shifft-banner

Category Archives: People

The Benefits of Family Business

The term "Family business " usually refers to a small or mid-sized company that has a local focus and is plagued with a familiar set of dilemmas such as succession. In spite of that very simple description, family businesses have played a powerful role in the world economy and have included, through the years, big businesses worldwide. Some examples in Australia of successful family businesses are linFox, smorgon group, cooper's brewery and there are plenty of others. Most of the time, the key to success of a family business lies in its unique ownership structure that allows them to plan and thrive in the long-term. But other researchers believe that it is also this structure that causes many of them to fall. So what’s really the case? In a recent article from Harvard Business Review, What You Can Learn from Family Business by Kachaner, Stalk and Bloch, presented...

Read more

Business Failure

The flipside of "success” is "failure” and it’s the latter that every business owner and manager strive hard to avoid. By definition, the term "business failure” refers to the cessation of a company’s operations following its inability to generate enough revenue to cover expenses without adequate reserves. In the recent times, there are many examples of strong businesses that have failed to adjust to the changing markets and economic times or to take advantage of opportunities – and this has ultimately led to their downfall. Based on my 26 years experience working closely with business owners, here are my 9 key tips to avoiding business failure: 1. always ensure that you target your marketing. Too many businesses have an undifferentiated product/service offering and fail to understand who their target customer is and what they require. Don’t be undifferentiated, make sure you’re speaking the right language and...

Read more

How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Wonder when you’d get the best results with your marketing strategies? Wonder no more – with a new insight by Simon Sinek called The Golden Circle, you are sure to inspire your consumers and persuade them to make the action you've been expecting from them. But before we expand on the idea of The Golden Circle, here’s a brief background on Simon Sinek. One of the TED Talk speakers, Simon is also known as the author of the book "Start With Why” which was released in 2009. With his works, he has been convincing and motivating people to do what inspires them. With that said, there is no doubt that this new insight from him will help you get the results you have been dreaming of from your marketing strategies. The Golden Circle Concept As its name implies, the concept known as the Golden Circle...

Read more

The Process of Hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA)

The process of searching for a VA for your business is fairly easy (it worked well for me!) and is similar to recruiting an assistant locally. The only difference is that 100% of the process is done online – tests or surveys are conducted electronically and candidates are interviewed via VOIP services like Skype. My Personal Hiring Experience I found my VA via www.OnlineJobs.ph, an outsourcing website that offers foreign employers to post job openings and search among thousands of Filipino applicants for the perfect person to fill the post. For sites like these, you will need to register yourself as an employer before you can post a job offer and get access to thousands of resumes in their database. After registering and posting your offer, you can either wait for applicants to contact you and send in their resumes (via your contact email) or...

Read more

Should you Hire a Virtual Assistant?

If your business requires you to be on the road most of the time and/or you find yourself needing assistance to get secretarial and administrative things done then a Virtual Assistant (VA) is what you need. Why a VA? In this day and age where everything is mobile, having a VA fits the bill perfectly. Compared to having a traditional locally-based administrative assistant, VAs are often more economical (I can attest to that!) You also save on office space and equipment expenses as you don’t have to provide for it, except of course, if your business requires output from custom software.   Now you don’t have to go overseas to find a VA. There are a number of people in Australia who offer a range of VA services. I found this site http://www.virtualassistantaustralia.net.au with a Google Search. There will be similar services in other countries (if...

Read more

The Lost Art of Management

You know, I think that over the last few decades that “business” has lost the art of managing their people. (I say “business” because obviously there are some great managers out there – but, in general, management is a lost art!) We’ve managed to pull through the GFC (“Global Financial Crisis”) and have emerged into a market that is very competitive, with tighter margins and that is far more globalised than ever before. There are also significant opportunities for businesses that are have the capacity and capability to embrace them. But here lies the challenge… I am finding that most businesses do not have the necessary “middle- management” skills and personnel to pull it off. Why is this so? Well, in an effort to become more efficient, we have “exised the fat” and removed layers of middle-management by pushing more and more responsibility down the...

Read more

Getting the Right People

Like so many other areas of good business management getting the right plan in place for management of your human resources can increase profits dramatically if implemented correctly. Getting the right equipment for the job is accepted as essential if consistent quality production is to be maintained and it is with this same philosophy recruiting the right people into your organisation should be viewed. This applies particularly to business sectors where we often hire fewer permanent employees but seem to have an endless parade of casual employees. Can we improve this situation by having a better plan? Yes! The Mindshop recruitment process has been tested over many years, in a variety of industries and companies. It provides a simple yet comprehensive system for farm businesses to get the right people the first time. Consider the following: - Person Specification What type of person are you...

Read more

Getting the Structure Right!

People: Some people want to change, others resist it. Its sometimes necessary to admit that some team members have become a liability. If such people form the major part of a team, the team is doomed for failure. For this process to work the teams must be formed by the people who want change. In a family owned or small business selecting the right people can often be very difficult. Products: The Pareto Rule is relevant here. "Twenty" percent of your products provide "eighty" percent of your sales. Twenty percent of our products provide eighty percent of your profit. Removing non performing products is essential if you want the right structure. Flexibility in production systems and an ability to diversify are critical to success in agriculture. Customers: Again the Pareto Rule applies. Which twenty percent of your customers provide your sales, profit and repeat business?...

Read more

Lifting Sales Performance

For many businesses, the period of strong growth that has preceded the downturn, meant that sales skills and management did not get the attention that they deserved. As the economy slows, competition for scarce resources increases and sales are no back on the agenda - the shoe is now firmly on the other foot! Selling in difficult times It is worth noting some key points raised by Neil Rackham (of SPIN Selling fame) in his article: "Selling tactics for difficult times" There are several other reasons why business managers don’t plan: Only 50% of sales people have sold in difficult times - if you have a young sales force then this proportion will be much higher; In an economic downturn, sales cycles (from start to close) are typically 40% longer; Many people believe that in tough times, customers buy on price - this is a...

Read more

What Makes a Great Leader?

The first list is from Warren Bennis, a professor of Business Administration at the University of Southern California and the best selling author of "On Becoming a Leader" and many other books on leadership. Warren Bennis's Ingredients for Leadership Concept What it means Guiding Vision You have a clear concept of what you want to do -- professionally and personally Passion You love what you do Integrity You know your strengths and weaknesses and are true to your principles Trust You have earned people's trust Daring You are willing to take risks Curiosity You want to keep learning Our experience is that the strongest attribute that a leader can have is a clearly defined vision and the ability to communicate that vision and get your staff and community to be willing followers and allies to you in achieving that vision. Source: Warren Bennis, On Becoming...

Read more