The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Member Blog: New Year Resolutions of a Business Owner

By Paul Tooth, CEO of BrightHR

As 2016 draws to a close, our minds start to turn to the acts of self-improvement we want to put in place for the coming year - be it to join the gym, travel more or learn a new language. As the CEO at BrightHR, now is also the time that I start to think about how both myself and our employees can do better in 2017 - how we can grow and be more productive, happy and successful.

As with any New Year resolution, its best not to be overly ambitious but to identify small changes that can be realistically made, and actually, make a big difference. Here Ill share some goals for 2017 and a few pieces of advice to hold in mind come January:

Make more time for face-to-face meetings
As we know, good relationships are hugely beneficial for business, but they rarely seem to be our highest priority. Relationships typically feel important rather than urgent and suffer accordingly in the time-poor environment of most working lives. There are always more pressing things standing in the way, whether they are HR, legal, administration or compliance issues.

Getting to know your clients is good, but actually enjoyingthe relationship is even better. For 2017, I plan to make more time for face-to-face meetings by continuing to expand our field sales team. We must be ready and willing to give our clients time and if we dont have it, then we need to start freeing it up and doing whatever it takes to build stronger relationships.
Spread the automation mantra
Leveraging technology to automate the mundane, daily tasks that sap your time and energy is what were all about as a business. Theres opportunity for any repetitive workflow in your business to be automated, and the benefits can be huge. Dedicate yourself to investigating technology that can move you toward automation, and youll be on your way.

One of my resolutions for 2017 is to spread the automation mantra to more start-ups and SMEs which may be struggling with productivity and time management.

BrightHRs research revealed that more than a third of business owners in the UK cite HR administration as one of the biggest drains on productivity. We also discovered that automating the holiday request process was at least 10x faster than using a manual process - and thats if nothing went wrong in the manual process!

And its not just HR, there are all sorts of repetitive processes that can be automated.

Measure productivity
Recent research by BrightHR revealed that only eight per cent of UK companies regularly monitor their productivity levels, and more than this, many are in the dark about the real business benefits of doing so.

In 2017 Ill continue to work with our team to identify our biggest time saps, be it needless admin or too many meetings. This isnt a one off fix, its an ongoing process, but one which stands to empower both yourself and your teams to make vital adjustments.

Productivity is key to the success of any business and the more engaged the workers are, the more productive they will be.

Be more balanced
As personal and professional lives are increasingly merging, its become more important to schedule breaks and holidays. This is time that you can spend seeing family, visiting somewhere youve always wanted to go.

Theres no doubt that regular breaks make staff more focused and productive, and productivity is key to the success of any business. BrightHR recently conducted a survey of UK business leaders which revealed, that 90 per cent recognise that having a good relationship with employees has a positive effect on productivity. Being understanding and generous with their time away from the office in crucial to this.

To help manage the process, a key piece of advice for small business owners would be to learn how to better cope with the challenge of holiday date-bagging by encouraging staff to spread their time off throughout the year - and start looking for that city break bargain to make the most of it yourself!

Think content
What happens when a prospective customer visits your company's website? Is there fresh content that is going to keep them engaged? Does it look like it represents a company that cares about the impression they want to make on the rest of the world?

Your company's website is your digital storefront. Often, it is the only source your customer might look at to determine if they want to spend money on your service or product. So your website needs to be the best.

Continuing to generate engaging content will be an ongoing our website will be a focus for our business next year, including content that demonstrates new technologies and advice for fledgling businesses.

Look after your people
There's a famous saying, that "culture eats strategy for breakfast". It's a lesson that a lot of businesses neglect, despite good intentions. No one sets out to create a lousy working environment; frustrating and unproductive work cultures develop when no one acts to deliberately create something better.
Employees who are engaged in a positive workplace culture are inherently more productive. And there are loads of things that business owners can do without huge budgets.
For 2017, I will continue to develop our trusting and inclusive environment, where everyone feels respected and motivated.

Did you know the first week back in the New Year has proven to be the busiest time for staff booking holidays? Why not starting automating this now and add a 30 day free trial of BrightHR to your resolution list? Go to


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