Posts Tagged Planning

Juggle that business

That’s right juggling…

Juggling business resources

Juggling your business resources

When you know that the business has so many elements it’s almost impossible to juggle them all, you start to realise there must be an answer to being able to juggle at least SOME of the elements.

For those with a big enough business or the resources to do it, you might simply delegate those things that require more time to make sure things are done right. Not all of us are that lucky.

For those who are starting out, or those who want to keep the business alive and happening even though you have a small crew, this planning document is for you.

Download the free PDF file, it’s at the end of the article… It’s just two pages of planning material that you can copy to your heart’s content, then USE IT to get your planning act together. You know what they say… “Work on the business not just in it.” When you realise that’s a truism you want to aspire to, then drag this out and make it happen.

Ok, so it’s a planning calendar with a sheet of questions and query points to get you started. The aim is to get you thinking about the three key areas that make your business tick, then plan to work on each area. If you get stuck you can refer to the questions on the list, then develop  some starting points to go from.

Enjoy and drop me a line to let me know if it works for you or could be altered to make it better!

Planning guide

Regards

Steve Gray

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New recruit blues

Recruit circleThe good people on the twentieth floor in the HR Dept decided to place a new recruit in your department. Sweet! you need an extra hand, you know the person has been through the induction program on the fifth floor and is “ready to make a solid impression”.

After a short while you find things ending up in the wrong place, time is lost searching for those ‘things’ and training the ‘newbie’ in the job specific details they need to get going, is taking its toll on the work you need to get done.

You knew it might happen, the new person has to find their feet,and in time you get the impression they will be a solid contributor to your team. So what to do to make their start positive, get to a productive point fast and not lose the ‘things’ that everyone needs?

Firstly, know as much about the person as possible in advance… Hopefully you don’t find out about the new person at 5pm Friday with them starting at 9am Monday! If you have been part of the hiring process you might know them very well, if not chat with HR about what’s in their resume, how they handled the interview etc, then check out social media for more details on likes and dislikes.

Secondly, be nice… If  you are a grumpy pain the the butt type of person and are not willing to change long term, see what you can do in the short term. Make the person feel at home, be polite, show them around, introduce them to the other team members. Show them their workspace and where the important things are… toilets, lunch room etc.

Thirdly, give them a buddy… A person who can relate to the ‘newbie’ pass on all sorts of vital information, how things work and has a good grasp of “who’s who in the zoo” this person can do most of the training part with you as a go to sidekick.

Finally, meet chat and listen… The new person can settle in fast, so find time to sit with them and have a chat about how things are going, any specific challenges they might face and ways they might overcome them.

Oh sure there are about a hundred other things you can do to add to this list, like checking their productivity at relevant stages every so oftem against Key Performance Criteria, and even asking them for suggestions on ways to improve things (remember to listen…) and the list goes on.

Make the person feel part of the team fast, then you can sense the notion of having set someone on the right path with the right support.

Regards

Steve Gray Free Business Tips

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Two Types of Business

laptop peopleOne – Local, the type that provides serivces and products to the local community, the money comes in and stays in that community. By doing this the local community moves the money about locally and no $$ gain is made.

Two – Global, the type that draws money into the local community by providing products and or services to the wider world. By doing this the local community benefits by having more $$ to spend.

When regional or city areas look to developing businesses it would pay to know the difference between these two and focus on those which offer the best opportunity for the tasks at hand. In an ideal world there would be a cohesive mix of both types, as the momentum builds for one, so the other would probably need to grow.

The challenge is knowing what to do to be able to build each and provide relevant training and development to boost each appropriately.

Regards

Steve Gray Free Business Tips

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Persistence pays

signpost marketing

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

You know that when you learn something new, persistence pays, if it’s a musical instrument, practice practice PRACTICE! it’s that ability to ‘keep on keeping on’ that pays dividends.

The same with some aspects of business, being able to continue with somethingthat might seem a little tenuous at times can pay off.

Marketing is one of those areas. Some people place an advert and hope it will yeild results on the first go, often it takes 8+ placements of that advert to get some form of result.

Social media is a key marketing tool these days for many businesses, and being persistent with the posts you make is therefore a useful thing to ensure people notice your business.

Think about the ways you can leverage this to your advantage, and tackle some of these ideas as well:

  • How can you be persistent with Public Relations material to try and get free advertising and being seen by the media as an expert in yoru field so they can come to you when they want to know about your line of business.
  • How can you plan to ensure you have a marketing activity happening at least once a week? and no having a website up 24/7 is not something you should count on for this activity…
  • What is ‘best practice’ in your industry? and  how can you match your marketing efforts to this?
  • What innovative ways can you get the business name out to more of your target market? Think promotional products, think stand and hand out samples in retail, think, research explore and come up with some that are cost effective and useful
  • Which company local to you is your biggest competitor? How can you beat what they do in their marketing to take some of their market share?

Being persistent in  your marketing efforts is the same and persistence in  your management, leadership, operational tasks and compliance issues. you have to do it, you have to make sure it’s working and now is the ideal time to start!

Regards

Steve Gray

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Are you scaring employess away?

Image courtesy of Stock Images from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stock Images from freedigitalphotos.net

You hire people, you want the best, you are given guidelines to follow, some formal and some informal (e.g pick a woman)…

You find the job description template, write a description and send it off for approval.

The supervisor reads it, sees that it’s comprehensive and approves it, based more on the key selection criteria and the basic job description.

The process continues and you get what you get, a new employee. Hopefully they are a fantastic fit to the team and in a short space of time become a profitable addition to the organisation, however reality tells an all to common different story, at the end of the probation period, the person is ousted and the process begins again. Or worse, the person makes it through the probation period and becomes an anchor weighing things down often for a variety of reasons.

But I have an issue or three with the approach that causes this drama to happen.

Most job descriptions I have seen are too wordy and can actually scare people away from applying, and sometimes those that do apply find the job is not what they thought it would be, or they have the wrong ‘disposition’ (attitude, personality etc) for the job.

I have applied for enough positions to see this first hand and I now believe there should be a more relaxed approach, at least in the first instance.

Okay so there are those who say the idea is to attract more of the right people so you don’t end up getting too many applicants for the role, fair enough, but find another way of doing it rather than trying to bury people in detail and scaring them off.

The ideal employee is probably a fun team player, a person who is interested in more than just the role (it might be seen as an entry role to the organisation). Of course they will have the qualification to do the job, but the right attitude and personality will make them a better fit to the whole system, not just the technical aspects of the role.

Start thinking about how you can get a simpler approach started, then add the details in at another layer if need be.

Simply put, your current processes might just be causing long term headaches for the organisation.

Regards

Steve Gray

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Let’s build a crumbling mess

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

You actually wanted to create a solid business but what happened next didn’t turn out that way. In the beginning you will take care to make it look good and it will hold together for a few years, but most assuredly it will crumble. The ‘business’ fulfills a need, a void, and as such it has merit in the marketplace so let’s build it, time is of the essence!

It will provide shelter, seem warm and inviting, but then some cracks will appear, soon we will then fill these gaping holes with false hope, ask for some asisstance from the cavalry… But alas none will come. Soothsayers, mystics and others with potions and wisdom seemingly produced by ‘slight of hand’, will offer ways forward, but no such road will be travelled.

There, as the last vestige of hope is held aloft I will concede, that the real hope, the real failure, the real demise was visible, right there in the beginning, the mystics and others were right.

If only we knew then what we know now… We would not have dragged so many others into this screaming heap of maudlin mayhem, mind you we did a great job of ‘dressing it  up’. At its peak it looked like a princesses castle, bright and shining in any light. The challenge was what to do when the lights went out…

Alas no, there was no escaping the ego driven, maniacal ‘team’ building a tempestuous empire, despite protests from more knowing folks. No, it was all our doing, we created it, we ordered it to be fashioned into the shape it was… Underneath we fuly knew it’s demise was certain.

Sure we could have stopped, but the time seemed right. Sure we could have done things differently, but it weemed as if we had little in the way of suitable resources. Sure we blamed others, but ultimately it was us who selected them on their merits, qualifications and that all so imporant rapport we had with them, they were so like us it wasn’t funny.

Now as we look back and consider what could have been, indeed what should have been, some of us are filled with a sense of dread, a sense of “what if we had just done things differently…” No, there was no way to change the past, it is what it is, a crumbling mess, a shadow of its percieved former glory.

We now understand what numerous wise people had said about having a good foundation to build on. We also understand that in one persons life things will change, and if luck is on the side of the person with a solid vision then an amazing legacy can be left. A legacy that provides the guidelines on which people can chisel away at the notion and vision of utopia, a legacy where people of strong means can guide those not so fortunate. A legacy where financial profits are not the only hallmark of a growing organisation.

Perhaps we am now reflecting on those around us who built stone houses while others made theirs from straw, or are we simply sensing that what we did build, although we used stone, had mud instead of mortar to join it and therin lies the problem.

One thing is for sure there are many things that made the crumbling mess, it started with a smallgroup of us and then became an extension of us, the team were a bunch of people who knew when to say yes and although they could have said no for all the right reasons, they failed to do so.

More things come to mind about how this disintegrating behemoth so stunningly limped, then stumbled into ruinous oblivion. Seeminingly the more that was added on, the more the rot set in, in the foundations and framework. like termites so busily doing what they do so well, so efficiently, but over time the hollow remains can no longer support the once ‘glorious facade’.

It’s simple to say it should have been an easy ride, serve the customers, make a profit to sustain us in quiet times and build from. Work with more of the ‘right people’, plan well and above all listen to your heart and temper it with reasoned debate… but no, that didn’t happen.

What did happen causes heartache and pain. So many gave so much for so little, clearly the crumbling mess was more than just physical materials, it in fact ended up creating huge emotional burdens far more invasive than we can imagine. This can not be apologised for, we can not know how deep the viens of pain run, nor how much can be attributed to the physical ‘crumbling mess’, or the lack of human compassion the driven team possessed.

It’s all over now, the sordid details and their oh so high level of importance at the time, the losses, the pain and anguish. Finished, complete, time to move on. Time to learn and start a fresh, time to let others explore, build and ‘run riot’ in the marketplace. It’s also time to believe that others will learn from the details of this crumbling mess. A time to hope that they have the desire to create a positive legacy rather than the afore mentioned disasterous, deluded crumbling mess.

 

Regards

Steve Gray

 

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Ready for answers to your business success?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net

Your business does what it does, you have built it up to be all it can be.

You realise there are only a few things you need to make happen to get positive results.

More sales, more customers and effective systems to deliver the results, right? But other ‘things’ seem to get in the way of this simple approach and you are left wondering what happened.

The simple answer is, there is more to your three pronged approach than meets the eye.

Here’s how it works…

  • Energy – Your team has a certain amount of energy to give to the job they do, things happen to boost or sap that energy, harrassment, poor pay, poor training, poor leadership can sap energy… Get the point, and get good at these things
  • Flow – When things are going great your people seem to get a lot done readily, it all seems to come together like a well thought out plan but more automatically and with greater ease, people will be happier, relaxed and able to get on with things
  • Systems – The policies, procedures, checklists, coaching and mentoring. If these are done well, people know they are working for an organisation that wants positive results. They feel supported and can get on with what they do best
  • Positive values – Things like respect, cooperation, service and quality all come into it. Check your organisations mission and vision, are there values clearly spelt out as part of that? There should be, to ensure all your team are focused on the right approach to each other and the customers.
  • Useful communication – Lot’s of communication takes place, but is it useful? Arguing with customers… not useful (well, rarely anyway). The same with the staff, how well do your team communicate with each other? Excellent leadership often starts with positive and useful communication – Talk, listen and make great notes to implement solid results. Coach and mentor your leadership team to coach and mentor their team members in fantastic ways to make the organisation work effectively

Now you are about to ask “What happens if I don’t have those things or they are out of alignment?” Simple, things slide… Sales, Customer numbers, energy is sapped and the results of all this can cause your business to fold in on itself.

What to do to solve the challenge? Call me to tailor a suitable approach for your organisation 🙂 Ok if that’s not possible take each pointer in this list and work on the details of it with all your people.

  • Learn to train your people to pursue all these points to build organisational excellence
  • Brainstorm with your team to find out how they can assist with these points
  • Listen to the feedback your team provides, then figure out how to implement the positive changes they point out along the way
  • Communicate the positive changes as you introduce them
  • Live with the notion of organsiational change, it happens, so make it happen in a useful way to get positive results NOT the opposite

It’s now up to  you to put this information into action, it may not be easy, it may take a while to achieve, it all starts with you.

 

Regards

Steve Gray

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