Category Archives: Topics

Running

Running

Sales atmosphere is a tricky thing. In order for your team to be productive you need the right combination of pressure vs fun, fear vs safety, self motivation vs teamwork. Balancing the atmosphere can be a full time job, but if you pay attention every day you can stay on top of it before it gets lopsided and toxic.

Pressure vs Fun – Too much pressure creates “The Boiler Room”, too much fun creates an early 90’s dot com company. Both are bad for business and unsustainable so it’s important to find the happy medium. I have to look, listen, and feel the tempo of what’s happening on the floor. If the  atmosphere gets too tense I’ll go out and bring up some random sports news that get people to stop thinking about their problems and allows them to relax for a few minutes while discussing things like “Is Richard Sherman really a thug or not.” If the atmosphere gets too lax and everyone is having fun but practically nothing is being accomplished, then I need to go out and redirect everyone’s attention to the numbers. This usually sounds like a SONA (State of the nation address) but it jolts people out of dreamland and focuses them back on winning. Usually I will accompany this by finding additional cold call leads for each of the reps and adding it to their call list. If they can’t find any work to do, I will find it for them and once they know this they usually figure out how to stay productive.

Fear vs Safety – Personally I like my office to feel like a family atmosphere but that can backfire at times. Managers will tend to either make their employees feel too safe or too fearful and I’m definitely on the safe side. This can be good and bad; good because people like coming to work and enjoy the atmosphere which in turn creates camaraderie and loyalty, and bad because they can tend to get lazy, not hit their sales numbers and feel like it’s okay because their job is safe. To stop this from happening, it’s important to have regular meetings with your reps to go over their numbers along with plans to get them moving if they are behind. If for some reason their numbers stay down you need to nip it in the bud quickly by putting them on probation. Don’t let bad habits sink in or you will end up losing a good employee in the end.

Self motivation vs Teamwork – Every sales rep needs to be self motivated (this is a must). At the same time if you want to have a great team, the reps need to have some selflessness and be able to help the team. A good sales rep many times will hit their number a week or two before the end of the month and this is great but it also makes them tempted to sandbag deals to get the next month started off hot. I put individual numbers up on the board but I stress what the team goal is often to try and prevent this. In order to hit your team goals each month all the reps need to put that extra effort into helping the team and not just worry about themselves. A sure sign you have a sandbagger is that he/she always has a slow last week of the month followed by a bunch of sales turned in the first couple of days of the next month. This is a person you need to talk to about being a team player before it becomes a problem. You want every rep giving 100% each month, when they don’t, other reps see this and it becomes a cancer that has to be cut out.

Atmosphere is not hard to regulate as long as you stay on top of it each day. If you as the manager let this go too long, you will suffer one way or another, which usually means losing sales reps and costing you money to hire and re-train. To effectively run a company and keep your bottom line, it is important to avoid unnecessary expense and turnover. Take these tips to the bank and enjoy a prosperous year.

 

Successful Business Team

Successful Business Team

By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan.

what makes a man

what makes a man

7 Good Excuses To Spend Your Company Money

7 Good Excuses To Spend Your Company Money

In the world of small business where we don’t have the luxury of multi million dollar operating expense budgets, we have learned to pay close attention to where every dollar goes, what are the “need to have’s” versus  the “nice to have’s”. Because of this chronic cost consciousness, what owners and managers often miss is that there are a few expenses that not only justify their existence in their annual P&Ls but generate an intangible return on investment that impacts all business functions.

I am talking about having fun! Think about extraordinary team building activities that will blow your employees away. There is no faster way to build camaraderie and teach real life lessons of success, failure, humility, teamwork, perseverance, focus, planning and strategy than actually engaging in activities that require them. So here are a few of my favorites:

1. Take them to a gun range – Say what!? Yes that’s right, a gun range. Obviously if you employ people that, eehemm, wouldn’t be allowed in a gun range then this would not work.  Assuming you have a team with no criminal record or other issues, this is a great team building activity. Many people love going to the range on their own, so this is a good chance to take them to the range and let them show off. Many times there is a person that always wanted to go but never had anyone to go with so they never did (they generally will be the most excited). I recommend having competitions and prizes for “best shooting”, “rookie of the year” (for the newbies) and “most improved” for the guy or gal that is horrible at the beginning but gets better. Your team will love this out of the box activity and create great memories.

2. Sailing – Sailing is a great way to build teamwork. If you live anywhere near the water, taking your team on a sailboat and learning how to catch the wind and take off can be exhilarating.  If you have a few people that actually know how to sail you may want to consider renting Hobie cats, dividing your team up and having a race.  It’s pretty simple, just assign a Captain for each boat (usually the guy that knows how to sail), let them pick their teams and off you go. The winning team gets free lunch and beer  after the race paid for by the losing team or teams!

3. Mud Run – Mud runs are one of the most popular races today. They are fun, dirty and create great memories. The best part about it is that the whole team gets motivated to work out during the weeks leading up to the race, which is never a bad thing.  With the way insurance rates are going through the roof, keeping a fit and healthy team is always a bonus. Again, it is always a good idea to hook the winner up with something afterwards, even if it’s just a beer.

4. Paintball – The first time I took my team paint balling, I was worried some of the ladies would not take to kindly to being shot at.  Boy was I wrong! Not only did everyone love going to war with each other for bragging rights, but the most fanatical competitors where the ladies!   They ate it up and wanted more when we were done. Since then I try to have at least one or two paint ball outings a year and they have never failed me yet.

5. Go Skiing – Every company has leaders and this is a “leader” activity. Even Jesus had his special 3 apart from the 12 and so should you.  Money permitting, I like to take my leaders skiing because it’s the best way to show them they mean a lot to me. If you rely on people to make your business go, then you will have to do more than give them a bonus twice a year to keep them loyal. The key to keeping good employees is doing things for  your people they wouldn’t normally do for themselves. 

6. Four wheeling – There are many places that do guided ATV tours with either go cart style vehicles with roll cages or 4 wheeling ATV’s.  This is another one of those activities that’s a lot of fun but is not something many people would ever do on their own. Nothing bonds a team faster than getting dirty and muddy together!

7. Beach Rental – Renting a house on the beach will help your stressed out team unwind and relax. Personally when I do this I tell them to go ahead and bring their significant other but unless they are married they have to sleep in separate rooms. If I’m paying I make the rules! I’ve never had a problem with this and it keeps things professional even while relaxing on the beach and letting life’s worries pass by you

I have never felt like spending on fun, coupled with some strategic planning or plain old bonding was a waste of money. What usually happens is everyone goes back motivated, more inclined to go out of their way and help another team member even if they do not have to, or just more pumped up to work and be part of a winning team. If you stay consistent and learn to practice this wisely, you will see your bottom line grow slowly but surely. Work hard and play hard, it will never get old.

 

By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan.

Author’s Note: Watch out for a follow up article in the next few weeks about Travel and Entertainment Tips and Secrets that Do Not Break the Bank.

Owning a business or leading a team can be one of the most challenging things you can do, but it can be fun and rewarding if done right. I always say I’d take the worst day in my life as a business owner than the best day I had working for someone else, and I say this because for the most part (since I got to choose the industry I want to be in-sportswear), going to work has always felt like a lot of fun, instead of a tedious obligation.

It is easy to take for granted that my team members may not feel all the excitement and vision I have for the company. One of the biggest yet seldom addressed pitfalls of a small business is the psyche of the team members and how they feel about you, the company and the brand. I have learned over the years that pre-maintenance is a lot easier than damage control so in order to keep my office up and running on all cylinders there are 7 things I like to do:

1. Have a plan and write it – Sounds so simple but one of the biggest failures of small business owners is that you have dreams and ambition but it doesn’t make it on paper. This leads to constant changes, instability and employees losing trust that you’re the right person to lead them. Nobody wants to be lead by someone who changes their mind about the direction of the company on a whim (I’ve learned this the hard way). You may have a ton of brilliant ideas and in time you will get to them but remember you must first “plan your work and work your plan”.

2. Communication – Nobody will tell you that they like meetings but it’s vitally important that you have at least one scheduled each week to talk about where the company is at, what direction the company is headed and at least one personal victory story from the week before.  Personally, I like to start my meetings by casually talking about the weekend events and really try to get the team involved. When you are meeting with 12 and under this shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish; if the group is larger you may have to be a little creative. Next we go over each team members highs and lows of the previous week so we can learn from each other and finally we cap it off with this weeks expectations; it’s simple and to the point.

3. Food – Everyone loves food and there’s no quicker way to get a group moving and motivated than bringing in something delicious for them to eat before your meetings or during the week when you feel the momentum has shifted away from what you want. Every once in a while I’ll go out and buy each person the candy of their choice or just pick up a big bag of assorted candy and put it in a bowl… Be careful of candy coma (yes, this has happened to the office before). Also, never underestimate the power of freshly brewed coffee in the morning.

4. Games, games, and more games – I own a sportswear company so games come easy. We have office brackets for the NFL and NBA playoffs, March Madness and pretty much anything else that comes up. We also play in an inner office fantasy football league which creates some very fun and colorful talks each week. Participating in inner office games like these will bond your team members and create a sense of belonging and loyalty.

5. Have a plan for each employee – Everyone wants to achieve and succeed at what they do. Your job is to map out a career path for each person working for you and let them know about it. When an employee knows you have a plan for them, it is easier to get through the hard times when they come (which they will, they always do). The plan also motivates them to work harder to achieve the next step in their careers. As a small business you may not have a lot of opportunity at the moment but you can plan to grow and when you grow, the new positions that become available should be filled by current team members if at all possible. This will give the next guy who’s working his way up some hope for his future as well and boost company morale.

6. Plan trips – Each year I try to take a company vacation with the team. This may sound expensive and unnecessary and at times it is, but if you can budget it in, your team will love you for it and make your company a place everyone wants to work at. We usually make our annual business planning session an excuse to hit the slopes or spend a weekend at the beach. When budget does not permit, be creative! Paintball nights or something that everyone loves to do can go a long way.The benefits  far outweigh the costs and create memories that will stay with you forever.

7. Get to know them – In America employers have a phobia about actually getting to know the people who work for them.  I find this to be one of the dumbest things American businesses have adopted. Knowing about your team members’ family and kids, or other loved ones and actually asking about them (God forbid) is a great way to help them achieve their goals and let them know you care. For some reason we have been raised up to believe the boss has to be cracking the whip and glaring through their office window at their employees to be effective, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A great leader will know how to balance being personal and objective and when to be what.

Boosting Employee MoraleShow you care and your team will also care, that’s a win-win if I ever heard one. Morale is one of the most important factors of growth that a leader has to pay attention to in a small business. If your employees give up, your business will soon follow. I have had my share of letting it slip every now and then but it is always good to be reminded that it can turned around if we put the above tips into practice.

By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan.

Marcus Luttrell Quote

Storm inside us

Having friends with benefits can be one of the most rewarding and beneficial things you can do. I’m not talking about having a “friend” who will roll in the sheets with you whenever you are bored; the downside of those kind of arrangements are too many to count (talk about mixed messages)… I’m actually talking about real friends with benefits and why it will make the difference between whether you become successful in business or not.

Friends With Benefits

Friends With Benefits

“You can have everything in life that you want, if you will just help other people get what they want”-Zig Ziglar. This is a great quote that talks about the first benefit of a good friend. Over the years I have learned that when a friend is in need I have to be there for them, it’s not an option. This can cause a lot of inconvenient times, especially when you have a business and a wife and kids and, well, you get the point. The reason I do this is not to get something out of them but to let them know they are important to me. Inevitably though, whether you believe it’s God (which I do) or some other cosmic force, when I’m in need someone is always there to help. Without the help of friends I would have failed long ago and not had the strength to get up. So the next time you have a friend in need, take the time make a difference.

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” I think out of all the quotes and sayings going around these days, nothing can be closer to the truth than this one. Over the years I have gained many friends and believe they all have value in my life but there are always those friends that have the ability to actually make things happen for you when you need it. It’s important to build a network of influential people that can make a difference in your life. I have different circles of friends for different things and by far my most important circle is my advice circle. These are guys I can be honest with and I know that when they give me advice it will be wise and unbiased. I’ve had countless times over the past 10 years where I was stuck at a crossroad and if I didn’t have men like this in my life I would have taken the wrong path, and that’s the difference between running a company or looking for a new job on an endless cycle of failed jobs. It’s hard to find friends like this so when you do, let them know you appreciate them and all they do for you.

“Bad company corrupts good character”the Apostle Paul. This is the hardest of my friends with benefits tips. Nobody wants to tell a buddy to bug off, because, well, they are your buddy. In the end though, every friendship you have should be evaluated and if for some reason every time you are around this particular person, bad things happen then it’s time to break off your BROmance and find friends that will not get you in trouble. If you don’t know how to do this I’ll give you a helpful hint, ask your significant other. My wife can spot a bad influence friend a mile off and after I get done fighting with her about it, I usually come to my senses and see what she had seen long ago. When I don’t come to my senses fast enough though, I know she will repeatedly remind me of my mistake for the next decade or two. So my advice is to act swift or face the consequences.

Friends are a touchy subject for many people but if you want to succeed and become more than you are today, make sure the friends you want to keep in the future are helping you get there.

By: Todd Marinshaw owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan.

The road to maturity starts when you face your pain head on and take responsibility.
The road to maturity starts when you face your pain head on and take responsibility.

#faceyourpain #maturityquotes
#owningup
#timetogrowup
#nopainnogain
#betterforit

Child CEO

Children and CEOs

When I was a kid I dreamt of doing great things, making a difference and having an impact in this world. I had the drive to conquer the world and the immaturity to hurt everyone around me while doing it. I was basically a self obsessed lunatic for most of my young adult and teenage life,  just like the majority of teenagers in the world, I walked around thinking about myself all day long and acted accordingly. You could say I was not off to the best start at becoming a leader and making a difference and you would be 100% correct.  So what changed? Besides finding Jesus (not that he was lost or anything), I got married and had kids! And lived happily ever after.. Hmm, sounds pretty dumb but you wouldn’t believe how many people actually think this is what happens.  The truth is for the first time in your life you are not the most important person in the world, so you can either embrace it or fight it. The choice is yours but if you ever wish to be a great leader, I would choose option A.

Here are three things I learned from my kids that make me the CEO that I am today:

Example is everything: When I’m at home the phrase “Monkey see, monkey do” is never more evident. One day while I was in the garage unloading some things out of the back of my SUV, I decided to try and juggle everything in one hand while closing the door with my other hand. Usually this is no problem and I can complete this task like a pro but on this particular day my head was in the clouds and I shut the door on my fingers. The next few words out of my mouth were nothing I will be ever proud of but suffice to say they would not be included in a Disney movie. When I looked over, my child was standing there listening and ran off repeating my cute phrase over and over again for Mommy and the whole world to hear.  Lesson learned, you never know when someone is listening, especially when they are 3 feet tall. Even if I accidentally (because I would never do this on purpose) burp, I know for the week the dinner table is going to become the burp Olympics for the kids. Translation; nothing we do goes unnoticed so be careful.  Work is no different. If I start showing up late and leaving early, within a week my employees are doing the same thing. As a business owner I have to make sure I either open or close so I am showing an example of punctuality. If I make a crass comment while at work, yep, you guessed it, someone else will inevitably follow suit. The worst is when I get mad about a customer because all of a sudden everyone feels justified to vent their frustrations about a customer out loud and that brings moral and customer service down.  So be careful because people are watching.

When things go wrong, encourage, don’t shout: My kids are amazing but inevitably they do things that make me want to tear my hair out. The other day one of my children spilled their drink on the table as soon as I sat down to eat. The first thing in my mind after a hard day’s work and cooking and serving and cleaning was not “Oh honey, that’s okay, Dada loves you and I know it was a mistake”… No, the first thing on my mind was “God, please, please, what did I do to deserve this?” This kind of thinking many times will inspire me to bark out a harsh or angry remark that in all honesty is completely undeserved. Sometimes I actually use my brain and decide to say something encouraging and deny my primal urges of frustration and the result is usually spectacular. When I encourage them and tell them I believe in them and they can do better next time, it is like watching a light bulb light up and the happiness for the rest of dinner is infectious. Employees are not much different; I am not saying if your employee continually screws up you should put up with it (see point three for more on this). I’m saying when an employee unintentionally screws up, instead of showing frustration and anger, or even just reprimanding them, make it a learning moment for them and for others in their department so that not only does the mistake not happen again but the employee feels grateful that you didn’t blow them up for an honest mistake. Fear works for a little while but loyalty works much better; I’d rather have loyal employees than fearful ones.

Say what you mean and mean what you say: When calling the kids to dinner, many times it can go like this “Kids, dinner’s ready, lets eat”, then you wait, and wait, and wait. Next you say it in a louder voice “KIDS! Come eat!” You may get an “Okay dad” but still nobody comes. At this point your frustration builds and you scream “KIDS!! COME EAT NOW OR YOU’RE ON TIME OUT/lose your video games/fill-in-your-own-threat” and amazingly the kids come running. What did I learn? That every kid has the ability to obey if the rules are clear, and that I need to mean what I say the first time, and that I need to enforce consequences before they become threats. If you don’t really mean what you say, even kids can tell, how much more adults? So when I’m at work I’m careful to never say anything I’m not willing to follow through on. If we have a rule and it’s broken, I have to take that employee aside and make sure it does not happen again with a warning or even a write up. If I have a sales rep and they don’t hit their number, I have to bring them in and talk to them or they wont be motivated to hit their number each and every month.  I hate doing these things but not doing them in the past has caused me to lose the respect of my employees.  If you don’t want to enforce certain rules, then don’t make them rules! Always be clear about what you expect out of your employees.

 

I can probably write a book about everything else I have learned about leadership from my kids. But for now, if you learn nothing else in life about what it takes to be someone who people would want to follow, then embrace these three things and you have already won half the battle.

 

By: Todd Marinshaw owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan.

There have been countless movies and TV shows glamorizing the thrill of sleeping with someone who works for you but few will make the plot line about a married couple. They have no idea how much more action, drama and thriller this involves! Yes, I confess I’m sleeping with my employee and she happens to be my wife. Usually this is a recipe for disaster for both work and family life and is not recommended. For those of you brave enough to bring your wife on board I have a few tips that will keep your sanity and your marriage. Here are my three life (and marriage) saving tips.

The first and hardest tip to follow is to never, ever get angry/annoyed at her publicly. I have messed this up countless times and have paid for it 10x over each time I did it. What usually happens is I’m trying to verbalize an idea or make a point and since she is such an awesome, smart, intuitive wife she will “innocently interrupt” me  and reply to what I was saying before I finish. Then I, in all my masculinity, get frustrated at this public display of being cut off and I say something shallow, dumb and a bit harsh at times. It all seems innocent but it does a couple things that you can’t reverse in the office- first it makes you look weak for having to resort to putting her down; second, it makes you look like you don’t love your wife because you embarrassed her in public, and third, it makes your wife want to put an ice pick through your thick skull and walk away satisfied.  The benefits of doing this are, well, ummmm, none.

My second tip is to always trust your wife’s intuition. Over the years Tina has warned me countless times about people or ideas she thinks are wrong and at times I have listened, which has led to a lot of good decisions. But more often than not,  I usually doubt her, make her explain herself, sit on it for a month or two while I mull it over and then act once disaster strikes.  This may sound idiotic and that’s because it is; for some reason God forgot to give most men a sixth sense when it comes to people while he gives women an abundance of this and it drives us nuts. I generally try to find the best in people and will trust them until proven otherwise while Tina can get around a person for five minutes and be like “That one’s not going to work out”. To this day I still have to fight down my irritation when this happens but when I have the sense to listen, I have never looked bad. Maybe I should read this article once a week so I remember? Anyway, take it from me; being macho and blowing off your wife’s advice is a mistake you will wish you didn’t make.

My third tip is simple, “Be nice to the girl”. I got this tip from my good friend Mark Gungor, who is one of the best marriage gurus I’ve ever seen. It sounds so simple but it’s so hard for us guys to remember. Even if you work with your mate don’t treat them like an employee.  In the workplace, they need to be loved and appreciated more than ever, and there are lots of ways to show it. I highly recommend public praise with some flowers or something thoughtful sprinkled in a least once a month.   This should get you more love points and forgiveness when you blow tips one and two.

Alright, now that we have gotten through some basic rules of working with your spouse, who is ready to sign up? If this isn’t for you then great, you are in luck! But if you do decide to take the plunge and you can stick by these principles it will be one of the most rewarding experiences you ever have.

 

By: Todd Marinshaw (In response to my wife’s seemingly popular post Married To My Boss). Todd and Tina own a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan.

Be Nice To The Girl

Be Nice To The Girl