Leadership and Reputation – The Biggest Business Risks for 2018


“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett.


I find myself appealing to the wisdom of this quote a lot. Why? Because people still don’t seem to get it! I don’t know if they ever will.

We live in a time of unprecedented uncertainty and distrust and yet people still fail to recognise that reputation is everything.

Business leaders recognise the need to conduct business risk assessments, but all too often we overlook some major risks. Time and again I see people – smart people – underestimate brand and reputation as major risks. Often I see people fail to recognise brand and reputation as risks at all.

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Creative Ways to Wish Your Customers a Merry Christmas!

Can you believe it, it’s almost that time of year (again)! Christmas is just around the corner which means planning starts now if you want to make the ultimate impression. As much as we get excited about the festive season and all the wonderful things that come with it, it’s important to use this time as an opportunity to show your clients just how valued they are and how much business just wouldn’t be what it is without them.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of finalising work before the New Year rolls in too. But don’t let that be an excuse to skimp on quality and design when deciding how to wish your customers a Merry Christmas. Getting creative with the right printed products offers the perfect excuse to connect with your clients. And in the leadup to the festive season, showing appreciation and spreading that holiday cheer is essential. It’s also a fantastic integrated marketing opportunity to showcase your brand in a stylish and fun way. Here are a few creative ideas to show your gratitude and wish your customers a Merry Christmas this year:

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Upgrading Business for Modern Times

Upgrading your business

When starting a business, you often operate with the bare bones necessary to operate. You may be shipping items out of your garage or having your staff hand-write receipts, entering the sales on an old-fashioned cash register. However, as your business grows, you may find these processes cumbersome and inaccurate. These tips can help you bring your business into the modern world and may actually increase your bottom line.

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Customer Satisfaction – How to Get Your Clients to Return

Customers are the most important asset for every business. Without them every store, office or warehouse would be abandoned, dusty and forgotten by the world. And most customers nowadays know that their value goes way beyond their wallets. In this digital age people know what they want, know how to get it, and they know that one bad online review can cost business owners a lot. This is why making sure all your clients are happy is pivotal to your success. Statistics show that it costs at least five times less to keep a regular client than to find new ones. So, here are a few useful tips to help you retain your customers and build a bright and successful brand image.

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5 Signs You’re Ready To Hire Your First Employee

Hiring your first employee can be scary. You’re (usually) putting trust into somebody you haven’t got much of any working history with to complete tasks that are essential to your company’s operations, and you’re forking over hard-earned cash in return without 100% certainty on whether or not that person will realistically deliver what you need. A scarier scenario is hiring somebody for a job you need done that you don’t have any understanding of at all, and therefore can’t do nearly as detailed of quality assurance in the early days.

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How to Write a Killer LinkedIn Profile

by: Rebecca Gutierrez, Director of Marketing, OBMI

Let’s face it, it’s a noisy digital world out there and standing above the crowd is difficult and time-consuming! LinkedIn has recently launched their newly designed profile pages for both companies and individuals which can help your profile stand out amongst the clutter. Although initially in beta nearly every profile has now been updated. There are some big changes to the updates and make a great profile even more important. Below are some tips on how to create a killer profile.

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10 Things that make you less productive at work

The main thing that matters at work is your productivity. If you’re less productive at work, not only you would face the wrath of your clients or manager but also you would ruin your personal and professional life. And I certainly don’t want that and that’s why I thought of sharing 10 things that help me to be productive at work and get more done in less time.

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3 Hacks to Run Your Facebook Page Like a Pro

Is your business using Facebook for promotion? Is your business getting the most out of marketing on Facebook?

With more than 1.44 billion monthly active users (In quarter 1, 2015), Facebook has become the favorite platform for advertisers. Almost all the brands are placing their bets on Facebook. A large part of their online marketing budget is spent on this social media platform and the fact that this platform is still growing makes it even more lucrative.

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When you’re on a good thing, stick to it

Do you find it hard to keep staff? Do you have staff you’d rather not keep? Motivating staff can help keep the ones you want, and possibly even help you get more out of the non-performers.

Knowing how to motivate people is important. When successful US businessman, Charles Schwab was asked why he earned such a huge salary, he commented, “Lots of people work here who know lots more about steel than I do. I can inspire people. I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among employees the greatest asset I possess”.

Now I’m not going to say that motivating people is an easy job. It’s tough and you have to keep at it constantly. Successful business owners always acknowledge the role that good people play in their operations.

Here are some relatively simple things you can do to keep your employees on their toes – it’s good for them because they can feel personally satisfied when they give their best (and they get rewarded) and in turn, top performers produce better results for your business.

It doesn’t matter how much you ask your staff to pull their socks up, if they’re not motivated, they won’t do it. Bob Hazell, a director of Advanced Training, in Oxfordshire, UK – which specialises in helping companies instil passion in the workplace – says that drive, attitude and confidence are three keys to motivation.

So how do I motivate my staff?
Hazell says that good managers learn what they need to do in order to motivate people. The essence of management is to actually ask yourself how you would like to be treated.

Most people agree that it would be lovely to receive a ‘thank you’ and a ‘well done’, every so often. Putting yourself in the shoes of your employees and treating them accordingly is the best way to motivate your employees and produce a positive vibe.

Drive alone won’t do the job. An optimistic attitude is essential to motivate staff. Attitudes often breed from negativity. In many businesses, there is one person, a ‘rotten apple’, who is pessimistic and seems to be able to bring out the worst in every situation.

How to improve staff retention:
1. Talk to your employees. Ask simple questions like ‘how are you’? It doesn’t take much to just be nice to people
As the owner of the business, you’re busy. But if an employee has an issue, then make sure that you take the time to listen

2. It’s funny, but from my own experience as an employer, there are so many times when a pay rise or a reward is not seen as important as the boss saying ‘thank you’ for a job well done.
Today’s workers need – and expect – to be thanked and if they’re not recognised, they’ll get on Seek and start looking for new jobs.

I’m not saying the people don’t like money and tangible rewards like a weekend away or a dinner for two. What I’m saying is that these tangible rewards aren’t always expected – but people do like to hear a thankyou’ for a job well done. Always make sure that you acknowledge a job well done.

The person who has done the job will be looking for praise and if you don’t give it to them they’ll start to look for it elsewhere

3. You’re the owner of the business and your priorities and stresses are often quite different to your employees. You might feel that you’re caring all the burden and stress but in reality that’s not the case.

Your staff could be at the coal face taking complaints or dealing with difficult customers. If they come to you for support or advice then show empathy

4. As your business grows and you take on more people, you will have to delegate some jobs that you could like or be attached to. But if you want to grow and prosper, then letting go is important. The best thing is when your staff member does a job previously done by you either equally as well or even better. Make a person feel important when thy achieve things in your business

5. Make sure that you acknowledge an employee’s strengths and always encourage them to play to those strengths. If you want to keep staff you are going to have to offer them opportunities to develop their skills.

Most people seek professional development and some small businesses worry that if they train people they will leave and the business has lost money. That’s true to a certain extent and you do run the risk of training them and they go elsewhere. But if you don’t train them and they stay, they could be under-skilled in their jobs and this will impact on your business

6. When a new person comes into your business make sure they are given specific instructions about all aspects of their job. These should be written into a specific manual, so while they are settling in, they feel comfortable because they can read what the job entails without constantly having to ask a colleague or their manager. This framework gives them the confidence to perform and helps them settle in a lot easier.

Remember it takes time for a new employees to know your standards and expectations. This isn’t to say that they can’t ask questions but having action plans about their specific tasks gives them a reference point to check that they’re not making mistakes

7. Your employees could have valuable ideas that could contribute to innovations in your organisation that could lead to bottom line improvements. Ask for input when decisions are being made. And reward them if one of their innovative ideas has benefits in your business.

Tips for getting the best from your employees

oMotivating employees is the only way to give them drive
oIf you’re a manager, put yourself in their shoes and find out how you’d like to be treated and treat them accordingly
o Please, thank you and well done can go a long way
o Put out a positive vibe
o Try to make the workplace enjoyable.

o Instil optimism within the organisational culture
o Don’t let one negative person affect the whole organisation
o Don’t accept a pessimistic attitude from any member of staff
o Make change a regular occurrence
o Make change a fun thing and have it anticipated by staff.

o Encourage your staff to better themselves
o Let your staff know that you believe in them and their ability
o Delegate jobs to staff, not just the bad jobs
o Boost their morale by taking the time to talk to them and show them how to do tasks.

Recognise that every employee in your business has the potential to lift their game and the ability to do this comes down to confidence. For staff to have a good attitude and to improve their skills, they must have confidence in themselves. Often a person will have a poor attitude because they’re not encouraged in the right areas.

Hazell says that confidence is what facilitates a healthy attitude and is something that can be developed. “Habits are formed over 39 days, or thereabouts so we’re told, and so if you do something naughty for 39 days, on the 40th day you will do it automatically. Therefore, it means consciously working on your attitude for 39 days and after that it will be easy. Once this is achieved, the biggest objective is to keep away from negativity and do your best to keep positive and self-assured,” he says.

It makes sense then to say that employees with this type of mindset are invaluable to your business. “They are people that when the boss is out and a decision needs to be made or something needs to be done, they actually take responsibility and say ‘I’ve got the confidence to run with this and take the rap if it doesn’t work out’.”

Hazell believes this type of confidence is beneficial, especially for small and medium businesses, “Where the business owners can’t look over the shoulders of their employees at all times”.

An employee will feel more confident when their manager has confidence in them. A lot of managers and business owners find it difficult to delegate because they don’t have complete belief in the ability of their staff.

“This type of approach won’t benefit anyone in the business or the business itself. When a staff member goes to an owner or manager and asks them how to do something, then the manager should take the time to show the employee what to do. If a manager does the task themselves, then they are blocking the employee from doing the job they have been paid to do, as well as stripping them of confidence,” adds Hazel.

If you don’t develop employees, they tend end up with jobs no-one else wants to do, which is de-motivating. So find ways to delegate work, and develop your employees while they’re doing a job, to ensure they’re happy.

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