Act Like The All Blacks

One of the main foundation stones I help my clients develop is a written set of core values, the company culture. I believe it is a vital element of a successful company and one that is often left to chance, or ignored altogether. Get it wrong and it can help to drive away your best customers and your best team members. You may have had one of these situation in the past:

A team member with a bad attitude who constantly complained about your company and its managers. 
You been part of a team with a person who didn’t work as hard as the rest
You worked for a company in which one old-timer is not required to follow the rules or learn new systems and technology
Any sound familiar? These people drag down the atmosphere to their level and make it unpleasant to be around them. To develop a happy, productive and positive company, everyone has to work together, follow the same rules and maintain positive attitudes.

Taking some lessons from top sports teams can be the best place to learn. Read on….

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The Hidden Cost of the Minimum Wage Increases

Minimum wage is increasing to $20 per hour with effect from 1 April 2021 which represents another 5.8% increase, or a 31.1% increase over the last 5 years.  Unfortunately, this is about 3 times the rate of inflation over the same period, and this rate of increase is liable to continue until such time as the Minimum wage and the Living Wage are in alignment.  Or, in other words, someone who was on minimum wage in April 2016 of $15.25, would now be being paid $16.42 if they had received CPI increases each year. 

Whatever your political view-point on this, there are 2 key issues for employers:Minimum wage is increasing to $20 per hour with effect from 1 April 2021 which represents another 5.8% increase, or a 31.1% increase over the last 5 years.  Unfortunately, this is about 3 times the rate of inflation over the same period, and this rate of increase is liable to continue until such time as the Minimum wage and the Living Wage are in alignment.  Or, in other words, someone who was on minimum wage in April 2016 of $15.25, would now be being paid $16.42 if they had received CPI increases each year. 

Whatever your political view-point on this, there are 2 key issues for employers: Read on….

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The Success Triange

While the occasional person is “lucky” and achieves success by accident, the vast majority of successful people get there through focused hard work. Conversely, not everyone who works hard becomes successful. Hard work by itself is not enough. It needs to be focused in the right direction and aligned with a long term goal in mind. How do you get the blend right and maximise the chances of success. I have a model you can use. Read on….

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Jump In Puddles

With a recession typically comes a reduction in consumer confidence and a trend to delay or cancel big-ticket spend items. Building projects are the biggest ticket of them all. To combat this you should be looking at increasing your marketing. If you have been using “word-of-mouth” as your only marketing strategy over recent years, it’s time to review your activities in this space and put together a more comprehensive plan.

The first place I suggest you start in putting a marketing plan together is picking a market segment or two in which to focus your energies. Segmentation is the most fundamental of marketing concepts. To quote marketing guru Theodore Levitt, “If you’re not talking segments, you’re not talking marketing”. Furthermore, there has never been a greater need for effective segmentation, due to several factors:

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10 Steps to Reversing Horrifying Negative Online Reviews

Have a few unhappy customers who made it their business to burn you through website or social media complaints? Here’s how you can turn around your online reputation. Guest post by Kate Zabriskie

“The worst customer service experience ever! The plumber arrived an hour late for the appointment and was surly. Stay away!!!”

“If you are offered a job at this place, run! Do not walk to the nearest exit. This company is an asylum. I have never worked with a more dysfunctional group of people in my life.”

Ouch! Those hurt.

And there it is, in black and white for anyone and everyone to see: what someone thinks of your product, your service, or your organization. Bad reviews can bite, wound and sting. Worst of all, a mountain of them can appear in a matter of seconds. Social media: It’s a wonderful thing, until it turns against you.
So, what’s a person to do when his or her online reputation is suffering at the hands of others? Plenty.

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Are Business Plans a Waste of Time?

As a business advisor it may seem strange that I should ask that question at all.  Don’t all advisors/mentors/coaches stress the need to have a business plan and say things like, “fail to plan is a plan to fail”? 

In my opinion it comes down to the type of business plan that is produced and the length of time it takes to produce it.  Many business plans ARE a waste of time because they are too wordy, too “corporate”, don’t motivate staff and are not connected to the day-to-day operations of the business.  I read an article recently on writing a business plan (unfortunately I can’t remember where) and it said that a business plan could take between 400 and 500 hours to produce.  ARE YOU KIDDING!  Who in small business ownership world has a spare 500 hours to produce a business plan, and probably one that no one will look at again for another year! That would be a huge waste of time.

What is of real value is the planning PROCESS involved in putting a business plan together. Here’s how….

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Selling against cheaper competitors

Bumping up against a cheaper competitor, especially in tighter economic times, is a fact of life. Hoping it won’t happen isn’t a good strategy to deal with the problem. What you need to do is take proactive steps to differentiate your business in the minds of the customer, because if you can’t express logical reasons why your offer is better, the customer only has one point of differentiation to guide them…..the price.

The key to doing that is making certain that the customer — not your service or company — is the core of all your sales messages and make sure that there are financial proof-points. Here’s what you do:

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Take Control of Your Future

As you get back into work post lockdown and focus on catching up lost ground, I would encourage you not to just go back to the day-to-day mentality and assume that things will continue as they currently are. With a potentially severe recession ahead, just continuing to do the types of things you have been doing around business strategy could mean you become dragged down by the negative market forces.

In the chart above there are generally three future scenarios that could play out for you, determined largely by the type of actions that you take now and over the next few months. I have put down a future time line to measure possible results of 18 months. It’s a bit arbitrary on my part and you may feel the measuring post should sit at 12 months, or something else. In the end it’s not critical where we put the line; what is important is to look at the pathway towards it and which one do you want to be on.

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Insurance 101 for Tradies

At Builtin we deal with thousands of tradies up and down the country, so we know insurance isn’t anybody’s favourite topic! While it’s not something you want to think about, it is something you need to have, and need to have properly arranged.  Having to replace an expensive asset that’s been stolen or damaged, or getting tied up in an expensive liability issue can hammer a small business, not only financially, but they can take an emotional toll on the contractor and their family too.

For larger firms their exposure to risk is greater, as is their capacity to manage it. For company managers and directors, getting the right professional advice and having good risk management practices in place, including insurance cover, is a critical (and legal) duty.

Most of our customers want what we call the “Goldilocks Package”: not too little, but not too much. That’s what we help our customers with every day.

In this article we share some basic risk management questions, as well as the headlines of the key policies contractors need to consider. What you need will vary according to your specific operations and business set up, but this should serve as a good overview to get you started.

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Should You Play Offensive or Defensive Right Now?

In rugby, like most team sports, the coach has a basic decision to make when deciding how to play against a certain opposition. Do we play a defensive strategy, or an offensive one? The same applies in business, and especially now as we enter into this recession. Should you go conservative, or go for growth?

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