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Ready to Grow: Moving from Soloist to a Micro Business 

When you first dreamt of your business, was it always just you against the world? Was it the solo super business hero without his faithful sidekick or did your plan to include a team of people like Batman and Robin or the Avengers team to share to load, the dream and the success?

Thinking of moving from soloist to micro business? We’re here to help.

Those dreams can feel like the distant childhood imaginings once you’re locked in soloist mode. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of highly professional, highly profitable soloists around and not everyone wants to manage a team or expand their business through hiring people.

But what about you? Go back to your original daydream before you started down the business path that you are on. Was it just you or did it involve a team of people?

If you’re ready to grow and take the next step towards that goal, there are some steps to take. Those steps depend on your vision and time frames and are as unique as your business, but they all share the following three things.

Defining your business goals is key for the growth of your business.

1. Define your Business Goals
You need to be able to articulate your business goals and translate the ideas into a plan for the future. Spend some time thinking about what your ideal business looks like. So what if you are just one person right now. Even if your vision is a multinational empire you have to start somewhere.

2. Identify the Right Resources 

HR is not always about hiring people internally, it is about connecting you with the right external resources as well. Whether you need a marketing person you can trust to grow your client base, a financial wiz who can take the numbers on the page and unlock hidden value in your business, or a business coach identifying the right support is essential.

3. Be Accountable
Only when we are accountable to ourselves, our dreams become a reality. For many soloist who transitioned out of corporate life and are used to having someone there to encourage, problem solve and hold them accountable for delivering to their internal as well as external commitments, this can be challenging. But it doesn’t have to be. Share it with friends or family you don’t want to disappoint.

Start from identifying the right resources needed for your business.

4. Use Free Business Tools
There are a lot of great free tools out there to help with your day-to-day admin. From CRM software to Social Media management, you can easily download free software on your computer that will make your life easier in just a few clicks. And don’t forget First Aid compliance – download Alsco’s free ‘Beginner’s Guide To First Aid Workplace Compliance’ and make sure to keep your business safe.

If you need help to get started, call us for a confidential, obligation free chat. We know what it’s like and we can help you. Sometimes, just being able to talk to someone with no preconceived ideas about you or your business can really make a difference. Why we offer this? Because we’re passionate about helping small business and we believe that big companies can grow from Soloists.

Call us on 02 9907 6837 or drop us an email at info@impacthr.com.au

Love ‘Em or Loose ‘Em

You know the saying, you’ve probably even said it yourself “Good employees are your greatest asset!” So recruiting and retaining the right people is critical to your business success. So what’s the secret to employee retention? Is it the free food and drink once a year at the annual Christmas party? Or is there something more?

Unfortunately, there’s no one way that always works. Every business is different. During my 20+ years in HR, I’ve studied, implemented, revised and learnt different techniques that worked in individual businesses and probably wouldn’t have worked as well in others.

However, the wonderful thing about improving employee retention is that it doesn’t have to be hard or cost the earth. Below are nine initiatives, none of them secret or expensive, that have worked for businesses that I’ve supported:

  • Be clear on the mission, vision and values of your business. When you can talk about them clearly, your passion becomes infectious and creates loyal, dedicated team members.
  • Regularly recognise members of your team who demonstrate the values of your company and do it in front of others. When you do this, others will act in the same way.
  • Celebrate successes (even little ones) collectively on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Regular one-on-one or small team meetings. If you are already doing one-on-ones, really take advantage of the coaching and mentoring opportunity this gives you.
  • Create opportunities for your team to build relationships with each other. It doesn’t have to be big or complex. Simple but effect examples include celebrating birthdays or start dates, hot crossed buns at Easter or maybe moon cakes for Chinese New Year. Be creative and find things that work for your team.
  • When you are genuine about helping others work towards their career and personal objectives, you will find they are loyal and will want to help you achieve yours too.
  • Give honest feedback to your team. No one is perfect so provide feedback in a way that is respectful but helps them understand what they are doing well and what needs to improve.
  • Remember that it is not ALL business. Make sure you do the little personal things: say good morning to people, ask how people are going, recognise birthdays and dates that people joined the team. Make sure they know you realise they are more than a robot.
  • Give them flexibility when they need it. Guaranteeing flexible work conditions to your employees will help their satisfaction and your peace of mind – as recently confirmed by Alsco.
  • Use your contacts to help connect your team to others wherever possible. Sometimes you’ll see that these connections will professionally benefit the business as well. Occasionally it will be just a personal benefit for the team member. However, I can guarantee it will still benefit your business in the long term.

So, now you will be able to spend more time on the business and less time recruiting new people… Unless of course your employee retention leads to greater customer satisfaction and they spend more as a result and then you need to grow your business to keep up with demand. In that case, you will be recruiting for positive reasons. Happy days!

If you would like to talk about employee retention programs that will work for you, feel free to contact Impact HR Sydney at info@impacthr.com.au or call us on 02 9907 6837 for a no-obligation discussion.

Family Friendly Doesn’t Mean Fiasco

Creating a family-friendly work environment used to have managers in a panic about sky-rocketing costs and worried about service levels, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Family-friendly can be a win-win situation in SMEs.

With the increasing rate of parents (both men and women) trying to balance family with work responsibilities and single parent families, companies have to embrace family-friendly practices to compete for the best employees.
How do you implement family-friendly practices without the pain?

While there are a number of legally required family-friendly work practices that every employer must provide (such as maternity leave), there is also an array of simple, cost neutral ideas that can be implemented effortlessly and with no negative impact on the business or your clients. It is these ideas that can really make the difference when employees are weighing whether or not they will look for another role or join your business in the first place.

Embracing family friendly can be really easy. Why not start by:

  • Allowing employees to start work earlier and leave earlier; or start work later and leave work later
  • Allowing employees to take a reduced lunch break so they can leave early every day or accumulate those short lunches to leave early one day a week (but remember no break at all, may be bad for concentration and even in the worst situation illegal.)
  • Considering a four-day week or a nine-day fortnight option where employees work the same hours but in a reduced number of days
  • Job sharing, where two or more employees share the same role. It is a great way to balance work and home and it also provides businesses with some built in holiday or resignation coverage
  • Implementing telecommuting opportunities in appropriate roles
  • Allowing parents to “bank” extra hours worked (without penalty rates paid) so they can utilise the account to attend to family needs.

Why not stop:

  • Automatically saying no to requests without first discussing how they could work in your business and teams
  • Resisting change out of fear that it may be too hard to implement or you can’t go back. Document any agreement you make with an employee as a “trial” for a specific period of time and give it an opportunity to work. If at the end of the trial, it hasn’t worked you can explain why the business can’t offer that flexibility going forward. Your employee is more likely to appreciate the attempt than if you just say “no”.

You can also put financial concerns to rest with the truth about family-friendly working environments. You don’t have to change the whole way you work to be family friendly, but it will change your business through its advantages.

Benefits of being family friendly environment include:

  • Increased employee engagement, and its demonstrated positive impact on your bottom line
  • Longer retention of current employees which increases customer satisfaction
  • More potential employees seeking to join your business, which decreases service interruptions
  • Reduced levels of employee absenteeism allowing improved scheduling and work completion

For more information on these or other family-friendly ideas, contact info@impacthr.com.au or call 02 9907 6837 for an obligation free chat. Impact HR are based on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

Defining Insanity

Einstein is often credited with the quote: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. I love this quote. Why?

If like me, you are back at work you are probably taking some time to think about and set some goals for your business and personally for the New Year. Maybe you are making some important decisions about where to focus going forward.

So, let me ask you very simply – Are you insane? Are you setting these objectives for different outcomes without making any significant changes?

Statisticsbrain research tells us that only 8% of people who make resolutions keep them and that by the end of the first week, 25% of people have already broken them. It is already January 4th. By now, 25% of those goals are slipping away. But, wait there is a way to turn it all around.

Let’s start with the obvious: Do something different!

1. Draw or mind map your goals. If charts are your thing – create a simple to read graph. Make it easy to see what you want it to be like going forward.
2. Display it somewhere obvious. Share it. Let others know about that desire to achieve something different this year. In a work setting it will help your team understand what you are expecting of them.
3. As it is displayed somewhere obvious, write your progress towards the goal on it so that your achievements (or lack of them) are on display too. Goals that are openly talked about have the best chance of being achieved.
4. Celebrate your successes and use your set backs to refocus your attention on what changes you need to make to achieve your goals.

Alrighty then – enough reading. Time to prove you are not insane and do something different – get out your pen or use technology to get started now! Yes, that’s right, I’m asking you to do something different to get the different results that you want. Don’t close this blog and think you will come back to it later.

Still struggling, don’t feel bad or give up. Impact HR helps people put ideas into a format that works for you all the time.

Call us or drop me an email at therese.ravell@impacthr.com.au to get started.

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