Running a Business
7 Ways a Growing Business Can Save Money
Growing a business is every entrepreneur’s aim, but it takes money and time. As the business grows, so too do the associated costs. In the long run, those costs can be limiting factors for further growth, holding you back. Keeping costs under control is essential, and never more so than when a small business is transforming into something much larger.
#1 Consider home working
Basing employees in the office seems like the traditional way to run a business, but the coronavirus pandemic changed everything. By forcing so many to work from home, it exposed the fact that home work is not only feasible but, in many cases, actually preferable to working in the office. Employees generally appreciated the freedom of working from home and, although some missed the office environment, the change was generally well-received. The advantages for employers are even more profound. More people working from home means a smaller office space. Downscaling means savings, and some businesses might even be able to go fully remote, dispensing with physical premises altogether. It’s a big step, but rent, energy, and cleaning bills are just some of the savings to be had in this area. Businesses continue to find creative and innovative ways to implement ‘the new normal’, so home working is nothing to be feared.
#2 Make the most of free advertising
As your business grows, it can be tempting to throw more and more cash at advertising. Marketing is certainly important, and it will definitely help you to grow, but too many businesses neglect free advertising. Social media is vitally important. Simply maintaining a social media presence across multiple platforms counts as marketing. Sharing images and communicating with your followers regularly is marketing at its purest. Both of these things are free. Although social networks like Facebook and Instagram have been gradually shrinking organic reach in favor of paid adverts, there’s still plenty of engagement to be extracted without spending a cent. Following the basic rules of social media, including regular posts, always answering messages, using hashtags correctly, and networking with other profiles, will grow your audience and boost your reach. That’s all free advertising and means that you can spend your budget elsewhere.
#3 Keep utilities under control
Energy and water costs will start to bite as your business grows. That’s especially true if you move to bigger premises, but even hiring one or two additional employees will push costs up. Worse still, most businesses take little or no action in this area and remain trapped on expensive rollover contracts. Energy and utility companies save their best prices for newer customers. Rather than rewarding loyalty, they bundle their long-term clients onto automatically renewing contracts that cost much more. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to switch suppliers and ensure that you always receive the best rate. A business water comparison tool like https://www.businesswaterquotes.co.uk/ makes switching easy, and you’ll even have the option to undertake a water audit. The same applies to gas and electricity. Switch regularly, take advantage of new offers, and avoid those costly rollover contracts.
#4 Develop employees in house
A more nuanced approach to saving money, hiring less experienced staff is nonetheless a useful way to cut costs. Hiring based on enthusiasm rather than a CV will often mean that you can pay a lower rate while developing the individual on the job. Employees with lengthy CVs and a world of experience demand higher salaries and aren’t always the best option anyway. Gauge enthusiasm during the interview. If the candidate understands the vision of the company, is keen to work hard, and shows a genuine interest in development, then they’re ideal. You’ll be able to scale their salary as they develop, but being able to start smaller gives you more freedom and flexibility. It also makes a growing business feel more like a family as everybody embarks on the same journey.
#5 Choose open source software
Regardless of the type of business that you’re running, software probably accounts for a huge portion of your budget. Software isn’t cheap and, if you’re on a subscription model, costs might be recurring. Open source is an alternative. It’s completely free and totally accessible. Don’t go for expensive software simply because of prestige. Open source has advanced a great deal over the years, and some offerings are genuinely better than their paid alternatives. The open nature of this software also means that help is more readily available. You’ll be able to find ample support on dedicated forums across the web.
#6 Minimize telephone use
Surprising as it seems, some businesses still spend far more on telephone bills than they really need to. The majority of telephone calls can easily be replaced with emails. Anything more complex can be done over video chat. International calls are even worse and should be avoided where possible. Skype is a good alternative to calling internationally, and video conferencing software is currently undergoing a pandemic-related boom. Telephone calls are likely to diminish in significance in the future, so start developing an alternative infrastructure and saving money now. Clients might initially reach out to you by phone (so it’s always worth maintaining a landline) but shift the conversation to another medium at the first possible opportunity.
#7 And finally…implement a suggestion box!
Suggestions boxes are a fantastic addition to any workplace. On a basic level, they make employees feel more valued by suggesting that their ideas are worth something. They also give the workforce a stake in the future of the company by letting them make suggestions on its direction and vision. More tangibly, suggestion boxes can also turn up some wonderful cost-cutting measures. Employees likely have a better idea than you of where savings can be made. They work for the company and see things at ground level rather than from an overhead perspective. That makes their insight invaluable. Suggestion boxes are free and don’t take any effort on your behalf, so there really is no reason not to install one!
Want to Succeed as an Entrepreneur? 14 Traits to Cultivate Now
If you had to choose one trait that you believed was the most necessary in order to succeed as an entrepreneur, what would it be and why? How can aspiring entrepreneurs cultivate it?
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.
1. The Ability to Problem-Solve
The one trait I would say is the most important to entrepreneurs is the ability to creatively problem-solve. Sometimes, solutions to business problems aren’t obvious and you have to find an out-of-the-box solution. That can be a real challenge because most people are taught to color within the lines.
– Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure
You need courage, resolve and strength of character to withstand the ebbs, flows and failures that lead to successful business. The best way to get this is through experience. I’ve seen a lot of young entrepreneurs with more grit than their older counterparts, especially when they had customer service jobs and worked their way up the ladder to experience different seats in the company.
– Givelle Lamano, Oakland DUI Attorneys
One of the most essential traits an entrepreneur can possess is flexibility. You need to be able to change your approach in response to market conditions, customer feedback and what any partners or investors want at any given time. Being flexible also means looking at “failure” as a signal to make changes rather than as a permanent obstacle.
Aspiring entrepreneurs should be fearless. It’s fear that often prevents you from grabbing new opportunities, as new entrepreneurs are unable to decide what’s best for them or how a particular decision would affect them. Well, you won’t know unless you try. So, be quick with your decisions. Preparedness is great and all, but if you’re afraid to make a move, someone else will — and will likely succeed.
– Chris Klosowski, Easy Digital Downloads
To be successful as an entrepreneur, you need to focus on developing your social skills. When you have strong social skills, it becomes easier for you to build strong relationships with your customers, investors or anyone you think is important to your business. Good social skills make you a better communicator and help you make others feel secure so they connect with you on a deeper level.
One trait you need to succeed as an entrepreneur is determination. You’ll encounter people who don’t like your idea. There will be times when clients or investors reject you. Your first project idea may never see the light of day. You need to have the drive to move past these unfortunate situations if you want to find success.
Decisiveness is the main trait any successful entrepreneur needs to cultivate. From making decisions about the budget or day-to-day communication, maintaining the ability to decide and decide quickly remains imperative. I use mental models like Occam’s razor to run my life. For example, when presented with two options, I choose the simplest and I get a lot of significant work done.
– Libby Rothschild, Dietitian Boss
8. A Realistic Mindset
Be realistic! An entrepreneur’s career is full of ups and downs, which are part of the learning process — and that’s a fact. Keeping your feet on the ground will save you much frustration when things don’t go the way you want. Instead, learn your lessons and keep moving. This will also help you to consider and prepare for multiple scenarios while adjusting along the way.
In order to be an entrepreneur, you must have some moxie. Being outspoken, direct, resilient and having the ability to persevere is something that most entrepreneurs have in common. You have moxie if you can get up after failing. Aspiring entrepreneurs can cultivate it by focusing on confidence. Stand up for what you believe in and don’t let others’ opinions or perceptions get in your way.
– Jennifer A Barnes, Optima Office, Inc.
10. The Ability to Follow Long-Term Plans
The ability to follow and execute on a long-term plan — meaning multiple years — without being sidetracked by mirages along the way or discouraged by inevitable ups and downs is so important. This requires you to learn multiple skills, including attention to detail, deep work and strategic vision (as opposed to tunnel vision, which trips up many entrepreneurs).
– Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
11. A Willingness to Keep Learning
If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you should have an open mind toward learning. It’s important for you to realize that learning is an ongoing process. It can help you develop new skills that in turn can help you stay ahead of your competitors at all times.
– Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
12. A Self-Reflective Mind
One trait that can help aspiring entrepreneurs succeed is self-reflection. Embracing your mistakes and learning from them is the only way an entrepreneur can grow and be better than ever before. However, one can’t cultivate this skill by enrolling in a particular program. You have to have an open mind, give yourself the freedom to make mistakes and foster the courage to learn from them.
– Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
Resilience is one of the most important traits you can develop as an entrepreneur. The journey is going to have high highs and low lows, and it will be your ability to push through and persevere during this time that will be the difference between success and failure. To develop resilience, develop a positive mindset, build a strong support system, understand your purpose and look after yourself.
– Zane Stevens, Protea Financial
14. The Ability to Thrive on Ambiguity
The cornerstone of entrepreneurial success is in the ability to accept and thrive on ambiguity. I have found that navigating the unpredictable landscape of business ventures requires you to possess a flexible mindset that can accommodate constant change and capitalize on emerging opportunities. Always stay updated with the latest developments and treat every change as an opportunity to grow.
The Art of Risk-Taking: Lessons from Successful Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurship is a high-risk endeavor. Starting a new business takes bravery, resilience, and a willingness to accept risks. Many successful entrepreneurs attribute their success to calculated risks and pushing themselves outside their comfort zones.
In this article, we will explore the art of risk-taking and the lessons we can learn from successful entrepreneurs.
1. Understand the Importance of Risk-Taking
Taking risks is an essential component of entrepreneurship. It is tough to develop and produce anything new without taking risks. Risk-taking is necessary for growth and progress, as successful entrepreneurs recognize. They also recognize that not every risk will pay off, but the potential rewards make the effort worthwhile.
2. Do Your Research
Before taking any risks, it is important to do your research. Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of gathering as much information as possible before making a decision. This includes researching the market, competition, and potential customers. By doing your research, you can make informed decisions and minimize your risks.
3. Network Effectively
Networking is an essential part of entrepreneurship. Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of building relationships with potential investors, customers, and other entrepreneurs. They attend events and conferences, participate in industry groups, and use social media to expand their network and create new opportunities.
4. Stay Committed
Entrepreneurship is a long and challenging journey. Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of staying committed to their goals and vision, even when faced with obstacles and setbacks. They stay focused on their end goal and are willing to put in the time and effort necessary to achieve it.
5. Collaborate with Others
Entrepreneurship is often a team effort. Successful entrepreneurs understand the value of collaborating with others and building strong partnerships. They seek out individuals who bring complementary skills and expertise to the table and work together to achieve a shared vision.
6. Surround Yourself with Supportive People
Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey. It is important to surround yourself with supportive people who believe in you and your vision. Successful entrepreneurs understand the value of having a support system and seek out mentors, advisors, and other entrepreneurs who can offer guidance and encouragement.
7. Set Realistic Goals
Taking risks is essential for entrepreneurship, but it is important to set realistic goals. Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of setting achievable goals and breaking them down into smaller, more manageable steps. By setting realistic goals, entrepreneurs can reduce the risk of failure and stay motivated throughout the journey.
8. Stay Flexible
Entrepreneurship is a constantly evolving journey. Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of staying flexible and adapting to changing circumstances. They are open to new ideas and are willing to pivot when necessary to stay ahead of the curve.
9. Learn from Feedback
Feedback is a valuable tool for entrepreneurs. Successful entrepreneurs seek out feedback from customers, mentors, and advisors and use it to refine their ideas and improve their products or services. They understand that feedback is not a personal attack, but rather an opportunity to grow and improve.
10. Take Care of Yourself
Entrepreneurship can be a stressful and demanding journey. It is important to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. Successful entrepreneurs prioritize their health and well-being and make time for self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, and spending time with loved ones. By taking care of themselves, entrepreneurs can stay energized and focused throughout their entrepreneurial journey.
11. Take Action
Successful entrepreneurs do not let fear hold them back. They take action and move forward, even when they are unsure of the outcome. They understand that taking action is the only way to achieve their goals and make their vision a reality.
12. Take Calculated Risks
While taking risks is important, successful entrepreneurs also know the importance of taking calculated risks. They carefully assess the potential risks and rewards before making a decision, and have a backup plan in case things don’t go as expected.
13. Trust Your Gut
While research is important, successful entrepreneurs also trust their gut instincts. They understand that sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and trust your intuition. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, once said, “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”
14. Embrace Failure
Taking risks inevitably leads to failure at times. Successful entrepreneurs understand that failure is not the end, but rather an opportunity to learn and grow. They embrace failure and use it as a chance to improve and refine their ideas.
The art of risk-taking is a critical component of entrepreneurship. Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of taking risks, doing their research, trusting their instincts, embracing failure, taking action, and surrounding themselves with supportive people.
Aspiring entrepreneurs can boost their chances of success and make their entrepreneurial aspirations a reality by adhering to these guidelines.
Running a Business
6 Key Levers of a Successful Organizational Transformation
Disruption used to be an exceptional event that hit an unlucky few companies — think of the likes of Kodak, Polaroid, and Blackberry. But in today’s complex and uncertain world, as we face challenges ranging from climate change to digitization, geopolitics to DEI, organizations must treat transformation as a core capability to master, as opposed to a one-off event.
At the same time, leaders must recognize that transformation is fraught with risk. In 1995, John Kotter found that 70% of organizational transformations fail, and nearly three decades later, not much has changed. Our own research, in which we spoke to more than 900 C-suite managers and more than 1,100 employees who had gone through a corporate transformation, showed similar results: 67% of leaders told us they had experienced at least one underperforming transformation in the last five years.
Considering that organizations will spend billions on transformation initiatives over the next year, a 70% failure rate equates to a significant erosion of value. So, what can leaders do to tilt the odds of success in their favor? To find out, we interviewed 30 leaders of transformations and surveyed more than 2,000 senior leaders and employees in 23 countries and 16 sectors. Half of our respondents had been involved in a successful transformation, while the other half had experienced an unsuccessful transformation.
So what tactics did the leaders of successful transformations use to manage the emotional journey? To find out, we built a model to predict the likelihood that an organization will achieve its transformation KPIs based on the extent to which it exhibited 50 behaviors across 11 areas of the transformation. This model revealed that behaviors in six of these areas consistently improved the odds of transformation success. Organizations that are above average in these areas have a 73% chance of meeting or exceeding their transformation KPIs, compared to only a 28% chance for organizations that are below average. Our research suggests that any organization that can effectively implement these six levers will maximize their chances of success.
Our research also found that a key difference in successful transformations was that leaders embraced their employees’ emotional journey. Fifty-two percent of respondents involved in successful transformations said their organization provided the emotional support they needed during the transformation process “to a significant extent” (as opposed to 27% of respondents who were involved in unsuccessful transformations).
Transformations are extremely difficult on a personal level for everyone involved. In the successes we studied, leaders not only made sure their teams had the processes, resources, and technology they needed — they also built the right emotional conditions. These leaders offered a compelling rationale driving the transformation, and they ensured employees had the emotional support they needed to execute. This meant that when the going inevitably got tough, employees felt appropriately challenged and ultimately energized by the stress.
By contrast, leaders of the unsuccessful transformations didn’t make the same emotional investment. When their teams hit the inevitable challenges, negative emotions spiked, and the team entered a downward spiral. Leaders lost faith and looked to distance themselves from the project, which led employees to do the same.
The Six Key Levers of Transformations
So what tactics did the leaders of successful transformations use to manage the emotional journey? The six levers that maximize the chances of success, according to our research are:
1. Leadership’s own willingness to change
Many people believe that a leader’s job is to look outward and give others guidance, but our research suggests that to help their workforce navigate a transformation, leaders need to look inward first and examine their own relationship with change. “If you are not ready to change yourself, forget about changing your team and your organization,” as Dr. Patrick Liew, executive chairman at GEX Ventures, told us.
In our interviews, leaders spoke of working on their own development, including engaging more with their emotions and becoming accustomed to the discomfort that accompanies personal growth. Leaders needed to “look into a mirror,” as one told us, and realize that they were part of the problem before the shift to a positive trajectory could take place. They needed to remove their own fear before they could help their employees get through this change.
“As someone who was tasked to lead this [transformation], if I’m being honest with you, it was pretty unsettling at the start, because I think by nature most of us like to know the path we’re going on,” as one COO from the automative industry told us. And a senior vice president in the global business services industry described needing to become more vulnerable and honest on their path to self-discovery: “I think I became even more aware of myself, who I am.”
2. A shared vision of success
Creating a unified vision of future success is another all-important foundation point of a transformation. In our research, 50% of respondents involved in successful transformations said the vision energized and inspired them to go the extra mile to a significant extent (as compared 29% of respondents in low-performing transformations).
Employees must understand the urgent need to disrupt the status quo. A compelling “why” can help them navigate the inevitable challenges that will arise during a transformation program. Many of the workers who took our survey said that they “wanted” and “needed” the vision to be communicated clearly. When leaders share a clear vision, the workforce is more likely to get on board. But if people don’t understand the vision or need for transformation, success is hard to achieve.
“It’s not about me telling people ‘This is what’s going to happen,’” as a managing director in the medical device industry told us. “It’s about me creating this shared sense of ownership…and then [coaching] my team on what they need to achieve. We very consciously want our teams to really buy into this is how we, as a collective, want to work.”
3. A culture of trust and psychological safety
Trust and care from leaders can make a difficult transformation more emotionally manageable. At the most basic human level, we all know what it feels like to be seen, listened to, and heard by another person. It can validate our effort, motivate us to work harder, and help assuage emotions like doubt, fear, anger, and sadness. Workers in our study shared that they wanted leaders who were patient and who also had, in the words of one employee, a “calm and teachable spirit.”
In a workplace with a high degree of psychological safety, employees feel confident that they can share their honest opinions and concerns without fear of retribution. When trust and psychological safety are missing, it’s difficult to persuade your workforce to make necessary changes. For example, one senior leader told us that employees at their company were extremely fearful of the transformation and didn’t feel that they could speak up about the problems they saw. Not surprisingly, the transformation did not go well.
4. A process that balances execution and exploration
Transformations obviously need disciplined project management to drive the program forward. But our research showed that leaders of successful transformations created processes that balanced the need to execute with giving employees the freedom to explore, express creativity, and let new ideas emerge. This empowers the workforce to identify solutions or opportunities that better meet the long-term goals of the transformation.
“Innovation requires the right people and processes,” said one respondent to our anonymous survey. “Both are critical to encourage collaboration and experimentation.”
We also found that creating space for small failures can ultimately lead to big success, whereas fear of any failure can lead to missed opportunities. Forty-eight percent of our respondents involved in successful transformations said the process was designed so that failed experimentation would not negatively impact their career or compensation to a significant extent. By contrast, only 29% of respondents in unsuccessful transformations said the same.
5. A recognition that technology carries its own emotional journey
The leaders in our study ranked technology as the biggest challenge they faced in their transformation efforts. There are a lot of emotions to manage when new systems or technology are introduced, from stress over how it works to fear about whether it will cause job loss or slow down the system.
In the underperforming transformations we studied, we saw the narrative shift away from the vision to focus on the technology itself. Whereas in the successful transformations, leaders ensured that technology was seen as the means to achieve the strategic vision. Furthermore, they prioritized quick implementations of new technology — focusing on a minimum viable product rather than perfect implementation. Lastly, they invested resources into skill development to ensure the workforce was ready to create value using the new technology.
“There were kickoff sessions with our senior managers to bring them in at the beginning of the process,” a vice president of a company in the media/advertising industry explained. “These sessions aimed to show them that what was being built was something that they had helped design, rather than something that was presented to them as a fait accompli…This minimized the numbers of active detractors.”
6. A shared sense of ownership over the outcome
In the successful transformations we studied, leaders and employees worked together to co-create an environment where everyone felt a shared sense of ownership over the transformation vision and outcome.
A prime example of this is many companies’ rapid shift to virtual and remote working during the pandemic. Because of the speed and urgency of the change, leaders needed to collaborate closely with the workforce to create new ways of working and be much more responsive to their views on what was or wasn’t going well. This mass co-creation helped build a sense of pride and shared ownership across both leadership and the workforce.
“In a transformation, things pop up all the time,” as Christiane Wijsen, head of corporate strategy at Boehringer Ingelheim, told us. “When you have a movement around you, supporters will buffer it and tweak it each time. When you don’t have this movement, then you’re alone.”
. . .
To conclude, it’s worth reiterating that all transformations are tough. Even during successful programs, there will come a time where people start to feel stressed. The skill at this difficult stage is being able to energize your workforce and turn that heightened pressure into something productive, as opposed to letting the transformation spiral downward into pessimism and underperformance.
What we saw throughout our research is that leaders who are truly working with their employees are much more successful. They acknowledge and manage emotions, rather than pushing them aside or ignoring them. The best leaders create vision across the organization and a safe environment to work together and listen to each other.
“You’ve got to be very, very respectful of people at a working level,” as Thomas Sebastian, CEO of London Market Joint Venture at DXC Technology, told us. “You’ve got to understand the emotional side and consider a completely different perspective, such as how is this transformation going to make their life easier.”
Success begets success. Once a workforce has undergone a successful transformation, they will be ready to go again. And given the pace of change in the world, organizations have got to be ready to go again.
Fran Bailey, Renowned Energy Healer and Founder of the SHEVA Method, to Conduct Enlightening Sessions on the Power of the Heart Chakra
Rick Sechler, CFP® Founder of USA Retirement Solutions, Interviewed on the Influential Entrepreneurs Podcast
Tom Hegna, Author, Speaker, Economist, and Retirement Income Expert, Interviewed on the Influential Entrepreneurs Podcast
Six Office Remodels That Will Help Improve Work Culture
Hiring a Remote Worker? It Takes More Than an Internet Connection
The Keys to Podcasting Success in 2022
News5 days ago
Christian Care Ministry/Medi-Share Reflects on Inspiring Connections and Uniting Voices at the National Religious Broadcasters Annual Conference
News6 days ago
H.E. Sir Dr. James Dentley, Grand Prior Of Illinois, Hosting The Royal House of Cappadocia Honoring 15 Worthy Men & Women At The 2023 Chicago Royal Knighting Investiture
News7 days ago
Chattanooga, TN – James E Dixon Presents The “Taking Authority” Tour To Provoke Change, Making The Change, Being The Change
News3 days ago
D. Scott Kenik, Founder and Principal of Wealth Concepts Group, Interviewed on the Influential Entrepreneurs Podcast Discussing Alternative Investment Options
News2 days ago
On A Recent Episode Of Megabucks Radio, Host Nina Hershberger Spoke With Dr. Vivian Kim About Her Concierge Model In A Specialty Medical Practice
News7 days ago
James E Dixon Presents The “Taking Authority” Tour To Provoke Change, Making The Change, Being The Change
News14 hours ago
Fran Bailey, Renowned Energy Healer and Founder of the SHEVA Method, to Conduct Enlightening Sessions on the Power of the Heart Chakra
News14 hours ago
Tom Hegna, Author, Speaker, Economist, and Retirement Income Expert, Interviewed on the Influential Entrepreneurs Podcast