55. Business Growth Essentials With Kevin Gammie
TRANSCRIPTION: THE CUSTOMER-CENTRIC SHOW PODCAST
with Mel Telecican (Customer-Centric Coach)
Episode 55. Business Growth Essentials With Kevin Gammie
Hi there Mel Telecican here, I wanted to say before we start a very big thank you for those of you listening and a very big thank you to my fantastic guests as well. We are not up to episode 55 which is pretty exciting. Started back in June last year and now we are averaging anything between 900 and a 1000 listeners within a week of publishing an episode and that doesn’t happen easily. It happens because people choose to share their wisdom with other business owners and with that I am really grateful and I am sure you listeners are and I am sure also our audience. So I am very grateful for you tuning in and I guess we are making that step and taking the time out to listen and be thinking about your business in a different way and listening to different perspectives based on people specialties whether that be strategy web content, leadership productivity or the different angles that we come at from on the show because the customer centric show is more than just talking about customer service, it is about looking all angles. So thank you to my listeners and thank you to our fantastic guests as well. I wanted to quickly mention something that people ask me pretty regularly if I am going to networking events they often ask me what I do and I tell them I have a podcast and their next question is oh really okay what is it that you do that for and truthfully the reason why I do it is because I love learning from other people and I made the mistake of starting my restaurant business going into it with lots of energy and heart and prepared to go ends with it to get stuff done and I realized that we need to be constantly learning from others. The world is changing. The customer needs and desired are changing and we really need to be on top of what is out there and what is working right now and book are fantastic and I have got plans to write a book. I guess the best thing about podcasts is that you get really up to date information that’s working for people in their businesses right now or they are helping other people do this in their businesses right now. These are recent successes. These are things working in the market as we sort of speak. So like I said I am very fortunate to be meeting with people who are super passionate about what they do. They got legitimate excellent results and they come highly recommended and I investigate them thoroughly to make sure that they are worthy of being on the show because the worst thing I would imagine is that we would be bringing information that’s false or blown up to be something that it is actually not and so I work really hard to make sure that it doesn’t happened and so you are getting really valuable information that’s actually going to do something for your business so thanks for tuning in I really appreciate it. Hope you enjoy this episode with Kevin. Let’s get into it.
You are listening to the customer centric show with Mel Telecican where we talk with successful business owners and experts to share smart ways to attract more customers, profits and freedom by thinking about customers first. Now, here is your host Mel Telecican.
Mel: My guest on the show today is Kevin Gammie because I have seen him as an advocate for small business. He has built an active community of business owners who come together to ask questions, promote their business and to help each other too. But it wasn’t always like this. Originally he was an accountant, consulting salesman and state manager in fortune 500 business as well as small and midsize organizations but he started his first small business in 1999. Like many others the GFC though nearly wiped him out and so with 15 people on the books, 15 staff and losses in 2009 and 2010 set him reeling so he discovered at that time that small business owners were receiving consulting support that was much more suited for big business that is just been re-packaged for small business. It didn’t suit small business so he sat out to create a better service to help small business owners. So growth mentors became a reality and since its inception has helped grow many small businesses. Today we are going to learn about many of those successes. We are meeting together face to face at Kevin’s office. So hope you enjoy the show let’s get into it. Thanks for joining me. Good to have you on the show.
Kevin: Thanks for having me.
Mel: We always start out show by talking about example of a customer centric business. What is yours Kevin?
Kevin: In reality I don’t think the demise of masters is anything rather un-expected because at the end of the day earning just helps customers service because you go in they have what they are looking for, if they don’t then they don’t get in. I recently was at Walmart and we got a smallest patch of grass in the road so we just wanted battery of that from Walmart. So we found one and it bit of tired us as well I found one that was in the package and it was a promotional item out at my local store. They were just waiting and patiently asking the right questions until they started calling out the other stores to find one. The next day they called me out to let me know it was there and also to be able to come and pick it out. The story doesn’t end here though. I managed to somehow in assemble, so I took the model back. They didn’t question me about how on earth that useless and not able to do that. They just said hey lets replace that with just long one and I said really? They just look what it will do is that but also the whole time they were focused on how we can help. It wasn’t no we cannot and go away but many times I had similar things and I am not best man in the world so the things I do is first and they were very helpful, patient and when it comes to service it is fantastic. The product knowledge of their people was great and that was one of the main challenges with masters is that the people were walking in and those were the habit of just not know what talking about if they could find them.
Mel: I have to say I experienced exactly the same. We are having to return things after Christmas but the wrong set of lights. There was no questions about it and yes sure go get if you need and get the credit and it made it really easy for me and I guess that’s the nature of their business too. They are such a large business. They are going to have people in every shape and size in terms of mobility or not and so they are obviously been brief but that’s how they do it minimize friction and get people back again.
Kevin: And nothing to hassle. That’s what we love about it. Like so often when there is a problem with customer experience, it become tense and hassle. Other than that that’s a different approach and not hassle and we help you with that.
Mel: Good stuff. Which store was it?
Kevin: The one over Debian but also we go Stafelado.
Mel: Yeah okay great. Thanks for sharing that. Now I am sort of giving the intro into the difficult time you experienced having all the recruitment and there is decent glory days before that.
Kevin: Yeah a lot of fun as well.
Mel: Yeah so in 2009 impact was being felt couple of years after the states really started shaking and that was the difficult time and yeah talk us through that story.
Kevin: Sure. With the financial crisis we haven’t had anything like that really since 30s. We had few downtowns but wasn’t on the global scale and everybody felt that we would be resilient and it would bounce and we had 15 staff going into the financial crisis. One thing that happens when that occurred is people stopped recruiting. So when you got 15 staff and large office sitting around the Queens Street Mall in Brisbane which is up there in the most expensive real estate in the country. It doesn’t really help. So you try to make that and we made huge losses and we held onto the staff way too long and we made a lot of mistakes and we do learn from the mistakes. That’s the good thing. The wash up was that we did have to eventually let go all the staff and re-build the business and in re-building the business we focused more on the accounting market believing that with different taxes accountants would make accountants. Unfortunately what happened over the re-build of their businesses, they off shored a lot of their work and so there wasn’t the bounce in that market that we expected, three years after the financial crisis seeing there and looking at the business we now had and I couldn’t see a role that I wanted to have in that particular business. We tried working with some business coaches and they were also business coaches in different situations and maybe I was a tough student. But the end result was the models were doing and creating more work that were potentially focused on long term when we were in survival mode. When you are looking at the different levels of maturity at a very basic level, you need survival mode. You need your next meal and that’s kind of where we were. We needed not to get out of survival mode and move up to a higher level of thinking but we needed to survive and all the models were being fed to us and all the things we are doing. We are giving us more work to do to staff that would pay off further down the track without filling jobs right now and it was then that I realized that the coaches were doing it and it didn’t understand the dilemma that we had and didn’t explain that well enough or didn’t have the models to help us and that’s when I wanted to create something to help business owners help themselves.
Mel: I have spoken to people who have create things out of their own personal experiences because I know especially when they can see that there is a market for it because there are others experiencing that same issues so are you saying that all of what you do is more short term or is that part of what you do?
Kevin: No I have worked with clients that are in-term plans and very much what I do is I help people get program I developed and it really helps people focus on their clients and bring a real center point of the fact that your business is huge so is your client’s needs and it really is about when you are building the business be focused on what your customers are looking for and if you do that you have got the basis of very strong business into the future.
Mel: Talking to lots of business coaches often their realization is there are lots of people believe that they know what their customers need. More perceived than accurate. Do you share that feeling?
Kevin: I think very few and small business owners are doing most things right and they are not far off but they just haven’t got that last piece of the puzzle and with that they are constantly frustrated with not achieving the results they are looking for. They are not sure exactly what they are trying to build which is pretty much I want to get away from not getting the results and try to improve your results that way. The challenge is that just like when you think of an animal you attack, it will run away far enough to feel safe and when it feel safe it will go back to see what the commercial is really about and goes back into danger and unfortunately business owners keep doing the same thing a lot of times.
Mel: So more reactive instead of pro-active is that what you getting at?
Kevin: Well I get people to have stake in the ground and say look this is where the business is going to go and this is how big we are going to be. I found small businesses can be very successful and somewhere between 30 and a 100 clients and they don’t really need any more than that if they choose the right ones. A lot of them survive and do very well and they fewer than that. A lot of focus on marketing sometimes is we just try to get our message out there and in essence you feel like you competing with the McDonalds of the world who want to just get their main message across everywhere. If you are looking for let’s say 50 clients then you don’t need that same marketing campaign. You can a lot more targeted what you doing but identifying who your customer really is and don’t be scared to keep right down to go this is exactly what my customer looks like. They are 38 years old. They run a small business. They are turning over half million dollars and they are looking to grow. That’s more typical avatar. There is a lot more to it but I can actually tell you their age. That way when they are marketing I can speak to that person.
Mel: Okay so you know where they are going to be and you use your time and you know what social media channels potentially going to be using all sort of stuff. So the business is the types of businesses that you usually work with are service based business aren’t they? And it is also the experience right the space that you come from. Okay great so there are a lot of people who are helping business in the service space. So what is it that you think differentiates you from other business coaches and other people with their fantastic courses, what is your differentiate? Do you mind sharing with me some more information that way?
Kevin: Sure. Because of my past experience I am finding out that there wasn’t anything specifically designed for small business owners so stuff that my previous coaches were delivering to me was combination of either life coaching thing and focusing just on me and I needed that or they were trying to get big business coaching models and bring them down. The challenge there was we didn’t have a big confident of staff so what I do rather than that is I help people identify exactly what they are trying to achieve so that we can start working out who they need to be to achieve that. When I say that we get really first awareness which is our first step. We utilize emotional intelligence in it so the same platform with emotional intelligence of becoming self-aware first and then becoming self-disciplined and then using social awareness to develop relationships. We put that into a business model. So we build a culture that is very aware of where the business is going. Part of that awareness is knowing exactly what we are trying to achieve and even if that’s 100,000 dollars great, if that’s a million dollars that’s also great but then once we also have time that they know exactly what they wanted to do to build that. We really get to find on the time and we really drill then down into who is it that you are trying to serve because when you know who you are trying to serve, you can be far more in marketing message but also you can change your strategies around your service levels to make sure that you are delivering in a way that is appealing to them and so by understanding who you are trying to picture your ideal is, then you can be far more precise in what you are trying to do for them. Once we have got that, we look our values they are looking for and rather than having personal businesses. those that do go out and decide the values they can have in business, they go for value they want to have in business. Instead of doing that we look at what values are your clients looking to or looking for a business that is like that. now you need to be authentic here. You cannot go and pick a series of those and go I am going to pretend to be those things. You have to have values that you are truly aligned with. So once we have got the awareness factor we then start moving on to the self-discipline and we create a character for the business that it can be and with that a series of standards to which it all go itself too. That way as your business grows, you actually being employing on the values but you will be operating as that particular character. You want to be consistent for your clients.
Mel: Can I ask a little bit more around businesses and character. So I heard one of my guest referred to that, they like to see their business as a genial. So friendly fun, bit of energy, that’s the thing and it sort of go through the rest of the staff. Is that the sort of thing that you are talking about?
Kevin: Yeah in a sense. It is a little bit more complex because we built tha character out of the values and so with that we come up with the number of different characteristics that the business needs to be and with those characteristics sort of come directly out of the values, we formulate an ideal stall person and it will be combination of ritual Steve Jobs and it could even be hey you like doctor people. So what part of their character related to value that stands out and then we have an outcome of those different characteristics that will become the character of business. So we just don’t become personal it is a bit more complicated than that.
Mel: Sure okay. So is there any example without business names that you can give up for us a little process you went through in establishing that?
Kevin: Well I have gone through a number and they have come from IT sectors. I have helped people around recruitment businesses completely changed the model of what they were doing after going through the process and that was discovery and awareness phase of what they are trying to achieve so different levels.
Mel: Okay so it doesn’t necessarily have to just personify one that can have the elements of the others based on the different values that you are looking to your people to the wider public.
Kevin: Yeah and I generally encourage all business to have between 5 or 7 values and so the character will be based on 5 to 7 different characteristics and the more imaginative, the client gets the more I can draw that out, the more fun we have with the end character of the business. Ultimately what we do once we have moved beyond the discipline phase we go into social awareness. We then start creating some benchmarks around those different characteristics. So we credit benchmark for each value that we have and this is how the business operates. The social awareness part of measuring and monitoring and making sure that we are upholding that and we are getting results we are looking and if not we go back re-work what they need to do.
Mel: So social awareness is what the market can say about you is that what you mean? In terms of how people perceive you and whether your message is being portrayed well.
Kevin: No it is in-action. So it is about advocacy which is really about effective efficiency. There is no point just being efficient because you could be doing the wrong thing. I know you are doing ways getting further away where you really trying to go. Unfortunately many small businesses find themselves being really efficient in what they do but they are not delivering in what their clients ultimately desire and so that leads to a lot of frustration. So what we do is through not just building that efficiency but building effectiveness that we are doing when our clients want us to do and whether that’s in marketing and we are attracting the right people and whether that’s delivery and the message that we are putting across as we are delivering that service. We keep measuring those different things. We are looking at things like loyalty. We are looking at referrals. We looking also that can we beat the average, beat the industry, beat the course of service we are delivering.
Mel: Okay so it starts off with the values then do up into the character and then into the social awareness is that right?
Kevin: Yeah so we are measuring other things that we are doing in-effective and then if we are doing that then we will know exactly what we need to do to achieve our starting point because the vision of business we get people to be sequel in that rather than picture them in the possible to say let's put the stake in the ground, lets achieve this so then at the end we are looking at and created some benchmarks and milestones we can go great. So how many of each of these do we need to get what we are achieving. As we get close to that vision people quite often get step up it up and out and go from higher vision. In reality you don’t have to have that vision of where you are going at the end point right from the very start. You can only see the horizon so I encourage people okay so pick the point on the horizon of what we are trying to get to and then build from there.
Mel: Okay great. So what I see is there is a lot of people who understand that they need to create these or to be able to identify what those goals are in the short term rather than big picture. But what is it that is the obstacle for them being able to do it themselves and say the benefit of bringing someone in like yourself to be able to persistent that process because sometimes it appears is as though we can definitely do it ourselves. What would you say is the reason that people do have more effectiveness with the coach onboard?
Kevin: Well it is funny because when I think of any sporting team, then need a coach and even if anyone playing tennis or any other sport and even if they are ranked 200 in the world, we would expect that person has a coach because that’s their livelihood and when it comes to our business with a lot of people then start thinking that only people in trouble need a coach or a mentor instead of thinking hey this is our livelihood and somebody with a first set of advice who can help us I know that I did lots of really dumb stuff throughout the month and I catch up with my mentor every month and I make sure we chat about what stand and he will give me some things to do, he will make sure that I have done that next time we caught up and then we talk about different stuff so we got someone who can reflect back and help hold that mirror up and shine on some of those things and sometimes sit there and go oh I see that was so obvious and it is just the time and space and unfortunately we get busy being busy sometimes rather than busy doing things that we really need to accomplish.
Mel: Great okay now I know you have mentioned to me some case studies of business that you have been able to get off the ground using this methodology. Have we gone through the bulk up methodology so far or we step into it bit further?
Kevin: That’s really about creating really sharp awareness and focus of what we are trying to attain and understanding the gaps of where we are today to what that is. Once we have got that, it isn't about building that self-discipline of getting that what do we need to actually get there and the final part is that social awareness and that advocacy of understanding okay so we are going to act in certain way. We are going to do those different things. What is working for us and what is not and have that social awareness? Go back and fix the things that are on and that’s really our relationship management and that’s really part of social awareness.
Mel: Great. If you can give us some examples of how you have helped some of those businesses. I guess the realization that they had is feedback to you too.
Kevin: A lot of this around we hope some businesses identify different programs and services that are very closely aligned to what they are already doing that they would just ignore in and that’s become a huge bonus for them. One of my clients in recruitment we helped them. A couple of clients have been asking about particular offering in relation to helping them ultimately manage some staff for them and first though thinking that’s client of a new sense and we realized there is some value in that and we through some explanation we created within 3 weeks a pilot and through talking to half a dozen key clients my recruiter had developed a product that is already earning 75000 dollars a year for her. So that will probably end up being more consistent and generating more revenue than her recruitment practice. The trust she is able to get from that is enabled this other product.
Mel: Yeah and it is still changing again. Recruitment is more competitive I guess than ever now. So for them to have another revenue stream is going to be essential.
Kevin: And far more stable. Recruitment is typically not a very stable thing. You can be competing with a lot of other recruiters on a particular job. You do get paid a good fee when you win a job but you can be competing against a lot of other people.
Mel: So definitely that area of business have to be on their toes because then it is constantly changing and highly competitive. So I want to ask you customer experience. Customer experience is a bit of a buzzword at the moment. It is very valuable and I want to know what your perspective of it. What do you see your customer experience as?
Kevin: Delivery actually have nothing to do with customer experience. Customer experience is how your customer feels from what they have experienced. So from that perspective that’s where understanding specifically your ideal clients really kicks in because the more you understand your ideal client the more you relate to your ideal client the greater appreciation you are going to have of typically of what they should feel from the experience or service you delivered and if there is something that comes back then you should be more tuned to that and that will help you advance and keep improving of what you are delivering. If there is a mistake in the process that led to less consistency and how you are delivering that.
Mel: Yeah that makes sense. So do you have any tips of how people can monitor this successive of what they are doing or delivering their product?
Kevin: Yeah it is around creating the right benchmarks so if you know even if it was just in your sales process, if you know it typically takes so many either ads to convert a client or so many coffee meeting to convert a client and at the end of each one sitting back and reviewing what you have done and having that awareness that okay I understand why this went well and I can understand why this didn’t go well I left this part of the process out.
Mel: So that reflection is really important isn't it? And tracking like you said the amount of time given what you could be doing to optimize a conversation so that still is not pushy but it still has the outcome you are looking to achieve so you can continually improve it.
Kevin: Absolutely and it could even be that you have may notice that you have seen down having a lot of coffee with people who aren’t ready for you at this point in time and that will help you tight mark the market that you are looking to have coffee with and the more that we know we are wanting to have coffee with the more we just tend to run into them.
Mel: Yeah I think you absolutely carefully have to be thinking about that and it might be networking events that you are going to and perhaps a trial in error right because it might not have the success initially that you are looking to achieve. Doesn’t mean write it off straight away.
Kevin: Absolutely I promise you my advertisement changed dramatically over last three years in relation to doing what I do. I am very passionate about helping small business and I do that though the small business community. At the same time not everyone in the community is someone that I would ultimately is my ideal client. In fact a lot of those businesses are not at the stage of where they want to afford any coaching services. It means obviously we are looking to have coffee meetings that’s the staff needs to be people who can benefit from what I am looking for them to help up with.
Mel: Yeah just have to think the process through just to save yourself time and energy that we expect.
Kevin: At times limited. We get 168 hours a week. We got to fit it and our family and the new got to work.
Mel; Yeah great. So can you share with me some success stories in terms of that you helped facilitate in terms of client or client engagement?
Kevin: Yeah absolutely it was the recruit that we talked about. There is another client that I have been working with has developed a cloud based application. He helps people link up different cloud based solutions so they will work together through working with me over 6 month program. He was starting up and only was 3 months off when we first started doing that and he very quickly understood what he needed to do was develop a program that he can plug different systems into that would do the sorting automatically so that he didn’t have to go and re-program staff instantly. His experience was he has been all focused about his business. He knew what he wanted because his clients were coming to him. That was his big challenge that rather than having long lead time if we developed a right program right from the very start then he was able to be more effective and more efficient in dealing with these clients so he was really focused on the end result. Not knowing what question they are going to come to so we didn’t just become a specialist in I just hooked up these couple of package that could be much broader and therefore services his clients.
Mel: Hmm so really listening to what their issues and if there is a reputation in what those issues are then there is potentially another option for you in terms of product or service. Excellent now I know you have got a lot of experience in this space having been in recruitment but I do love to know what your suggestions are and what sort of input you have too for the business you work with as to how you should be selecting their team. I feel like I already know the answer. It is value based right.
Kevin: Absolutely and look I have made every mistake in the world in this one. I have recruited people who are really good at their job with no longer wanted to work in at that stage recruitment and the greater your job you surely just could be in the environment you are in and they come over and they will perform because they just didn’t enjoy the process and they didn’t get the buzz out of what they are doing. These days I talk to clients about half the value. Make sure that you understand what the values of business are so you can ask the right questions to see if the person you are interviewing shares those values because you can always train someone to do your job but if somebody doesn’t have the same value, you can’t train someone to have your values and so it is through giving them the right scenarios where they can display to you that they do share those values the ones that you have, the ones that we created for your ideal business before then it makes it really simple. The more time you spend in understanding what the values of those business are, the easier it is going to be. Do they fit those values or not. If they fit the values they will fit your team.
Mel: Right. So questioning is important isn't it? And I think talking to people and from my personal experience I would say that it is I know what I am looking to achieve but I haven’t really mapped out the questions correctly. So is that another case of trial and error in your approach? Do you look at the questions you are asking or do you bring someone into help you create that? What do you suggest?
Kevin: Absolutely and you don’t have to bring in a coach or mentor into this sort of thing. You need to be speaking to even your partner and say look this is what I am trying to get people to help. I was thinking I need to ask questions that were going to help them show and display significance in that so it is good to have mix of situations where they can draw from past experience but it is also good to give them and let them make something out from scratch. Don’t let them be overly theoretical in their answer but well placed off. Because in that situation they need to think on their feet. You are not going to do over with the client that’s on the front saying I got a problem. You need to solve that problem or potential lose your customer. So having a combination or roleplays asking experience how they would go. If they taking too long to answer questions, dig down and find out little bit more. Make sure that they are being honest in that situation. By the time you even employ someone you don’t get that chance again and you invest a lot of time and investment when somebody first comes along. Not just time in your training but that’s time you are taken away from doing your job. So that’s making the business slow down. So it is really critical.
Mel: So if you are not someone who is comfortable with role playing, you suggest that you put yourself in that position regardless because of the impact it can have just asking questions.
Kevin: Now earlier on we talked about building the character of the business in the recent workshop one of the people just started calling that character but with that and so in that stage when you are interviewing you need to be Bruce. You need to be that character you had for the company. You need to go what would Bruce do? What would he be looking for in someone? Even if you are not the employee of the business you still not the business. There was legal case back in 1996 and it was proven that person that gets two particular things and if a person doesn’t get from this particular show, that’s a great to get from that. because when a business is going great that’s fantastic. That’s because you set the right things in motion. But when the business is struggling it is because you haven’t set the right things in motion. It is not because you are a bad business person. It is not you, it is the things that you are doing quite right just yet.
Mel: So really comes into clarity and value. You really have to look at that, re-visit that and that way mapping everything out going forward because then when things do happen and life gets tough, the business gets tough so two separate things then you much more equipped to separate yourself.
Kevin: And it is much easier to turn a business around if you are not the business because when the time is tough you start to carry away the world on your shoulder but if businesses tough and you look out and go hey the business needs to change some stuff, you don’t have to carry that way. It really doesn’t mean you are not going to worry about. Financial challenges happen in business time to time and that sort of stuff but at the same time you can see that the business can change. So it is not a personal issue anymore.
Mel: Yeah good advice I think. That’s definitely really important. Now let’s talk about business freedom. Because you are talking there. We are having a chat about how if things go poorly. Let’s say things are going well but you can’t seem to get any time back like to be able to run business sometimes it can feel as though it is just a constant work and that’s just you are on the wheel and that’s how it rolls. So what is your suggestions for how we can allow ourselves more freedom?
Kevin: That’s a perfect time. You need to just stop for a second. Everyone has heard the same. It is about taking time to stop and look at how you are doing the right things and here is where actually understanding exactly what you are trying to achieve rather than just growing. Because you will know am I attracting more clients? Ami I attracting more business then you need to stop and know what is my ideal clients really looking and when you start doing that and you not just getting busy, you are looking for am I getting results on that desiring every process of the step. Recently did a Facebook campaign rather than going I didn’t get the desired result so I got people on my course not out of my Facebook campaign? Now a lot of people just go Facebook was broken, that marketer he was crap or whatever else. If you are going to be self-aware about it, you need to look at what part of the process is broken and break it down into what didn’t work this time rather than it doesn’t work and being frustrated with it. Break it into a process. So from that perspective you know I spoke to the marketer and he was helping me and he said look we got some really great engagement and from a fairly cross section people just didn’t click through the very end. So with that we know that we can still use that same lead magnet in the future time but we need to then build some extra steps in place to build the trust between myself and them and so they are happy to click through and come along to a program.
Mel: Excellent. It is about not throwing everything out but actually tweaking things having a look where the friction in the process and removing that and yeah excellent.
Kevin: Absolutely. So and taken that back to the whole business, if you got just a couple of key benchmarks that you have and not financial ones, let’s put that aside at the moment. But do you have the right customer loyalty. Are you getting results you are looking at in all different areas of your business? Then what you can do is you can continually become more effective and efficient at producing the result that you are trying to say. It is called advocacy. In my book there is a chapter and I was going to call it wtf advocacy because it is not something that we talk about. People always talk about being efficient and efficient isnt really great. You need to be more effective too.
Mel: So by doing that, that’s what going to allow you to have more freedom and step back and work on your business or just get away from it.
Kevin: Absolutely. One of the principles I have is life is all about balance and at the end of the day it is not about work like balance thing but it is about putting all things. You only got one life to live so you need to look after all the different components in your life. You need to put it together and it needs to work in harmony otherwise it is not going to work at all. You wouldn’t have a filling life unless you look after all the limits of your life.
Mel: And being able to share that and it is very easy to be able to focus on the business and ignore the others thinking that they will always be there and we know that’s not always the case. You mentioned loyalty before. What do you think is more important for service based businesses who you are working with? So obviously there is a component of needing new clients but what would you say? Do you have an opinion whether tension and accusation is more important?
Kevin: You need both. At some point in time if you have the most loyal clients in the world and something happen in their world they stop being the client and that time if you are relying on them being majority of your business and you live that then you going to put your business out at risk. What I am a great fan of is creating a sustainable business and a business that can basically operate long term without you. If you are looking for business that continue operation then you have asset to sell at the end of the day. Then you need to create the process and systems that are going to keep bringing people to you because things will happen to some of your clients. At that stage you need to have other people coming onboard and so out of the habit of bringing people onboard and servicing new clients then when you find yourself in that situation where you need new clients you all of a sudden know how to get new clients. So much longer and much complicated process. You can say hey for a moment I am not just looking for new clients. You may be able to find different ways where you can outsource some of that work.
Mel: Yeah but sometimes opportunity knock and it can be very hard to turn business away but if that means that things are going to fall apart in some capacity is important to say look I don’t. We cannot do it at this point to whoever. I cannot direct you to this or yeah just for your own piece of mind. You can consistently deliver what you need to. Now let’s talk about profitability, you got accountancy background so I do love your insight into which common areas business owners tend to miss when they are looking to do that? is there any obvious spots that you can see businesses overlook or is it looking for other product avenue like you are mentioning before with other client?
Kevin: It can be a bit of that. I actually think a lot of challenges that a lot of small business have is that we like imposter sometimes. The imposter syndrome is talking that in social media in different things at the moment. We kind of looking over shoulder and going hey where they are going to work out that? Better scenario is to have confidence and create process so that you can built the confidence so one of the things is that everything that you are great at today when you first doing you probably sucked at. Even when we started talking about this. You would try and that’s all think. It is a matter of doing the stuff that we don’t like. One of the things that I talk about with a lot of prospects is the full levels of thinking that really go to dramatic improvement and it is really continually adding those things to make you comfortable. They are not easy for you. If everything you do in a week you feel absolutely confident with that. People love the effect that you are trying new things you don’t like and your clients would appreciate the fact that you are trying to grow and that’s a sign that you are continually growing and evolving and doing.
Mel: Yeah I like that so you are giving yourself permission to try things and extend yourself. So when you do things like that do you suggest letting people knowing that? I know the IT area in tech development, that’s very clear on that. Does it transfer to other industry?
Kevin: Yeah. In what I do, when I run workshops initially, I still charge for the initial workshops but always give money back guarantee. What I do for the first one is I give a significant discount to come along do the workshop. Hey first time we are running it and with that instead of costing one over, it will cost a fraction of that. Hey if it is completely crap I will give you all your money back and I find that feedback is always ends up being quite good even if it may bad. Quite often people don’t notice the wonkiness of it. It is just you gotta suck, suck and succeed hah.
Mel: Yeah I like that it is great and that transparency is key to it isn't it, being clear on your intentions. This is what we are trying to achieve and if you don’t achieve it then this is what I would do to take care of that essentially.
Kevin: Yeah it is about being on the edge of comfort zone. Years ago when I bought little sports car there was Honda and he used to hire race track for us and when they are talking to us at the day look don’t drive at the very edge of your capability. If it comes 10% it doesn’t mean you keep your safe. It will keep your just little bit more alert so you are not sending your car off the race track.
Mel: Yeah but that’s a great analogy right. So write it off and keep it at the safety but extend yourself but otherwise where is the fun in it right?
Mel: Okay now let’s talk about reading business books. Have you read anything like that’s left you feeling inspired and ready to leap into action.
Kevin: Recently I was travelling and at there I picked up a book called emotional intelligence. It is by Traverse and Jean Graves and it is awesome. It is a book you could read in weekend. That actually give you a free emotional intelligence test at the end of it which actually then build strategies with how you can life your emotional intelligence. That being one of the key predictors to your success. Emotional intelligence is something that we can work on and we can constantly and it can go backwards. So it is one those things that gave you really practical advice on things to focus on and it just simplifies process. These guys have PhDs but they speak global people which is fantastic.
Mel: Yeah okay so emotional intelligence 2.0 fantastic. Tell us a little bit more about your book I know you have got coming out in coming months.
Kevin: Yes I have called it finding and crap line because I don’t like that doesn’t help at. But we can call that if it still work on progress. In relation to that it gives you process to work you through to create the awareness of what you are trying to achieve with your business to then select the values that you looking to select and then you can initial their right. So you actually go through the process to creating that awareness so you can then create platform of discipline that you can operate within your business. It helps you build the right culture. If you look at a lot of large business takes at the moment, it is all about culture is king and you got to improve your cultures. We talk about google but the big IT brands is taking over the world. It is a bit of a shame that people aren’t talking about what happens in normal business. Business that isn't internet based or mass market. That’s where structure is absolutely critical and even if it is just you, you need to uphold the culture that your business. You wouldn’t be able to get to that next stage so what we do is we build a framework for you to absolutely go and create that within your business and framework that you can then use to start creating the right systems and processes within your business. So it is really quite exciting development.
Mel: Yeah it is and I know better business that small business to be better positioned to actually crate that. It is so much easier on us more scale to be able to create workplace that you are looking to give out for the business.
Kevin: We can change the business in heartbeat. It really is consistency too and this is a process that help remind you build that consistency. Part of it is open and encourage people to do motivational post all around the values that they have and create those and leave that in front of them. So then they call themselves to account. I have been sitting in my kitchen because it is best feel of the house and so they are right in front of me all the time and so I catch myself hearing to the value I can give myself quick uppercut rather than just finding out that I am not setting clients.
Mel: Yes I like the idea of putting into your own language because clothes can be fantastic and they can resonate with us. It is going to be something that people corporate in your language more easily.
Kevin: Yeah and cool thing is that one of my clients and into the office and he said this one and I had cool and this is about exploring taking adventurous approach and exploring the unknown and he said it has got nothing to do with that Kevin. I said oh so I explained what I trying to get and he said what I just put is curiosity I said okay fantastic. Let’s get instant feedback as to that and then it get so hung up on things that you have created in the past. If it is not working then it is not working and so that was really good example of that.
Mel: Okay so the books coming up. Is there anything else that you are working on at the moment that you want to share with us? And also if you can give all your links where people can find and follow you?
Kevin: Sure. In data testing of workshops around my book hah. Basically we are doing 2 day kick start programs with that. So next month we are putting that together. We already run one and got fantastic feedback but that wasn’t feedback and stuff that we need to improve as well. So please look out for that. My website is gorwthandmentors.com.au and Brisbane small business which is great small community for small business owners that will encourage to get on there and share in information to help each other out. It is one that’s built on respect and inclusion so it doesn’t matter if you belong to minority group or not. A small business owners we are all together in that. So with that we encourage people to when they are promoting anything to make sure it is still inclusive. That you don’t exclude people and do stuff just for guys or girls or any other minorities.
Mel: Okay great so it is part of you incrementally creating expo and other things.
Kevin: Yeah there will be expo. Just working on couple of things to displace or stuff coming out from that.
Mel: Excellent we will share that on our Facebook. Kevin excellent talking to you today about what we need to be doing to make sure that we are on track in terms of values and insight into emotional values too because it is become prevalent and it is not going away. It is scientifically proven so it is been great chatting with you. We will have to tap back in when the book is out and the workshops are done.
Kevin: Absolutely thank you so much for the opportunity.
Mel: Well that was the interview with Kevin Gammie at his office growth mentors and after that interview I went back and had a look at my ideal customers and business avatar and they definitely needed a re-work and I think that was probably because I made them a good year ago and they do need to be something that you re-visit I think. Especially if you are not 100% confident on what they are so thanks to Kevin, definitely got me looking back at my business more closely. So in addition being able to put values on your own words, I have done that too so cheers to Kevin for that. Now that interview was packed. There is a lot of things in there. I think the biggest take away for me was also the need to feel a little bit uncomfortable and that is a good place to be so that we can keep on growing and moving forward and that transparency with our clients is key to that. So great to be have onboard for today’s episode. Hope you enjoyed it. A little plug please. I am keen to get out rating on iTunes in the iTunes category under business because I truly believe at the beginning of the episode in the great value that my guest are providing. So if you can help us out by giving us a rating or review on iTunes that would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much and I will see you next week.
Thanks for listening to the customer centric show. For additional smart ways to attract more customers, profits and freedom, head on over to the website www.customercentricshow.com.
Business Growth Essentials
Kevin Gammie was my choice for the show because I see him as an advocate for small business. He’s built an active community of business owners who come together to ask questions, promote their business and assist each other. It wasn’t always like this though… Kevin started his first small business in 1999. He worked as an accountant, consulting salesman & State Manager in Fortune 500 Businesses as well as smaller and mid-size organisations. Like many others, the GFC nearly wiped out his business. With 15 staff in a recruitment firm, the losses in 2009-2010 set him reeling. Four years later, after the successful sale of that business, Growth Mentors became a reality. Growth Mentors has helped grow many small businesses and in this episode we learn what it is that we need to do to achieve successful and sustainable growth.
*** This Episode is brought to you by Brandstrong – an affordable graphic design service to make getting your designs done easily and affordably. The Customer Centric Show listeners can access an exclusive offer, and save $50 per month off the Business Class plan, for the first 6 months. Simply go to www.brandstrong.co/customercentric and on checkout, use the code CENTRIC ***
During my conversation with Kevin he shares:
- His experience as a small business owner (including the GFC)
- The importance of recognising the need to focus on either survival mode vs growth mode
- Emotional Intelligence for business explained
- How to identify our ideal customers in detail
- Why we may need to re-think our business values
- The need for efficacy to ensure we stand-out in our market
- Case studies of successes related to a focus on knowing client avatar and social awareness
- Tips for how to recruit the right people
- The need for reflection on current practices
- How an ineffective marketing campaign can have great potential
- Some tips for how to ensure we remain true to our business values
- Why we shouldn’t rely on existing clients’ business; and
- Why we need to feel ‘uncomfortable’ in our business
Kevin’s Example Of A Customer-Centric Business
- Bunnings – Albion & Stafford Stores for their helpfulness, patience and product knowledge
Selected Links For This Episode
- Brisbane Small Business facebook page
- Kevin’s book of choice – Emotional Intelligence 2.0
- Kevin’s business – Growth Mentors
“I find a lot of small businesses can be very successful in somewhere between 30 and 100 clients and they don’t really need many more than that if they choose the right ones” Kevin Gammie
“If you’re only looking for, say 50 clients, then you don’t need (an enormous) marketing campaign, you can be a lot more targeted at what you’re doing” Kevin Gammie
“By understanding who your ideal client is, then you can be far more precise in what you’re trying to do for them” Kevin Gammie
“ You can always train someone to do a job but if somebody doesn’t have the same values, you can’t train someone to have your values” Kevin Gammie
On separating ourselves from our business “It’s much easier to turn a business around if you’re not the business. Because when times are tough, you start to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. If business is tough and you can look at it and say ‘the business needs to change’, you don’t have to carry that weight. It doesn’t mean you don’t worry, but at the same time you see the business can change” Kevin Gammie
“If everything you do in a week, you feel absolutely competent at, I challenge you to find something to keep you a little bit uncomfortable…It won’t be perfect but your clients will appreciate that you’re continually trying to grow. It’s a sign that you will be profitable in the future because you’re continually growing and evolving what you’re doing ” Kevin Gammie
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