The Benefits Of Short-Term Strategies

Collaborative post – may contain affiliate links

As a rule of the thumb, when you are in the process of launching a new business, you need to dedicate time to the creation of your business plan. The business plan is designed to provide market analysis and interpretation as well as a long-term strategy that defines your operations for the next 3 to 5 years. Consequently, it has become impossible to think of strategic planning without picturing long-term results. Ultimately, it’s easy to understand why strategies built over several years are necessary to the creation of a company; they provide the direction.

However, to survive, your business needs to adapt rapidly to a moving environment. Longstanding objectives offer an insight into success definition. But knowing where you want to be next year doesn’t help you to react to today’s event. That’s precisely why short-term strategies play a significant – albeit too often forgotten – role in the survival of your business.

Buy equipment today, sell it tomorrow

You can’t start a business without investing in the necessary equipment. When a company is faced with multiple choices, from leasing to purchase, it can be difficult to understand what is best for your business. As a taxing rule, purchased equipment is deductible, meaning that you can gain tax advantages when you buy. Additionally, strictly necessary tools should not be leased, as the expense of purchasing is likely to be recovered. More importantly, you don’t need to buy the latest tools to make it work. Startups and small businesses can focus their attention on second-hand goods that fulfill all the necessary functions. You can then minimize losses by selling your equipment in order to finance the purchase of new items. In this situation, your equipment investment has a short-term life expectancy and still delivers ROI.

Argh! We don’t have a budget for new staff!

Seasonal peaks, urgent deadlines or heavy projects; whatever the reason, you might find that you’re short on staff. However, when you can’t afford to hire new employees, you need to consider effective alternatives that keep your business afloat without over-stretching your existing workforce. Seasonal deliveries around Christmas time, for instance, can be covered through temp driving jobs, without affecting your productivity or your budget. Last minute projects can be outsourced to experts when and where you need their support. Similarly, you can also call in freelancers to give you a hand during busy periods or critical operations.  

Label your prices for tomorrow, not next year

Did you know that there is a complex price psychology principle that taps into the way you choose to label your products or services? Take a look at Apple, for example. The luxury price tag is part of the Apple brand, as it creates a sense of quality and value. But when you’re trying to build a brand, you can’t apply Apple’s pricing strategy. On the contrary, you need to consider short-term penetrating pricing, such as offering your product at a lower price to gain momentum on the market. This practice generates a high ROI and boost brand awareness.

In conclusion, sometimes it’s necessary to plan for today instead of thinking about tomorrow. Whether you’re building your productivity chain or your managing seasonal fluctuations, short-term focus creates stability. But don’t let your short-term strategy steal the show; you need a long-term objective to grow!

SMEs And Project Management

Collaborative post – may contain affiliate links

You may be mistaken for believing that project management is just for big companies, and that project management training is simply for those that work at big firms. However, this could not be further from the truth. Project management is just as important for small businesses, and it is something they need to get right from the very beginning. Read on to discover everything you need to know.

Using a project management tool

There are many benefits associated with adopting a project management solution in the beginning. This includes the fact that you will find it much easier to collaborate and to manually track the likes of budgets, time and project tasks. Effective project management is imperative for scale and work quality.

A project management solution will ensure that you effectively keep on top of all of the different projects you are working on for different clients. You won’t need to refer to different files and dashboards for each client, which can be exceptionally time-consuming. Instead, with most project management software solutions you will benefit from all of the following in one place: company branding, apps integration, websites built, centralized data storage and document management, standardized processes and workflows, budgeting capabilities, file sharing, collaboration and team communication, as well as user permissions customization, task management, Gantt charts, employee and team time and tracking. These systems are also web-based, meaning they can be used anywhere at any time, and they are scalable to any number of users.

The human side of project management

With such a tool at your disposal, it is not easy to see how projects will become much more efficient and quality will improve. However, having a project management tool in place is not enough. You cannot expect it to do all of the work for you. The human aspect is just as important, if not more so. This is why all small businesses need to consider hiring a project manager. Alternatively, you can train someone in-house to manage all of the projects your company is in charge of. You can easily do a MBA online degree program today, so training in-house is more realistic than ever before.

This is an individual that will be knowledgeable and experienced in the likes of budget setting and management, time management, objective setting, managing client expectations and much more. They will also ensure that team morale and productivity levels are high, and that the right people are working on the right tasks so that resources are efficiently allocated. Combine this with quality software, and your small business will be able to handle any task that is thrown your away, and you will do so quickly and effectively.

Budget management

Budget overruns happen frequently. After all, very few businesses have an unlimited budget, and when project scope creeps in or changes are required, it can result in too much money being spent. This is bad news for any business, as clients and project stakeholders will see a budget overrun as a colossal failure. On the other hand, get it right, and you will have achieved a great success, which will enhance your reputation going forward. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five of the best ways to manage your project budget:

1.   Make sure everyone is in the know and accountable – A key part of staying on budget is making sure all team members know the current budget status. The project budget forecast is something that the project team needs to be informed about. After all, a team that is informed is a team that is empowered. If your team is aware of the budget status, they are going to be more inclined to watch their project charges, and they will charge less for extra ‘grey area’ hours.

2.   Develop relevant KPIs – The next step in managing your project budget effectively is establishing key performance indicators, otherwise known as KPIs. KPIs will help you to determine how much has been spent on a project, as well as how much the actual budget differs from what was initially planned, and much more. Let’s take a look at some KPIs that are commonly used and are vital when it comes to successful budget management in any project:

a.   Return on investment (ROI) – This shows the profitability of a project, as well as whether costs have been exceeded by the benefits.

b.   Planned value (PV) – This is the budgeted cost of work scheduled. Essentially, this is the estimated amount for project activities that have been planned.

c.   Earned value (EV) – This is the budgeted cost of work that has been performed.

d.  Cost variance (CV) – This indicates if the estimated cost of the project is lower or greater than the baseline that has been set.

e.   Actual cost (AC) – This shows how much money you have spent on the project to date. It can also be referred to as actual cost of work performed, i.e. ACWP.

3.   Budget for surprises – Projects very rarely go to plan, and there are often a lot of surprises along the way. You need to build in contingencies if you are to stay on budget. Factor in things that are outside of your control, for example, currency exchanges, financing, resources, and external environmental considerations that could impact the price of supplies.

4.   Understand the true needs and wants of your stakeholders – Last but not least, what stakeholders claim to want and need in a project aren’t always as straightforward as it seems in the beginning. This can lead to expectations and goals that have not been identified on both sides, which causes projects to run over budget. You need to make an effort to understand the true needs and wants of your stakeholders from the off.

Hopefully, you now have a good idea regarding why project management is crucial for small businesses, and why you need to get it right from the very beginning. One way to get started is by taking one of the project management training courses that are available. This will help you to get to grips with the ins and outs of project management and the different techniques and tools that can be used for managing client expectations, budget, time management and all of the other components that determine project success. Alternatively, you can do some research online, as there is an abundance of articles available.

Why Support Gets Lost In Translation


Managers, friends, even spouses say they want to support you, but how come it goes horribly wrong?

Support is determined by the recipient, not the giver.

If the receiver doesn’t feel supported, it’s only a gesture.

Let me give you an example. Your manager tells you he/she is “hands off” in their management style, yet you feel micromanaged.

Translation: your manager wants things done a certain way and when it’s not, you’ll hear it. Hands off to them means “as long as you do things my way, I’ll be hands off.”

To someone who is self-motivated and innovative that’s a huge turn off.

In the workplace support it a term used loosely. The main problem is if the giver doesn’t know how the receiver defines support, it’s just talk.

Support gets miscommunicated as frequently as any generational difference.

If you truly want to support someone, ask them how they feel supported. It may be different than what you value, but if you truly care you’ll do it.

The #1 reason why employees leave their current job is because they feel undervalued, therefore support has an incredible ROI.

The root cause can be the difference between a leader and manager, but ultimately it starts with ego.

Support is meant to benefit the recipient so if the receiver doesn’t feel supported that falls on the giver.

It can be a tricky game to play, so first know the rules.

I feel supported when listened to. Answers aren’t necessary. Once I’m able to vent my frustration, I can enter problem solving mode. Offer me trust and I will give it back tenfold. That’s what helps me feel supported, how about you?

Retaining Millennials Is Expensive


How much? 150% – 250% of someone annual salary.

That means the ROI in providing workshops, training & coaching completely outweighs firing someone.

Sounds good, but you don’t have the time, energy (or desire) to deal with it?

Get some ideas here or bring this program to your company!