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Succeed in sales

Closing a sale is the end goal for many business owners but often knowing how to close the deal is a challenge.

Here are three ways to improve your sales approach:

Remove your agenda
A sales prospect can usually identify when a salesperson is running off an agenda. The salesperson comes across as pushy, they don’t match the prospect’s concerns with the product or service on offer, and they don’t give the prospect much time to talk. This approach can appear insincere and impersonal, thereby creating the opposite effect and driving the prospect away.

Ask questions
Dive into the prospect’s concerns and challenges by asking them questions to see if your product/service is suitable. Find out what is important to them and their expectations. If your products/services are a solution for them, pitch them or provide alternatives. Do not expect that your product or service is going to be a solution for everyone.

Show value
Value is a critical factor in a prospect’s purchasing behaviour. Using value-based selling can be helpful at generating more sales as it focuses on addressing the prospect’s problems by showing them the benefits of your product/service. Furthermore, providing examples of results, client testimonials and so forth can demonstrate more value to the prospect.

Posted on 18 April '18 by , under business. No Comments.

How to improve efficiency

Efficient businesses create more with less. They are driven by highly-motivated employees and inspirational leaders. They understand the power of time-management, organisation, and most importantly, managing their resources.

To improve the efficiency in your small business, consider the following:

“Eat the frog”
Starting your day by “eating the frog first” helps to tick off the important items on your to-do list and avoid procrastination. Completing your hardest or most urgent task first is critical in developing self-discipline and meeting your deadlines. Once you do “eat the frog” all subsequent tasks will seem a lot easier and manageable, helping to get you into a more productive workflow.

Create boundaries
Technology is one of the biggest distractions in the workplace, so it is important to create clear boundaries with how you will use it while working. For example, you may choose you hide your phone or not attend to emails for certain periods of your working day.

Work in intervals
Studies show working in intervals rather than large time blocks is more effective in boosting concentration and overall productivity. Encourage staff to take regular breaks, and to work in intervals for higher levels of problem-solving and creativity.

Reduce meeting time
Wasting time in meetings not only decreases productivity but can destroy morale. Staff have competing priorities and endless jobs waiting for them after the meeting, so if it can be sent in an email reconsider calling that meeting. If the meeting is necessary, stick to an agenda and ask for questions to be held to the end.

Provide feedback
To maximise efficiency, staff need to know where they are excelling and what areas need improvement. Checking in with your staff regularly helps to ensure the team is on the same wavelength. Brainstorming new ways to improve efficiency with your team is also useful in making sure no one becomes complacent.

Posted on 16 April '18 by , under business. No Comments.

Recovering from a blunder

Mistakes happen all the time, and although they can be embarrassing, you can recover from them.

Whether the mistake was minor or costly, handling the error with professionalism can save your dignity and credibility. Next time you forget to hit send on that important email, rest assured you can recover quickly by adopting the following tips:

Gain some perspective
It is only natural to feel ashamed or distressed when you make a mistake at work but looking at the mistake in a broader context can help you let go of these negative emotions. Most mistakes, unless they are life-threatening, can be corrected so forgive yourself and move on. Instead of wallowing, look at ways to rectify your mistake immediately.

Acknowledge and apologise
If your mistake has affected someone else or negatively impacted the business, acknowledge your wrong doings and apologise. Admitting you made the mistake shows self-awareness, responsibility and accountability. Try to avoid justifying your actions or over-apologising.

Restore trust
The best way to show you care about what has happened is by learning from it and ensuring it does not happen again. Correct the mistake as soon as you can and evaluate what you can do differently next time. If you continue to deliver great work, more often than not your mistake will be forgotten about.

Posted on 28 March '18 by , under business. No Comments.

Ways to improve your business

Business owners should always be on the lookout for ways to improve their business. It can be easy to fall into a trap of complacency, especially when business is doing well but having strategies in place can ensure your business continues to remain successful.

Consider the following tips to improve your business:

Stay current
Keeping up with trends in your industry, technological advancements, product developments and so on is critical if you want to stay ahead of your competitors. Staying relevant also helps to ensure you are providing the most up-to-date advice, products and services for your customers and are known as a leader in the industry.

Hire someone new
If there is a skills or knowledge gap in your business, it needs addressing. Yes, you can take this on yourself but realistically you would be better off delegating to someone else. Spreading your time and energy too thin can see you burnout easily.

Add value
Any business that is thinking long term should be considering how they provide value to their customers. Without value, customers are more inclined to turn to a competitor. Some ways of providing value include delivering excellent customer service, engaging with followers on social media, adding premium products and services, and so on.

Posted on 23 March '18 by , under business. No Comments.

Defining business values

Business values, much like personal values, influence behaviour and provide a set of rules or guidelines to follow. However, in a business context, values are often set and ignored.

To avoid this, business leaders need to create values that can lead to action and align with the business’ overall mission. Consider the following when defining your business’ values:

Assess business strengths
Look at the ways in which your business thrives – do you have ambitious staff or loyal customers that drive your success? Understanding your business’ strengths allows you to identify the underlying values which drive current behaviour and action. Once you have a better understanding, you will be able to identify key values that your employees, customers, suppliers and community encompass and use these values as a basis for your business.

Formulate rules based on values
Once you have identified your key values, you can create rules based on these values so staff and the public know what to expect of your business. For example, your rule might be to “continually search for answers.” This would align with a value of innovation, placing a great emphasis on building on new ideas and solutions. Rules also help to foster the right culture in your workplace, making it more enjoyable for staff and management alike.

Tie values to your overall purpose
Values should be used to complement your business’ overall mission or purpose. For example, if your mission is to provide education to rural teenagers in disadvantaged areas, adopting a rule such as “continually search for answers” would be appropriate as it encourages everyone involved in the business to look for new ways to meet challenging demands and so on. Therefore, identifying values helps to align strategies, plan and create goals that serve your business’ overall purpose.

Posted on 16 March '18 by , under business. No Comments.

Handing the family business over to your kids

Keeping the business in the family when you decide it’s time to retire is a common choice for many business owners. However, ensuring the change of hand is carried out effectively is seldom done right.

If you plan on handing your business over to your child/children or any other family member, there are specific precautions you should take to ensure that the process you use is not only compliant with Australian business and taxation laws, but so that the business model is protected in a way that you so wish.

Consider the following:

Meetings

When changing ownership of any business, to family or someone else, having meetings to discuss various aspects of the changeover helps create a seamless change. Meetings should be periodic and should not be over complicated by discussing too many aspects of the changeover at once. You should plan out what will be discussed in each meeting when you decide you are going to change over ownership.

Transition

When changing ownership of a business, it is always wise to consider doing so in a transitional manner. By using a transitional approach, it allows you to teach your children the ways of the business and the correct process of doing various tasks, in order to keep the business running the same as it always has. This makes the change easier for customers and clients. After the transition has taken place, they can choose to make changes to the business model that they think will improve the business, but they will be doing so with an appreciation and understanding of why things have been done the way they have in the past.

Know the boundaries

One of the biggest obstacles of handing your business over, particularly to your children is mentally preparing for what this change will mean. A common mistake many business owners make when handing the business over is thinking they are still in charge; this is not the case. By overstepping the boundaries and trying to be over-involved after you no longer own the business, you can cause conflict between yourself and your child, which will inevitably impact negatively on the business. You need to respect your child as a business owner and let them run the business on their own. Of course you can be there as a soundboard and offer advice should they need it, but anything more can become overbearing. To avoid doing this, you need to prepare yourself for what no longer owning the business will mean; how are you going to fill your time that used to be spent working?

Posted on 5 March '18 by , under business. No Comments.

Considerations before accepting a job offer

Accepting a new job offer can be exhilarating; you’ve put yourself out there, gone for an interview, waited to hear back and you finally get the good news.

While it is all very exciting, before accepting any new job, you need to ask yourself a few questions about the new workplace and most importantly your new employer or manager. Jumping ship without knowing what you’re getting yourself into can land you in an uncomfortable situation.

Consider the following before making the big leap:

Personality

The ability to be yourself is important whether you realise it or not. Does the workplace allow for you to thrive and flourish, not just as an employee but as an individual? One of the most relevant aspects of job satisfaction is feeling like you are valued and an important member of your team. If you accept a position in a company that is not accepting of you, you are not likely to be satisfied long-term.

Employee benefits

Many employees have a skill for making job applicants feel like they are extremely lucky to be given the position with the company. While it might be a great career opportunity, companies don’t hire people just to give them a great opportunity, they hire because they are short-staffed, they are losing a team member, or there is a skill-set lacking in their current team. In other words, the business needs you. Don’t get caught up in thinking the business is doing you a favour and you are extremely lucky, without finding out what benefits you will get for joining the team and sharing your skills.

Job role

Understanding your job role and what is required of you is essential. Ask plenty of questions in your interview and save any documentation such as the advertisement for the position that indicates what is required of you. Ask for a formal job description, and research how performing the role corresponds to what you will be paid and what minimum wages for this kind of role include. Ask in your interview if there are any additional jobs you will have to perform and if so, can these be given to you in writing in an amended job description.

Opportunity for growth

Being satisfied with a job that doesn’t offer opportunities for professional development or for growth is desirable for many applicants. However, if this is not for you and you are looking for a career with pathways for growth, you should voice this in your resume and in your interview. Ask the interviewee what the structure of the business is and if there are opportunities for professional development and advanced training, as well as opportunities to advance in terms of wage and job role.

Management style

Before accepting any kind of job, do your research on the company. Nowadays, it is naive not to investigate online and see what kind of company you are entering into. Research business reviews on Facebook and look up the business on LinkedIn. When in your interview, don’t be too shy to ask what the employee or manager’s management and leadership styles are. In a structured and professional environment, the interviewee should be able to answer this question for you. Asking questions of this nature also show that you are assertive and are thinking long-term about whether this position is the right fit for you, not just trying to sell yourself to the business, allowing you to come across as an asset.

Posted on 23 February '18 by , under business. No Comments.

How to avoid failing

In any business environment, there are constant challenges that can see you fail or can be tools for success. Channelling these challenges and turning them into strengths is necessary.

Consider the following failures business owners commonly make and reflect on how these apply to your business:

Multitasking

For a lengthy period, the ability to multitask has been seen as a sort after skill. With the growth of technology and its emergence into every aspect of our lives, research is now suggesting that the ability to single task is becoming more and more important. The ability to focus in on one project at a time, without being distracted by things such as emails, phones or social media is extremely valuable. Being present and not being distracted means you are more likely to perform any one task better.

Values

Most businesses start out small and with strong core values. However, as the business grows, many owners become too focused on profit and growth, rather than remaining true to these values. This attitude will see you lose your core, loyal customers, who have been with your from the start. You may not care, as you are bringing in lots of new customers at great numbers, but if your customers are not loyal to the business, you will lose them just as quickly as you gained them with the fast-paced consumer environment that has been developed over the past couple of decades.

Money management

Poor management of money will see any business plummet. Most businesses will experience periods of negative cash flow, particularly seasonal businesses. It is not the issue of negative cash flow that will see a business fail, but rather the inability to prepare for these lulls.

Hiring

The team you hire should be seen as an extension of yourself. They should share your vision for the business and should be passionate about supporting the business grow. Hiring people with the best skills and a great attitude is the first step, but keeping them long term involves nurturing their professional growth and continued respect for the value they bring to the business.

Posted on 6 February '18 by , under business. No Comments.

Setting clear marketing goals

Setting clear and direct marketing goals is an ideal strategy for promoting your business and business growth.

There are a number of different goals you can set to ensure you are optimising your marketing opportunities; consider the following:

SWOT analysis
Before setting any goals, it is important to understand the purpose behind your marketing strategy; that is why you are doing what you are doing and what you wish to achieve by doing so. A great way to do this is to conduct a SWOT analysis, which will allow you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business, as well as the various opportunities and threats.

SMART goals
Setting SMART goals is one of the most powerful marketing tools you can employ for your business. They allow you to set, track and measure how successful you and your team have been at achieving what it is you wish to. SMART goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely.

Research
Research is a necessary aspect of any marketing strategy. By being thorough and informed before establishing SMART goals or beginning on a specific marketing campaign, you can eliminate any foreseeable challenges along the way. Types of research you should conduct may include:
– What your competitors are doing
– Your business’s past marketing goals and how successful they were
– Your customer base
– Your product and product performance
– Different platforms and which would be the best for you to use
– How you will measure success

Review
As if the case for any goal you set professionally, you should be reviewing how well you and your team are going at implementing the marketing goal or strategy. Developing tools to assess your success is a great method to track or review whether the strategy is as strong as it ought to be. Ways to do this may include:
– Holding team meetings
– Surveys from clients or customers
– Using a tool such as Google Analytics

Posted on 2 February '18 by , under business. No Comments.

Attracting Millennials to work for your business

Millennials are encompassing around a quarter of the workforce now and bringing along with them diverse needs and challenges.

Employers must understand these needs and challenges to better attract more Millennials to work for them as their skills are in high demand.

Firstly, Millennials (born between 1980-2000) are the first generation to understand technology possibly more so than their senior coworkers. They also tend to value flexibility and diversity more than older generations.

Millennials are also likely to have a desire for rapid career progression within a company and are not afraid to switch companies if their needs are not being met. This means fewer Millennials are likely to stay loyal to only one company for their total working life.

Employers must consider these unique needs and adapt if they are looking to appeal to Millennials. The following tips can help your business become more attractive to Millennial talent:

Opportunities to progress
Millennials want opportunities for personal and career development, otherwise, they will look elsewhere. Ensure your business has training and development opportunities available and staff are encouraged to progress their careers within your business.

Incentives
Along with competitive salaries, Millennials look for added perks such as flexible working conditions, bonuses, free insurance, greater vacation leave and so on. This is important to note as you might not be able to offer the highest salary for your industry but you can entice Millennials with other more budget-friendly incentives.

Purpose
Meaningful work comes out on top for Millennials. Many want to give back and contribute to society in an ethical and sustainable manner. Millennials will take into consideration the reputation of your business, your business’ practices and your overall vision for the business. To appeal to this generation it is important to consider whether your business is operating in its best possible condition and if improvements need to be made.

Posted on 24 January '18 by , under business. No Comments.