• 7 Benefits of Delegating

    When you learn to delegate, you learn to help your business succeed.

    In the previous blog, you learned the difference between accountability and responsibility, and now it’s time to learn how you can remain accountable while delegating responsibilities to others.

    Many of you will admit that delegating is difficult. For some, it’s perfectionism or a lack of trust that keeps them from handing over tasks. Others feel that it’s just easier to do it themselves, they don’t want to impose, they enjoy the tasks they’re completing or they just don’t feel they have the time to monitor and follow up on delegated tasks.

    Letting go and trusting that others will complete tasks is a big problem for many business owners. They think that micromanaging is a better, more comfortable solution…but they end up disempowering their staff and generally driving down their businesses.

    The practice of business owners doing the highest value jobs, whilst passing other lower-level tasks to employees (or to managers, who then delegate to employees), is a good business practice that will ultimately result in the following benefits:

    1. You can devote the majority of your time to those tasks most important to building your business, its relationships and its reach.
    2. Employees get opportunities to grow and to feel empowered with responsibility.
    3. Employees feel challenged and proud of what they’ve accomplished, meaning they will be champions for your business—at work and on their own time.
    4. You are not highly skilled in every task. Chances are that someone else within your organisation is better at a lower-level task than you are.
    5. There’s no better or more efficient way to get things done than to delegate tasks to those people who are best equipped to complete them.
    6. Something that feels tedious to you will feed someone else’s passion.
    7. Developing your delegation skills (and overcoming your fear of it) is a valuable skill that will help you to advance your career.

    Even with all of these benefits in mind, it can still be difficult to get started in learning to delegate. Many leaders choose to bypass the acquisition of this valuable skill—and unfortunately, their businesses suffer.

    A survey has found that 46% of companies have a high level of concern for their employees’ delegation skills. However, only 28% of them offer training to develop those skills[1].

    It rarely works well for the same person to be both accountable and responsible for any task or project. For this reason, delegation of duties is crucial to success. But as you can see in the above stat, there isn’t a lot of support for developing those skills.

    So, what can you do to get started? The first step is recognising that everybody in an organisation should be doing tasks that are their highest value.  What tasks/roles do you have that add the highest value? Focus on freeing up your time to do more of these higher value tasks and hand down everything else.  Specifically delegate those tasks that are:

    • repetitive
    • a complete task, rather than part of a bigger task
    • of interest to an employee
    • within an employee’s specific skillset
    • important for building an employee’s skillset
    • outside your own skillset
    • of low importance
    • not urgent (yet!)

    After you have identified tasks that would work well for delegation, follow these guidelines when communicating the tasks to your employee(s):

    • Give a clear explanation of what the job entails.
    • Stipulate what you expect the employee to learn by completing the task.
    • Ensure that the employee knows where to go for help or support.
    • Clearly communicate what you expect as an end result, but leave the method up to the employee.
    • Ensure that the employee knows who is accountable for the task (i.e. who should be reported to).
    • Invite questions and opinions.
    • Agree on a plan of action for moving forward (due date, etc.).
    • Articulate your confidence in this person.
    • Monitor their progress, particularly the first few times they complete this type of task.
    • Give feedback and recognise the employee for a job well-done.
    • Remember to reward the completion of tasks, over time, with benefits, raises in pay, promotions, etc.

    When you learn to delegate, you learn to help your business succeed. You may not realise it, but many of your employees are just waiting to be given more responsibility—because that is an indicator of your trust in them. Learn to trust your staff and to delegate and you will be surprised at the level of talent already in your business waiting to be discovered. By learning to delegate you are developing your staff by helping them to grow and increase the highest value tasks that they can do in an organisation.  If everyone spends most of their time doing their highest value tasks your business will grow rapidly.

    Need some guidance as you break through your fear of delegation? Or are you wondering if your current delegation plan is the most effective and efficient it can be? Let’s schedule a 30-minute consultation. We’ll discuss how you can use delegation to fuel your business’s success. Contact me here.

    [1] Institute for Corporate Productivity

  • Are We Facing a Crisis in Leadership?

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    A survey by the World Economic Forum of 1,767 world leaders and experts in 2015 found that 86% of the respondents agreed that the world faced a “leadership crisis” and that a lack of leadership was the third most pressing global issue  behind deepening income inequality and persistent jobless growth, and ahead of such challenges as the weakening of democracy, rising pollution, and intensifying nationalism.

    Are we really facing a leadership crisis though?  There are plenty of people in the world who are leading others – in business and in other organisations. Training and leadership development has been a huge growth industry and in 2014 companies worldwide spent USD 45 Billion on developing leaders.

    So what is at the heart of this sense of a leadership crisis and what do we need to do to correct it?

    I believe that the way that we think of leaders needs to change.  Old stereotypes of leadership: positions of authority, asserting power over others, usually male – don’t fit so well in a world where the skills required to lead well are more suited to collaboration, connecting, communicating, planning for the long term, keeping the common interest in mind and empowering others.

    One area in which to examine the impact of the so-called crisis in leadership is in the global workforce. A January 2016 Gallup report stated that in a Worldwide study, only 13% of employees working for an organisation are engaged.  In the UK and the USA the figure is higher at around one third but that is still two thirds of employees who are disengaged at work.   Employees are disengaged at work for many reasons but one of the key factors is that people are not being led effectively.

    So whilst billions of dollars are being spent annually on leadership training across the world this is not having the desired effect in the workplace or community.  It would seem that training in the class room is not focused on embedding the right skills required in reality.  Leadership training is focused on developing leadership skills and styles but misses the focus on what leaders are called to pursue, why, and who benefits. Leaders are not leading with passion, purpose and persuasion – three keys to leadership.

    If you think about who you consider as great global leaders now and in the past, they all lead with passion.   You cannot lead effectively unless you love what you do and are charged up about the key aspects of your role.  If you are leading with passion you are motivated to succeed and this enthusiasm and drive for success rubs off on others.

    Passion alone though this not enough.  Creating a clear vision and direction in the form of a plan, are essential components of being a good leader. Creating a sense of purpose for employees and understanding why you are doing this and who will benefit, will help to engage their hearts and encourage them to go above and beyond at work. Work becomes less about meeting basic needs (income) and more about higher needs, such as: feeling fulfilled, collaborating, making connections and making a difference to others.

    By feeling a greater sense of purpose and personal growth in our work we become more engaged, perform better and earn higher incomes. In return, as we earn more this then allows us to worry less about our basic needs as these are being met and gives us more energy to focus even more on personal growth and meaningful contributions.

    If passion and purpose inspire and engage, it is the ability of good leaders to persuade that encourages people to take action.   Being a good leader is less about having great leadership skills and more about being able to persuade others to take action towards achieving a common purpose or aim. To effectively persuade others to take the right actions you need to engage and find out what motivates them as individuals or as a group. As a good leader you can then set goals with individuals or a team, give them authority to take actions, measure how they are doing and celebrate their success.

    It is by encouraging people to take the right actions towards a common purpose that more leaders will be moulded across all different levels, global issues will be resolved and great companies will be created.

    Are you leading with passion, purpose and persuasion?  Could your staff be more engaged in your company?  Is it time to change the paradigm in your company about what defines good leadership?

    Become part of the solution to the crisis in leadership and lead from the heart.  To find out more about how to impact your ability to lead or that of your senior management team contact me to discuss your company leadership requirements.

  • 7 Reasons Why Business Coaching Won’t Work For You

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    There is much evidence to prove that having a good business coach can have a significant positive impact on your business.

    An industry study in the UK found that CEOs who consent to business coaching are able to improve their working relations by 77 percent, leading to a 53 percent boost in productivity and increased profits of 22 percent. The International Coach Federation in another study note that PricewaterhouseCooper have established the average return on investment from coaching to be 787%.  Whilst the evidence is strong, business coaching is not appropriate for every business.

    If you are reading this, you might be wondering if you are right or ready to hire a business coach help you to grow and develop your business. However, before you invest in finding a good business coach check out 7 reasons below why having a business coach won’t work for you:

    • You are happy with where your business is today. If you satisfied with your current level of organisation growth and performance, there is no need to look at ways to grow the business further or faster.
    • You are reluctant to change. Whilst you may want to grow your business or feel frustrated at certain areas within your business, if you are not willing to accept that changes are required, and that most importantly you may have to change your thinking and behaviours, then there is no point engaging a coach in your business.
    • You would prefer to stay in your comfort zone. It is quite natural to feel uncertainty and doubts at times, however these fears can keep us stuck doing the same things. To get different results it is necessary to do different things and this can sometimes feel challenging and stretch us out of our comfort zone.
    • You don’t feel the desire to learn new things. If you run your own company, you may feel that the last thing you have right now is the capacity for learning new ideas and ways of doing things.
    • You are not particularly interested in feedback on your performance. If you are confident that you are doing a reasonable job, then you may not feel the need or desire to get feedback on how you are doing from either a coach or your employees.
    • You don’t feel you can afford to make the investment. As you are running your business and you will have many demands on your money and time. Hiring a coach will cost money and require you to make the time for meetings. Maybe you don’t feel that you can commit the time or money required to make a lasting difference to your business.
    • You aren’t committed to taking the actions required to move forward. There is a world of difference between knowing that you need to do verses actually applying this in real life. Implementation is the key and without the commitment to take the right actions on a regular basis nothing will change.

    So whilst you may want to improve and grow your business if you can recognise or identify with one of the reasons in the list above then this is a pretty good indicator that business coaching won’t work for you right now.  There may be other approaches that will work better for you to achieve your aims but it would be better not to waste your time or money investing on business coaching.

    For business coaching to work well the desire for change in your current business must be strong enough, or the frustrations you are facing intolerable enough.

    Business coaching is based on the principle that what got you here is unlikely to get you where you want to get to.  A good business coach will challenge your thinking, encourage you step out of your comfort zone and create a tracking structure that to hold you accountable for your actions.

    To have a successful coaching relationship you will need to be open, willing to listen to and learn new ideas, concepts and principles and be able to hear feedback on your performance – the good, the bad and the ugly.  It is facing this honest truth that you will help you to grow in self-awareness, develop your leadership skills and give you the confidence to lead your company to its full potential.

    “I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their full potential.”  Bob Nardelli, CEO Home Depot

    If you think that your company is right and ready for business coaching, then please contact me to find out more about how business coaching could help your company to reach new levels of growth and success.

     

     

  • Sat Nav for Business Growth Strategy

    Isabel Knich coaching

    Your business growth strategy is what you want and need to do to achieve the growth you desire.  Is it devised after thorough and extensive industry and market research to identify what is required to increase your access to more customers, more talent and more capital—the three things that most companies need to grow their business.

    As we have discussed in earlier blogs, in order for your business growth strategy to succeed you need to have some key elements in place:

    • You need to know WHY you’re in business…your desire.
    • You need to establish a clear VISION for where you’re going…your destination.
    • You need to identify your core VALUES that will show HOW you are going to deliver your vision…your drivers.

    After you have put these elements in place, it’s time to create your PLAN:  WHAT you’re going to do to move toward realising your vision.

    Your plan is the map showing the route you need to take to get you to your desired destination.  It sounds obvious to have a map or to use a sat nav to get to a place you have never been to before, but it is astounding the number of businesses who don’t have any sort of plan for getting to their desired destination. But then, many businesses also don’t know where they are heading. Remember that a having a vision in place is crucial.

    In many cases, stopping to take the time to create a plan isn’t a priority for management.  However, as you may have experienced in your car, finding your way when you are lost without a map is really very hard. You need that map; you need that sat nav—you need it to make the plan that will get you there.

    So what sort of plan do you need to create?  There are many different types of plans that you could use. The best ones, however, are those that are clear, short and easy to follow.  They should plainly state your destination, which can vary depending on the time frame, but the goals or outcomes that you want to achieve should be clearly stated as objectives.

    The specific strategic goals in your plan are then the places you know you need to get to on route to reach your final destination. They are your pit stops; the necessary stopovers that will contribute to the success of the arrival at your final destination (your vision).  For each goal, it is important that the objective is clearly stated with a timeframe (for more information about setting SMART goals, click here).  After all…

    A goal without a plan is just a dream.

    Do you want to turn your business’s dreams into reality? If so, then read on to learn how you can achieve your business growth goals with the help of a strategic plan…your Sat Nav for your business.

    Sat Nav for your Business

    As any good sat nav should, your plan will represent the fastest route by which you can get to your desired destination. It will help you to stay on track and, most importantly, get you back on track if you lose the right road along the way.

    To keep you focused on the right path, your plan should include the statement of your why, your vision and values. These help to keep the focus on the bigger picture and create a greater context for the actions that you and your team need to take to achieve your vision through your plan.

    Here are a few points to flesh out what I’m talking about:

    • Every strategic goal should have a champion—that is, someone who is committed publically to making it happen. The goal champion is accountable for the achievement of the goal (albeit not necessarily for all of the actions to ensure its delivery).
    • Every strategic objective or goal should be accompanied by specific milestones to achieve it over the months ahead. This helps create focus points along the way.
    • The entire business plan should be reviewed regularly with the team, (monthly at a minimum) to ascertain whether the work toward each objective is advancing and what obstacles need to be overcome to keep moving forward.
    • Progress on actions taken for each goal should be measured every month to continue progress in each area.
    • All employees, not just ‘the team,’ should be made aware of the business growth plan. If people know where they are heading and that there is a plan to follow to get there, everyone is much more likely to want to engage and support the champions for each goal so that the objectives are delivered.

    A business growth action plan is a well-defined and specific step-by-step set of actions for implementation. Whilst you may go off-course some of the time, your plan will help you to stay focussed on where you want to get to and help you get back on track and determine the next action. With the right plan, this creates the structure and discipline for efficiency (doing things well) and effectiveness (doing the right things) to achieve your goals and vision. Your plan—like a sat nav—will always be there to guide you and take you to where you have decided you need to go.

    Are you ready to design your plan for WHAT you need to do to realise your business growth strategy? Or are you ready to improve a plan that perhaps hasn’t been working so well for you? You may be wondering where to start, what road to take first, and how to strategise your route for the fastest and most effective way to get to your destination…your goals and vision. Please contact me via email or phone for a free 30-minute consultation. We’ll talk about how you can get clear on the plan for growing your business, with a sat-nav-type guidance system that will guide your business in the direction of unprecedented success.

     

     

  • Values: Vital for a Driven Business

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    When we talk about being driven in a business sense, we think of moving forward with intense desire, toward a destination, and acquiring valuable things along the way…things like experience, connections, notoriety, revenue and more.

    When you know Why you’re in business, then you can move onto creating the How—which is predominantly determined by your core “drivers” (i.e. Values). When the values of your business are clearly defined and so deeply embedded within your professional operations that every interaction demonstrates those values, then the question of How? is more easily answered, because all things will be executed in alignment with those corporate values.

    Consistency is HUGE when it comes to the success of any business, and when values take a central role in decision making (for all parties involved), then there will be common threads that run through all operations. Your ideal customers will take note of this, and will come to trust your business as the go-to in the industry because they know what to expect and can respect your way of doing business because they share the values your brand demonstrates. Those same clients will then spread the word to others who share those values, working to bring more ideal customers on-board to grow your business and drive it forward. When values are at the core of every manoeuvre and professional relationship, the snowball effect is practically undeniable.

    When Values are Core to your Standards of Doing Business, then you have a Values-Based Organisation in which…

    Loyalty begets Loyalty.

    Growth begets Growth.

    A values-based organisation sounds great, right? Everyone should have one, right? Well, there are reasons that some companies that say they are values-based simply aren’t able to make it work. Here are a few of those reasons:

    • A Lack of Honesty: If you’re operating under the guise of values you’ve chosen just because you think that’s what your audience wants to hear, or because those values seems to be ‘trendy’ at the moment, you will be found out. Trust will disintegrate, as will your brand. Instead of putting values down on paper that you pull from exterior sources, pull values from your heart. Choose values that you hold dear, and that you naturally demonstrate every day without prompt. These are the values that will motivate you to drive They are also the values that will foster authentic professional relationships that will be enjoyable as well as profitable.
    • Hiring without Attention to Values: If you want your entire team to drive forward with a common goal and with true allegiance to your business’s purpose, they must share your corporate values. Without this, how can they genuinely support and build your brand? How can they stand behind your brand, make decisions that will grow your brand, seek out opportunities that will benefit your brand…champion your brand? Skipping this step is like marrying someone with the intention of ‘changing them.’ It rarely works, and the business is usually the biggest casualty.
    • A Lack of Focus: Let’s face it: there’s a lot of noise out there. The competition is doing this, the market is doing that, the industry is moving in this direction, the community is moving in that All of these external influences, and many more, can detract focus from How you have committed to accomplish your Why They can cause you to lose sight of your values, and to make decisions that harm the consistency and trustworthiness of your company. Stay focussed by making your values visible to all involved, so that they are top-of-mind at all times. Meet regularly to discuss the team’s adhesion to values. Monitor, measure and refocus when necessary.
    • An Emphasis only on the External: There’s a tendency amongst businesses to hyper-focus on what the public sees, with little attention paid to values that are demonstrated internally. In truth, the unwillingness of any team member to adhere to corporate values will eventually manifest externally. Alignment is crucial, inside and out.

    Your business growth strategy cannot exist [for very long] without a How, and that How is facilitated by an honest, working list of values. Your corporate values may be integrity, excitement, fun, adventure and friendship. Or they might be accuracy, reliability, helpfulness, teamwork and knowledge. No two lists are alike, and yours will be no exception.

    Have you clearly defined your corporate values? Do those values align with your vision? Do your team members, affiliates and clients share those values? For help with these questions and more, contact me via email or phone to have a free 30-minute consultation. This is a brilliant way to become clearer on the core values that will drive you and your team toward delivering a highly effective business growth strategy.

     

     

     

     

  • Vision, Critical for your Business Strategy

    Vision Strategy Innovation Signpost Shows Business Leadership And Ideas

    If you’ve ever planned a business trip, you will understand that knowing your destination is essential to making it a productive endeavour. Without knowing where you are heading, you might end up wandering the globe indefinitely searching for the right conference room.

    On the other hand, maybe you have set out on a road trip without a particular destination in mind. These days can be fun if you have no specific goal in mind and the intention is to just wander around seeing where you end up and enjoying the ride as you go along.

    Now whilst meandering along on a road trip can have its benefits, let’s be serious: your business growth strategy is not intended to be an adventure in wandering, it is intended to help you arrive at a predetermined place of your choosing.

    Once you’ve determined WHY and are inspired to move forward, the next step is to establish specifically WHERE you are going—in the form of a clear and ambitious destination. Your business strategy will span the gap between WHY, which is a belief, and WHERE, which is the vision of where you wish to arrive.

    Having a Vision is essential to creating and delivering a business growth strategy that will work; however, not just any vision will do. Consider these points before moving forward:

    Your vision must be compelling to your staff. When any team works hard (and works together) to win, you can presume that they share the same vision. Sharing the same vision as a team means travelling in one common direction, toward a common goal. And there’s a way to encourage every team member to do so: Provide them with a compelling vision. It must be something they want to achieve. If the vision is exciting and your team members share common values with your business, you are more likely to accomplish your goal because everyone will get behind the effort.

    Your vision must be big and inspiring. You’ve heard about short-term goals and how important they are to progress. This is different. This is about your main vision for what your brand will accomplish, big-picture and long-term. When a vision is too small (i.e. too “safe”), people tend to get stuck on small obstacles because the vision isn’t desirable or grandiose enough to inspire them to push through or work around those obstacles. When NASA communicated its vision to land a man on the moon, they did it. They probably wouldn’t have accomplished that had they simply endeavoured to create a vehicle that could fly into space.

    Remember: Shoot for the moon and even if you miss you will land among the stars.

    Small Vision = Small Result. Big Vision = Big Achievement.

    Your vision must be clear. It can be tempting to name a vision that’s vague, because if the destination isn’t clear, we tend to feel like “getting close” equals success. To the contrary, having a clear vision with well-defined anticipated results will provide you with clearer answers to choices, a clearer path to the next step, and a business strategy more clearly understood, because it’s more specific in what it intends to accomplish.

    Your vision must come before your strategy. This was mentioned earlier, but it’s worth repeating. You will have difficulty arriving at a destination that has not been identified. For this reason, establish your vision first, and then build your business strategy around achieving it. Reverse this process, and your focus will naturally fall on the strategy and how difficult the obstacles seem. There will be no motivation (vision) for navigating around them.

    As you develop a vision statement for your company, think about how you want others to see your business in the future. Some of the most compelling business vision statements are about how to improve or inspire customers’ lives, or about offering best-quality products and services. Below are some great examples of well-known company vision statements:

    Amazon: “To be the world’s most customer-centric company.”
    Ben and Jerry’s: “Making the best possible ice cream, in the nicest possible way”
    Disney: “To make people happy.”
    LinkedIn: “To connect the world’s professionals and make them more productive and successful.”
    Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”

    Are you clear about your business vision? Do you feel that you have the tools necessary for discovering it? Often, a bit of outside help can be just what you need to move you toward uncovering your destination. Contact me via email or phone to have a free 30-minute consultation to become clearer on the vision that will fuel your business growth strategy.

  • Every Business Growth Strategy needs a Why

    What is your why?

    Does your organisation have a business growth strategy? Is it the guide for all your business activities and supported by clear intentions and purpose? Or is it the product of obligation?

    There are two types of business growth plans. Allow me to explain:

    1. The business growth strategy that is drafted to answer questions asked by lenders and investors and to tick the box “Yes we have a business plan”: This strategy is created solely for the purpose of satisfying the demands of people outside your organisation. It is usually very detailed, pages long and extremely dull. Once created, your 25-50 page business growth plan then languishes on a bookshelf forgotten and gathering dust.

    2. The alternative business growth strategy is one created for and by those within the organisation, to focus them on fulfilling strategic aims, as well as the purpose of the organisation: This business strategy is usually short (1-5 pages), and often visually centred and definitively designed to inspire. This business strategy is not sat lost on shelves or hard drives, but is ever-present, referred to regularly and used to guide and motivate staff to implement and deliver the strategic goals of the business.

    Is your Business Growth Strategy Destined for Failure?
    Sadly, most business strategies fall under category #1 – the business plan drafted simply to satisfy an obligation. This type of growth plan is generally a list of what you are going to do and how you plan to achieve certain targets. More often than not this type of business plan is lacking a clear purpose or a clear reason why your company is doing what it’s doing. Without a clear why this type of business growth strategy is likely to fail.

    Your why is the passion in your business. For a business to grow it not only needs structure (e.g. a typical business plan), it also needs passion to motivate staff to want to accomplish that growth.

    Your business growth strategy must be derived from your why. Without a clear purpose for coming to work, people are just turning up. With a strong sense of why, your staff members have a clear reason or purpose for coming to work and evidence proves that people who enjoy coming to work are more productive and creative.

    Once you have a clear why, your business growth strategy is then simply a description of the route (the how and what) your company intends to follow in order to create that future.

    Your Business Why:

    Why are you in business? Why do you believe what you’re doing is important? Why do you believe you are changing people’s lives?

    Why are you investing a large portion of your life in this business? And why is the thing you believe in driving it?

    The answers to these questions will help to form your why. Your why is shaped by the thing you love to do (your passion) and the thing that you wish to change. Making money is never a viable why. Search deeper for what having the money means to you.

    The why does not come from looking ahead at what you want to achieve and figuring out an appropriate strategy to get there. It is not born out of any market research and it does not come from extensive customer interviews. Your why comes from deep within yourself.

    “Great leaders are those who trust their gut. They are those who understand
    they must win hearts before minds. They are the ones who start with WHY.”
    Simon Sinek

    Why is the starting point for creating your business growth strategy. Once you are clear on your why, you will be able to identify what you will do to realise it and how you will do it.

    The outcomes (or what you will do) can be mapped out easily because when you know why you’re doing it, you’ll be clearer on how to achieve your vision and on how to differentiate your business from the competition. Your how will be based on your mission, your company values and the people in your organisation.

    It is crucial that you do some business soul-searching to identify your why before creating your business growth strategy. However, once you have done this, you may be surprised at how simple it is to draft that strategy (and to carry it out), because you have a clear path of intention.

    Do you have a business growth strategy? Are you concerned that it isn’t fit for purpose? There are steps you can take to inject the right elements into your existing business strategy, or you can rewrite it so that it better supports what you really want to achieve in your business.

    If you would like help with your business growth strategy or business plan, you can contact me by email or through our Contact Us page. I would be happy to spend 45 minutes with you on the phone discussing your business growth strategy—to see how it can be improved to help you grow your business to the next level.

    Failing to plan is planning to fail.

     

  • Social Enterprise and the Benefits for your Business

    Unsure how best to grow businessHave you ever felt conflicted between the need to grow your business and the desire to make a positive impact in the community you serve? If so, I have two pieces of good news for you:

    1. You are the perfect candidate to find out more about Social Enterprise, a new and rapidly developing business model—one that will help you differentiate and grow your enterprise.

    2. You can have it all—sustainable business growth, as well as a positive impact on your people, your community, and the environment.

    Contrary to popular belief, Social Enterprise is not about being a charity or a not-for-profit organisation. Though the definition has been up for some debate in recent years, I see the most comprehensive definition being the following:

    Social Enterprise: A profit making business with a social objective or purpose, where a significant part of the profit is reinvested into the business or local community to create further social impact. As the business profits grow so the benefits to society grow.

    Another way of clarifying the meaning of Social Enterprise would be to look at the principle of Tripe P Bottom Line Investment. This business theory places equal amounts of emphasis on People, Planet, and Profit…with the idea that all will benefit with a focus on each.

    • People: the business take steps to ensure that benefit is felt by all people involved…from employees to community members.

    • Planet: the business avoids making a negative impact on the environment, and goes as far as reducing energy consumption, waste, or emissions, for example.

    • Profit: the business focusses on earning (and increasing) profits in its trading activities and by being socially aware. These profits will benefit not just the shareholders but stakeholders and the wider community.

    The Advantages of Becoming a Social Enterprise
    Let’s face it: corporations are increasingly being held responsible for their actions (or inaction!), as well as for the actions of their sponsors, suppliers, the communities that accommodate them, and the people who patronise them.

    What does this mean for you, the small/medium sized business owner?
    1) Do nothing now and wait until society deems that your activities are identified as being Socially Unaware,
    2) Take the initiative now to alter your business model to become a “social enterprise” and bound ahead of the competition in terms of profitability and social impact.

    There is a broad spectrum on what and how social enterprise is classified, and different examples to model across all sectors and company sizes. There are many benefits to becoming a Social Enterprise. Here are some of the advantages you can expect:

    • Innovation: With new connections come new viewpoints; and with new viewpoints come fresh, new ways of doing things. This is how the seeds of innovation are planted.

    • Investment: When your business showcases itself as a Social Enterprise, investors’ attention is piqued. The astute ones know about the social enterprise movement, and are quick to align themselves with businesses who are embracing this new business model.

    • Engagement: The social impact you choose to make, through your Social Enterprise, says a lot about your corporate values. People who share those values will pick up on this and choose to associate and make conversation with your company. These are the people who hold the most potential for becoming loyal clients.

    • Problem-Solving: As a business your role is to serve your customers by identifying a problem and then solving that problem for them. A Social Enterprise solves customer problems and looks to solve social problem at the same time. Social enterprises are therefore seen to be more innovative and dynamic and are more likely to gain the attention of potential employees, customers and investors.

    • Publicity: The conventional profit-centred business model is under attack; however, there’s a counterculture going on, too. The Social Enterprise model is being promoted and highlighted in the many news and social media outlets. By raising your level of social awareness and incorporating social responsibility into your business model you will find many opportunities to raise your social profile – again making it easier to gain new customers, employees and investors.

    The advantages of operating as a Social Enterprise certainly do not end there…and neither does the good news. If you’re interested in exploring the possibility of running your very own Social Enterprise, you can learn how to accomplish that in my upcoming FREE event, Access to IMPACT. In this evening event, to be held at the British Library on 4th February, you will learn how…

    Business + Social Impact = Enterprise Growth.

    This event is for business leaders from all sectors and all size companies (start-ups, SMEs, and corporations), entrepreneurs, public institutions, and universities. Join me and two other Social Enterprise experts as we show you how to make the most of this new business model—for the good of your community, your environment, and of course, your business. Click here for your ticket.

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  • “Good Business” is Good for Business

    It seems like every business owner is in pursuit of sustainable growth; it appears that this desire is universal. What isn’t universal is the path toward achieving that growth. In recent years, a new type of entrepreneur has emerged. These new entrepreneurs are looking for ways to differentiate themselves—to innovate, to access better talent and customers, to improve their access to capital…and to grow their businesses by being socially responsible.

    If you are unfamiliar with social enterprise and haven’t yet explored what being a social entrepreneur means, then you’re most likely missing out on many of the advantages that come with this different way of thinking and new model for doing business.

    So let’s delve more deeply into what being socially responsible means, and investigate how becoming more socially aware could benefit your business.

    How can raising your level of social awareness benefit your business?
    Social Awareness within a business can be defined as understanding the impact you have on your staff, customers, community, and environment. Every business makes an impact. The pivotal question for every socially aware entrepreneur is this: How will you increase your business’s positive impact on every level?

    Human emotion drives consumer purchasing decisions. For this reason, your ideal clients are searching for a company they can believe in, relate to and feel emotionally drawn to. In this new age of connectivity, your customers want to establish relationships, find commonalities and feel “a part of something.”

    By raising the level of social awareness in your organisation you will find the following benefits:

    • the attraction and retention of talented staff members who believe in (and who will promote) your brand

    • the opportunity to differentiate your business from the competition

    • more ease in attaining financial support for your business

    • the opportunity to express your corporate values through social interaction—which will attract clients who share those values

    • the chance to get something done that you really believe in, whilst benefiting your business

    • access to more ideal clients, through marketing by social partners

    • an authentic spirit for innovation, cultivated by new personal/corporate connections and new attitudes surrounding collaboration and contribution

    Being socially aware can mean different things to different people. Aligning your company behind a compelling vision and clear values will immediately help to raise your level of social awareness and create greater staff engagement in your organisation. Raising your social awareness can also mean finding areas in your business where you can have a greater impact in your community.

    Whatever you choose to do, no matter how big or small, eg changing some of your procurement to socially responsible companies to donating 100% of your profit to solving a social problem, your efforts must be authentic and consistent. And it doesn’t mean taking on a social cause solely for the purpose of gaining publicity. When Starbucks planted recycling receptacles in their stores for their special “recyclable” cups, and then dumped them in landfills because they weren’t truly recyclable, the public’s perception of Starbucks as an environmentally friendly company was negatively affected. Don’t let this happen to your business.

    Choose socially aware business activities that you can get behind and believe in, wholeheartedly. If you want to have a bigger impact, choose a social problem that your target audience believes in, too. Connect with organisations that specialise in this cause. Market your intentions. Engage your staff in looking for innovative ways to make a greater difference. Let your customers know what you’re up to and give them opportunities to get involved. Publish case studies of the impact you’re having in your community to encourage more support.

    There are many different ways you can become more socially aware in your business and the benefits to your organisation of doing so will be varied, but will ultimately lead to greater staff and customer engagement and better business growth.

    To find out more about how to become a socially aware business and learn practical things you can do in your business now, register for the FREE upcoming event called Access to Impact, to be held at the British Library on the 4th February: 5.30-9pm

    Business + Social Impact = Enterprise Growth

    At the event I will be joining other Social Enterprise experts in teaching growth-focussed business owners how to become successful by being socially responsible businesses. Seats for this event are limited, and are filling fast, so reserve your place now by clicking the link here.

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  • How Do You Measure Up?

    How Do You Measure Up?

    I was with a client yesterday talking about how to grow their business. Everything was going well until I asked for some more details about the sales figures and profit margins. I got a slightly sheepish look from the MD and a comment that whilst they could give me monthly and even daily overall sales figs for the business, they couldn’t break that figure down in any more detail.

    Now whilst this may seem surprising, many companies are guilty of having similar number blindness and don’t have a clear idea of the reality of what is going on in their company.  Do you for instance, have a clear idea of how your sales figures are made up? Do you have an idea of what your profit margin is on each of your products or services? Do you know which of your clients are the most profitable?

    Numbers are your friend!
    There are all kinds of reasons for not tracking and measuring these types of numbers: not knowing what data to measure, not knowing how to track the data, not knowing what to do with the data once received etc.

    However whatever the reasons, it is important to realise that the only way to effectively grow your business is to embrace numbers and treat them as your friend. Numbers tell you exactly the way that it is, they can help show what has happened and they can inform you of how things will be in the future. Some people avoid looking too closely at the numbers in their business for fear of what the numbers may reveal. However it is good to remember that although that you cannot change the past, you can use information today to change what you do to improve your performance tomorrow.

    You cannot improve what you do not measure.
    If you want to get better at something you need to know what level you are starting from. If you want to sustainably grow your business you need to know where your business is operating today.

    Tracking the right numbers can help you to keep focused on delivering your strategy for growth and allows you to stay neutral by seeing clearly what is going on without the emotion. Reviewing the numbers regularly and watching how they change provides an opportunity to learn from the actions that you are taking. What are you doing right that you can do more of? What do you need to do less of or stop doing? How can you apply what you have learnt going forward?

    So if you want to track numbers which ones should you monitor to help you to grow your business? There are so many different numbers you could look at there is a danger of being overwhelmed and not tracking any, or tracking too many numbers that aren’t giving you the information that you need.

    What numbers to track?
    There are two different types of numbers that you can track and measure:

    1) Lagging indicators – these are usually output based and tell you how things were in the past e.g. revenue, sales figures, number of customers, etc. They are usually easy to measure but hard to improve or influence.

    2) Leading indicators – these are usually input oriented and help to determine how things will be in the future. They can be harder to measure but much easier to influence and improve. e.g. number of client visits you make, telephone calls you make, emails queries answered in under 2 hours, no cases closed in 48 hours etc.

    To change the lagging indicators (the results) that you are getting in your business, you need to focus on determining and measuring your leading indicators. To determine your business leading indicators you need to identify what are the activities that you must undertake to achieve the desired outcome?
    E.g. in your business you want to grow on line sales.
    Your lagging indicator will be measuring your % of turnover or profits derived from on line sales.
    Your leading indicators could be:
    1) Number of people visiting your web site
    2) Visitor time spent on your web site
    3) Number of email addresses captured
    4) Number of emails sent to a potential customer before buying etc.

    All these leading indicators can be influenced and improved upon once they are being measured.

    Identify your Critical Drivers to improve performance
    Determining and monitoring critical drivers in a business is key to improving performance. Identifying key performance indicators (leading indicators) and measuring them will ALWAYS move you forward as it raises your awareness of where you are and what you need to focus on .

    Another way to look at KPIs is to use the analogy of flying a plane. Pilots watch dials very carefully to guarantee the success of a flight. They are always monitoring their dials, checking to see what is happening so that they can take corrective action to stay on the current course.

    What are the characteristics of KPIs or business dials?
    1) They are carefully selected measures that guarantee success
    2) They give information on what is happening now or what will happen
    3) They have pre-determined levels below which corrective action must be taken to guarantee success

    An example is a vehicle fuel gauge, which is designed to show you when to take corrective action if the level of fuel fall below a certain point.

    Identify your own KPIs or business dials
    Using and measuring KPIs or dials helps to determine if you are going to achieve your business goals, however they take patience to set up and start using. To determine the right numbers that you need to track in your business you need to do the following:

    1) Determine which KPIs/dials need to be created
    2) Determine the level each KPI/dial must reach to achieve success
    3) Create a system to monitor and measure KPIs/dials
    4) Employ the qualities of playing a game
    5) Focus on actions needed to take to get/keep dials at their levels of pre-determined success

    If you do take the time to identify the key performance indicators in your company and regularly monitor and measure them you are GUARANTEED SUCCESS!

    Dare to check how you are doing – as often as possible!

    For more information on how to create aligned, high performance teams click here to get your free e-book:

    Engage, Enthuse and Empower your Teams