Teamwork within the Team’s work

Growth is inevitable on the success journey but getting your management team to grow simultaneously with the business is also a huge challenge also.

Personally I agree with this article found on the guardian today, what do you think?

– Sam Bailey

Managing growth: ‘Stop interfering and skip the meetings’

Entrepreneurs can often find it hard to change their mindset as the business grows. Here are some tips to make sure you manage your expansion efficiently…

If you start a growth phase in your business it is usually because you’ve done something right. A new product or service has been launched, marketing has been effective, the sales are coming in and you’re delivering efficiently.

This cycle will continue for a while, but as you take on more customers to feed the growth, you will at some point reach the limit of your business capacity. You might run out of human power (over-working leads to mistakes), business resources or the ability to manage operational issues effectively.

At this point you need to stop and think. Quite often this involves you, as the business owner, giving up some of the day-to-day running of the business and hiring a team of experienced ‘heads’.

There are two main reasons for this: it will free up your time to come up with new strategies, products and ideas without having to worry about how the business is operating; and having an experienced management team in place (combined with some of the tips below) is very attractive to investors, and you’ll probably need to get them on board to provide capital to expand.

Pitfalls to avoid

Here are a couple of common pitfalls to try and avoid. Now this is easier said than done and I’m guilty even now, but if you keep them in mind it will help you to find the time to grow your business.

Let managers do their job: When you grow to the point that you need to hire others to help you manage the business you have to resist the temptation to circumvent them by going directly to your employees, or making decisions without involving your new management team. You can no longer behave as the founder who deals with all issues and has a direct line to every employee in the company. If you do, you run the risk of losing your managers and confusing your staff.

Stop interfering and skip the meetings: When you start a business and you’ve done every role in it at some point, it can be very hard to let go of all the details. Us entrepreneurs love to micro-manage to make sure it’s done our way, but it’s important not to interfere and to stop attending every meeting…..(read the full article from The Guardian)

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Nearly one third of UK business decision makers are looking for a career change in 2013

This blog was take from http://www.smeweb.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4010:nearly-one-third-of-uk-business-decision-makers-are-looking-for-a-career-change-in-2013&catid=59:news&Itemid=105

However, only 37 per cent are confident about securing a new job, research reveals.

Almost one third of UK business decision makers are looking for a career change in 2013, new research shows. At a time of year when people are putting into practice their New Year’s resolutions a new career continues to be a popular choice, with 31 per cent of respondents saying they are likely or very likely to start looking for a new job this month.

The prospect of more money is the main driver for a career change (37%), whilst 18 per cent are looking for a different challenge. However, in the current economic climate only 37 per cent of respondents are confident about securing a new role.  

Looking for a new role

The research, which was commissioned by AGM Transitions, also found that 50 per cent of respondents would use job websites when looking for a new role, followed by newspaper adverts (33%), existing business contacts (31%), head-hunters/recruiters (29%), friends (29%) and family (26%).

However, despite social media increasingly being used for business networking and research purposes, 67 per cent still do not use social media to promote or market themselves in the industry.   

Daunting aspects

Finding the right opportunity was the most daunting aspect of changing jobs (40%), followed by the fear of change (23%) and pulling a CV together (22%).

Yet despite the challenges associated with finding a new job only 13 per cent plan to use a career consultant to get advice and prepare themselves for the job market. This finding is even more surprising given that 39 per cent of respondents admit that they would have a chosen a different career path had they received better career counseling previously.

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Why Your Small Business Needs a Blog

This blog was taken from http://business.time.com/2012/09/14/why-your-small-business-needs-a-blog/
For starters, it keeps your site fresh and can boost your search engine ranking, notes Maryalene LaPonsie at Small Business Computing. It can establish you as an expert, which can make people think of you when it’s time to buy.You can promote your blog on social media, which can get it shared and generate interest. Include social media buttons on the blog to make it more shareable. If it’s insightful enough, people will bookmark your blog and revisit it just to see what you have to say.

And allow people to comment on your blog; you might get some helpful feedback (and yes, helpful criticism too).

If it’s too much for you to take on, let an employee do it, with your oversight. It might just help their professional development.

Read more: http://business.time.com/2012/09/14/why-your-small-business-needs-a-blog/#ixzz2DWzapgKw

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5 Ways “Lean” Operations Can Save You Money

This blog was taken from http://blog.intuit.com/money/5-ways-lean-operations-can-save-you-money/

Few businesses are more efficient than the makers of automobiles. In the late 1980s, an MIT research team coined the phrase “lean manufacturing” to describe Toyota’s streamlined operations. Today, “lean” processes are being implemented beyond the factory floor to reduce excess at all sorts of industries.

When a company “goes lean,” it generally studies its daily workflow with the primary goal of identifying waste. Each resource is evaluated thoroughly to determine whether it’s absolutely necessary, and then superfluous items are eliminated.

While traditionally associated with large manufacturing plants, lean principles are now being put into practice at businesses of all sizes. These principles are inspiring small entrepreneurs in all industries to do a top-to-bottom review of current operations in order to find areas where processes can be streamlined.

Here are five criteria to evaluate as you implement lean practices in your workplace.

  1. Space: As the decade progresses, “cubicle farms” even in small offices are being traded in for wall-less offices that use every inch of space. Organization isn’t just suggested, it’s required: Employees are expected to keep every item in a designated place. If a conference area exists, make sure it’s occupied every possible hour of the business day — if not, convert it into more useful office space.
  2. Time: Those 30 minutes around the water cooler each morning are a distant memory with lean practices. Encourage your employees to be productive from the start to finish of each shift, minus applicable breaks. Offer your staff time-management tips and tricks for becoming more efficient.
  3. Materials: In lean manufacturing, if a piece of equipment on the assembly line isn’t being used less than eight hours a day, that piece of equipment should be retired. The same goes for the equipment in your office. If you have a printer on every desk and seven or eight copiers for 40 employees, evaluate how many you really need. A 12:1 printer ratio is recommended to cut down on electricity, upkeep, and paper and ink costs.
  4. Cleanliness: It can be hard to get employees to understand the importance of a clean work area. But cleanliness improves efficiency by allowing everyone to more easily access the information they need when they need it. According to the National Association of Professional Organizers [PDF], purging clutter is also good for morale: It improves people’s moods and energy levels.
  5. Workers: This is the hardest part of implementing lean processes, but it’s often necessary. If your business has idle staff, you’re losing money. By honestly evaluating the number of people you need to be productive, you can make unbiased decisions about your business. In some cases, this may require you to hire seasonal workers or to outsource some of your work.

Lean manufacturing involves evaluating every aspect of your business to ensure you’re maximizing your resources. If possible, consider bringing in an impartial consultant who can evaluate your operations without prejudice and suggest ways you can eliminate or reduce waste.

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5 Steps to Creating an Effective Wellness Incentive Program

This blog was taken from http://blog.intuit.com/employees/5-steps-to-creating-an-effective-wellness-incentive-program/
According to a 2011 study by Incentive Research Foundation, only one in five employees will participate in a wellness program without rewards; however, four out of five people will join when incentives are offered.Here are five steps to creating an effective wellness incentive program for your employees:

1. Determine the wellness needs of your staff. Think about your staff members and the specific health issues they struggle with. Do they complain about not finding time to work out? Do they have access to a workout facility at the office? Do you see them eating fast food at their desk to meet deadlines? If you are unsure what their priorities are, ask them for feedback or send out a survey.

2. Provide tools that enable success. No matter how many gift cards or free lunches you provide, your employees will achieve the most success if you first help solve the obstacles in their way. Businesses without a workout facility on-site can offer a gym membership as a benefit. If your staff works long hours or juggles family obligations, offer to give each employee two to three hours a week to exercise during the workday. Consider paying for a portion of weight-loss programs, such as Weight Watchers, or sponsoring employees who want to enroll in a smoking cessation program.

3. Choose valued incentives. If you offer rewards that no one is interested in, then your wellness incentive program will not have the desired results. In her recent Benefits Magazine article “Wellness Incentive Strategies That Work,” Kristie Zoeller Howard writes: “To get employees to take action, employers need to offer rewards that are valued by most, if not all, participants.” She adds that the most valued incentives are cash, merchandise gift cards, and benefit-integrated incentives, such as additional paid time off or decreased health insurance contributions.

4. Set attainable goals for receiving the incentive. Let’s say the majority of your staff does not exercise regularly, but your program is set up to reward people who exercise five times a week for three months. Your incentives program is likely to fail. Consider your staff’s current status and structure goals that will push them to change their behaviors in a realistic way. Some companies find that offering a points-based incentive program, in which employees earn points for different activities (such as working out, attending a seminar, or taking a smoking cessation class), offers the most flexibility for staff at different wellness levels.

5. Evaluate the program. Before rolling out any program, ask for feedback from your employees. Based on their input, make any changes that will help increase participation. Once the incentive plan is in place, monitor participation on an ongoing basis and make adjustments as needed to encourage your employees to adopt healthier lifestyles.

Read more: http://blog.intuit.com/employees/5-steps-to-creating-an-effective-wellness-incentive-program/#ixzz2DX1LqlOd

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Out of recession – but hold off the bunting

Growth of 1% in the third quarter of 2012 only puts the economy back to where it was this time last year.
 By squacco

Rejoice, just rejoice. Britain is back out of recession. On the figures released yesterday – pre-empted by a loose-tongued Cameron – the whole economy grew by a mighty single percentage point over the summer months. It is now back to the size it was this time last year.

Without wishing to spoil what must undoubtedly be wild celebrations, there are three things to note. First, the figures have been boosted by a combination of a rebound from the Jubilee bank holiday and Olympics. Both together have added something around 0.5% to growth for the quarter. There is a wonderful irony in seeing George Osborne, a man otherwise noisily convinced of the merits of unfettered capitalism, clinging for all he’s worth to the economic boost provided by a mighty public spending scheme in Stratford. That, alas, is unlikely to be repeated any time soon.

Second, most of us would be forgiven for failing to notice much in the way of prosperity. Average real household incomes have fallen every year for three years, and are set to fall by a further 0.2% this year. The boom of the 2000s produced stagnant real incomes for most of us; the subsequent slump has dragged most of us downwards.

Third, there are no convincing signs of a sustained recovery. Profit warnings by companies over the last three months hit their highest levels since 2008. The trade deficit – the gap between what we import, and what we export – has reached all-time highs over the summer, while the UK’s biggest export market, the Eurozone, continues to flounder. Perhaps most ominously of all, the Bank of England reports that underlying motor for growth – rising productivity – is, having crashed over 2009, failing to restart as it should, thanks, in the main, to our heavy dependence on the service sector.

Whatever their crowing this week, this was not the script Osborne or Cameron wrote on election. If you want a good – if hollow – laugh, dig out the Office for Budget Responsibility’s June 2010 forecasts, made shortly after the Coalition government was formed. Business investment should be booming by nearly 10% this year: in reality, it has grown less than 1%. British exports should flooding the world’s markets. And the whole economy should have grown by 5.7% under Osborne: the reality, 0.6%

Austerity continues to cripple real recovery and is set to accelerate over the next two years. Deep-seated weaknesses in the UK economy are starting to make their presence felt. Without a major and sustained shift – really, a complete reversal – of current government policy, there is no reason to expect a sustained improvement in the outlook for most of us. Cameron may find himself with rather less to brag about ahead of the next set of GDP figures in January.

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8 Small Business Tax-Saving Tips for 2012

This blog was taken from http://blog.intuit.com/money/8-small-business-tax-saving-tips-for-2012/1. Deduct expenses this year and defer taxable income, if you qualify. Most small businesses use the cash method of accounting for tax purposes. If that is your situation and you expect to be in the same (or lower) tax bracket next year, it’s a smart move to defer taxable income into 2013 and accelerate deductible expenses. This could include deferring some billings until Dec. 31, writing checks before the year ends to pay deductible expenses, and charging deductible business expenses on credit cards.2. Set up a retirement plan and make the maximum contribution. Consider establishing a retirement plan for your business. Many pension companies will do a free analysis of which plan is right for you. If your business has an existing retirement plan, ask your pension administrator to figure out the maximum potential contribution for the 2012 year based on your staff size (and available budget). If you have no employees, consider establishing a “solo 401K” plan before the end of the year, as this type of plan typically permits a larger contribution than most retirement plans.

3. Deduct the expense of certain equipment purchased in 2012. Internal Revenue Code section 179 allows a business to elect to treat the cost of certain property (such as computers, office furniture, equipment, and machinery used for business) purchased this year as aone-time deductible expense. Companies can expense up to $139,000 for 2012. The deduction is phased out dollar-for-dollar for purchases exceeding $560,000. So, for example, if your company bought equipment for $572,000, the maximum eligible 179 deduction would be $127,000 ($139,000 reduced by the $12,000 excess).

4. Take the allowed depreciation on new equipment. New business equipment and machinery put into service before year end qualifies for the 50 percent bonus first-year depreciation allowance. Unless Congress acts, this bonus depreciation allowance generally won’t be available next year.

5. Write off your heavy SUVs. Heavy SUVs (those built on a truck chassis and rated at more than 6,000 pounds gross-loaded vehicle weight) are allowed an immediate tax deduction of up to $25,000 in 2012. In 2013, these write-off rules may not be as generous.

6. Hire a vet to qualify for a tax credit. If you’re thinking of adding to your payroll, consider hiring a qualified veteran before the year ends to qualify  for a Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Under current law, the WOTC for qualifying veterans won’t be available for post-2012 hires. The WOTC for hiring veterans ranges from $2,400 to $9,600, depending on a variety of factors.

7. Distribute dividends if you are an S- or C-corp. If the Bush tax cuts expire, the tax on “qualified” dividends of 15 percent is scheduled to end on Dec. 31. Therefore, corporations (C-corporations and certain S-corporations) with excess earnings and profits should consider making dividend payments in 2012.

8. Increase withholding to avoid estimated tax penalties. Small-business owners who have not withheld the appropriate amount from their salaries (or have not made the required amount of quarterly tax payments) may be subject to underpayment penalties. Income tax withheld from wages or salaries is treated as paid in equal amounts throughout the year. Therefore, the underpayment penalty can be eliminated if sufficient additional taxes are withheld from wages or salaries for the balance of the year.

May your small business prosper in the new year!

Read more: http://blog.intuit.com/money/8-small-business-tax-saving-tips-for-2012/#ixzz2DX02Yc6p

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