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DEVELOPING THE SOFT SKILLS OF YOUR EMPLOYEES

 “Employees are a company’s greatest asset – they’re your competitive advantage. You want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement, stimulus, and make them feel that they are an integral part of the company’s mission,” so said Anne Mulcahy, the former CEO of Xerox. So how do you continue to make your employees a substantial part of a company’s success? The answer may surprise you.

Improving or increasing revenues, making sales, satisfying customer needs, all require more than merely describing the attributes of a product or service. The improvement of an employee’s performance is not merely improving product knowledge and not improving selling skills, of course those are important. It also means finding ways to critically assess your employee’s soft skills, and develop programs that will improve their performance, thereby improving revenue and, ultimately, the value of your business.

How then do we differentiate hard and soft skills? Hard skills are referring to skills defining the ability to do the job, and those competencies include the technical ability, the knowledge of the job and core attributes of the products or services, and the qualifications of that individual. Soft skills, on the other hand, are personality traits that are individual to the person and may include “skills” like motivation, communication, and other interpersonal skills.

Alison Doyle, a career and job search guru, in an internet published paper, stated: “soft skills is a term used by employers to refer to the most intangible and non-technical abilities that are sought from candidates.” Furthermore, she goes on to state, “soft skills are sometimes referred to as professional skills. These skills are skills are more aligned with the general disposition and personality of the individual.” These skills can be related to your own attitudes and instincts and other personality traits that influence behavior, day in and day out.

What are the key soft skills?  Various institutions and individuals have complied a list of those traits that are the most important soft skills and here is a combined list of significant soft skills. Please note that there are other important soft skills that can be added to this list.

  • Communication: the capability of speaking intelligently and understandably, listening, writing clearly and effectively presenting information.
  • Interpersonal Skills: courtesy, etiquette, being respectful, good business manners, professionalism, personable, empathetic, upbeat social skills.
  • Integrity: high morals, ethical behavior, honesty, treating others as one expects to be treated.
  • Flexibility: adaptability, the willingness and ability to accept and develop new skills and grow. The ability to accept new things and ideas, and change as the business changes.
  • Positive Attitude: confident, optimistic outlook, enthusiastic, passionate, excited about work and life.
  • Responsibility: gets the job done, resourceful, accountable for goals and objectives, self-disciplined, and the ability to accept training and grow personally.
  • Teamwork: gets along with others, compatible with others, supportive, can lead or follow depending on the goal and circumstance, gets things done through and with team members.
  • Work Ethic/Motivation: hard working, work well individually, desire to succeed, thrive in the work environment without outside supervision, demonstrates initiative.
  • Problem Solving: approaches problems analytically and critically, uses the team to assist, level headed approach to solutions, creative with solutions.

These soft skills are thought to be the most relevant and important in the work environment. Improving these skills, where and when appropriate, with individual employees can bring about positive changes to the success and value of a business or institution. The importance can be further substantiated in a statement from Carnegie Mellon foundation, which established that “75% of long term job success resulted from soft skills and only 25% from technical skills, hence soft skills are as important as technical skills.”

Why do soft skills matter? Careers, professions, and companies that focus on the soft skills, in addition to the hard skills, are more successful. Developing and improving soft skills can improve productivity, improving the total financial aspect of a company, not only the top line, but the bottom line as well.

Improving employee soft skills can have a significant positive effect on employee retention. Keeping employees for multiple years instead of rapid turnover reduces all of the costs associated with the hiring and training process. Employees who are satisfied with their long-term development will have improved self-worth, improved self-esteem, improved self-confidence, all of which contributes to the improved success of the company.

If you would like more information on this subject, or you would like a list of interview questions for potential new employees or current employees that help qualify soft skills, please contact me at fred.carr@linkbusiness.com or schedule a call with me at  https://calendly.com/fred-carr.

Brian Kloft is working with LINK Business-Phoenix

LINK Business-Pheonix is excited about working with Brain Kloft as a cooperating broker.

With over 20 years of experience in the Arizona commercial real estate sales and leasing market, Brian has decided to work in Cooperation with LINK Business on assisting business owners in acquiring or selling their business.

Brian is a Phoenix Native who attended St Mary’s High School and graduated from ASU with a business marketing degree.  Beginning in commercial real estate at a shopping center focused leasing company, he helped build their property management company until leaving to start his own property management, leasing and sales company. After growing his company to a successful, mid-sized company, he sold it to spend more time with his wife and young children.  He decided he could manage his own properties and a small number of clients and has recently decided to focus more on helping owners with business transitions.

Scott Sampson joins LINK Business-Phoenix

We are very excited to have Scott Sampson join the LINK Business-Phoenix team.

Originally from North Carolina, Scott has lived in Arizona for most of his life. Scott enjoys bringing parties together to meet their goals. His professional background includes hospitality, banking, and software development.

Scott is an artist at heart and enjoys drawing, painting, and writing stories with his kids, and spending time with family and friends. Contact Scott today to learn more about how he and the LINK team can guide you toward your next opportunity.

Interested in becoming a business broker

Interested in becoming a business broker, Lisa Riley will be conducting a training session on becoming a LINK Business Brokers July 5th and July 6th, LINK 101 Training.  This training is the first step in becoming a business broker at LINK Business. Please contact us if this is something for you.

LINK Business-Phoenix (www.linkbusiness.com) is a full-service business brokerage/M&A firm that has immediate career opportunity for self-motivated and entrepreneurial individual(s) to pursue a challenging and rewarding career as a business broker/M&A advisor. We are looking for seasoned sales professionals or executive mangers. This Phoenix Office, part of one of the World’s oldest network of business sales and acquisition intermediaries, is looking to build its business broker/M&A team with a few self-motivated associates to find sellers and buyers of companies and arrange the transactions between them. This work draws upon the individual’s capabilities in sales, marketing, financial and operational analysis, negotiations, financing strategy and business management. The position requires persistence, a highly-organized approach and a consistently positive attitude. You must have high ethical and professional standards, be a confident, be a creative problem-solver, a team player and real networker. Although the position requires both sales/marketing and financial skills, THE QUALITIES OF AN EFFECTIVE SALESPERSON/MANAGER ARE THE MOST CRITICAL ONES FOR SUCCESS.

The position offered is that of an Independent Contractor. THIS IS A COMMISSION-ONLY POSITION in which you can expect to earn $100,000 to $150,000+ your first full year, but there is no upside limit, no ceiling on your net earnings which depend, to a large extent, on your own efforts and results. Veteran, highly effective business brokers/M&A team members can earn more than $250,000 annually and we had one reach $980,000. However, the business brokerage/M&A business is a complex, extended process with a long sales cycle, so a new intermediary should be prepared to go 6 months or more before collecting that first commission check.

This is not a job or career path for everyone but it is challenging, very interesting work that can be highly rewarding for the right person. We typically do not deal with start-up or other early-stage businesses. Our primary focus is on facilitating the sales of established businesses that have some history of profitability. You will interact with entrepreneurial people and take part in the operational and financial analysis of many types of businesses.

When selecting new members for our team we look for the traditional indicators of success:

Maturity — a minimum of 15 years of business experience. AGE is a plus because we are dealing with mature people.

Exceptional initiative — a well-organized, well-planned, self-starter.

Creativity — ability to innovate and develop solutions for complex business problems.

Selling experience — proven ability to prospect for, qualify and close.

Background — sales, strategic or financial consulting, or business management experience.

Business ownership — past entrepreneurial and management experience, a plus.

Education – a college degree is a plus.

Teamwork — ability to work well with teammates to solve complex problems.

Because we occasionally sell the business’ real estate, you will be required to possess an Arizona Real Estate Sales Agent license. However, one can pursue this license at the same time we provide our basic training to being a successful broker.

All of the above being said, this is a fun & interesting job.

We are an equal opportunity enterprise and value diversity for our team.

Mark Ortiz joins LINK Business-Phoenix

We are very excited to have Mark Ortiz join our team.

Mark has 20 plus years experience in the Field of Finance and began his career with AIG where he became a successful Lending and Insurance Sales Manager. His outstanding production was rewarded with induction into AIG’s Solid Gold Producers Club.

After his success with AIG, Mark moved into the Wholesale Mortgage Lending Industry and worked as a Sales Manager for Lehman Brothers where he ran a Top Producing Branch.

His experience and success within the Wholesale Mortgage Industry led him to establish his own lending operation, Avalanche Group, LLC. Mark established relationships with institutional and private investors that allowed him to fund loans for regional mortgage brokers. His experience building relationships, structuring deals and analyzing financial statements, within this highly competitive industry, is a key component of working toward the successful sale or acquisition of your business.

5 Ways to Grow Your Business to Maximize the Purchase Price Value

5 Ways to Grow Your Business to Maximize the Purchase Price Value

In order to maximize the value or the amount you keep in your pocket when you decide to leave or sell your business, you can:

  • Start a business or
  • Buy a nice small business, build it up, pay off loans, and sell.

Set up a business from the beginning (or now) to maximize sales value by following these 5 steps:

       5. Maintain Good Financial Books and Records

  • Keep your personal and business funds separate. Yes, for small business owners starting out funds may be indistinct. As soon as possible, keep separate books.
  • Make sure your accounting policies conform with those in your industry.
  • Enlist your accountant and attorney to determine which entity type is best for your business and your future plans.

       4. Diminish or Remove Unreported Cash, Perks

  • Report cash (e.g, no $10,000 ‘cash’ bonus in your pocket).
  • Identify and limit or remove non-essential business expenses (e.g., additional $10,000 for family vacation to Fiji counted as business expense)
  • Why: $10k off the bottom line is a potential reduction of purchase price by 2 or 3 times that amount.

       3. Keep Investing In The Business…

  • …as if you were going to keep running it yourself. If buying new equipment, make sure that it is increases revenue and would increase the value of the business. Buyers will consider the level of debt and the quality of assets, particularly in manufacturing operations.
  • Acquire another small business to create some synergies and increase value….equity being value.
  • Review leased and financed assets to see whether they should be fully owned.
  • Debt is not bad. Too much debt or unmanageable debt is!

       2. Make Sure The Business is Financeable

  • Seller financing indicates to buyers & bankers that seller believes the buyer can continue and grow the business. Additionally, MAXIMUM value is achieved (always a cash discount).

       1. Work Yourself Out of a Job ****

  • Make sure you are NOT critical to the business.
  • IF your company’s success is not solely dependent on your input in terms of operational know-how, technical skill or personal relationships with clients or suppliers, then VALUE is greater.
  • It is helpful to have a reliable management team to demonstrate that the business will continue to be successful once the owner has left.

In summary, to get the greatest value when you decide to sell your business:

  • Make sure you know your financials;
  • Do not commingle funds;
  • Invest (reasonably) in your business;
  • Provide financing or have a SBA able business; and
  • Become dispensable to your business’s success.

Selling Your Medical Spa in the Phoenix Area

What Sellers Need to Know

Arizona is a popular winter destination for people who live in chilly climates, and spa visits deliver the pampering experience people enjoy during vacations or regular life. When selling medical spas in the Phoenix area, prepare to discuss the flow of money that comes in from the snowbird and tourist crowd with potential buyers. A plan to demonstrate what sets your spa apart from the competition is also a good idea.

Tips for Getting Ready to Sell Your Arizona Spa

There are also other things you can do to make your business practically irresistible to buyers. Be ready with answers to some common buyer’s concerns, and plan to show the buyer how easy it will be to take over the business.

Know Why Are You Selling the Business

Very few people want to buy a business that’s failing, so why you’re selling is one of the first things you need to be ready to explain, as noted by Investopedia. Plan to talk about things like being ready for a different challenge, looking forward to retirement, or whichever detail is true for your situation.

Things That Make a Business Look Good to a Buyer

If you’re selling because the business isn’t producing as much income as you expected, it’s best to tell the truth. The buyer is going to want to see the books anyway. However, lead with the positive things about your business. This gets the buyer emotionally invested and excited about the idea of running a spa. Here are some things buyers might look for.

·Positive Cash Flow

Money is a powerful motivator, so if your business shows positive cash flow, that’s a selling point you need to leverage. Have tax information and accounting records prepared and organized. This lets buyers quickly scan the information and feel good about buying. Understand that what a potential buyer considers a good income might be different than the amount you consider a good income.

·Amenities

The physical amenities at your facility are strong selling points. Buyers want to know what permanent and semi-permanent features come with the deal. Things like a steam room, wet room and elegant design elements make the venue more inviting for guests. An inviting setting offers the type of pampering tourists want when spending winter in the Phoenix area. Allow buyers to see that the spa is, or can become, a sought-after destination.

·Special Services

What are the most popular services at your spa? Be ready to tell buyers which services attract the most customers and bring in the most money. If your spa is known for its hot stone massage or aromatherapy treatments, let buyers know that. Share testimonials from clients who enjoy your services if possible. This helps buyers who want to add their own touches to the business get a clear view of which services to keep.

·Well-Trained Staff

An entrepreneur new to the spa business might hesitate to jump into it from scratch. If your well-trained employees are willing to stay on, that eases the transition to business ownership for the buyer. You may even want to offer your own services if you’re willing to stay on to train the new owner or stay on as an employee as part of a phase out plan.

Selling your business is a big decision, and there are a lot of things you can do to close the sale quickly. Have all the information ready and available. Then, ask potential buyers up front what they are looking for in a business. This is the easiest way to find out which facets of your company to point out first. The selling points a buyer values may be different from the ones that appeal most to you.

Contact a LINK broker in Phoenix today (480) 686-8062 and discuss your business’s potential selling points. We can help you through the selling process and make it easy for you.

CUSTOMERS ARE # 1

How not to lose Customers

“The easiest way to grow your customers is not to lose them”, so says Robert Clay of Marketing Wisdom. Businesses lose 10% to 20% of their customers each year for numerous reasons and the reasons may startle you. Inattentiveness, lack of communication, lack of extraordinary customer service or service negligence.   Whatever the reason, the consequences of the loss can be catastrophic to businesses of every nature.  However, while there is no magic answer, there are immediate resolutions to help you retain your clients.

Extraordinary Customer Service: Each and every employee should be dedicated to the idea of delivery of amazing and superlative service to each customer that walks in the door. This means knowing their names, their treatment history, their goals, and their priorities. Also, responding immediately to their needs, going above and beyond the norm, delivering service that you want personally. This is an attitude that needs to be instilled every day, in every way.

Reliable Products and Services: Very few things can turn a customer against your business than unreliability of a product or service. Ensure that what you offer has the stamp of approval of virtually every employee. This means that products and services must reassure customer satisfaction. What that means is satisfaction guaranteed…not just guaranteed but assured. Nothing says confidence like a product or service that the business and employees stand behind. Nothing can ruin customer confidence like a product or service that fails to deliver what is promised. Ensure that the staff is well versed in the value of a product and service and can relate that to the client and ensure that using a product or service is the norm.

Reconnect with the “drifters”: Those clients who have not kept appointments, who have not returned for months, who have not purchased must be reengaged. These clients must be reactivated buy using some basic communication skills that everyone can help with. Emails, phone calls, letters offering specific incentives, special deals and other enticements to return. Every week or month, a select group of drifters can be contacted by the staff and offered encouragement to come in and get a product or service. Minimally, these clients could be a source of dissatisfaction that can be dealt with internally. If there have been problems in the past assure the client that things have changed. These retention ideas are merely a few of the things that can be accomplished regularly that work to ensure that you won’t lose 10 to 20% of your hard won customers.