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Creating a positive business culture

Business culture is a reflection of what your company stands for, it’s your voice. Employee relations are what establishes this voice and can always be improved. A work environment that everyone enjoys can help to improve performance and productivity. Here are some ways you can help better the culture of your business

Vision:
For a business culture to be established, as the employer you must first decide what that voice will be. Having a clear direction for your business practices is common but for community in the office, a vision for your business culture will help the process. It is your job to help guide your company toward your vision in every aspect of the business.

Lead by example:
Often business owners can be separated from the general culture of the workplace. It is important to show you adopt the values and productivity levels you are expecting of your employees. Integration on this level helps to establish what you expect out of the business and its everyday processes.

Communication:
One of the most obvious points is communication, it is essential in running a business. Good communication is not only needed for basic tasks and management but also key to creating your business culture. If your vision for the business is not effectively communicated then the culture will reflect that.

Feedback:
If you foster an environment that encourages feedback, you get an everyday look into how the culture of your business is or has formed. Feedback to employees is important for their personal growth in the company and practices but when there is a mutual level of communication and trust, their feedback to you can help better your own idea of your business culture.

Posted on 14 February '19, under business. No Comments.

What we can learn from ‘introverted’ people

Most of us fall somewhere in between the introvert-extrovert spectrum but our concept of a great leader often looks to someone who exudes characteristics we often associate with ‘extroverts’ – including being charismatic, confident, and courageous. While these traits are indeed admirable and can be essential to motivate and drive your team, recent research surprisingly suggests ‘introverts’ tend to be better CEOs. In light of this research, we look at some often overlooked traits to expand your concept of great business leadership.

Taking the time to be introspective:
Ensure you don’t underestimate the value of taking the time to self-reflect on certain issues, looking inward for inspiration and judiciously asking in-depth questions to better understand your organisation.

Forming and maintaining deeper connections:
In the age of Linkedin and the increase of networking events, growing your professional network is often a focus of many business professionals. When taking into consideration the notion that humans can only maintain about 150 stable relationships at any given time (Dunbar’s Number), you can consider the value of holding more small-scale events or arranging more one-on-one engagements to better utilise your professional network.

Identifying and accommodating for ‘introverted’ behaviour in the workplace:
While it often ‘takes one to know one’, it doesn’t take much effort to recognise and accommodate introverted behaviour. An effective leader takes advice from all people in the room – not just the ones who happen to speak out. For example, it doesn’t hurt to give a little heads up on issues that are going to be addressed at a meeting. This is so all employees, including ‘introverts’, have the time to process their thinking and prepare talking points.

Posted on 7 February '19, under business. No Comments.

Instagram for business

Instagram business accounts help you reach new clients and companies that you wouldn’t be able to on other social media. It is an area of the market often overlooked due to its focus on an image but now is the time to utilize Instagram for your business and grow a profile in a fairly untapped area.

Why use Instagram?
Graphics and quotes are an easy way to engage with users and using hashtags help you to reach people who don’t follow you yet. The news feed algorithm favours active business accounts and suggests similar accounts for you to follow or see how they use the platform.

Business Profile:
The analytics feature alone is enough to entice businesses to the platform as it gives you insights into your follower base, interactions, peak posting times and paid advertising options. You can boost a post to reach more than just your followers and find new clients based on shared likes or similar accounts followed. A business profile is completely free and all paid advertising is optional though encouraged to get the most out of the platform.

Instagram Advertising:
One of the benefits of Instagram advertising is that it seamlessly blends into a news feed. Many ads on social media appear very out of place and obvious that they are an ad, Instagram formats advertisements like a regular Instagram post and targets it to people similar to your audience.

Posted on 31 January '19, under business. No Comments.

Effective Team Performance

Teams, like workplaces, are becoming increasingly diverse, dynamic and digital. But the principle behind managing teams effectively remains the same. Are you providing the right conditions for your team to thrive? Here are some aspects to consider:

Shared Direction
A shared understanding of the team’s mission and tasks is essential to a team’s level of commitment and motivation. This is especially crucial when teams are made up of members from dissimilar backgrounds as the means for reaching the same goal can mean for different strategies for different people.

External Support
Supporting your team involves providing and maintaining an effective reward system, ensuring your team has access to the required materials and data to complete their tasks, and providing opportunities to expand their skillset if required.

Team structure
Constructing a high performing team requires a careful balance of meeting both organisational and individual needs. A recent study has found that more-cohesive teams had members with higher levels of emotional stability, inquisitiveness, and interpersonal sensitivity. Managers often utilise an employee’s strengths to fill a team role, but taking the time to observe your employee’s working style and personality can mean for a fresher approach to the way the team can think about, manage, and organise tasks.

Posted on 24 January '19, under business. No Comments.

Challenging the use of country as a proxy for culture

Associating certain behaviours to different countries have long been a way of identifying and comparing cultures and widely assumes country homogeneity. For example, previous studies on national culture have compared vastly different working styles between East-Asian countries and the West. However, a recent study published on Havard Business Review found that equating country with culture can overlook even bigger cultural gaps within a single country – including those of age, gender, number of years of education, socio-economic status, and occupation. That is, it could make more sense to talk about cultures of age and cultures of the rich or poor than it is to discuss the cultures of countries.

Posted on 18 January '19, under business. No Comments.

Hiring high potential staff

Your business is only as good as your staff, which is why you want to hire high potential employees. You may find it hard to spot a high potential candidate in an interview.

Our tips will tell you what to look for and ask when you are recruiting.

High potential employee traits
A common set of characteristics can identify high potential employees. These candidates will:

Spotting high potential employees in an interview
In an interview, you can identify an employee with these high potential traits by:

Posted on 20 December '18, under business. No Comments.

How small business can compete with major corporations

Small businesses should not feel intimidated by their corporate competitors as they have many unique advantages that can help them gain a sizeable market share.

Small business owners should focus on specific areas, so they can go head-to-head with large companies with more resources.

Customer service
Small businesses have the opportunity to build a stronger relationship with their customers through the delivery of friendly and personal customer service. Businesses that provide superior customer service to their corporate competitors will build a loyal customer base and grow their business through word of mouth.

Tap into niche markets
Small business owners are directly involved with their customers, which means they have a greater insight into what their customer base values. Take advantage of this by innovating more quickly than corporations, whose decision-making processes are slower. You may provide a service that corporations cannot feasibly implement.

Build a strong staff
The expansive corporate chain of command is far more likely to have a weak link than a small business. Small businesses have greater quality control over the selection of their staff and the standards and expectations of performance. Build a competent team that outperforms your corporate competitors.

Posted on 7 December '18, under business. No Comments.

Mental health tips for small business owners

Small business owners are constantly under stress and pressure, which is why it is important they look after their mental health.

The following tips will help you manage your mental health as a small business owner.

Have a reliable support network
Friends and family are vital to anyone’s functioning; however the unique challenges small business owners face means they may benefit from connecting with like-minded thinkers. Consider joining a small business owners groups on Facebook or LinkedIn. These networks are helpful as the members can relate to your problems on a deeper level. Both business groups and your nearest and dearest can provide a sympathetic ear, realistic solutions to your problems and tell you to get help.

Allocate personal time
When you are running a small business, it can feel like your life is consumed by it. An unhealthy work-life balance will harm your mental health and productivity. Schedule time off from work. Taking up a hobby or joining a sports team may be a great way to have structured breaks from your business.

Know the warning signs
Knowledge is key to prevention. Get educated on mental health and know the warning signs and symptoms. If you catch your problem early, you can avoid jeopardising your health and your business by taking a hiatus, relinquishing some responsibility or seeking help.

Posted on 29 November '18, under business. No Comments.

Benefits and problems of niche marketing

Business owners thinking about specialising their products and services to target a niche market should know the benefits and risks of this business strategy. Niche marketing is the business strategy of targeting a specific subset of a market.

Here are some benefits and problems of niche marketing that will help you build a business strategy right for you.

Benefits
Niche marketing can provide the following benefits:

Problems
However, niche marketing has its pitfalls you should know before you specialise:

Posted on 26 November '18, under business. No Comments.

Leadership mistakes to avoid

Leadership mistakes contribute to falling standards around the office due to a lack of motivation or inefficient management.

Here are some leadership mistakes to avoid in the workplace.

Being hypocritical
Leaders that do not meet the expectations they set will lose the loyalty and respect of their employees. If you require your staff to come in ten minutes early every day or are strict on their lunch break, follow your own rules. Setting a consistent standard will make employees feel they are being treated fairly.

Shifting blame
Employers that do not take accountability for their own mistakes and shift blame onto their customer or their employees will lose the support of both. Admitting you are in the wrong is essential for moving forward with the business relationship by making amends.

Poor delegation
Your delegation will fail if the task is given to an unsuitable member of staff or a new responsibility is given without the leader providing training and feedback.

Posted on 8 November '18, under business. No Comments.

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