Category: Education

How can a Business Coach help me ?

Many businesses use a business coach. Others may be considering the benefits while some may not have any idea what it is all about. What is business coaching, and how can it help?

Business coaching is a process that can help take a business from where it is to where it wants to be. A dedicated business coach will assist and guide the business owner in growing the business, mapping out the best routes towards success and guiding them in the right direction.

A business coach differs from a consultant; while a consultant will scope a project, consider alternatives and implement the required actions themselves, a business coach equips the business owner to do it by teaching them new skills and providing knowledge of the market and the journey ahead.

THE BENEFITS OF BUSINESS COACHING

Impartial advice – While a business owner no doubt often relies on the support of family, employees and friends, ultimately, they will all have some form of vested interest. So, it can be difficult for them to be impartial. That’s where the business coach comes in. A coach can provide a confidential, objective sounding board to help solve the challenges ahead. Additionally, they can be relied upon to react to your ideas and methods honestly and tell it straight, are working on a process that could be improved.

Focus your attention – A business owner’s time and attention can be stretched in so many directions that it’s hard to focus on the key tasks that relate to your business goals. A business coach will help you to organise your tasks and schedule, leaving your business well organised and efficient and giving you ample time to work on the next stage of business growth.

Make you accountable – Sometimes it’s hard to keep promises, especially those you have made to yourself. A business coach will challenge you to achieve the objectives agreed and help you to channel your efforts towards achieving them.

Push you outside your comfort zone – When there are difficult decisions to be made or tasks to be completed, it’s easy to fall back into the comfort zone where you feel safe and secure. For many business owners, this means working in your business when you should be working on your business. A business coach will guide and support you beyond your comfort zone and push you to new heights, while also helping you develop your staff, allowing them to competently stand on the front line in your place while you’re working on growing the business from behind the scenes.

Two heads are better than one – Brainstorming ideas with your business coach can add a different perspective to your way of thinking. We all kn

ow that old saying, two heads are better than one, but a business coach can go far beyond that. A good business coach will explore your ideas from every angle, question your thinking, and provide alternative answers. This can often lead to finding better or more innovative solutions that you may not have previously considered.

Ask any successful athlete what factors contributed to their success, and most – if not all – will cite their coach as a primary influence. So why should it be any different in business?

So now you know what I do – if you’re interested in taking your business to the next level then contact me for a quick review call.

duncan.mercer@magnatec.net

Download your FREE copy of my book :

www.yourbusinessgrowth.co.uk

Or perhaps you’d like to take a look at my new online DIY academy?

www.magnatec-marketing.co.uk

 

(source : https://www.emc-dnl.co.uk/business-network-magazine/ )

Getting Smart With Costs

Being aware of your costs and buying smart is a key component of running an SME – costs can be crippling and CASH IS KING !

Let me give you an example of an internet based distribution business that with a nudge in the right direction managed to significantly reduce their annual costs.

This business sent out it’s products every day in cardboard boxes bought from their local stationary store, purely for ease of stock control – they bought them at a retail price of £3.91.

The irony of being an internet based business and not taking the small amount of time to Google search a wholesaler, set up an account and reduce their box cost by £2.36 to £1.55 is unfathomable. We’ll leave out the added saving made on fuel getting to & from the store to collect the boxes!

On top of this saving it was worth cross checking the Google search with businesses that were available on the cash back sites i.e. TopCashBack or QuidCo which both provided a further 9.45% cash back on their purchase of boxes.

The business sent out on average 5 items per day, therefore with this small amount of effort the business started saving £12.55 per day which equals £3,263 per year saving.

A saving is always nice when you’re running a business, but could there be more savings achieved with a little further investigation – of course !

The business used to use the most well know obvious choice for delivery of their items. Another internet search provided a courier broker that allows smaller businesses access to the discounted prices achieved with higher distribution numbers.

It allowed the firm to save £8.21 per parcel and delivered within 48 hours. Consider that on 5 items per day and all of a sudden there is a further saving of £41.05 per day adding a further £10,670 saving per year.

Just by getting just a little bit smart about costs, taking the time to search for better deals rather than convenience, allowed this particular business to add close to £14,000 per year to their profits.

This was just one area of their operations – a true eye opener to the statement “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves”.

I invite you to take a look at 4-5 items you always buy regularly for your business and see how much you can save, I guarantee you’ll be surprised.

When you do, come back and let me know in the comments I’d be interested to see some other successes.

 

( Source : A Pocket Guide to Small Business Success – Rob England )

WILL YOUR BUSINESS COSTS PASS THE T.E.S.T ?

WILL YOUR BUSINESS COSTS PASS THE T.E.S.T ?

Do your business costs keep you up at night? It doesn’t matter if you run a big or small business CASH IS KING & COSTS CAN KILL.

Business owners are always on the look out for ways to cut down their costs. If you reduce your costs you automatically become more profitable and will ultimately be more successful.

This isn’t always an easy task, it can sometimes require creativity, culture changes and take you to the edge of your own comfort zone. So here’s another question :

CAN YOUR BUSINESS COSTS PASS THE T.E.S.T ?

T = Telephone

E = Energy

S = Space

T = Tax

These can be 4 of the biggest costs on a business and are always the subjects that can take you our of your comfort zone.

TELEPHONE

Do you still have landlines in our business? If you answered YES take a moment to think about how many times you & your business actually used a landline in the last 6 months or a year even.

Landlines are an outdated method with which to use the communication channel of speech. I would like to reiterate that speech is still a very important form of communication in business.

Of course everyone has a mobile phone but beyond that there are numerous FREE VoIP services that can not only be used on your laptop but via smart phones as well.

Do yourself a favour get rid of the cable that is business cost noose around your neck and holding you back.

ENERGY

A huge drain on the business and of course this is not something you can simply get rid of. This is where some creativity comes in.

The world is trying to reduce the carbon footprint, as a result there are new technologies coming on to the market every day that can help reduce your carbon footprint as a business and an individual. Investigate them – ultimately, reducing your carbon footprint will reduce your energy bills.

This may well require some initial investment but to look at this over a 3-5 year period and you’ll be surprised at how it can help reduce these costs. We all know about changing lightbulbs to LED etc. but the creativity comes in on items you may think you can’t reduce, for example your IT estate – check this product out : https://www.ipmplus.co.uk

SPACE

Yes, I am talking about your office. The previous 2 points can be wiped out if you implement this point, so it works as a sliding scale really.

If the majority of your team work remotely then why keep an expensive building. If you require regular meetings / get-togethers there are plenty of options nowadays and most are better for morale of the staff if you coincide it with a social as well.

There are options for virtual offices with all the services you require e.g. postal address & handling, telephone call handling, printing even the meeting room space you need from time to time.

All the options are available to use or not and have a cost associated but all will far more cost efficient compared to keeping a building running.

TAX

The scariest subject when it comes to business for 2 big reasons :

1. It’s one of the biggest costs.

2. It has legal ramifications if handled incorrectly.

There are more and more scary words to describe the black box that is tax – avoidance, evasion, compliance & haven etc.

I am certainly not suggesting the implementation of illegal tax reduction – but do you as a business make the most of the deductions & credits available to businesses to help reduce their tax bill.

Understanding what your company is owed or can claim goes a long way reducing costs via the tax bill during and at the end of your accounting year.

So how did your business fair in the T.E.S.T. ?

Perhaps these few points are new to you or you’ve been reminded about items you’ve been meaning to sort out, either way managing your costs is a great way to keep more money in your pocket.

This is what I help my clients to do. I provide the gift of time and savings on a plate.

Get in contact with me via the website : https://yourbusinessgrowth.co.uk/contact/

Or simply connect with me on LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/in/duncanmercer/

HEADWAY DERBY IN THE CLOUDS

IT Selection for Charity

“Magnatec’s input has made a massive difference to us. It was just the push we needed to work through our challenges” – Debra Morris, Headway Derby Chair

IT Review & Consultation

Headway Derby – Award Winning Charity

Headway Derby are an award winning local charity providing a range of therapeutic support and rehabilitative development services for brain injured people, their families and carers in Derby, Southern Derbyshire and East Staffordshire.

Headway were looking to improve their IT estate and move as much of their day to day processes, reports and paperwork onto cloud based IT systems.

This was to include:

  • Document storage & management

  • Staff, Trustee, Donor & Member profiles

  • Finance & Reporting

When considering the IT solutions the budget had to be a big factor but, as a charity, Headway Derby already had Office 365 installed at zero cost. They had also investigated various other solutions that offer their software for free to NGO’s.

Other considerations were that the software had to be user friendly and have the availability of good remote training materials & support.

The Challenges

1. Document Storage & Management

a. Some of the documentation is currently stored on an external drive with no back up facility.

b. OneDrive started being used but in an unplanned design with no selective user access to the folders & files. Consequently this has not continued to be utilised.

2. Collaborative Working

a. Managing tasks, projects centrally.

3. Staff, Trustee, Donor & Member Profiles

a. The majority of this data is currently in hard copy paper format.

b. No easy or quick access is available to the information required.

4. Finance Control & Reporting

a. Financial records are stored and controlled within Excel.

b. Knowledge is held by a single point of contact, opening exposure to risk and potential errors.

c. Reporting takes days and uses person hours to complete.

The Solutions

  1. Cloud Document Storage All cloud SaaS solutions have simple user logon. Allows for increased security and multiple person editing with audit trail. Headway already have free access to Microsoft OneDrive and this was considered the best option to move forward with following a simple awareness session.

  2. Collaborative Working Headway had already trialed and liked the cloud solution Trello – this has since been fully integrated into their day to day processes.

  3. Staff, Trustee, Donor & Member Profiles Numerous web-based cloud solutions are available and were investigated, reviewed and trialed by Magantec. These can include as much or as little functionality as required by Headway. There are solutions available, specific for charities, that include HR & CRM etc. capabilities. Headway opted not to move forward on any of these for the time being as they were the most costly of all the solutions needed at this moment in time.

  4. Finance Control & Reporting Online Cloud bookkeeping has become the norm in recent years – it allows any size of organisation to provide reports & audit information at the click of a button. Read only user logons are also available to facilitate appropriate controls. The central management of the finances will also make this process secure and risk free. Clearbooks was considered a suitable solution, this was advised over the likes of Quickbooks because they offer good discounts for NGO’s. Headway like this software but believe they need to take each step in turn and will look at moving to this when ready.

Summary

This was a great project to work on with some clear challenges and solutions available. Headway have made a good start on their move to the cloud and are now regularly using the full functionality of Office 365, in particular, OneDrive to make their work more accessible and secure.

They have also fully integrated Trello into their day to day work.

The journey is just beginning but they are on the right track and in time will no doubt be fully integrated into the Cloud which will lead to better control and gains in operational efficiency.

If any of Headway’s challenges resonate with you and your organisation then why not contact us and see how Magantec can help you.

“We are so grateful for the support and inspiration. We are in a much better place now than we were 2 months ago, before we met Duncan” – Rebecca Manship, Headway Derby Operations & Development Manager

www.magnatec.net

duncan.mercer@magnatec.net

Full Company Strategic Overview

Infomatrix Enterprise Solutions Ltd are an I.T. company providing industry expert consultancy along with their unique product offering of an Information Portal called OneView.

Following a change in their ownership and board they have accelerated the R&D for their product and, last year, turned their focus to the sales of their services. Their initial low level success was a constant headache to their CEO and so they asked Magnatec to perform a review for all the elements of the business.

Subsequently, we were installed as a Consultant Commercial Director tasked with making IT cost savings and increasing sales and presence within the market.

It is fair to say that this is an ongoing engagement but the initial points tackled were :

The primary focus was around lowering costs – this was achieved by looking at all costs, where the CEO could not see the wood for the trees, as to where the money was going every month. Simple analysis of legacy and redundant services allowed an initial cost reduction on various services, this was followed up by contract re-negotiation on the services that were still required. In some instances gaining 35% lifetime discounts.

The next obstacle was to increase sales and presence within the market – this is not a simple exercise but we started making changes to the way Infomatrix were approaching certain aspects of their business. As an example we set up a monthly business development meeting to start brainstorming the approach to market and creating a sales pipeline. It took a few months to get the format, agenda & personnel right for the meeting but now it is an invaluable insight for all areas of the business.

The creation of company social media and an investment in staff training for the likes of LinkedIn etc. were done to help create presence.

This is a great success story of operational consultancy that isn’t complete – (as of May 2019) we are still working with infomatrix moving them forward on various sales and now starting to look at the organisation structure of the business, there will be more for this story ……..

Duncan from Magnatec (blue shirt) in full session with Infomatrix

Supplier Rationalisation

Everyone knows the state of politics at the moment and everyone is fully aware of the pressure that is being put on local governments to reduce their costs & budget over the next few years.

So many of these local governments have already done an excellent job in reducing their costs but most have exhausted the obvious cost cutting options. They are now looking at other, less obvious, cost reduction opportunities within their organisations.

Magnatec we’re engaged as an IT Consultancy by the Derbyshire County Council to take a look at their ICT Suppler List. An area they believed substantial IT cost saving could be made. They faced the issue that, with head count being lowered, the remaining staff had too much day-to-day work on their plates to take a step back and look at the possibilities.

This is where we can step in with a clear task and give an unbiased 3rd party view of the situation – if you or your staff simply don’t have the time to look at such items then the services we provide are just what you need.

We were able to cast an eye over all the ICT suppliers for the County Council, for every department, software, hardware etc. We analysed the data and produced a report for the council detailing where & how savings could be made to the tune of several million.

This is the power of an impartial, external, 3rd party – it provides an objective view point that organisations, departments or even individuals might not be able to see.

The task was performed accurately and in a timely manner with the report being delivered before the deadline.

Educate Your Customers

Educate them about what, you may be thinking. Well, consider this, many businesses focus solely on attracting new customers, but you NEED to spend a good chunk of your time retaining current and former customers. These are people you already know to be a good sales potential…they’ve already bought from you!

Take the time to market and sell new products to your old customers and less time trying to sell old products to new customers and you will see a drastic change in your sales, customer quality and branding position.

Here are a couple of key elements to use to retain your current customers:

  1. Stay in contact: This means by phone, email, e-newsletter, in person-by pigeon if you have too!
  2. Post-Purchase Assurance: This means you need to follow up with customers. Your customers need to feel like they are being supported for their purchase and with the item they purchased. How many times have you purchased a product, then felt completely abandoned? Something as simple as a Thank You note with your contact or customer service information can go along way in retaining a great customer.
  3. Deals & Guarantees: Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you have. Show them you appreciate their business or even come up with a club specifically to reward loyal customers. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option.
  4. Integrity: Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty go along way with customers. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of swindling and crap out there and the safer and more confident you make your customers feel, the more they will trust you and that makes for an amazingly supportive and loyal customer.

There are three cornerstone ideas to a successful business:

  • Quality product/service
  • Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer
  • Offer subjects your customers find interesting

Use this approach of educating your customers and offering them real information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success.

Stop wasting all your time on new prospects while your current customers fall by the wayside!

As Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and diverts some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers. In every ways possible – through package inserts, regular mailings, special offers – stay in touch with those customers and get them used to buying from you.”

So, there it is! Remember, we can help you put together the resources and tools to do exactly that. We can help you educate your customers and you can watch the benefits pay offer many-fold.