Effective Referring Rocks!

Last Friday I was invited to a Referral Institute pipeline class by one of my key referral partners. As all my business comes through referrals of one sort or another I felt it was high time I found out how to maximise the opportunities for cross referral with my strategic introducers.

I think many of us think of ourselves as being good referrers because we pass lots of referrals to people we trust – I certainly would fall into that category – but how many of us actually take the time to work out how effective our referrals are? Before Friday I had not spent any time really analysing how much a good referral is worth to my business, how many referrals I actually need, and had no proper strategy for achieving them.

I love networking and have made an effort over the years to use my networking time effectively. However, it is only recently that I have come to realise that you don’t need to have a large number of contacts – you just need a small number of really good ones. If you can have great strategic introducers in your team it is much more likely that you will get the types of referrals you want.

Now I have the makings of a clear strategy for working with one of my key referral partners, I think we can develop a great referral partnership. And that, for a person who hates ‘selling’ herself, is a great result!

If you want to learn more about becoming a great referrer why not visit the Referral Institute website www.referralinstituteBSBA.co.uk or contact Jill Green at jillgreen@referralinstitute.co.uk.

Fiona 🙂

Painting by numbers

When I ask business owners what their business will look like in a year, 5 years or even 10 years time I am often told they do not know – after all they are not a seer and don’t have a crystal ball.

This is a cop out in my opinion – and a dangerous one at that.

If you don’t have a plan of where your business is going, who will have? If you do not have a clear vision of what you want your business to look like, who does?

Clearly there are lots of things we, as business owners, have little control over: the general economy; the banks’ perception of business risk; how our competitors and our customers behave, to name but a few. But this does not mean that we have no control over our own business success.

In helping business owners to plan for the future I have found they become much more focused on what they want to achieve. They suddenly have a picture of what they need to do to get where they want to go and are motivated to get there. In some cases they are even reminded of the passion that drove them to start the business in the first place – something which is often lost in the day-to-day stresses of life.

They do not need to know for certain every detail of how their business will grow in the years ahead, but they do need a clear set of targets which, if achieved, will deliver a business which is successful in their terms. These targets will often revolve around sales achieved, new customers found , profits made, business owner earnings…

The picture they draw may become enhanced over time but will not change in essentials.

So, if you want to feel confident about the years ahead paint your own picture of your dreams for your business. Populate it with the subtle colours that will make your business shine. Then stand back and make sure you are happy to hang that picture on your wall for the long term.

Fiona 🙂

Good Day Sunshine!

How many of us are thrilled that the sun is finally putting in an appearance. I certainly am! Don’t we feel better about our businesses when the sun shines?

But what tangible effect does the weather really have on most of our companies?

Unless you are involved in tourism, swimming pool construction, or possibly seasonal clothing, there is really no reason for sudden optimism when the weather is good –  the economy is unlikely to change overnight just because it isn’t raining. Nor are customers which weren’t there yesterday suddenly going to materialise today because they won’t get wet coming to your office.

And yet we do feel more positive and can often see a change in our business fortunes. Whether this is because, in feeling better about the world, we are more open to opportunities or because good weather encourages us to take a more proactive view, is difficult to say.

Actually it does not matter. In my view anything which encourages us to get out of bed with a spring in our step, ready to face the challenges we will inevitably face in our working week, is a good thing.

So maximise the benefits of this positivity: walk to meetings where possible; take a stroll at lunchtime so you can re-energise; and generally get out! We Brits know the sunshine won’t last for ever so make the most of it whilst it’s here.

Fiona 🙂