Derek Smalls - Thursday 18.09.14, 18:28pm
It’s a highly competitive market out there – more so than ever before. Every business is struggling to attract new customers and retain old ones. Whatever sector you’re in, there’s no denying that the going has been tough of late.
And yet there are businesses that are not only continuing to grow in this market, but are thriving. How are they doing it? Some people will say it’s because they’ve got the experience to ride the storm, having done it all before. Others will point to small surges in sales, bolstered by temporary market conditions. Of course, the real truth here is that the key to your business doing well in any market is your employees.
Whilst this is nothing new, too many businesses still refuse to treat their employees with the respect they deserve. Worse still, they use the same tired old job ads to recruit new employees. Recruiting is an art; perhaps different to painting, composing or writing, but equally as nuanced. Getting it right can be the difference between success and failure for your business.
Ensuring your potential candidates are adequately qualified for the position that you’re advertising is something that sounds obvious. However, it’s easy to say it and harder to implement as a recruiting strategy. For companies in technical fields, such as engineering, it’s especially crucial as candidates will need well-developed and complex skill sets in order to perform. So how do you guarantee that your candidates aren’t lying about their skills and qualifications? The best example comes from the catering world where everybody from waiters to chefs are customarily invited for a “trial” with their potential employer to confirm their suitability.
Another classic pitfall is failing to discuss the rules and culture of your business with potential candidates and generally not being clear about your expectations. Many times, new employees fail to reach the potential you saw in them or worse still, behave in ways that are counter-productive for their colleagues and the rest of the business. The Karate Kid’s Mr Miyagi famously made Daniel perform several menial tasks before revealing how they related to his goal of learning to fight. In business, there are many employers who would do well to heed Miyagi’s example by directing their new employees in company culture and standards, before unleashing them on more important projects and tasks.
But you’re busy running a business and growing your company. It’s not easy to remember the best way to hire people. Of course the easiest and often best way to find staff is to let somebody else do it for you. Every market has its own specialists. There are financial, teaching and even gas recruitment agencies.
Whilst many businesses will see recruitment agents as an unnecessary expense, they perform a vital service in that they can help you to avoid these common mistakes. By avoiding these pitfalls, employers have the ability to get the best possible candidate for the job allowing the company to grow and flourish on a day-to-day basis.
Edwin Huxley - Saturday 13.09.14, 15:54pm
The Leadership Shadow - How to Recognise and Avoid Derailment, Hubris and Overdrive
Free Book Competition – The Leadership Shadow – How to Recognise and Avoid Derailment, Hubris and Overdrive
Packed with thought-provoking ideas and real life examples, The Leadership Shadow tackles key questions that all leaders face, including how to provide ethical, transparent leadership, and how to understand the rift that their actions create between their more dynamic and caring sides. Unlike most business books, it also provides invaluable and actionable advice on how to foresee the personal risks of taking up a leadership role.
You can win a copy of The Leadership Shadow – How to Recognise and Avoid Derailment, Hubris and Overdrive by Erik de Haan and Anthony Kasozi by simply submitting your details to our free book giveaway.
Send an email to email@example.com with the subject line: ‘Leadership Shadow comp’ (other subject lines will not be entered) with your full name, address & contact number.
This competition ends on 13th October, 2014.
The editor will randomly choose one winner from the correct answers. The editor’s choice is final.
The Leadership Shadow – How to Recognise and Avoid Derailment, Hubris and Overdrive by Erik de Haan and Anthony Kasozi is published by Kogan Page, priced £24.99.
Derek Smalls - Saturday 13.09.14, 12:57pm
Budget 2014 has been described as one for the savers, even by Chancellor George Osborne himself, with some major changes that it has brought along with it. But you may be wondering: what Budget 2014 changes are really relevant to savers? Here are some key things that changed for savers in the latest estimate.
1. Higher ISAs savings
One of the key things in the Budget that will probably matter most to savers is that the overall ISA limit has now been raised. The limit was earlier predicted to rise this year, with the current level of £11,520 expected to increase to £11,880, beginning from April 6. Following the announcements by the Chancellor, the new annual ISA limit will be £15,000 from 1 July 2014. Savers will be free to combine their cash and investment ISAs into a single one to take advantage of the entire £15,000 tax-free allowance. Junior ISAs will also have their limit raised to £4,000. ISAs are to be renamed New ISAs (NISAs). It would be worth checking out CB Online given that they were already giving some of the best interest rates on savings even before the changes were announced.
2. Slightly higher personal tax allowance
Pressure from Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg appeared to pay off as Mr. Osborne also announced a £500 rise in personal tax allowance from £10,000 to £10,500.
But much to the disappointment of those desiring a significant rise in the threshold for the 40p or higher income tax rate, the threshold is unlikely to rise fast enough. The threshold will rise at a slow rate — from its current £41,450 to £41,865 by next month, and by another 1 percent next year.
3. Peer-to-peer lending to be covered in NISAs
Among the key points of Budget 2014 for savers is that there is now the possibility of including peer-to-peer loans in New ISAs. This form of lending arrangement takes places with the aid of companies who link savers to firms or individuals in need of funds. This enables savers to reap higher returns on their money than those available from conventional saving accounts.
4. Pensioner Bond savings scheme
The Chancellor also announced a new Pensioner Bond savings scheme, which is expected to be available from January 2015. If you are older than 65, the scheme can enable you save as much as £10,000. Interest rates for one-year bonds is expected to be 2.8%, while it will be 4% for three-year bonds. Complete details of the scheme are expected in the Autumn Statement.
There you have it, some key things that changed for savers in Budget 2014.
Derek Smalls - Tuesday 29.07.14, 17:15pm
The Leadership Shadow - How to Recognise and Avoid Derailment, Hubris and Overdrive by Erik de Haan and Anthony Kasozi
In a forthcoming business book, The Leadership Shadow – How to Recognise and Avoid Derailment, Hubris and Overdrive authors Erik de Haan and Anthony Kasozi discuss a number of business and leadership topics including:
• How to know your own leadership shadow
• Understanding what drives you as a leader
• How overdrive can lead to ineffective leadership
• What type of leader are you – obsessive compulsive? Paranoid? Passive-aggressive?
• The importance of balancing your patterns as a leader
The Leadership Shadow – How to Recognise and Avoid Derailment, Hubris and Overdrive by Erik de Haan and Anthony Kasozi is due to be published by Kogan Page in August, priced £24.99.
Derek Smalls - Thursday 10.07.14, 17:35pm
The property market may have seen a turbulent few years, but one area that is bucking the trend is the commercial sector. London remains a popular option, with large numbers of firms choosing to locate their businesses there. A recent survey by the British Property Federation revealed this investment is a significant factor in the continuing UK economic recovery.
A large proportion of this investment comes from overseas, with the US, Asia and the Middle East being the driving forces behind the influx. The last year has seen some extraordinarily significant purchases by foreign investors, including the Kuwaiti government’s purchase of the Bank of America’s headquarters in Canary Wharf for an astonishing £385 million. Internet-giant Google’s new London headquarters in Kings Cross is set to be one of the capital’s most unique business premises, whilst Chinese life insurance company Ping An recently purchased the iconic Lloyd’s building in a £260 million deal.
A safe haven
Part of the attraction as far as overseas investors are concentred is that London is regarded as a safe haven. Whilst yields from bonds and cash have been unstable in recent years, investing in property remains a relatively safe bet, with this confidence in turn further bolstering the UK economy. In addition to the comparative security, London is also a good-value option for many foreign investors. The strength of their currencies against the pound mean the capital is regarded as a cheap option for those firms looking to invest overseas.
Unlike many cities, London is also politically and socially stable, making it a low-risk commitment for businesses compared to more turbulent locations. Property law is clear and transparent, without many of the legislative complications or limitations on foreign property purchases of other countries. London is also the ideal location for overseas companies seeking to establish a foothold in Europe, with great international transport links and a convenient position.
There are a number of reasons why commercial properties in London are so attractive to businesses, both from the United Kingdom and overseas. The well-established financial and media markets in the capital are a draw for many firms which understand that locating themselves alongside similar firms can reap great benefits. The cachet that a prestigious address for a business’s London headquarters imparts should also not be underestimated.
Contemporary buildings make up the office space Monument has to offer, and such centrally placed locations have many other advantages. Designed and built to the highest specifications, they include all the facilities that businesses would expect from their premises. The excellent local transport links and numerous amenities are attractive to staff, whilst the proximity of a number of international airports is highly beneficial for companies seeking to establish a global presence. In addition, many of the buildings are architecturally highly desirable, taking inspiration from the stunning surroundings.
For businesses seeking premises offering excellent facilities in a great location, London remains a popular option, with this investor confidence in turn contributing to the capital’s relatively buoyant economy.