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  • Mon, November 20, 2017 10:05 AM | Billy R. Williams, PhD. (Administrator)

    I am going to keep it real with you based on 15 years of investing in agencies and helping agents to grow their business.

    1.    I have never seen a struggling captive agent, become a successful independent agent. The issues that keep an agent from being successful as a captive (poor time management, lack of staff accountability and control, weak marketing and prospecting practices, weak use of available technology, etc.) don’t suddenly go away when an agent goes independent, in fact because of the amount of carriers you have to keep happy, they usually get worse.

    2.    The basic operations of running an insurance agency are the same regardless of being captive or independent. You have to:

    • market and prospect for customers on a consistent basis,
    • quote, sell, and bind based on what’s best for the customer, not just price
    • effectively utilize technology to communicate, track information and records, and manage your data,
    • have set processes that the entire team is responsible for consistently performing,
    • have a pay structure that rewards consistency and success and has built-in repercussions for not following the agency’s processes and standards,
    • hire staff that does what you need them to do, the way they are supposed to do it, and not just do what they want to do.
    • have a leadership style that creates a culture of positivity, success, and accomplishment in the agency and that holds staff accountable for consistent processes and actions (This is the umpteenth time I have used some form of the word consistent. That should tell you something!)
    • be self-disciplined enough to outsource tasks and roles that are important for the success of the agency, but that you are not willing to do or hold someone else accountable for doing

    3.    Success is not based on the number of carriers you can offer a prospect or customer, or the cheapest price you can get them for insurance. Trust me, the rates are not all that different from captive to independent carriers

    4.    The same issues that cause an agent to struggle or fail as a captive are only magnified as an independent

    5.    In summary: You have to commit to becoming a really good agency leader in order to succeed as an independent agency owner. If you just want to be able to sell more insurance policies, get a job as a producer in an independent or captive agency, and avoid the agency owner headaches.

    6.    If you want to commit to becoming a good agency leader with the focus of building a great insurance agency with effective, consistent processes that would make it easy for you to acquire or merge an outside book of business into your operations, our mentoring program will work for you.

    7.    If you are not mentally or emotionally ready to take on the challenges I have explained, joining Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring, will only waste your time and money.

    Dr. Billy R. Williams

    President – Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring & Williams Family Investment Group

    www.inspireanation.org

    “Wealthy people make complicated things seem simple; Most poor people make simple things unnecessarily complicated”

    Billy R. Williams, Ph.D.


  • Mon, November 13, 2017 12:30 PM | Billy R. Williams, PhD. (Administrator)

    A Wealth Building Recipe for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

    By Billy R. Williams, Ph.D.

    President, Williams Family Investment Group and Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring - www.inspireanation.org

    The recipe I am about to explain is simple enough that most people can at least put some of it in place and start increasing their small business owner wealth.

    Ingredients

    • 1-   cup of Passion

    1-cup of a Product that Benefits a lot of People

    1-cup of Profitability

    1-cup of Good Accounting Practices

    2-cups of Marketing and Prospecting

    3-cups of Savings and Investment Plan

    Industry thought leaders rarely talk about the motivations behind being in business, but today I want to discuss the exact reason most entrepreneurs become entrepreneurs in the first place, to build wealth.

    Wealth means owning an asset that consistently grows in value, and that you can one day sell at that increased value, or leverage the value to acquire more assets and wealth.

    I am going to give you one of the recipes you can use to build wealth.

    There are many ways to prepare a meal and a multitude of ingredients that you can use, and just like preparing a meal, there are various techniques you can use to build wealth.

     

    Small Business Owner Wealth Recipe


    1.   The first ingredient is Passion.

    Build your business around something you are passionate about and you will never feel bored or disinterested in your business. Even if you can’t modify your product, you can target a niche or group that is in-line with your passion. For example, an insurance agent that is passionate about fishing could target boat owners or people with homes on the lake.

     

    2. The second ingredient is a product or service that benefits a lot of people, or, a specific niche that can purchase enough to make your business profitable.

    Your product or service has to add value to people’s lives or you are just selling snake oil. If your product doesn’t lend itself to a large audience, you must have a niche or demographic that is willing and capable of spending the amount of money necessary for you to operate a profitable business. Including an influential network of professionals that can refer your target prospect can make this part of the recipe much easier to prepare.


    3. The next ingredient in the recipe if profitability

    If you spend more money on the cost of delivering goods and services and labor than you make when you sell your product or service, it will be impossible for you to build wealth. This ingredient should have a supporting ingredient called “Accounting Practices”. Good accounting practices will allow you to track the profitability of your business and make good financial decisions that will keep your wealth building goals cooking along. Good accounting practices will track labor cost, cost of goods and services, operating cost, taxes, and a few other things. At Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring (@Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring) www.inspireanation.org, we recommend that you hire an accountant or an accounting firm as soon as financially possible. A good accountant is a part of your wealth building recipe.


    4. Next, take your passion, products, services you sell, profitability and accounting practices, and mix them with consistent, repeatable, reproducible processes, conversations, operations, and technology.

    Consistency is the key to reproducing any great dish. If you constantly throw new flavors and ingredients into the mix, no one knows what to expect when they bite into the meal. Sometimes it will be good and sometimes it will taste like crap. This inconsistency will cause people to avoid the meal.

    Lack of consistent processes, conversations, technology, and accountability tools will not only cause people to not take a chance on you, they will tell other people to not take a chance on you either by giving you negative online and offline reviews. If you are afraid to ask your customers to write an online review because you are afraid of what they might say . . . your processes and accountability suck, and building wealth will be virtually impossible.


    5. Next, increase the heat by hiring employees with the skill sets you need to reproduce your passion, processes, and actions.

    You will rarely if ever find employees that share your passion, but if you properly train them and hold them accountable for mimicking the processes and operations that happen within your business, the customer will have an above average experience when dealing with your employees. Consistent training and accountability will establish a business culture that will enhance your wealth-building goals.


    6. While all of the ingredients mentioned above are simmering, you will need to grab another pot for the next ingredients: Marketing and Prospecting.

    Without marketing and prospecting, like bread that never rises, your wealth building recipe will fall flat. At Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring (@Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring) www.inspireanation.org, we recommend that you start your marketing and prospecting with local search result marketing (SRM) and search engine optimization (SEO) of your website, landing pages, blogs, social networking profiles, etc. If you don’t know what you are doing, pay a 3rd party that does know what they are doing to handle this part of the meal. It is the same principle as having different types of chefs in a professional kitchen.

    The marketing messages that explain your products and services should be simple and direct to the point. If you can’t quickly and effectively explain to a prospect how not having your product or service can be a detriment in certain situations, and exactly how having your product or service will add value in other situations, why would you expect someone to want to buy it?

    The special ingredients that go into the marketing and prospecting pot are referral partners and testimonials. These low cost, high flavor ingredients will spice up your wealth building recipe beyond your wildest expectations, and you can never add too much of them to the recipe.

    Your marketing and prospecting are much more effective when you are collecting contact data from interested prospects. Sub ingredients like web forms, conference calls, product hotlines, webinars, and more, are low cost and easy to add to the overall recipe. (Check out an Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring (@Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring) www.inspireanation.org, membership to learn many low costs, high ROI, easy to implement ways of marketing your insurance agency or small business)


    7. The final part of the recipe will be poured liberally over the entire dish. It is a good savings and investment plan.

    Let’s first look at the savings plan part of the dish. Your savings plan should follow a 20/10/70 savings order. 20% of your business net income (after taxes) should go into a savings account. The money in this account should not be easily accessible. 

    At Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring (@Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring) www.inspireanation.org, we recommend that you do not have a debit card associated with your business savings account. A debit card makes it too easy and convenient to pull money out of the account.


    The 20%

    The 20% can go into a business or personal savings account. (Yes, it will count as income if you put it in a personal account) Your initial goal is to be able to cover one year of living expenses. Again, do not make it easy to access this money. The funds in this account will be there in case of emergency, or, to take advantage of an opportunity such as acquiring a competitor, or purchasing assets that increase business value and wealth.


    The 10%

    The 10% will go to charitable endeavors such as religious focused organizations or local not-for-profit groups. I know you are saying why wouldn’t I just add that money to my savings or my operating expenses? There are two primary reasons: first, it allows you to keep a mental and emotional connection to helping others. Remember earlier I said your product or service should benefit a lot of people? It is important that you donate the money to an organization where you can immediately see your contributions working, such as the Salvation Army, Red Cross, local religious organization, or youth sports team. If you don’t see the immediate benefit of your donation, you will quickly stop donating.


    Scholarships

    Another awesome way to help the community while also branding your business is to sponsor a scholarship. By setting aside a measly 10% each pay period for charity, you can make a big difference in not only an individual’s life but your community as a whole. Not to mention the accolades and branding benefit within the community. Offering a quarterly scholarship to a deserving student or family will change lives.


    Discipline

    The second reason that you give to charity is that it helps to teach you the discipline of living below your income. You can’t build wealth if you are spending 100% or more of every dollar you make.

    I am a Christian so my 10% goes to tithes. I can promise you I see a huge ROI, and because of the church I attend, I see my money at work within the community. Whatever organization or group you consistently donate to, you will see benefits to your business by way of social currency, increased referrals, and increased business and individual branding.


    The Remaining 70%

    The main question that I get about this plan is “How do I run my business and pay my personal bills with 70%?” The answer is simple: run your business efficiently, keep unnecessary cost to a minimum, don’t have employees that don’t cover the cost of their employment. If they are following your processes and you are holding them accountable, they should be an asset, not a liability. 

    If your employees are a liability, you have given them bad processes to follow, or you are a poor leader and not holding them accountable for the processes that will help you build wealth. I know that sounds harsh, but that is the reality. If you are a bad or weak business leader, building wealth in your business will be nearly impossible.

    Personally, you must live within your means. The amount of money you bring into the house is a product of how you are running your business. If you want more money to spend, run a better business operation. Until you start to generate more business income you will have to keep your personal bills and expenses to a minimum. 

    You will have to use Netflix instead of packing the family up and going out for a $150.00 movie night. You will have to prepare your meals at home instead of spending $20 or $30 bucks a day at McDonalds and Starbucks, and you will have to keep revolving debt like credit and store cards to a minimum.

    When I first started my business, I lived in a two bedroom townhouse for 3 years, even though on paper I could have afforded to buy a house. We waited and saved until we could comfortably get the house we wanted.

    That is not to say I followed this plan to a T. In fact, I am writing this piece because I was reflecting with one of my mentees about the mistakes I have made about business and finances. The price we pay to gain wisdom and experience should be a cost you don’t have to pay. Always remove your ego and arrogance and listen to people that have walked the road you are heading down.

    In Conclusion

    There is a lot more that I could write but I will end it here. Even if you take one thing away from this article and start applying it to your business and life, you will see a benefit.

    Are you a small business that needs help and mentoring guidance? Check out Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring at www.inspireanation.org, or seek guidance one of your industry's thought leaders.


  • Sat, July 29, 2017 2:10 AM | Billy R. Williams, PhD. (Administrator)

    Being an insurance agent is an honorable and caring profession that can also be financially rewarding.

    Growing and operating a successful insurance agency requires that you have an assembly line of support, resources, and agency operations.

    Carrier(s) – Product(s) – Niche – Triggers – Prospect List(s) or Groups – Types of Marketing – Marketing Automation – Follow-Up Methods – Lead Tracking - New Customer Process – Service Processes – Retention Processes.

     

    Click here to listen to the free audio podcast of this blog post: http://bit.ly/agencyassemblyline 


    The assembly line starts with having access to carriers that provide the right products, at a reasonable price, for the niche audiences you cater to.

    Next on the assembly line is your understanding and recognition of the specific triggers that makes insurance important to a consumer.

    Examples of triggers include: buying an item that has a mandatory requirement for insurance such as a home or car, a change in income such as getting a promotion or losing a job, or something that makes a consumer have to look at their current insurance agent relationship such as filing a claim, or making a change to their policy.


    Need a step by step guide to growing a $10 Million Insurance Agency? Order it here: http://bit.ly/2uZMO5n


    The constant trigger that an insurance agency should use to their advantage is the expiration date of a current insurance policy. This is when consumers notice the rate increases that dominate today’s insurance market.

    Once you know your triggers, your next stop on the assembly line is to acquire a prospecting list and market to groups of consumers that match your niche and triggers.

    There are many ways to locate lists, you can buy them from list vendors, you can partner with other professionals that work with your niche prospect, you can even buy search engine result marketing that targets consumers searching online for your products and services.

    Regardless of the types of marketing you decide to use, marketing automation such as drip emails, permission based text messaging, automated dial technology, product hotlines, and other marketing automation, will make your marketing consistent and effective,


    Not sure what automation is best for your agency? Download or free Insurance Agency Automation Checklist: http://bit.ly/automationdownload


    Next on the assembly line is prospect follow-up. While you would think that following up with a prospect that has requested a quote wouldn’t be a concern, it is a major problem in most agencies. In fact, often, the better the marketing efforts of the agency, the worse the follow up practices.

    Most agencies depend on the self-discipline of sales and service staff to follow-up with prospects, when in reality they should rely on accountability and lead management software to help support the sales and service team.

    Accountability requires the use of established agency processes that can be trained, tracked, and measured.

    The insurance industry is flooded with lead management software, so finding a tool that you can afford and easily use is as simple as performing a Google search.


    Do you need set processes and accountability standards for your agency, but you are not good at training or holding your staff accountable? Check out the insurance agent mentoring services of Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring: www.inspireanation.org


    The final 3 stations of the assembly line are what separate great agents and agencies from average or below average agents and agencies.

    The New Customer Process: How you onboard a new customer establishes the culture and expectations of the relationship. If you do it right you will get additional sales, referrals, testimonials, and the customer will be happy and content.

    Do it wrong, and your customer will look at you, your products, and your services as another bill that they are forced to pay. At the first sign of a rate increase or issue with service, they are out shopping for cheaper insurance and/or better service.

    Unlike other processes that can have multiple variations, the New Customer Process should be one standard process without variation.

    Service Processes: Another important piece in establishing the culture of your agency. Great service should be the agency standard, not an unexpected treat reserved for special customers.

    In order to consistently provide great service to customers, the agency has to have a culture built around training, accountability, and automation. Something as simple as using an e-signature tool can make life easier for the customer and agency staff.


    As asked earlier; Do you need set processes and accountability standards for your agency, but you are not good at training or holding your staff accountable? Check out the insurance agent mentoring services of Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring: www.inspireanation.org


    Retention efforts and processes are our final stop on the insurance agency assembly line.

    Every conversation, process, tool, and piece of automation and technology should help support the retention of current customers. You can’t grow to a large insurance agency if your existing customers are leaving just as fast as you are bringing on new customers.

    While contrary to what most consumers believe, the insurance agent does not control the rate that an insurance company decided to charge a customer. However, the culture of the agency and the agency operations can and should establish the value of the knowledge, wisdom, and expertise of the agency and all staff associated with the agency.

    Everything from how an endorsement is processed, to how a billing question is answered, to how a claim is handled should show an expertise that is far beyond your peers. How do you get this proficient? Training, accountability, and the proper use of agency automation and technology.

    Take this blog post and share it with your staff and peers. If you are a corporate sales leader, forward it to the agents you support.

    Mastering the assembly line will allow you to grow your agency to heights you probably never dreamed.


    Do you want additional insight and wisdom into growing your insurance agency? Choose one of the options below:



  • Mon, June 05, 2017 10:59 AM | Billy R. Williams, PhD. (Administrator)

    Why 92% of auto insurance sales jobs will go away in the next 5 years, and the specific website and agency mobile tools and technology you need in place to protect your agency.
    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/563566059410881537 

    Mobile and Tech Boot Camp for Insurance Agents - Session 2: Monday, June 5, 2017:
    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/563566059410881537 

    Why 92% of auto insurance sales jobs will go away in the next 5 years, and the specific website and agency mobile tools and technology you need in place to protect your agency.


    According to the website “Will Robots Take My Job” (https://willrobotstakemyjob.com/)
    Insurance agents face a 92% chance and insurance underwriters face a 99% chance that their jobs will be replaced by automation.

    While I absolutely agree that the insurance underwriting position is doomed, I believe that the insurance agent role will transform not completely go away.

    By transform I mean that the days of getting paid a handsome commission to sell a product like auto insurance is coming to an end. Insurance carriers understand that an auto policy can be quoted, risk assessed with individualized data from multiple automated data storehouses like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Credit Bureaus, and similar data gathering systems, underwritten, and delivered through online automation without human interaction.

    Auto insurance agents will have to start offering more products that aren’t turn-key, but require an advanced level of customer interaction and agent knowledge such as commercial insurance and financial service products.

    While the property and casualty insurance agent role will not go away, the industry will need a lot less property and casualty agents and agencies to sell and service P and C products and the focus will shift to “after-the-sale” interactions, which unfortunately should be, but is not a priority for most insurance agencies.

    That is why the Inspire a Nation New Customer Process is built into the pay structure of agency staff members.

    Successful insurance agents in the future will have to be tech savvy, diversified in their product offerings, have websites and mobile apps that allow customers to easily communicate with the agency utilizing technology, and allow customers to perform many do-it-yourself tasks through the website and mobile apps.

    This also means that agency staffing needs will change. In the future insurance agency staff will need to be more tech savvy as they will have to communicate with customers by: mobile apps, agency level text messaging, live chat, live 2-way video meetings, and who knows what else technology will evolve to in the future?

    Commercial insurance, group benefit agents, and agents that sell detailed and multi-layered insurance products will always be relevant, but even their business model will have to transform to match the technology trends that are sweeping across the insurance industry.

    Captive agents/agencies that focus on auto insurance will take the brunt of the job losses.

    Captive agents are specifically at risk because they own and control very little of the customer’s data, and it’s the data that is controlled by captive carriers that will allow them to utilize artificial intelligence and technology to offer not only a complete insurance experience, but an advanced technological experience as well.

    Many captive insurance carriers are limiting an agents ability to download customer information in bulk such as a spreadsheet of customer contact data or key information such as renewal dates and birthdates.

    This could be out of fear that the captive agent will communicate with customers outside of the carriers proprietary tools, or it could be in an effort to control the data at the corporate level and not give an agent the opportunity to take the data with them as the insurance agent position is weened from the company.

    Websites controlled by captive carriers are not always directing prospect information to the intended agent but to agents that are closer to the prospect, produce more sales of the product requested, or that have a better track record of following up on web based leads.


     
    If anything mentioned above could impact your insurance agency you need to register and attend the:
     
    Mobile and Tech Boot Camp for Insurance Agents - Session 2: Monday, June 5, 2017:
    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/563566059410881537 



  • Thu, April 13, 2017 11:51 AM | Billy R. Williams, PhD. (Administrator)

    The main reasons insurance agents don’t generate free insurance leads as often and as effectively as they could is because:

    They don’t match their marketing campaigns to their natural marketing personality(ies)

    They don’t have a quick and easy to implement list of free marketing campaigns and tasks;

    They don’t schedule time in their weekly schedule for marketing tasks that will consistently generate leads;

    They won’t track and hold agency staff accountable for tasks and conversations that will naturally generate leads;

    They won’t outsource marketing tasks they refuse to schedule or do.


    Join us for a 4 part webinar series that starts Friday, 4/21/2017 at 10 AM Central, where we show you more than 30+ ways to generate free leads for your insurance agency.

    Title

    30+ Ways to Generate Free Leads for Insurance Agents

    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1032281271450905089


    Sponsored by: 

    Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring – www.inspireanation.org  


    Datalot Warm Transfer Calls – Click here for more details or call 855-466-6890


    VistaPrint Promotional Items 

    Cost? Free to registrants 


    Webinar Workshop Agenda 

    There are four web sessions that make up the "30+ Ways to Generate Free Leads for Insurance Agents web series 


    Web Sesssion One: 

    30+ Ways to Generate Free Leads (Part 1) (90 Minute Web Session)

    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1032281271450905089

     

    Snapshot Summary: 

    Between part 1 and part 2 of the webinar, we will show you more than 30+ ways to effectively and consistently drive free leads to your insurance agency using: SEO techniques, written content, email, survey calls, social networking, local news reporters, and much more. You will be blown away by the amount of techniques that will drive free leads to your business. 


    Web Session Two: 

    30+ Ways to Generate Free Leads (Part 2) (90 Minute Web Session) 

    Snapshot Summary: See part one summary 


    Web Session Three: 

    Marketing Technology – Outsourcing, Text Messaging, Voice Hotlines, Mobile Apps, and More. 

    Snapshot Summary: 

    Outsourcing is a major part of growing a successful insurance agency in today's competitive environment. We will look at various tasks and vendors that you should consider for outsourcing. 


    Web Session Four: 

    Questions and Answer Session 

    Snapshot Summary: 

    We will answer your specific questions and eliminate the concerns that could stop you from implementing the processes and tasks discussed throughout the series. 

    These sessions will change the way you market your insurance agency for the remainder of your career. Don't miss them! 


  • Thu, April 13, 2017 11:30 AM | Billy R. Williams, PhD. (Administrator)

    Click on the link below to hear an actual recording of a live interview for an insurance licensed sales producer.

    Click Here


    Insurance Specific Applicant Interview Questions

    Download the Licensed Sales Producer Interview Questions and the Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring provided Insurance Agency Job Application Template for your agency.

    Click here to download the actual questions used in the interview

    Use the Licensed Sales Producer Interview Questions to ask the right questions at the right time. Included is a link to a live audio interview with an applicant.

    Always have the applicant complete a position specific job application. 

    Don’t rely on a resume. A good job application will:

    • Give you a standard format to review which makes it easier and faster to get through more applicants

    • Allow you to effectively perform a side-by-side comparison of applicants

    • Allow you to quickly identify expertise and skills that match the position


  • Wed, March 01, 2017 11:14 AM | Billy R. Williams, PhD. (Administrator)


    Always start the implementation of a new process with email and technology.

    As much as you’d like to believe that you and your staff will immediately change your conversations and actions because you just introduced a new process or task to the agency, it’s not going to happen that way!

    It will take consistent training, role play, and accountability before a new process becomes a habit in the agency.

    This is why we strongly suggest and encourage you to start with email templates that support the process as your initial process implementation step.


    Email

    Email is easy to set up, easy to automate, and simple for the staff to personalize and send out.

    Email will say the statements and phrases that you eventually want your staff to say.

    Often, the customer will bring up the content of the email when talking to a staff or team member and this alone can force the team member to have to learn the proper responses when confronted with a question about the content.

    You can easily add additional tools such as hyperlinks, web forms, and video that can add more value to your emails.


    Technology

    Technology such as a good contact management and marketing system (See the Data and Marketing Super Center) or an agency management system will allow you to automate many of the steps and tasks within a process that staff cannot or will not do effectively.

    Please don’t over think this or make it more complicated than it needs to be, simply modify the email templates provided in the Video and Document Library by Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring that support the processes you want to implement in the business and let the sending of email be the first tasks you hold you and your team accountable for accomplishing.

    Your Technology should allow you to automate many of the tasks and tasks reminders associated with the process. This will help with both the implementation of the process and the accountability of staff actions.

    If your current technology doesn’t allow you to automate tasks you have the wrong technology. You don’t have to run out and immediately start technology shopping. Try using your calendar tool such as Outlook or Gmail to set reminders and assign/reassign tasks.


    Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring has helped 1000s of insurance agents and small businesses to implement effective tasks and processes in their business, so trust us when we say “Start with Email!”


    Summary:

    • 1.       Choose the tasks or processes you want to implement
    • 2.       Develop the talk paths that you want your staff/team to say to customers and/or prospects
    • 3.       Create email templates that emphasize the talk paths
    • 4.       Send the email template at the appropriate times. This can be before you actually talk to a customer or prospect or as a follow-up or confirmation email after talking to a customer or prospect.
    • 5.       Check the send log of the email template as part of your accountability spot checks.

    For additional insight into running a successful insurance agency or small business, check out our business mentoring programs at www.inspireanation.org

    Want to attend one of our upcoming live, in-person workshops? (Houston, TX is next on 3/24/2017)

    Check out our live workshop schedule at: http://www.inspireanation.org/Live-Workshops


  • Wed, January 25, 2017 2:29 PM | Billy R. Williams, PhD. (Administrator)

    Is binge working destroying your professional life or the business you own? Read on to find out.

    You’ve no doubt heard of binge drinking and binge eating, but you probably haven’t heard of binge working.

    Just like the previously mentioned binges, binge working is a pattern of performing an excessive amount of work in a short period of time, or, expecting an excessive amount of work in a short period of time from others.

    Being a binge worker is not the same as being a workaholic. Workaholics work consistently at their job; the pace and amount of work they perform rarely changes.

    Binge workers on the other hand have massive swings in their work production and emotions.

    Binge workers usually only work at their binge pace for a short time, the rest of the time they tend to be unproductive and inefficient with their time and activities.
     
    There are many problems and issues related to being a binge worker, especially a binge leader! Here are just a few:

    • Just like a binge drinker, or a binge eater, binge workers tend to be emotionally and verbally abusive when they are on their binge. They often say things like “things are going to change around here.” “You guys have been taking advantage of me and I am sick of it.” Or, “I’m going to have to fire you if you don’t get your act together.”
    • Dr. Billy R. Williams (#billyrwilliamsphd) President of Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring had this to say “When I work with a small business as a mentor, I immediately look for the symptoms of binge leadership, once I see it, I know my number one job is to calm down the team members and to try to mitigate the emotional damage that the binge leader has caused.”

     

    • Binge leaders rarely train their staff or team members because of the leader’s poor time management and complete lack of focus. However, when they’re on a binge, they expect the team to be operating at peak efficiency and binge right along with them, often requiring the employees or team members to stay late or come in early.

                 

    • “I created the Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring Video and Document Library to give employees and team members of insurance agencies and small businesses a resource that they could turn to for easy, but very comprehensive, step-by-step training and mentoring: www.inspireanation.org)”

     

    • Binge leadership usually results in high staff turnover since success measurements change from moment to moment depending on the mood of the binge leader.

     

    • Binge workers and leaders try to perform too many task and projects that they are not qualified or educated enough to do, which results in a lot of “started but never completed projects.”

     

    • Binge leaders often (very often) pull their employees and other team members off of their schedules and tasks because they want their binge ideas to take priority over everything else. This generally disrupts the entire office or organization and leads to an immense amount of frustration.

     

    • When a binge worker or leader comes off of their binge, they leave a mess for others to have to clean up. “Often when a business comes to us for mentoring, it is to clean up the mess that a binge situation has caused in the business.” Said Billy R. Williams PhD. President of Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring.

     

    • If the binge worker is the owner or leader in the business, they are generally the reason their business never moves forward. It’s hard to move forward when the majority of the employees’ work day is spent fixing problems a binge leader causes.

    I could go on and on but I think you get the point.
     
    If you are a binge leader here are some things you can do to “get the hell out of your own way!”

    • Use as much automation as possible in the day to day operation of your business. Automation isn’t afraid of your binge tirades and it will not call in sick just to avoid you. Using automation such as drip email schedules, automated phone tools, and tracking tools will help with the consistency of operating your business. (Check out the Data and Marketing Super Center CRM)

     

    • Have your employees and team members follow a daily tasks and process schedule. It is much more difficult to pull your team off of their tasks when the tasks are an everyday part of the culture of your business.

     

    • Have a set schedule (day and time) for your leadership tasks to get accomplished. Schedules help control binges.

     

    • Have a mentor and/or a board of advisors that you talk to on a regular basis. A good mentor and/or a board of advisors will help keep your binges under control and help you identify your weaknesses. (Inspire a Nation has mentoring memberships starting at $29.00/month)

     

    • Outsource tasks and processes that you tend to screw up. Be honest with yourself, if you are not good at a tasks, get the hell out of the way and let someone that is good at the tasks, do the dang task! If you hired bad employees that can’t learn to properly perform a needed task or process, that is your fault, and you have to make a business decision: either train them, or get rid of them. This one time where your binge actually comes in handy, since you will probably fire them while you are ticked off.

     

    • Find your happy place and your energy makers! Usually binge working is a result of dealing with stressful issues outside of the work place such as people or finances. (Though usually your money problems are a direct result of your binge working and the problems it causes.) Prayer, reading motivational books, and surrounding yourself with high energy people will help you find your happy place.


    If you want more of this type of wisdom, attend a live Inspire a Nation workshop when it comes to a city near you. Click here to see the 2017 workshop schedule: http://www.inspireanation.org/Live-Workshops
     
    If you liked this article, please give it a like, and leave a comment about a binge worker/leader scenario you have experienced in your career.

    Thank you for your time today!

    Billy R. Williams, PhD
    President - Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring
    www.inspireanation.org 


  • Mon, December 26, 2016 2:01 PM | Billy R. Williams, PhD. (Administrator)


    Small businesses are bombarded each day with advertisements trying to sell them the latest and greatest products and tools to grow their business.

    With all of that information packed into your brain, it is easy to fall into a "paralysis-by-analysis" state and literally not do anything for weeks or months.

    Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring understands that what you really need is a step-by-step, no gimmick filled, small business marketing plan that is free, instantaneous, and specific to your budget and your business needs, and that is based on the real world experience of a small business mentoring company that has worked with 1000's of small business owners just like you.

    Now in under 2 minutes (at no cost) you can create a small business marketing plan that is specific to your budget and provided information, and that is instantly emailed to you.

    Click here to create your free, instantaneous, and personalized Small Business Marketing Plan - http://www.inspireanation.org/Small-Biz-Marketing-Plan


  • Mon, December 19, 2016 11:17 AM | Billy R. Williams, PhD. (Administrator)

    Effectively Marketing Your Small Business – The 7 Marketing Personalities

    What is your natural marketing personality? What is your company’s natural marketing personality?

    Today’s post is based on the book “How to Make Your Business a Magnet for Inbound Prospects” (Amazon Books)

    Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring (www.inspireanation.org) puts 110% of its focus, energy, and resources into mentoring small businesses on how to effectively operate and grow, but our job is often made much more difficult because of the natural marketing personality of the business leader and/or the person responsible for marketing the business.

    Each person has a dominant marketing personality. That’s not to say that you can’t or shouldn’t be good at multiple types of marketing, but there are always one or two types that you naturally prefer.

    Each business has a dominant marketing personality as well. Often the marketing in a business is influenced by factors and resources (abundant or limited) such as the marketing personality of the leadership, the technical skill set of the person or people responsible for marketing, and of course resources such as money, technology, and time.

    Each of the 7 marketing personalities has its own strengths and weaknesses, which means that relying on just one personality type or marketing campaign type will limit the overall success of marketing and advertising in your company.

    The main weaknesses that I see in marketing is using the wrong keywords (What people use to search online for your product or service) and weak calls-to-action (What you want people to do next after they come in contact with your marketing or advertising campaign). If a prospect is ready to buy right now they will look for a keyword or key phrase like: “Purchase product X in minutes with no hassle,” but instead marketers will say things like “download our free brochure for more information”, and while there is nothing wrong with giving away a free brochure, you just made a “read-to-buy” prospect into a shopper.

    My point is by using a variety of marketing and advertising campaigns and marketing personalities you will have enough variety in your marketing to catch the attention of the 3 main types of prospects:

    • ·         ready-to-buy prospects,
    • ·         prospects looking for more information, and
    • ·         impulse shoppers (prospects that had no interest in your product or service till they saw your marketing or advertising campaign or content)

    I am going to write an entire article on this topic in January 2017, so register for our newsletter (www.inspireanation.org) and be on the lookout.


    Let’s look at the 7 Marketing Personalities:

    1.       Mailers: postal mail and email
    Mailers like to consistently send postal mail and/or email to their customers and prospects. They prefer for the customer or prospect to react to the marketing and advertising campaign. They like low-hanging fruit (The customer contacts them)
    Positives: Both postal mail and email can be creative, automated, and easily tracked for response rates and ROI (Return on investment). The collection of email addresses and following up with a customer or prospect by email should be a part of every marketing campaign. Email is generally low cost.
    Negatives: Postal mail can be very expensive when the right keywords, key phrases, and calls-to-action elements are not added to the mailings. The response rates usually stay around the norm of 3% or less. Email generally has a low response rate and like postal mail, if effective keywords, key phrases and calls-to-action are not used, the email can feel spammy to the receiver.



    2.       Writers: marketing letters, emails, articles, blogs, social networking posts, books, etc.
    Writing is one of my co-dominant marketing personalities, so I intimately understand its strengths and weaknesses. Writers love to share experiences and wisdom and will willingly share their words with anyone that will take the time to read them
    Positives: Writers are great providers of information, they generally understand a topic, product, or service at depths that the average person does not. A good writer will pull you into the message and keep you engaged.
    Negatives: Writers tend to take a long time to put out a marketing or prospecting campaign, because they have to brainstorm, create, write, and proofread the message. Usually writers are perfectionist, so what would take one of the other personality types a day to create, it will take a writer a week or two. Writers tend to go overboard with the amount of information they put out, so something that should be short and sweet like a postcard, becomes a full blown tri-fold brochure. The main negative is that writers tend to turn “ready-to-buy” prospects into shoppers; (“You gave me so much information, I need to think about and get back to you”)



    3.       Talkers: telemarketing, face-to-face meetings, vendor booths, in-office visits, live presentations, conference calls, webinars, etc.
    Talking is my co-dominant marketing personality. I say “co” because I truly love both writing and talking. At the end of the day the ability to properly explain your product and/or service and how it will improve the quality of life of your customer or prospect is what being in business is all about.
    Positives: Same positives as writing with additional positives of timeliness, (a talker will talk to anyone, at any time, pretty much about anything), and a talker doesn’t need a long marketing campaign set-up window (Give them a target prospect, a marketing list, or a geographic area and they will make it happen)
    Negatives: Talkers tend to be more focused on delivering what we want to say than in actually listening to our customers and prospects. A talkers marketing materials can be so self-focused and self-promotional that it only attracts prospects that are looking for “superman/superwoman” to save them which means you can easily find yourself dealing with clients and customers that need constant hand-holding through the entire relationship. Talkers have to control their ego or they will over-promise and under-deliver. My grandfather use to say “You can’t talk that much without some of it being pure bull**********.



    4.       Techies: SEO, internet driven traffic, marketing gadgets and tools, mobile traffic, social networking, etc.
    Techies are dominating the marketing and advertising space and are poised to do so for a long time. Listen to the following words carefully “If you don’t have a techie marketing personality, you need to make sure that someone on your team has a techie marketing personality, or that you outsource part of your marketing and advertising to a person or company that can add and manage technology to your marketing and advertising mix.”  
    Positives: By using SEO, online search results, and tools such as apps and widgets, techies can generate prospects that have an active interest in your products, services, and information; marketing results are trackable, the ROI of marketing and advertising campaigns can be easily calculated, a campaign can be easily implemented, most campaigns run on auto-pilot which means lower time commitment from everyone involved.
    Negatives: When something screws up, it really screws up! Keep your techies close by, don’t let them set up something and just walk away. Without good follow-up by talkers or writers, ready-to-buy- prospects can be easily overlooked or ignored. Often, online prospects tend to be more price focused than quality focused, your marketing campaigns MUST make the entire process easy and seamless. Often this is a big issue when a non-techie business hires a techie to generate leads, the prospect is expecting everything to be as quick and easy like their online search, but the business hasn’t updated their back end operations.



    5.       Networkers: networking events, multiple referral partners, customer referral campaigns and conversations, etc.
    Building referral networks is an awesome way to grow your business . . .  as long as you put effort and energy into maintaining your referral relationships and referral campaigns.
    Positives: Referrals tend to absorb up to 30% more price or rate with hesitation, a good group of referral partners can keep your prospect funnel humming along like a finely tuned machine, generally a referral is less stressful to deal with than a purchased or generated lead.
    Negatives: Business can easily ebb and flow if the referral networks are not maintained and contacted on a regular basis, Referrals require more hand-holding than other prospect types, referrals tend to only want to deal with the person they were referred to, if the referral relationship is built on compensation for referrals, weak cash flow can disrupt your referral funnel.



    6.       Traditional Media: television, radio, billboards, magazines, etc.
    Remember I am writing this article for small business owners, so while the use of traditional media is still an option, the cost and return on investment could far out way the benefits.
    Positives: You and your brand are put in front of a large audience of potential prospects, you can tailor your message to a specific niche or demographic, increased brand recognition is a major benefit and can lead to other branding opportunities such as newspaper interviews, guest speaking opportunities, and an increased professional network.
    Negatives: Traditional media can be very expensive, difficult to measure an immediate return on investment, difficult to track reach and results, could produce immediate results or could be a total waste of money. Small business leaders should perform a lot of research and ask a lot of questions before committing to a traditional media marketing contract, especially local or national television.



    7.       Non Marketers: They don’t perform any type of marketing, they mainly rely on current customer referrals.
    Positives: Low cost, prospects are generally pre-sold before they ever talk to you, easy to track, high ROI.
    Negatives: unpredictable, it’s difficult to predict cash flow when you don’t know when and where your next prospect is coming from.


    Often a business can get so hooked on one type of marketing that they lose focus of the various types of marketing and advertising campaigns that are available to them.

    Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring specializes in helping small business owners to effectively operate and grow their business. They have 3 niche business types they specialize in helping: (Click on the topic for more information)

    Click on one of the links above to sign up for one of our services or to do a little more research. Note: The faith-based audio classes are 100% free.

    Interested in the book “How to Make Your Business a Magnet for Inbound Prospects”?

    Read the first chapter at www.inspireanation.org


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