25 November 2014

"Young Entrepreneurs - Giving it a Go!" Article by Tina Zawila

Recently, I have been inspired and impressed with the younger generation of Gladstone’s Entrepreneurs chasing their dreams and passions and entering the world of business.

It seems that Gladstone’s recent years of growth and prosperity have offered our youth an opportunity to be bold, take an educated risk, find a niche and give it a red hot go!
It was recently reported by Bankwest that last year there were 15,300 new companies registered in Australia and the majority were owned by entrepreneurs aged 25 to 34.  It seems that “Gen Y entrepreneurs are reshaping the Australian economy and showing the older business generations how to do it”.
So what can we learn from this generation of business owners?
1.       Passion – they know what they are passionate about, why they do what they do, and how they can help others and make a living for themselves along the way.

2.       Confidence – they believe in their own abilities, are prepared to “back themselves” and take a risk.  They tend to act more quickly and make decisions faster.

3.       Hard work – contrary to the perception that Gen Y’s want it “easy”, in my experience, these young entrepreneurs are not afraid of hard work and are willing to invest their time and energy into their businesses even though it might not be “paying it’s way” yet.

4.       They take advice – they understand that they don’t know it all, and are willing to ask for and take advice from those that can help them, have been there before, or are professionals in their field.
5.       Fun – they bring fun and enthusiasm into their businesses, which is contagious.
Keep an eye out for these young business owners – they are the future of our great city and are bringing new ideas and passion to our business landscape.

At Sothertons we are passionate about business and we are dedicated to ensuring your success in business and in life.   Call us today on 4972 1300 to discuss your new business venture.

18 November 2014

"Innovation and leadership go hand in hand" Article by Steve Marsten

I was recently exposed to some intellectual property that will probably revolutionise the plumbing world. Unfortunately the client is in need of capital to take it to the next stage. It reminded me of a mechanic I saw in a YouTube clip, showing you how to extract a cork from inside a wine bottle by inserting a plastic bag into the bottle and inflating it so it pushes the cork out.  Simple but effective. The guy woke up the next morning with a brilliant idea. He theorised the same could be applied to delivering difficult babies! And voila - the Odon Device was born! Thanks to an Argentinian mechanic – it hits home the importance of innovation. If a mechanic with no medical background can transform obstetrics, then each of us is quite capable of changing the world in some way.

In doing this, we as business leaders, need to encourage our teams to find their inner “Odons” by establishing an environment that values and rewards innovation.
If we are going to create a culture of innovation we need to take time out to consider how.
We need to Model it. Steve Jobs once said “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” That’s correct. Leaders must act on opportunities quickly and decisively. Decisions reflect where the business is going, not where they are today.
Encourage positive failure. Failure is a critical part of success. The best ideas are rarely new ones. And instead of waiting for the perfect timing you should get on with your first attempt of a new service or product and then commence the refinement process. Praise creative problem-solving even when the end result isn’t quite right.
Finally, insist on solution-thinking. Nothing is more frustrating then a person who complains without thinking of a solution. Train people to bring solutions to your door. This not only minimises the issues but gives team members ownership over the challenges.

We encourage both staff and clients to develop “thinking teams”. You might want to implement this in your business right now. Call the team at Sothertons on 4972 1300 and ask for Steve or Tina to show you how innovation and leadership go hand in hand.

11 November 2014

"Is your business ready for Christmas?" By Tina Zawila

I know it still feels a bit early to talk about Christmas, but it’s only about 40 sleeps before the big man comes down the chimney! 

So are you and your business ready for the silly season?
We all know that Christmas is a significant period of consumer spending, and for that, every business needs to be well prepared. Over the coming weeks, planning is essential.
Maybe the first step is to revisit what you learnt from last Christmas:
·         What did your customers like?
·         What ideas worked for you or your competitors?
·         What’s special about this Christmas?
·         Which team members will you have available?
With your customers’ needs firmly in mind, allocate responsibilities for three key areas – your products, your promotions and your resourcing.
Your products – engage the festive spirit.  Just about any product or service can be packaged to suit – whether you are in retail or otherwise.  Consider various price points to suit different Christmas budgets.  Maybe even consider a different market segment such as corporate gifts or holiday makers.

Your promotions - social media is a great option to get the word out there to your customers. Adding a Christmas theme to your website or Facebook page and online promotions is a good place to start, as is tweeting deals and letting people know how quickly your stock is going out the door. No one likes to miss out!
Your resourcing - manage your team to ensure great service to customers, and ensure there is cover for the extra work and planning in the lead-up period. This means sorting holiday leave and holiday cover early. You may also be able to benefit from an enthusiastic student who can help you with those social media strategies and is looking for extra work over the holidays!

At Sothertons Gladstone, we mentor business owners to prosper throughout all of the seasons in business.  Talk to our professional team today on 4972 1300, to maximise your own Christmas ‘gift’ this year.

04 November 2014

"How’s the happiness factor in your business?" Article by Steve Marsten

I was asked recently by a client who was having some staffing issues, what was most important to me about my job? It was a very good question. Before I could ponder an answer, my client was telling me that it was probably the quality of the work I do, or the money, or the success of the organisation, or the travel to seminars etc. But alas none of these were correct! When I thought about it for a moment, it was very clear to me – it’s the people I work with. The people that I spend over 40% of my every waking hour with – they are what’s important to me in my job.

That said - it highlights the fact that as an employer, you need to be happy by nature to attract happy workers. You need to love what you do, to attract those who love what you do, and want to do what you do!
Employers need to stay in touch with employees and observe the feelings of optimism and happiness amongst the workforce and hence look for opportunities to enhance employees’ current roles. This has a huge impact on retention rates, improved work ethic, loyalty and support.
You should spend a little time trying to identify those who are not-so-happy at work as well. They may need some TLC or perhaps just a friend to listen and reach out to.  Or if they are not-so-happy by nature, and you are a customer service business – then time should be spent identifying a job they love. Even if you don’t have that job, it may help them see that they are wasting their time (and yours).  Moving these staff on often lifts the workplace happiness dial a few pointers as well.
So it’s very important that you take the time to employ the right people, who are right for the business, and the business owner. Know what culture you want your business to create; to be known for, and to be seen to be implementing. Then as the head of the business – make sure you model the culture. The minute you drop your standards you are saying to your staff that “that’s ok!” To get your office culture on track and increase the happiness in your business ring Steve or Tina at Sothertons on 4972 1300.