Archive for 'Business'

Preparing For Your Employee’s Performance Review

Posted on 28 May '21 by , under Business. No Comments.

The performance review process is an integral part of a business that ensures that all staff (old and new) know their roles and responsibilities and perform them satisfactorily. It allows employers to directly give feedback to their employees in a formal setting that employees can then direct back into and shape how they perform their role.

Performance reviews may include praise about performance, suggestions for improvement or raise professional concerns, or assist in their career development and growth by planning for a future with clear strategic goals.

To be sure that the performance reviews conducted benefit you and your employees, It is essential to make sure that you are fully prepared and able to articulate your feedback. It’s important to have a plan, and a well-organised agenda of how you want the meeting to go can be a valuable tool to employ.

Make a note of any critical issues or points that you wish to discuss with your employee, as having the physical prompt should assist you in keeping the meeting on track and examine all of the relevant points that you want to pursue with the employee.

Essentially, you should cover in the performance review:

  • Each employee’s goals or KPIs, and how well those goals are being met/achieved
  • Areas where they have excelled
  • Places where they may need more improvement

You can also ask your employees to assess their performance and see what they may identify differently from what you have highlighted. You can do this by simply having them conduct a self-analysis on how their performance has been in reaching (or not reaching) their goals

If you are after a more formal approach to a self-analysis, you can ask employees to complete a more formal SWOT analysis, which identifies their strengths and weaknesses, opportunities they’ve taken advantage of to enhance their performance and any threats that may have impacted or may impact their performance.

Performance reviews can also identify and highlight areas for improvement in the business that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Typical Things To Address In A Performance Review

  • The employee’s quality of work and ability to meet particular metrics
  • Dependability and punctuality
  • Leadership, communication and team skills
  • Progress made towards personal career goals
  • Innovation and problem-solving skills

Performance reviews should be conducted periodically and methodically to ensure that you get the most benefit from them. It will also keep you informed about progress and issues within the business. It is recommended that you conduct performance reviews every three or four months, but half-yearly reviews are also perfectly suitable.

Preparing For Your Employee’s Performance Review

Posted on 28 May '21 by , under Business. No Comments.

The performance review process is an integral part of a business that ensures that all staff (old and new) know their roles and responsibilities and perform them satisfactorily. It allows employers to directly give feedback to their employees in a formal setting that employees can then direct back into and shape how they perform their role.

Performance reviews may include praise about performance, suggestions for improvement or raise professional concerns, or assist in their career development and growth by planning for a future with clear strategic goals.

To be sure that the performance reviews conducted benefit you and your employees, It is essential to make sure that you are fully prepared and able to articulate your feedback. It’s important to have a plan, and a well-organised agenda of how you want the meeting to go can be a valuable tool to employ.

Make a note of any critical issues or points that you wish to discuss with your employee, as having the physical prompt should assist you in keeping the meeting on track and examine all of the relevant points that you want to pursue with the employee.

Essentially, you should cover in the performance review:

  • Each employee’s goals or KPIs, and how well those goals are being met/achieved
  • Areas where they have excelled
  • Places where they may need more improvement

You can also ask your employees to assess their performance and see what they may identify differently from what you have highlighted. You can do this by simply having them conduct a self-analysis on how their performance has been in reaching (or not reaching) their goals

If you are after a more formal approach to a self-analysis, you can ask employees to complete a more formal SWOT analysis, which identifies their strengths and weaknesses, opportunities they’ve taken advantage of to enhance their performance and any threats that may have impacted or may impact their performance.

Performance reviews can also identify and highlight areas for improvement in the business that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Typical Things To Address In A Performance Review

  • The employee’s quality of work and ability to meet particular metrics
  • Dependability and punctuality
  • Leadership, communication and team skills
  • Progress made towards personal career goals
  • Innovation and problem-solving skills

Performance reviews should be conducted periodically and methodically to ensure that you get the most benefit from them. It will also keep you informed about progress and issues within the business. It is recommended that you conduct performance reviews every three or four months, but half-yearly reviews are also perfectly suitable.

Using Feedback As A Tool For Your Business’s Growth

Posted on 18 May '21 by , under Business. No Comments.

Feedback is an essential element within the business sphere. It can be used to improve your business as a whole or help identify where you may make further improvements. It can be internally or externally driven and may not always be positive. Essentially, feedback is a driving force behind a business’ growth and should be sought out and given by you to create a direct line of communication that the feedback is being received and put back into the business.

It is crucial to consider the following when you ask for feedback:

  • Who you are requesting feedback from and why
  • How to use the feedback effectively after receiving it
  • How your business can improve as a result of the feedback
  • What is/isn’t working for your business, and how you can address it

You can request feedback from:

  • Those who report to you (you can go down a few levels)
  • Those above you (you can go up a few levels)
  • Colleges in the same team/group
  • Colleges in other teams/groups
  • Vendors, suppliers and external contractors
  • Customers

As a business owner, it is crucial that you receive honest and constructive feedback while also providing it to your employees. To do so, one needs to ensure that the feedback is:

  • As specific and as close as possible to an event
  • Given and received in a safe place in an appropriate setting and time
  • Not judgemental or personal
  • Constructive and actionable

When receiving feedback, try to listen, reflect and respond.

Listen

Listen to the feedback provided to you, even if it makes you want to react immediately to it. Delay defending yourself, and listen closely to what exactly is being said. Internalise the feedback, and ask questions to clarify what they are saying to give yourself a concrete understanding.

Reflect

After receiving feedback, reflect on what was said with an open mind and understand the context in which the feedback has come from. Is it helpful feedback that you can use to improve or change accordingly? Rather than think “that wasn’t my intention” about the feedback, consider how it could have been perceived differently from the other’s view.

Respond

Giving feedback, particularly when it is negative, can be a daunting task. Respond with a thank you to the feedback, as it promotes a positive response irrespective of the nature of the feedback.

Using Market Research To Boost Your Business

Posted on 12 May '21 by , under Business. No Comments.

Market research is an effective tool that can be used to boost your business in terms of sales, customer engagement and how your competitors may be performing. It allows you to make well-informed decisions that can potentially add value to your business.

 

When conducting market research, ensure that you are covering all of the potential areas that may affect how your business has been performing. This may include:

  • Customers
  • Competitors
  • Products or services
  • Suppliers
  • Business location and local area
  • Industry

Products & Services

Researching what your customer is looking for when it comes to your business’ products, services and interactions with them can be a simple way to get ahead of your competition. It can also provide you with an understanding of where you fit into the market for your customers, and how you differentiate from what your competitors are offering.

Market research can also assist in figuring out where you are positioned in the market in terms of your products or services being considered as high-end, competitive or a low-cost alternative to what your competition is offering. It can also aid in determining the anticipated demand of products by customers, so that you can adjust accordingly.

Suppliers

Conducting market research on suppliers can assist you in working out pricing of your products, whether or not you are getting the right price from your suppliers with regard to your orders and the overall quality of what suppliers deliver.

Customers

Collecting customer data through feedback, be it online (such as email, surveys) or analog (talking with customers, feedback forms), can be an invaluable insight into what your customers want from you. This style of direct customer research can assist in learning about what their needs are, what they’re willing to pay and the anticipated demand for your products. It can also assist in giving more information that you can use to better target your marketing efforts.

Competitors

Investigating your competitors in business can assist you in understanding your position in the marketplace in comparison to them. This can assist in developing your marketing plan by understanding your strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats and planning for how you can better use them. You can obtain this data through observation of your competitors marketing practices, networking with your competitors and through researching their presence on the internet (via websites, blogs or other social media).

Market research, when used effectively, can be a turning point in a business’s marketing plans, and assist them in planning their business’s future direction.

Keeping Business Costs Down Without Sacrificing Your Goals

Posted on 3 May '21 by , under Business. No Comments.

If a business cuts costs, it’s usually to save on the money that is being spent. However, cutting costs too deeply may actually impact employee and customer satisfaction, and overall harm the success of the business that has been built thus far. In saying that, if cost-cutting measures aren’t employed enough, that can also be a threat to the business’s very viability.

There are a number of ways through which businesses can attempt to optimise and achieve a balance in their cost-cutting strategies, without sacrificing or reducing their overall success.

When beginning the cost-cutting process, align with what the business strategy actually needs to be cut. Rather than approaching the budget with a hacksaw method of reducing the most expensive items, consider optimising the cost against what the business strategy requires from it, and consider the inherent value of what could be cut. Is it something that adds value to the business, despite the cost? Will this cost return on investment against what the strategy purports?

Similarly, do not simply approach cost-cutting with a reduction in staff as a solution to the issue. Reducing staff is merely a short-term approach to cost-cutting that may have a long-term impact on the resources that the business will have available for use.

Instead, aim to optimise the staff available in the business. Consider the expertise that the business will require in moving forward, and plan accordingly. Retain the talent from the existing pool of staff, fill any existing vacancies and consolidate roles where people may be being underutilised. If people involved in the business are underperforming, consider culling these specifically.

Ensuring that employee satisfaction is being fulfilled by the business can assist in cost-cutting, as higher employee satisfaction leads to lower turnover for employees. This measure should cost businesses far less in the long run.

Similarly, in this constantly changing business environment, the impact of COVID-19 has furthered the question of whether or not the way that businesses can operate should remain the common practice. If housed in an office (and it is practical to do so), consider employing remote work as an option or alternative for employees. It can bring down the rent, energy, and other office expenses significantly, while also potentially give you better access to talent.

The overall finances of the business should be looked into as well, to ensure that the costs of financing are not severely impacting the business. Simple measures that can be employed include changing banks to a more cost-effective facility, consolidating credit cards into one with a lower rate, or other changes that may reduce fees and improve access to capital. Similarly, paying bills early or switching to a monthly fee can also improve financial performance, as it can assist in getting the cash flow of the business under control.

Removing non-essential expenses (such as gifts and entertainment) can also be a cost-cutting measure to employ in business. Going paperless, becoming more energy efficient in the office or negotiating with suppliers for more cost-effective alternatives are other similar, simple measures that can be made use of in the cost-cutting approach to business.

Cost-cutting for your business does not have to be a particularly painful process. By looking at your business with a critical, and strategically aligned eye, you can optimise the cost-cutting process to suit what your business needs. For assistance with business planning, cost-cutting, or other business-related advice, speak with us today.

Employing A Talent Acquisition Strategy For Your Business’s Employment Needs

Posted on 19 April '21 by , under Business. No Comments.

It’s a daunting task, seeking someone who can fill a specific position that your business needs filled. It’s important that irrespective of how the economy is performing, the state of the workforce and what your business currently consists of, the employees that you hire are the best and most-talented people that you can get.

Though often we think of recruitment as a valid strategy of employment, it often seeks to fill gaps or vacancies that might be caused by staff turnover or insufficiency. This is still a valid strategy for businesses that need immediate solutions to staff/skill shortages.

However, hiring for your business shouldn’t just be about filling an immediate need – it’s about ensuring that your business attracts and retains talented employees for the long-term, to help your business grow to its full potential. A talent acquisition strategy should be put in place by your business to assist in addressing this issue.

Essentially, a talent acquisition strategy should be tailored to reflect and suit your business goals over the course of the next five years. It’s important to consider how the business is going to expand in the future, and what employees you need to join you in journeying towards that goal. Investing in the right talent now will pay off dividends for your business in the long term.

It’s all well and good to know what you need for your business in terms of talent – but how do you convince them to join you? Just as marketing campaigns are important for selling whatever your business produces, it’s important to consider how to market your business towards the talent you want to acquire.

There are plenty of ways to use data to strengthen your strategy, such as figuring out where your current top talent came from and using that information to focus your talent acquisition efforts on certain academic programs or professional networking sites. Data can also be used to refine job descriptions, career pages, emails and more, as it can eliminate in the application process any questions or phrasing that could be deterring qualified candidates.

Identifying where to find the majority of your top talent is an important step in the process of acquiring talent. It’s also important to ensure that you are utilising and expanding on our sourcing strategies when trying to find better talent.

Sometimes to recruit a skillset, you have to be a little adventurous in where to reach out to. Diversify your talent searching approach by looking outside of the usual LinkedIn profiles, and seeking out talent at specialised job boards, academic programs or networking events.

Above all, ensuring that your business has a reputation that draws potential talent is critical to engaging with those you want to acquire. Promoting aspects of your business that could draw in potential talent through multiple channels could be what convinces them to sign up with your business. Drawing attention to perks, the company culture and other work-life balance benefits or growth opportunities could be a way to highlight what sets you apart from the rest.

Outsourcing Models – How To Know What’s Right For You

Posted on 16 April '21 by , under Business. No Comments.

When a business cannot deal with the workload in house, a candidate or party outside of the business is often hired to assist in performing those services. This is called outsourcing, and it’s a practice that companies sometimes use to cut costs – especially if it’s easier to do this than to train up another employee.

The best model of outsourcing is one that meets the needs of the business. Clearly identifying those needs is a strategic step to take to ensure that the model chosen is the right one. There are four types of models when it comes to outsourcing. 

Freelance

The freelance model of outsourcing assigns work to a freelance worker, which can be long-term, short-term, part-time or full-time. Jobs can be posted to freelance sites, freelancers can bid on them and you can select who you would like to work with. This model is a quick and easy way to get one-off projects completed that require special skills, or obtain a little extra help during the busy season.

Pros: Cost-effective, quick and the skills needed for the job can be sourced

Cons: Overselling skills, difficult to brief, and jobs can be further outsourced by freelancers.

Project-Style Work

This model focuses on project-based work, and involves outsourcing entire projects to a specialised outsourcing centre. Essentially all you have to do is provide the centre with the project requirements, and they will carry out the development work, project management and quality control through to the project’s completion. 

Pros: Less work to be done by you, cost-effective in money and time, new staff aren’t needed and there is a fixed cost for the project.

Cons: May lack local knowledge if located overseas, time zone and language barriers can be difficult to overcome

Business Process Outsourcing

With the business process outsourcing model, a service provider sets up and operates an offshore office for you that they hand over when it is ready. Essentially, it’s contracting a business or organisation hires another company to perform a process task required by the hirer for the business’ operational success.The provider has the facilities, setup, office environment and management required for global team members to work. 

Pros: offers improved productivity, increased capacity, no need to worry about other sectors, inexpensive and an easy way to grow your team.

Cons: Large-scale BPOs can be more expensive to run and can be difficult to communicate needs and wants if the BPO doesn’t understand your industry or business.

Build-Operate-Transfer Model

This model is the model you want to employ if you’d like to build a separate office outside of your home country with more than 25 staff. To begin with, and much like a BPO, a provider ensures that there is workspace and office equipment, and hires the employees. Rather than have the provider run the business for you, they then transfer the operation back to you. 

Pros: Create work culture and environment among global team members, costs are less expensive than a BPO if there are more than 15 employees.

Cons: Can be expensive to set up, operating under foreign work ethics and work cultures can impact team management, and requires time and effort to invest in the business in person. 

Always consider what is best suited for your business, and confer with professional advisors before implementing a strategy regarding outsourcing

An Ethical Business for You

Posted on 18 March '21 by , under Business. No Comments.

Business ethics are the system of moral and ethical beliefs that guides the values, behaviours and decisions of a business organisation and the individuals involved within that business. These ethics are important to business as many of them are tied directly into the law, and breaches of these can be punishable as an offence

. Though this varies by industry, a business’ ethics can have a significant impact on how a business may operate on a day to day business.

Business ethics can often be seen in the code of conduct that businesses and their employees follow.

Here are some of the benefits of a business taking ethics into consideration

  • Consistent ethical behaviour leads to a positive public image
  • Building a business’ foundation of ethical behavior helps create long-lasting effects for the business
  • Employee ethics are influenced by business ethics, leading to better perceived employees.
  • Ethical practice leads to profitability

In essence, profitability and business ethics are linked. Companies that are perceived to have better ethical responsibility and operate in such a way may have a better reputation overall. With investors leaning more towards socially responsible and ethically responsible companies to invest, companies need to align themselves with appropriate ethics moving forward.

 

https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/040815/why-are-business-ethics-important.asp

What to do before you buy a business

Posted on 24 February '21 by , under Business. No Comments.

Buying an existing business can be a great entryway into being a business owner – but it does come with challenges. Following these steps might make it easier for you to make sure that the business you buy is right for you.

  1. Understanding if you are ready for business: This doesn’t just involve the financial aspect of things, but also management more generally. Even though there are procedures in place, you still need to develop management skills to oversee those processes. You will need to be disciplined when it comes to day-to-day operations, especially at the start before you become more familiar with everything. Reflect on your current situation and ensure that you can handle the responsibilities that come with owning a business.
  2. Decide whether you want to buy an independently owned business or a franchise: You will be able to make a lot more decisions and changes if you buy an independent business – but you will also need to come up with a lot more ideas, and conduct marketing and safety strategies by yourself. Franchises on the other hand provide a lot of support when it comes to routine business processes, but there is a lot more rigidity when it comes to handling the business.
  3. Research the business: Look into all the costs involved in buying the business and potential ongoing expenses that you will incur. Make sure you get an insight into the business’ strengths and weaknesses and how it is likely to perform against competitors. 
  4. Carry out due diligence: Examine a business in detail before you sign a legally binding document. This includes various financial aspects such as income statements, tax returns, etc. You should also review the legal aspect of the business such as intellectual property, registered patents, etc.
  5. Value the business: Calculate the net worth of your business by taking the assets and liabilities into consideration. Also calculate the value of the business based on future earnings – what you can gain from the business. 

Business management styles you should avoid

Posted on 17 February '21 by , under Business. No Comments.

The business management style you adopt will depend on the needs of your business, what motivates your employees, and your style of work. Therefore, you do have some flexibility when it comes to the choices you make and how you manage your business. However, there are some which you should always avoid due to the relationship they foster between employers and employees. 

Autocratic

This style of top-down management leaves all decision-making to managers and expects full cooperation from employees. Any sort of criticism from employees will be received with public disapproval. This management style relies on fear and guilt and seeks to micromanage employees rather than allowing flexibility. 

This sort of strategy limits innovation and inhibits employees’ loyalty and personal motivation to progress as employees do not share the company vision. 

Servant

This type of management values people first and tasks second. Overvaluing emotions and wanting to avoid conflict at all costs is detrimental to effectively completing work. 

This sort of strategy places no focus on success and goal completion. It can damage the business if performance is not to par and employees are not encouraged to do their best at the tasks assigned to them. 

These two management strategies sit on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to valuing employees. You should regularly make an effort to interact with employees and ask them for suggestions to improve company performance as collaboration can be extremely valuable. However, don’t get carried away in developing personal relationships with employees that can be detrimental to business success.