5 IT Security Questions Every MD Needs to be Asking Their Team

2/19/2016 posted in Business, Being a new CEO, Technology, Strategy, Change Management

One business trend that is guaranteed to gain traction in 2016 is data security – with the recent spate of cyber attacks on high-profile targets such as TalkTalk, V-Tech and Ashley Madison forcing many business owners to re-think their online security strategies.

Witnessing the devastating effects of these criminal acts through mass media highlights just how important data security has become to 21st Century businesses. The BBC reported that the TalkTalk hack could end up costing the network provider up to £35 million in one-off costs. These additional costs include covering the response to the incident, additional IT and security infrastructure, increased calls to the call centre and, of course, lost revenue due to the inevitable fall in consumer confidence.

While it’s easy to think this will never happen to your business, it pays to be prepared – and as the head of your business, the responsibility for keeping your team security savvy lies with you.

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Is Your Leadership Style Stopping Your Business From Growing? Part 2.

2/12/2016 posted in Business, Leading, Not Managing, Getting Ahead, Sales, Recruitment, Strategy, Change Management

Last week, in the first part of this series, we started to look at the barriers a lot of business leaders encounter when faced with the challenge of real growth.

The first barrier we identified was that of being able to look objectively at your company and ask “what do we have to do differently to reach the next barrier?”, and assuming you manage to answer than question, things will undoubtedly need to change. A CEO might have had nine people reporting to them directly when they started up and functioned perfectly well, but it’s impossible to cope with 45, 50, even 75 direct reports.

If you want to grow your company, you’re going to need to recruit leadership talent.

It’s pointless hiring new leaders if you don’t change your own leadership style. What’s appropriate for a start-up company doesn’t work nearly as well for an established business looking to grow. You can micromanage a small team, but if you continue to do that once you have a leadership team in place, at best, you’ll demotivate some of your leaders. At worst, you’ll micromanage your new leaders right out of the company.

You hired your leaders to do a job. Let them get on with it.

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Is Your Leadership Style Stopping Your Business From Growing? Part 1.

2/5/2016 posted in Business, Leading, Not Managing, Getting Ahead, Sales, Recruitment, Strategy, Change Management

Believe it or not, not all businesses want to grow. Some people just want a lifestyle business, have it stay about the same, not grow and just keep ticking over.

If that’s your vision for your business, then this blog post is not for you. While it’s a perfectly valid strategy to want your business to stay exactly the same, the reality is that the world of business is constantly changing, which has an impact on your company, whether you like it or not.

When a child plays a video game for the first time, they quickly discover is that the character that stands still gets killed first. It’s the same in business. Usually, you’re going to either grow or shrink your business, but if you’re standing still, you’re really going backwards. Your competitors will be overtaking you if you’re staying in the same place. While staying the same is certainly a type of strategy, you may well decide that it’s not a good one or the right one for your business.

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The Two Marketing Metrics Every Business Should Measure

1/22/2016 posted in Business, Sales, Marketing, Strategy

Marketing is a gamble. Possibly not what you’d expect to hear from a marketing company, but bear with us.

Your marketing budget is your stake, the tables and slots at the casino are your marketing channels, and new customers - falling into your lap like golden coins from a slot machine – are your prize. A professional gambler will not be seduced by the flashing lights, the big headline numbers and the dealer’s spiel, because professional gambling is not glamour, it is mathematics – it is less about unknown risk and more about predictable return. Professional marketing is no different.

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5 Practical Wellbeing Initiatives for Your Business in 2016

1/15/2016 posted in Business, Work/Life Balance Issues, HR, Employee Motivation, Strategy

 

Following on from our recent article 'Is Employee Wellbeing the Real Failure of Your Business?', which explored how, when a company focuses on the wellbeing of its staff, it will typically see a reduction in sickness absence and increased staff retention.

How you introduce a Wellbeing Programme is key. Participation must be voluntary and no-one should be made to feel second-best or “wrong” for not wishing to partake.

Incentives might help increase participation but be very aware of not causing any sector of your workforce to feel victimised because they are not yet ready to take action to improve their wellbeing. In addition to staff buy-in, you will also need the support of your senior management team. They need to be convinced that a happy, healthy workforce is a more productive workforce and ultimately, better for the bottom line.

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How to Help Your Sales People Achieve Their Goals in 2016

12/18/2015 posted in Business, Sales, HR, Employee Motivation, Strategy

 

“What do you believe it takes to be a great salesperson?” Speak to anyone who has ‘made it’ in their respective field and the underlying reason is the same. Different words may be used, but it has an uncanny resemblance to the principles that were drilled into me when I first entered the sales arena: ‘Set High Goals’, ‘Have Great Self-Talk’ and ‘Hold Yourself Accountable’. I soon became aware of how essential these habits were to guide me through the rollercoaster that is a career in sales.

These success principles are often referred to as the ‘soft skills’ compared to the many other areas that sales people need training in. As a result, they are often taken for granted and not cultivated. In addition, decisions regarding which training programmes to initiate are constricted by the lack of time available and by reduced or small budgets. Much training is therefore based around essential product knowledge and regulatory/legislation understanding. While these are vital areas for salespeople to be well-informed in, ask the top performers what enables them to excel and more often than not they will point to their attitudes, their mindset, and their habits rather than the technical knowledge of product or process. Thus companies’ sales training programmes should offer more exposure to principles and mind sets to achieve the success they need.

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The Best Salespeople – Are They Born or Made?

12/11/2015 posted in Business, Sales, HR, Employee Motivation, Strategy

There have been about 2,000 studies carried out over the past 30 years in almost every industry to see whether the top sales people are born, i.e. they have an innate personality type that makes them ideal for sales, or made, i.e. they have excellent product knowledge, trained in active listening and have great processes supporting them.

A meta-analysis of these studies came to the conclusion that the reality is that it’s about 50/50 between a born salesperson and one who’s learned their trade.

There’s an element of variation according to industry. In really technical industries, such as petroleum engineering, it’s more like 40% born and 60% made, while in businesses that rely on relationships, such as the fashion industry, it’s more like 60% born and 40% made.

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Is Employee Wellbeing the Real Failure of Your Business?

12/4/2015 posted in Business, Leading, Not Managing, Work/Life Balance Issues, HR, Employee Motivation, Vistage, Strategy, Change Management

It is becoming clear that there are three key objectives to focus on when running a business:
  1. To do whatever you do and make a profit
  2. To market whatever it is you do, so that you gain and retain clients
  3. To look after your workforce so they perform as well as possible

Wellbeing is a concept that is gaining mainstream exposure. Both government and private enterprise are beginning to take the notion of employee wellbeing much more seriously. Why is this? What are the benefits to business and the economy? And what can individual companies do for their own staff to encourage and develop wellbeing?

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10 Smart Ways to 'Change the Game' and Accelerate Growth

11/27/2015 posted in Economy, Business, Sales, Strategy, Change Management

Ashmei is changing the game of sportswear. The small Aylesbury-based company, with an interesting Chinese name, designs sportswear, assembled from the most innovative suppliers across 4 continents, to create products that its many fans will pay twice as much for.

Raspberry Pi, the Cambridge manufacturer of computers for £30, is the best friend of young digital entrepreneurs, and has become a global network by setting up Raspberry Pi Clubs in 150 cities worldwide. Nearby start-up, Azuri Tech, has transformed the lives of millions of Africans by giving them £1/week pay-as-you-go solar panels that provide enough energy to light their homes, cook food and charge their mobile phones.

Three examples of small UK companies who are 'changing the game' in their respective markets, with influence and growth across the world.

Gamechangers think and act differently. They fuse digital and physical, global and local, ideas and networks. They win by being smart, fast and connected – rather than through scale and efficiency. They capture their higher purpose in more inspiring brands that resonate with their target audiences at the right time and place, enabled by data and technology, but more through empathetic design and rich human experiences.

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The Value Proposition: How To Engage For Growth

11/13/2015 posted in Business, Marketing, Strategy

Vistage Speaker Roger Martin-Fagg says: “A business will be growing its sales because customers, consumers and clients purchase on the basis of superior or differentiated value. And you need to be sure what the drivers of satisfaction are.”

“The value proposition is a clear statement of what value you offer, to whom - and in what way. It is different from a mission statement because it focuses on differentiation, or the compelling reason why customers should choose you and not your competitor.”

 A value proposition helps define value for money, when people buy from you they do so because you offer value. That value could be price, attitude of employees, ease of purchase, convenience, clarity of offer, your distinguished capability, delivery time, post sales support, local supplier, finance and so on. The value you offer is your value proposition.

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