A duck and a dream

I had the pleasure of watching arguably the world’s best magician David Copperfield live in Melbourne recently. The magic itself was awesome...

17 reasons you should always carry a book with you

1. As someone who used to spend a lot of time waiting for real estate clients to show up – I know that clients / appointments / people in general are often late...

Reality Television your way to Success

I think I’m one of the only “motivational speakers” (not that I call myself that) who will openly admit that I watch television. I watch bad television too… even… dare I say it… reality television.

Where is the love?!

One of my businesses, Elephant Property, works in the notoriously under appreciated category of residential property management. The old adage in property management...

The power of the word

I’m quite distraught. I was eating my personal trainer approved afternoon snack of 12 almonds (my suggestion of 12 Tim Tams: not approved)...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How can I leave my business for a month at a time?

So, I was being organised this morning and pre-writing some of my blogs. Yes, shock horror, I don't sit down and write them each and every week - I write them when inspiration strikes and often weeks or months in advance and then my fantastic newsletter editor Megan schedules my posts on various sites and in our newsletter so that even when I'm not home - I still maintain a constant presence. To me this makes heaps more sense than trying to force write when I'm in the middle of a jungle or simply not feeling as inspired.

I know I have another 5 blogs to write so that I'm all ready to go on a month long trip to South America in a few weeks. Being a little low on inspiration this morning I thought I'd reach out through twitter and my facebook page and run a competition to get some ideas on what people wanted me to blog about in exchange for a chance to win my book.

Funnily enough - the first "entry / suggestion" was from @msmadwoman "...write about how to be so organised that you can take a month off your business and it will still run!"

Given that I'm pretty fond of taking large chunks of time away from my businesses to travel (US x 2, Malaysia, Singapore, the Caribbean, Egypt, Jordan and a fair few Aus destinations in the past 12 months) it seems like a great blog idea!

So here goes... this is how it works for me, how can I take a month of from my businesses and have them still run. Take what you want from the list and good luck on getting your month / months away soon!

1. I have partners who are there when I'm not
First and foremost I have awesome partners in my business endeavours. The most prominent are Megan and Bella at Elephant Property and Sammie at Baby Teresa. Without these guys I wouldn't have a business if I left for a few weeks, let alone months at a time. They are exceptional. For you, this might also mean having great staff as well as or instead of partners. Regardless, if you have a business that requires constant contact with people that can't be automated and that requires real brains behind it - you're going to need to have awesome people running the ship when you're not home.

2. I've found some businesses with complete leverage
Some of my businesses don't need my time at all. I write a book, record a CD or write a real estate eproduct once - I can sell it on www.unleashedknowledge.com over and over again. The real estate advertising website I started www.reallysold.com doesn't need my input at all anymore. My investment properties have sensational property managers looking after them and do not require me day to day.

3. It's the plan
When I sold my real estate agency at age 27 I knew that whatever "work" I wanted to do after that, I wanted it to be something where I could take off at a moments notice to do anything I wanted. The plan is: see the world and when I'm home work at businesses that I find fun and challenging and rewarding. The plan is not: work and then try and find time to see the world around work. The plan was also spelled out to my business partners so that it isn’t a shock when I disappear for extended periods of time. What's your plan?

4. I batch things together
When I have an idea for what to write a blog post on I'll quickly grab my iphone and email the idea to myself and then I'll sit down and write 3 or more posts at a time. I'll call through all my target clients for Elephant Property on one day a week. We write hand cards for all our clients birthdays at Elephant once a month. Multi-tasking is a farce. I'm so much more efficient doing one thing and getting it done and completed well than I am trying to concentrate on 7 things at once and half starting each of them.

5. I love a system
I'm 10 times happier if I can write a system or procedure so that I can delegate a task and know with certainty that the person I'm delegating it to can do it in an appropriate manner than I am doing it myself. As a business owner there will always be certain things I want to do myself, but I see so many business owners touting the same tired lines like "If you want a job done well, do it yourself" that it makes me feel ill. I want to delegate. I want to train our staff so that they feel confident taking on bigger and bigger roles. I want to travel for a month at a time! Our systems and procedures (that are constantly evolving) allow us to do that and mean that not only can I travel, but that I can travel and not be called or emailed for "work emergencies" and I can travel with peace of mind that things are going well back in the business.

So... that's it really. Nothing that's rocket science, but it's how it works for me.

Now - off to complete my packing list for the Inca Trail.

Happy holidays,

To sign up to Kirsty's weekly email head to: www.kirstydunphey.com

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ideas Are Everywhere

When you're in "the zone" (the business zone that is) there's business lessons abounds as you go through your everyday life.

The horrid service you receive at a hotel reception should signal something to you that you wouldn't want repeated in your business, or perhaps a procedure you need to implement.

The awesome service you get from your local barista could show you a way to make your first point of contact with a client sparkle.

A fabulous website you see mentioned on twitter should scream at you "do something in this vein on your site".

The dodgy post you see someone make about their boss on facebook could be a lesson on what you don't want your staff saying about you in public.

Every frustration, cringe and annoyance can signal an opportunity. Every awesome moment can signal something to tweak and implement yourself.

When was the last time you saw something out in the wild world and made a note to work it into your business?

PS - this can stretch a little too far, as it did for me one recent night while I was watching Sweeny Todd (the Tim Burton / Johnny Depp film). I had to admonish myself for marvelling at the complementary marketing / strategic alliances between the pie shop and the barbers while all the while wondering how Sweeny Todd got any repeat and referral business when he kept slaughtering his clients.... oh dear!

To sign up to Kirsty's weekly newsletter, head to: www.kirstydunphey.com

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Monday, June 7, 2010

It's easy enough to impress me (and most people)

Just do a little extra on top of my expectations and my previous experiences.

A hotel in Atlanta did just that on my recent stay there.

They injected more humour than I was expecting:
The gym is called "Sweat", there's a kaliedoscope in my room, their tone in all communications is fun and casual.

They were more personable than my last hotel:
Staff have been a delight right down to the cleaning staff lady who took time to greet me in a super friendly way and ask me in the hall whether everything in my room was to my satisfaction.

The little details are beyond my expectations:

The mats in the elevators that are changed so they say good morning or afternoon as appropriate.

What are your clients expectations and previous experiences of businesses of your type and are you exceeding those in any memorable ways?

To sign up to Kirsty's weekly email head to: www.kirstydunphey.com

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, June 3, 2010

From Strangers to Friends in a Minute or Less

This is my friend Hussein. We met in Siwa - a tiny desert oasis in the North West of Egypt.

After one meeting we went from being strangers to friends - such good friends that I insisted everyone on my group tour of Egypt went into his shop (and most did, many spending 2 or 3 times more on items we could purchase elsewhere in Egypt).

Why was I such a huge advocate of Hussein's after just one brief interaction?

He took an interest and not just in getting my business
Hussein took a real interest in getting to know me, he wanted to know about where I was from and what I was doing in this tiny town. After seconds of chatting we'd formed such a great dialogue that he insisted there would be no talk about business - and instead we'd have tea instead. Sugary delicious Egyptian tea followed and our conversation expanded.

He shared his own story
While he was born in Egypt, Hussein had lived for 32 years in the USA and was actually from the South East of Egypt originally. I found out about his wife who had sadly passed, his son who was getting married to a Swedish girl soon and about his shop. And then we drank more tea.

We found common ground
When I asked Hussein how he had ended up in tiny Siwa - he pulled out the book he's holding in this photo "1,000 places to see before you die". It was the very book I'd used in planning my trip to Egypt. On different continents and being from different generations, not to mention the other differences, this one book had still meant we were in exactly the same place at the same time. Our connection was cemented (and then of course, we had a bit more tea).

I never felt pressured
While I did end up buying from Hussein's shop he never asked me to buy. He never even asked me to look at the goods! He simply had a great interaction with me and I felt comfortable in his shop even on the 5 or so visits where I bought nothing but just came in for a chat.

It wasn't about price
I've mentioned already that Hussein's prices weren't the cheapest even in the town, let alone in Egypt. We were happy to pay more because the purpose of the purchases wasn't about getting the cheapest price. They were part of an entirely great experience, they were quality goods and as such price wasn't the determining factor.

He gave without asking
When I mentioned to Hussein that we were going sand boarding he offered me, at no cost, a sand board to take from his shop. This meant that the 6 of us who braved the dunes had 3 boards instead of 2 - which added lots more time hurtling ourselves down the sand, a great benefit to us that cost him nothing.

He thanked me for my referrals
When Hussein saw me crossing the street later on our first night in town he called out to me thanking me for sending my friends in to his shop. What did this do? Well it made me send more people to him after my dinner that night.

Now the challenge for me is to find ways I can incorporate the lessons I learned from Hussein into my every day business practices. What common ground can you find with a client today?

Disclaimer - This photo was taken after I'd spent about 8 days in the desert sleeping on the ground at times, comments about my fashion choices or how tired / dirty I look will be met with disdain.

To sign up to Kirsty's weekly email head to: www.kirstydunphey.com

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

    • Popular
    • Categories
    • Archives