5. Grow the Business by Jim Clark

5. Grow the Business

This course will enhance your skills at working with and through others to produce good results.

Learning Outcomes

  1. You will learn how to effectively delegate tasks to helpers, using labor substitution.
  2. You will know how to recruit, train, and evaluate helpers who will assist in growing your business.
  3. You will become aware of virtual teamwork, and how it can help you acquire and retain very talented online helpers who reside elsewhere. Your “team” meetings will be run effectively.  
  4. As a result you will expand your profit centers, examine different legal structures for your Sideline, and consider franchising or selling your successful Sideline. 

What's included?

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5.1 Training helpers will increase income and reduce time requirements
1. When training helpers to perform work, consider using tell-show-do modeling technique.
2. Use discrimination training, where helpers observe better and worse behaviors.
3. Effective training includes having the learner simply “do” the desired behaviors.
4. Shaping desired behavior takes more time if old habits are difficult to break.
5.2 Focusing on simple agreements with helpers will improve outcomes
1. Work relationships go better when tasks are clear and agreed from the outset.
2. Understand that informal task agreements last as long as your next planned discussion.
3. Translate verbal task agreements into written understanding/contracts whenever possible.
4. Being clear and agreed on task responsibilities helps prevent “territorial” disputes.
5.3 Paying your helpers based on results rather than time spent
1. Basing helper compensation on results is often more appealing to them.
2. Results based pay can be adjusted depending on helper’s skills and efficiency.
3. The less precise the basis for pay, the less beneficial is results based pay.
4. Test the basis for pay a couple of times before settling on a compensation agreement.
5.4 Intervening in disputes between helpers can be very helpful
1. As your Sideline grows and you add helpers, so too will the potential for disputes.
2. If this happens, bring the parties together to individually state what they want done differently.
3. Understand the need to write down each other’s “wants” without interruption.
4. Allow helpers to negotiate by identifying the “want” statements that they can accept.
5.5 Giving periodic feedback to helpers who work independently is essential
1. Planned feedback to helpers can improve performance and relationships.
2. Clarify whether you “must” or “can” give performance feedback to a helper.
3. If feedback is about performance, consider tell-show-do tips.
4. When giving feedback, stick with info (information) not ammo (ammunition).
5.6 Recognizing helpers when they show desirable performance builds strong relationships
1. Use periodic positive recognition to enhance a helper’s motivation to improve.
2. Positive and immediate comments about specific behaviors can enhance performance.
3. Passing on customer praise to helpers reinforces their motivation to keep improving.
4. Helpers, suppliers, and even customers all benefit from deserved periodic recognition.
5.7 Having consequences for low performance is essential for skill improvement
1. Repeated non-performance by helpers hurts your Sideline business eventually.
2. To respond to low performance, establish a contingency plan with consequences.
3. Use desired rewards (Premack’s principle) as a motivator to improve performance.
4. Use helper performance agreements to enforce consequences — such as termination — as needed.
5.8 Conducting effective meetings with helpers or suppliers
1. For team meetings, identify and share the topics before the meeting.
2. Emphasize the most important topic, rather than the most urgent.
3. Label each topic according to purpose: giving information, exchanging information, making decisions.
4. Allow people to state preferences, even if they will not participate in final say.
5.9 Analyzing how competitors could outperform you is painfully helpful
1. Imagine a ruthless competitor who intends to put you out of business within a year.
2. Identify viable and credible actions that competitors might use to achieve this goal.
3. What 3 or 4 response actions might you take to overcome a ruthless competitor?
4. Recognize areas where your business strategy can be outperformed by competitors.
5.10 Increasing profit centers can help you grow your business incrementally
1. As your initial revenue stream grows, be nimble in expanding to other revenue streams.
2. When adding a profit center, compare its effectiveness relative to that of other profit centers.
3. If you discover one revenue stream is lagging substantially, don’t hesitate to drop it.
4. Once you have multiple viable profit centers, explore ways that they can enhance each other.
5.11 Affiliating with other businesses’ revenue streams may be the right way to go
1. Soon after Sideline launch, explore new profit centers or “partnering” affiliations.
2. Affiliating with another business may significantly increase revenue.
3. You can partner with another business without having any formal partner deal.
4. Be nimble in exploring possible joint affiliation of profit centers.
5.12 Expanding your network can increase profitability without adding more helpers
1. Explore ways of growing your base through cooperation and joint activities.
2. Remember to include your personality preferences in growing your network.
3. In your first year of operation, adding one new network connection per week is a goal.
4. If you are short on funds to fuel your Sideline, explore GoFundMe outreach efforts.
5.13 Retaining quality help is an endless and essential management requirement
1. Recommendations for quality helpers, made by associates, are often the best recruitment method.
2. Screen help based on common beliefs, progressive record, grit, and learning desires.
3. Once helpers have been retained, provide sufficient training and support for them to quickly gain speed.
4. Reward talent based on demonstrated results, not prior academic training.
5.14 Analyzing performance problems keeps you focused on increasing efficiency
1. When performance dips below normal expectations, include helpers in your analysis.
2. Review your current expectations to determine if they are reasonable or contributory.
3. Determine if performance requirements are punishing or if non-performance is rewarded.
4. Hypothetically decide if your helper could perform the tasks if their life depended on it.
5.15 Encouraging active learning among helpers and suppliers is a good investment in time
1. To be a “learning” organization, it is necessary to have frequent incident reviews.
2. Share responsibility for incident reviews and recommendations for improvement.
3. Periodically consult online sources to learn how exemplars handle these problems.
4. Form a consortium, an industry cooperative, or an online forum to stay on top of changes.
5.16 Labor substitution as a virtual team can help grow your business elsewhere
1. If your Sideline becomes virtual, be careful in selecting helpers who can work this way.
2. Establish monitoring and accountability systems for any of your virtual teams.
3. Measuring performance by results rather than time spent is essential with virtual teams.
4. Positive and open communication keeps your goals aligned with those of virtual teammates.
5.17 Becoming a legal entity probably needs to be done later rather than sooner
1. Don’t necessarily form a legal entity right away unless your income or risk level requires it.
2. If your Sideline generates customer or helper risk, you will need general liability insurance.
3. As your business grows, pursue a business license and retain helpers as 1099 contractors.
4. Legalize your Sideline as you make substantial income, increase helpers, or have intellectual property.
5.18 Scaling your Sideline is an incremental process
1. Plant your Sideline in an environment where you’ve determined it can probably grow.
2. As it grows, be aware of threats that can thwart its development.
3. When it takes off, recognize that part of your job is pruning its growth.
4. As it matures, contemplate cutting off part of it to sprout an additional plant.
5.19 Franchising or selling your assets may or may not be a good idea
1. Sell your Sideline if unanticipated success forces you to expand beyond capacity.
2. You can also franchise it to satellite business entities that operate under your model.
3. Whether you sell or franchise, ask yourself what your next Sideline will be.
4. It is common for Sideline owners to experience depression if they sell their business.