Viewing by month: November 2012

Five money saving tips for business owners

For most business owners, a primary goal is to improve profit margins. This can be achieved in two main ways – either through increasing revenue or decreasing expenditure. Increasing revenue is often the longer-term strategy and will, in many instances, require a large amount of time, effort and cash-flow. As such, many owners will instead opt to focus on improving their business’ efficiencies and reducing costs.


How can owners do this effectively? Here are five quick tips:


1.       Monitor energy consumption: with energy bills steadily rising, it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to pay close attention to their electricity use. In many cases, businesses will be able to reduce their energy costs to a considerably degree by simply implementing a policy of turning off electrical equipment/devices at the end of each working day. For businesses that have the capacity  to invest some up-front capital, laptop computers might also be an beneficial option; it has been widely reported that laptops consume 90 per cent less energy than standard desktops;


2.       Build partnerships with other businesses in your area: taking the time to develop synergies and relationships with other local businesses can pay considerable dividends, if done successfully. To this end, there are a number of strategies that can be employed including, but not limited to: splitting advertising and promotional costs; sharing contact lists and distribution channels; forming buying alliances to negotiate competitive deals on goods and services; and developing strong referral networks;

3.       Where possible, go digital: by embracing digital forms of communication and marketing, you can save your business costs on ink, paper, distribution and printing equipment maintenance. For example, rather than mailing out physical newsletters to clients and prospects, consider distributing eNewsletters; these are arguably just as effective, but cheaper and better for the environment as well;

4.       Buy in bulk and develop strong relationships with suppliers: attempt to build relationships with local suppliers who might be able to provide your business with products and materials at low prices. Furthermore, see if you can negotiate deals with suppliers to get discounts for making bulk purchases; this might incur greater initial outlays, but you will likely make hefty cost-savings over the long-term;

5.       Invest in professional development: one of the best ways to save money is to develop the skills and expertise of your staff; doing such can work to improve employee performance, productivity, efficiency and morale – all of which usually have a number of attached cost saving benefits. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 30/11/2012 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Five tips for delivering effective verbal presentations

For most business owners, communication through verbal presentations is an important aspect of securing future growth and development opportunities. Whether it be in the context of pitching for new clients, motivating employees, or reporting results to stakeholders, the ability to verbally present to audiences in a clear and engaging manner is something that holds inherent value.


Here are five tips on how business owners can maximise the effectiveness of their verbal presentations:


1.       Your introduction is arguably the most vital aspect of your presentation, as this is the point at which you must grab the audience’s attention and prompt them to listen on. Key elements of a strong introduction include, but are not limited to: a confident and enthusiastic presentation demeanour; a succinct summary of discussion points; interesting facts and statistics; personal anecdotes; and posing relevant questions to audience members;

2.       When speaking to colleagues or business audiences, it is always best to use facts to validate key presentation points. For example, if you are touting the success or utility of your business, you should look to produce verifiable statistics that illustrate how your product/service has helped clients in the past;

3.       It is crucial that you speak to your audience and not to your notes; if you stand up and read from a piece of paper, you will likely find that your audience disengages rather quickly. This is why it is so important to be well prepared and to know what you are talking about. To this end, palm cards can sometimes be helpful – however, palm cards should only ever be used as a reference point, not as a word-for-word script of what you are going to say;

4.       Always try to take your time and remain calm. As a general rule of thumb, it’s good to speak slightly slower than what feels natural; this will give you a better chance of staying in control and maintaining an even pace;

5. If possible, leave time for questions at the end of your presentation; this will enable you to clarify queries and receive audience feedback – both of which are conducive to you becoming a better presenter in the future.

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 23/11/2012 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

How to manage your time effectively


Running a business is arguably one of the biggest challenges that an individual can choose to undertake; it requires not only dedication, motivation and strong leadership skills, but also a considerable amount of time. As such, it is important for business owners to develop effective time management skills; without these, most owners will struggle to maximise the productivity and performance of their business.


Here are four simple tips that business owners can use to ensure that their time at work is spent efficiently and effectively:


Learn to delegate


While delegation can, in some instances, cause an initial degree of anxiety to business owners, owners that can effectively hand over appropriate tasks to their employees often experience more manageable workloads and better directed resources.


There is – however, much more to being an effective delegator than handing over tasks to any staff member. Delegation should be a considered and strategic process that takes into account a number of different factors including, but not limited to, employee experience levels, competencies, skill-sets and attitudes; because if you don’t delegate to the right person, you risk the job getting done incorrectly or not getting done at all.


Prioritise your time in accordance with your business strategy


Having a well thought-out and tangible business strategy can function to create a clearly defined framework through which to channel your time, energy and resources.


Once you’ve developed your basic plan, you might want to consider breaking your strategy into different sub-elements and steps; this may help you to identify and isolate different areas within your business that require greater time and attention.


Manage employees effectively


In order for you to maximise your own efficiencies, the people around you need to be doing the same; if your employees aren’t doing their jobs properly, you are likely going to have to manage them more intently – that is, spend a greater portion of your time to help them achieve their targets.


This is not the optimal use of your time and, as such, it is important for you to brief staff members properly at the task assignment stage rather than after mistakes have been made; this will help to ensure that your employees understand what is expected of them, in turn working to reduce the likelihood of errors and inefficiencies.


Take breaks


Regardless of how you choose to structure your time throughout the day, if you’re tired and lack focus, you’re productivity is likely going to suffer. This is why it is important to find some time each day to relax, decompress and re-energise yourself  - be it by reading, watching television or going to the gym once a day.


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 15/11/2012 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Tips for effective change management

‘Change’ is often a word that makes business owners and their employees shudder. But this doesn’t have to be the case; organisational change, if managed strategically and effectively, can be an enormously beneficial process for a business, allowing it to improve productivity and work flow, diversify, and foster more transparent lines of communication.


Despite the many growth opportunities that change can present to an organisation, some business owners don’t possess the acumen needed to navigate change in a positive way – a deficiency that can sometimes function to destabilise their staff, clients and business.


In light of such, here are two key concepts that should always be factored into any change management strategy.


Lead, don’t follow


One of the key mistakes that many businesses make is that they don’t see the need for change coming until it’s too late. In such instances, businesses are forced to approach change in a reactive rather than proactive way – something which can severely inhibit their ability to manage change towards positive outcomes.


As such, it is important to anticipate the need for change sooner rather than later. To this end, you should consistently examine your short- medium- and long-term business goals in order to pinpoint areas where change may be required.


It is also important to keep a close eye on what other businesses are doing, not just within your industry but in other industries as well; being able to identify market and industry trends early on can enable you to stay ahead of your competitors and adapt your services to ensure that they remain relevant. If you’re not – however, consistently looking at what’s going on within your industry, you likely won’t see the impetus for change coming at all.


Communicate how and why


The best way to ensure that your stakeholders do not resist change is to clearly communicate why change is needed and how it is going to be executed. It is natural for humans to be unsettled by the prospect of change and, as such, it is always a smart move to paint a very clear picture of what lies ahead.


The first step should always be to communicate to stakeholders the reason(s) behind the proposed change(s). This may involve explaining the potential benefits of the change(s), demonstrating how the business not changing could have negative impacts, and providing examples of how businesses have changed in the past to positive effect. 


Once you’ve clearly justified the change, the next step is to crystalise your vision for the future. This will require you to communicate a tangible plan for implementation of the change. This may entail you providing information such as proposed timelines, costs, structural and service changes, revised job descriptions and new business targets.


At the end of the day, change is inevitable; you simply can’t maintain competitiveness in today’s marketplace if you’re unable to adapt and evolve with the times. And whilst change can sometimes be worrying and/or destabilising, if approached in a proactive and communicative way, it can present some truly valuable opportunities for business growth and development.  

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 02/11/2012 at 12:00 AM | Categories: