24 October 2017

A Different Perspective

By Tina Zawila

Steve and I were both out of the office in early October attending our annual Centrepoint Alliance Partner Summit for Financial Planners and Accountants.  This conference is held overseas in a different location each year.  Every year the quality of the speakers and technical content is outstanding, enabling us to continually improve our professional skills and knowledge to best serve our clients.

I’ve often been asked “Why is an Australian conference held overseas and why do you invest the time and money to go?”  Aside from the technical content, there are a number of other invaluable learning’s gained from these conferences that may not be obvious at first.

  • ·         A different time zone – minimises distractions during the conference.  Delegates are often less likely to have to take phone calls or answer emails and messages allowing them to focus on the content and network with other delegates.  
  • ·         A different economy/political landscape – as Financial Advisors learning about the strengths and weaknesses of different economies and political environments enhances our ability to analyse and assess our own economy and government policies.
  • ·         A different currency – aside from sharpening our ability to do conversions in our heads, the value of currency and the cost of living provides an insight into another financial system.
  • ·         A different culture – witnessing different ways of life, living standards and the attitudes of the people to their governments/rulers provides us with perspective on the Australian lifestyle.
Another important associated benefit is the ability to review and assess our own professional and personal development, and our business’ performance and position, with the benefit of distance and a different perspective. 

We often talk to our clients about Working IN versus Working ON your business.  These conferences are our opportunity to work ON our own business and take our own advice.

Finally, travel teaches you patience and to acknowledge what you can and can’t control! 

If you are looking for a different perspective on your business or career, take some time out to talk to our professional team at Sothertons on 4972 1300. 

17 October 2017

Are you an abrogator or a delegator?

By Steve Marsten
Recently I came across a situation where some business owners discussed the fact that good “management” could be defined briefly as “getting things done through others.” Such an expression succinctly captures the complexity of delegation of responsibility within an organisation.
In general, winning businesses tend to have a system of delegating responsibility that works effectively. It is a combination of art and science. It’s the system of delegating responsibility without losing control of the business for which business owners, CEO’s or Directors are ultimately responsible.
One particular business owner receives regular reports and measures performance within each department or cost centre. He seems to have a sixth-sense for when things are going well and when a department is floundering. It is more than pouring over reports and data though. It has a lot to do with the tone and tenor of the human interactions between him and the mangers, supervisors or leading hands.
It is not complicated. When you ask a manager a series of questions and clear crisp and enlightened answers snap back, you develop a confidence that the manager has effective control over their area of responsibility. Indeed, it is within these organizations we normally find success by most any measure.
Unfortunately, we occasionally find a manager or CEO who substitutes “abrogation” for “delegation.” One definition of abrogation is, . . . .” to treat as non-existent.” In these circumstances there is a detachment between the “executive” and the “department head”.
Sometimes business owners shirk their basic responsibilities by, in their eyes, allowing their people to do their jobs unhindered but without appropriate follow-up and check-ups. Hence it’s not until there is a major issue or break in the system that the manager can subsequently blame someone for the issue without first looking in the mirror.
In summary, business owners need to understand that their team expects them to lead. They’ll expect them to take responsibility and they will expect them to solve problems. Most importantly, they also expect them to converse with them and listen as much as they advise. They are not necessarily expecting you to be their friends however an empathetic approach while taking an interest in people will gain respect far more easily such that your team will want to work for you.

For more information on better leadership and culture settings, contact our team at Sothertons on 4972 1300.

03 October 2017

Business Grants are available to growing businesses

By Steve Marsten

There is not a better time then now to be a small business! Right now the Queensland Government has several funding programs available to assist small business to grow and accelerate. The State Government is providing $3 million in grant funding over 3 years to established small businesses to engage business mentors, coaches, specialist consultants or an advisory board, for a 6 to 12 month period. This is a great opportunity for sole traders and partners to take the loneliness out of small business. It helps build ideas or put them into practice with professional guidance. It helps with continuity and sustainability.

The Program allows for targeted assistance to small businesses that demonstrate high-growth and employment aspirations, to enable them to engage high-level experts and strategic advisors and thinkers to work closely with them in their business.

Funding of up to $10,000 (excluding GST) may be provided to eligible businesses to engage business professionals. The funding must be matched by a cash contribution from the participating business. So its $1 for $1 or a 50% discount for such services.

To be eligible for this grant, the business must:

  • have a minimum trading history of 3 years at the time of application
  • have a minimum turnover of $500,000 in the previous 12 months
  • have a maximum headcount of 20 employees at the time of application
  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN) and be registered for GST
  • have competitive opportunities in domestic or international markets
  • have growth opportunities
Growth is important to your business plan and businesses with a goal to have a 20% increase in turnover or employment are best placed to be successful for this grant.

Only 1 application per year is accepted from an individual ABN or business address. Note - this is not the only funding available either. Business owners should check out the Small Business Digital Grants Program as well. This grant provides small businesses with access to digital technologies and services to enable them to work smarter and engage with the global economy while making the most of online business opportunities arising from digital disruption.

At Sothertons we have assisted many businesses to obtain government grants. For any assistance or questions feel free to call us on 0749 721300.