Archive - 2014

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1
3 Rules to Keep Customers
2
On a Board? Don’t be crooked, don’t be lazy!
3
Happy New Year! Now make a plan!
4
How to Implement Strategy
5
WE are always right? Or keep questioning our old ways of thinking?

3 Rules to Keep Customers

Businesses, and business owners, go through a natural evolutionary cycle.

Often, small businesses are started by the young (or in my case, comparatively young!) full of excitement and enthusiasm. Small business owners start with an idea – sometimes it’s simply an idea that working for yourself has got to be better than working for the Man, more often it’s the idea of making or at least selling the better mousetrap.

At the start we jump at every opportunity to “find business”. We attend seminars and hand out business cards, we follow leads, we make friends with customers and develop relationships and referral bases. However in time, the energy spent finding business dissipates somewhat. Sometimes this comes from disappointment but more usually because running a business is genuinely hard and over time, as the business employs more and more staff, it’s natural that some of those duties to find new business start to fall on new staff.
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On a Board? Don’t be crooked, don’t be lazy!

While separate legal jurisdictions have different corporate legislation and regulators, the responsibilities of a Board member are generally similar. These similarities not only apply to their legal responsibilities but also to the way they operate. Successful Boards work with due care and diligence, meet their legal obligations, and work towards the benefit of the shareholders.

The most important action of any Board is to appoint the senior management, and in particular the CEO. The choice of the CEO will reflect the strategic direction the Board has chosen to benefit the shareholders, and the choice of the person will reflect the type of culture the Board wishes to develop in the company. Indeed, the next most important act for any Board is the removal of the CEO if that is in the best interests of the shareholders.
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Happy New Year! Now make a plan!

It’s the start of a new year soon, so to all my readers old and new – Happy New Year!

And in the new year, after we have all recovered from those annual excesses that we always say we will avoid, we will come to the realisation that we really ought to do some planning and goal-setting for the year ahead.

Ultimately the secret of your success is to make your business grow year by year.

It is an old adage: “businesses don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan”. Time and time again surveys show that fewer than 3% to 7% of small and medium businesses that fail have ever done any business planning.

The start of a new year is the best time to start a business plan. You can “close the books” and think about new initiatives and ideas about your business. It is the business equivalent of making your New Year resolutions, but with a better process that can lead to follow-through and organized action.
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How to Implement Strategy

Most organisations will have a strategic plan. Even if it is not a formal document, the organisation will have created a set of strategies over time, perhaps in the development of business plans, or to develop a new initiative, open a new branch or market, or even to develop internal skills and capacities.

However many of these strategies are simply not carried out to fruition. Strategic Plans, business plans or sets of well thought out strategies sit on the shelf with limited or minimal implementation. Often, this is because organisations don’t work on implementing strategies day to day. Organisations may be good at what they do on a day to day basis, such as buying, producing and selling, but these processes are conducted by functional areas who have functional responsibility for those areas. Implementation of strategies on the other hand are often cross-functional, interrupt existing responsibilities and processes, and inadequately resourced.

So, having spent scarce time and energy creating well thought out and well crafted strategies, what can you do to ensure that you are able to execute strategy effectively?
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WE are always right? Or keep questioning our old ways of thinking?

For a brief moment women wearing burqas and niqabs were banned from sitting in the Australian Parliament’s public galleries. This was later changed as long as they revealed their faces for identification at security checkpoints.

In a show of protest three men wearing a Ku Klux Klan uniform, a motorcycle crash helmet and a niqab tried to enter the Parliament building. They were met by security outside who told them that the helmet and the KKK hat were not allowed inside whereas the person wearing the niqab would have to reveal their face but could then put the veil back on.

There followed a (mild) furore on social media about inequality and the overblown political correctness. People rallied around the cry that “we” shouldn’t bow to the powerful minority as “we” had our own standards.

However the social media commentators seem to have missed various points:-

1. They themselves had probably lived or visited overseas where local law meant that drug possession was punishable by death, that you couldn’t chew gum on the streets, that many other things we did not agree with was law, and we protested that “they” the majority should listen to “us”;

2. They recognised “our” team’s views and believed they were right but they did not recognise the “other” team’s views could possibly be right;

3. The burqa, hijab and niqab, along with saffron robes, and nuns’ habits are part of a particular religion’s accepted dress;

4. The KKK uniform is a recognisable uniform of hate and racism; and

5. A motorcycle crash helmet is a – hello – HELMET!

But what does this have to do with business?
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