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A Day-to-day HR Issue
Does My Small Business Need a Marketing Plan?
Managing Hostility in your Team
Decluttering Your Business

A Day-to-day HR Issue

Here’s an every day HR issue that whether we are business owners, managers, colleagues of another team-member, or just simply friends with another worker, will come across.

You come into work one morning and you inter-act with another team member on a job-related task. They are usually careful and attentive at work. They may or may not be a “leading light” in the workplace but they are certainly dependable and will complete their tasks while mindful of deadlines and outcomes.

Today however they seem to be “off their game”.

You ask if anything is wrong. They tell you that they had an argument with another team member about a personal issue, and the incident is affecting him/her. In fact he/she feels that it is so serious it is affecting his/her work.

What should you do? The normal efficiency of the team is obviously at risk. Do you see it as a personal matter and leave it alone? Do you advise the person you are with to sort it out with the other? Do you go to see the other person and see what you can do? Do you bring both together and mediate? Do you go up the ladder and tell the team leader there is an issue? Read More

Does My Small Business Need a Marketing Plan?

When I talk to small and micro-business owners, I always ask them if they have a marketing plan. Their answer is invariably “no”.

So the next question, in exploration of that, is usually from them: “Why do I need a marketing plan? What I need to do is in my head, and besides, I’m stretched enough as it is running the business”.

I have to point out to them that’s really three questions and I deal with them one at a time. The first question is, as a small business, do I really need a marketing plan?

Of course you do. It need not be a large document, and in a small business you may not need to detail every item in a traditional marketing plan, but you do need a marketing plan, it should be written, and it should deal with the key concepts of marketing.

You need a marketing plan because running a for-profit business without a marketing plan is simply opening your doors and hoping for the best. Finding customers, increasing sales, meeting break-even and growing profits cannot be done while simply hoping for the best. Even if you had, in your head, a sure-fire way to find new customers, or sell more to existing customers, writing it down and sharing it with your team is the best way to relieve the lonely stress of doing it by yourself – they can help achieve those sales targets with you if they know what your sure-fire procedure was.

If you were taking your family on holiday, would you simply buy tickets to where you were going and just arrive? No, you would have some sort of plan that you share with them and some key bookings. So why would you not have a plan when your business’ performance and its livelihood is at stake? Without a marketing plan, you do not know who are your optimum market, the best way of getting to them and appealing to them, the resources you will need to service them, and what you need them to buy and when. Read More

Managing Hostility in your Team

One of the joys of running your small business is dealing with your staff.

I’m not being sarcastic – I really do mean that dealing with your staff is a joy, because if you have chosen well, they are hard-working, more often loyal than not, and they bring a different dimension to work. They are a relief during the day when you can talk football or the latest instalment of the soap opera, they are also a source of support when a business problem means you need hands to the wheel or just moral support.

If they are none of the above, perhaps you didn’t choose well and need to look again.

Of course there is also the other side. You have a responsibility to your staff, they sometimes don’t work the way you work and it can be irritating, they sometimes disagree.

But these are not the worst engagements with your staff (and I’m talking good staff whom you do want to retain). The worst engagements are when two of them have a dispute.

When the relationship between two of them rises to the point of hostility, how do you manage the situation and keep the team on track? Read More

Decluttering Your Business

Every now and then, it’s time to declutter!

Whether it’s your home, your office, or your life, over the years you build up “stuff”. When you buy that cute vase or an extra office chair or you accumulate responsibilities, it all builds up. Personally I find it refreshing to just get rid of stuff from time to time.

It clears your mind, there’s less visual and intellectual junk to manoeuvre around, and you can see fresh and new ways to move on and ahead.
Well, decluttering works in your business as well.

Think for a moment, and I’ll bet you will recognise the clutter that has built up around you without your knowing it. Management guru Peter Drucker said “much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work”. This is so true. Management demands better (or is it more?) communication so our email inbox is bulging, we are in touch 24/7 on smart phones and tablets. Management is careful to avoid inefficiency, so everything is check-listed, and has to be signed off step by step adding layers to “efficiency”. Management is all about planning so half our day is filled with meetings. Management is all about achieving goals so we end up with endless objectives and to-do lists to tick off.

Some of this clutter in our business lives is actually a necessity. Read More

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