Communication and collaboration are the keys to success in any business. But, have you wondered how best to communication with your team? And what if your team is remote and you never meet face to face?
Who is Ivy Slater?
In an interview with Ramon Ray, Ivy Slater of Slater Success Coaching shared her best practices for communication and collaboration in the 21st Century. She is a business coach that works with women entrepreneurs. Slater’s experience includes 20 years in the printing industry – a male dominated industry. She honed her leadership skills that she now shares with entrepreneurial women.
Her experience led her to create her coaching business where she helps women succeed. Slater’s words to women:
“You can have your life at your terms, you just have to know what you want.”
Collaboration is a Necessity
One of Slaters biggest pieces of advice to any entrepreneurs is that it’s helpful to understand that you cannot do everything. She knows her own strengths and weaknesses and finds the best people to help with the weaknesses. This is where communication and collaboration comes into play.
In her world, Slater Success Coaching is all about “we” not “me.” Slater knows that she doesn’t want to be good at everything and she recognizes that her weakness involves technology, so she hires people to help her with that. By recognizing her weaknesses, she gets to put her energy in what helps her continue to scale her business. If she wasn’t able to recognize her weaknesses, she would waste her time trying to figure everything out.
Training the Expected Expert
When she first started using a virtual assistant (VA), she had no idea what to do. So, she talked with her virtual assistant and let the assistant guide the working relationship. Her virtual assistant advised her to keep a list of things she did for a few weeks, keeping track of what she did and what someone else could do for her. Then, she could tell her virtual assistant what she needed help with on a regular basis. This list helped Slater to learn to delegate her weaknesses so she could focus on her strengths.
Recognizing and Accepting Weaknesses
Another piece of advice that Slater gives to entrepreneurs is to not be afraid of being old fashioned. Slater has a remote team, but they meet weekly with a 60-minute phone call. This call helps the team build culture through regular communication. In many cases, when teams work remotely, they usually communicate through email or apps like Slack. But, with Slater, the phone call allows everyone to brainstorm and develop ideas together. Slater might be the owner of the business, but she is not the owner of all of the ideas – her team builds ideas together.
Don’t Be Afraid to Communicate
When her team isn’t on the phone, they have figured out how to use communication and collaboration through Slack and their various channels. Slack helps Slater organize her time. Since she gets over 150 emails per day, she relies on Slack to showcase priorities. With emails, she sees a bottle neck, but with Slack, she can make choices as certain channels trigger reactions from her. She can also tell if something is wrong, because messages will show up in unexpected channels.
But, Slater does not use Slack or email to guide her daily activities. She considers herself old-school because she still uses to-do lists and calendars. She has evolved from written calendars to electronic ones. Even though she uses calendars, rather than an app like Asana or Slack to manage her time, her team is never behind. They use what they need to stay on top of tasks and so does she. It’s like a beautiful circle as she helps her team and they help her.
Keep the Best People Around You
Slater understands that she is not tech-savvy. So, she makes sure that her team has someone who knows tech. She trusts that this person will give her the best advice on tech decisions. And, since her team has been together for so long, their loyalty to each other is valuable.
Advice to Entrepreneurs just Getting Started
When entrepreneurs are just getting started, they are usually quick to build an expensive website before they have any insight about sales. It is easy to get stuck getting ready. Instead, Slater recommends doing what Mark Cuban recommends and get sales first. Slater says that presence is important, so have a one-page website. Instead, spend your time getting clients and making early sales. Only then will you know what is working and what isn’t working so you can deliver the best marketing for your business.
Advice for Businesses that are Scaling
Slater understands that scaling and growing a business is all about financial management and profitability. When she was in the printing industry, she would meet with her CPA and ask questions. She asks those same questions to the women she coaches today:
- What is your overhead?
- What is your profit margin?
- What is the next step you need to take to reach your goals?
- Is it time for a new line or spinoff?
- Do you have a reserve fund?
- Are you eyes on the numbers?
- Are you ready to scale?
- Are you leaving money on the table?
Where to find Slater?
If you want to learn more from Ivy Slater, check out her website Slater Success Coaching. She can also be found on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. She also has a weekly podcast called Her Success Story, which can be found all of the major platforms.