Archive - October 2018

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1
Business Performance Measures
2
7 Key Skills of Business Leadership
3
4 Small Changes To Reinvigorate Yourself As A Small Business Owner
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Business Systems For Success
5
Are You Trying To Reach Too Many Customers?

Business Performance Measures

Businesses need measurements. People need measurements.

Without appropriate measurements, how do you know if your business, or your employees, are effective, successful and doing what is supposed to be done?

Determining what to measure can take a lot of consideration, and yet it will probably be only a fraction of the time required to implement the measurement system. However, this investment in time, energy and money will reward you when you can actually see if improvements in sales are caused by new strategies or changes to operations; when you receive early warning about problems from warnings in measurement reports; from understanding what drives the business and what levers to pull to get desired results.

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7 Key Skills of Business Leadership

Let’s get down to brass tacks – as a small business owner, you are not a “manager” who organises work. You have to be a business leader, who inspires, sets agendas, and creates opportunities.

What you need to successfully grow a business today are leadership skills. You probably started your business as a subject-matter expert with those specialist skills that made you produce your product or services.

But as your business grew, and you took on employees, the role of the small business owner has to shift from “do-er” to “leader,” from specialist subject-matter expert to generalist, and from problem solver to agenda setter. You need to create strategies that find opportunities, and the transition is not easy for people who became specialists and subject-matter experts by working for someone else.

So, what are the key skills you need to be a business leader?

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4 Small Changes To Reinvigorate Yourself As A Small Business Owner

Out of the top 5 areas that cause stress, the top two are in the areas of “Jobs and the Workplace” and “Financial Problems.”

So as a small business owner, guess which areas you spend most of your life in? In your business, in your workplace, and often wrestling with some kind of financial problem!

Small business owners work hard, often long unrewarded hours. They deal with everybody’s problems, starting from their staff to those of their customer, and including the impact of their business on their family. There is no one else to turn to because the buck in your business stops with you. It is no wonder that over stretches of time, small business owners feel jaded and feel in need of a lift. You may be tired and jaded at a time when your business most needs new ideas or a strategic direction, but a tired sleep-deprived mind isn’t able to be creative and innovative. The worse thing is, unless you have been working on your business the way I have described in this blog, you probably can’t afford to take time off for a holiday to refresh yourself – or at least you think so.

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Business Systems For Success

Every business, no matter how small, can only improve with the addition of clear, documented systems.

You may already have some systems in your business – perhaps how to file documents, or what paperwork to fill in, or how to use the computer system. Yet most small businesses grow their systems informally as they themselves grow and unfortunately many such systems are verbally passed on, remain in the mind of the founder, or variations are made by people as time passes.

What this or even worse, no systems end up as is a mess.

Whether you have or don’t have systems does this sound familiar?

  • Someone leaves and you have to spend a lot of time training a replacement
  • Employees do their jobs, but there’s always a holdup somewhere that has to wait for you to tell them what to do
  • Outcomes of work processes are unpredictable or inconsistent, depending on who is working on it
  • You can’t really leave your business for a vacation without being tied to email

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Are You Trying To Reach Too Many Customers?

There is a very important marketing principle – “Sell to everyone and you sell to no-one.”

What this means is that if you try to appeal too broadly to all types of customers, the customers who you really want, those who actually need your specific product, get lost in the noise.

Imagine if you are in the market for a product, let’s say you are a lawyer trying to find a software app to organise who works on what cases. If I wrote you a marketing email that said I had a project management app, would you be interested? What if I wrote to you and said that I had an app specially designed for lawyers and it matched the milestones for each case to specific lawyers? Which of those two letters would you follow up first?

What this marketing principle means is that you must get to know your exact target market, and your marketing tools, from website to language to logo must be measured by that specific target market. Will the corporate colours appeal to the target market? Is your messaging specific to their needs and problems?

But sometimes that market is so crowded that it is difficult to define your differentiation. The legal space is like this. So might the accounting industry or even car repair workshops. How do you drill down so that you suit a specific target market when everyone else is gunning for that market? Read More

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