Meetings In order to know that youre successful, and that youre profitably navigating the treacherous shoals of the mercantile seas, you need to have regular meetings. Meetings help you keep your company on track and moving forward; but the catch is that they have to be formalized and scheduled. Informal meetings are generally time wasters. And it should go without saying that the fewer formalized meetings, the better. Theres a reason why Scott Adams often comments on the uselessness of constant meetings in his Dilbert comic, and why countless other humorists do the same. Too many meetings waste time that could be better spent actually working.
Meetings are necessary, though, to plan things like mailings and advertising campaigns, and to get reports on how specific tasks are being handled on a regular basis. While its not worth your while to be a micro-managerremember, you have to focus only on the high-value tasksyou should never delegate into a black hole, either. When you hold a meeting, you should always have an agenda, and you should always start it with two questions: What needs improvement? and Whats going great? Each person who reports should tell you and the group what they did and what the results were and any problems or challenges they faced. Ask questions, and have other attendees do so as well, if they care to.
Dont hesitate to ladle out praise in the meeting, but leave the criticism for private, face-to-face encounters. On the other hand, when employees voice opinions, be sure to quantify those opinions. Force them to show you numbers and proof, and dont accept any nonsense or equivocation. If theyve got a valid point, tell them so and try to figure out how to deal with it; if not, dismiss it.
One way to improve your business, and to create a great deal of upside leverage in the process, is to make it a learning organization. Top companies spend up to 30% of their gross revenue training their employees, because after all, a recently sharpened tool works better than a rusty one, right?
Just about everything people do derives from learned skills, skills that weve acquired through education and training. And to get really good at anything, to achieve mastery at it, is a matter of doing the same simple moves and practicing them a thousand times. Its like karate, or playing the guitar. So training and practice are crucial; as a business owner, you have to be committed to training. So be willing to spend money on training, even if its just you and the fax machine. Advanced trainingespecially sales and marketing trainingisnt an expense, because it can make you money. If you put it into action expeditiously and efficiently, it can yield an excellent ROI in terms of sales and profits.
However, do keep this in mind: 90% of people will only learn and keep practicing if forced to. Very well; force them. Set up a formal training process, and make training mandatory. Make it clear that your employees jobs are at stake. You must train and retrain, so that the message sinks inwhatever that particular message may be. Just hammering the message home can make all the difference in the world.

“Kent Sayre is a ‘top gun’ marketer and author. You can get sensational FREE business-building tips online at”

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