Archive for 'Business'
Associating certain behaviours to different countries have long been a way of identifying and comparing cultures and widely assumes country homogeneity. For example, previous studies on national culture have compared vastly different working styles between East-Asian countries and the West. However, a recent study published on Havard Business Review found that equating country with culture can overlook even bigger cultural gaps within a single country – including those of age, gender, number of years of education, socio-economic status, and occupation. That is, it could make more sense to talk about cultures of age and cultures of the rich or poor than it is to discuss the cultures of countries.
Your business is only as good as your staff, which is why you want to hire high potential employees. You may find it hard to spot a high potential candidate in an interview.
Our tips will tell you what to look for and ask when you are recruiting.
High potential employee traits
A common set of characteristics can identify high potential employees. These candidates will:
- Have leadership qualities
- Take on extra responsibility
- Be team players
- Think outside the box
- Solve problems
- Have a passion for their industry
Spotting high potential employees in an interview
In an interview, you can identify an employee with these high potential traits by:
- Asking about their goals, to assess ambition
- Asking about industry current events, to see if they are passionate about this area of work
- Listening to the questions they ask you, to judge their interest in the position
- Asking about prior challenges they overcame, to provide you with evidence of their problem-solving skills
Small businesses should not feel intimidated by their corporate competitors as they have many unique advantages that can help them gain a sizeable market share.
Small business owners should focus on specific areas, so they can go head-to-head with large companies with more resources.
Small businesses have the opportunity to build a stronger relationship with their customers through the delivery of friendly and personal customer service. Businesses that provide superior customer service to their corporate competitors will build a loyal customer base and grow their business through word of mouth.
Tap into niche markets
Small business owners are directly involved with their customers, which means they have a greater insight into what their customer base values. Take advantage of this by innovating more quickly than corporations, whose decision-making processes are slower. You may provide a service that corporations cannot feasibly implement.
Build a strong staff
The expansive corporate chain of command is far more likely to have a weak link than a small business. Small businesses have greater quality control over the selection of their staff and the standards and expectations of performance. Build a competent team that outperforms your corporate competitors.
Small business owners are constantly under stress and pressure, which is why it is important they look after their mental health.
The following tips will help you manage your mental health as a small business owner.
Have a reliable support network
Friends and family are vital to anyone’s functioning; however the unique challenges small business owners face means they may benefit from connecting with like-minded thinkers. Consider joining a small business owners groups on Facebook or LinkedIn. These networks are helpful as the members can relate to your problems on a deeper level. Both business groups and your nearest and dearest can provide a sympathetic ear, realistic solutions to your problems and tell you to get help.
Allocate personal time
When you are running a small business, it can feel like your life is consumed by it. An unhealthy work-life balance will harm your mental health and productivity. Schedule time off from work. Taking up a hobby or joining a sports team may be a great way to have structured breaks from your business.
Know the warning signs
Knowledge is key to prevention. Get educated on mental health and know the warning signs and symptoms. If you catch your problem early, you can avoid jeopardising your health and your business by taking a hiatus, relinquishing some responsibility or seeking help.
Business owners thinking about specialising their products and services to target a niche market should know the benefits and risks of this business strategy. Niche marketing is the business strategy of targeting a specific subset of a market.
Here are some benefits and problems of niche marketing that will help you build a business strategy right for you.
Niche marketing can provide the following benefits:
- Less competition as the base of interested customers is narrowed
- Increase brand loyalty as you are providing goods or services difficult to find and customers are more likely to return to invest
- Gain a higher profile among the interested customer base as the target market and competition is small, more people are likely to know your business name
However, niche marketing has its pitfalls you should know before you specialise:
- The smaller market makes growth difficult as there is not a large customer demand
- You increase the risk of your business failing if there is a disruption to your niche market, for example, if a larger company joins the competition or the good or service you provide becomes obsolete due to innovation
Leadership mistakes contribute to falling standards around the office due to a lack of motivation or inefficient management.
Here are some leadership mistakes to avoid in the workplace.
Leaders that do not meet the expectations they set will lose the loyalty and respect of their employees. If you require your staff to come in ten minutes early every day or are strict on their lunch break, follow your own rules. Setting a consistent standard will make employees feel they are being treated fairly.
Employers that do not take accountability for their own mistakes and shift blame onto their customer or their employees will lose the support of both. Admitting you are in the wrong is essential for moving forward with the business relationship by making amends.
Your delegation will fail if the task is given to an unsuitable member of staff or a new responsibility is given without the leader providing training and feedback.
Business’ that get involved in community reap financial, workplace and brand image related benefits. Whether your business is new or relatively established in your area, community involvement should be at the forefront of your business strategy. Consider donating services of products to a range of charitable ventures or getting amongst community fundraising initiatives, parades, picnics or festivals.
How community involvement can grow your business are provided below.
Grow your network
Getting your name out there in the community and having a positive association with your brand is a great way to grow your business. If you are partnering with another local business, assisting in a fundraising activity or putting your business out there at a community event, will give you the opportunity of mixing with new customers and forging valuable industry connections. Make sure you keep your business cards on you and display contact information at every opportunity.
Build a loyal customer base
When customers see that your business is supporting a good cause, this appeals to their values and ethics. Your community involvement may be the discriminating factor in your customer’s decision to choose your business over your competitors. Your work in building relationships in the community will reward you with loyalty.
Opportunities for collaboration
You never know whom you will stumble across whilst you are playing your part in the community. The relationships you may forge may be beneficial to your business, and you may find collaboration partners on your marketing or developing new products or a courier service that may be the right fit for your company.
The decision of where the headquarters of your business should be will have a significant hand in determining your profitability and productivity.
Consider the following checklist to ensure you make the right choice.
Will you buy or lease?
First, you need to decide whether you will buy or rent. Entering a lease is less of a financial commitment and perhaps a lower risk option for businesses in their infancy. Buying increases your business value by adding a property to your portfolio but could be a step for businesses with stable finances.
What kind of property will you require?
Picking your location will depend on the needs of your business. Consider whether you need office space or whether a retail space, warehouse or processing plant is necessary. If you require a warehouse, you will want to consider the distance between your suppliers and contractors for ease of convenience.
Who are your customers?
Knowing your customers is vital to understanding whether the location you have chosen is convenient for them if you will need to rely on foot traffic, if there is parking and other amenities nearby to make for a positive experience.
Competition is part of the business. Getting that edge is make or break regarding getting your business up and running and promoting its future growth.
Consider these strategies to implement to come out on top of your business’ rivals:
Establishing your point of difference is vital in business. When executing this strategy, it may not be as easy as it sounds. Consider specialising in a particular niche of your industry and providing the best customer service in that role or offer something that your competitors do not have.
Establish community bonds
By being involving your business in your community, you will establish loyalty for your demographic and promote the visibility of your brand. Consider funding a local initiative or getting involved in helping the local high school or primary school to establish yourself and reputation.
If you are hostile to the competition, you will only worsen your reputation. If you co-exist, you eliminate the risk of retaliation and will not alienate customers of your competitors and your own business.
Rebranding can help you survive in a changing industry or open your business up to new profit-making opportunities. Sometimes it may be difficult to make the call, when there are significant costs associated with redefining your brand.
Consider the signs below that will point you in the right direction.
Your branding is outdated
If you are embarrassed to direct clients to your website or give out your business card, then it is time for a change. Staleness in a business will drive clients will away if they do not think that your business is moving with the times or falls short of your competitors.
You are moving in another direction
Changing your business’ image may help it grow. If you are changing your message or strategy, altering your products or services or trying to capture a new target demographic, rebranding may be necessary to achieve these goals. For example, a rejuvenated image may help you catch a more youthful demographic while keeping your initial loyal client base.
You are recovering from a blunder
If your business has recently been in trouble or made a mistake, rebranding is akin to a rebirth. By changing your brand’s image, you disassociate from past mistakes that have been made and encourage people to speculate about the new possibilities and direction of your business. Rebranding is critical in shifting the focus.