How to build a company culture where everyone likes to sell

all employees enjoying selling

The saying goes we hate to be sold but love to buy. However, the same can be said for how people feel about being involved in selling. We all love to help people buy but only a few feel comfortable with being seen to sell to someone.

In the past, this worked well, as the “sales” team were primarily responsible for doing the legwork knocking on doors and finding people to sell to. The trade-off for the company culture was that some individuals in the sales team then behaved like minor gods expecting all to fall before them. (more…)

Improve your business profitability with the 3C approach to employees

I should put on the invoice

Can you say that you and the people in your business form a dynamic team?

When geese fly in V formation, I see a dynamic team at work. This level of cooperation benefits each goose and the overall team. They reach their destination quicker and use far less energy.

Let me share an effective approach for translating this into the small business environment – the V is a great example of employee engagement. (more…)

SME Secret Weapons – How Smaller Businesses Can Take On and Beat Bigger Competitors

how small business beat big business

In its 50 years, business book publisher Kogan Page has remained buoyant in a sector that is dominated by much larger companies.

The fact that its business is still prospering is testament to a few basic concepts that are as true today as when the company started in 1967. We asked Managing Director, Helen Kogan to share her experiences of how a smaller business can gain competitive advantage over bigger, dominant competitors. (more…)

How to futureproof your business

FutureProof - How to get your business ready for the next disruption

There’s never been a more exciting time to be an entrepreneur, the amount of new options and opportunities can also feel overwhelming.

Moreover, your customer has become ever more fickle and mistrustful of how companies operate and what they promise.

So how do you futureproof your business in the face of so many choices and a changing landscape? (more…)

How to improve your company culture to attract, and keep, the best employees

how to improve your company culture to foster a happier, more positive and productive workplace

Improving company culture is at the top of the agenda for most modern day businesses, as more employers are coming to appreciate the role it plays in attracting prospective employees.

However it is not as simple as placing a ping-pong table in the staff room; a company culture needs to be fostered over time. To foster a better culture businesses need to take a multifaceted approach that demonstrates genuine commitment to equality, transparency and valuing employees. (more…)

How to help more of your employees to stay in the company pension scheme

helping employees stay in auto enrolment company pension

Workplace pensions are a legal requirement for all UK businesses no matter how small. Since 2012 more than 8 million people have been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension by their employer.

With auto enrolment contribution levels set to rise on 6 April 2018, it’s more important than ever that small businesses improve pension awareness to prevent employees opting out of the company pension scheme. To help you do this, we asked Steve Butler, CEO, Punter Southall Aspire to reveal his tips on how you can help ensure how your staff continue to save for their retirement. (more…)

The power of ‘Thank You’ – Why acknowledging success breeds success

How saying Thank You can help you grow your business

Starting a business often consists of putting out fires. Despite all the planning and contingency scenarios, you may have drawn up in preparation, you usually have to rectify things that have gone wrong before you can focus on what’s right.

As you move past the start-up phase, you’ll want to flip that equation. Then, as you begin to identify what’s working well, look at the people on your team who are getting that good work done – and thank them for it. (more…)

How to create a company culture ready for change

getting your business ready for change

Change is constant in business and rapid technological advances are forcing companies to make significant changes. And frequently these changes need to be implemented rapidly.

Being able to swiftly adapt to new developments can be the difference between thriving and surviving, so we asked change implementation specialist, Philip Cox-Hynd, to outline how you can forge a company culture that embraces change.

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Having Fun at Work – Is it Something Your Business Should be Aiming For?

Having a fun workplace - advice and tips

What constitutes ‘fun’ at work, and why is ‘fun’ in the workplace deemed essential anyway? And more crucially for business owners, does having a fun workplace bring real benefits to the business?

We asked change consultant, Philip Cox-Hynd to share his experience and reveal the 9 Do’s and Don’ts of building an open and honest work culture where employees feel valued and engaged. (more…)

Motivating Employees: How to Energise Your People to Achieve Great Things

finding emotional trigger to boost employee performance

Your people are one of the most powerful forces available to you in realising your goals and ambitions, and the way you culturally think about your people strategy is critical to your commercial and business success.

Getting the most out of your team is pivotal to a thriving business, so motivating your employees isn’t an optional extra.

The key to really energising your staff is finding their motivational triggers. Best-selling author, Royston Guest, explains how you can do this.

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Why recognition and reward matters for small businesses

reward employees

Every business, regardless of size, scale or industry wants to get the best from its people. When people work hard, it logically follows that output goes up.

The idea of achieving that through incentives is not a new one, but from the outside, it seems that a defined recognition and reward program is reserved for big business.

Smaller businesses just don’t have the time or resources to invest in developing something as grandiose as this and, when the focus needs to be on sustaining the business day-to-day to protect the jobs for everyone involved, it certainly doesn’t look like a business priority.

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How a social conscience can help small businesses attract the people they need

attracting motivating and retaining millennials

By 2020, millennials will comprise more than 50% of the total workforce, according to PwC.

This generation is radically different to any other, with new tastes, preferences, and expectations – and we’re not just talking about selfies.

With millennials shortly to make up the majority of the UK’s workforce, businesses need to understand what motivates and drives this generation when it comes to work and their career. So how can small businesses attract and retain millennials? (more…)

How to increase productivity and positivity with an employee engagement scheme

It has been proven that the happiness of your employees can have a huge impact on their productivity. In fact, job satisfaction can lead to your workers being 12% more productive, according to a study carried out by the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick.

One of the best ways to increase happiness and morale throughout your business is by implementing an employee engagement scheme.

Here, Steve King, Director of Gifts International, explains how you can help your staff to be happier and more productive with an employee engagement scheme.

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Why you must build on your strengths, NOT focus on trying to fix weaknesses

Positive Leader

Business owners and leaders looking to get the best out of themselves and their team will frequently spend a lot of time and effort searching for, and trying to improve on their weaknesses.

However, this is a completely counter-productive approach that can lower employee engagement and ultimately damage a business’ chance of success.

Here Jan Mühlfeit, Former Chairman of Microsoft Europe and author of The Positive Leader: How Energy and Happiness Fuel Top-Performing Teams explains why business leaders and owners need to stop focussing on fixing weaknesses; (more…)

How to hold a productive meeting – it’s time to get moving

We’ve all been in business meetings where we’re clock watching and wondering how long it will go on for, worrying about our to-do lists which are not getting any shorter. This is especially true in start-ups, where time is especially precious for everybody in a small team..

When it comes to meetings, especially internal ones, it can be difficult to enforce the discipline needed to get the most out of them. This includes starting and finishing on time and sticking to the agenda. Meetings should have a purpose and a definite outcome, otherwise they can be an unproductive use of time for all involved.

What’s more, poor meetings aren’t only wasting our valuable time, they are also having an impact upon our bodies. Research has shown that spending long hours sitting down can play a significant role in the development of chronic diseases, so it’s imperative that you, as an employer, implement changes to protect the health, wellbeing and productivity of your employees.

It’s time to transform the standard routine and be more creative and active with work meetings, not only to breathe more life into them, but reinvigorate your colleagues too. Here’s how you can achieve more from meetings, eliminate wasted time, improve your health and potentially have some fun in the process: (more…)

Why the best leaders do less

Stop Doing Start Leading

How do you describe yourself? Are you an entrepreneur, a technical expert, someone who is good at a specific task or a manager? Or are you a leader?

Whether you describe yourself as a leader or not, the chances are that your business needs you to show leadership at every stage of its development. So how do you successfully lead your business?

Here’s why great leaders do less, and the 6 key steps you need to take to transform yourself into a brilliant business leader; (more…)

What is workplace diversity, why is it important, and what are the benefits to businesses?

Workplace diversity is a term which relates to the people who work for an organisation. It is often spoken about with reference to equal opportunities, and the two are intrinsically linked, but have varying perspectives.

Providing equal opportunities means ensuring that no individual is treated less favourably on the basis of who they are – that all decisions taken in relation to them are based on fact and merit alone.

So what are the benefits of workplace diversity to a small business and how can you achieve it? This guide provides you with the necessary advice. (more…)

How to Design an Effective Incentive Scheme for Your Small Business

staff incentive scheme

An effective incentive scheme is an important way for small businesses to motivate their staff in order to improve performance and boost profits. Responding to incentives is part of human nature and employees like (and deserve) to be rewarded for their hard work.

For startups and small businesses who have a limited budget, designing a staff incentive scheme can seem like a real challenge. But you don’t need company cars and large annual bonuses to design an incentive scheme that has a positive impact in your workplace. Here’s how to create an incentive scheme that really works for your staff and your small business;

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Leaders tell people what to do – don’t they?

As a leader, it’s your job to decide what kind of behaviour you would like in your organisation. But, how do you find your own style as a leader and set the tone for everybody who works with you?

Here, Kate Mercer, author of ‘A Buzz in the Building – how to build and lead a brilliant organisation’, looks at different styles of business leaders and explores the concept of partnership at work as a guiding principle…

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Why a healthier workplace is good for a small business, and simple ways to achieve it

Small businesses and start-ups are particularly vulnerable to staff health issues. If you’re a small business of five staff when suddenly one of the team is off sick with a chronic back complaint, then the business is trying to operate with only 80% of the workforce.

The increased workload this pushes on to other staff can soon create problems. The extra pressure can cause mistakes to be made, customers to be lost and staff to become stressed and a booming business can rapidly spiral into decline.

While it may not be top priority, there are several common sense health and wellbeing steps that will not only protect your small business but also pay significant dividends over time. If your staff are healthier, they’re going to have fewer days of sick leave and you could also see a boost in productivity.

With the value of workplace health being increasingly recognised, we asked Rosie Bambury of the Better Health at Work Alliance, to explain how small businesses can benefit from a bigger focus on employee health.

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Why business owners must embrace co-creation to create real value in their business

Co-creation is the joining together of people to produce a mutually valued outcome.

In business, it is the cultivation of win-win solutions where efficiency, success, and staff fulfilment march hand in hand. Co-creation brings many benefits to businesses, such as;

  • Team members feel respected and honoured, and they know their contributions make a difference.
  • Job satisfaction and creativity is ignited, there is a positive flow of ideas, and problems get solved in surprisingly simple and practical ways.
  • Staff remain loyal and stay longer because they love what they do.

For the entrepreneur, co-creation can be a challenge, a real anathema. The building of a business demands resolve and determination to push through ideas in the face of disbelief and scepticism.

For business owners who have honed such skills, co-creation may not come naturally. They struggle to let go of being in charge, and risk blocking further evolution of the business. Maybe this is due to a subconscious belief that no one can do the job as well as them – or indeed, a dread that others may do it better.

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What every business owner needs to know about stress

People who run their own business have a multitude of priorities to contend with every day. When you’re in the thick of it, it can be easy to lose sight of the simple truth that the people you depend upon for your business’ success are, like you, only human. But they are, and it’s well worth taking a proactive approach to safeguarding their psychological wellbeing. It’s good business.

There are stressful times in virtually every business, and we all know it’s virtually impossible to run a business and not get stressed at all. However, too much stress is bad for us.

And for business owners it can be a double-whammy. It can cause more significant mental health problems for you as an individual and also affect your ability to successfully manage and run your business.

To help business owners understand more about stress, how to spot the symptoms and how to tackle it, we asked Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services, AXA PPP healthcare to share some of his knowledge and advice on the subject with ByteStart; (more…)

Team Building – The best way to train your staff to really work as a team

Who do you call if a pipe is leaking? A plumber, right? You don’t call an electrician. And when he turns up, you don’t expect him to build a hypothetical model of the structure of your pipework and work on that, leaving you to sort out the actual problem yourself. You expect him to get stuck in and repair the pipe – don’t you?

Yet this is exactly what business owners often do when tackling the issue of building their teams. (more…)

Why “Change Management” is the most overlooked driver for executive success

Uber has a new logo. And many people don’t like it. There are things we don’t mind changing – seasons, governments, underpants – but most of the time, most of us resist change.

For every innovation, from skinny jeans to a black Bond, there are plenty of us instinctively asking why? Why change? Why do the bus timetables have to change? Why do we need another damned software upgrade? Why can’t fat-free yogurt and smoothies still be good for us?

The questions may vary, but the subtext is constant: Why can’t things stay familiar, and safe? (more…)

5 Ways you could be stifling staff, and 5 Steps to harnessing their full potential

It can be exasperating when staff don’t use their initiative, or they go about solving problems in a seemingly baffling way, but often workers donning their stupid hats as they clock-in can be because of how you act as their boss.

If you regularly find yourself cursing the stupidity of your employees, then you really need to take a look in the mirror because your actions and behaviour could well be the root cause of this. To help you understand more about how you could be inadvertently stifling your workforce, let’s look at five common reasons for staff not fulfilling their potential; (more…)

7 Common reasons why employees resist change and how to encourage them to embrace new developments

Resistance to change can be a major challenge to any new initiatives you might want to implement in your business.

Most business owners will be able to identify some employees that prefer the status quo and find new developments difficult to embrace. But before we think about how we can overcome this resistance, we need to properly understand why people resist change.

Here are 7 common reasons why people resist change, and how you can overcome each in turn, to ensure that your staff tackle changes and new developments with a positive attitude;

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4 Steps to building your business by hiring ‘ugly ducklings’

Recruitment can be a tricky process for any business. Figuring out where to source candidates, considering what to include in the job ad, and trying to decide what salary bracket should be offered can make the process more delicate than you may initially think.

Here, Shweta Jhajharia, of The London Coaching Group takes a fresh approach to recruiting for your small business. It’s counter-intuitive, but she reveals how advertising a job with a lower salary can actually attract more applicants for your vacancies, and how you can use this approach to attract high-potential, ‘ugly ducklings’ to your team. (more…)

The real cost of taking on your first employee

Taking on your first employee should be an exciting time. It means your business idea is working and you need help to expand. But while employees will help your business grow, they will also bring new stresses you may not have encountered before.

When you are employing new staff, there are all sorts of costs that you must take into account. Plus the way your business runs with just you and any business partner, may not continue to be appropriate when employees are on board.

This guide will help you identify the true costs of an employee, and build a plan to manage the impact on your business. (more…)

How firing under-performing staff can be the kindest thing to do

If Alexander Armstrong gave 100 business owners 100 seconds to name words describing the kind of boss they are, the chances are, “cruel” would be a pointless answer.

But some of the 100 would be wrong. Why? Because many well-intentioned business owners continue to employ some members of staff who, because of their results and/or attitude, quite simply shouldn’t be there.

Here, HR expert and author of Fire Well, Sue Ingram, explains to ByteStart how a small business owner should deal with problem staff and how letting an employee go, can be the most considerate action an employer can take;

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Start up by listening your way to a better business

Employers and employees talking to each other is a good thing… right? Of course it is, but only if they’re actually listening. Key to the success of any start-up is effective communication between everybody in your team. But that means more than merely ensuring that all your staff know what’s required of them.

An employee can often feel their role is that of a worker bee, and all that’s asked of them is to get on with it. While this relationship can work to an extent, it usually results in frustrated staff because they know the business and can see how to improve aspects of their work, but there’s no outlet for them to share their unique understanding, insights and ideas.

So, if you’re starting a business, (or running an existing business), and want to harness the full talents of all your staff, you need to learn to listen actively.

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Are you relieved when a staff member goes on holiday?

When a member of your staff takes a holiday, do you feel like you’re the one having a break? While they’re away, does your time at work feel less stressed? Do things run more smoothly? Is being at work just more enjoyable? And does the workplace in general seem lighter? Do the people around you seem more contented, even though they’re taking on the workload of their vacationing associate?

Yes?

That can’t be right.

Well it’s not. And you need to do something about it. Otherwise, you’re effectively paying someone to sabotage your business. But how do you fix it? (more…)

5 tips to help you create a great team at your start-up

It is often noted that a business is nothing without its people, but how do small business leaders create a winning team when their time and resources are often taken up with getting the business up and running?

The key is to remember that a great team with an average plan will be far more successful than an average team with a great plan. A great team is one that shares a common goal, its members are engaged and work within an environment of support and trust. Employees who are engaged and feel supported are more likely to be loyal and motivated. (more…)

How businesses can encourage a healthy work/life balance and benefit from more engaged and productive employees

Working is a balancing act. Whether its deadlines or internal demands, we all have plates to spin. This is particularly so in small businesses where there are fewer resources to draw on when the pressure is on.

Being busy at work is the norm for most of us, and often leads to an imbalance between work and life. Letting this equilibrium tip more towards work is not good for our wellbeing and can have negative effects on health and performance at work.

With recent news reporting that 40% of employees are suffering from “brownout”, a milder form of burnout, and are consequently disengaged and demotivated at work, businesses need to think how they can get the best out of employees, including allowing them to re-energise themselves. (more…)

Team reboot: How to achieve employee engagement

One of the big problems for businesses today is that fewer than 20% of employees are fully engaged at work. This is, of course, a huge waste; for the individual, the team and the company.

As a company, you pay for 100% of employees agreed work time. If your employees are not fully engaged, this means you are only getting a small part of their paid-for capability – and they are not fully valuing their own time.

So how can you improve employee engagement in your business and what benefits will it bring?
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