How To vs What If

humanbody design1Technology changes quickly but people don’t. No matter whether you’re designing a Facebook ad, infographic or a website; your design will either serve to hinder or benefit your audience. By understanding the people you aim to serve, you can create a better experience for them and a more profitable one for your business.

Here are some things to think about:

smes growth1Did you know that there are more than 2.1 million SMEs registered in Australia? Unfortunately, according to the Banjo Small Business Finance Study, 27% state ‘availability of funding’ as a major concern. And the government are beginning to cotton on, too. Small business commissioner Mark Brennan believes that accessing adequate finance is “a major barrier to most businesses in Australia.” In his experience, businesses are often forced to borrow against personal assets, using credit cards, and even sourcing money from family and friends.

But growth finance has changed dramatically in the past decade, and it’s still changing. Here we look at the impact of growth finance on SMEs, including non-standard corporate finance techniques, and the realities of finding financial support post-GFC.

Office GemmaReevesYour startup company surely can’t remain a startup forever - unless you intend it to stay that way. As you refine, develop and market your product and services, you’ll be needing more resources, partners and employees to carry out the day to day operations of the company.

Growth is a good thing for startups, but it also means a growing set of tasks and responsibilities. And it also means you need to accommodate a growing number of employees that can competently perform the necessary tasks to achieve growing targets and company goals.

pres skills Oct17Do you like presenting? Maybe the more important question is, are you any good at it?

Presenting, in its simplest form, is the sharing of an idea or thought to one or more people. It can be done in any context, whether to your friends, classmates or colleagues; when you are discussing an idea, making a case or providing information, you are presenting.

Being able to present a clear, persuasive story through presentations has fast become a fundamental requirement in the workplace. In fact presentation skills have a role to play in almost every job there is. If presentations aren’t delivered well; managers fail to inspire their employees; sales aren’t made; entrepreneurs don’t get funded; ideas don’t get shared and progress is halted.

JasonPerelson2According to Jason Perelson, Creative Director at Zoo Group, in a traditional advertising agency the stereotype of a Creative Director has always been the guy who wears converse sneakers and graphic t-shirts, sits on a bean bag and thinks of cool ideas all day.

However, that’s changed over the last couple of years and its going to change exponentially going forward. Creative Directors are less and less likely to be the person sitting in a back room thinking of how you can change the world with a cool slogan but rather the strategic thinkers and client service and implementation people.

1225 zoo LOWRES 025 smlThere are so many definitions of ‘brand’ out there, that it makes it very hard to know where to start developing one – so we go for the obvious – the logo.

“Many of the startups and early stage businesses we see have a very simplistic view of branding,” says Lorinda Wyatt, Managing Director of creative consultancy, Zoo Group in Canberra.

“The perception is that once they have a logo and website they can tick branding off their ‘to-do’ list”.

It’s important to remember though that branding is about relationships. If you think this refers to your customer’s relationship with your brand and how you create and manage it, you’ve missed half the story. The relationship is the brand! Everything you do and don’t do forms this relationship.

eye tracking 1791845 640A few successful Australian businesses have cracked the code of how to manage an effective distributed team.

I heard from several Australian businesses recently about how they make their distributed teams an asset to their business. They talked firstly about why they chose the distributed team model.

Quiip is one of the leading community management service providers nationally. They offer a 24/7 service, enabled by a global workforce. Julie Delaforce, General Manager at Quiip talks about why a distributed workforce makes sense for Quiip in the video above.

office 1209640 1280 smlIn New Zealand recently we were hit with a 7.8 earthquake that rocked Wellington city to such an extent that 11% of the buildings in the CBD were affected. Many of them closed for business.

That left teams working from home or scrambling to find new locations to work. Teams weren’t prepared to be working as distributed teams, with all the new challenges that brings.

At Transformed Teams, we partnered with the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agencyto provide free support to local business leaders and managers dealing with the earthquake crisis.

sunflower 1127174 640Growing an amazing business requires strategy and breakthrough thinking. In this article we propose an approach you may not have thought of.

For many small businesses seeking growth, there are essential elements required for your growth strategy.

Whilst it is important to have a good understanding of your current state – ‘where are we now?’ – and your desired state – ‘where are we going? -’ having clear objectives is not enough.

felix webb photoEntrepreneurs are creative people. It doesn’t take much inspiration for them to hatch an idea. But the process of transforming an idea into a concept and then reality requires capital. Oftentimes, the lack of a budget in a startup can stymie the development of an idea even before it can get off the ground.

A budget is an allocation of available capital to fund a specific purpose. In a startup, a budget is needed as early as the pre- operating stages. But your budget should also cover capital investments, contingencies and working capital for at least 6 months.

Most startups are small business concepts that have limited capital or access to funds. A startup’s money management approach will determine how far it will go while the business is trying to bring in much- needed revenues.

 

wisdom3 smlIn the third part of our three-part series with the business partners, Rod Hattch and Jana Clyde from Wisdom Learning, we are discussing the role of training organisations in preparing employees for the changing nature of work in the 21st Century.

Wisdom is a Canberra-based Registered Training Organisation recently recognised as the ‘2016 Service Champion – Small Business’ at the, Customer Service Institute of Australia’s, Service Excellence Awards held in Melbourne.

wisdom smlWe spoke to Rod Hattch and Jana Clyde from Wisdom Learning, a Canberra-based Registered Training Organisation. Wisdom was recently recognised as the ‘2016 Service Champion – Small Business’ at the, Customer Service Institute of Australia’s, Service Excellence Awards held in Melbourne.

Since commencing operation in 2002, Wisdom has been widely recognised in education and business. We were particularly interested in finding out how they use small innovations to create the ‘Wisdom Experience’, something anyone who has ever attended a Wisdom training course will recognise.

In this first part of our three part series we talk to Rod and his new business partner Jana about how they have gone about creating a strong brand with a real focus on customer service.

wisdom2 smlIn the second part of our three-part series with the business partners, Rod Hattch and Jana Clyde from Wisdom Learning, we are discussing how they keep their brand fresh. Wisdom is a Canberra-based Registered Training Organisation recently recognised as the ‘2016 Service Champion – Small Business’ at the, Customer Service Institute of Australia’s, Service Excellence Awards held in Melbourne.

office 583841 1280Business owners in Australia continue to find innovative ways to do business with a distributed workforce.

One of the most powerful objections to remote working and distributed workforces centres around productivity: ‘How will I know my staff are getting their work done effectively?’

This is a fundamental question, probing at the heart of what it means to work: to achieve outcomes.

It is completely feasible to envisage all kinds of problems when people don’t do their work. Team dynamics could suffer. Dollars spent on staff hours might be wasted. The capacity of the business or organisation to serve its clients or stakeholders could be severely compromised.