3 Business Services That Will Improve Your Business

Running a business can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying ventures one can partake in life. However, running a business can also be an extremely demanding, and at times, stressful career move. Luckily there are a wide range of business services that can help to take some of the weight off of your shoulders and allow you to focus on the core elements of your business.

The first service is chartered accountancy. A huge part of your business is going to be dealing with the financial aspects of its day to day operations. Many feel employing the services of an accountant to be a bit of a waste of money. This is usually because they have some understanding of what is needed and required and feel that they will be more than capable of keeping on top of all their accounts and book keeping. Although this may be fine for small businesses or start ups, as a business grows, so does the amount of accountancy work. Another point to make is that hiring an accountant is not as expensive as many would be lead to believe. So for a small yearly fee, you could rest assured that your accounts are being professionally managed, allowing you to focus on your business.

Another popular service is outsourced sales and lead generation. Today, more than ever, businesses are outsourcing their lead generation and sales tasks; so that they can focus their in house teams efforts on the key aspects of the business. Outsourcing is beneficial in many ways and can have a huge impact on the growth and success of a business. When you outsource a service such as lead generation and sales, you are acquiring the service of a highly skilled and dedicated team who are specifically trained to excel in sales and lead generation. This means that less time is spent training staff in-house, allowing that management time to be set to more important, core aspects of your business. Another huge benefit of this outsourced service is the quality and quantity of the leads and sales that you will receive. By allowing highly trained, professionals deal with these parts of your business; you will be rewarded with more relevant leads, and a larger volume of sales.

Taking Global Business Services to the Next Level

For those who have not read my previous post, “Moving from Shared Services to Global Business Services,” let me provide a quick summary. Shared Services (SS) is an operating model that has been around for decades. It enables function-specific resources (i.e., HR, IT, Finance, etc.) to be leveraged across an entire organization, resulting in lower costs with agreed-upon customer-service levels. Around the time of the 2008/2009 recession, greater demands were placed on the SS operating model and what evolved was Global Business Services (GBS). The GBS operating model offers better efficiency, wider geographic reach, and broader scope coverage, to handle greater regulatory scrutiny for the same or even lower costs. However, there are some obstacles to overcome to ensure the full value of the GBS operating model is achieved… which is the focus of this post.

State of GBS

Multiple surveys and commentary have been published indicating the widespread and increasing trend of companies moving from SS to the GBS operating model. An annual survey by the Shared Services and Outsourcing Network (SSON), one of the largest communities of shared services and outsourcing professionals, stated that nearly 70% of the respondents operate as a GBS or multi-function model. Although GBS adoption continues, we have also heard of examples of GBS initiatives not delivering the “promised” return on investment (ROI). In the first year, most initiatives seem to deliver a respectable 7-10% ROI, but what is concerning is that according to Genpact, a global leader in business process management and technology services, “as many as one-third of all such transitions fail to ever achieve anticipated cost savings.” Unfortunately, from my network of peers in this space, I personally know of examples where this has occurred. There are several reasons for this occurrence, so let’s discuss a few of the major ones.

ROI Shortfall

Fundamentally, there are a few main reasons why a GBS transformation may fall short:

1. Aligned Strategy and Governance – Many companies do not take the time to have ALL key stakeholders agree to an overall GBS strategy and governance upfront. Executive commitment is key.

2. Direct Linkage to Desired Business Outcomes – Misalignment between GBS Leaders and Business Clients on priorities, and/or not being able to adjust quickly as market conditions change. Alignment to client priorities is key.

3. End-to-End Scope Coverage – Only portions of an “end to end” process like Order to Cash are moved into GBS, without accountability (or a voice) to influence the balance of the “end to end” process not moved into GBS. “End to End” process accountability is key.

There are a myriad of other operational, process and technological constraints that impact success. Some of those areas include limited technology investment, an unclear talent management and acquisition strategy, under-resourced service and client management capabilities, to name a few.

Improvement Areas

So, what can you do to ensure that your GBS is positioned to get to the next level? As with most any enterprise transformations, it is critical to have executive commitment prior to moving forward. However, for a successful GBS transformation it is even more critical to have the CEO/COO and all the business and functional executives onboard, due to the potential enterprise impact. Obviously, there may be situations where select businesses or functions may be deferred (or even excluded) due to business model conflicts, but these need to be managed carefully so as to not encourage others to “opt-out.” Other improvement areas include:

1. Strategy – Alignment upfront and on an ongoing basis between GBS and Business Clients is critically important to creating value. If that is done, GBS is off to a good start. Some key strategy elements to “hash out” include short/medium term vision, value proposition, roles and responsibilities, decision rights, and governance structure.

2. Governance – Many companies prefer to not have a separate governance structure for GBS, but rather to add the responsibility to an existing structure. I think that is a mistake in the beginning because it is critical to get this right at the outset. Good governance establishes a clear mandate for GBS, removes board members from operational issues, and develops a separate “client voice” when business complexity requires doing so. In addition, as the GBS/Client relationship matures the concept of an enterprise process owners board could be considered, to help drive even larger areas of business value.

3. Scope – The discussion of scope is a topic that is covered upfront as part of the strategy dialogue, and remains an ongoing discussion at the Governance Board. It should be clear what migrates to GBS at the start, over time (as long as ROI and business value commitments are achieved), and what scope still needs further dialogue. There needs to be continual dialogue to ensure alignment, and to minimize any strategy changes especially as executive changes occur.

4. Service Management – Experienced GBS operations (of a decade or more) all seem to have a well-developed service management capability and view it as critical to their success. This team is initially focused on driving a consistent service delivery strategy across GBS, communicating operational performance and business value in a consistent/branded fashion to clients, and coordinating all the behind the scenes KPI measurement activities efficiently. However, as the GBS matures, this team shifts to more of a “services marketing accountability” driving services strategy, design, M&A migration, and new service offerings jointly with operating leaders and business clients.

If the above items are implemented, the chances of a successful GBS transformation are significantly enhanced.

External Perspective

A few years ago, I attended a conference made up of Fortune 500 companies interested in trends and best practices for functions and SS organizations. A large Fortune 50 company who implemented GBS over 10 years ago delivered the keynote presentation. I was “blown away” by how GBS had transformed their company, and how its scope had grown from Finance and IT to non-traditional areas such as Logistics and Joint Venture support, as well as delivering tremendous business value along the way. When you see the potential of GBS in action, it can be a tremendous motivator! Please take advantage of the learnings from others to help accelerate your ROI. For me personally, I did leverage the learnings from select conferences but, I also proceeded to do plenty of targeted benchmarking. We engaged more than 25 companies, with many outside our home industry. The primary focus was to share best practices, but also to get a deeper understanding of GBS optimization methods, and exchange learnings on similar “pain points”. If you are trying to improve your GBS, in addition to the above recommendations, I wholeheartedly suggest utilizing the concept of benchmarking to get some “fresh” ideas.

Next Step

In this article, I have only “skimmed the surface” in how you can take your company’s GBS to the next level. So, in my next post (3rd in the series), I will focus on one of the key improvement areas and do a deep dive on the “Importance of Strategy and Governance.”

Starting a Home Business Service – Tips

With so many people having lost their jobs in recent months, home businesses in the service industry has become a rapidly growing trend. As regular 9 to 5 positions are becoming harder to find, having a home business service is increasing in popularity. It is becoming more and more attractive as the start up cost and overhead is very low when compared to a brick and mortar service business.

If you have been thinking about using your talent to start a home business service, and you feel that you are ready to commit to providing a home business service, then read these tips to help you get started.in the right direction.

First I would like to clarify what a home business service actually is.

A home business service is performing a service or task that will help other people with tasks they either don’t want to perform or are unable to perform on their own. A service business supplies the solution to a need and can include anything from walking a dog to figuring out a clients taxes. Virtual assistants have become a very popular service that is provided from home.

I’m not going to cover the benefits of having a home business as it is already common knowledge, I am sure that you already know what your reasons are for wanting to work from home and why.

Getting Started:

1. Set Up a Home Office

Getting a home office set up for your home business service is one of the first things that needs to be done. Getting a business phone is an important part of selling a service as you will need to be able to communicate with clients. If this is out of the question because of your budget, at the moment, get a business line added to your home phone as soon as you can.

You will need a separate office space from the rest of the house, especially if you are planning to have clients come to your home.

2. You Will Need a Website

You not only need a computer, which I assume you already have since you are reading this article, but you will also need a website. A website will be the gateway for your business in your local area. It is imperative to develop an online presence for your business. The Yellow Pages are quickly becoming a thing of the past, and the cost of running an ad in the Yellow Pages is often beyond many entrepreneurs financial means while in the start up process.

Having a website is much more effective than the Yellow Pages as you can get it up and listed in days, while you have to wait for the next publication of the Yellow Pages to be printed. Also, more and more people are going online to find local services and businesses than are looking in the Yellow Pages. Finding a listing on the web is faster and more current that the phone book.

3. Research Your County Laws

You will need to know the legalities for registering your home business service and for any zoning restrictions that may be applicable for a home business in your neighborhood.. Every county in every state has different laws and ordinances. The county clerk may be able to help you with this information or will at least be able to direct you to the right place to get it.

4. Get a Business License

You can usually pick one up at either the county court house or the county clerk’s office.. The license won’t cost you anything, but once your business is started it will be subjected to a different tax structure.

I am not a tax attorney and cannot offer any advice on the tax exemptions for your state or with the Federal government. What I can tell you, is that you will be allowed more exemptions that you are getting now for using your home for your business. You can get more information online at http://www.irs.org.

5. Set Up a Business Plan and Set Goals

Having a home business service can develop into a very lucrative business. Be sure to have a definite business plan strategy worked out that is measurable and that you can use as a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly guide. Remember to set goals that can be achieved. Set your beginning goals in small time frame increments. Cross them off your list when you have achieved them and then add bigger goals to strive for.

6. Advertise Offline and Online

Get some business cards made to hand out to everyone in your neighborhood that you come in contact with. You never know when the service you are providing will be needed in the community. You can get business cards free online at Vista Print.com. You only pay the shipping which is about $6.00

Print fliers with details of the service you are providing and remember to Include your website URL and your home phone number. Pay a high school kid in the neighborhood to pass them out for you.

Put fliers and business cards up on bulletin boards at grocery stores, liquor stores, apartment buildings, laundromats, the post office, and any other place you can think of that will allow advertising.

Offer a free gift with your home business service. Vista Print often has promotions for free advertising venues such as tote bags, post cards, refrigerator magnets, etc.

Place small ads in local newspaper and free press newspapers. Place ads on web sites such as Craig’s List, eBay, and USFreeAds. Be sure to list your home business service with Google Local Directory so that you will be placed on their Goggle business map for your area.

Use viral marketing, email marketing and article marketing online to get people to your website. Submit a press release about your new business both off line and online. There are several free sites you can submit to. Do a Google search to find them. Until you begin receiving clients, spend all of your scheduled work time marketing your home business service both online and offline.

Once you start receiving clients it can be very difficult to manage your work time, your marketing time and your family time. Plan accordingly. Schedule business tasks that need to be done daily between time spent with clients. Set a limit as to when the work day will end in order to spend time with the family. I hope these few tips will give you a place to start in getting your home business service off the ground and running.

Get Freelancers for Your Business Services Needs

While running a business, there are many essential services that are required on a day to day basis. Business services are an important element of any business that ensures its survival. For small business that struggle to hire full time staff, outsourcing these services to freelance providers could be the ideal answer. If you decide to get freelancers for your business services needs, there is no doubt they would turn out to be reliable and a necessary part for your business processes.

Once the company has found reliable freelancers, results will become obvious that the business will start to develop and grow into successful entity. There are many freelance websites which offer opportunities for both businesses and the freelancers to find each other and work together. One can find a lot of different business services offered by freelancers and it is these diverse resources that businesses will be able to leverage and improve their current situations.

Whether it is accounting services, financial services, IT services or any other required service by the business, one can find experienced freelancers for all business service requirements. Once you get freelancers for your business you will find out how reliable, convenient and cost effective they are. To get freelancers whenever they are required, employers find they soon become a necessary investment. Freelancers have the ability to do anything in their chosen fields, it won’t take long before they become an integral part of the companies processes.

To get freelancers is not a very difficult task; there are many freelance websites where one can find freelancers for every kind of business service. Freelancers can really make a big difference in the development and growth of a business through their efficient services. In today’s world, businesses are worried about their profit margins and are always on the verge of contracting their budget and expanding their profits. Hiring a freelancer for business services is a great way to cut costs effectively.

Hiring freelancers for performing various business services has become a trend for many companies. It is a cost effective way to run a business, but make sure that the services you acquire from the freelancers are up to the mark. But overall it is a very effective way of running a business. The only thing required is to keep a close communication with the hired freelancer to make sure there are no misunderstandings along the way.

It is well known that to get freelancers for business services is quite advantageous, especially for small business. Once the business founds a reliable freelancer, it has been proven that the business would benefit a lot from the services provided by a freelancer