What Are Your Plans for This Year?
If you plan for nothing, that’s likely what you’ll achieve.
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
I’m a big advocate of planning. I have a plan for each day and a plan for the week. I have a plan for the month and for each quarter. I also have a plan for the year. It’s not elaborate, but it is written down. It guides me in all I do.
Do you have a plan for this year? If you don’t, no worries. Start one today. If you follow it with care, you’ll finish the year strong. Here are some ideas to consider:
Grow Your TAS
Most answering service owners and managers want to grow their business. No one wants to command a sinking ship. And few people enjoy working for a business that’s just floating along. No, we want to watch sales and revenue trend upward.
Your growth goal can be a percentage or a net number of new clients. You can make it aggressive or stay conservative. The main thing is to pursue an increase in size. This isn’t because bigger is better, but for economies of scale and increased revenue.
Every leader is surrounded with opportunities. The problem is seizing them. Too often, especially in the TAS industry, the focus becomes on dealing with the day-to-day, leaving no time for tomorrow, let alone the rest of the year.
These opportunities could include pursuing a new market, making an acquisition, or investing in technology. It might be time to reorganize your business, streamline operations, or overhaul sales and marketing. You can’t tackle all these items. That would be impossible. However, you can pursue one or maybe two. But if you don’t make it part of your annual plan, it’s likely you’ll never get around to it.
Just as there are opportunities all around us, we also have problems. (I often euphemistically call problems, opportunities. Because they are.) Problems seldom go away on their own. Instead they fester, getting bigger and badder with time. Pick the largest problem facing your TAS, and make it your goal to eliminate that problem this year.
Hire Key Staff
Most answering services are in a constant state of hiring. Because of the need to keep a full schedule of trained employees, it’s hard to divert attention to mid and upper-level management concerns. But we must. Should you add a position? Do you need to find a replacement for one person, so you can later promote them? Is there some work you should offload to give you more time to lead, strategize, and succeed?
As you plan for this year, don’t get carried away. Keep it simple. Make it attainable. Then by years’ end you can take inventory and celebrate the great things you accomplished.
May this be your best year yet.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. Check out his latest book, Sticky Customer Service.
Seeking Acquisitions: Reputable TAS, in business since 1967 and still owned by the founding family, seeks a small TAS acquisition in the USA. Ideally, you’re billing under $50k per month. Smaller is better. We’ll treat you right, and your employees and customers. Let’s talk. Contact Doug at 888-693-7935 or email@example.com.
TAS Sales Rep: 40-year-old, multiple-location, answering service seeks outgoing, highly professional, hard-working, and self-motivated sales representatives. Previous sales experience is preferred. Strong written and verbal communications skills are required. Must be comfortable with phone sales, computer-literate, and capable of creating written sales proposals. Email resume to Janet Livingston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top Ten Tips to Lift Your Leadership
By Elizabeth McCormick
To enhance your abilities as a leader, begin with an intentional mindset to lift your leadership with these ten tips:
- Listen to Your Staff: It’s important to ask for input, and listen to what your team has to say. When your staff feels valued, it improves their personal connection and overall commitment to the desired results.
- Make Tough Decisions: Your employees may not like every decision you make, but don’t let that scare you into not making the right decisions. For any decision, do your research and get feedback from your staff. If you are able, explain your decisions diplomatically and address concerns.
- Delegate to Staff: Many leaders diminish their potential by hoarding tasks because of fear. Great leaders are great delegators. Empower your team with delegated tasks, while not micromanaging them. Also give them the authority to ask questions and get help if needed. People will surprise you when you trust them.
- Admit When You’re Wrong: Everyone makes mistakes, and leaders are no different. When you make a mistake, be upfront with your employees. Your honesty will help open better trust and communication.
- Show Appreciation: When your team members do good work, make sure you let them know you noticed. Appreciation goes a long way, and as you incorporate a culture of gratitude, your staff will reciprocate with loyalty and a job well done.
- Be Willing to Get Your Hands Dirty: The most successful leaders won’t ever ask an employee to do something they aren’t willing to do themselves. People have more respect for leaders who aren’t afraid to jump in to help.
- Mentor Your Staff: If you help your staff become more successful, the whole team will benefit. The more you invest into your employees, the more they will give in return. Lead by example in a mentorship role. Others will follow your lead. This creates a culture where upcoming leaders develop a mindset of helping others.
- Bond Through a Social Cause: To lead effectively, you need to be a part of the team. Start a new social cause as a teambuilding activity and make sure you lead the way. To add even more lift to your leadership, adopt a charity to support within your community and get away from the office where you can get to know your staff better.
- Let Employees See You Learn: Leaders are learners. Let your team observe you learning a new skill, reading a book, or studying information. Encourage them to do the same.
- Keep Meetings Short: Although necessary, meetings can be disruptive and non-productive, especially if nothing was accomplished. Meetings should have a specific purpose and agenda that involves everyone in the room. The more you respect the time of your employees, the more they will respect you as a leader.
Improving your capacity to lead takes intentional effort. These tips will help you focus on what matters most.
Elizabeth McCormick is a keynote speaker specializing in leadership, sales, and safety presentations. A former US Army Black Hawk Pilot, and author of The P.I.L.O.T. Method: The 5 Elemental Truths to Leading Yourself in Life, Elizabeth teaches instantly applicable strategies to boost your employees’ confidence in their own leadership abilities.
Telephone Answering Service News
Ron Violante Joins Szeto Technology: Szeto Technologies welcomed Ron Violante to its team. Ron has over thirty years’ experience in the TAS business as a sales representative and is familiar with the requirements that are needed in this industry. He is already well known within the TAS community with his knowledge and involvement in the answering service field. Based in Ohio, Ron began his new role December 2017. Charles and his team welcome Ron to their family and wish him success in his new role.
Pete Glihooly Joins Call Center Sales Pro: Call Center Sales Pro hired Pete Gilhooly as director of hospital call centers. In this new position he’ll finetune and rollout the organization’s operational model for hospital call centers. Janet Livingston, founder of Call Center Sales Pro, brought Gilhooly on boardto further advance the company’s already successful efforts in this market. “Pete is a natural fit with the Call Center Sales Pro team,” Livingston said. “He brings three decades of telecom leadership experience to us, the last fifteen of which focus on healthcare.”
Amtelco Employee Awards Announced: Steve Bormett, of the Field Engineering Department, is the 2017 recipient of Amtelco’s William J. Curtin Employee of the Year award. The honor, conferred annually at year’s end, is named in remembrance of Amtelco founder William J. Curtin II, and is the most cherished award available to Amtelco employees. Other employee awards include Administration Employee of the Year, Jordan Beale; Operations Employee of the Year, Ken Marty; Service Employee of the Year: Thomas Jimenez; TAS Salesperson of the Year: Tom Lindsay; and 1Call Salesperson of the Year: Joe Curtin.
ATSI Awards Gold Call Center Re-Certification to ASCO: ATSI announced that ASCO, dba Answer Quick, again received the Gold 24/7 Call Center Certification Award and has done so continuously since the program’s inception in 2001. Beth Cooper, president of Answer Quick, a division of ASCO, Inc, is a pioneer and founding member of the committee and continuing advocate of the entire certification program. The certification, which requires a physical inspection every three years, indicates that Answer Quick has met or exceeded high standards, focusing on a 99.9 percent annual run time.
Send us your TAS articles and news for consideration in the next issue.
Quotes for the Month
“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” -Naguib Mahfouz
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” -Albert Schweitzer
“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.” -unknown