Celebrate Team Wins

Summertime is here! We’ve waited for what feels like an eternity for the return of sunny days and nights on the patio, and it’s time to enjoy it. While it’s important to take some time for yourself this summer (you deserve it!), make sure you’re enjoying this beautiful season with your team too! We fully believe in celebrating the big and small wins, together, and last week we did just that (see cover photo).

With everything going on here lately, we knew it was time for a party. We celebrated our rebrand, our personal wins and the end of our expo season together over good food, drinks, and great conversation. We got to know each other’s loved ones a little better too! We laughed about the latest office pranks and other great memories. Team get-togethers can be whatever you want them to be, but make sure you’re appreciating those around you and having fun. Get out of your usual office space if you can and make it a special time for all.

So, who do you need to celebrate with this season? Who was there for you when you first started out that has helped get you to where you are today or supported you during the first five months of 2019? Make sure you thank them. What are some wins from the past few months that you, as a team, could all celebrate?

Celebrate where you’ve been, and celebrate where you’re going! What is one thing you are going to do today to move your business forward?

By: Molly Barnes

Molly BarnesCelebrate Team Wins
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What Does It Take To Become An “Overnight” Success?

Have you ever known anyone or watched someone else’s career and thought, “It seems like they became a success overnight”? As a rule, overnight success is anything but overnight. It is really the result of years of hard work, risks taken, decisions made, sleepless nights and learning that a person undertakes to become successful.

As a business owner, how much time and energy are you spending on your own education and personal development? What skills are you working on developing in yourself, and in your people? What areas of your business need improvement?

I speak to a lot of business owners who say things like “I’m struggling with marketing”. If this is true for you, how many books have you read about marketing? Have you listened to any podcasts about marketing? What other business owners have you spoken with about how they market their businesses? Have you talked to people who market for a living? How much are you investing (time and $$) in educating yourself about the areas that you are struggling?

The next step is to put some of those ideas into practice. What is your plan to implement? What is the result you’re looking for from the idea? How are you going to measure your success? Who, besides you, can help you move those ideas forward?

Lastly, who do you need to hold you accountable when you find it hard to focus on your new learnings? Everyone needs someone who is not emotionally tied to the business to give clear and objective feedback about how you’re doing as you work on your personal development and education. Who is the person who will hold you accountable to get the results you say you want?

To become an “overnight success” it takes a true commitment to personal growth and learning. It also takes being open to the help of others. What is the one thing you need to do today to start your journey to “overnight success”?

What’s one thing you are going to do today to move your business forward?

By: Jackie Zach

Molly BarnesWhat Does It Take To Become An “Overnight” Success?
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ActionCOACH of Elm Grove now Strategic Business Center

ActionCOACH of Elm Grove now Strategic Business Center

Elm Grove, Wis. – May 20, 2019 – ActionCOACH of Elm Grove has changed its name to Strategic Business Center

After 15 years as ActionCOACH Business Coaching – Southeastern Wisconsin, also known as ActionCOACH of Elm Grove, partners Jim and Tom Palzewicz have decided to rebrand their award-winning business to Strategic Business Center.

“When we began in 2004, ActionCOACH Business Coaching gave us the foundation to help business owners improve their business,” said Jim Palzewicz, Managing Partner of Strategic Business Center. “We have grown the expertise of our team of five Business Strategists to offer many other services, including Traction® from the Entrepreneurial Operating System®; ‘Strategic Management’, which is soft skills training for managers, DiSC and other assessments. We’re ready for a new identity that truly represents everything we do to help entrepreneurs and leadership teams grow from good to great.”

Palzewicz provided insight into the new name. “Strategic Business Center emphasizes our passion of helping entrepreneurs create the best strategy for their business to achieve their goals and success, including growing revenue and profit, building a high-performing team and culture, and developing a leadership team that can run the business and move the owner out of the day-to-day management,” he said.

With offices in Elm Grove and Racine, Strategic Business Center has worked with hundreds of business owners to take their companies from good to great, employing customized strategies and processes developed by ActionCOACH, the world’s largest business coaching firm, EOS® from the best-selling book Traction®, and Engage & Grow, a revolutionary activation system to improve employee engagement. The firm has won multiple awards recognizing individual coaches and its overall team performance, both from ActionCOACH’s international headquarters and from regional business organizations. More information is available by calling 262-790-1213 or at sbcmke.com

Molly BarnesActionCOACH of Elm Grove now Strategic Business Center
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Is Your Customer Service Killing Your Business?

As business owners, we spend a lot of money on marketing and advertising to bring our customers to our business, but what are we doing to make their experience a great one so they keep coming back and referring others?

Recently, I went to get an oil change at my local car dealership. When I bought my car, I also bought the maintenance package that went along with it so that I could just go in to get service without having to think about it. It seemed like a great idea at the time until I went to use it for the first time. I called the dealership to schedule my service. The operator sent me to the service department where I was stuck in an endless loop of hold music. You know what I mean, it’s annoying, isn’t it?

After several minutes I finally got back to the operator where she told me to schedule online. Ok, I get that, maybe they were short staffed and there was only one person taking care of 6 customers at once. Things happen so I called back later that day and the same thing happened.

I then went to their website to schedule my service the next day. I know a lot about a lot of things but other than how often you’re supposed to get an oil change; I rely on my dealership to help me remember. There were lots of choices, none of which were clear cut to me.

I called the dealership again to talk to a human being and I found myself in the apparently endless no man’s land phone loop AGAIN.  I finally called a 4th time and got an appointment and found out it was time for a tire rotation (this is why I rely on the dealership). Service was fine, nothing out of the ordinary.

Let’s recap, I bought a car, signed up for their maintenance package, tried to use it (4 different times) and it was too hard and took too much time. I finally got my oil change and tire rotation. The actual service is what I expected, nothing that would make me want to send others or tell others about it.

It was too hard to be a customer so I’m going to cancel my service membership and go elsewhere. Some other local business will win my loyalty and consistent business.

Let’s think about this:

How easy is it for your customer to buy from you? If you make it too hard they will go elsewhere.

From a customer point of view, how great is their experience with you? Is it memorable? So memorable that they would refer and tell others?

Are you giving your customers what they expect or something extraordinary? Make sure it’s extraordinary!

What is one thing you’re going to take action on today to move your business forward?

By: Jackie Zach

Check out our blog “5 Tips for Better Customer Service” for even more customer service advice!

Molly BarnesIs Your Customer Service Killing Your Business?
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ActionCOACH of Elm Grove Welcomes Client Experience Manager

Elm Grove, Wis. – April 9, 2019 – ActionCOACH Business Coaching – Southeastern Wisconsin has welcomed Leah Thomas to the team as the new Client Experience Manager.

Thomas joins the team with 10+ years’ experience in both marketing and client experience. Before coming to ActionCOACH, Thomas was an account manager for an exhibit and event agency. She has also spent time working across the corporate, not for profit and agency settings.

“I am so happy to join the ActionCOACH team,” said Thomas. “I look forward to working with this team and working closely with our clients to make an impact using the skills I have acquired while continuing to grow both personally and professionally.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Leah to our team,” said Jim Palzewicz, Managing Partner of ActionCOACH Business Coaching – Southeastern Wisconsin. “She brings both client management experience and an upbeat attitude to our team and clients and we are so happy to have her.”

With offices in Elm Grove and Racine, ActionCOACH Business Coaching – Southeastern Wisconsin has worked with hundreds of business owners to take their companies from good to great, employing customized strategies and processes developed by ActionCOACH, the world’s largest business coaching firm, EOS® from the best-selling book Traction®, and Engage & Grow, a revolutionary activation system to improve employee engagement. The firm has won multiple awards recognizing individual coaches and its overall team performance, both from ActionCOACH’s international headquarters and from regional business organizations. More information is available by calling 262-790-1213 or at aceg.biz

Molly BarnesActionCOACH of Elm Grove Welcomes Client Experience Manager
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ActionCOACH of Elm Grove wins award at Americas Conference in Charleston, South Carolina

Elm Grove, Wis. – February 27, 2019 – ActionCOACH Business Coaching – Southeastern Wisconsin has won its fifth consecutive Most Community Impact award at the 2019 Business Excellence Forum & Awards in Charleston, South Carolina. The Business Excellence Forum is attended by 700+ business leaders, entrepreneurs, and professionals, presented by ActionCOACH Global. The conference featured six guest speakers, including Mark Thompson, Dr. Jen Welter, Michael Losier, Sheri Riley, Stephen Hightower, and Brad Sugars.

“We are honored to receive the Most Community Impact award once again,” said Jim Palzewicz, Managing Partner of ActionCOACH Business Coaching – Southeastern Wisconsin. “This award is a direct result of the hard work and dedication of our clients to grow their businesses to the next level. In the last year, our clients generated $819 million in net new revenue locally and created 233 net new jobs. We are passionate about helping our clients achieve their goals and generating great jobs in our ActionCOACH and EOS® communities, and we share this award with them.”

With offices in Elm Grove and Racine, ActionCOACH Business Coaching – Southeastern Wisconsin has worked with hundreds of business owners to take their companies from good to great, employing customized strategies and processes developed by ActionCOACH, the world’s largest business coaching firm, EOS® from the best-selling book Traction®, and Engage & Grow, a revolutionary activation system to improve employee engagement. The firm has won multiple awards recognizing individual coaches and its overall team performance, both from ActionCOACH’s international headquarters and from regional business organizations. More information is available by calling 262-790-1213 or at aceg.biz

Molly BarnesActionCOACH of Elm Grove wins award at Americas Conference in Charleston, South Carolina
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Ready to Work: Why military veterans benefit businesses both as employees and suppliers

Ready to Work: Why military veterans benefit businesses both as employees and suppliers

Please click here to check out the full article via the Milwaukee Business Journal

Moderated By: Ana Simpson, Director of The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) Program

Military veterans typically enter the workforce later than most, but when they arrive, they’re ready to go and ready to lead. The challenge for the business community is understanding the skills veterans bring to the table. The Milwaukee Business Journal sat down with a panel to discuss the challenges veterans face when entering the civilian workforce, how employers can help them make that transition and how it will benefit the firm and the business community.

ANA SIMPSON (moderator): Paint us a picture of veterans in the workplace today. How many are there? What are they doing? And are there certain types of occupations they gravitate towards after they complete military service?

SAUL NEWTON: We have just over 350,000 veterans from all generations, and another 50,000 National Guard reserve and active-duty. And there’s a whole new generation of veterans returning to the civilian workforce. They aren’t gravitating towards one type of occupation or industry more than another, but they are gravitating toward leadership opportunities, toward opportunities for continued service and toward opportunities that provide a continued sense of purpose.

BILL BALL: We are a construction company, so we have veterans both in the field and in the office. Like Saul said, they are looking for leadership roles. While they were in the military, they were required to lead people in austere environments and make decisions in ambiguous situations. The challenge for a corporation is taking their experience and skill sets and molding them to the type of work you do. That’s what we have tried to do – give the individual enough latitude and authority to exercise their decision-making ability.

TOM PALZEWICZ: Vets have a built-in work ethic that they learned in the military. They show up to work and they know they need to get something done. An employer does not have to teach them that. The military also teaches people teamwork – the ability to get along with co-workers. I worked on a submarine, which is pretty close quarters. I did not have to like the 99 other guys that were on the submarine with me, but I had to respect them and what they were doing, because their life was in my hands and their life was in mine. Those kinds of experiences teach you to work as a team.

To continue reading, click here.

Molly BarnesReady to Work: Why military veterans benefit businesses both as employees and suppliers
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Compete On Value, Not On Price

Many times, when I meet with a business owner, they ask “why am I not making any money?” The answer may lie in one of two places, they are discounting products and/or services or not pricing their products/services properly.

Discounting

We devalue our product or service when we discount. We are telling the marketplace that our product or service is not worth a high price, therefore, it must be inferior quality. Here are some reasons businesses discount:

  1. Fear – We’re afraid that we won’t get the sale because we aren’t the lowest priced or we’ll lose customers if we raise our prices. Is this true for you? Did you know that if you have a 30% margin and you discount by 10% your sales must increase by 50% to keep the same margin? The first time I raised the prices in my business I was petrified that I would never sell another thing. Lo and behold, no one even noticed. I raised my prices every year from then on.
  2. Lack of Confidence in Quality – Are you confident in the high quality of your product/service? Is it the best or one of the best products of its kind around? If you didn’t answer with a rousing “YES!!!” This may be an area you want to put some focus on in your business.
  3. Our own beliefs – Do you, as a consumer, always buy the product with the lowest price or do you pay more for some things because of their quality or added value? If you are pricing your products based on your buying habits or the size of your wallet are you leaving money on the table?

Adding Value

  1. Who are your target markets? What are their pain points?
  2. What are the things that make you different from your competitors? “Our customer service” is not a good answer because everyone says it. How is the experience different with your company? What are the benefits of working with your products and with you?
  3. How are you solving your customer’s problems? Is it a better solution than everyone else? How will their life be better because they do business with you?
  4. Does your quality stand up to a higher price? If not, what do you have to do in this area to improve your quality?

Pricing

  1. Decide what kind of gross margin you would like to make then price accordingly. Don’t know where to start? Find out the margin in your industry and compare it to your present margin. Is there a difference? Why?
  2. Are you so busy and overwhelmed with work that you can’t keep up? This may be a hint that you are priced too low. The reality is that if your margin is 30% and you increased your prices by 10% you must lose 25% of your customers to affect your margins. With this scenario, you can do less work, make more money and have time to truly work on the things that will take your business to the next level.

What is the one thing you’re going to do today to take action in your business?

By: Jackie Zach

Molly BarnesCompete On Value, Not On Price
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The Journey to EOS® – Making EOS® Sustainable

In my previous blogs, I shared learnings from our May 11th EOS® users group session.  More than thirty Visionaries and Integrators™ (V & I’s) from EOS-using companies shared their experiences and best practices regarding the storms, reefs, and mutinies that can sink your implementation, and how to navigate your business through them to a safe port.

Four key elements emerged in our discussion: Setting the Leadership Team; becoming Open & Honest; achieving EOS Mastery; and making EOS Sustainable. Today we address making EOS sustainable… how do we make EOS stick, and not just another shipwreck on the reef of “stuff we’ve tried to manage the business, and gave up on?”

EOS sustainability is measurable through the Organizational Check-up™ tool. Our goal is to score 80% or better, by the entire team…not just the Leadership Team. When we’re 80%+, it means that everyone understands EOS, and is actively using it to manage themselves, their teams, and the business.

For most organizations, it’s a two-year journey to encode EOS into the company DNA, where it becomes self-replicating and sustainable. Change takes time. Proven, permanent change takes time, attention, intention, and energy.

We identified three areas to focus on to create this EOS sustainability:

  1. Your Functional Departments are using the 5 Foundational Tools to manage their own teams. The 5 Foundational tools are the V/TO™, Accountability Chart, Rocks, Scorecard, and Meeting Pulse™, specifically the weekly Level 10 Meeting™. It’s critical to get everyone working on a Rock each quarter (on their own or as part of a Rock Team), and into some form of an L10 meeting, with their measurable on the scorecard.
  2. The Leadership Team is letting go. Rather than solving every issue that comes up in the Leadership L10, these leaders are asking “do we need to solve this?” Many times, the issue can be moved to the appropriate function L10 to solve. The Leadership Team becomes laser-focused on strategic, growth-oriented issues, instead of playing referee for functions that can’t or won’t make their own decisions.
  1. Developing New Leaders. Functional teams bloom when they see and feel the trust the Leadership Team has in them and their ability to manage their function. These teams also learn when it is appropriate to get the Leadership Team involved. They set their own expectations and budgets based on the goals of the organization. They’re learning and growing as leaders and managers, building a bench of talent to succeed the Leadership Team when needed. These emerging leaders welcome opportunities for executive coaching and development.

If you’re using EOS, I hope you agree that it’s been a transformative and worthwhile journey for your business, and for you as a business owner. If you’re an EOS-using company in southeast Wisconsin, feel free to have your V and I join us for our next event on February 15, 2019, in Brookfield, WI. Let us know and we’ll get you an invite.

Here’s to the journey!

By: Jim Palzewicz

Certified EOS Implementer™

Molly BarnesThe Journey to EOS® – Making EOS® Sustainable
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Writing SMART Goals

Remember our discussion about getting everything you want? In order to get everything you want, you need to set your reticular activating system, or RAS, to help your brain ignore all the extraneous noise and focus on what’s really important.

One way to help you do that is to write your goals as SMART goals. People who get everything they want do not do so by accident. They are very intentional and laser-focused on what they’re going after. The secret to success here is not to just write them down as a SMART goal but to review them constantly.

How do you write a SMART goal? First, you must know exactly how to define a SMART goal. SMART stands for:

Specific

Measurable

Achievable

Results-driven

Time-bound

Let’s take a look at two examples of goals, one using the SMART method and one that does not:

Goal #1: I want to increase my sales this quarter.

Goal #2: I want to increase my revenue $20,000 quarter over quarter with a $10,000 increase in profit quarter over quarter by March 31, 2019.

Regarding goal #1, if you increase your sales by .01 cent anytime in the future, have you reached your goal? When in the future? Does it get you the result you’re looking for? How will you know you’re successful?

Regarding goal #2, how will you know you’re successful? When you reach or exceed $20,000 with a $10,000 profit by March 31, 2019, then you will know you are successful. Anyone who reads the goal knows exactly what success looks like for this goal. Is it achievable? It should be a stretch but not so out of reach that it is impossible. Does it get you where you want to go in 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years? Only you can answer that by having SMART goals 1, 3 and 5 years into the future.

The more specific you can be regarding the result you’re looking for and by when the more likely you will get exactly what you want.

What is the one thing you’re going to do today to put your SMART goals into motion?

By: Jackie Zach

Molly BarnesWriting SMART Goals
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