Lessons in building business dashboards

In business, I have learnt the incredible value of building dashboards that eliminate unnecessary data (ruthlessly) and focus only on imperative and useful stats that help you make informed decisions quickly.  In my average week, I refer to two central dashboards. One the shows the health of my business and the other that track my key priorities (which change every few months). The help me progress my business, weather the storms and build a company I’m proud of.  My critical lessons in creating these have been: 1) It should not be hard or timeconsuming to find and update the stats – otherwise, it will fail in a matter of weeks 2) The whole team should agree to the outputs you measure – this helps create buy-in and track accountability. 3) Track what you need to track – never track everything you can (this will drive you insane) 4) If it can’t help you make a decision – get rid of it. So imagine how happy I am to see how we have been able to do this for our clients in our new digital dashboards. None of the clutter, nothing siloed, and meaningful data stories that help them make decisions. Today I got to see the digital dash for Digitlab, yes, we finally got round to creating one for ourselves. Such a great tool. Proud of the team who put this together. 

Starting a consultancy career

I often speak to people who are looking to break away from the corporate life and become a consultant. The flexibility, earning potential and idea of being their own boss excites them.  If you’ve reached this point in your career, it just might be time to consider life as a consultant and put those years of experience towards a better paid position. It’s not easy going it alone, but often very worthwhile. In preparing for this move you may choose to get career advice, speak to mentors and network with consultants who already work for themselves. It’s an important move to make sure you get as much information and advice when breaking out on your own. Firstly you’ll need the support but secondly you want to make sure you’ve taken the time to consider the move carefully. In this blog, we take a look at how to begin moving toward becoming a consultant and why you shouldn’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth. Build Your Personal Brand In February 2010, I received a surprising phone call from a potential client. It was the shortest sales call of my life, made particularly unusual, because I barely said anything. The woman on the other side of the phone simply said: “I have read your blog posts, listened to your podcasts, and I know you are right for the job. How much do you charge, and can I book you for next month?” I ended the call, happy for another consulting engagement,...

Announcing My Latest Book: Renowned

Mike Saunders, entrepreneur, author, CEO and International Speaker, has released his second book – Renowned, A guide to building a powerful personal brand online. In his book Mike recalls the story behind the book. ‘In February 2010, I received a surprising phone call from a potential client. It was the shortest sales call of my life, made particularly unusual, because I barely said anything. The woman on the other side of the phone simply said: “I have read your blog posts, listened to your podcasts, and I know you are right for the job. How much do you charge, and can I book you for next month?” I ended the call, happy for another consulting engagement, and thinking that the whole thing must have been a bit of a fluke. A few months later, I received another surprising phone call. This time, from the Presidency of South Africa. They said they had done their research and decided that I was the most knowledgeable expert in the field they needed assistance with, and would like to book some time with me. Later that year, after starting my digital agency, DigitLab, I received the third surprising phone call. It was from a bigger digital agency. They told me they’d seen my work, been impressed by it, and wanted me to consider opening their Durban office. I ended up turning down that opportunity simply because I realised how much I love working for myself and didn’t want to report to anyone else in...

Developing Your Inner Guru

Stick or twist? Stop or go? Making business decisions can feel like a step into the dark sometimes and leave you wondering if you’re going to plunge headlong into a financial abyss or into something altogether more enticing. Unless you have the gift of seeing into the future, there can be no way of telling for sure what’s going to happen but is there such a thing as business sense? If you’re setting up on your own for the first time, it’s a leap of faith and you might make one or two questionable decisions during those early days. The stakes only start to get much higher the further along you go, so how do you avoid the snakes and climb the ladders? We’ll show you how to develop your inner business guru and make decisions that boost your business rather than harm it. Network For so many of us, the idea of making small talk in a room filled with strangers is torture but making contacts, particularly with people in the same boat as you, can help you to develop some sharp instincts. Don’t be afraid to quiz them on their decision-making processes, what’s worked and what hasn’t. If you can gain any insight into their practice, then use it to your advantage. If you build a strong enough network, you might even be able to call on them for advice when it comes to crunch time and decisions need to be made, just be willing to extend that...

3 Basic Tips for Gaining Customer Trust as a New Entrepreneur

No business will be successful for more than a heartbeat, unless they are capable of obtaining and maintaining client trust. You could be the most savvy businessmen in the world, you could have the most impressive product, and could have marketing graphics and videos that would make the finest artists of your day and age weep tears of joy. But if your customers or clients think that you are manipulative, untrustworthy, or otherwise exploitative, it is only a matter of time before your entire business venture sinks. On the other hand, even if your product or service isn’t the most advanced, streamlined, or pioneering in your field, customers and clients will give you a lot of slack if you are known to be trustworthy, supportive, and to have a high degree of professional integrity. So, since gaining customer trust is a fundamental part of your job as an entrepreneur, here are some effective but basic tips for gaining that trust. Be mindful of “qualifiers of professionalism” “Qualifiers of professionalism,” are those things that let your prospective clients or customers know, or at least cause them to believe, that you are highly professional, sophisticated, and know what you are doing. It certainly doesn’t hurt if they also think that you are well established in your particular niche, even if you aren’t yet. Of course, it should go without saying that you should never deceive your customers, or claim to have certain accolades which you do not. Nonetheless, you should be extremely...

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