Small Business Tips

Leadership pipeline

Building a Leadership Pipeline in Small Businesses

In the modern business world, effective leadership is crucial. This is true not only for large organisation, but for small businesses. As SMEs strive to stay ahead of the curve throughout their growth, a robust leadership pipeline becomes imperative. Here, we look at the essential components of building a leadership pipeline in a small business.

What Is A Leadership Pipeline?

Simply put, creating a leadership pipeline means proactively identifying and grooming those who could be future leaders within your SME. There are certain useful rules to follow when it comes to creating a robust pipeline in order to secure the future of your business, even after you no longer work in it. 

Rule 1 – Identify Leadership Potential

The first thing to do is to identify those within your business that have leadership potential early on. Going through a  thorough assessment of employees’ skills, competencies, and aspirations will help you identify potential candidates, but it is important to look beyond their current job performance and consider abilities such as strategic thinking, adaptability, and interpersonal skills.

Rule 2 – Building a Framework

When you have identified potential leaders, you will need to create a framework to support their development. Providing them with a mix of experiences that broaden their skill set and allow them to operate in different parts of the business will be extremely beneficial. On-the-job learning, mentoring, and formal training can be combined to help create well-rounded leaders.

Rule 3 – Mentorship

Mentorship has a pivotal role in leadership development. Pairing your identified candidates with experienced mentors/leaders who can provide guidance, share insights, and offer constructive feedback can accelerate their development. It can also provide useful proof to other employees that you are working on their behalf.

Rule 4 – Succession Planning

A robust leadership pipeline needs to include succession planning. An SME that has identified which roles are critical and prepared those who want to step into these positions when the time comes is a business that will not fall when a member of staff retires or leaves or throughout periods of change.. 

Rule 5 – Creating a Leadership Culture

It is essential that a business that wants to succeed embodies a culture that values and prioritizss leadership development. This can not only  encourage employees at all levels to aspire to leadership roles, but can help improve the diversity within your business.  Diverse teams can bring a huge range of benefits to an SME, and could help to identify areas for future development that may not have been previously considered.

Evaluating Leadership Development

While setting up a leadership pipeline is a job that might take some time, you will need to return to your framework to make adjustments sometimes. Carefully establish metrics for measuring progress, early on, and this will allow you to make changes if something isn’t working quite so well as it should. 

Investing in leadership isn’t just a strategy. Developing a leadership pipeline means you have put in long-term investment to secure the success and sustainability of your business. 

Growth mindset leaderships

The importance of growth mindset for leadership success

If you were to look into the background of any company that is successful, the one thing that you are most likely to find is a team leader who has adopted a growth mindset. Letting go of a fixed mindset can be one of the best ways in which you can improve your chances of leadership success

What is growth mindset?

Growth mindset is a belief and attitude that individuals have the potential to develop their abilities, talents, intelligence and emotional intelligence. This means that they believe that  success comes from the desire to work through challenges. This is rather than avoiding them. A leader who has a growth mindset is someone who tends to focus on the process more than simply focusing on the outcome.

This is of course in contrast to a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset sees things like talent and intelligence as things that cannot be developed or changed and are fully fixed. Leaders in this category are fully results orientated. To them, challenges are failures. 

How can a growth mindset help you team develop?

When you adopt a growth mindset you can improve the potential of your team dramatically. Plus, you can provide a healthy culture where accountability helps to drive growth in your business. 

Even during times of crisis, if you prescribe to a growth mindset you will envisage opportunities for your team. You don’t believe in giving up or looking for someone or something to blame when things do not go well. In fact, quite the opposite. A team leader in a growth mindset will look for ways to increase the growth of the team and overcome any challenges that come their way. 

How can you create and nurture a growth mindset?

If you are looking to adopt a growth mindset there are a number of practices that you can use. These will help to create the right mindset for you and your team.

  • Embrace change – the world is a rapidly changing digital space. It is one that we need to embrace rather than fear. 
  • Be self-aware – in order to grow and change we need to understand where we are staring from. When you are self-aware you have the tools to make better decisions. Plus, you can explore the opportunities that will help grow your business. 
  • Disrupt yourself – with self-awareness comes the ability to disrupt yourself. This is something you should do before someone else does it for you. This allows you to become the one who is driving innovation. 
  • Understand and reward the value of learning from failure – failure happens. It is important to learn from your mistakes and use them to help you make better decisions in the future. Make failure one of the learning tools that you use within your organisation. 
  • Process should be part of an ongoing project – a key factor of the growth mindset if focusing on the process and not simply the result. You cant do everything perfectly, 100% of the time and this is why the process is just as important.
  • Practise perseverance – Results do not happen overnight it is important to be patient and persevere in order to get the results that you are looking for. This is what will allow you to lead your team forward to a point where you will have more impactful goals. 

How Many UK Residents Speak More Than 1 Language

Are you working on business content for a UK audience? If you are, your first thoughts might be to create it with English in mind, adding an English voice over and perhaps experimenting with accents. However, for better inclusivity and reach, it could be worth considering the fact that many people across the UK speak more than one language.

How Many UK Residents Speak More Than One Language?

Around 62% of people in the UK can only speak English, and 38% speak at least one foreign language, 18% speak two foreign languages and 6% speak three or more languages. There are also lots of people in the UK who have English as an additional language including a high 44.2% of pupils in London (percentages vary across the UK). For those people, language specific signage, voice overs, subtitles and more is extremely helpful in ensuring they have access to public services, learning platforms and marketing that would be relevant to their needs if they were able to understand the content.

There are various languages spoken across the UK, but there are a few that are more common than others, and they are:

  • Welsh/ Scots/ Irish
  • Polish
  • Punjabi
  • Urdu
  • Bengali
  • Gujarati
  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish

If you were to be focusing on a specific part of the UK you would be able to fully localise your content to suit that targeted area as certain parts of the UK have clusters of language that differ between counties and even between towns or villages sometimes.

The Benefits Of Supporting Languages Other Than English In The UK

Various studies have been conducted showing that the UK suffers through its lack of language skills, and more children than ever before are choosing not to take languages when selecting their GCSEs. With the support of businesses, schools and any other facility offering any language-based content, it is thought that better linguistic capabilities in the UK could help boost social mobility, the efficiency of the healthcare system, overall wellbeing, quality and accessibility of public services, and enhance the value of a united UK community rich with different cultures and communities.

By supporting your customers or staff with various language options within your content, provided by a qualified voice over agency like, you can boost the impact and effectiveness of your project, and support the linguistic capabilities of the UK too.

With a better understanding of the languages spoken across the UK you can ensure that your content is accurate and able to reach as many people as possible. The benefits are far reaching, from the positive impact on your potential customers, to better accessibility for employees and a boost in brand reputation too. Just be sure to use a professional company for any translation services so that the language you do choose is accurately translated and localised.

small business failure rate

SURPRISE! 95% Failure Rate – Small Businesses

What shouldn’t be a surprise is that the number of small businesses are currently seeing hyper-growth!  There are millions of people out of work that are trying to figure out what their “plan B” is and that often means starting a small business.

Unfortunately, if 1,000,000 people start a business such as a technical SEO firm, this year only 50,000 will come out victorious.  There are several factors for these numbers but I think the biggest is the lack of knowledge and training, and an awareness of the best ways of improving the profitability of your small business.

“Old School” Vs “New School”

Old School

I started my first business over 10 years ago at the age of 21. I had a good idea – I asked all the people I knw what they thought of the idea and they also thought it would work. Many of my good friends and all of my family were encouraging about my business idea because they wanted to make me feel good about myself. But they weren’t giving me honest feedback – perhaps not surprising really.

But I thought it was a good idea, I was encouraged to think that by friends and family and when it didn’t work I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Surely everyone needed this unique product/service – I bet many of you have been there yourselves – not understanding why you’re not selling such a great product/service.

New School

As I’m sure you have probably figured out I was not very successful at building my business using the old school approach.  I worked my butt off for 16 months, spent thousands of dollars on products and training materials and produced a total of (drum roll please)…..ZERO profit for my business.  Needless to say, I felt like a complete failure and I quit.   At the time, I never thought I would start another business again.

It was not until early 2011 that I finally realized that anyone can be successful in business if they know how to market themselves using the internet.  The philosophy was fairly simple.  It is called Digital Marketing and the idea is to attract attention for your product or service from all over the web.

Needless to say, after applying this methodology and philosophy to my new business I started seeing tremendous results.  Currently, my business organization is close to surpassing 200 employees!  On top of that, I have increased my product offering so that I have spread my risk and have different income streams into my business.

Final Thoughts

If you are struggling to get your business off the ground you need to start applying online marketing methods to your business.  Learn the technique and grow your business using the power of the internet.  Yes, you still can build a business using the “old school” methods but why waste your time?  There are millions of people searching the web every single day for leaders in every industry.  Position yourself as a leader and start helping others all over the world with their businesses!

As more and more people start to realize that you can successfully build a business using the power of the internet you can bet that the 95% failure rate will continue to drop.

home-office-couple Effective feedback

The Secret To Successful Marketing

The Secret to Successful Marketing

Whether you are new to online marketing or having been in the industry for several years you have probably struggled at some point.  The number one reason why most individuals fail is because they do not know how to properly market their business. But get that right and the sky if the limit. Take, for instance, the project management training company Parallel Project Training – with astute business development leadership and a dedicated digital marketing company on board, they have grown ten-fold in just a few short years. Their success has been based on a highly active online presence – on their own blog and on other reputable blogs, on social media, on YouTube with their videos and on iTunes with their lively podcasts.

The majority of marketers are still using old school methods to try and grow their business.  This includes face to facenetworking events to build a list of contacts.  If you want to be successful in any industry you need to rethink your approach and adapt to new ways of doing business and marketing.  The secret to successful marketing in the 21st century is adjusting your way of thinking to match the social networking world.

Adjusting Your Mindset

As with any industry in this world, you need to adjust your marketing and mindset to keep up with the times.  The main reason why people fail in business is because they are trying to use the techniques from 10-20 years ago.  Sure, these techniques can still be used to build a business but you are going to have a very difficult time growing that business and who wants a business that is just ticking over?

You need to adjust your way of thinking.   Sorry to burst your bubble but, unlike using an SEO consultant, good ol-fashioned networking just doesn’t cut it anymore.  The people who attend those events don’t care about your product or service because they are probably only there to sell their own product or service.  Honestly, you will make little progress if you keep marketing your business this way.  In fact, one of my close friends tried this approach on Facebook and her friend count dropped dramatically because of it.

In order to build a successful business you need to be there to assist with people’s problems.  Be a genuine individual that truly cares about helping people.  This strategy applies to both online and offline marketing.  If you think your company sponsored website is going to make you millions you are sadly mistaken.  You need to have a blog or a website that helps people solve their problems.  Help them find answers to what they are searching for.  In addition, you need to be there for your friends and family members during these tough economic times.  You will be amazed at how many people will ask YOU about your business if they see that you are successful and you are not shoving it down their throats.

Are you passionate about your company and the product or service that you offer?  Would you purchase that product if you were not a distributor?  Once you build trust with your prospects and they start asking you about your business you need to make sure that you are passionate about your company and the product that you offer.  If you have a bad product or a sub-par company it is going to be difficult promoting your opportunity – even after they approach you!

Once you have a company and a product that you honestly believe in you should have no problem building a thriving business if you apply the philosophy above.  Simply put your need to build trust and be a leader ahead of trying to sell a product or service and you will be successful. Good Luck!

What Documents Should I Never Archive?

We all know the importance of archiving your documents and the benefits of doing so, but are there some instances where archiving shouldn’t happen?

Every day, your business generates information and data. It can be anything from petrol receipts to the information you collect when customers buy online. You have legal responsibilities to keep some of this data. However, many companies hang on to information “just in case”, a state that could lead to document archiving costing you far more money than it needs to even if you have chosen to use an offsite cheap storage unit rather than expensive office space to store the documents. It is increasingly common for small companies to make use of self storage rather than waste valuable office space for storage. The costs are generally low, especially with all the good self storage deals around but it may still be money that your business doesn’t have to spend if you are storing documents that you don’t need.

Knowing the law

In many ways knowing what you should not or don’t need to keep is fairly straightforward – you just need to be aware of what the law says in relation to your business sector and industry.

As a general guide, you should always keep documents, data and information relating to:

  1. Business documents – in other words, anything that establishes you right to conduct your business. This could be anything from articles of incorporation to business permits, licences, certifications etc.
  2. Financial data – this is the one that people worry about most and in many ways, it pays to keep detailed as well as accurate financial data and information. Check how long you need to hold on to financial information as part of your archiving documents
  3. Business agreements – this may be the policies and procedures that tie your company into contracts with clients, suppliers and so on. It will also include staff agreements, such as contracts and health benefit packages etc.
  4. Executive decisions – you will also have company minutes, along with annual reports, health and safety documents that relate to how your business is run. Ensuring you hold on to these is important.
  5. Compliance – there may also be documentation that relates to your company complying with specific legislation, regulations etc.

What documents you don’t need?

However, in spite of having these five points relating to documents you must keep, many businesses still hang on to information that they really don’t need. On one hand, you may think that you may need the information or document but on the other, it makes archiving documents a cumbersome and heavy process.

To help you understand whether you need the documents or not, ask yourself these four questions;

  1. Are the transactions or decisions that rely on this information been concluded?
  2. Have you met all the regulatory and statutory requirements for keeping this information, e.g. have you kept the information for X number of years?
  3. Is there a statutory or regulatory reason why you should hold on to the information longer than required?
  4. Are there litigations proceedings that will affect holding on to certain records or information?

Telling a story

Your business records essentially tell the story of your business, charting its rise from humble beginnings to the thriving business that it is today. Keeping documents safe is important, and not just for the regulatory or legal reasons. Backing up data is important too but a separate activity to document archiving.

If you are unsure what to keep, for how long etc., a professional document archiving service can help.