Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Leadership and your SME business

To SME Owners
Yes you KNOW this all, but a refresher.

Everyday I chat with clients on the single (in my opinion) most important skill, leadership of their sme businesses which can make or break their level of success.Recently my son and I were chatting about his degree that he is doing, Kyle asked do owners/ entrepreneurs know the true definition and process of leadership,( my son helps me in my business from time to time, on market and marketing research) good point, so I said lets go through the above two areas.

Leadership can be defined as, influencing and directing the Behaviour of staff, in such a way to achive the best results for the business and them, thats a key to a win win situation as late MR S Covey put it.

So that word behaviour comes into play, I am the first to agree that being a leader is hard work, lots of pt,effort required if it is not part of your DNA.

Simply there are SIX areas to Leadership, score yourself on them(10 being the highest)
     -  Authority(fear authority or not), how good are you at giving orders, instructions to your team,
     -  Influence, by setting examples(recently I did a post on my sales blog, sales reps and their
       influence with their clients) Influence behaviour, behaviour and more behaviour,
     -  Delegation, do you get your team to do the work, or do you want to be the busy being busy,
     -  Leadership is "all" about Responsibility and Accountability.
If the business fails it is your fault, if it wins it is the team, thats how life is.
     -  Finally that word Power, this does mean different things to different people, a pity but we
         are in the real world,
             -  power is as the dicitionary states, ability, capacity,capability, competency( not ugly power)

So six very simple areas for you and I to focus on to be better leaders.

Till next time may the Force be with you, I am your silent partner helping you work on your business.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Types of Intelligence for your Business

To SME Owners,

This is not a look at your General Intellect but four areas that I have come to understand, not only in myself, but coaching/ consulting to sme businesses over the past 15 years.

Not in order of priority,lets keep in short and simple, I am not into pages of stuff.

     - Business intelligence, what does this mean, as the saying goes, knowing the nuts and bolts of the business, but which nuts and bolts? things like, how is the business valuable to it's clients, are the competitors really competitors, how do suppliers impact on your service and cash flow.

     - Business CULTURE intelligence, is values, change and adaptability of the team in today's different market.

     - Strategic intelligence, is working on the business, what drives the success of the business, what FEW key opportunities to focus on, are there any threats coming your way.

     - Emotional intelligence,( this is the one area that screws up the business,) the owners EI and the staffs EI, it means different things to different people, but please understand, yourself and how your staff think.

So, yes, You need to get a handle on all four areas, it can be done, as a starting point score your self on scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best.

Till next time may the Force be with you, I am your silent partner helping you work on your business.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

SME's and "The New Economy"

To SME Owners,

I am doing on going research into CHANGE and ADAPTABILITY, and what does this really mean to SME business's and how critical is it, we all here that it is a key factor!
So for this post, I have gone back through the workshops that I have run over the past 15 years.
     Here is one I did in NOVEMBER 2001, titled The New Economy,(2001-2010) seven areas were covered, you tell me if they are still applicable today!
      Knowledge, of the business owners, the staff, on competitors,
      Technological innovations, but more on the IT systems within sme businesses,
      Staff learning curve,their SPEED of understanding their jobs to perform better,
      The business flexibility and how to adapt,
      Cost reduction, will always be on the agenda,
      Investment in human capital, the right staff in the right positions, staff training,
      Productivity levels of staff,

Yep looking at the above now, how important are the undermentioned, that I stated as, issues, trends for sme's in 2012, to name a few,

     Social media and ROE(return on effort)
     Financial information (up to date)
     Leadership/Management style(culture)
     Quality of b2b relationships
Till next time may the Force be with you, I am your silent partner helping you work on your business.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Innovation? and your SME Business

To SME Owners,

We always hear the word Innovation, it's the buz word for the next upteen years, but is this relative to your business and in what form, here I am focusing on B2B.

We used to have the Knowledge business world, now it is the Innovation/creative world, or to us in our sme business is it still is a combination of the two, I would say it is from where I sit.

I see Innovation broken up into two areas for us sme's,

      - Innovation within the business,
      - Innovation within your market.(are you /can you innovate in your market)

So a simple rule is to look at the above two segments, and what does this mean in each area.

What does Innovation mean, here's my take,
        -What shifts and trends are taking place in your market,ie new regulations, new technologies, different application's for your product, new opposition, new sales/ supplier channels, to name a few.
         -Are there new markets for your products, how to supply and service, will it be different/innovative.
         - In your business, are your team encouraged to come up with "new" ways to provide better service, improve relationships, improve efficiency levels, to save costs, to increase margins, ways
to get to see more of the "right" clients.
         -So do we call it new ideas or innovation?
For many sme business it is difficult to innovate in their markets, alot easy to innovate within your business,( yes there are exception to the rule)
Till next time may the Force be with you, I am your silent partner helping you work on your business.

Friday, 13 July 2012

What Works in Your Business.

To SME Owners.

You may know consciously or not what really works in your business, the trick is to have some system, or model, or process(that is simple to implement), so you can be ahead of the game,
 and it is a way of keeping your staff in the loop.

Keeping it all in your head, may not be a great idea.Ask yourself is your business still focused on it's CORE activities, or are you and your team trying to seize on every opportunity that comes your way.(I did a post on the issue of opportunities in June)

A simple way is to benchmark, or score those areas( on a scale of one to ten) that you want to see if things are really working, how detailed you need to be is your call.

Obviously,your model will cover the Key Numbers you focus on that help you have a great handle on your business, and how often you get reports in this regard.

A few key areas could be,
    - your structure of the business,
    - your service criteria,
    - your rituals, relative to your business culture,
    -how do you measure relationships with your client.

I hope the above, gives you something new to think about and hopefully implement in your business, when I work with clients this subject is one of the keys, plus How Fit is your Business, to better position your company.

Till next time may the Force be with you, I am your silent partner helping you work on your business.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Is your Business FIT enough

To SME Owners.

We hear this all the time when sports coaches talk about their team, or do they, do they just expect the team to be Fit!
So how do you feel about the fitness of your business, what do you look at, what does this word Fit mean in your business.

Lets try and answer,
-Do you have a "sound vision" for your business, but more importantly, do you know how you are going to achieve in the next 6 months, forget the big plans and forecasts for the next 3 years!
-How is your business structured, is it focused on your client and how you Manage them,
-Is your sales team fully productive, I would say most are 60-80%, will it ever get to 100%!
-Do you have too many Non profitable products, etc
-Is your business focused on your key markets or are you servicing too many markets,
-If you have been in business for 5 plus years you should beable to attract those clients YOU want, not what the odd sales rep wants!

In todays Different market, that sounds better than that word that starts with "r", if I may recommend CHECK your business Fitness every 6 months, yes you will find the time, go get help from a pro.

Till next time may the Force be with you, I am your silent partner helping you work on your business.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Who would Miss YOUR BUSINESS

To SME Owners.

So why did you start your business, for Big Bucks! No I think for the following reasons,
      To be of service,
      To build new relationships,
      To test yourself,
      To be creative,
      To be proud,........to name a few,
and to create wealth.

So if your business went out of business, closed the doors, who would miss your products, service, relationships.

Please ask yourself and your team on a regular basis, WHY DO WE EXIST.

Everyone talks about add value, value add, how boring, BUT go and be VALUABLE,

Simple, but EFFECTIVE. 

Till next time may the Force be with you, I am your silent partner helping you work on your business.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

How They Blew It

To SME Owners.

I have just finished reading the above book by J Oliver and T Goodwin, great book , go buy it.

Here are my views on why these top entrepreneurs, blew it.(can we learn anything, yes I know we can)

-Grew to quickly, had great vision, but had a sales mentality, not a business mentality.
-From this poor longterm Leadership.
-This then included poor decision making.
- Ego and Pride got in the way.
-Took on too many risks.
-Lacked sound structures.
            To name a few, buy the book it goes into deep meanings with good research.

I saw these upsides though,

-Saw opportunities and moved quickly.
-Understood the big picture.
-Knew and were aware of shifts and trends, so they could try to position their business better.
-Wanted to grow something really Big.
-Contributed to charities etc.

As the authors put it,"the failings were mostly Human ones.

As I have mentioned the above is seen through my SME eyes.

Till next time may the Force be with you, I am your silent partner helping you work on your business.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

July to December 2012

To SME Owners.

Six months gone, what have you set as business and personal objectives for the next Six months.

Here's some of what I have listed.(I have put action plans to each of them, I do not want to bore you with them, though)

     Share more, case studies and stories of actual "live"sme business issues, I have a front seat.

     Learn more, keep pushing myself to learn new things,

     Network more, (meet more people, have more simple conversations)

     Contribute more, always look for ways to add more and more,

     Study those people I meet, notice and remember the details.

So I have given you a small insight into, GUY,
                  Now it is YOUR turn to take some quite time and look at what you want to achieve.

It could be, Build a more cohesive team, Master your emotions, work more on your business,
                   Reward great attitudes in a better way, Ask your team is there a better way, take time to reveiw how your business communicates with clients.

There's a few to move you in the right direction
Till next time may the Force be with you, I am your silent partner helping you work on your business.