Better Business Focus – November 2019

You can now download the November issue of Better Business Focus.  Please feel free to share Better Business Focus with your friends or colleagues.

Better Business Focus is the essential key for business owners and managers. It achieves that by focusing on the way in which successful businesses compete and manage their organisations.  It focuses on how people are recruited, coached and developed; on how marketing and selling is undertaken in professional markets as well as in markets with intense competition; on how technology and the Internet is reshaping the face of domestic and home business; and on how people are being equipped with new skills and techniques. In short, it offers expert inspiration for a better business.

This Month’s articles include:

  • Take a service action that starts a chain reaction: As service providers, we go to work each day and think about the customers and colleagues we serve. We listen, ask questions, and try to understand. Then we take action to answer questions, solve problems, and satisfy needs.
  • How do you ensure you have the right team to deliver on your business transformation strategy? Business transformation is more than just a buzz-phrase. In today’s business world, there are few organisations that are not amid a change of some kind or another. The key, however, lies not in recognising the need to transform, but in ensuring that it is successful.
  • 39 songs that incredibly successful people use to train their brains: Music makes you more productive but here’s a playlist that might make you more successful.
  • Three tips on organizational change: Leading innovation in organizations calls for changing strategies (objectives, business models), structures (processes, systems, hierarchies and ways of working) and cultures (behaviours, attitudes and organizational norms).
  • The last challenge of Entrepreneurship: As accountants, your more traditional role is to work with the numbers and provide support to your clients in the financial area. Also, many of you are business advisors and support your clients in the growth and success of their businesses.
  • Four ways to run projects: There are four ways to run projects.
  • Facebook’s latest move should terrify you: The biggest risk facing the rise of tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon isn’t privacy, it’s this.  If you fear the conversation about the loss of privacy, which has brought companies such as Facebook to the forefront of our collective psyche, then this should terrify you.
  • Micro-scheduling: How to break down your time into small pieces of efficiency: Do you plan your day down to tiny chunks? There’s planning, and then there’s micro-scheduling.
  • One from Terry Wogan…: Tery Wogan said: “I don’t see 8 million listeners. I see them as individuals – the man listening in his lorry, the woman getting her children ready for school, the husband in the car.”
  • How to foster an appetite for risk by using ambiguity as a resource: Some time ago I had a conversation with Jim Long, former Head of Creative Office and R&D and my mentor, about how innovation could succeed within a company. We agreed that for innovation to be truly transformative, it should be set at a distance where it cannot be interrupted by existing metrics and governance models.
  • The secret ingredient to high energy innovation spaces: Innovation Spaces – which can refer to any space intentionally designed to foster and facilitate good innovation work – come in all sorts, shapes, and sizes. Perhaps the most commonly understood of these is the ubiquitous Innovation Lab.
  • Why creativity doesn’t really matter that much: I spend most of my time on stuff which falls under the heading of “creative”.  Just words and pictures that sell and persuade, and it’s very tempting if you do something reasonably well to imagine it’s the most important thing in the world.
  • Generate great ideas from a cluster of strangers: I recently ran a workshop for a group of CEOs of small companies from different sectors and industries.  We ran the following exercise.  Each person started with a blank sheet of paper on which they answered the following questions about their organization.
  • Unbelievable – I never knew:  Images, reputations and expectations.  Each is a determinant of customer and client traffic (physical, social, digital and on-line). In each instance, they are established, stimulated and influential long before a physical, vocal and transmitted presence.
  • The long sleep: Innovative product gestation:  You could call it hibernation, but that’s too kind. You could call it neglect, yet some are working on it pushing the proverbial boulder up the corporate mountain. To be kind, let’s simply call it The Long Sleep. This condition happens inside organizations when an innovation concept bounces along internally for a long time without launching.
  • Beyond the business model canvas: For decades when business people and aspiring entrepreneurs came up with an idea and became serious about commercializing it, they would, by default, create a business plan. Anyone who has ever created a business plan knows they are a LOT of work. And as any innovator knows, most ideas turn out to be garbage. As a result, the creation of most business plans ends up being a waste of time.
  • The lonely path of Entrepreneurship: For all the talk of “connection”, there is little doubt that business life is getting more solitary and isolated. From coaching calls and personal experience, I’ve been aware of this trend for about a decade.  Finally, I now see the issue of entrepreneurial loneliness is at last being studied and discussed — on both sides of the Atlantic — as you can swiftly verify within five mins on Google.
  • The Unexpected “Thank You”: I bought my first new car when I was 21 years old. It was a bright red convertible. Along with the joy of owning my dream car came the responsibility of paying for it. I remember how the feeling of “buyer’s remorse” plagued me for days after I drove the car off the dealer’s lot. (“Buyer’s remorse” is what we feel after making an impulsive decision – until we can justify our decision with logical reasons.)
  • Why it’s important to be a trustworthy customer: You are probably scratching your head now, thinking “wait, what? did he really mean trustworthy customer?”
  • The Business of Marketing: Too many businesses use conventional advertisements on a “hit or miss” basis and, sadly, they get just what they deserve – precisely nothing.  I can’t strongly emphasise enough that a business should extend itself far beyond the commonplace ways