“Minding My Own Business Workshop Series”

Who is invited: Business Owners and Spouses

What: Series of three Lunch and Learn workshops sponsored by the Aurora Chamber of Commerce and presented by Dirk Dieters, the author of “Minding My Own Business” and the Executive Director of The Fremont Group—a non-profit organization providing services to small business owners.

 

When/Where: Three consecutive Thursday lunches at the Aurora Chamber of Commerce

 

September 8, 2011 11:30 am

“Show me the Money”

Is your company really trying to make money or just trying to work hard? The first responsibility of a small business owner is to produce a minimum-mandatory percentage of profit. During the session we will design your Budget, agree upon the need for a cash forecasting system, and explore ways to manage your cash flow in tough times and good.

 

September 15, 2011 11:30 am

“Are you getting bang for your payroll buck?”

Do you want to own a job or a business? You will learn the owner’s responsibility to build an organizational structure and how to incorporate accountability and incentives into your system that properly deals with your climbers, campers and quitters.

 

September 22, 2001 11:30 am

“Selling—internal and external—in a recession”

Do you really understand your own sales system? During this session we will clarify your sales effort, identify your most valuable sales assets, and create strategies for leveraging your scarce dollars into more sales. Sales is more than a “numbers game.”

 

Cost: Contact the Aurora Chamber

A workbook and a copy of “Minding My Own Business” will also be made available by The Fremont Group at the workshop. Book $15; Workbook $10

Minding My Own Business Workshops

The Fremont Group sponsors workshops for small business owners who are committed to change.  They are one-on-one sessions with a professional trained in presenting the principles of “Minding My Own Business” by Dirk Dieters.  The book examines the six responsibilities of a small business owner.  At the workshop you and your professional evaluate how well you are performing those six responsibilities.  The workshops are completely confidential.  They may be held upon your premises, in our offices or at a local hotel.  Most people find it best to get out of their offices for the three hours so that they can completely concentrate on the workshop.  Each attendee receives their workshop materials and a copy of “Minding My Own Business.” The results are guaranteed—if you don’t leave the workshop with something that you can implement you don’t pay!

You determine the amount you wish to donate to The Fremont Group.  The recommended donation for the workshop is $250—some people give less; most people give more.  303 338 9300

The Fremont Business Operating System

Attendees at a “Minding My Own Business” Workshop have been exposed to the Fremont Business Operating System.  This system is the baseline for all management consulting performed by affiliates of The Fremont Group.  It starts with a clear identification of your goals—and the goals of your spouse.  What is it that you really want from your business.  Once the reason for your business to exist is identified, a financial model of your business must be created.  What results are required in order for you to obtain your goals?  Many small business owners operate like the football coach with a game plan that reads, “if everything goes right we will only lose by a touchdown!”  That coach won’t keep his job for long and the business owner who doesn’t have a game plan designed to win the game won’t survive long either.  From the development of the financial model it can be identified (1) if the goals are obtainable; and (2) the results that must be accomplished in order to obtain the goals.  This model then becomes the cornerstone of the company.  It is the basis for organizational structure—what results are required from each position, the communication and evaluation of those results, accountability, and incentives.  It creates the profit plan and the sales plan.  It is the basis for pricing—the use of break even pricing and the establishment of pricing models.  The financial model is a road map that you modify as you make wrong turns—after all, man plans and God laughs.

Put together, FBOS is your strategic plan.  Owners who operate without it can be successful—particularly if they are lucky—but those who operate with it and diminishing their reliance upon luck.

Note–Fremont Business Operating System, FBOS and Minding My Own Business are registered trademarks of The Fremont Group

Fremont Offers Extraordinary, One-Time Discount On “Minding My Own Business Workshops”™

The Fremont Group, a non-profit corporation dedicated to bringing quality and affordable management consulting services to small business owners, is using a substantial grant to subsidize workshops for small business owners. The workshops are based upon the book, “Minding My Own Business” written by Dirk Dieters specifically for small business owners. Regularly $875.00 the workshops are being offered from July 15th through Labor Day for a Summer-Recession discounted priced of $150.00! The workshops are one-on-one sessions—just you and the professional for 2-3 hours where each aspect of your business is examined. You learn the six responsibilities of a small business owner and are able to rate yourself in each category. Additional follow-up work is also offered on a sliding scale according to ability to pay.

“Minding My Own Business Workshops”™ have been successfully presented in nearly every state. Success is defined as the owner agreeing that they are leaving with something that they can immediately use to make a difference in their business. If that standard is not met, your fee is refunded. An $875.00 fee has never been refunded.

Take some time to examine:

  1. What is the minimum, mandatory percentage of profit that your business must make? Do you have a plan in place to produce it? What is your planning process? How do you hold yourself accountable?
  2. Do you have cost controls in place that will produce that minimum, mandatory percentage of profit? How do you use your budget? (Do you even have a functional, variable budget?) How do you project your cash flow? (Or do you run your company by mailbox management?) Is there a real AR/AP policy and procedure?
  3. Are your employees responsible for the enforcement of those cost controls? How do you hold people accountable? Do you have rational incentives in place? How do you control turnover? Recruitment? Development? Training? Retention? How do you use your job descriptions?
  4. Is your sales system really working? Are sales produced by people or by a system? How do you sell internally? Do you have a sales plan in place that is designed to really win the game?
  5. Are you keeping all of the money that you make? Do you have a tax plan in place? How do you review risk management?
  6. Are you having fun? Are you the highest paid employee? Can you take time off? Does your business make your life better or worse?

All owners can benefit from this workshop. Only those who are ready to change should attend.

Is Your Business Under Control?

Suzy Welch (as in Jack Welch’s wife) has a new book out—Ten, Ten, Ten.   After an interview with her on Charlie Rose my wife told me that I should be using a line that she repeated over and over: “I am running my life, it ain’t running me.”  Of course (as always) my wife is right.  After thinking about it where that statement applies is to the business owner.  In our workshops one of the exercises is to list the ways that your business is making your life better and the ways your business is making your life worse.  Since we preach that the only reason that your business exists is to make your life better, that exercise clearly identifies what you want to build on and what you want to get rid of.  If those are the “facts” facing them will allow you to “run your business so that it ain’t running you.”

ARE YOU SELLING WHAT YOUR CUSTOMERS WANT?

The world is changing. Are you positioning yourself in front of the curve or behind it?

 

We have all heard about the information age. We all bought computers and created web sites and figured out how to use email. Then we waited; and waited for the great change that was predicted. Finally we decided that we have waited long enough and this great change that was predicted was nothing but hype. Sure we now have to move faster and we have to spend additional time filtering out the spam from the email we have to answer but in general the predicted change was a dud. Or was it?

Companies began to assume that if they were not technical firms, the information age had merely improved their accounting and reporting while changing the way we communicate. But what about our customers? How have these changes impacted the needs and wants of our customers? In our firm we have seen a significant difference. We used to be a consulting firm—we could provide information, forms and procedures that the client didn’t have. Now a client goes on the internet when they need a cash forecasting system and download three of them for free. The value added of the information has dropped as it has become more of a commodity. As a result we are no longer a consulting firm—we are an executive coaching firm. Our clients will pay for a relationship with an outside expert who can help them work through issues and provide perspective and “coaching” for them and their firm. In other words, they are willing to pay for the expertise but not for the information. This same metamorphosis is now apparent in places you would never expect—construction, services, and many other small businesses.

As we have counseled thousands of firms, your first responsibility in building a sales plan is to identify your USP—unique selling proposal. Identify in 25 words or less what is unique about your business that should cause a customer to buy from you instead of from a competitor. That USP is what you should be selling. The advice has never been timelier. The explosion of information available to your customers has “commoditized” many things that were formerly unique. Commodities are price-sensitive and carry lower margins. Small businesses cannot compete on a commodity basis.

The sales efforts of small businesses go through three stages. The first stage is the Survival Stage. In the Survival Stage business is attracted by price and the ubiquitous claim of Quality. Ask these people for their USP and the first thing out of their mouth is “price” and “quality.” There are two problems with this response: first, building your company around price is a recipe for disaster; second, “quality” is claimed by everyone and therefore has no meaning in the marketplace. These companies must learn to sell without selling price and they must more clearly define “quality” and sell that from the customer’s perception—not their own.

The second stage is for companies that are established in the marketplace and are now in a growth mode. This we call the Growth Stage. These firms tend to use phrases that focus upon their customers—“customer first” or “we treat our customers better” are recited. They have learned to sell without selling price and understand that their USP has to focus upon the customer rather than themselves. You can reach this level and have a comfortable existence, but it does not take you to your full potential. That is reached at the third stage.

The third stage is a complete shift. At this stage customers come to you. You attract more “negotiated” work. You are able to increase both your volume and your margins. You now control your volume through your margins. This is the Market Leader Stage. The Market Leader Stage has been greatly affected by the information age. In our current environment the requirements of this stage have shifted. What was formerly the distinguishing “value-added” that moved firms to this level have become commoditized. The internet has created commodities out of many functions that were formerly the highly sought value-added. To reach this level you have to understand what you are selling.

Almost without exception, the product of all firms in the Market Leader Stage is the ability to solve the problems of their customers. You no longer are selling the hardware or the service, you now recognize that you are in the business of solving the problems of your customers. To accomplish this there is a sequence of realizations which must be reached:

  1. Who are your real customers and what are your customer’s problems? When was the last time you asked them? It is no longer “all about you.” It has to become “all about them.”
  2. What will solve their problems? This might require going beyond your current products—is it a “turnkey” approach? Is it a billing or invoicing change? Is it financing? You better find out.
  3. Combine this solution with expertise. You need to become the place where your customers go for answers. You become who they turn to for information—advances in advances in technology or advice in unique information.
  4. Lastly you must adapt your sales and marketing to this level.

We are in the information age and we have to take advantage of it. This does not mean gimmicks or making simple things complicated. It does mean being the information source for your customers. Through a series of exercises we help you move your organization to that “next level” but, true to our focus, our “value-added” is the facilitation of the change. You don’t need consulting to get there. Consulting would write up the systems, procedures and controls for you—coaching causes you to do it yourself. Isn’t the information age fun?