s three core things which will help you sell more if your marketing is right. If your marketing needs to talk to people, talk to the right people. And if you’re talking to the right people to get through, get the sale across the line you need to have a unique, a really high value proposition. Now this study’s a couple years old because quite a lot of people weren’t selling very much a few years ago. So if you have an overt business benefit you are more likely to sell, way more likely to sell than another person.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
So that’s answering the question, what’s in it for me. So why should I work with you? Well this is what’s in it for you working with me. It’s this is the results you get. These are things that will happen for you if you work with us. They may be case studies, they may be guarantees of some kind. Then you think, what’s the real reason to believe here? The real reason to believe is how can this be so good? Why are you so good to that guy? Well that’s going to be again, maybe some case studies. That’s maybe going to be some evidencing of something. Depending on if you sell events and things, there’s loads of different ways you can show why you’re the one to believe in that’s going to provide the value. And if you can prove how can this be so good to against a competitor, you’re way more likely, 42% chance of making the sale versus 18%. Just by proving, proving to them what you can do differently.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
And then you need to be able to show like a dramatic difference. If I’m going to buy from you over them you need to show a dramatic difference. And you’re kind of proving that it’s possible. Believe me, here’s the evidence. I can do it, here’s some numbers and here’s the proof. We’ve done it a million times and here’s the awards and things like that. So don’t just make a boring mundane website saying we’ve won awards. When you speak to people your marketing should that authority that shows this is why it’s possible. This is why we can do what we’re supposed to be doing. So having an overt business benefit, a real reason to believe and a dramatic difference will absolutely help you sell more. It fundamentally will make you sell more. If you are talking to the right audience and you’re talking to them in their language and you’re selling them something that they actually want then the sale will be an awful lot easier if you’ve got those three things in place.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
Quite a lot of the time you might think well, you should buy from me because we are the best. Well if you think that then you’ve got to be able to back it up and prove it. Imagine if someone off the street comes in and says, I don’t believe you, prove it to me. You have to be able to prove that you are better than your competitor. Otherwise you are just the same as your competitor who is also saying we’re the best because why would you not? So cool. What now? So we’ve got, I know who I am. We’ve got the business awareness. We know where the business is right now. And we know where the business wants to go, as a three year plan. So I am here. We are there. The team are bought in because we have the right values and the right purpose and the right mission and the right vision.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
The prospects believe in us because we have an overt reason to believe a unique value proposition and we’re actually proving there’s a reason to believe in us. So the next bit sadly is numbers and doing. This is horrendous. And don’t tell me that this is killing kittens because that’s a template rather than bullet points. So essentially you need to dashboard and communicate regularly. Depending on the people you are communicating with, you need to communicate differently in the team. So if you’re communicating to your entire business you’re not going to tell them how much money you made necessarily but you might be telling them how far along in the mission that you are connected to the vision and the purpose. Regular intervals, quarterly is usually good.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
Every single month you should be having a board meeting. Even if it’s just you, you should be having a board meeting. It sounds ridiculous but you should because if you do it out loud on your own it’s better than not doing it at all. If you follow the same agenda every single time you’re going to see that there’s an credible amount of value in the fact that yes, it’s boring. You’re saying the same things every time. The numbers will change, the conversation will change. The things you’ll learn and talk about and change will change. But sticking to the same agenda really does help make sure that there’s a flow and a cadence to every single meeting that you have. Board meetings always monthly. So there’s not three dead kittens. Dashboard is incredibly important and you should have something that’s linked to quite a lot of the internal business KPIs.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
What you shouldn’t have though is like a million KPIs. You should have no more than five for finance marketing people, operations and so on. I’d like to use a red, amber green system. So red means shit, we better fix it. Amber means bugger, we probably have to fix it later. And green means all good. If it’s all green all the time then you might need to change your KPIs because it might be a bit too easy. If it’s amber all the time there’s probably a lot of things that you are still working on. If it’s early doors in your strategy, it’s probably a lot of things that are still being worked on over time. But if it’s red in anywhere or if it’s amber in anywhere you can kind of then dig into it. So example of some KPIs, don’t use all of these of course. But some of your KPIs that might make up the finance, the marketing, the operations and the people bit might be head count. Is your head count up or down for people?
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
If it’s down, is it down for a good reason or a bad reason? That could be fine. Team morale, internal MPS scores, things like that. You might have time tracked or absences. On the finance side you might have things like the company’s valuation if you’re able to track that regularly. You might have the revenue or any kind of cash flow targets. If the cashflow flow target is well under what it should be then it’ll be amber or red and you know what you need to do in order to make sure that you actually got more cash in the business. If you use all of those KPIs you get something like this. And this is a company that I work with purposefully pixelated because otherwise it’d be obvious who they are. But this company have all these KPIs with these bar charts of what’s going on all the time.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
And even without pixelation this is a bit of a mess. It’s really hard to follow. It’s really hard to sort of dig down and work out where things are. So super, super important thing is never go overboard with the number bit but have the numbers that you can drill into that show you what’s going on. Now there’s two kinds of KPI. There’s a leading KPI and a lagging KPI. Now a lagging KPI is something that’s already happened. It’s too late at that point. So that might be an annual revenue target at the end of the year. If you’ve not hit it, then it’s a lagging KPI and it’s too bloody late to solve it. A leading KPI might be monthly revenue that’s coming in. There’s a leading indicator of the total revenue you’ve got. Or the number of sales that you need to make that are a leading indicator of the number of revenue you are going to make at the end of the year.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
So a leading KPI is something that is a leading indicator of future success or failure. A lagging KPI is something which is too late if it happens. Your dashboard for your board meetings and for your monthly check-ins should be leading KPIs. So they should be leading you towards change or success or knowing that you need to modify your strategy. The problem at this point, you’ve got your people sorted. You know what you’ve got to do, it’s keeping traction. Keeping traction with accountable processes is essential. I don’t know if any of you use anything like checklists or bullet lists or whatever in work for following a process or anything, scrap them immediately and sort it out, sort yourselves out. Reason being is if it can be not followed very easily and it’s not accountable that it’s been done someone’s going to have a bad day one day, a bit lazy one day. It’s Friday, they’re not going to follow the process completely. They’re going to say it’s done mate, it’s done boss it’s fine.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
And it’s probably not. They’re probably tricking you but you can’t check it because it’s not an accountable process. So there’s a couple of ways that you can do this. Really, really low value but it works if you really want it to. Use Excel. I wouldn’t advise it because it becomes messy eventually. But if you’ve got no money and you really want to just get something done tomorrow, convert your bullet list into an Excel spreadsheet for everyone to tick off. You can use something like Asana. Asana I think is still free. It’s really, really good when it comes to making a checklist into something you can tick off and add comments to and add uploads to. The downside is anyone in the business can change due dates and you don’t know when they’ve done it. So that makes it a little bit hard to keep things accountable.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
You can use something like mondayday.com or ClickUp. I personally love ClickUp. I again, think it’s better than pretty much all of these things. ClickUp is quite well integrated into quite a lot of other things as is Monday. But these things are actually really cool when it comes to creating something accountable. But also you can almost run your internal CRM through these things. So it’s actually really good. A lead coming in that turns into a sale that turns into a customer that turns into a bunch of accountable processes all happens inside there. Now, if you’ve got buckets of cash or you’re just a massive glutton for punishment, you can use something like Coda. Coda is kind of in the name. You kind of have to code your own accountable processes into the CRM.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
It’s brilliant in as much as you have to work out how to fix it pretty bloody quick if it breaks. You make your own casket with this thing. It’s brilliant if you’ve got someone who can manage this sort of a system because you can make your own accountable processes exactly how you want them to be. If you don’t do it with Coda because of all the reasons I’ve just warned you against, ClickUp or Monday is fantastic. Both of those two apps as well I think they’re free up to five users or something like that. So I’d wholly recommend using them especially if you’re using the free version for a little while. Once you’ve got that, you’ve literally got the power. You know where you’re going. You know what you’ve got to do. You know who’s got to do it. They know how to do it. They’re all bought in. They love you. You love them. Customers love you. You look different to the customers. Everything feels great. And you’ve got the power to kind of do this thing.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
Your three year awful strategy drawings on a wall actually start turning into something quite powerful that are action based that you can stick into your CRM and follow the process and get the shit done. Hold strong and keep the faith though because just because you’ve put it into a strategy and you’ve put it into writing and it’s in a spreadsheet or a CRM somewhere, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen. I did the post-it version of the strategy thing that I did with someone was pre-pandemic. And after I left them there was a lockdown like by three weeks. So that strategy was entirely buggered up. We had to do it again a couple of weeks ago. It was useless. So if things don’t go right it’s fine because you’ve written it down on paper. It’s not set in stone. No one’s going to come and knock on your door. We don’t live in Russia. We’re all fine in that sense. It’s okay.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
But be prepared to modify things if you need to modify them which is where you are leading KPIs come in, your leading measures of success. Suggest that you’re in the right direction. If you’re not going in the right direction, don’t be too worried about changing that direction if you have to. And good things do come to those who wait, they genuinely do. If you really work hard and you do push it and you follow your strategy, you’ve got accountable people. Make sure you’ve got the right people obviously that fit the values of the business because you want to work with people that are kind of the same as you in the nice way. And good things will come because unless you’ve got the shittiest product out there but you’ve got the best everything else, you’re going to do quite well.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
I’m here for you, for now specifically but also if you want to talk later, more than happy to. None of this stuff is quick really. The quick and dirty stuff isn’t quick either because there’s a lot of maths in putting your prices up without accidentally killing your business. But there’s an awful lot that needs to be done throughout this entire strategy that you build. If you build a one year strategy because you’ve got a really fast business, just remember it’s now the second week of March. And I feel like we just finished Christmas. So you’re going to be at the end of a year very quickly, really quickly.
Chris Simmance (Speaker):
So if you build a strategy, make it a long enough term one that you can modify things quickly because stuff happens quick right now. I think that really went well but that was because I presented it and I put it all together. I knew what I was going to say. I’m here if you want to chat. And I don’t know, I believe there’s like a few minutes for questions. Is there time? One minute for one question really quick. I’m off the hook. Thanks very much.