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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Lesson #348: Great Resignation? Quiet Quitting? Look in the Mirror for Answers!

Posted By: George Deeb - 11/29/2022

 The last year has introduced us to a bunch of new concepts in the post-COVID workforce.   The first was the Great Resignation, with an esti...


 The last year has introduced us to a bunch of new concepts in the post-COVID workforce.  The first was the Great Resignation, with an estimated 20% of workers planning to quit their jobs in 2022.  And, most recently, Quiet Quitting, where workers don’t actually quit their jobs, but instead, put in the bare minimum of work required to keep their employers happy, without putting in a minute of extra effort.  To me, these are both problems with the employers, not the employees.  Because if employees were actually happy, respected and engaged in their jobs, they wouldn’t feel the need to quit their jobs, either outright or in mindset while still employed.  This post will help us diagnose if you have any problems that need fixing in your business, to help stem this tide.

A Couple Unhappy Workforces as a Case Study

Let’s look at a couple industries where quitting seems to be at an all-time high: K-12 education and restaurants.  These are two industries I know well, with my wife a 2nd grade teacher and me owning a business serving the restaurant industry.  In both of these industries, it is pretty clear to me why people are quitting; they are being asked to work their tails off with very little reward, where it is so much easier for them to switch industries and make materially more money elsewhere.  Not to mention how dysfunctional these types of businesses can be, without a lot of ways for their new ideas to be heard or acted upon, where businesses are being mismanaged, oftentimes with a lot of bureaucracy.  Why would anyone want to work in that environment?  Anyone that does is because they feel they have no other options based on their skillsets or because it is simply their passion project giving back to their communities, without making compensation or job satisfaction their ultimate drivers.  Which is not a great position to be in, for the employee or the employer.

Reality Check

So, how do we fix this?  We start with common sense that 20% of workers are not resigning the workforce overall, they are resigning YOU!!  There must be something you are doing that they are unhappy with that needs to be resolved.  That could be something like low compensation levels, their mundane day-to-day tasks, your company culture, lack of upward career mobility, a bad boss, lack of job flexibility or whatever.  So, if you are experiencing high levels of employee turnover, it is time to look in the mirror and start auditing everything you are doing, with a post-COVID mindset of what employees are looking for.  Let’s dig into that a little bit deeper.

Study Compensation Levels

Going back to our case study above, can restaurant workers really make a living wage at $15 per hour?  That is only $30,000 per year, in a world where inflation is off the charts.  After tax, that is only around $2,000 per month.  Let’s say half of that goes to covering their rent, and that leaves the other half, or $33 per day, to cover all their other living expenses.  That math simply doesn’t work.  Not to mention, they have to be on the job in person, when all their other friends are getting more flexible jobs that allow them to work from home.

And, the same thing for the teachers.  They are teaching our kids and setting up the future of our country.  It disgusts me that movie stars and sports athletes are making $25MM per year, and teachers’ starting pay is around $50,000 for doing a TON of work, dealing with hostile parents, and working in dysfunctional workplaces where the rules keep changing each year.  Enough already, teachers need to be better respected and a material bump in pay to justify those working conditions.  We as a society need to better value the roles they are playing, and all chip in with slightly higher real estate tax bills.

So, what does this mean for you?  Stop thinking of your industry in a vacuum, and stop using historical pay levels as a baseline benchmark.  You may need a drastic salary increase to retain and attract new talent in today’s market.  And, employees will seek out work in other industries, if they are unhappy with the compensation levels in your business or industry.  So, when studying average pay by role, do so across industries.  And, I didn’t talk about studying benefits packages here, but you should do that, as well, to make sure you are in line with the market.  A good benefits management company can help you benchmark yourself versus other employers.

If you determine you cannot profitably afford market rate salary increases, you may have a material problem on your hands.  But, hopefully, raising your prices, to better afford market rate salaries, will help you fund these increases.  God knows my restaurant bills have been going way up, as restaurants are paying their staffs more in an effort to try to retain them.  But, if price increases are not digestible by your customers, you may need to face the hard fact your business model may be broken, and may not survive without a material change in the model metrics.

Study Job Flexibility

Thanks to COVID, everyone prefers a more flexible job environment, starting with the option to work from home.   So, don’t be stuck in the Stone Age, requiring everyone to be in the office every day.  That will allow the staff more flexibility to save on commuting time, parking costs, gas costs, car costs, etc. and enables them to be closer to their families for taking care of their kids or attending their local school events or other appointments they may have.  You don’t need to “see them”, to know if they are doing a good job.  You will see their success in the data coming from their work (e.g., sales results, tasks completed).

Study Company Culture

If your staff are grumbling behind your back that they work in a “toxic work environment”, you have a major problem on your hands, and need to “plug the hole” before the whole “bucket” drains empty.  Survey your staff, either directly or through an HR consultant.  Ask what they like and don’t like about the business, and then lean into your strengths and repair your weaknesses.  Be sure to calculate your net promoter score of your employees, not just your customers, and shoot to keep that number at 8.5/10 or higher.

Study Management

You may love one of your managers, sucking up to you as their boss, but their direct reporting employees may hate them.  Be sure to complete 360 degree reviews of your employees, so they have a chance to speak openly about their boss, at the same time their performance is being reviewed.   Nothing will get a person looking for the door faster than being micromanaged, disrespected or verbally abused by a bad manager.  So, you may need to part with someone you like, for the greater good.

Study Career Paths

People want to stay in companies where they can see upward mobility in their careers.  They will give you a couple years in their current role, but what comes next?   Is your company growing, to create new layers of management for them to grow into?  If so, great.  But, if not, the employees may get bored and decide to find a new challenge.  So, put plans in place, for each role of the company, where they can easily get visibility into how their responsibilities and compensation will increase over time, to give them “hooks” to want to stay working with you over the long run.

Study Day-to-Day Tasks

Nobody wants to work in a job they don’t enjoy.  So, ask yourself: would you enjoy that job?  If not, figure out what it would take to make that job more enjoyable.  If it is eight hours a day of mundane, brain numbing tasks, figure out how best to make the role more stimulating—maybe sharing mundane tasks across a broader team that is doing more strategic tasks for most of their work.

Closing Thoughts

So, this concept of the Great Resignation and Quit Quitting is really hogwash to me, as the focus is on the employees, not the employers.  These people need to work to pay their bills.  You just need to figure out how they will want to work for YOU, and not be looking for the door looking to work for someone else that better values, respects, challenges and motivates them.  After doing this internal self-study, if the mirror is not broken, keep up the great work.  If you are staring at a bunch of broken glass, it is time to start fresh and rethink everything you are doing.


For future posts, please follow me on Twitter at: @georgedeeb.



Monday, November 21, 2022

[VIDEO] How to Ensure Your Startup Launch Is Successful

Posted By: George Deeb - 11/21/2022

I was recently interviewed by the  Atlanta Small Business Network  (ASBN), an online "television network" serving the small busine...


I was recently interviewed by the Atlanta Small Business Network (ASBN), an online "television network" serving the small business community, about how to to ensure your startup launch is successful.  I thought this video turned out great, and I wanted to share it with all of you, to see if it can be helpful to you in setting your own goals, objectives and initiatives for the next year.  As you will learn, if you can't kill your own startup, then it most likely is defensible enough that your competitors won't be able to kill it either.  I hope you like it!!



The embedded video player didn't give me the option to change the size of this video.  But, if you want to see a bigger version, simply click the expand size button in the player above.

Thanks again to Jim Fitzpatrick and the ASBN team for having me on the show.  I look forward to our next interview together.


For future posts, please follow me on Twitter at: @georgedeeb.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

[VIDEO] Tips for Developing an Effective Growth Plan

Posted By: George Deeb - 11/02/2022

I was recently interviewed by the  Atlanta Small Business Network  (ASBN), an online "television network" serving the small busine...


I was recently interviewed by the Atlanta Small Business Network (ASBN), an online "television network" serving the small business community, about how to develop an effective growth plan for your business.  I thought this video turned out great, and I wanted to share it with all of you, to see if it can be helpful to you in setting your own goals, objectives and initiatives for the next year.  As you will learn, it is all about the math!!  I hope you like it!!



The embedded video player didn't give me the option to change the size of this video.  But, if you want to see a bigger version, simply click the expand size button in the player above.

Thanks again to Jim Fitzpatrick and the ASBN team for having me on the show.  I look forward to our next interview together.


For future posts, please follow me on Twitter at: @georgedeeb.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Are You a Victim of Quiet Quitting? Look in the Mirror for Answers.

Posted By: George Deeb - 10/03/2022

  The past year brought about several post-Covid workforce trends. The first was the Great Resignation, with an estimated 20% of workers pla...

 


The past year brought about several post-Covid workforce trends. The first was the Great Resignation, with an estimated 20% of workers planning to quit their jobs in 2022. Most recently the topic of "quiet quitting" has made headlines — it's a concept popularized on TikTok wherein employees do their work but don't go above and beyond.  To me, it's clear that these are both problems with the employers, not the employees. If employees were happy, respected and engaged in their jobs, they wouldn't feel the need to quit their jobs, either outright or in mindset while still employed. Here's how to diagnose if you have any problems that need fixing in your business and stem the tide of resignations.

Read the rest of this post in Entrepreneur.  

For future posts, please follow me on Twitter at: @georgedeeb.






Lesson #347: Do Not Apply a 'One-Size-Fits-All' Approach to Your Marketing

Posted By: George Deeb - 10/03/2022

  A common mistake that many companies make is using a “one-size-fits-all” approach to its marketing efforts.  Said another way, the company...

 


A common mistake that many companies make is using a “one-size-fits-all” approach to its marketing efforts.  Said another way, the company comes up with one marketing strategy, uses mass marketing techniques and the same messaging to everyone that sees its advertising.  Yes, that is a simple approach, and saves you time and efforts required to customize your messaging to specific sub-audiences.  But, if you are looking to maximize your return on marketing spend, that additional upfront investment in building customer personas (sub-audiences) and a customer journey flow (from upper funnel to lower funnel) will pay back in spades.  So, don’t be a penny wise in the short run and pound foolish for the long run.  The more you personalize your messaging to the exact target, and where they are in the buying process, the more it will help you put your marketing efforts on steroids.  This post will help you learn how to do exactly that.

What is a Customer Persona?

A customer persona is the sub-audiences of users that are buying your product or service.   If you are a consumer business, maybe that is men vs. women buyers, or older vs. younger buyers, or which target products they are most interested in (e.g., coffee drinkers vs. tea drinkers).  If you are a B2B business, maybe that is customers from one industry or another, or buyers at different levels of the organization (e.g., executives vs. lower level managers) or different size of companies (e.g., enterprise vs. small businesses).  Every single one of these sub-audiences, should receive marketing messages from you that are directly relevant to them.

What is the Customer Journey?

The customer journey is the path in which a customer researches, considers and ultimately purchases products or services.  A customer that is researching to figure out what it needs is typically upper funnel, a customer that knows what it wants and is considering various vendors or solutions is middle funnel, and a customer that is price shopping and ready to pull the trigger is lower funnel.   Why does that matter?  Your marketing messaging should be tailored to where they are in their customer journey.

Someone that is upper funnel needs to know why they need a solution in the first place, someone that is middle funnel needs to know your product is better than others in the market, and someone that is lower funnel may be stimulated by a promotional offer to save 10% if they purchase by the end of the month.  

And, the marketing tools you use to communicate with them will be different—from mass marketing tactics (e.g., TV, radio, print, search engines) for upper funnel down to one-on-one marketing tactics (e.g., emails, phone calls) for the lower funnel.  So knowing your customer journey and which media are best to communicate with your targets is a critical component to personalizing your marketing messaging.

What does Personalizing Marketing Actually Mean?

Personalizing your marketing means you need different marketing creatives for each sub-audience.  Let’s say you have three core personas and three stages of the marketing funnel, that would be a total of nine different creatives that need to be created (not just one).  And, in those creatives, use images and copy that actually will resonate with that sub-audience.  So, if speaking to men, use male models in your creatives.  If speaking to older people, put older people in your creatives.  If pushing a specific industry use case, speak to that industry expertise in your creatives.  If speaking to executives, promote the strategic benefits of your product, vs. the more tactical functionalities that would be better promoted to lower level employees.   You get the point—don’t spray and pray.  Be laser focused with your targeting and messaging, and good things should happen to accelerating your sales.

What Can You Expect to Happen from Personalization?

With every layer of personalization, you can expect to increase your conversion rate, and ultimately your sales.  So, as an example, let’s say the one-size-fits-all approach allows you to convert 10% of your leads.  Layering on the customer personas may allow you to convert 20% of your leads.  And further layering on the customer journey messaging may allow you to convert 30% of your leads.  The better you sharpen your pencil, the higher your resulting revenues will be.  Any good marketing agency can help you here.

Tracking Is Critical

Setting up the customer personas, journey and creatives is only part of the exercise.  The other part is tracking the results from each of those sub-audiences.  So, when setting up your campaigns, tracking URLs or other conversion metrics, make sure the appropriate tagging and tracking is in place, so that your CRM can easily see how the different personas are performing at driving sales.  You may learn that each persona behaves equally the same, and deserves equal attention.  Or, you may learn certain personas are outperforming others, and needs your oversized attention and budget, redirecting efforts away from your other underperforming personas.  So, in all cases, the devil is in the details, and you need to be tracking and optimizing everything.

Closing Thoughts

The concepts presented in this post are “table stakes” in the marketing world, and it amazes me how many early stage companies have absolutely no clue here.  If you are not doing it, you are potentially wasting a lot of your marketing dollars.  Or at a minimum, not driving an ROI as high as you ultimately should be.   So, either hire a strong marketing team, or engage a strong marketing agency, for your business.  They can help lay the groundwork here, and ultimately tee you up for maximum marketing success.   Good luck!!


For future posts, please follow me on Twitter at: @georgedeeb.




Monday, September 19, 2022

[VIDEO] How to Develop an Exit Plan for Your Business

Posted By: George Deeb - 9/19/2022

I was recently interviewed by the  Atlanta Small Business Network  (ASBN), an online "television network" serving the small busine...


I was recently interviewed by the Atlanta Small Business Network (ASBN), an online "television network" serving the small business community, about how to develop a flawless exit plan for your business  I thought this video turned out great, and I wanted to share it with all of you, to see if it can be helpful to you in getting your businesses sold in a timely fashion and at the valuations you are hoping for.  I hope you like it!!



The embedded video player didn't give me the option to change the size of this video.  But, if you want to see a bigger version, simply click the expand size button in the player above, or feel free to watch it on the ASBN website.

Thanks again to Jim Fitzpatrick and the ASBN team for having me on the show.  I look forward to our next interview together.


For future posts, please follow me on Twitter at: @georgedeeb.

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