productivity

Outsourcing, a good idea?

Outsourcing can be a great way to grow your business or it could be a way to destroy your business.  Selecting the right people or company to outsource is important. You can take more work on by using contractors or temp staff, or offer more services by working with other companies. This can increase your business and is good for the people or businesses that you outsource to.

Getting the most from your team

chinese-whispersWhen the Board or senior management team establish the corporate objectives that’s only the start of the journey to achievement. Unfortunately, the journey often stops soon after that, simply because the communication process isn’t geared to success.

Do You Want to Build Your Business?

This may seem a strange question to pose on this site, especially when most of the blogs posted are on topics which will help you to Build your Business.

However, I have come across hundreds of business in the past 12 months and I have to say that I question around 75% of them in relation to this question, because I see little evidence that they want to grow and build their Business!

It may seem a strange statement to make, but honestly, I have come across more “social” businesses in the last twelve months than I have actual trading functioning businesses, especially in the networking circuit.

What I mean by a “social” business, is one where the owner is aspiring to run a business, but not needing to make it pay as their partner is out working and paying all the bills. 

Therefore they are using the “business’ as a social gathering tool and going round networking meetings making contacts. or rather harvesting business cards to populate their e-mail lists, but really NOT running a business.

In these circumstances I question if they want to grow their business at all – and I am not alone in this view, just ask the networking event organisers!

But then the other businesses which I have to question their intention and will to grow, are usually established businesses.

Most are in the service sectors and have been around for years.

They have enjoyed the monopoly of their service, and seen many come and go in terms of competition, but they tick over, they don’t really grow.

Is that because they don’t have the ingredients to grow? Probably not and let me give you an example:

I had to take my car to the garage to get the back brakes replaced. I rang up the garage and the first piece of information they asked me for was my vehicle registration. This allowed them to bring up all my details and history on their database.

I took my car in at the booked in time and left them to run up a bill for me! When I came to collect the car and pay the bill I asked when my MOT was due as I was sure it was around this time.

The man tapped into the database and informed me it was due in two weeks according to their records. I said to him, if I had known that sooner I could have got the MOT done at the same time as the work on my brakes.

Now this doesn’t seem like a big deal and it was only £45 for the MOT, but the principle here is that this garage lost out on £45 of business where it could and should have cross sold me the MOT as well as the brakes!

What should have happened was that the garage should have an adopted mailing policy where they inform customers, via the information on the database, at least 6 weeks before an MOT is due to remind them and to get the booking / business.

If they didnt do that the least they should have done was have the MOT flagged on the system that when they accessed the database to book me in for the brakes, they should have said at the time on the phone, “would you like us to do the MOT at the same time” and they would have had an additional £45!

the reason they did not cross sell or up-sell to me was NOT because they didn’t have the tools – all the information was on the database. it was because they had no systems or processes in place to utilise the information to look for additional work / sales and therefore they didnt get the additional business.

But more of a worry is the fact that the owner of the business has not made the time, or had the inclination to put these things in place, and I question how much he wants to grow and Build his Business. Perhaps he doesn’t want to, or he’s too busy to look at this.

It is probably the classic business mistake of working too much IN the business rather than ON the business development at play here. The owner is in overalls with the other mechanics fixing the cars at this garage! So who’s driving his business forward???

Not every Business wants to Grow! Every Business has the potential to grow and be built, but lack of knowledge, understanding and most of all vision and desire to grow is what stops most businesses achieving their potential.

Perhaps these ramblings will help you to look at where you are with your business, do you actually WANT to Build your Business? Are you making the TIME to Build your Business and get in place the systems and processes to allow you to grow?

Is motivation all you need?

In my last blog I wrote about keeping motivation up for long periods of time.  But is this going to guarantee success? No.

There was an article in the business insider online magazine that was quite blunt about it, if motivation or visualisation was all we needed why was everyone not millionaires and happy? Because if you don’t have something else then your chances of making it are slim.

I have been talking about this thing for years, it is skill.  You can have all the motivation in the world but if you do not have the skills you need you are probably not going to make it.  I say probably because there are a very few cases in which someone makes it by chance but can they replicate that success over and over again, no. Those who can replicate success are those who have both the drive and skill.  Drive is just another way of saying that their motivation is high.

Want to really make your linkedIn profile more interesting?

 

One of the biggest complaints on Linkedin has been the difficulty in adding media rich items to your profile. Before you had to embed a video into a slide share or google presentation but now there is a little icon you need to make your friend.

linkedin media add in icon

 

this little square with a plus beside it allows you to add a portfolio, presentation, photo or video as long as it has an http:// address attached to it.

Celebrate your successes

image supplied by http://stockmedia.cc

So in my last blog I talked about having a plan to ensure that you can actually achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself or your business. And human nature being the way it is we are always the first ones to beat ourselves up about failing to achieve these goals. But how often do we celebrate when we do achieve them? It is very easy to forget the successes we do achieve as we go about our business lives so this year I’d like you to try something. Every day write in your diary, or in your calendar, or in a separate note book ANYTHING you have done well, anything you have achieved however big or however small. And if you can write more than one thing then write all of them down. But make sue you write something down. They don’t all have to be business related. Anything you do that make you feel good, that you have been putting off, or done for the first time, then record it.

Do you want real results from your goals this year?

If you do then you probably need a plan

As business owners we are told we must have business goals and we have to achieve these goals, and that we have failed if we don’t achieve them.

But how realistic are our goals? For me the piece I most often find missing is the plan to achieve these goals.

It’s all very well setting yourself a goal, but is it actually achievable? And I’m not talking stretch goals here. I mean the goals where you say you can do something in 12 months, but based on your current performance it will actually take 16 months. Now you can cWordle: goal settinghange the goal to achieve this in 16 months, or you have to change what/ how you work. Again both valid options. But what isn’t valid is saying “I will achieve it in 12 months but I won’t change how I work/ what I do”. This means you have set yourself a goal that you can’t possibly achieve. And unfortunately we live in a culture where failure is criticised. This isn’t a failure of the goal. This is a failure of the planning process that should be part of the goal setting process.

So what does being late to a business appointment say about you?

 

 

It always amazes me when people turn up to a business appointment 10, 20 or in one case recently 70 minutes late! Having lived & worked in London I know the perils of travel & the unreliability of public transport, but when the meeting is a few minutes from your home/ office what’s the excuse? What does it say about your respect for the person you’re meeting? For me it makes me feel that they don’t value my services & even if they are paying for my time then I feel guilty that they won’t be getting good value from the time they’ve paid for, even when they have actually made that decision for themselves.

Discrimination in the 21st century

Recently the UK government has stated that it is considering making positive discrimination legal to try increase the number of female senior executives and board members in our large businesses. And then last night I read an article that stated that in the USA it is becoming common in job adverts to state that only currently employed people to apply for the job.

I worked for all of my corporate life in a very male dominated environment – engineering. I was lucky that I was never accused of getting a new job/ promotion because I was female. I DID however get asked to undertake additional roles because of my sex, but they were things I was happy to do as long as they didn’t interfere with the delivery of my day job. I was also always given the opportunity to say no with no penalty.

Are you really ready and willing?

Today I want to share a few thoughts with you that are to do with business although not necessarily the normal networking tips that I share.

I am undergoing a lot of strategic planning around my own business identity and direction and you will see a lot of the results of this over the coming months. As part of this I have decided to undertake the Economic Gardening Programme and it has started this week. Economic Gardening is a local council run business coaching and training programme – and it is going to give me an excellent space and support to look at my own business when I spend so much time looking at other people’s businesses.

As we started the programme, one of the lead trainers let us know that the people who get the best results are those people that are both Hungry and Humble enough to learn and then to implement.

7 Ways To Excel As A Leader

1. Focus on your strengths

Why try to be a pilot if you’re a better engineer? Find out what you’re good at and build on it. You are much more likely to excel as a leader if you know what it is you can do and accept what you can’t.

2. Delegate

If you have no time to spare in developing your areas of weakness, turn to your team instead. If you must excel as a leader, learn to delegate.

Time Management And Goal Setting

Time Management And Goal Setting From the beginning mankind has endeavoured to make better use of time as evidenced by the recording and tracking of time.

Beginning with the sundial to the modern calendar, the need to manage time has been a matter of great concern, in the personal as well as the professional arenas of life, for thousands of years.

Time management today integrates diverse methods of recording time, helping to identify obstacles to the efficient use of time.

Constructive use in making long and short term goals is the best and easiest way to manage time.

There are numerous methods that can be used to help organise and prioritise the goals to be achieved. The major element in the overall effective use of time is incorporating essentials of the goal setting process.

By setting goals and implementing them, in your professional and personal life, you can effectively manage your time and, as a result, become more productive.

Stop, Collaborate and Listen!

One of the 4Networking Directors, Tim Johnson, caused a little bit of an outcry not that long ago when he announced to members that one man bands do not work. Now I can understand why his members were initially upset, after all most networking groups are built upon one man bands. Yet what Tim actually meant was that most one man bands will always, at best, struggle. However, if business owners are open minded and look at collaborating, then their potential for success and longevity massively increases.

Meetings, Bl**dy Meetings!

“Meetings are a waste of time. I’m just too busy to spend time in meetings. I’ve got too much work to do”. Sound familiar? And when I hear this I often do see people flying around frantically fire fighting, often getting lots of interruptions and not being at all sure where they are going. Does that sound familiar too?

Don’t be afraid to ask

A while ago I was in Malta and it happened to be the weekend of the Malta Powerboat Grand Prix.

All very loud and exciting.

My husband is a brilliant photographer and is always keen to take pics of anything and everything. It was certainly a wonderful opportunity for some incredible images, especially if he could get a Press Pass to get in the pits.

That got me thinking – how could I get him in there? Who might be able to get him a Pass? Boat Magazines! They could potentially get coverage and images that they wouldn’t have been able to get and for free! I had a plan.