All posts in Management


The Power of Asking Simple Marketing Questions

Marketing Questions

“Why didn’t they see this coming?”

I had just learned of yet another company catastrophically failing to understand their audience. Who thought it would be a good idea to host an AMA after your company was involved in one of the biggest financial scandals in modern history?

Then it hit me. Every team makes silly mistakes. It’s all down to forgetting to ask yourself some basic marketing questions.

While this post was originally going to be reviewing Getting Goosebumps by Bryan Adams and Dave Hazlehurst, the examples and theories they pose in that book (which is well worth a read) are perfect for demonstrating how easy it can be to avoid marketing disasters. All you have to do is keep asking these questions to form a coherent strategy with no nasty surprises.

But enough rambling – it’s time to learn how to avoid marketing disasters!
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The 9 Best Organizational Tools to Bring Order to Chaos

Organizational Tools

Documented processes don’t just save you time, money, and give a consistent method for your team to follow. They make everything you do more reliable and efficient, even increasing project success rate by 70%.

Unfortunately, getting started is the hardest part. Whether you don’t feel like you have time to set up your management system or just don’t know what to use for your needs, it’s difficult to get over the initial learning curve.

That’s why I’m going to outline the 9 organizational tools you can use to get started right now.

From their pros and cons and best use guidelines to general tips on what to do with your organizational tools, this post will cover:

  • Process Street
  • Office 365 (Microsoft Word and Excel)
  • Trello
  • Airtable
  • Google Suite (Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Drive)
  • Zapier
  • …and 4 process management techniques to get you started

It’s time to learn what organizational tools you need to manage your processes, and how to use them.

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53 Essential Business Metrics You Need to Be Tracking in 2018

business metrics

It’s impossible to run a successful business without taking the time to track your core business metrics.

If you don’t, then good luck knowing:

  • How much pure profit you’re earning
  • Where costs can be cut
  • Whether you’re selling enough
  • How much debt you have
  • Whether you’ll be bankrupt next quarter

Having said that, where do you start? There are so many metrics you could be tracking that it’s easy to get stuck tracking and recording everything rather than analyzing and acting on your data.

That’s why I’ve collected 53 core business metrics right here to get you started. Stop wasting time wondering what to track or flicking between 20 different posts going over five stats each – every metric here comes with a brief description and formula or method for easily tracking it.

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What is a Business Process Consultant? (And How To Find a Good One)

business process consultant

What do you do if you don’t have the time or know-how to document and improve your processes?

You hire a business process consultant of course!

While we’ve talked endlessly in the past about why processes are important and how to manage your own, hiring a business process consultant lets you reap all the benefits without having to spend an age assessing your organization and talking to every last employee involved.

So, if you want to organize your processes and bring efficiency to your business but don’t have time to do it yourself, read on!

process consultant hired
(Source)

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How Does a Hedge Fund Work? Inside the Processes at Bridgewater Associates

How Does a Hedge Fund Work_ Inside the Processes at Bridgewater Associates-04Processes can be used to optimize the things you do every day, and we spend most of our time telling you that!

But where do these processes come from? Really.

Maybe you just documented your steps one day and built from there? In which case, the process evolved naturally from the actions you took intuitively. When I add big words into that description I can make it sound like a good thing. But it could be put another way.

You never took the time to think about the foundations of your process.

At the very base of all processes are a series of said and unsaid principles. In good processes and bad processes. If we want the best processes we can make, we need to understand and critically evaluate the principles which knowingly or unknowingly guide our every decision.

Ray Dalio’s text, Principles, answers the question “how does a hedge fund work?” and gives us an insight into how he built the world’s largest one, Bridgewater Associates.

Bridgewater manages $160 billion worth of assets for 350 different clients. These clients range from large corporate bodies like McDonald’s to pension and wealth funds, and even to the assets of central banks. The whole company has been built around cultivating a radical company culture, and it is this radical company culture which makes Bridgewater Associates so successful and worth investigating!

In this Process Street article, we’re going to present to you a number of the ideas contained within the book and we’re going to pull out three specific company processes Dalio has developed on the back of these principles:

But be warned: it’s likely a radical break from your office!

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How One Piece Flow Can Reduce Your Operations Time by 96%

One Piece Flow - header

We’ve all heard about the importance of focusing on one task at a time.

Take that idea, apply it to manufacturing, and you have the concept of one piece flow.

The concept is simple in that you have to limit yourself to working on one item at a time (you only ever have one WIP item). By doing this you can save time and money, as work is performed faster and any space you use is highly optimized.

In fact, it’s the very same concept that Toyota used to reduce the time taken to pack boxes in to help families hit by Hurricane Sandy by 94%.  In total, the aid workers were able to feed 400 more families in less than half the time.

However, there are a few vital things that you need to be careful of when applying one piece (or “continuous”) flow. It’s not a miracle cure, and while it can be used outside of an assembly line, there are a few practical elements which can’t be ignored.

So, today I’ll be diving into:

  • What one piece flow is
  • The advantages and disadvantages
  • How to implement it
  • Using one piece flow in any area of your business
  • The problems of theory vs practical effects

Let’s get started.

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How to Start a Lean Process for Continuous Company Learning

The following is a guest post from Pascal van Opzeeland. Pascal is CMO of Userlike, software for website and messaging support. He and his team share tips about customer service and communication on the Userlike Blog.

In school, everyone looks forward to the day they can stop learning and start doing. But once inside hamster wheel of working life, many long back to the times in which they had the time to invest in their personal development.

At Userlike, we see this lack of time for personal learning as a serious challenge. The world is developing faster than ever, and the pace is only accelerating. To stay competitive, we need employees to keep up; to keep learning and stay up-to-date with their craft. Other benefits from  having a culture that stimulates continuous learning include:

  • Increased productivity
  • Attract and retain talent
  • The ability to grow leaders in-house and reward loyalty

The best employees have an innate desire to grow, but it’s hard to free up time when your daily tasks and duties mess up your schedule. Learning is one of those high importance – low urgency tasks that easily gets pushed aside.

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How to Get, Process, and Act on Employee Feedback

employee feedback header

Saying “employee feedback” conjures images of awkward conversations with managers and meaningless buzzwords during performance reviews, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Feedback cycles shouldn’t try to force comments out of your team, but instead support them and let them know when and where they can raise any issues they encounter.

Doing this lets you see the flaws in your business and figure out how to take action in order to improve it for everyone involved.

It’s also a great way to get a second opinion on issue that you have lost all context on. Veteran and new employee alike offer vital second opinions and can really help to highlight where your processes are weakest, and that’s not even mentioning other benefits such as helping to make your employees feel valued.

69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were being better recognized” – Lindsay Kolowich11 Eye-Opening Statistics on the Importance of Employee Feedback

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17 BPM Statistics to Help You Increase Efficiency in Your Business

increase efficiency - header

Business process management (BPM for short) gets a bad wrap. Some consider it industry jargon, others an ineffective management “hack”, and almost all see it as boring.

However, there is no better way to increase efficiency and consistency in your business than by managing your processes effectively. To prove it, this post will dive into 17 BPM statistics to show:

  • The growing trend of using BPM software
  • How common (and important) documented processes are
  • The importance and benefits of processes
  • The dangers of not managing processes
  • Why everyone in your company needs to be involved with your processes

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Little’s Law: How to Analyze Your Processes (with Stealth Bombers)

little's law - header 2

Simple as it may be, Little’s law is an incredibly powerful tool in the arsenal of almost any team. From performing back-of-the-napkin calculations to showing the performance of a system over time, this formula is one of the key building blocks to running an efficient business.

Without Little’s law, Lean and Kanban wouldn’t exist, and key elements of America’s nuclear deterrence would be left up to chance.

After all, you can’t fly B-2 stealth bombers into action if they’re all under maintenance due to bad queue management.
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