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A free monthly newsletter about improving your
people, processes, sales and marketing, financial
performance…and other interesting stuff

July 2012


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People
A person’s behaviour determines the 
success or failure of process

When creating efficient process, most of the literature and assistance available is very effective on the processes themselves, but largely neglects the subject of the people responsible for these processes. 

Case Study

A client had an administrative process that related to the entering of timesheets, filing and other general administrative procedures. The person responsible for this process had the dual roles of reception and administration but frustrated many people at the end of her process (the point at which they took over) due to her lack of detail and general inaccuracy. Her communication skills, when dealing with customers were exceptional.  However, it was clear her administrative skills were woefully inadequate to be effective in her current role. Was it just a matter of inexperience that could be improved with training? This is a question I am often asked.

To help ascertain her personal 'fit' for the role and to see if more training would help improve her challenge areas, we used the DiSC Personal Profile  as a starting point.

One of the benefits of using DiSC  is that it measures the type of behaviour used in a particular environment. (Different behaviours are exhibited in different environments ). We can display one behaviour at work, another at home and then another for example at a party. DiSC measures areas like people verses task orientation and the speed at which we process, whether fast or moderate. It also has other indicators such as the level of correctness and accuracy one might achieve. 

This particular individual displayed exceptional ‘people’ qualities but little orientation to administrative tasks, or detailed process. With additional training, we might be able to get her functioning at a higher level but probably not to the degree that the role demanded. After meeting with both the employee and management, all agreed her skills and behavioural style  were better suited to a more people oriented role rather than administrative functions. She changed roles with noticeable positivity for all concerned. 

To successfully align people with process, look for some of the following indicators:
  • Is the person ‘people’, or ‘task’ orientated?
  • Are they fast paced or more moderately paced?
  • What is their level of detail and accuracy?
  • Are they a ‘driver’ or do they like routine?
  • Are they a creator of process or are they best suited for working within an already established system?

Then analyse what the role demands in terms of these behaviours and ascertain if the role and the person are a fit.

Your people are the success or failure of your processes.  It’s always better to take time upfront to ascertain a person’s suitability for the position and relative processes, rather than pay for it down the track.

 
Good luck!

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 Financial Performance
Smart Financial Management

Most small to medium business owners review their financial affairs annually with their accountant. What I have found to be far more effective is to have at minimum, quarterly reviews to ensure you are doing everything possible to control costs, increase profitability, plan for tax and accurately monitor financial performance. I have personally seen significant results gained from independent reviews. Here is some useful advice on the key areas from accountants I work with:

 Sharon Plant – Plant and Associates – 1300 783 394
  • Your circumstances may have changed and thus your business setup may be leaving you open to additional taxes or legal action, and a review could optimise performance.  If you have been with your accountant for a while they may not be proactively considering whether your structure still suits you.
  • The law changes frequently, there may be changes that affect you. For example, you may have set up a trust many years ago to split income to lower earning individuals. However, there have been a myriad of law changes that now make this set-up stale and non compliant.
  • There is more to accounting than just tax compliance.  You may have expanded and your employee costs may be nearing the trigger point making you liable for payroll tax, a suitable strategy can manage this.
  • Succession planning and exit strategies are not just for the last year or two of your business.  Long term tax planning strategies can see you enjoying a very comfortable retirement with the extra income you will have from long term tax strategies.
  • There is always more than one way to do something.....the way your accountant is doing things may be the best ....but wouldn't you like to be sure!

 Frank Allen – Allens Accounting – Ph: +61 7 3347 0702
  • Understand your tax liability before end of June so you can make decisions whether to use the tax liability to invest.
  •  Understand your cash commitments going forward and therefore required revenues or funding.
  • Consider the longer term goals, e.g. moving the business to process and even passive so you do not have to “drive” it each day.
  • Look at the wider picture of market changes in your industry, where is it going in future, what alternative directions can the business take.
  • Consider advantage aspects for your business e.g. Government grants,  Research and Development Assistance,  accelerated  claims e.g. new depreciation concessions.
  • Consider the timing of acquisitions, new plant etc.
  • Think counter cyclically.

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Efficient Process 

Process fails when the customer loses out

I recently stayed in a five star hotel on one of my travels. Everything about the place appeared to hum with efficiency.  From concierge to the front desk personnel to the cleaning staff – all were pleasant and always willing to assist. Check-in was quick as was checking-out, with an express envelope arriving under my door on the day of departure to get me out of the place quickly. So far so good!

However, I had noticed repeatedly over the last few stays that the process of meeting my preferences was largely neglected. My simple requests for a morning paper left at my door and a fruit platter on my arrival, had not been attended to.  I always had to ask for the wireless password and was only made aware of the business assistance available on my last visit, which ideally should have been outlined on my initial stay.

While they scored 10 out of 10 in most areas of service, they failed on the little details that really matter to the customer.  

What was interesting, is that when questioned about my preferences being constantly over-looked, the check-in staff responded that when they get busy they forget to follow through.  (Surprising though how the bill always arrives, even if they are at capacity!).

For your business, it’s the little things that matter to the customer -the sense of individual care one receives when dealing with your company. We have all come to expect speed and efficiency, these are standard expectations. The small things on the other hand make all the difference in the world, creating repeat customers and word of mouth referrals.

When considering your business, create a list of what customers expect, such as quick response to calls and emails, professional service and presentation, expert technical advice etc. Then make a list of what they wouldn’t normally expect e.g. Birthday cards, gift sent for being a new client, asking about their children by name, being personally invited to an event etc.

Keep your client at the centre of your drive for greater efficiencies. They will expect your bill but not the fruit platter. 


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The Cellar Notes

Wine

I recently dug out of the cellar a bottle of Leconfield 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon that I had been saving for a cold winters day. This rich and beautifully balanced red was worth waiting for. Opening my first bottle around 2005/06 it was tightly structured and definitely needed to be laid down for the coming years. Still two years form its maturation date (according to the Leconfield site), the discipline was worth the wait. The tightness has given way to a well textured and balanced wine, perfect for a cold winters night accompanied by richly flavoured foods and gamey meats.  
On The Lighter Side

My wife recently said to me ‘I’d like to get some euphoria’. I said ‘I think I can help with that’. She succinctly (and very quickly) responded, ‘I’m talking about PERFUME!’



In This Issue:
Ray Hodge is the Director of Ignite Business Consulting. He speaks and consults to businesses & organisations, a notable event being the Department of the Australian Prime Minister and Cabinet.



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Marketing Shift

Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’ can quite adequately be applied to the area of sales and marketing.  The word ‘shift’, means to ‘move or cause to move from one place to another’. To gain different results, we have to try different things and measure the effect of these changes. 




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"I have to say that having Ray consult to us resulted in a more streamlined business with  processes in place that has made it possible to hire office staff . What's all the more pleasing (given that Ray is no longer consulting to us) is that I am now working less hours per day, overseeing the operations, with the business continuing to do exceptionally well."

Joanne Miller : Switch Group - Perth

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Copyright 2011 Ray Hodge. All rights reserved.

Email  ray@ignitebusinessconsulting.com.au.
Web    www.ignitebusinessconsulting.com.au






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