Archive for 'Business'
Business owners should always be on the lookout for ways to improve their business. It can be easy to fall into a trap of complacency, especially when business is doing well but having strategies in place can ensure your business continues to remain successful.
Consider the following tips to improve your business:
Keeping up with trends in your industry, technological advancements, product developments and so on is critical if you want to stay ahead of your competitors. Staying relevant also helps to ensure you are providing the most up-to-date advice, products and services for your customers and are known as a leader in the industry.
Hire someone new
If there is a skills or knowledge gap in your business, it needs addressing. Yes, you can take this on yourself but realistically you would be better off delegating to someone else. Spreading your time and energy too thin can see you burnout easily.
Any business that is thinking long term should be considering how they provide value to their customers. Without value, customers are more inclined to turn to a competitor. Some ways of providing value include delivering excellent customer service, engaging with followers on social media, adding premium products and services, and so on.
Business values, much like personal values, influence behaviour and provide a set of rules or guidelines to follow. However, in a business context, values are often set and ignored.
To avoid this, business leaders need to create values that can lead to action and align with the business’ overall mission. Consider the following when defining your business’ values:
Assess business strengths
Look at the ways in which your business thrives – do you have ambitious staff or loyal customers that drive your success? Understanding your business’ strengths allows you to identify the underlying values which drive current behaviour and action. Once you have a better understanding, you will be able to identify key values that your employees, customers, suppliers and community encompass and use these values as a basis for your business.
Formulate rules based on values
Once you have identified your key values, you can create rules based on these values so staff and the public know what to expect of your business. For example, your rule might be to “continually search for answers.” This would align with a value of innovation, placing a great emphasis on building on new ideas and solutions. Rules also help to foster the right culture in your workplace, making it more enjoyable for staff and management alike.
Tie values to your overall purpose
Values should be used to complement your business’ overall mission or purpose. For example, if your mission is to provide education to rural teenagers in disadvantaged areas, adopting a rule such as “continually search for answers” would be appropriate as it encourages everyone involved in the business to look for new ways to meet challenging demands and so on. Therefore, identifying values helps to align strategies, plan and create goals that serve your business’ overall purpose.
Keeping the business in the family when you decide it’s time to retire is a common choice for many business owners. However, ensuring the change of hand is carried out effectively is seldom done right.
If you plan on handing your business over to your child/children or any other family member, there are specific precautions you should take to ensure that the process you use is not only compliant with Australian business and taxation laws, but so that the business model is protected in a way that you so wish.
Consider the following:
When changing ownership of any business, to family or someone else, having meetings to discuss various aspects of the changeover helps create a seamless change. Meetings should be periodic and should not be over complicated by discussing too many aspects of the changeover at once. You should plan out what will be discussed in each meeting when you decide you are going to change over ownership.
When changing ownership of a business, it is always wise to consider doing so in a transitional manner. By using a transitional approach, it allows you to teach your children the ways of the business and the correct process of doing various tasks, in order to keep the business running the same as it always has. This makes the change easier for customers and clients. After the transition has taken place, they can choose to make changes to the business model that they think will improve the business, but they will be doing so with an appreciation and understanding of why things have been done the way they have in the past.
Know the boundaries
One of the biggest obstacles of handing your business over, particularly to your children is mentally preparing for what this change will mean. A common mistake many business owners make when handing the business over is thinking they are still in charge; this is not the case. By overstepping the boundaries and trying to be over-involved after you no longer own the business, you can cause conflict between yourself and your child, which will inevitably impact negatively on the business. You need to respect your child as a business owner and let them run the business on their own. Of course you can be there as a soundboard and offer advice should they need it, but anything more can become overbearing. To avoid doing this, you need to prepare yourself for what no longer owning the business will mean; how are you going to fill your time that used to be spent working?
Accepting a new job offer can be exhilarating; you’ve put yourself out there, gone for an interview, waited to hear back and you finally get the good news.
While it is all very exciting, before accepting any new job, you need to ask yourself a few questions about the new workplace and most importantly your new employer or manager. Jumping ship without knowing what you’re getting yourself into can land you in an uncomfortable situation.
Consider the following before making the big leap:
The ability to be yourself is important whether you realise it or not. Does the workplace allow for you to thrive and flourish, not just as an employee but as an individual? One of the most relevant aspects of job satisfaction is feeling like you are valued and an important member of your team. If you accept a position in a company that is not accepting of you, you are not likely to be satisfied long-term.
Many employees have a skill for making job applicants feel like they are extremely lucky to be given the position with the company. While it might be a great career opportunity, companies don’t hire people just to give them a great opportunity, they hire because they are short-staffed, they are losing a team member, or there is a skill-set lacking in their current team. In other words, the business needs you. Don’t get caught up in thinking the business is doing you a favour and you are extremely lucky, without finding out what benefits you will get for joining the team and sharing your skills.
Understanding your job role and what is required of you is essential. Ask plenty of questions in your interview and save any documentation such as the advertisement for the position that indicates what is required of you. Ask for a formal job description, and research how performing the role corresponds to what you will be paid and what minimum wages for this kind of role include. Ask in your interview if there are any additional jobs you will have to perform and if so, can these be given to you in writing in an amended job description.
Opportunity for growth
Being satisfied with a job that doesn’t offer opportunities for professional development or for growth is desirable for many applicants. However, if this is not for you and you are looking for a career with pathways for growth, you should voice this in your resume and in your interview. Ask the interviewee what the structure of the business is and if there are opportunities for professional development and advanced training, as well as opportunities to advance in terms of wage and job role.
Before accepting any kind of job, do your research on the company. Nowadays, it is naive not to investigate online and see what kind of company you are entering into. Research business reviews on Facebook and look up the business on LinkedIn. When in your interview, don’t be too shy to ask what the employee or manager’s management and leadership styles are. In a structured and professional environment, the interviewee should be able to answer this question for you. Asking questions of this nature also show that you are assertive and are thinking long-term about whether this position is the right fit for you, not just trying to sell yourself to the business, allowing you to come across as an asset.
In any business environment, there are constant challenges that can see you fail or can be tools for success. Channelling these challenges and turning them into strengths is necessary.
Consider the following failures business owners commonly make and reflect on how these apply to your business:
For a lengthy period, the ability to multitask has been seen as a sort after skill. With the growth of technology and its emergence into every aspect of our lives, research is now suggesting that the ability to single task is becoming more and more important. The ability to focus in on one project at a time, without being distracted by things such as emails, phones or social media is extremely valuable. Being present and not being distracted means you are more likely to perform any one task better.
Most businesses start out small and with strong core values. However, as the business grows, many owners become too focused on profit and growth, rather than remaining true to these values. This attitude will see you lose your core, loyal customers, who have been with your from the start. You may not care, as you are bringing in lots of new customers at great numbers, but if your customers are not loyal to the business, you will lose them just as quickly as you gained them with the fast-paced consumer environment that has been developed over the past couple of decades.
Poor management of money will see any business plummet. Most businesses will experience periods of negative cash flow, particularly seasonal businesses. It is not the issue of negative cash flow that will see a business fail, but rather the inability to prepare for these lulls.
The team you hire should be seen as an extension of yourself. They should share your vision for the business and should be passionate about supporting the business grow. Hiring people with the best skills and a great attitude is the first step, but keeping them long term involves nurturing their professional growth and continued respect for the value they bring to the business.
Setting clear and direct marketing goals is an ideal strategy for promoting your business and business growth.
There are a number of different goals you can set to ensure you are optimising your marketing opportunities; consider the following:
Before setting any goals, it is important to understand the purpose behind your marketing strategy; that is why you are doing what you are doing and what you wish to achieve by doing so. A great way to do this is to conduct a SWOT analysis, which will allow you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business, as well as the various opportunities and threats.
Setting SMART goals is one of the most powerful marketing tools you can employ for your business. They allow you to set, track and measure how successful you and your team have been at achieving what it is you wish to. SMART goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely.
Research is a necessary aspect of any marketing strategy. By being thorough and informed before establishing SMART goals or beginning on a specific marketing campaign, you can eliminate any foreseeable challenges along the way. Types of research you should conduct may include:
– What your competitors are doing
– Your business’s past marketing goals and how successful they were
– Your customer base
– Your product and product performance
– Different platforms and which would be the best for you to use
– How you will measure success
As if the case for any goal you set professionally, you should be reviewing how well you and your team are going at implementing the marketing goal or strategy. Developing tools to assess your success is a great method to track or review whether the strategy is as strong as it ought to be. Ways to do this may include:
– Holding team meetings
– Surveys from clients or customers
– Using a tool such as Google Analytics
Millennials are encompassing around a quarter of the workforce now and bringing along with them diverse needs and challenges.
Employers must understand these needs and challenges to better attract more Millennials to work for them as their skills are in high demand.
Firstly, Millennials (born between 1980-2000) are the first generation to understand technology possibly more so than their senior coworkers. They also tend to value flexibility and diversity more than older generations.
Millennials are also likely to have a desire for rapid career progression within a company and are not afraid to switch companies if their needs are not being met. This means fewer Millennials are likely to stay loyal to only one company for their total working life.
Employers must consider these unique needs and adapt if they are looking to appeal to Millennials. The following tips can help your business become more attractive to Millennial talent:
Opportunities to progress
Millennials want opportunities for personal and career development, otherwise, they will look elsewhere. Ensure your business has training and development opportunities available and staff are encouraged to progress their careers within your business.
Along with competitive salaries, Millennials look for added perks such as flexible working conditions, bonuses, free insurance, greater vacation leave and so on. This is important to note as you might not be able to offer the highest salary for your industry but you can entice Millennials with other more budget-friendly incentives.
Meaningful work comes out on top for Millennials. Many want to give back and contribute to society in an ethical and sustainable manner. Millennials will take into consideration the reputation of your business, your business’ practices and your overall vision for the business. To appeal to this generation it is important to consider whether your business is operating in its best possible condition and if improvements need to be made.
Setting goals involves having an end date, but deadlines could be killing your business.
While deadlines can help motivate employees to complete their work within a given timeframe, research shows that there are a number of downfalls to setting strict deadlines.
Consider the following:
Deadlines have been proven to hinder an individual’s creativity and the likelihood they will take positive risks. Deadlines can cause narrow-mindedness which can be detrimental to your business, particularly if the deadline is set around design and marketing strategies.
When people feel pressure to complete a task within a number of days or hours, the quality of their work may decrease because of the stress they feel. While stress can work in an individual’s favour, too much stress can be counterproductive and can actually hinder progress and quality.
Deadlines mean a lot of work can get jam-packed into a tight time frame, however, the quality of the work may be compromised. Employees are more likely to rush when they have an impending deadline, do less research and take on more stress. Instead, consider setting a soft deadline, particularly for work that requires creativity, innovation and out-of-the-box thinking.
The summer holidays may be a period of increased sales for some businesses, but for many, it can be a quiet time with a heavily reduced cash flow.
Staying ahead financially, if you are the latter, can be difficult which is why you should consider the following:
Use it to your advantage
A lull in sales does not have to be a negative, you can use it to your advantage. You can use the quiet time to organise your administration and get everything in order for the New Year. Revising the books and taking care of any financial obligations that have fallen by the wayside throughout the year is perfect while you aren’t distracted by making sales.
Plan the New Year
The holiday season is the ideal time to plan for the New Year, particularly in regards to marketing strategies, increasing cash flow, the introduction of new products and/or services, and maximising customer satisfaction. Sit down with your team and map out a plan for heading into the New Year; give them projects or tasks to take ownership over, either individually or in teams.
Hiring and training
Taking care of the hiring and training during the holiday slump is a very clever strategy. It saves the new employees being thrown into the deep end and allows them to get used to the business as well as their the job role and what is expected of them.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance may seem impossible as a business owner, but it is achievable, if not, necessary in running a successful business.
Not carving out time and space to enjoy your personal life, such as spending time with loved ones, exercising, travelling or enjoying your hobbies, can have a negative impact on your stress levels, ability to concentrate, and may even damage your relationships.
Consider the following tips to achieve a better work-life balance:
Overcommitting is a surefire way to add unnecessary pressure. Overscheduling your day, saying ‘yes’ to everything, and fearing delegation will see you lose time and efficiency in your business. You cannot perform at your best if you are trying to do too many things at once. Instead, give yourself some flexibility by delegating tasks and outsourcing where possible. This could mean paying an external company to manage your marketing, hiring an office cleaner or asking a staff member to take on a new task such as invoicing, etc.
Lead a healthy lifestyle
Living a healthy lifestyle helps to support your overall wellbeing and equips you with the tools to manage stress and hassles in the workplace more effectively. If you don’t think of yourself as “healthy,” a good starting point is to simply become more aware of your behaviours and coping mechanisms. For instance, you may notice you reach for a sugary drink when feeling overwhelmed or stay back at work late every day to “catch up on jobs.” Identifying these behaviours helps to map out options for dealing with unhelpful coping strategies.
Setting manageable goals daily helps to prioritise your workload and provides a sense of control over your day. Having control helps to ease associated stress and feel positive towards the work you are doing. Goal-setting is also useful in motivating you to meet your deadlines and eliminating unhelpful behaviours such as procrastination. Achieving your work-related goals also reinforces you to focus on your “personal” goals – therefore, creating more work-life balance.