Category: AVN Insights

How to Prioritise Systemising your Business Part 2



There are many different ways to prioritise the systemisation of your business, and today I’m going to talk about my second suggested way of tackling this enormous task. In a previous article, I talked about using a graph to work out which of the tasks you do could you write a system for quickly, that could save you time each and every week, and then starting with those ‘quick wins’

The second method I want to look at is starting with those systems in your business (whether done by you or not) that are ‘customer facing’ systems.

Michael Gerber, Author of the E-Myth – a fantastic book that describes the importance of Systems in a business, talks about 3 functions of a business – making it, selling it and managing the money. I believe that systems can be broken down into seven categories
• Operational – making the thing you sell or delivering the service
• Finance – dealing with the money side of the business, both sales and purchasing
• Marketing – which includes both marketing your business and selling, or ‘closing the sale’
• People – if you want to have a great business, it will require people that are committed to helping it succeed and so you need systems to keep them motivated and on board
• Customer – to ensure that your customers get a great consistent experience, and that you are capturing feedback from them to ensure they remain loyal customers
• Leadership – it is important to continue to work ‘ON’ the business, ensuring that the vision and focus are being adhered to, and so you need systems in place to monitor this and the other business goals
• Administration – the catch all – all businesses have some systems that need to be followed but don’t fit into one of the other categories.

The systems that you could perhaps start with are all of those systems that touch the customer in some way – from the way you post on social media, how you close a sale, how you deliver your product, how you ask for money, or how you deal with a customer complaint.

To do this, brainstorm with your team all of the times that you interact with your customers, from before a sale, right through the buying process, and after they have purchased. Work out where in each interaction you can potentially wow that customer, then work out what systems need to be put in place for this wow to happen every single time you have that interaction with any of your customers.

You then need to prioritise the points of contact and create an action plan, and then you and your team can write these systems, ensuring that every point of contact that your customers have with you creates an amazing experience for them.

The third method of prioritising which systems to write will be shared very soon. If you think this will be of use, then please subscribe to my blog.


Article Source: Jenny Lukas

How to Prioritise Systemising your Business Part 1


There are many different ways to prioritise the systemisation of your business, and today I’m going to touch on one of these. In a previous article, I have already mentioned listing all of the tasks that you, as the business owner do, that could be passed onto another team member, with just a little bit of thought, putting in place a system, and then training another person to do that particular task.

But how do you decide where to start, and which task to start with? You can use the chart below, as guidance to help you work out where to start.

Take your list of tasks and plot them on the chart in the appropriate place, estimating how long each task will take you to write a system for and to train another person, and how long in turn that will save you each week.

Some example tasks are…
a) Cleaning the office (because this is a task that you haven’t ever gotten around to passing on to a team member, but now is the time to realise that you should only do what you can do and you should get others to do those other tasks). So currently this might take 2 hours a week, and if you were to outsource it, the task of outsourcing to a cleaning company might take a couple of hours to find someone, and interview them, and so this task would probably sit in box 1, quite near the centre line.


b) Answering the telephone. The system for actually picking up the telephone is a fairly simple one, although there are some simple rules and a script that should be followed. The complex thing here is what to do with the call once you’ve established who is on the other end of the phone and what they want. You can write a checklist based on the most common phone calls you get, and then deal with the unusual ones as and when they come in and add to the system. To brainstorm the sort of calls you get and to write a system on how to deal with them could take maybe 2 or 3 days over a period of time (while making notes of all of the different types of call), but could also save a good chunk of time, maybe half a day a week? And so you might put this task in box 2.


c) Opening, date stamping, and scanning the post. While you might think, “well it only takes me 10 – 15 minutes a day to do this as we don’t have much post”, that’s potentially an hour a week you could save, on a system that might take half an hour to write. So maybe put that in box 3.


By doing this with all of your tasks you will be able to see those tasks that are in box 1, and it is these that you should work on first, as these take just a little time to put in place and will save lots of time over the coming weeks and months.

This will free up your time to work ‘ON’ the business, on the strategy and vision

There are 2 further methods of prioritising which systems to write that I want to share with you in the future. If you think this will be of use, then please subscribe to my blog.


Article Source: Jenny Lukas

Fantastic Teams #8 – Terrorists


Values are incredibly important in every day life.  You will know that there are some people you can instantly connect with, strike up a great dialogue and become friends very quickly.  Other’s no matter how hard you try, you simply can’t connect, you almost take an instant dislike to them and you don’t always understand why that is.

We’re all unique individuals and one of the attributes of uniqueness lies in our individual values and beliefs.  These are our filters.  We take in sights, sounds, feelings and interpretations of the world through these filters.

Our values are usually fixed by the age of 8, our beliefs are subject to change (eg: People used to believe the earth was flat until evidence disproved that belief)

The people whose values and beliefs are a very close match to our own tend to become our loved ones, our life partners or our closest and best friends.

The people whose values and beliefs are a little similar tend to be people we get on with well but don’t make it to the best friends list such as people we might have nice conversations with at the Gym, Pub or school playground when dropping off the kids.

Conversely, the people whose values and beliefs are mostly opposed to our own are the ones we simply can’t connect with.  They may not be bad people, but they see the world in such a different way that there’s conflictive views.

Why is this important?

Well, the same principle applies to the people you recruit as team members.

The team members whose values and beliefs are the closest match to your own will get you.  They’ll understand what you’re about, why you want stuff doing they way that you do and will embrace your passion and vision.  These people will shed blood, sweat and tears for you.  They’ll go over and above for you.  They can easily be recognised by that trait alone.  They will regularly put in ideas for the good of the business even if those ideas come at the expense of their own working conditions.  These are the people you really want to keep.

The team members whose values and beliefs are a similar match are your 9-5’ers.  They’re good workers, they’ll drop everything at 5pm and be out the door though.  They won’t go the extra mile for you.  Ideas that they put forward will more likely be for the improvement of their own working conditions rather than the good of the business itself.

The team members whose values and beliefs are oppose to yours are what I call terrorists.  They don’t get you.  They don’t understand your preferences in the way you want things doing.  They complain.  When they’re not complaining to you they’re complaining to others in your team.  Constantly chuntering about things.  This bring the morale down of others in your team, especially the people in the 9-5 range.  They also do the bare minimum required in their job description.

Importantly though is that you, the employer, spend a lot of your time trying to appease these terrorists, trying to get them onboard, trying to get them to come around to your way of thinking.

You inadvertently do this at the expense of not giving quality time to the people who shed blood sweat and tears for you.  This leaves them feeling unappreciated.  Making them begin to wonder why they work for you.

The result is that your best employees begin to move on, because they don’t feel appreciated.  You’re left with the 9-5’ers and the terrorists.  You don’t enjoy managing a team of people and the culture isn’t pleasant.

Discover you values, beliefs and passion.  Fold that language in to your communication when looking for new team members.  Don’t be embarrassed to do that.  It will attract the people who share those and will (rightly) deter the ones that don’t share them.

Pluck up the courage to exit the terrorists.  Seek legal advice by all means but understand legal advice errs on the side of caution, usually that means going through performance measurement processes that last for months.  It’s not always down to performance.  These people perform to the minimum level in order to get by.  Be prepared to have a conversation with one of those terrorists (and you know who they are) and make them an offer to exit the business under a compromise agreement.  Talk to your legal advisers about a compromise agreement. If they haven’t been with you for 2 years yet then the law is much more in your favour.

In my 25 years in people management and leadership I’ve sadly come to terms with the fact that if values and beliefs differs, you’re never going to bring someone around to your way of thinking and trying to is far too costly in terms of team morale, your time, energy and sanity.

It sounds harsh to effectively say get rid but I know from experience that in fact you’re doing that team member a favour too.  They may not realise it to begin with because they see their association with you as a means of getting an income.  A settlement/compromise agreement will give them the financial means to take their time to look for an employer that fits their values and beliefs and when they do, they’ll find that they’re enjoying their job much better and begin to get real fulfilment from what they’re doing.

If you’d like some clarity, help or guidance with this let me know via the comments box.

If you’ve enjoyed this article please let me know by clicking like and as always, if you feel others would benefit from reading this then please do click share.

Shane Lukas – Author of Amazon #1 best seller What’s Next for Accountants; How to make the biggest threat facing the profession your biggest opportunity.

Article Source: Shane Lukas

Fear Setting – We suffer more in imagination than in reality


Everyone talks about Goal Setting – but some of us just aren’t that motivated by goals.  Some of us are instead crippled by fear.  In this amazing TED talk Tim Ferris explains a simple exercise that can help us avoid self destruction and give us the confidence to do things that we currently feel we cannot do.


“>Tim Ferris – Fear Setting

Article Source: Emma Slack

Fantastic Teams #7 – Be Grateful!


It’s so easy to fall in to the trap of accepting great work and effort from members of your team and forget to express your gratitude.  Often, I hear people say – ‘I thank them through their salary’.  A salary is simply an enabler for someone to be able to work for you.  It enables their bills to be paid and for them to have the lifestyle they want to outside of working with you.  They can get a salary from many places very easily if they wanted to.  Just because you’re paying a wage and even a bonus does not negate the need to express genuine, sincere and specific gratitude.

When I say genuine and sincere, I mean don’t simply say to someone on a regular basis that they’re doing a good job and thank them as this is clearly paying lip service to the need to show gratitude.  Make a conscious effort to look out for the great things that people do and then highlight these things to them.  This is what I mean by specific gratitude.

For example:  Laura, I’ve just heard that call you had with Mr Bloggs and I was reminded of how well you deal with those types of calls.  The way that you listened intently and then considered your responses very carefully which meant that Mr Bloggs was incredibly happy as the call finished.  Well done Laura and Thank you.

Obviously that was just an off-the-cuff example.  What’s important is to show gratitude immediately, don’t save things up until the next time you meet them and reel off a load of thanks.  Speed stuns.  Go pat someone on the back as quickly as you can. This is important.

Most of us strive for gratitude and appreciation in some way.  A small business owner will seek it from their customers, a team member will seek it from their employer.

When a team member isn’t receiving the level of gratitude and appreciation they want then they don’t go above and beyond.  They begin to do the bare minimum, they begin to look online for alternative jobs that will bring them the salary they need to live and the gratitude they need to thrive.

If you’d like some clarity, help or guidance with this let me know via the comments box.

If you’ve enjoyed this article please let me know by clicking like and as always, if you feel others would benefit from reading this then please do click share.

Shane Lukas – Author of Amazon #1 best seller What’s Next for Accountants; How to make the biggest threat facing the profession your biggest opportunity.

Article Source: Shane Lukas

Fantastic Teams #6 – Do YOU really understand?


How well do you really understand your team?

How much time do you invest in getting to know them?

What motivates every individual in your team?

Most often it’s assumed to be financial incentives but in fact, that’s not always the best motivator.

Do you understand what might be holding them back from giving their best?  What their aspirations truly are? What ideas they have that might help your business grow?

Research shows that a 20% improvement in team morale can have a 42% increase in financial performance in your business and yet so many employers take their team members for granted.

They believe their employees should be grateful to be employed and put heart and soul in to their jobs.  They issue their demands and expect mountains to be moved for them.  It just doesn’t happen does it.

There’s so much choice and opportunity these days that if someone chooses to work for you then you must be grateful for that.  You must show that appreciation and accept that their stay with you may be in the form of a stepping stone in their greater plan.  Make that stay valuable to both of you.

I’ve always found that the best way to engage your team is to spend quality 1 to 1 time with each of them.  This can take time but the rewards by far outweigh that.  When I spend quality time with each individual I discover…

  • How I can become a much better leader.
  • How well I’ve communicated the vision/mission and strategy to the team.
    • If the team didn’t get it, how can the customers and prospects be expected to?
  • What they value about the organisation.
  • What they believe its strengths and weaknesses are.
  • Fresh ideas to make the business better.
  • The inner aspirations they have about their long term career.
  • What’s really important to them.

This information is priceless.  For example…

As I eluded to above, it’s most often a misconception that the best way to motivate someone is via financial incentive.  What if, what someone really values, is spending quality time with their children whilst they’re growing up?  No additional amount of money is going to give them additional time in a 9am – 5pm working environment.  What if, by understanding this you agreed with that person that if they were to achieve a mutually agreed target of output for the day, they could leave early as long as quality and standards weren’t sacrificed.

That kind of incentive works for that individual, they know that if they put in the additional effort and produce more in less time they can leave earlier and spend more time with their children.  This compromise comes with a change of mindset. Employ for specific results and outcomes rather than hours worked.

I formalise this process with my team.  I allocate 90 minutes to each of them and aim to do this with each member of the team every six months.  I’ll confess that occasionally that frequency slips but it’s important to do this regularly.

In addition to the 90 minutes, I ask each of my team to complete a form full of thought provoking questions a week in advance.

This allows for each team member to cogitate when formulating their responses.  Then, when we get together, they’re not put on the spot.  For many, they need time to think and reflect, putting someone on the spot isn’t fair and also, you’re unlikely to get the best answer.  We simply go through the form together and in some cases I’ll dig deeper still to an answer they’ve given to really understand what’s behind it.

My form seeks to understand:

  • What they believe accountable for. Does this match what I believe?
  • How well they feel they’re treated and valued as a team member.
  • What learning they feel they should undertake to improve within their role.
  • How the business is doing and what could be done to improve it.
  • How their leader is leading them and what could be done to improve.
  • Their short and long term goals that they may not give sufficient thought without the prompt.

I see this process as a way to help develop the people I work with. Encouraging them to think about their aspirations helps to inspire them, gives them something to strive toward whether those aspirations can be achieved within my business or agreeing that my business is a stepping stone for them gives clarity on both sides.

You may fear encouraging your team to consider life away from your business but be realistic; if someone has a desire to do something beyond the remit of your business then surely it’s better to be aware and play a part in helping them achieve their longer term aspirations whilst they’re with you.  In addition, you can plan.  It’s better than having an environment where your team members are afraid to share these aspirations with you and then suddenly, out of the blue tell you they’ve found their dream job or they’ve made the decision to go it alone and now you’re left trying to fill a role with insufficient notice.

This process has allowed for new roles to be established within the business that play to peoples strengths and skills I didn’t realise they had.  As a result our employee turnover has been very low because people are able to expand and develop themselves within AVN.

From time to time we’ve helped our team members embark on the next chapter in their lives and because of this, our relationship has continued to be strong and even complimentary in our business connections.

Another fear of having these conversations is feeling exposed when asking for feedback about yourself as a leader.  Few people are natural born leaders and it’s good to keep an open mind.  You may not agree or want to adapt to everything that’s fed back.  But it’s useful to have the conversation.  Most often, it can be about communication either about the bigger picture or that you’re not providing enough detail on stuff you need doing OR it could be that you’re often moody or unapproachable too.  So having the conversations enables you to look for ways that you can improve as a leader – even if that simply means setting certain expectations.

There are lots of great reasons to have much more in-depth and candid conversations with your team. The benefits I find when running these Personal Development Reviews are plentiful.  We establish greater mutual respect, a better connection and in addition, increased loyalty and engagement in the business.

Remember this all important rule though.  Seek first to understand, then to be understood.  It’s easy to get on the defensive, to rationalise the way you work and operate. Dig deeper to find out why your team member feels they way they do.

Action to take.

Next time you’re in the office, go for a walk with a member of your team, invite them to give you open and honest feedback.  Ask them questions about how valuable they perceive their role to be in the business, how valued they feel they are, what’s important to them and dig a little deeper in to every response.

I’m happy to give you a copy of the form I use with accompanying guidance document.  Simply ping me an email at

If you’d like some clarity, help or guidance with this let me know via the comments box.

If you’ve enjoyed this article please let me know by clicking like and as always, if you feel others would benefit from reading this then please do click share.

Shane Lukas – Author of Amazon #1 best seller What’s Next for Accountants; How to make the biggest threat facing the profession your biggest opportunity.

Image courtesy of Matt Townsley –


Article Source: Shane Lukas

When it comes to customer service only remarkable service will do…


Why you need to deliver ‘Remarkable’ customer service and why does it matter?

  • It will help you in an ever increasingly competitive market, if you aren’t delivering a ‘Remarkable’ service then somebody else will
  • Give people something to talk about…Spread the word…’YOU ARE REMARKABLE’
  • Help you stand out among competitors and get it right, every time, with every customer
  • Likeminded customers will be drawn towards you and get people talking about the great things you do
  • Builds strong customer and team loyalty; a great place to work and great people to work alongside

You need to start going the extra mile: you can’t just decide you want to be ‘REMARKABLE’ you have to act like it too. Start doing and create an experience for your clients … every time

It’s a talking point: to be remarkable, you need to be remarked on, so think about how you’ll do this:

  • What are they going to talk about?
  • What are your USPs?
  • Do you go above what other business in your sector in your area?
  • Are you the go to person in your area/sector?

Be different, be BOLD, you may not have an endless marketing budget or time but you can play a different game

  • Be unconventional, be real, and be different – Why not?
  • Stay true to your promise and your passion, but don’t be afraid to push the boundaries and experiment with new ideas.
  • Above all, think of your customers, service with a smile is great, but you want to be remarkable, It has to be in in everything you and your team – do, say, think, and offer

 You first need to define what is your ‘Remarkable’ ?

Using this 5 step approach will give you a robust and structured process to start and continue to enhance your customer service each and every time:

  1. Team – Enthused, pulling the same direction, focused on the customers experience

An engaged Team pulling in the same direction is key, creating a great team ethos and culture can have an equal impact for you and your clients’ experience.

Benefits –

  • When a team member is motivated they do a better job, their workload will become easier, fun and become more enthusiastic
  • Build your businesses culture and live by your values, keep your team engaged and working together
  • Give your team a platform to gather ideas, nominate each other on a job well done
  • In order to motivate your team to succeed, you have to be a great leader and give everybody a sense of purpose
  • Understanding that you need to deliver a remarkable customer service experience every time!


  1. Systems – Don’t leave anything to chance, a step by step for every task

How can you ensure your remarkable service happens every time and not left to chance?

 This is where a systemised approach is key, Michael Gerber the author of The E-Myth books wrote that up to 80% of a business can be systemised. With the right systems in place alongside an engaged team every task can be carried out with the same level of expertise and the outcome be the same, no matter who is carrying out the task.

 Benefits –

  • Increasing standards, saves time and allows you all to work smarter – will give great customer service every time
  • Empowers your team, rather than having to ask you
  • Builds a culture – culture blame a system not a person
  • Each customer will get the same remarkable service every time!


  1. Wows – Exceeding your clients expectations every time

Wows in customer service and their experiences are about meaningful details, they are unique, and an expression of your company’s culture and shared values.

When a customer experiences a ‘wow’:-

  • You are exceeding their expectations in an unexpected way
  • It shows you are interest in building rapport and not just purchase a service or product
  • It is about making personal emotional connections with empathy

 Let’s look at ‘wows’ that our clients experience when attending a training event and why:-

  • All our car park space free and clearing marked with our company logo

Why: To help the clients clearly see the designated parking

  • Football table

Why: to interactive with the clients in a fun way

  • Charity donation to B1G1

Why: to help our clients see we care about others

  • Toiletries and toilet twinning

Why: To refreshes themselves and see the poster that (2.4 billion people don’t have somewhere safe, clean and hygienic to go to the loo. That’s more than a third of the people on the planet) shows we care about others around the world

  • Retro sweets

Why: Take the clients back to 1980’s and either eat themselves or take home for their children

With any wow its import to remember –

  • Your client relationship is paramount, clients will remember and perhaps more importantly talk about, the ‘little things’ that you do more than the products you deliver.
  • What was once remarkable becomes the standard very quickly, so it’s important to keep evolving and enhancing!
  • If you forget a wow you have done with a client in the past, your client may notice!


  1. Learning from others – Do not reinvent the wheel, what have been your experiences and read about what are other credible experts doing

We also experience good and bad customer service in our everyday life and taking the good and adapting it for your business is a great way of passing on what and how it made you feel.

Learning from others gives you a different perspective and it will gives you an insight to sectors and ideas for your business.

A great exercise is to brain storm with your team and all think of great customer service each of you have experienced and in true brain storming session pick the best idea which you and the team can implement.

There are many ‘customer service’ books which are recommend a couple:

  • Feargal Quinn – Crowning the customeris a hands-on guide written in a simple jargon-free style
  • Ken Blanchard – Raving fans that will help everyone, in every kind of organisation or business, deliver stunning customer service and achieve miraculous bottom-line results.


  1. Gathering feedback – Ask and reflect to know you are remarkable and ensure you get candid feedback

How do you know that your clients think you are remarkable? What are other saying about you?

  • The easiest way is to ask, many people don’t like to ask and if they do would you get an honest answer or would they just say the nice things!
  • Think about using an App or software – these can be automated throughout the year or after each job.
  • Don’t be put off sending a manual feedback questionnaire. You could sent in a bright coloured envelope, so it stands out and also printed on different colour paper e.g. yellow or green and you could also add a gift like a biscuit, tea bag. If sending through the post you must always enclose a SAE or a free post envelope.
  • Social proof and what others say about you and your services, so gathering Testimonials is a must these can be used whole to display in your office or on your website and social media.


With any feedback good or bad ensure you share with your team, if good to celebrate, since we all like recognition or if negative think about and implement, what system needs changing? Do the team need training?

Your Client happiness should be measured either after each meeting, project or periodically throughout the year. Research shows that only 4% of dissatisfied customers will ever complain. The other 96% will quietly go away and 91% of those will never come back. Furthermore, a dissatisfied customer will tell 8-10 people about it. Asking your clients for feedback gives you an opportunity to address any issues before they become a problem.

A few thoughts…

Deliver a remarkable customer service and your clients will become your advocates and tell others!

Be the business that people know because of what you do – not because of what you don’t!

Please let me know is this approach has enhanced your customer service

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog

Laura Newby



Article Source: Laura Newby

Fantastic Teams #5 – Passion needs patient zero


Everybody wants their teams to be more engaged and passionate about what they do but passion is contagious, it’s infectious. In order for it to spread, it has to be present in the first place.  It has to be present in you.

Are you, the leader/business owners truly engaged and passionate about what you do and what the business is striving to achieve.

It really doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do, if you don’t have the passion you have a job.  This is unfulfilling, even if it pays well.  How can you expect to exude energy into your team if you don’t have it yourself?

So, are you truly passionate about what you’re doing?

I work with accountants, many of whom had exhausted their passion.  No longer did they enjoy producing compliance accounts for their clients.  This has become an under valued service, a commodity, it had become unfulfilling.

They began working with me and my business AVN where we re-ignited that passion by sharing with them how their skills with numbers can make a profound difference by simply making a change in how they utilise those skills.

People are most passionate when they’re making a difference.  Having a bigger impact than simply making a profit.  Changing lives in a positive way.

In your business are you changing lives in a positive way?  I expect that if you really thought about it, it is or it could be.

Perhaps it’s not always obvious, many focus on the main features of the function of the business whether it’s installing radiators as a plumber would, putting fires out as a fireman would or working with numbers as an accountant would.

But for every function, there’s a bigger picture.

  • A Plumber changes lives by providing comfort and warmth.
  • A Fireman allows a future to happen through the lives he or she saves.
  • An Accountant, using their skills with numbers can help businesses grow and develop and help the people behind those businesses get their lives back.

Do you really have clarity about the bigger impact your business can make?  If you do, does your team?

What’s the emotional impact that comes with what you deliver?

Take some time out, take a walk, go for a drive, get some solitude and really think about what you’re doing, what’s the bigger picture.  Is what you’re doing floating your boat?  Do you look forward to Friday or Monday?

In what way does or can your business affect lives?

If you’d like some help and guidance with this let me know via the comments box.

If you’ve enjoyed this article please let me know by clicking like and as always, if you feel others would benefit from reading this then click share.

Shane Lukas – Best selling author of What’s Next for Accountants; How to make the biggest threat facing the profession your biggest opportunity.

Article Source: Shane Lukas

Fantastic Team #4 – Whose fault is it anyway?


When things go wrong in your business are you quick to blame others?  Or do you take responsibility yourself?

In my blog about the Initiative Ladder (Fantastic Teams #1) I explained that mistakes must be allowed to happen – on the understanding that the team member who made the mistake is ready to take the responsibility to rectify any mistakes they make; with your support.

That’s relating to using initiative, to deal with the exceptions that typically send your team members in to you, telling you about a problem that you are expected to deal with.

Sometimes however things can go wrong in routine stuff too.

How do you react to this?

Do you chastise the person who erred? Do you continue to hold a grudge against that person, continually reflecting over the mistake they made that led to negative consequences?

How do you think that person felt?

And continues to feel?

Do you think it was deliberate?

What really went wrong?

Do you know?

Or do you just hold them responsible?

What if, instead of responding to something like this with anger and/or disciplinary procedure you work with the team member to identify what led to the mistake happening with a view to ensuring that it can’t ever happen again; either by that person or any other person filling the same or a similar role?

Was the problem down to training or are they generally proficient and something was simply missed?

Did they miss something in a series of checks?

Was it something that’s simply left to memory?  A process that has to be carried out and a part of it forgotten?

Work with your team member to find out the cause and find out how it can be avoided in the future.

Don’t simply leave it at taking the assurance from your team member that they’ll do better to remember everything next time.  That’s unfair and quite frankly, it’s abdication. Anything left to memory is likely to be forgotten at some point especially when there are many steps in a process.

Do you have a system in place that acts as a reminder of the steps that must be taken every time that particular routine job is completed?

A system that includes the ‘bells and whistles’ of additional customer wows that reflect your personality and uniqueness that when followed means those wows happen consistently, every single time.

If you do have systems, do you provide detailed training on every system that you have in place so that there’s no assumption that because a system exists, people can simply follow it?  if not, this too is a form of abdication.

Even if you have these things in place and a mistake occurred it’s important to understand what went wrong, was a step in the system mis-understood? Perhaps it needs re-wording.

Finally, was the system simply not followed?

If so, did you fail to convey the importance of following the systems? This is an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of following the systems that are in place and to demonstrate the consequences of not following them.

It’s rare that a team member will deliberately sabotage.  Most people want to do a good job.  Putting a step by step system in place for each function of their job is the best way to ensure consistency and avert mistakes.

If you take a car for MOT, the mechanic, despite having performed MOTs countless times, completes a check list.  This acts as a reminder to ensure no stone was left unturned.

If you go to McDonalds, you’re asked the same questions every time, you’re presented with the same burger every time, the fries taste the same, never burned or undercooked.  The experience that you get from any McDonalds, anywhere in the world is exactly the same.  Because they use systems and the train people to understand them and follow.  Not just for making burgers but in management, marketing and every other function the business needs to be successful.

Having systems in place helps reduce mistakes happening.  Mistakes are inevitable and mistake must be accepted.  When you blame people they feel demotivated.  Investigate the cause.

If the cause of the problem is owing to the system not being followed then understand why.  Not every person enjoys following systems.  If this is the case, then perhaps you’ve employed the wrong person for the job.

So, before blaming others, look in the mirror.  What can you do to ensure that any mistake only occurs once.

If you’d like to get a free resource from me on how to put systems in place in to a business then send me a message either via the comments section below or via a direct message and I’ll happily send one to you.

As always, if you enjoyed this blog please let me know by clicking LIKE.  If you think others will benefit please SHARE it.


Article Source: Shane Lukas

The 7 mistakes stopping you earning £200,000 annual profit

At AVN we regularly carry out benchmarking studies of the UK accounting profession. And since 1998 we've worked with hundreds and hundreds of accountants in the UK and seen what works - and what doesn't. One of the things that's really interesting about our profession is that accountants are not performing very well.

The average profit per partner in the UK is about £68,706.

And this is about £10,000 less than our comparative study in 2007. So life's getting harder and harder for many UK accountants. And bearing in mind of course that this is £68,706 is not a true profit. It's not a 'true profit' because most accountants trade as sole practitioners or as partnerships. Consequently we don't put through a commercial salary for the owners' own time. In other words, the costs for the time we put in. At a recent seminar for accountants (partners and sole practitioners) we asked what their time was worth. In other words, thinking about all the work they do, their responsibilities and their experience, what would they expect to be paid if they were doing exactly the same things - and working the same ours - working for larger accounting firm. The answers ranged from £70,000 to well over £100,000. What does this mean? Simple. If we were to put a commercial salary through for the partners of most firms, of accountants in the UK are making a loss. And that's simply not good enough. Particularly when you bear in mind that the top performing  firms, despite recent difficult times, are performing better than ever. In the past few years, AVN has twice held a 'summit' meeting of 6 of the best performing firms in the UK (with partners earning in excess of £200,000 profit per year). Whilst on the surface their practices look very different (for example, there were more differences in their service offerings) at the very heart of what they do are a set of core underlying principles and best practice concepts. Things that every great business has in place and yet are often lacking in others. And here's the great news. When you truly understand what these things are you have a roadmap for building a £1m accounting firm. This roadmap consists of seven key things. Seven things, that when you get them right, can transform your results. Seven things which are missing in most accounting firms we come across.

Mistake 1 - No Clear Strategy

Mistake 2 - Wrong Pricing

Mistake 3 - Average Service

Mistake 4 - Poor Marketing

Mistake 5 - No Written System

Mistake 6 - Measuring The Wrong Things

Mistake 7 - Inadequate People

In later articles we will expand on these mistakes, so please follow us on FaceBook, LinkedIn or Twitter or return to our AVN  Insights to expand your knowledge and help you develop your practice. Thanks for reading. The AVN Team DSC_0180    



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