COVID19 course now on CyberU

My course on Getting Back to Business after COVID19 is now available on the CyberU platform.

This short course contains over 140 actionable tips for business owners and managers to get your business up and running again after the pandemic.

Find out more here:

https://www.cyberu.com/course/getting-back-to-business-after-covid19

Rutland Waters beauty

“Early morning starts make the most of Rutland’s beauty”

I really like getting up early to go fishing. In March, when the season opened, I resolved to have an early start at least once a week and get a couple of hours fishing in before work.

On the Sunday of opening weekend I was in Whitwell Creek at first light and enjoyed being the only one there… until a certain Iain Barr turned up and bagged the swim next to mine!

It turned out to be a good session with four nice Rainbows before breakfast beckoned. Well that worked for less than two weeks before the COVID-19 lockdown took place and we all had to find lots of DIY jobs at home to fill our weekends!

Since fishing re-started at Rutland I have been trying to keep to the same routine and 5am on a Sunday morning will usually find me on the peninsula bank trying to have a couple of hours on the water before the day starts.

While these early visits have been less than spectacular in terms of fishing results, somehow that has not mattered. The beauty of Rutland really shows up early in the morning. With only sheep and rabbits to keep me company, I have enjoyed the stunning views as the sun rises.

At a recent early visit to Carrot Creek a beautiful sunrise was the star of the show and somehow the tangled lines and my frustrating lack of casting ability did not seem to matter at all. Tim Lawson July 2020.

Spreadsheets

New XLOOKUP function in Excel

For those who geek out on Excel (myself included) the years of frustration with the limitations of the VLOOKUP function are nearly at an end. Microsoft is introducing a feature called XLOOKUP, which will bring new functions and make data lookup much easier. See link for the full story.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/01/microsoft-releases-excel-xlookup-feature-spreadsheet-jockeys-rejoice.html

Chernobyl

Photographing Chernobyl

The interest generated by the recent TV series on Chernobyl led me to this excellent article by the Polish photographer, Arkadiusz Podniesiński, who has visited the site many times including into the confinement arch.

Virtual working

The firm with 900+ staff and no office

Great BBC article on a company with over 900 staff working virtually with no office. The ultimate in premises cost saving!

The firm with 900+ staff and no office

Paperless template Meeting Notes

New ‘paperless’ templates for iPad or tablets

Many people are trying to go ‘paperless’ and for some it is a real challenge. Getting away from paper and pen has proved almost impossible, especially without the right tools.

I have developed a number of templates which, when used with an iPad app, mean that I can operate completely paperless in meetings, interviews and one-to-one sessions with colleagues.

Paperless template Interview Notes

I open a template in the app and, using an Apple Pencil, write over the template. It can be stored on the iPad or exported as a PDF with the template and text all able to be filed and shared.

I am now making the PDF templates available in the Infozio store. These are optimised for using as part of a paperless process and work well with various apps.

The templates available are:

Meeting Notes
Interview Notes
One-to-One Notes

There are a wide range of note taking apps which allow a PDF template to be used underneath the hand written notes. This enables the paperless workflow to be created meaning that you will capture and store your notes without paper.

Apps available include:
Notability
Good Notes
Adobe Reader for iOS
Adobe Reader for Android

I personally use Notability and think it is excellent for paperless working.

Reducing Business Costs in 8 Proven Steps

My new cost reduction ebook

I have just published an eBook on Reducing Business Costs which may be of interest to those who are keen to get their costs under control this year. It is a quick read and contains some key steps for success in cost reduction and cost management. Follow the link here to get a FREE copy.

https://costreductionmethod.com

If you would like a Kindle or ePUB version as well as the PDF then please message me and I will send it over. Feel free to re-share this post using the links below if you think that there may be others in your wider network who will benefit from the book.

Reducing Business Costs in 8 Proven Steps

The Kindle version can also be downloaded from Amazon here:

Reducing Business Costs in 8 Proven Steps

Why is efficiency, cost cutting and revenue generating more of a focus in tough times?

I was recently asked “Why is efficiency, cost cutting and revenue generating more of a focus in tough times? Shouldn’t this be good business practice ALL the time?”

This is my answer:
In difficult times, depending on your sector, growing the top line organically can seem like very hard work, even impossible. This means that management teams tend to see cost reduction as the only viable way in which to deliver an improved bottom line.

In past dips in the economic cycle, the availability of capital has been (relatively) good. This has enabled some businesses to ‘buy’ top line growth through acquisitions, dominant mergers etc. In today’s environment this is much tougher to achieve leading again to the focus on cost reduction.

To answer the question directly, yes, of course “efficiency, cost cutting and revenue generating” are all areas which should be addressed by management in good times and bad. However, for the reasons stated above, efficiency, cost reduction and process improvement are all receiving much more attention at the moment.

In the work I do on cost reduction I am receiving a lot of interest and enquiries at the moment. What seems to be happening is that management teams have delivered the ‘easy’ cost reductions themselves but still need to find more. This leads them to seek external, specialist help to squeeze the extra savings out.

Thankfully this is possible to do. Using my own Cost Reduction Method, I have regularly delivered additional savings of over 15% on cost areas which have already been ‘reduced’.

 

Losing experienced people

Do you believe that making experienced staff redundant would help your organisation achieve cost reduction goals? There are many arguments for and against this stance and it can be a tough decision when a company is faced with cutting their cost base significantly.

On the face of it, the last to go in an economic downturn situation should be the highly skilled, experienced resources as they will (should) be:

  • of great, demonstrable value to the organisation
  • and would cost an immense amount to replace when things get better

However, if the company has downsized, unlikely to grow to the same level again and clearly has a staff cost which is too high for its size then action must be taken or the business will eventually die.

I see many companies who suffer through not taking decisive action on staff costs when they should do. It is better to have retained some highly experienced manpower than for the business to fail and no jobs.

The best case scenario is of course that the business turns around and you are soon back to recruiting with ‘Interview in Progress’ signs appearing regularly at your office!