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Archive: Jan 2020

5 tips to improve your business through risk management

Posted: January 23, 2020 2:37 pm
There are many benefits to fully engaging with a risk management process for your business. From improving decision making through to better preparing your organisation to cope with unexpected change, effective risk management is essential to ongoing growth and development. If you’d like to use better risk management to improve your business there are some very simple ways to do it.
  1. Do the groundwork. Risk management is impossible without first acquiring an in-depth knowledge of your business. What are the different components that make up your organisation, what are its objectives and where is the business going? Consider any possible events and incidents that could influence outcomes going forward so that you have a full picture of where the risks (and opportunities) lie.
  2. Focus on the key vulnerabilities for your business. You can apply risk management analysis to virtually every area of your business – and spend a lot of time and resources on this. However, not all of these metrics matter and your approach will be much more effective if you apply risk management as a priority to those parts of the business where the biggest vulnerabilities exist.
  3. Create the right team. Risk management needs to be handled by a carefully chosen team – it may be necessary to delegate this responsibility to ensure that it is properly and extensively handled. Identify the individuals who will be effective when it comes to using risk management to improve the way your business is functioning. It may also be useful to have a manager who leads the entire process and who is responsible for some of the key functions of risk management, such as identifying the biggest vulnerabilities, creating reports and handling incidents if they arise.
  4. Make sure risk management is integrated into the business culture. To see true improvements from risk management it will need to be something that is inherent in strategy and approach right across the business. This means that those directly handling it have a responsibility to effectively communicate with everyone, from employees to executives. Even those who aren’t directly involved in the risk management process will need to have a sound understanding of why it exists and what measures the business is taking to ensure it is effective.
  5. Consider doing more with business intelligence. The data that is generated by business intelligence software can provide crucial insight, not just when it comes to risk management but across the entire organisation. Business intelligence tools can be used to handle a range of different elements of risk management to improve the way your business functions, for example by setting up a more effective and targeted incident management process. The opportunities that business intelligence analysis opens up include greater understanding of where risk management can be best applied as well as how to anticipate and handle change.
Risk management is an essential part of a positive business strategy today. These top tips are designed to help any business to use it to make improvements. Find out more by booking onto our Risk Management training course…

How to develop a plan of succession

Posted: January 16, 2020 10:19 am
Succession planning is essential for any enterprise, whether you’re a family business or a large international organisation. Investing in this process ensures stability in leadership for the business, as well as providing for strategic goals and human resources to be aligned, and improving the business’ ability to respond to change. No matter what the size or sector of the business there are a number of key steps involved.

Start with the “why”

When you’re developing a plan of succession the first place to begin is by looking at your reasons for doing so. Is the business moving in a new direction? Are you concerned about key staff being poached by competitors or do you know that departures are coming? Understanding why you need succession planning will enable you to ensure that what you create is intentionally designed for the business’ specific requirements.

As well as the “who”

The next step is to identify the people you want to be involved in the process of succession planning. The right people will have a sound understanding of the business, be positive communicators and process-driven.

Where might planning be thrown off track?

This stage involves identifying those factors outside of the business that could have an impact on whether your succession planning is successful. For example, evolving workplace trends may mean that you need to add a different set of competencies when planning for recruitment into the most important roles. A changing workplace may require a new approach to developing talent.

Align succession and strategy

It’s essential that there is interaction between succession planning and overall strategic business planning. It’s your strategy that will enable you to identify the key roles that succession planning will need to include, for example. It will also be crucial in terms of setting timelines, such as imminent incoming change, or highlighting factors that could have an influence over whether succession planning is going to be truly effective.

Identify your resources

In particular it’s important to look at where potential candidates for succession planning are likely to come from. For most businesses candidates for succession will come from two key sources: internal or external. You may already have the next generation of leaders within the business so identifying potential routes to them will be important. Externally, a wealth of sources exist, from employment agencies to universities, jobs fairs and jobs boards. Whichever combination of options you decide to choose as your candidate pool, make sure that you have a clearly defined set of competencies for each key role.

Put your planning into action

The process of bringing planning off the page and into the process may involve a number of different steps. Start by identifying the timelines involved and ensuring that the people who are key to the process are aware of their role and tasks. Set goals and then put methods in place for tracking them and ensure that you provide for ongoing evaluation of succession planning so that it’s always focused and relevant. Succession planning is a crucial part of the process of growth and survival for any business today. Find out more by booking onto our Succession Planning Masterclass.

Top tips for becoming an exceptional PA

Posted: January 9, 2020 10:15 am
There’s a big difference between being good at your job as a PA and being exceptional. If you’re willing to go the extra mile in this role it could open up a wide range of exciting opportunities for your life and career – so how do you get to that point?

Be a great communicator

You must understand the importance of making a good first impression, especially as you’re often doing this on behalf of your employer. Professional, concise communication is critical, as is being able to discuss and negotiate with people of all managerial levels.

Always keep a record

Whether you use a pen and paper or tech, such as a tablet, it’s essential to be able to keep a note of what has been said and what is required. Even if you have a good memory, an exceptional PA will ensure that nothing is likely to be missed by taking precautions and writing it down.

Upgrade your organisational skills

General time management and organisational skills are essential for a good PA. You can ensure that you stand out as exceptional by taking this to another level and establishing systems that allow for seamless management of diaries and appointments, noting deadlines and ensuring action points are met.

Learn how to be calm under pressure

When everyone else is panicking an exceptional PA can step in, make suggestions and take decisions that help to take the heat out of challenging situations. If you’re not naturally calm in a crisis then this is an essential skill to learn.

Be perceptive when it comes to the needs of your employer

Most employers will already have an established approach and you will need to be perceptive about how things operate when you arrive. Picking up quickly on the needs, likes, dislikes and demands of an employer will enable you to hit the ground running and fit effortlessly into the support structure.

Don’t forget the small things

It’s often by focusing on the smaller action points and to do list items that you can get more done in a shorter space of time. Clear the less challenging tasks quickly and leave yourself more time to tackle those that are going to require more effort and brainpower.

Get tech savvy

You might be required to use a wide range of systems and software in your role as PA and being able to effortlessly absorb information and techniques will set you apart from the rest. Stay on top of the latest developments in your sector so that you’re prepared to tackle new technology as soon as it becomes relevant to you.

Focus on solutions

In a situation where everyone is highlighting issues or problems, be the voice that focuses on solutions. If you’re renowned for being an effective trouble-shooter then your PA stock will rise.

Be professional – but human

Professionalism can take many forms but is often based around trust – an employer should know that you appreciate how important discretion is, as well as the need to keep certain information confidential. Remember that it’s okay to make mistakes sometimes, everyone does, it’s just part of being human. But if you aren’t prepared to admit to mistakes then this could damage your credibility with an employer. If you want to be an exceptional PA these are some of the top skills to learn. Find out more by booking onto our Developing Your PA Potential to Ensure Success.

Our top 9 tips for increasing exhibition sales

Posted: January 3, 2020 2:06 pm
Exhibiting can be a goldmine when it comes to sales. It’s an opportunity to get face-to-face with potential customers and put your business on the map. So, how do you ensure that you’re generating positive return on an exhibiting investment and increasing the number of sales that you make?
  • Create your stand carefully. In an exhibiting environment you’re going to be present with all your competitors so it’s important that your stand design really makes an impact. Only 20% of banner designs feature a call to action (CTA) so you can distinguish yours by including this. Make sure you keep your messaging clear and simple, don’t clutter the design and focus on that all important CTA.
  • Set your goals. In particular, focus on what it is that you’re hoping to achieve from the exhibition when it comes to ROI. Be realistic about this and be sure to factor in all the costs that have been involved, from transport to banners.
  • Activate your team to achieve more on the day. Do your staff know how to convert visitors? Have you made sure they understand the dos and don’ts on the day (e.g. put your phone away)? The people that you take with you can be your biggest asset if you give them the tools to convert more.
  • Make sure they have all the right knowledge. Crucially, staff should be able to answer any questions put to them about the business and also the products and services that you’re selling. Are they ready to answer questions about USP, brand history, objectives and benefits?
  • Find ways to keep everyone motivated. Motivated staff want to be there and are keen to open prospects’ eyes to the benefits of your products and your brand. Setting goals for staff, offering prizes and making sure they get regular breaks can help to ensure that the people representing your brand make the right impression.
  • Aim to attract attention – but avoid gimmicks. Anything that you include on your stand on the day as a way to engage visitors should also be something that your staff can use as a conversion tool. That may mean thinking in advance about the best methods to show off products in a way that will enable sales too.
  • Avoid the hard sell. Not everyone will be the right match for what you’re offering and bullying people into a sale on the day could leave a sour taste in the mouth for everyone involved. Instead, ask questions and listen to comments on need or expectations – look for ways in which your offering matches up with this as opposed to just listing all the generic benefits.
  • Be open and respectful to everyone. If you’re just targeting senior staff you might miss out on the opportunities that someone else could present for making sales. Treat everyone the same and be open, friendly and approachable to all. Follow up with everyone too – research shows that up to 50% of sales are won by the vendor who is first to respond after an exhibition.
  • Don’t leave early. If you want to maximise the potential for sales then that means staying until close.
These are some of the simplest steps you can take to increase your exhibition sales. Find out more by booking onto our Selling Skills for Exhibitions