martes, 20 de junio de 2017

Working with the Incorrect Culture

Companies are composed of different personalities and traits from its own people, however, the culture is not always the best one for an entrepreneur, could not be the most flexible, or even the most appropriate for a company, at all. It is my perspective that entrepreneurs looking for the stability of a daytime job must adapt to any business, but not going to the point of affecting the creativity, the spirit, the will to improve. No company is worth the exchange of the entrepreneurial spirit.

Firstly, an entrepreneur could deal with a difficult organisational culture. And this could be represented by the following example: people in the company are more concerned about your looks, your schedule, your customs; leaving your work outside the picture. When harsh conditions are surrounding your workplace, represented by the behaviour of the coworkers, the psych is affected by becoming more protective and dependant on the opinion from the others. Thus, a terrible condition for a creative mind.

Secondly, even if the entrepreneur manages to provide some creativity to the daily work; is this work going to permeate into the existing culture? For instance, as a new recruit in a new company, entrepreneurs could feel amazed due to the number of potential roads to improve. Is this organisation in disposition to allow those changes to be implemented, furthermore, even considered? The environment should be always observed, and study how recommendations from established workers, are received.

Thirdly, the organisation could be a disaster, even for older employees. To mention an example, there are family companies that just grew due to a particular event. This doesn’t mean the company was ready to grow. So, the structure develops, and processes are implemented, also, new regulations established. Most family companies suffer from those headaches in their adolescence. Would this be the right place to try to implement any creativity at all? Hardly, since the company is actually focused on how to do things, not how to make them right. The company just exists to struggle with every new operational day.

To summarise, not all organisational cultures are the correct ones for an entrepreneur, as those could be either difficult to deal with, inflexible, or not the correct one for the company itself. The entrepreneur must be willing to find a daytime job to help in the journey of stabilizing the personal business, although not at the cost of the developing abilities. An entrepreneur must keep an open mind and study the environment in order to determine two specific factors: will the company help the entrepreneur to grow? but also, will the entrepreneur be allowed to actually exercise knowledge, creativity, and experience; in order to help the company to grow?

lunes, 19 de junio de 2017

The Precious Resource of Time

Time is always running out, and for the purpose of live, three main flows must occupy the mind of every person, namely; time to work, time as an individual, and family time.  It is my opinion that every single being must find the balance and become aware of how important time is, and how it is dedicated for all aspects of life.

First, time to work is considered the most important, nowadays.  This means that most productive adults are always trying to find more time to work.  For instance, people are always extending their work schedules in order to pretend to be more productive.  Apart for destroying overall health, productivity is not increased, but two things could happen:  stress appears, or burnout makes its appearance.  The former will make every person less productive; and the latter will consume the being: ideas, creativity, strength, will to work.  Could it be possible to understand time to work not only as work itself, but also as those activities that allow entrepreneurs to grow as well?  Consider soft skills training, or technical training as part of this time.  Thinking outside the box is part of that time dedicated to work, indeed.

Second, personal time means to schedule time to oneself.  Moreover, this is time needed to develop and grow as an individual.  It can be mention that activities such as exercise; but also meditation, are a great aid to find personal balance.  What would be your activity to choose, given the time?  More and more people are choosing yoga as a personal favourite when it comes to relaxation and internal growth.

Third, families deserve the best of our times.  Just to mention, close ones need smiles, warm hugs, and tender kisses.  Additionally, related ones required all the guidance, and protection that can be provided.  Moreover, the simple closeness of their presence can help to heal the failures of the week, to share the victories of the day, and provide a foundation for the vision of the future.  The greatest gift that can be given to family and dear ones, is time.

In brief, time is short, and time is basically organised into three main roads: work, oneself, and family.  Once the time has been found for each one of them, a sense of joy is found; thus, a balance has been reached.  However, priorities must be always set.  What would you choose as your top priority, against the rest?

Giving a Chance to Creativity

Creativity is the key to innovation and improvement. However, the process to cultivate it involves creating the time to think, writing down your ideas, and social interaction.  My opinion is that creativity is an ability to be fomented and cherished, as it can be considered one to the biggest assets of your professional life.

Firstly, your daily routine must start by dedicating time to thinking and imagination.  For example, even before opening your email, rest for about 30 minutes to concentrate and meditate, letting your imagination flow. Also, visualising how processes can be improved.  A practical technique to be utilised is to think about items not related to the business:  a lonely beach, a peaceful lake, a green mountain.  The usage of parallel thinking is highly valuable as well.  Could you realise how much can you advance by setting up some minutes to think about improvement, instead of wasting time by doing always the same?

Secondly, always have a notepad at reach so you can write down your ideas.  For instance, when enjoying a coffee and this great idea comes to your mind; despite having a lot of napkins and no pen.  Inspiration by insight is a gift that only arrives once, and when it passes is gone for sure.  Consider all the good ideas that may have arrived to your mind while commuting.

Thirdly, creativity may be developed by talking with others. Namely, by inspiring creativity into others: potential solutions could appear in the form of small clues.  Because this interaction works in two ways, a great deal of information can be received also.  Since this feedback can be provided just by one person, it is desirable to develop a healthy network of professionals from miscellaneous fields able of generating the most unexpected ideas and thoughts.

To summarise, creativity is to be learned and developed by every entrepreneur, by scheduling time to think in the daily routine, by writing down all ideas, and opening opportunities to chat with others.  In  conclusion, the tool needed to improve your business through  innovation is called creativity.  Every entrepreneur should have the chance to developed it.

The Relevance of Personal Time

Through the journey of a self-owned company, personal time should be kept an integral part of the day, by creating a well defined routine, also, by executing your favourite activities, and by having enough sleep.  Under my perspective, the time to develop and improve your personal life is fundamental to perform as an entrepreneur.

First, a healthy daily routine should be designed to include both personal and family time, besides work time.  For instance, it must include the moment when the job finishes, and then, what activities you should be doing at home.  It is a fact that you cannot predict how much time will be consumed by commuting,  but the best effort to provide an estimated time range should be made.

Second, the activities you define as part of personal time must contain at least one favourite thing to do.  Consider at least thirty minutes of singing or dancing; writing, exercising, painting, etc.  The execution of tasks considered as relaxing contribute enormously to reduce stress.  What would be the dearest activity you could think about doing while enjoying time for leisure?

Lastly, one of the most important elements of private time is sleeping.  To illustrate this point, it is recommended to sleep for at least eight hours per night; in order to rest properly.  This being considered, not all entrepreneurs can enjoy the blessing of so many hours to rest.  However, it is fundamental going to the bed at the same hour, and sleep equal amounts of time every night.

To summarise, the time that is dedicated to personal life is as important as that time utilised to improve your business.  By creating a routine, including your special hobbies, and sleeping as good as possible every night; a healing balance can be constructed.  The entrepreneur is the soul and heart of the business, therefore, there is no one without the other.

Data Collection

Information in the small business is crucial for its survival, and it should be collected using the correct sources.  For instance sales, operation costs, and customer information.  In my opinion, data collection can be performed correctly by entrepreneurs, since the information needed is within reach.

To begin with the description of these sources, sales information provides one of the main indicators of activity and health of the company.  For example, most business owners don’t keep an accurate record of their transactions.  Bills include information too important to be kept aside, such as total amount purchased, products, discounts, dates, time of sale, name of the customer, method of payment; among others. Would be enough to manage a business to know only the total amount of your sales?

To continue with the concept of the correct information sources, operation costs are related to all the factors involving the creation of the product itself.  Consider, as an example, the number of hours required for the elaboration of a good or service.  Because elements needed to create a product are being explored, it should be mention the amount of resources consumed (human, monetary, chronological), dates of production, total time, workflows and bottlenecks, etc.  For some entrepreneurs; a product is valued according with how much creativity is put into it, however, creativity shall be applied to cost identification as well in order to survive in the market.

Lastly, customer data is an invaluable tool utilized to develop a profile of the buyer’s segment. Namely, this information can be used to generate a strategy to increase customer experience via post sales service.  Take in consideration the awareness of the satisfaction after a purchase.  Different mechanisms could be used to obtain this data, but the initial stage should be including name, email address, mobile number, location, and usage of the product purchased.  Therefore, this data will become the source of a personalized profile for every customer.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if this data can be analyzed to create loyalty to the brand?

In summary, all the data collected, from the correct sources such as sales, operational costs, and customers, to mention some, could provide a complete panorama of the business.   To conclude, my opinion is that every small business can collect data and create its information structure.  Thus, is the business itself creating its own meanings and tools for expansion and persistence in the market.

The Need for Information

When trying to make decisions, small businesses often deal with lack of data due to indiscipline, disorganization, and high expectations from management.  It is my opinion that information is the biggest asset on a company, therefore, should be designed and curated procuring complex future information structures.

First, information could be inexistent due to lack of discipline.  For example, employees at some point decide that too much effort is used in completing forms all the time, with every case or customer.  It is understandable that a form with 30 data records will decrease its completion rate over time.  What could possibly happen in the future when all those missing data fields are required to complete a report, not needed until then?

Second, although information can be collected, if it is not accompanied of an organization system, it is just a group of data.  As an example, when Excel is used as the replacement of an information system, every user will record what they consider relevant.  Therefore, quality of information is reduced due to fragmentation.  Consider the effect of this phenomena during the creation of a report when the moment comes to make important decisions.

Third, high expectations from management are not always aligned with the reality of the information produced, and the data collected.  To illustrate this point, managers can pretend to obtain magical answers from internal systems, without even invest on a basic, well constructed mechanism.  Furthermore, this is a distorted perspective impossible to fulfill based on the existing data.  Would it had been necessary to get more input from management when the systems were developed?  Despite the need of answer current questions; future interrogations will arise, consequently, they should be forecasted somehow.

In summary, small businesses suffer from lack of discipline and organization when it comes to information creation.  Also, illusory requests from management (considering how little they invest on data collection) deviates the path from what information should be created.  In my opinion, this unvaluable property should be considered under the light of the current and future needs of the decision making process.  This being said, management is the only responsible of the construction of the information structure, thus, its final output.  

Email and the small business

Often people complain about usage of email.  Most of the times, email is utilized to create long interactions, when it can be used to close frontiers and also to communicate shortly and effectively.  My opinion is that email is an outstanding tool designed to communicate faster and effectively and provide an economical tool for small businesses to expand their customer base.

Firstly, it is widely known that email is under abuse in certain organizations.   Why to use email to discuss complicated agendas when meeting should be in place?  For some people, this is a way to avoid responsibility for their words and ideas. Wouldn’t be any of those issues resolved faster it they actually try to debate personally in appropriate meetings?  The response is yes, but the common action is to create gigantic email chains; with the only output of being distracting and time consuming.

Secondly, email cannot be satanized as a negative tool.   Actually, if used correctly, email can be used to expand the installed customer base of a small business.  For example, after having the chance to present a business model to a potential customer, email is the perfect method to provide more information, as requested. Therefore, email here is used as powerful and direct marketing tool.  Could any other method to be considered as fast and effective when suffering from small budgets for promotion purposes?  Email then, should be thought as really practical from that perspective.

Thirdly, if used to expand the customer database, why not to think internationally?  Email can be used to maintain contact with people from outside the country.  As an example, symposiums, trade fairs, and conferences are the perfect place to interact with foreign clients. Why not to use it as a tool for a first contact?  Because the email is coming from a perfect stranger, thus, there is no reason to trust its information.  However, it is highly recommended as a mechanism to continue conversations with people that demonstrated interest in the business concept.

As summary, while email is a tool can be misunderstood as an evasive channel to avoid people and conflict;  others can foreseen it as a fast track towards new customers and new countries to develop the commercial processes.  In conclusion, small business should take action in considering email as an effective tool to increase customers, and improve internal communication.  The challenge resides in every people’s minds.