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How to Work Smarter Not Harder

Continuous learning is about the expansion of skills and knowledge. Technology is changing the business environment at an ever-increasing rate so continuous learning is essential to remaining relevant and avoiding the situation where a particular role becomes redundant. To remain relevant, we need to respond to these changes.

In business today, there is a growing culture of ‘investing in people,’ rather than hiring new people, not only as a cost saving but also to develop and retain talent. Continuous learning should be a personal responsibility, but as a business owner and employer, it’s important to provide employees with training and learning opportunities. This enables your team to be able to respond to your business’s evolving needs, and also keeps employees feeling engaged and valued.

Related blog: Three reasons we should never stop learning…

In Stephen Covey’s book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,' he discusses “sharpening the saw.” Often, business owners try to work harder or for longer hours, but the real solution is to “sharpen the saw” – focus on continuous personal development.

Learning from thought leaders

Having recently returned from the Gazelles annual summit in Texas, Andy Sleet shares some key highlights from the speakers from the three-day event:

  • Robert Cialdini – Pre-Suasion. In his new book, Cialdini shares the art of opening the door ready for persuasion. He delves into how to influence appeal and how to effectively deliver a concept's appeal.
  • Michael Bungay Stanier – Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead forever – Michael shares how to lead your team and achieve employee buy in, in order to get your team actively strive to achieve your goals.
  • Chris Zook – The Founder’s Mentality: How to Overcome the Predictable Crises of Growth. In his book, Zook shares seven proven tools and ideals to help sustainably grow your business.

Although thought leaders are a great source of knowledge and can provide an insight into new theories and ideas, it’s important to remember that just because it’s written in a book, doesn’t mean that it’s fact. The best way to use this type of learning it to take the key learnings and apply them to your existing knowledge – this will help develop and grow your own opinions and thoughts.

Related blog: Fact or Opinion?

Peer-to-peer learning

Another form of learning is from peer to peer. The power of this type of learning can be underestimated, but there is so much that can be learnt from others that have similar ambitions and goals. Joining a diverse group of business owners can provide the opportunity to learn, be challenged and share experiences and perspectives.

For most businesses, growth, profitability and sustainability are an everyday challenge. Peer-to-peer sharing, support, advice and perspective can be the most effective way to overcome these challenges. As business owners, we need to find ways to share with and learn from our peers and build strong support networks.

Contact us if you'd like to find out about our business community.

Andy Sleet and Hugo Heij discuss this topic in more detail on the Fluid Business Podcast, listen below:

Charlotte Richardson-Beck No Comments

FBP 093: How effective is your appraisal system?

Ray Moore and Andy Sleet discuss the real purpose of an appraisal system and why it should benefit both employer and employee. Following the recent NHS system hack, Ray takes a different stance on his blog, highlighting why businesses should also regularly review computer systems to get the maximum benefit from their resources.

Read more here.

Our team of professional business coaches share their expert knowledge and experience every single week, empowering you, the business owner, to develop and grow your business the right way.

Join us as we cover core subjects areas in our unique and relaxed way, including: Rapid Growth, Family Business, Team, Efficiency and so much more.

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FBP 092: Learnings from Necker Island

 

This week on the Fluid Business Podcast Hugo Heij and Peter Boolkah sit down to discuss Peter's recent trip to Necker Island with Sir Richard Branson. What were his key learnings? Listen to find out.

 

Our team of professional business coaches share their expert knowledge and experience every single week, empowering you, the business owner, to develop and grow your business the right way.

Join us as we cover core subjects areas in our unique and relaxed way, including: Rapid Growth, Family Business, Team, Efficiency and so much more.

 

 

Charlotte Richardson-Beck No Comments

FBP 091: Scale your business with Andy Sleet – Certified Gazelles Coach

Having recently achieved the Gazelles Coaching Certification, Andy Sleet talks through the framework including the Four Decisions – People, Strategy, Execution and Cash. These components are the recipe for scaling up high-growth businesses and achieving balanced business growth.

Andy is now certified alongside Peter Boolkah, making Fluid Business Coaching the only Gazelles Certified Business Coaching Practice in the UK.

To find out more about each of the four decisions, listen to:

FBP 054: Scaling Up – People with Peter Boolkah

FBP 055: Scaling Up – Strategy with Peter Boolkah

FBP 056: Scaling Up – Execution with Peter Boolkah

FBP 057: Scaling Up – Cash with Peter Boolkah

Read more here.

Our team of professional business coaches share their expert knowledge and experience every single week, empowering you, the business owner, to develop and grow your business the right way.

Join us as we cover core subjects areas in our unique and relaxed way, including: Rapid Growth, Family Business, Team, Efficiency and so much more.

Charlotte Richardson-Beck No Comments

Andy Sleet achieves Gazelles International Certification

 

We’re proud to announce that Fluid Business Coach, Andy Sleet, successfully achieved Gazelles International Certification in April this year. Andy is now one of only six Gazelles International coaches in the UK, joining fellow Fluid Business Coach Peter Boolkah. Andy’s certification means that Fluid Business Coaching is the only Gazelles Certified Business Coaching practice in the UK.

Gazelles International is a worldwide coaching association that uses the using the Four DecisionsTM as the framework for growth. The Four Decisions are based around People, Strategy, Execution and Cash. These Four Decisions are the foundation for scaling up high-growth businesses and achieving balanced growth.

To find out more about each of the Four Decisions, click here.

Certified Coaches are able to assist their clients to implement the Four Decisions framework and One-Page Strategic Plan to align and focus them to achieve their goals. Andy’s expertise enable him to coach SME business owners and leaders to accelerate growth and get real results.

Within the Levels Framework, the Gazelles ‘toolbox' is usually used to grow businesses from a Level 3 to a Level 5 business. On Episode 091 of the Fluid Business Podcast, Andy explains how it can be used to grow Level 1/2 businesses that are ready and willing to approach high growth.

Ray Moore interviews Andy Sleet about his Gazelles Certification, listen below.

Andy has over 25 years of experience working within a corporate environment and has extensive experience of managing large teams. Before becoming a Business Coach, Andy owned a successful construction business, which means he understands the challenges that business owners face. If you’d like to find out how Andy can help your business, book a free one-hour taster session.

 

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Adapt or die, the choice is yours

Written by Ray Moore.

In today’s rapidly changing environment, businesses need to proactively adapt and ‘keep up’ with the pace of change. Any business that resists changing to market and industry developments faces loosing their competitive edge and ending up in an ‘evolutionary cul-de-sac.’ Here are the top two ever-changing areas that SMEs should focus on:

Technological advancements

Without change, we would still be using cash as our main method of payment. In the podcast (Episode 090), Andy and I chat about a high-street retailer that resisted the change from cash to using credit cards, which had a detrimental effect on the business. Technology advancements are often the catalyst for change and although it can be seen as a disruptor at first, in the long run it is likely to make for smoother and more convenient processes.

Customer expectations

Using the example of payment methods again; we know that card payment is the norm in almost all shops and restaurants. Customers expect to be able make card payments and don’t carry much cash around with them. Any business not accepting card payments is going to inconvenience customers and fail to meet their expectations.

The expectations your customers have are constantly changing. Today, many customers expect to be able to make contactless payment and in the near future your customers may expect something else. Being in touch with trends, your competition and industry developments is essential to meeting your customers’ needs.

As I mentioned in the Podcast, small businesses are not just competing locally, regionally or even nationally anymore, we are all competing in a much more globalised world, therefore we need to embrace the changes and not fall behind the curve.

Read more about this topic on my blog.

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FBP 090: Your business has two options: Adapt or die

Ray Moore and Andy Sleet discuss the pace of change and why businesses should be aware of industry trends. Business owners have two options: to proactively adapt and change with market and environmental changes, or to resist change and fall behind the curve.

Read more on The Levels Blog, or read Ray's article on why businesses need to adapt.

Our team of professional business coaches share their expert knowledge and experience every single week, empowering you, the business owner, to develop and grow your business the right way.

Join us as we cover core subjects areas in our unique and relaxed way, including: Rapid Growth, Family Business, Team, Efficiency and so much more.

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Build your own economy

For many business owners it is often a hard slog to continually be generating new business. Whilst many deliver great customer service and care to their existing clients, their influence is limited for the business. This means the chance of increasing fees and selling additional products can be a step too far.

If you looked at your client base, do you know how their businesses are performing? If your clients are struggling, the risk of exposure to bad debts increases.

So, What Does It Actually Mean to Build Our Own Economy?

Imagine that all of your clients had great control in their business; we are not just talking from a financial point of view but delivery of their products, strong systems and process in place, an exceptional team driving the business forward with a strong leader. Not only is that business going to be stronger but it provides upsell and additional product opportunities for you.

How Do We Create Our Own Economies?

There are a few main points to consider.

  • Educate your community – by this we mean educating your suppliers, your existing clients, everyone you have regular contact with. So they share the same understanding about how to develop their business as you do! Have you read a book recently that changed the way you run your business? Why keep it a secret if the benefits to your business could be so great.
  • Sharing Core Values – Doing business with people who feel the same way towards their business as you do. Why would you want to carry someone who does not have the same thinking as you and could potentially be dangerous to your budding community?
  • Success through association – When we start to build our own economies we need to associate with people who are operating, as we want to. As time goes on and your community develops things change and people will look to you to understand.
  • Always create a win-win.

As we build stronger businesses within our own communities we create a safe environment for our clients and community members to do business with one another. By giving them the peace of mind that the others in our community are as strong as they are, we build our own thriving economy.

Listen to Andy Sleet and Hugo Heij discuss building your own economy in more detail on the Fluid Business Podcast:

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Three reasons why we should never stop learning

We begin our formal education at the age of four or five years old and continue until we finish senior school or college/university. Then, once we achieve our qualifications, we tend to believe that the “learning” part of our life is over and we begin our working life – of course we learn at work but it’s reactive learning that takes place, not proactive learning. Proactive learning is about exploration, development and expanding the breadth and depth of your knowledge.

There is a one particular excuse we hear time and time again: “I don’t have time.” But take a closer look at your time; your commute to work could be 10 or 20 minutes of ‘dead time.’ This time could be used to learn by listening to podcasts or audiobooks, or using apps like Blinkist which provides 10-15 minute book summaries.

Get into the habit of investing in learning and improving yourself during dead time. Here are the top three benefits of continued learning:

Opens up new opportunities

Taking the time to proactively learn will give you a better understanding of the events around you. By progressively deepening your understanding and knowledge of subjects that matter to you, you will be able to see the bigger picture. Those moments of clarity where something finally becomes clear or makes sense will become more frequent.

The more you learn, the more you’ll be able to make connections between pieces of knowledge. Look at each new learning and apply it to your own experiences, you will then begin to see and take advantage of new opportunities that you didn’t see before.

Fast track to success

Listening, learning and developing is what successful people do. But why do they do it? Well, if you believe that you know everything you need to know about a subject matter or running a business or managing your team, then you will be missing out on new ideas and different ways of thinking.

Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur and author, once said: “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” By this he means that learning and developing will increase your personal value and give you the right mindset for success.

Improves creativity

It’s a well-known fact that learning and staying mentally active keeps your brain healthy and functioning at a high level. Scientists believe that creativity is essentially the ability to apply skills or learning from one situation and apply them to another. If you’re always learning you will be able to transfer your knowledge and understanding to new challenges and ‘come up with’ creative solutions.

Let us know what's on your ‘to read' list.

 

For more on this topic, listen to Episode 085 of the Fluid Business Podcast.

Read more on The Levels Blog: How do you change the way you think?

Charlotte Richardson-Beck No Comments

FBP 084: Set and achieve your business goals

Setting goals in your business is a great contributor to success. Goals provide direction and will help to align the business owner with the team. This week on the Fluid Business Podcast, Andy Sleet and Hugo Heij explain how to achieve your ideal life by setting and achieving business goals.

Our team of professional business coaches share their expert knowledge and experience every single week, empowering you, the business owner, to develop and grow your business the right way.

Join us as we cover core subjects areas in our unique and relaxed way, including: Rapid Growth, Family Business, Team, Efficiency and so much more.