Category: Business

Organisational Culture for Continuous Improvement

I have been working with leading Business Improvement guru, Tim Franklin, preparing the PR for his latest book which offers an introduction to Continuous Improvement (CI) at beginner level, encompassing Lean, TQM, Six Sigma and the other related methodologies of CI.

He was developing an analogy of a geographic expedition to describe Continuous Improvement. As you start out on an expedition, you can see the horizon clearly as being the final destination, but as you walk towards it, it recedes and eludes you, like a moving target. CI is like this in practise. In the beginning you think that you know the maximum benefit that you can lever from a particular process, but if you continue to revisit the same process time and time again, it’s amazing how your comprehension alters through experience – learning by doing.

Sadly, many organisations don’t develop this advanced comprehension, because they don’t embrace the ideology behind CI, they see TQM or Lean as a set of tools and techniques, rather than a different way of working.

By simply imposing CI as an additional set of craft skills, employees can become suspicious, wondering just what the hidden agenda may be. Just look up the word Lean in the dictionary – devoid of fat, sparse – no wonder that many employees think that it is another term for downsizing.

The Importance of Business Advisors for Your Company

Maintaining a profitable business year after year is extremely a difficult job. Managing your own company involves many business endeavours that are too tough to handle by yourself. Handling difficult situations is not an easy thing to do and wrong decisions can put your company in jeopardy.

Regardless if your business is privately held, large or small, or family run, you need to have an independent third-party business consultant. A professional adviser can teach and guide you through the right decisions in all business areas. This ensures that you exceed your personal and professional goals and stay financially fit for different business initiatives.

More often than not, many start-up or small companies rely on their own circle of influence for professional advice. Some of these organisations use employees, business associates, investors, managers, and even family and friends to help them decide on and apply business objectives strategically. This does not work for all cases, because the circle of influence usually creates decisions that hinder business improvement and growth. This affects not only the company’s reputation but also has effects on the employees.

For best business results, company owners must have an outsider’s perspective to help them through tough decisions and focus on areas that need improvement. A business adviser should help the key managerial staff in handling several areas such as business strategies, sales, marketing, finance, operations, and staff.

There are many reasons why you should entrust your company, especially if you have a start-up company, to a third legal party for business advice. Many successful companies around the world use outside advisers to help them reach and exceed their business goals. Here are three reasons you may want to consider this option.

Reason 1

Outside business counsellors are not emotionally attached to your company like you and your employees are. The problem with most companies is that managers and other figures in charge are not well equipped with leadership and administrative skills to handle some challenging situations. Employers must know how to handle situations without being personally attached to the situation. Emotions can be a sign of weakness and business will always be business no matter what the outcomes may be.

Reason 2

Outside professional consultants are not financially attached to your business endeavours like your employees and investors are. This is usually the downfall of companies that do not know how to handle crucial financial situations. For example, when several clients pull out, and you lose valuable profits and sales, you usually end up finding situations to cut on costs to save the company. This may cause you to lay off several staff members and other factors you think are no longer essential for you company. To avoid situations like this, it is best to find financial business advisors who can help you with your problems.

Reason 3

Outside professional mentors help you focus on the big picture and the necessary steps required to exceed corporate goals without being distracted by day-to-day operations and issues. Learn to be a good leader of your company and do not let politics ruin your integrity.

Increase Your Profits Through Business Streamlining

Many people assume that growth is an excellent indication of increased profits. Growth does not necessarily mean a business is more profitable, however. Many times, just the opposite is true. With growth come additional costs. New buildings are a major expense. There is the property to purchase accompanied by increased taxes. There are countless sundry expenses such as furniture, employee wages, utility bills, cleaning services, employee health care, and the list goes on.

A business doesn’t have to get bigger to become more profitable. Streamlining involves trimming, pruning and otherwise cutting out the deadwood. Almost every business owner or manager can find ways to reduce costs in structures and improve employee efficiency. Even reducing waste in small ticket items such as office supplies can considerably improve the bottom line.

Business streamlining often involves a major change in employee attitude to be most effective. It isn’t uncommon to overhear employees make statements such as, “I don’t care what it costs, the company is paying for it. It’s not my money.” At one small business, a salesperson was asking for improved healthcare benefits, while at the same time turning in travel vouchers for more miles than he was actually driving on company business. When the business owner told him that the company was struggling financially, and that he, the owner, was often taking home no paycheck at all, the employee stated, “It makes no difference. Your job is to ensure the welfare of your employees.” The salesperson seemed unaware of the financial realities of running a business. He didn’t understand that the financial welfare of the business must come before employee benefits can improve.

Business streamlining is most effective when the employees are voluntarily involved. Educating them and showing them the monthly figures can go far in improving employee cooperation, especially when the business attaches employee rewards to such improvements. In the case of the salesperson previously mentioned, he was offered a reward of both financial remuneration and improved health benefits if he hit certain sales goals. In his case, the reward offer fizzled. He not only did not increase his sales, they went down.

To improve business streamlining, the small business improved its own operations by getting rid of the salesperson and hiring a new one. The new salesperson hit the ground running. He recognized the need to find new customers, and went to previously untouched areas where he made new contacts and sales. There was an immediate spike in sales his first month on the job. It improved the business financial situation, and brought rewards to the salesperson as well.

In addition to employee awareness, reduced spending for unnecessary supplies, utility payments, gasoline and other expenditures can really add up. Other ways to improve business streamlining include hiring experts for advice in cost reduction, working with equipment suppliers to seek lower lease payments on equipment and so forth. Anything that helps to streamline and reduce costs, can help a business become much more profitable.

How To Succeed In Your Small Business

Small businesses are more likely to fail, one group of studies shows. But does that mean one should avoid starting a business due to insufficient business acumen? We’re going to discuss some of the few things that cause small businesses to fail. It’s quite shocking that a number of small business owners have failed to consider the following important things when starting a business.

Know the reason why you want to start a business

A lot of people have the Digital signature reasons when starting their business. Most of the time, you can hear people saying they are looking to escape their day job, but the primary reason should be the passion and the desire to improve and affect people’s lives. While it is important that business improves you financially, it is not to be taken as the sole reason for doing so. A lousy reason will surely head your business to failure. Think of something that you enjoy the most and it will reward you with success, otherwise, it will be just another boring job in the making.

Have the right vision

When starting, it does not matter how small your business is. How big your vision is what really matters. For a business to survive, it should have short term and long term goals. As time goes by, you can always look into these goals that you have set up and adjusted accordingly. Like all things in life, there are good times and bad times. When things are pointing downwards, you can always use these goals to spiral you back up.

Business Funding

In the world of business, capital is of utmost importance. Business cannot exist without money. If you have the right funding, your business will be able to jumpstart without interruption due to financial inadequacy. So, before even thinking of starting, make sure that you have enough funds to cover the unexpected. Funds normally go to buying Digital signature online and technology plus the hiring personnel and staff, although there are other expenses as well, such as environmental, business and sanitary permits.

Does your business offer a timely solution?

Ask yourself if the solutions that your business tends to solve are timely and whether it can give customers what they need. A business should be able to solve existing problems. Another thing to consider is the amount of competition in your place. It doesn’t add up if there are more distributors than consumers. If all of the answers in this paragraph have been answered, then you can proceed and grab the opportunity. If your business does not have a definite solution to everyone’s problem, then it will have a hard time and might sign off within just a few years of operation. The same thing is true when establishing a business in an area that already has a swarm of businesses of the same nature. If you want to start a business, then you should take this advice and recommendations and you are on your way to creating a successful and fulfilling business venture.

Why Individuals Create Reliable Business Improvement Plans

Businesses can provide individuals amazing features and benefits that can help them. Other than that, businesses can also help improve everyone’s lifestyle to make their future better.

Apart from creating a good life for you and your family, most individuals know that having a good financial source is also needed, to cater to their amenities and to provide a better and stable lifestyle for everyone. Hence, more and more business owners these days make sure that their assets and investments are protected from any risk that may result in unexpected draw backs.

With this in mind, business improvement must be carefully planned and decided to ensure that all details are catered to properly. As for some owners, outsourcing services or seeking for professional help can be another option to provide them with the features they need. So, in case that you have created the ideal plan to improve your business and you have hired professionals who can help you, you can enjoy these wonderful benefits.

Make businesses better – Since you have a reliable and effective solution from trusted professionals, you can easily make your business better. In addition to that, owners can easily grow their business to ensure that their services can cater to the needs of their clients. Owners can also make use of this benefit to expand their ventures to find more potential clients and to look for other solutions that may increase their profit.

More business opportunities – By improving businesses, owners can also improve their profits to help them make their businesses more lucrative. Moreover, with the right plan and strategy for the business especially when it comes to finances, owners are rest assured that they can enjoy better benefits in the future.

Increased sales and profits – Another benefit that owners can obtain from improving their businesses is their profit and cash flow. Of course, with the use of reliable services and your plans, owners can eventually make a stable cash flow that can benefit their personal and business needs.

Reduce overhead expenses – And finally, business owners can also lessen their taxes. For instance, when it comes to their services or products that need to be taxed by the government, business owners can be sure that their financial problems are addressed properly to yield better results.

Remaining Innovative Is a Key to Business Growth

Whether you are launching a start-up, or several years into operating your business, you need to continue to maintain an innovative mindset that will allow you to grow your business creatively. This means exercising your creative thinking skills in order to develop and explore new ideas, opening the doors to new and better opportunities. In order to foster a creative mindset, here are some tips to help you stay on the cutting edge of thought innovation:

Ask Yourself More Questions

When you first started your business, you were likely inclined to thoroughly consider your short and long-term goals, as well as create lists of what steps were needed to accomplish those goals. These steps were an important part of your business plan, and they were important for a reason. Asking yourself tough questions that you were forced to answer honestly help you make the critical business decisions during your business’ start-up. As time goes on, it is just as important that you continue to ask yourself relevant questions about your goals and brainstorm new ideas daily about how to accomplish those goals.

Brainstorming ideas is not just limited to marketing or sales tactics. Consider how to handle physical growth as well as innovative ways to handle current issues that have arisen since the business opened, such as customer service and personnel issues.

Get Reviews

The one clear way to understand how your customers feel about you is to ask them. Getting customer feedback from the people who actually do business with you is invaluable in finding out what is working for them and what is not. For the most objective feedback, develop the ability to conduct regular customer surveys anonymously. Be innovative and use your creative mindset to identify what kind of questions to ask your clientele and customers to get the information you need to improve. And don’t use the same old survey time and again. Update your questions and craft them so that your customers perceive their feedback is important to your business. Not only are your customers’ responses important to your business’ improvement; you should also continually research what your competition’s customers are saying online about their services and your industry as a whole. This kind of information can be found on blogs and online forums.

Compile And Add To Your Network List

Sure, you may have a few business cards you’ve collected that can be helpful to promote your services through other complimentary businesses, but if you are only sticking with those few resources, you are certainly limiting your potential. You should always be networking and adding to your promotional resources. Do not limit yourself to in-person events, either. Social networking sites are among the fastest growing ways to network these days, and other online resources such as blogs can be effective places to find out what people are looking for and what you might be lacking to provide in your business.

Be consistent in your promotions – don’t sign up for social networking sites and then fail to use them. Plan your messaging ahead of time and implement those services into your daily marketing routine. Creativity comes into play when you develop your keywords, write eye-catching posts that include interesting tidbits to help create a solid social network. Staying on the cutting edge of what’s new and leveraging these opportunities creatively can seriously change the direction of your business. This is also true about simply listening to your customers and taking proactive action based on the information you learn. Educating yourself about what can make your business better is only half the battle. You have to brainstorm ways to be innovative in the ways you make this information work for your business.

Key Leadership Challenges In Business

Key Leadership Challenges

Whatever way you look at it, leadership effects organizational performance, either positively or negatively and this statement is borne out by the plethora of research that has been carried out over time. However, thus far, this research has failed to accurately identify how leadership directly engages with employee participation in the organization, which ultimately is the key driver of real performance.

Leadership is an evolving science and needs to identify and understand ways in which good leadership can lead to increased employee participation, essentially asking the fundamental question of how leaders can create the right context in which employees become stakeholders and are able to perform at their best.

At it’s most basic, leadership is key to the individuals, the teams and the business performance and in these tough economic times it makes sense to drive better performance that benefits both the organization and its employees. This article is aimed at helping leaders explore and achieve sustainable high levels of performance in today’s fast moving business environment. The core of this improved performance and longevity is that employee engagement lies at the heart of business improvement and that leadership has a disproportionate impact on individuals, the teams and the organization.

All organizations have cultures, be they good, bad or indifferent, which affect performance. It is understanding the cultures that exist within organizations that one can find the key that will unlock the latent potential that exists within the business and within its people. Rather than being entrenched and historic, cultures need to be flexible, adaptable, and responsive to the changes that happen internally and externally to the organization. They need to possess no boundaries, they need to reflect positive learning and encourage innovation and be supported by meaningful values. Both leadership and leaders are key to the development of the cultures that support individual development and business growth.

However, it would be true to say that many organizations waste vast sums of money simply by appointing the wrong individuals to leadership positions, by not fully developing them to be effective leaders or asking them to lead with their hands tied behind their back.

The Challenges for Effective Leadership

Businesses today are facing many challenges than previously and the pressure of competition is growing all the time and change is now a constant. This means that the requirement for leadership is now crucial in order for business not just to survive but grow and sustain this improvement.

Research today shows that the average leader in now nearing retirement age and the pool of talent from which to draw new leaders is diminishing. If this research is true, and there is no reason to doubt this, leaders will be in short supply. Where will these future leaders come from and how will businesses meet these leadership needs?

Currently, because organizations need to be highly effective and competitive in order to deliver the best levels of service and support whilst managing their personnel costs, it inevitably falls to the business leaders to get more from their people cost effectively but also in a way that increases employee engagement, morale, motivation and well-being and all the while being sustainable. This raises the questions about how leadership can truly make effective use of both the social and human resources in the business.

The answer lies in enabling businesses to increase its leadership capacity at the same time as generating the culture and environment that allows and empowers employees to produce more, to be more motivated and to be more engaged with the business and to enjoy a sense of real well-being.