Great advice for trades people from a business coach.
An excellent article on the concepts of cloud computing.. if you are in business and want to stay ahead of the game.. cloud solutions like Xero or Vend as a couple of examples may be the right thing for you.
The tender process is known to be notoriously lengthy, complex and bureaucratic. For many companies – and small businesses in particular – the lengthy process is somewhat daunting and represents a significant drain on resources. The substantial time and resources directed towards bids is often considered a waste if the bid is unsuccessful. One way to drastically transform the quality of your bids is to address the universal errors made by many businesses. Below we go through some of the more frequent errors and provide solutions for each one
Error #1 - The first and perhaps most grievous error made by many businesses is using old tender trackers that only provide contracts which are 3-4 weeks from their end date. This restricted deadline severely impacts a business’s ability to engage in pre-bid discussions, carry out detailed research, influence the bid specification, ask questions, seek clarifications and generally formulate a well planned, meticulous bid.
Solution - The solution to this serious issue is to invest in an advanced tender notification system that provides contracts that are at least 6 months from end date. These lengthy deadlines provide businesses with a solid base and allow them to create well structured, detailed and relevant bids.
Error #2 –One recurrent error made by countless companies is to assume they understand the requirements without engaging with the buyer. Second guessing certain aspects of the contract – no matter how small or irrelevant they seem – often causes otherwise well structured bids to fail. It is important for businesses to have a complete grasp of all stipulations in the contract and an understanding of how each condition is to be fulfilled.
Solution - Tender forms come with contact details, - make sure they are utilised. Engage with the buyer, discuss the contract and offer value and insight where required to stand out from the competition.
Error #3 – Some of the most common tender errors are usually seen within the PQQ form.The lengthy PQQ documents are designed to assess your capability as a business and simple grammatical and numerical errors will have a negative impact on the perceived aptitude of your business.
Solution - One way to overcome PQQ errors is to have THREE different people re-read the forms once they have been completed. Taking a slow, methodical approach to the PQQ stage will enhance the bid substantially.
Error #4 – Using a generic tender template is a major mistake that many businesses make. Whilst a tender template may work well for one particular submission, it may be totally unsuitable for another. Every submission should be tailored to tie in with the requirements of the buyer.
Solution - Rather than using tender templates, personalise each bid. Buyers don’t want to hear generic information that is irrelevant to their needs. It is important to concentrate on the aspects of your business from which the buyer can derive benefit and profit and ignore the things which are not relevant to that particular contract. Buyers will be reading numerous bids so it is vital that each submission is clear, concise and, most importantly, relevant.
Craig Millhouse is the founding member and managing director of 7House, a specialist business development firm that offers clients an array of services to aid in their growth. As part of the service, 7House also offers an advanced tender notification system called Contracts Advance.
With over a decade of experience within professional and service based industries, Craig uses his expertise to develop new businesses and kick-start existing ones through a consultative role.
Connect with him on Google Plus to stay in touch with his latest activities, events and articles
The growth in the coaching industry has been massive in the last 5-10 years. There are an estimated 47,500 coaches globally and nearly 3,000 in Australia (I.C.F 2012 Survey). It’s a $2 billion industry of which $140 million alone is spent in Australia. It appears there is a coach for everything these days, whether it be business, life, career, emotional, relationship etc. There is the demand and there is the supply to fill it, which is good, but there are also some alarm bell moments for potential clients! So what’s all the fuss about?
Let me be upfront, I am a Business Coach and have been for nearly 3 years since leaving a corporate life of over 23 years with a global franchise brand working within Australia and around the world. I am not here to plug me, but to give some thoughts, tips and benefits on the whole ‘coaching’ thing. For the purpose of this article, I will focus just on the Business Coaching space rather than generalising about the entire industry and the various niches.
Why a Coach?
So, why do businesses invest their hard earned money in a coach, as let’s face it, it’s not a cheap option for a business*.
There are many reasons we get contracted to a business - they are, but not limited to:
- To force the owner to work ‘on’ their business vs. ‘in’ it.
- To provide an independent third party perspective on the vision or direction of the business.
- To help establish or build the vision or goals if they aren’t present.
- To build systems and processes around the business model (especially if a replication strategy exists).
- To hold the owner accountable for progress.
- To be a conduit of resources of expertise in other sectors (coaches don’t know everything, but are usually well connected with people they would recommend).
What’s it cost?
*I mentioned it is a high cost; this is you look at it as a cost versus an investment. Just like spending $ on marketing, accounting, insurances etc. do you look at this as a cost or an investment in the future of the business? A well selected coach can pay for themselves many times over by giving you the focus, planning, structure and advice to grow your business from a good one to a great one and by driving your results.
According to the I.C.F Survey, the average cost for a 1 hour session with a coach in 2012 was $304, with ranges from less than $100 per session to well over the $1000 mark. Many coaches will work on a time based contract, with 12 months being a common term for a business coaching term. The main reason for this is change takes time, especially if no process or system infrastructure exists. Again, this comes back to the viewpoint of cost versus investment. The question has to come back to the basics of the old saying, ‘you pay peanuts, you get monkeys’. Would you get the cheapest Doctor to perform heart surgery, or the best?
What to look for?
If you make the decision to get some outside help with your business it is important to find a ‘fit’ with the coach. This is potentially someone who will be part of your business for one or many years, so the personality must fit.
- Interview several people when selecting a coach and find one who you can relate to and potentially work with.
- Ask what they can offer you and how their approach to your business would work
- Will they understand your industry (sometimes an outside, clean slate approach is best as they can challenge all ideas - a business model is the same regardless of the product or service).
- What business experience do they have?
- How accessible are they outside the ongoing sessions? Some don’t allow email, phone contact, so check this out.
- Do they monitor and measure KPI’s for you or set you up to do so?
- Find out how they will get to understand your business and the needs either via an Audit process or some form of embedding into it.
Alarm bell moments?
Coach selection, as mentioned in the previous section is critical but there are some watch outs I would advise to a potential client (and many of these I tell people during my sales process).
- Be cautious of getting trapped into long contracts you can’t get out of.
- Don’t pay all upfront for long contracts.
- Do they offer flexibility with terms, times and missed appointments?
- Are there any guarantee?
- Have they any referees to validate prior work - check them!
- Straight out of uni, public service or non-business background.
- Certified vs. not – to some people this may be an issue, but currently there is no regulation in the coaching industry, but ask the question. I’m not personally certified with the ICF, but am a member and have contemplated certification, but when I ask clients if this is a deciding factor, most say no.
- No track history or form – you’re the first client!
- Watch for the instant closer who has the sole focus on getting you to sign a document, get some form of proposal and the potential outcomes from them first.
Is it for you?
The decision on whether to bring a coach into your business is a tough one for many business owners, but this is gradually changing. Many ACT and surrounding businesses have coaches and I personally have seen a big increase in the uptake with the trades sector. Any management book or biography you read on successful leaders normally includes the fact that they have a coach helping them, challenging them or acting as a partner in the growth including the leaders of many leading global brands.
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision and passionately own the vision – a coach will help relentlessly drive this process to completion of execution.” -Jack Welch
“In terms of doing work and in terms of learning and evolving as a person, you just grow more when you get more people’s perspectives.” - Mark Zuckerberg
“The one thing that people are never good at is seeing themselves as others see them. A coach really, really helps.” - Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt
Coaching does and will make a difference to you and your business, the key is simply to find the right one for you! So what are you waiting for – go and take your business to the next level.
Following a 23 year career with Yum Restaurants International, the world’s largest restaurant group with over 37,000 units of KFC, PH and Taco Bell, Tony had one of those ‘moments’ and woke one day not wanting to go to work, so he quit the same day. He then joined Small Fish Business Coaching in 2010 and has since digressed to offer not only Coaching, but has presented at a regional conference in Dubai as the key-note speaker and works inside businesses as well as a consultant to ‘do’ some of the items to fast track execution. In 2012 Tony wrote and published his first book ‘Business Tips From a Business Coach’ and is working on a project to interview 100 ACT based businesses to publish a second book this year. Tony is also a member of the Business Boost Centre Expert Panel. More information or to contact Tony, visit www.tonyozanne.com