Finance And Sales Skills Workshops
For Owners, Leaders and Employees
| Why A Lack Of Capability Development Is Hurting Your Business
A lack of development opportunities is a primary reason why employees leave, according to PwC research, and it could be hurting your business.
‘Firms that train their workers are significantly less likely to close than those that do not,’ Praxis (UK). That’s understandable. When budgets are tight, the thought of sending a team member on an outside capability development course may seem financially daunting, but the cost of development far outweighs the cost of having to replace the person that leaves because they feel their career is going nowhere.
Did you know it costs firms a minimum of 50-60% of an employee’s annual salary just to replace them? And that’s just the conservative estimate – Deloitte believes the true figure is much higher. ‘The cost of losing one employee can range from tens of thousands of dollars, to 1.5-2 times their annual salary.’
Then factor in further costs such as recruitment advertising, setting aside resources for interviews, onboarding processes, and the time it takes for a new employee to get up to speed. New Zealand’s median income is $52,000, so even before all the above happens, this is clearly a lot of money – huge costs that start-ups, SMEs and ‘larger SMEs’ can ill afford.
Research conducted by BNZ, in conjunction with The Icehouse, last year uncovered what is keeping business owners up at night, where they think they need assistance, and the types of capability building workshops that are most appealing.
The results confirm that SME owners know they need help. 8 out of 10 business owners want themselves and their employees to access experts or consultants in specific areas of business skill development, but only 4 in 10 have engaged with this type of education. The limiting factors were clear; time away from the business and value for money.
This is why The Icehouse has developed a range of short, topic-specific workshops, designed to help Kiwi SMEs grow and ultimately get New Zealand GDP back into the top half of the OECD.
| Workers Will Fulfil Their Potential Somewhere Else
Few firms can build a business with high employee turnover. It’s disruptive in an organisational sense, affects the bottom line, and sends out a negative message – telling customers and prospective employees that your business is ‘not a great place to work’.
What can owners do? Employee retention is one of the simplest and strategic, but often overlooked, ways to keep your business on track.
| Use Capability Development To Inspire Your Workforce
People move on to other jobs for many reasons – not just money. A lack of capability development opportunities for career development and enhancement is one of the four main explanations for why employees call it a day (overselling the position, lack of clarity around expectations and bad managers also matter, according to PwC research).
What's more, approximately 77% of employees feel ‘they’re on their own’ to develop their careers at the company, say The Harris Poll, a US-based Insights and Analytics group. The message is clear: continuous capability development and access to further professional development to upskill will make your employees stay.
| Make Upskilling A Business Imperative
The cost of sending an employee on development and upskilling programmes is far more cost-effective than letting your employees go. It’s good financial sense to spend a smaller amount on capability development – to create higher-skilled, highly-motivated, more productive and loyal teams than just having your front door as a revolving door.
Good leaders know that continuous capability development will:
- Boost morale – it shows that you are prepared to invest in your employees
- Attract new talent – there’s a career path for those that want to take opportunities to rise
- Increase customer satisfaction – happy employees do better work, which reflects on the customer experience
- Develop soft skills – crucial and sought-after in today’s workplace
| Make Development Opportunities Available To Employees
'[Make sure] everyone has access to those opportunities. You might be surprised who takes advantage and benefits the most from your offerings.’ (Forbes).
Developing your teams isn’t just damage limitation. It’s about shaping a brilliant team for now and over many years; a team that possesses the necessary skills to excel at their jobs in an inspiring and supportive workplace. Building a long-serving team that enjoys working for you and wants to work with you to drive business growth will keep you permanently ahead of the competition.
| How Financial Upskilling Can Lead To A Stronger Business
You or staff members are making critical financial decisions every hour of the working day as an owner. From sending an invoice for payment to hiring a new member of staff, your decision-making can affect the profitability and health of your business.
Financial upskilling and improving your financial literacy is a smart way for kiwi business owners and senior managers to understand how financial actions can benefit all areas of the organisation. Exceptional leaders and CEOs are ultimately responsible for the success of a business, and that’s, in part, down to having an astute knowledge and practice of financial management fundamentals.
Understanding what your essential numbers are saying to you, and what they are saying about your wider business, is a great skill to have. It enables you to make better decisions.
But then what can you do with all this new-found expertise?
You can make a greater contribution to the smooth-running of your business. Identify where working capital and cash is being consumed at high rates. Pinpoint where to extract ‘dormant’ cash flow in existing structures so you can invest in overlooked areas of the business that offer greater revenue opportunities – opportunities you may not have spotted before upskilling financially.
A more detailed understanding of financial reporting will also enable you to develop better budgeting and cash flow management, create and manage profit plans and, by forecasting and managing the all-important numbers behind the business, you’ll be able to work with your finance team to develop sensible strategies.
| Survive, Prosper And Future-Proof
Take something as fundamental as cash flow – the backbone of any business. You need to be as precise as possible when assessing the levels of cash that flows in and out of your business. Managing it properly means you can predict what is going to happen to ensure the business can survive. You can plan ahead, take advantage of any cash surpluses and also spot any potential risks coming down the road.
Likewise, take your Working Capital Cycle (WCC), as another example. The relationship between debtors, cash and stock/WIP. In other words, the time taken to convert net current assets and current liabilities into cash – the ability and efficiency you have to manage your liquidity position.
You have some cash and you buy some inventory. You sell that inventory, issue an invoice, and create an accounts receivable. The customer pays you, and you use that cash to buy new inventory and the extras – office rent and energy bills, employee payroll, and so on.
The WCC is the cornerstone of every business. But this cycle is just like your two-wheeler at home. It needs constant maintenance, care and attention to keep it moving smoothly. Understanding what drives this cycle in your business, where the cycle can run more efficiently and where the bumps are, is a financial basic. The next step is to manage the cycle to make it turn quicker and more efficiently – which will generate more cash for your business and keep the money wheels turning - faster.
The relationship between cash, debtors, creditors and stock is everlasting and ever changing. Once you can get a handle on how this operates you can find many ways to make the cycle spin faster, such as reducing customer credit periods or cutting the time taken for inventory to convert to sales.
| Is Your Sales Team Set Up For Success?
Leading, motivating and coaching a sales team can be hard, especially for those who haven’t worked in sales and business development roles. It’s a common barrier we hear from kiwi business owners and managers. A common challenge amongst many of the kiwi business owners and managers we work with is “how do we make more sales?”
A common conclusion many business owners and managers reach is “it’s about the capability of our people,” and sometimes they are right, and we can help with that. But more often the root cause of this problem lies elsewhere up stream…
As a business owner/manager – ask yourself:
- Do we truly understand our customer’s business, their industry challenges, the problems we solve for them and why they prefer us over the other options?
- Do we understand our competitors and what they do well, and what’s changing in the marketplace – are we still relevant, and if so, for how long?
- Are our expectations of our sales people clear & credible, and do they have the tools to do the job?
We know that there is no shortage of willing advisors who mean well, but are they the best people to help to review your customer offer, help articulate your unique proposition, understand what your customers truly value, why they buy and where your process is going off track? That’s right – process.
A starting point for successful sales and consistently delivering an outstanding customer experience is having a standardised process for delivery. The magic however, is in your sales people doing the following:
- Effectively identifying, engaging and communicating with different personality types.
- Developing their personal delivery and providing an experience that you as a manager/owner are proud of and that aligns with you and what you stand for – your values, mission & vision.
- Personalising their pitch to make an effective impact that builds trust and confidence, and differentiate yourself from others.
| What Does A Good Sales Team Look Like?
Let’s look at some of the things that sets great sales people apart:
- Great sales people are authentic and treat prospects as real people with professionalism and respect, and most of all they know how to ask great questions.
- They adhere to process and routines – they are methodical and hold themselves accountable for these, their activities and results.
- Great sales people know their numbers – how many presentations they need to make to qualified prospects to achieve their sales results.
- And finally they are crystal clear on their target customers and the common problems they have in their industry.
If you are lucky enough to have people that tick all these boxes, still ask your self this - do you review performance and plan for success?
Sadly, this crucial part of the process is often overlooked because business owners or managers are just too busy. Think about the message you are sending – are we too busy to invest a few minutes a week with our people? Meet up with individuals in your sales team to determine clear monthly & weekly priorities and expectations, these are critical for building high-performing sales teams.