Category Archives: Business

How to take time away from your business

 

Travel and tourisim

Consider the value of taking time off. Recognize taking a break is necessary for your health and well-being. When you don’t take enough breaks, productivity, decision-making and leadership abilities suffer–and people can tell.

Harvard Business Review study found, taking time off can even improve communication and efficiency. An experiment was conducted on the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in which consultants were required to take days off. While participants resisted the mandatory break at first, they soon realized its benefits. A consultant even reported coming back refreshed in spite of a busy week. The company also found additional benefits to taking mandatory breaks, including improved communication, learning, and results.

Put things into perspective:  Set aside your guilt and control issues for a moment and objectively consider the state of your company. Look at the numbers. How are your sales? Are you meeting your goals? Also take a look at your own performance. How many times did you take off in the past year? What results have you achieved as CEO? If you’re on track with everything and you’re due for a break, there isn’t any reason to feel guilty about it.

Talk to your team: Discuss plans with your employees and let them weigh in. Ask if they need your approval with anything before you leave and make sure they have your contact information.

Have a contingency plan: Appease your inner control freak by setting up a contingency plan while you’re away. Delegate tasks and make sure everyone in the company knows who to turn to while you’re gone. Do the same thing with clients, vendors, and other external parties. Let them know that you’ll be taking some time off and tell them who to contact for any urgent issues.

The bottom line: Ultimately, the choice will rest on you. Whatever you decide, make sure you’re doing it because it’s what you need and not because your inner control freak made the decision for you.

 

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Tips for entrepreneurs to avoid on the road to success

Business success and failure

A story we often hear and to common. That is how entrepreneurs apparently seem to prefer to fail along their journey to success, rather than taking the time to do some research and learn from the mistakes and successes of others.

It is always good practice to focus on the positives and learn what actually works, but all entrepreneurs should also be aware of the simple things that don’t work. Here are few things all entrepreneurs should steer clear of in order to avoid failure and lead to financial losses and suffering.

  • Never spend money you don’t yet have in the bank.
  • Never open your mouth while in a negative emotional state.
  • Never over-promise and under-deliver.
  • Never create a market you can’t supply and support.
  • Never count on anyone who offers to work for free.
  • Never underestimate the importance of due diligence.
  • Never grow too quickly for your finances and staffing.
  • Never be confused between working hard and working smart.
  • Never be afraid to ask for help, advice, or even money.
  • Never rely on a verbal agreement in business.

All of the above points might appear to be obvious to you, but somehow we constantly hear the same stories over an over again. Maybe it the egos of the entrepreneurs of today that clouds their judgement and never like to be told what to do. Or perhaps it is because there is no single perfect blueprint to succeed in business.

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People Strategy must not be given to HR

HR Strategy

The “safe” approach is to give the Business Strategy and then the HR Strategy to the HR Leadership. However, it is a big mistake!

One of the key findings globally is that in these companies top management do not just support the HR / Talent strategy: they own it! They recognize that it is a key element in executing their business strategy.By having HR design and then “sell” the HR strategy to the business afterwards is a mistake for a number of reasons:

• It quickly becomes “HRs” strategy with superficial support at best and at worst it is completely ignored.
• The thinking that resulted in the final product has not been experienced by Exco and therefore there is little deep understanding of how the end state was arrived at and why this was the case
• It tends to happen in isolation and is designed by an HR team who inevitably see the business through an HR lens rather than a business lens

Hence, the connection to the business strategy is seldom as rigorous as it should be.
One of the most common problems is the lack of understanding that the Talent
Strategy of the business and the Strategy of the HR function are two totally different things. Yet they get fused into a single outcome, once again reinforcing the ownership of the strategy by HR.

The organisations HR / People strategy has to be owned by Exco! The strategy of the HR function is about how the HR function will position itself to contribute to the execution of the People strategy of the business. It is about ensuring that the processes, HR professionals, technology, policies etc are in place to facilitate achievement of the People strategy.

Does this mean HR is side-lined in the design and execution of the people strategy? Not at all! HR has a key role to play in defining the context of the business environment as it affects human capital; guiding Exco towards the right decisions; and educating them about the implications of what they decide.

However, for HR to sit in isolation and try to sell the outcome of their strategy workshop to Exco later actually detracts from their key role of guiding and educating Exco and of ensuring that there is a rich conversation about the people issues.

 

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Old School Ways Can’t Win Today’s Talent War

HR and Technology

Think about the talent contests that are so popular on TV these days. In those shows, individuals vie for the privilege of winning over an elite panel of experts. This is not the real world that we live in.

In the real world, organizations are vying for talent that’s all too scarce and growing scarcer. Why? Demographics are shifting; automation is eliminating most rote tasks, allowing people to do more of what they’re best at; and organizations are looking to expand globally while maintaining the same high standards they established at home. Doing that requires technology that provides managers with modern and holistic tools.

“The two most important applications inside of a modern enterprise are HCM [human capital management] and customer service, because it’s all about taking care of people—taking care of your employees who in turn take care of your customers,” said Larry Ellison, executive chairman of Oracle, during a keynote address at Oracle CloudWorld 2014.

Let’s be frank, If you can’t compete for talent, you’re probably not going to be able to compete for much of anything at all.

From a corporate perspective, we expect HCM tools to enable employees to communicate more clearly and more quickly with their managers and with the company at large, and to make it easier for the company to communicate with its employees.

“From a strategic perspective,” says Tim Jennings, chief research officer at IT consultancy Ovum IT, “I feel companies are prioritizing the recruitment, management, and optimization of their workforce as their most critical business capability, and understanding that they can apply a data-driven scientific approach, enabled by powerful new software tools.”

As Ellison put it during his keynote at Oracle OpenWorld 2014: “There’s got to be a graceful, easy, efficient way for two-way communication between employee and company and company and employee. That’s social HCM. Employees have to be able to organize into groups and collaborate. That’s social HCM. And the twenty-first century HCM is something we think we excel at because we’re good at not only payroll, benefits, those kinds of things, but we have all of the social tools that allow us to enable this particular suite of applications, to be more than twentieth-century HCM on premise, [but] to be social HCM, in the cloud.”

Social also implies mobile and cloud. Winning organizations are increasingly putting information, decision-making tools, and HR apps in the hands of people who work outside headquarters—whether in the field or from home offices.

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The Worst Things to Say When asking for Venture Capital

Venture Capital

In Venture capital world there are a series of “do’s” and “don’t’s”. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Here are a few tips to avoid those pitfalls.

“Our numbers are conservative.” – We’ve heard this a lot. Nobody believes it. We get it – start-ups are hard and unexpected things happen (always). We want a realistic look at your forecast. Instead of this, explain your thought process as to how you got to your “conservative” estimate.

“Please sign our NDA.”  – Venture Capitalists hear pitches all the time and remember they invest in great entrepreneurs.This request makes you look like you don’t know the ropes. Rather voice the fact that you’re pre-market – A venture Capitalist will be able to take it from there with the proper understanding and decorum to respect your privacy.

“There’s no competition.” – There is always competition. Think strategically about the way you intend to serve your customers and broaden your thought process to encompass these solutions.

“Which of my two ideas do you like better?” – You should choose which business idea to pursue based on which will make the biggest impact. They are looking for start-up leaders with conviction, not wishy-washy softies.

“I’ll have to get back to you on that.” – Now this is alright if it’s about one or two points, but if there are too many details that you don’t know cold, on the spot, it shows you are not close enough to the business or that you haven’t truly thought it all the way through. Know the answers to questions.

Avoid these missteps and let your passion shine through – you’ll be well on your way to changing the world with your idea, helped out by your friendly neighborhood venture capitalist.

 

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