13 Apr

Let’s get back to business basics

To stand out and be seen in today’s business world, sometimes we can feel pressured to spend a lot of time, money and energy on marketing, brand awareness and trying to shout louder than all our competitors. We focus a lot of time on trying to paint a picture of being bigger or better than everyone else.  Don’t get me wrong, marketing and brand awareness initiatives are very beneficial and obviously a very important component of any business. However, it is not the only component of a business. Unfortunately, too many businesses fall into this trap and lose sight of this. They lose sight of the basics. When last did you look at the foundations of your business?
So what are the basics or the foundations of a business? Besides confirming what your business stands for, it’s purpose, mission and values, a huge component of your business’s foundations would be it’s people. This is not just the team in your business, but it includes you the business owner/operator as well.
 When last did you buy into a fabulous offer to be terribly disappointed at the end result? This all comes down to the team and business owner of that specific business. They are the ones who need to ensure that the business is delivering on the promises, which have been made in the latest marketing campaign. Sadly, there are too many occasions where there is a gap between the promises businesses make and the outcomes that the customers receive.
So here are a few questions you can ask yourself before you spend hundreds of man-hours promoting your business.
1) Are you and your team trained correctly? This might be a simple question, but actually if you had to answer honestly, would you be ticking off all the boxes and deeming all players 100% competent?
If the answer is no then what would be required to get your team or yourself up to speed? Have you built that timeline into your marketing strategy?
2) Are you and your team aware of the importance of customer service? Does excellent customer service feature as one of your core business values? If everyone is aware of good customer service, are you seeing evidence of this taking place in your business?
It’s all good to have the knowledge, but is there evidence of good service practises, and are they part of the business culture?
3) Lastly and probably the most important question of all. Are you and your team motivated enough to continuously deliver on the business promise? People can be 100% competent to carry out the job, but do they have the will and motivation?
Be the business who sets itself up for success. Be the business who under-promises and over-delivers. If you really want to stand out and be seen above the crowd, invest the time and energy into building the basics. Build a strong team that can deliver. That is how you get noticed, that is what makes you different.
02 Mar

Your Business Cannot Run on Auto-Pilot

The other day I was sitting in a cafe, enjoying a cup of tea and finishing off some work. And watching the staff at work. Well, not quite.

The female server had decided it would be a good idea to fix up her appearance. So she had laid out her make up and hair equipment on the serving counter and proceeded to, with the assistance of the stainless steel coffee machine as her make-shift mirror, apply eyeliner, blush and a few other bits and pieces. Once all the brushes and paraphernalia were packed away she then started on her hair. While she was doing this she was chatting rather loudly to a fellow server behind the counter, oblivious to the world.

As I watched this play out in front of me, I looked around the cafe. Some of the tables were dirty. The chairs were not placed neatly and there was rubbish lying on the floors.

What’s wrong with this picture?

As I sat there wondering if there were any makeup products in my tea, I wondered how many other businesses are run like this? The obvious lack of self-awareness and self-management on behalf of the employees, and a lack of management, controls, procedures and systems. I wondered if this cafe would ever be as successful as it could be.

If you have your own business then don’t ever believe it can run successfully on auto-pilot. Why would you invest in a business and then not be involved?

Most people are in business to make money, and the customer/client is an important part of this financial success. Here are a few things to think about:

  1. If you are not able to be in the business everyday, then who is taking care of it? Who is looking after the customers/clients? Do you have a responsible manager in charge?
    1. Is this manager aware of the business standards and their position’s roles and responsibilities?
    2. How will you measure their performance?
  2. Are your team members aware of their roles, responsibilities and the business goals?
  3. Do you have a disciplinary code of conduct? What you can and cannot do in the business?
  4. When will you be checking in on the business? How would this be carried out?
  5. What external resources can you use to measure the businesse’s performance?
  6. Do you have an employee induction programme and training programme?
  7. Do you interview and hire your employees to fit your business culture?

To stay on track, meet and exceed your customers expectations and to be successful you need to include the correct oversight in your business.

17 Nov

What culture do you want during times of change?

Imagine your business had been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to launch a new product/service, which if successfully carried out, would result in huge growth for your brand and cause a major increase in revenue.

But in order to capitalise on this opportunity, your business would need to undergo a number of changes, and by that I mean your team would need to undergo some changes. They would be expected to take on additional work, they might need to re-locate to other parts of the country and there would be a possibility of merging with another business in order to successfully achieve this rollout.

How is the visualisation exercise working out for you? Are you feeling positive or apprehensive? What’s the first thing that pops into your mind? There may be many concerns, ideas, issues, but I’m guessing that one of your first thoughts is how would your team members take the news?

This is a problem that many business owners have to deal with on a regular basis – successfully implementing change into their businesses. Sometimes its large scale change, and sometimes its small scale. How are some businesses able to implement change well, yet others can’t and face huge problems?

One of the biggest influences in your business are your people. Depending on how they react to and manage the change, will determine how successful your change implementation process will be. To successfully implement change you want a high performance culture in your business.

You want:

  1. Flexible and highly adaptive individuals
  2. A team who are optimistic and see change from the very beginning as an opportunity for growth and success
  3. Confident team players who believe in the product and service and buy into the business purpose
  4. Motivated, energised and engaged individuals
  5. Team members who understand and get the “bigger picture”

Do you have a high performance culture in your business? Do you have a high performance team?

It’s no good trying to implement changes in your business if you don’t have the culture right. And its no use trying to improve the culture at the same time as you implement the change. This type of implementation is not a sprint, its an marathon. The investment into your business culture should actually start from the day of your business inception or as close to it as possible. Remember that people’s behaviour, belief systems and habits don’t just change overnight, it takes time. In some instances, it would be time that you wouldn’t have the luxury of having, especially in the middle of a change initiative.

So while you are busy planning great growth and innovation within your business, think about your team members and whether or not they can happily facilitate and drive these changes for you. Perhaps you need to work on your people and building a high performance team before implementing a change initiative.

Need some assistance? Contact Nicole at nicole@tikumu.co.nz