• Leading Edge Business Strategies, your Mentor to Success

    Leading Edge Business Strategies, your Mentor to Success

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Proven strategies leading to your business success

You've accomplished the most important first step for your business. You've taken the time to look for help. Business success depends on mentors that have the experience and the skill to craft your business into a profitable and sustainable entity. This investment pays you back with the faster development of your company without the scary pitfalls and setbacks. Contact us today for a free consultation and get your business on the right track to success. Email or call us for a FREE consultation at info@leadingedgebusinessstrategies.com (207) 577-1948


GROWTH
GROWTH

Today, more than ever, GROWTH is necessary to keep pace with your competitors, changes in trends and global economic stability. Managing that growth is key to keeping your business stable, profitable and financially prepared. Trends come and go and your ability to stay in front of the growth curve is tantamount to survival. See what we can do to smooth out the ups and downs of your business cycle to ease the stress of growing your business. Sign up for a free analysis of your growth opportunities and readiness.

PROFITABILITY
PROFITABILITY

The future of your business depends on your making a profit today. Profits help you plan the future of your company and grow your own personal future. It is the lifeblood of any business which allows it to pay its employees, acquire new products or services and plan for the future. It also helps you sleep at night. We can help you plan that future with careful strategic cash management planning allowing you to make money even in the most challenging economic times.

SUCCESSION
SUCCESSION

No other businesses need an objective viewpoint more than family businesses. Satisfying the needs of an exiting generation and an assuming one so all parties are content is a monumental challenge with a lot of emotions. From vision to strategies to development and implementation, the process is challenging and can be stressful. A business coach can pace this to map out a successful transition so that all can eat Thanksgiving together in the future?

Create a Company Culture People Want to Work for

bright idea, shattering, light bulb moment

Fully staff your company even during times of low unemployment.

In this age of low unemployment and “hard to find good people”, millennials play a bigger part in the hiring plan than you might expect. The work pool is smaller than the boomer force to begin with and competition for high performing employees even more so. So what does it take to engage the next generations?

bright idea, shattering, light bulb moment

Few millennials have had the experience of the “Greatest Generation” stories. These are the stories of WWII, their return to families and work and their experience in surviving the Great Depression as children. Their work/life ethic was to give the company their all, feed their family, worship God and draw a pension.

They were great people and times changed and the cultural revolution of the 60’s and 70’s happened beyond them. Most were not able to understand it; Vietnam was not WWII and life changed dramatically.

Enter the Boomers, the offspring of that Greatest Generation. This generation had revolted against the norms of their parents. The struggle between the generations levelled off as the boomers grew up and entered the workforce. The gap was still evident as companies began taking away pensions, disregarded work/life balance and as a result of multiple recessions, cut or did not increase paychecks. Inflation took its toll.

The millennials are creating their own work ethic. They enter the workforce with instability in health insurance programs, high student loans, work/life balance and low unemployment with companies throwing money at them to get them in the door.

In The Psychology of Business, Culture is the New Salary, Tammy Stone explains that social needs play a greater part than money. Work/life balance, family and co-worker compatibility is of utmost desirability.

Money definitely comes in a close second. But as she points out, money will get the employee hired but won’t necessarily keep her or him there.

Flexible schedules are important to millennials as they grow families and choose to support them by both parents. Not every company can easily afford to do this, but work-arounds and negotiating schedules can be created.

Small businesses must develop plans to be able to offer as much as possible to millennials as they will be the mature workforce of the next 20-30 years.

Some business owners, CEO’s or General Managers may feel uncomfortable administering changes such as these. An experienced consultant can guide you through it. Just don’t ignore it.

The best place to start is with the workforce. Create a culture of acceptance, loyalty, trust and flexibility. Have work sessions that outline the opportunities and obstacles of working towards work/life balance and other millennial needs. Express your concerns, fears and joyful moments with them. Involve multi-generation employees in the development. Set goals, timelines and deadlines for making things happen. Celebrate what works, and dismiss without judgment what doesn’t.

A recent search ad for a college teacher listed the usual job description, requirements and peripheral needs. But what they added to attract couples were other colleges in the area that were possibilities for a spouse to work at if positions weren’t available at their college. It is these ideas that produce results from a wider selection of qualifieds.

Paul Beaudette is a Maine business consultant serving small businesses with leading strategies to stabilize a business through sound financial practices, progressive staff management and leadership principles that promote company growth.

Handling Employee Contentious behavior?

What is behind it and should you dig deeper?

Tom was a contentious employee. He talked too much and got into arguments with fellow employees more than the norm. He even got into a fight once with another employee who had a short fuse. This resulted in a suspension of both employees until they could come back and verbalize what happened and how they could make changes.

When an employee has issues outside of work and it begins to flow into work, how do you handle it?

That was not the end of it. Upon his return, Tom explained to me in confidence that his wife was an alcoholic and had fallen off the wagon again. She was in her 40’s, he in his 50’s. They had a 9 year old daughter who when Tom worked was under the care of her mother. I listened intently to Tom’s stories and showed empathy for his situation. I tried to emphasize the care of his daughter as being of utmost importance. She had been left alone on occasion while mom sought solace in a drink. But I tried to not get too involved for fear of his becoming too dependent on me. He needed Al-Anon counseling or another counselor. I recognized the burden he was shouldering and asked him to determine if he needed to take time off, having already used his personal time off. He said he couldn’t afford it.

In the meantime, Tom’s work in complimentary sales with other sales people was suffering. At a sales meeting, he blew up at others who recognized he wasn’t getting the job done. I asked him to leave the room and go cool off and meet me in my office after the meeting. I listened to the others for 5 minutes and said let’s move on with our business at hand. I didn’t want to listen to endless criticism of him knowing the issues he was dealing with but acknowledged that their dissatisfaction was recognized and would be shared with him.

So now, the issue had spilled over with the rest of the team. It would be a short time before it reached the rest of the company, even though I had asked for restraint in the matter.

After the meeting, I sat with Tom and asked him if he thought his personal life was intersecting with his work life. After a long pause, he said it was. We had had numerous short conversations as I checked in with him periodically on how things were going. The answers were always short as he acknowledged he was taking care of it. He was protecting his paycheck. But this day, I needed and got a straight answer. His performance had been subpar and I could no longer justify his performance.

This was most difficult because I knew he was very capable and he had proven himself in the past, but he needed to deal with his personal issues. I decided to suspend him indefinitely to give him time to take care of his situation. If I fired him, I would add to his misery, this way he knew he had a job if and when he returned. His response was another outburst and he stomped off.

Tom came back 2 months later to let me know he would not be returning. He had checked his wife in to rehab and had been a stay at home dad for his daughter. He had filed for divorce with primary custody of his daughter. He was receiving help from family members and had taken another job.

The surprise ending for me on this was his thanking me for forcing him to deal with the situation and for listening to him when he was trying to cope. He had listened to his daughter to realize that she had missed out on her young life as she struggled with understanding her mother’s disease.

The hard part of leadership in letting people go is you never know what the end result will be. But, companies are in business to produce, serve and profit. The balance, which is everything, is found in how you treat people.

For more information and a free personal consultation, call (207) 577-1948. We deliver success for your business.

There’s No Such Thing as Multitasking!

stab / 123RF Stock Photo

So why is it so frequently used in résumés?

You get a resume and the applicant states she is a champion multitasker. She can do the job of two people. Great candidate, right? WRONG!

Many people include in their resumes that they can multitask but in reality, it never happens. Our brains can move from one task to another, but never are two tasks being done simultaneously. A cashier may be able to swipe bar codes thoughtlessly while carrying on a conversation with the customer but that is not multitasking. If the item required a manual entry, the conversation would pause or the cashier would not hear what the customer is saying. That would be serial tasking.

When multitasking is believed to be happening, the tasks become ineffective and inefficient thereby actually going slower than if they were done separately. If the employee focuses on one thing, the results are better and more accurate.

While people can listen to music while working, if you ask them what the past song title was and they can’t answer, then they are paying attention to their tasks. If they can answer, check their production rate. Our brains are not wired for multi-tasking. According to The Myth of Multitasking, Dr. Nancy Napier in Psychology Today states, “Multitasking is switchtasking and it takes time.” Switching from one task to another loses time, not gains time. The brain must adjust to a different thought process and that takes away from the efficiencies.

This does not mean to suggest creating recurring processes that create boredom in assemblies. Rather think about the most efficient way to use repetitive processes to benefit the employees as well. Time the events to allow for different tasks at measured intervals.

No matter what the business is, there are ways to accommodate tasks using defined roles that allow the performance of multiple duties without the use of multitasking, but rather creating intervals of tasks to allow switching with minimal to no loss of productivity. Mapping and using a timeline helps create these intervals and improves efficiency, therefore bottom line.

Are you a multitasker? Let us know how you do it in the comments below.

What 1 Question Gets You the Right Consultant

Hiring the most relevant consultant to your business or industry is key to making changes within your company and making them efficiently. Turning processes around, creating relevant data and formulating meaningful financial information lie at the core of any business change.

The most important question is “What is your experience?”

It’s not just about consulting experience, but also hands-on, real practical experience doing what they will do for you. While the consultant

may have extensive experience, the people he sends you must as well. Experience is a result of years doing the work, the management or the financial control of a company. If the consultant they send looks like he or she is 26, the chance of their having years of experience greatly diminish. On the other hand, if you hire an IT consultant, that could be an advantage.

Bonus Questions

So here’s the rub.  If you hire an experienced consultant, will they know the current trends in business? What a great question to ask! How about, “What strategies have you recommended to businesses who are challenged with rapid growth?” “What fast track strategies have you suggested for the business office trying to keep up with uncontrolled growth?” Or to be more specific, “What software changes have you suggested when invoicing falls too far behind?”

These are questions specific to your goals. An experienced consultant who has kept up with current products and trends will more likely be able to help you resolve this.

Your savings will come in time (money) saved by the consultant and your business. The quicker you can resolve your situation, the quicker you’ll be saving. Remember as well, you need to dedicate a team of employees to work through this.

Consultants save you money in the short or long term.

4 Simple Reasons Why a Consultant can Make you into a Superstar

Why hiring a consultant is wise for any growth business

It is not unusual for a client to respond with “I don’t need you” or “I don’t believe in consultants” when one is first referred to or a prospect inquires. “You’re going to cost me a lot of money and tell me you’ll make me a lot of money.” I can see it in their eyes.

Without giving it further thought, probably. But as I start asking questions about your business, the answer slowly changes. The knee-jerk reaction is normal and never surprising. Most business owners don’t want to admit that they need help, nor do they see that they need help.

Why?Superman

  • When you’re in the middle of your everyday business, it gets harder and harder to look at it from the outside. What was once different is now normal and the fact that it may be costing you money, may not be obvious. If it is obvious, how to fix it may not be. It has nothing to do with your competence, it has more to do with your workload and where your focus is at the moment.
  • You may be the best widget supplier or widget producer on the planet, but running the overall business may not be your forte.
  • If you are in a growth pattern, you may be missing something along the way which is either costing you money or you are missing out on some revenues.
  • Paying attention to the bottom line may not be your highest priority right now, so the effects of current business practices may be costing you.

These are but a few of the why’s for seeking help. Will it cost you? Yes. Will it cost you in profits? No. And here’s why. A good consultant will cost you less than what can be improved in your bottom line. Don’t feel bad that you can’t see it, feel grateful that you have someone you can trust to look out for your best interest. Consultants can work on fixed fees based on what you wish to accomplish or work hourly. Set clearly defined goals for what he will do and what you will do. Remember, you play a very significant part of this equation. You have the controls to make his recommendations happen. If you don’t, we can work on that too.

So, from the first reaction of “I don’t need you” to the final outcome of “When can you start?”, the need for an objective viewpoint is a show of strength for any business. Just as in when a new hire comes on board and sees where processes or procedures can change to save time or money, the consultant can accomplish some of this without  becoming an employee that you pay all year round. Attack specific parts of your business at a time. Deal with the most urgent to the lower priorities. Just make sure you do it!

What are your biggest challenges in your business? Email us.