February 25, 2020

Business Advice from Berkshire – What will make the difference?

In many businesses the most precious asset is the staff. Without good, knowledgeable, dedicated staff you cannot expect to have an outstanding business.

 What do you put in place to ensure your business is the best it can be? It may be something as simple as a headset for the phone so that staff can easily make notes while talking to prospects and customers. This also means they don’t get a crick in their neck and are happy to keep working.

penx Another area that can make a difference is knowledge. Are your staff fully trained to do what you are asking them. I recently spent a day in Somerset with an experienced member of staff who felt she was not using her accounts software to the full so the business hired me for a day’s consultancy, including the cost of travel. They realised the benefit of using what they had better, rather than being average and struggling on as they were. I am often asked to work one to one with a firm as they ‘got the software some time ago but never had any formal training’. By the end of the day they kick themselves when they realise what they could have been doing and the time they could have been saving. All it took was a small investment to quickly get returns that would last them for many years. Even if they changed the software, they can never lose the skill and expectation of what can be achieved.

 As you know, I am a great believer in training and would ask you include it in your budget. You wouldn’t give someone a ball of wool and needles and expect them to knit a jumper. Even if they knew how to knit, they would need a pattern to follow and some guidance as to the expected shape and size. How often do you request something from your staff without giving them the skills and full picture of what is expected?

What can you think of that can make the difference between being an average and being a good supplier to your customers – and your staff? Remember, you are also staff of your business so this applies to YOU!

Do you know it all ?

If you look back on the training you received for running your business, does it cover everything you do? On the job training may be how many of our skills are learnt. Who do you work with that is teaching you?

I am a great believer in learning and expect to spend a fair amount of money and time on it each year. I could just attend free events, and they can be useful as a taster. Spending money puts you in control of what topics and at what level you are taught.

This last week I have run two courses where, because they were private courses, we have been able to modify the content during the day to suit the needs of the attendees. I accept the businesses paid for this flexibility, but they had also invested staff time in attending the course. In each case I have set them ‘homework’ to do after the course as the best way to retain learning is to apply it.

One suggestion that will improve your business is to do a management skills audit, decide where there is an opportunity to improve and then act. Find a course or a trainer that matches the list you have made, book and attend the training and then put it into practice! Don’t just pay for the course if the notes will gather dust on the shelf. Build implementation time into your plans.

If you are struggling to find a match for your needs, do get in touch as I have a wide network.