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Three things to check to find the “best-fit” staff to your team
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Client service starts in the car park
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Dancing while watching from the balcony
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Financial Understanding starts with the Chart of Accounts
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3 things ANY small business can do to grow

Three things to check to find the “best-fit” staff to your team

I provide strategic consulting services to Not-for-Profit clients who perhaps are not best equipped or experienced to apply corporate procedures that most of us would find “normal”. However, when an NFP has a highly-paid CEO that once worked senior positions in significant banking and investment companies, you’d expect better.

I was asked to assist in recruitment interviews for a General Manager position by the CEO of an NFP that I have had a relationship with earlier in their history. In fact, I had participated in earlier interviews for various finance staff recruited by this CEO when he had first arrived, and in the process had provided to the organisation a recruitment “checklist” for those earlier interviews. So, imagine my surprise when the CEO asked me to assist in the GM interviews, and I discovered that a complete Job Description was still being discussed, that an advertisement had been published without reference to key details such as employer industry and location (regional town), and before other details such as remuneration ranges and basic terms had been agreed internally. Having heard this, it was no surprise to me to learn that various highly qualified potential candidates had made initial inquiries, and when told that “what you ask has not been determined yet,” did not bother calling again. Read More

Client service starts in the car park

My Post Office box is at the back of the Post Office, and I need to drive around the back to their car park to access the box. Directly next to the Post Office car park are the car bays of an architectural practice, leading to their back door.

One morning, as I was parked in the Post Office car park, opening mail I had just retrieved from my Post Office box, I witnessed an incident that showed me that client service starts, not only at the back door, but out in the car park.
As I sat in my car opening mail, I noticed a well-dressed middle aged man smoking just outside the back door of the architectural practice. It was clearly a professional and well-branded practice as the corporate colours and logo were not only at the front, but also splashed all over the back walls and above the back door.

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Dancing while watching from the balcony

In any size business, but particularly in the smaller business, one of the traits the business owner or CEO or unit manager needs to keep in mind is the ability to focus on the task while keeping the big picture in mind.

What do I mean by keeping focus while having the big picture in mind?
Let me give you an analogy.
I was driving the back streets of my suburb last Sunday when I came upon a road signage crew training staff. This is a crew that puts up witches’ hats and “slow down” signs when roadworks are in progress. As I approached the intersection, I saw the care and attention they had paid to the task.
About 200 meters before the intersection they had put up signs slowing traffic and one sign even explaining “training” in progress. As you approached, they had beacons, people with “lollipop” signs saying “stop” on one side and “slow” on the other. All their crew were wearing high-visibility vests, supervisors were carefully spaced out and radios were being used. Clearly they knew what they were doing and all safety procedures were being put into use.

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Financial Understanding starts with the Chart of Accounts

We are about to discuss accounting matters.
Hey, don’t click past, it really is important!
Well yes, a little boring too, but sometimes you need to get into the detail of the boring to get the information you need in order to do all the glamorous stuff like building a vibrant business. In fact often you need to get into details to make sure your product or service delivers its promise. Think of a mechanic – no point creating a culture of caring for the customer if your mechanics fail to bleed the brake valves every time. Or a lawyer who’s innovative and really digs deep for the client – not proofreading and the typos will get him every time.
So, one of the crucial (boring) details in any business is the accounting. You can hire a tax accountant at the end of the year; you can hire a once a week book-keeper; you can even employ a full time accounts-person and buy an expensive accounting software system; but the decision about some detail must lie with you and while you should take some of their advice, you need to decide on some key elements of your books.

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3 things ANY small business can do to grow

There are many small business owners reading this, and they have probably read my earlier posts on business improvement and said “that’s not for me, I’m just a grinder, grinding away day to day in my small business”.

I’m thinking of Dave the floor sander who did the new floorboards at my house. I’m also thinking of Adam the housepainter who did such a good job on my house and Brad the electrician who comes over anytime I call him. These are all hard working small business owners who employ anything from none to 5 people, organising their work procedures, their finances and their people as best as they can, where every day is a busy day just “doing the stuff”.
If you are one of them you are probably thinking that all this “strategy advice stuff” is not for you. And yet, every time I talk to Dave, and Adam and Brad, they are always willing to talk about their latest ideas, about how they improved sales by getting a telephone answering service, about how once a year they take their staff inter-state to watch a football game as a reward and to build team spirit, about how they sit down together to work out priorities during the day. Dave and Adam and Brad are doing this “strategy advice stuff” without realising it because what they are doing is not couched in the language or the texts of Harvard Business School or a suit-wearing consultant like me, out to impress. They are using their experience and their common sense “doing the day to day stuff”.

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