Monthly Archives: March 2010

Time to work for yourself!

Loved this story in the Financial Post, brought back some memories:
http://www.financialpost.com/executive/hr/story.html?id=2701771

I won’t spend too much time on this piece, because the overall thrust is how to cope with a boss who may be incompetent. I say life is too short, go out & do something else. But I do draw your attention to the opening sentence:

“Twenty-one per cent of employees quit their jobs because their boss is incompetent or difficult, according to a study conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management.”

So  what about the other 79%?  Were they afraid to quit or was the boss OK?

It can be a tough call, but I think that most people have to look at both sides of the coin.

If you think the boss is incompetent or difficult, it could be because life is a mirror and you reflect back what you project. Did you think that you might be incompetent or difficult?

So both parties have to work at understanding eachother better.

Are both parties communicating properly? It might come down to some labour and systems that aren’t in place which is causing the problem.

My point? Well, like I mentioned, I think life is too short to be one of the 79% people who don’t quit, because the job is safe, pays well, or is local. Those are all good things, I know, but why not go out on your own?

Not everybody is suited to self-employment: I get that. I am not telling you to quit your dream job. But what I am telling you to do is look at all the options.

Some people claim that starting their own business is too hard. And maybe for them it is.

But if you really want to make a go of it, consider buying a franchise with a solid system behind it. One that suits your business style and will help you achieve all your business goals.

Be your own boss- it’s the wave of the future!

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Customers Come Second

Customers Come Second!

Did anybody see this great story in the Journal on Sat?
http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/Money+worries+distract/2706048/story.html

Couldn’t agree more!

I don’t care if you have the best business plan in the world; unless you run your own show 100%, somewhere along the line you will have employees.

And these employees have to be your top concern, all the time.

This is obvious when you think about it. How many times have you received terrible customer service from someone who literally could not care less? When we can, we ALWAYS avoid that business in the future. They never see our money again.

I take Jim Yih to be saying that the best employees are worry-free employees. I agree. I am NOT saying give them all a big fat raise. You can only pay your people so much, obviously. But: if you notice, an otherwise good employee, is having problems, it’s probably worth it to spend some time with them ask them what’s going on. If it is a financial problem, you might be able to help them get some financial counselling, or independent advice. If another employee seems stressed because he’s living beyond his means, you might mention all of the great books out there on the rewards of living within your means. ActionCOACH has a great resource library you can browse through.

I tell all my coaches to make sure the businesses they coach make the workers their top priority. Happy workers, without exception, provide superior service & results. Every business owner should offer to pay a wage that their employees can live off of and other incentives to give them a better living, eg. Bonuses, etc. for meeting certain targets- if that’s the structure within the company.

Make sure the company you work for is making enough money, and that they have good money management. That can make a difference as well, to both employee and customers!

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Is your Small Business at Risk?

Is your Small Business at Risk?

Possibly, according to the Conference Board of Canada:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/your-business/start/financing/report-says-small-businesses-at-risk/article1498483/

And why? The usual culprit: that pesky Canadian dollar, doing a little better than some of us would like.

Don’t get me wrong:  a strong Canadian dollar is, generally, good news. But when it fluctuates, as it’s doing now, it’s not as easy for small companies to weather any minor storms, the way bigger companies can. Say you have a company that mostly exports to the US–when the dollar is stable, your US business is too. But when your US customers see the Canadian dollar slowly gaining strength…..they might consider moving their business elsewhere.

So: how can a small to medium sized company prepare for dollar fluctuations? Here is what I tell my clients:

1) Be the best. When you’re the best there is, price ceases to be an issue.

2) Review everything you do. Are you as lean as you can be? Or are there people in your firm reinventing the wheel? Do you have 3 people doing the work of 2?

3) Are you doing everything you can to please your customers?

4) Make sure there is no fat in your prices. I’m not telling you to kill your bottom-line. I am saying that if the Cdn dollar continues to rise against the US dollar in value, you will need to keep your prices competitive. The old glory days of easy export sales are over.

5) Listen to your coach. It’s during the tough times that I find clients tend to get stubborn, & get stuck in the patterns that land them in tough spots to begin with. Coaches are invaluable precisely because they have an outside perspective. If they see you a certain way, chances are customers do too. If they have suggestions, follow them!

6) Keep focused & stay positive. A little coffee shop in Ottawa recently opened their 10th location, despite the fact that all of their stores are close to a Starbucks, Second Cup or Tim Horton‘s, sometimes all three. How do they do this? Because they work hard. And they’re the best!

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How is your Entrepreneurial spirit?

During the Olympics there was a great deal of discussion around Canadian pride and spirit. Nowhere is that more evident than in the world of small business. Even in times of economic uncertainty, Canadians are determined to show that they own the business podium on a National and International level.

In a recent survey that I commissioned, I asked 1000 businesses why they began working for themselves.

Over 40% replied that they ‘Needed to be on their own- not under the thumb of large corporations.’ That’s a pretty good indication to me that Canadian pride in business and spirit is alive and well.

As well, Statscan showed that in the 80’s and 90’s,  over 80% of all businesses closed their doors within 10 years. It is our goal at ActionCOACH to turn this stat around so that 95% of all businesses are still operating after 10 years.

At the end of World War II Canada was the 2nd largest economic powerhouse in the world? What happened?

I’d love to see the pride and dedication we have for our sports to translate into small business!

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Is there really a Labour Squeeze in Alberta?

Recently quoted in the Globe and Mail, Brian Vaasjo president of Capital Power Inc. in Alberta noted that “We are about to start running into, believe it or not, another labour shortage…It is going to be significant again,” he says, adding that the labour squeeze could happen within a matter of months. “I don’t know how to deal with that.”
Well I know how to deal with it- Why bring in people from other countries with the skills you are looking for? Canadian Employers need to take the time to train people in their industry. That will help strengthen all of our businesses. Almost a third of all Canadian small businesses would gladly take people on- if they could find them. Employers have to take a more active role in the recruitment process.

It’s all too easy to blame bad business on not having enough staff, but when you come right down to it, the employer has to actually stand up and take some responsibility. Are they out there offering training to potential employees? What person wouldn’t want to join a company that is going to train them in a new skill? You are bound to get the right people if you hire by attitude first, skill set second.

Here are some of my tips for business owners and employers when looking for staff:

So how do Employers find the best employees? I have some suggestions that will help employers find the right employee:
  • Look for attitude first. If you find talented/hardworking people hire them right away. And they are out there if employers put effort into recruiting them
  • Offer to give them the skills they need- that way you’ll get the employee you want and skills that will benefit your business
  • Don’t hire skills over attitude. One person with hustle is worth ten people who don’t care
  • Check references- so many small businesses just hire based on an in person interview. You MUST check their references; it will save you time and money in the long run.

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Filed under Alberta, Business, Canada, Employment, Globe and Mail, Human resources, Recruitment, Small business

How is Your Entrepreneurial Sprit?

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During the Olympics there was a great deal of discussion around Canadian pride and spirit. Nowhere is that more evident than in the world of small business. Even in times of economic uncertainty, Canadians are determined to show that they own the business podium on a National and International level.
 In a recent survey that I commissioned, I asked 1000 businesses why they began working for themselves.
Over 40% replied that they ‘Needed to be on their own- not under the thumb of large corporations.’ That’s a pretty good indication to me that Canadian pride in business and spirit is alive and well.

As well, Statscan showed that in the 80’s and 90’s,  over 80% of all businesses closed their doors within 10 years. It is our goal at ActionCOACH to turn this stat around so that 95% of all businesses are still operating after 10 years. 

At the end of World War II Canada was the 2nd largest economic powerhouse in the world? What happened?
I’d love to see the pride and dedication we have for our sports to translate into small business!
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Filed under Business, Canada, Corporation, Economy, Olympic Games, Small business, Sport, United States