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There are no hard and fast rules when starting a new business, however there are certain traps that come up time and time again. In order to be successful, identifying strategies that haven’t worked in the past is invaluable and will hopefully help you avoid issues before they arise.
No matter what industry your new businesses operates in, there will always be tips and tricks that will be relevant to you and your business. Therefore continuous education and learning from other people's mistakes is vitally important.
John Corias from MAS Accountants has put together a list of 5 traps to avoid when starting a new business. These traps will be relevant for all businesses as they are not industry specific. The full article can be found here:
John Corias – BRW – Top 5 traps for entrepreneurs when starting a business: an accountant tells
The employment market is still fairly tight across many industries in Australia and around the world. This has led to job searchers looking for alternate streams of income. Some of these could be passive investments, however another alternative could be purchasing a small business.
Most people wouldn’t know the first thing about purchasing a business let alone what business would be right for them. Much like the real estate business or the insurance industry where there are brokers to guide you through the decision making process, business brokers can offer you the same service when looking to invest in a small business.
Alison Griswold from Slate.com has put together a case study outlining an American couple's journey from salaried employees to small business owners, which also shows the benefits of finding the right business broker for you. The full article can be found here.
Alison Griswold – Slate.com - The Water’s Fine - How hiring a business broker turned a Florida couple into pool entrepreneurs.
Why do people fail? Generally, be it a personal or business decision, it all comes down to the decisions that people make. In order to minimise the chance of a bad decision it is important to understand why you are making bad decisions. While poor decisions can arise from external and unavoidable factors they are also dependent on your own habits. Habits that you have held for a number of years may be holding you back and hindering you from making good decisions.
Some of the most obvious bad habits include laziness, over-dependence and indecisiveness. Understanding these habits and which ones apply to you could be the key to greater success in your business and personal lives.
Moreover, good decision makers are generally good leaders. Understanding how to better structure your decision making processes, and to challenge poor habits in others is important to ensure your team, or organisation as a whole is making the right decisions. Everyone can benefit from better decision making and the Harvard Business Review has outlined these key habits that are leading to poor decision making. Which are your worst habits?
The full article can be found here.
Harvard Business Review - Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman - 9 Habits That Lead to Terrible Decisions.
The workplace is an ever changing business environment. It is constantly evolving with new processes and technologies available daily and no employees could be a master in all the innovative skills relevant to a growing business. Sometimes more junior members of an organisation may be better equipped to mentor more senior members of the team with regards to specific business needs (especially technological), or simply to provide a different take on ingrained processes. This need to teach an old dog new tricks is demonstrated in this humorous video.
A question plaguing business leaders currently is, how do you build real trust in a workplace that is both social and multi generational? And what strategies should you put in place to ensure today’s leaders, as well as tomorrow’s are constantly learning and up-skilling?
If you are interested in learning more about various methods and benefits of Social Leadership and reverse mentoring, Forbes have written an article that outlines 5 of these methods and the article can be found here.
Forbes - Meghan Biro - 5 Methods for Social Leadership: Try reverse Mentoring
After a few years doing anything, ‘where you come from’ or ‘where you grew up’ should not really matter. However, studying the birthplaces of Australian CEOs reveals some interesting outcomes, and lessons to be learned, even it is one more thing we cannot change about ourselves. Patrick Durkin wrote a fascinating article for the AFR this month considering this, and highlighting the high proportion of Australian CEOs born and raised far away from the offices they would run as captains of industry.
Being born in the big city myself in never occurred to me that being raised in a small country town would have advantages in the business world. However, it should have been obvious, given a key attribute all good leaders have is resilience and business people raised in regional areas have generally seen tough times. Experience working through these times, as well as challenging themselves as young people in the ‘big smoke’, making adjustments and continuing on make for stronger leaders.
No wonder that 21 of the top 100 Australian CEOs were born in regional Australia. It is a very impressive list of CEOs with this background including Woolworths’ Grant O’Brien from Burnie, BlueScope Steel’s Paul O’Malley born in Dubbo and Fortescue Metal’s Neville Power from Mount Isa.
The full article can be found here.
AFR - Patrick Durkin - Country kids are born CEOs
We can all see that workplace demographics are changing, fuelled in part by people working longer into their lives, by choice, design or for another reason. The inevitable consequence of this shift is that there will be more instances of older workers reporting to younger bosses. The roles may be reversed but nothing should change in the way that you build a relationship and interact with your boss, no matter what age they are. They are the boss for a reason and they should be shown the respect they deserve. There are a number of other things that should also be taken into consideration if you are found in this situation, to ensure you derive the most value from the circumstances.
If nothing else, remember that working for a younger boss could be just as unusual for them as well and they could be feeling great pressure in managing someone more senior than themselves, so stay positive.
Trumpet Page have some great more tips and tricks for navigating this sometimes difficult relationship. The full article can be found here.
Trumpet Page - How to handle working for a younger boss
Conference calls have been a part of business life for many years, and given the more international nature of business, improving VoIP technology and a focus on cutting costs and emissions intensive travel they are becoming more popular. What really is the effectiveness of this type of communication? I’m sure you have asked this question yourself, but are conference calls killing our productivity?
It is amazing some of the things people are actually doing during conference calls rather than paying attention and this can't be productive. Unfortunately activity does not equal productivity. Recently an article was posted on The Atlantic website outlining exactly what people get up to during conference calls. How productive have you been in your recent teleconferences?
The Atlantic - Derek Thompson - "Study: Nobody Is Paying Attention on Your Conference Call"
There are a number of successful and strong leaders in Australia at the moment who would be fantastic mentors. Three such leaders have answered questions for News.com.au on their leadership styles. In this article, Kristina Keneally (former NSW Premier and former CEO of Basketball Australia), Naomi Simson (founder of Red Balloon) and Malcolm Broomhead (chairman of Asciano and Non-Executive Director at BHP Billiton) discuss the challenges they have faced through to characteristics of a good leader.
News.com.au - "Kristina Keneally, Naomi Simson and Malcolm Broomhead reveals what makes a good leader"
Performance reviews are an invaluable tool for an organisation to ensure that everyone is working towards a common goal. However, without open and honest two way feedback real progress will be hindered. It is just as valuable, if not more so, for managers to get a real understanding of their employees’ motivations and drivers as well as of any bottlenecks slowing progress. This should also involve staff being able to give honest feedback to managers about how they think the team can run better or things can be done differently.
The BRW has an article outlining some of the questions that managers should be asking themselves and others within the business in order to become better managers themselves and to help drive the business as a whole forward.
BRW - Graham Winter - "How businesses use performance reviews to avoid feedback"
This is a very important question that all interim managers and consultants need to ask themselves frequently. There are no hard and fast answers to this question and the answer could potentially be different from one assignment to the next. Most people when asked this question would say they aren’t being paid enough, however as this BRW article shows, there are also people on the other side of the coin who believe they are being paid too much.
Either way you look at it, pitching for your expertise at the right level is so very important and should be a part of all interim managers planning sessions and an ongoing discussion. The balance between pricing yourself out of the market, but appropriately signalling your value and expertise is a tricky line to draw.
The BRW article (based on the program on negotiation at the Harvard Law School) can be found here:
BRW – “How to work out how much you should be paid”
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