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The Top 5 Technologies Australian CEOs believe will make the largest future impact

Technology is fundamentally transforming the way businesses operate, and embracing disruptive and innovative technology can be the difference between a business treading water and delivering long-term growth.

In the next 12 months, 99 per cent of CEOs believe technology will, in some form, impact their business, the TEC confidence Index report outlines the full details. Download it below:

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The underestimated impact of data - why executives need to lead data discoveries

The Underestimated Impact of Data: Why Executives Need to Lead Data Discoveries

Change comes from the top. For your organisation to fully utilise its data, employees need to first be supplied with the appropriate support, processes, and technology. Once all of these elements are in place, you can begin making data-driven decisions, gaining a better understanding of your organisation’s inner workings, relationships with customers, and logistical challenges.

Moving Your Organisation Towards Better Data Discoveries

Executive management, operations, and sales are the primary driving forces behind the adoption of business intelligence strategies. Yet there are still growing pains with new data management techniques. Though it has been proven that the right analytic data can disrupt entire industries, many C-suite executives aren’t clear on how the data is able to do so.

 

Even organisations currently collecting large volumes of data may not precisely understand how that data can benefit them; instead, they may only be abstractly aware that their data holds the answers.

It’s not enough for an executive to know that data is important: executives must understand how and why this data is used. Otherwise, it becomes impossible for an organisation to launch meaningful data-related initiatives, and it makes it impossible for executives to engage in truly data-driven decisions.

 

Driving your organisation towards better data discovery begins with understanding how data works and what it can do to improve your current processes.

The Positive Impact of Completely Utilising Business Data

Business intelligence (BI) is the process of compiling, controlling, and utilising your business data. Through better data, your organisation is able to make data-driven decisions — decisions that are rooted in evidence. The more data your organisation has, the easier it is to get far more predictable results that can help define your strategy. Better data also leads to reduced risk and helps drive success.

An organisation with a solid connection to its business-related data will be able to pivot quickly. It can cascade changes throughout the organisation with greater speed, remains more agile, and able to evolve quickly to adapt to changes.

Organisations with well-analysed data can identify sources of potential revenue faster, and in so doing, can outpace their competition.

Through better data, organisations are able to identify patterns in their business processes that could otherwise be invisible to the human eye. Businesses are able to simulate a myriad of different environments and situations, and are able to identify any potential risks, complications, or opportunities that could arise. By simulating their business decisions, organisations are able to make better decisions overall.

 

Yet it can be difficult for an organisation to achieve full control over its data — and once the data has been compiled, it can be difficult for the organisation to analyse its data in a meaningful way. To create a truly data-oriented and data-driven company culture, executives must be willing to lead the company into digital transformation.

 

Executives not only provide an example for the rest of the organisation, but are also in charge of a multitude of aspects that can make data collection and analysis easier.

Building Data Processes That Drive Data-Driven Decisions

Organisations must dedicate themselves to the pursuit of comprehensive, usable, and consistent data. Often, this means creating data management and data analysis processes throughout all levels of the organisation. For this to be effective, leadership involvement is critical.

 

The most common barriers to developing business intelligence are a lack of a few specific resources: understanding, time, technology, and open architecture.

 

To lead data discoveries, executives must:

  • Be aware of the changes and advancements being made in business intelligence.
    • Leaders need to understand data and related technology if they are to make educated decisions.
  • Create an effective data infrastructure.
    • An organisation must be able to store and access its data in a consolidated and consistent way, without the need to spend large amounts of time administering and correcting its data.
  • Empower employees to be in charge of data.
    • Management and higher-level employees must understand how data is being used and be responsible for the collection and routine analysis of this data.
  • Track changes in data.
    • At appropriate intervals, an organisation must analyse its collected data to look for patterns and trends. Data that is never analysed may as well not be collected.
  • Find the right talent to protect data.
    • Employees must be familiar with data management and data analysis. Data-efficient and more talented employees will lead to improved analysis and innovation.
  • Take action to invest in data.
    • Investments in data will ultimately benefit the organisation, as profits will rise while expense decreases. Leaders in the organisation would do well to invest in data collection and analytics.

TEC Executive need to lead data discoveries

By supporting data discoveries, an organisation can drive innovation while remaining agile and open to change. More data for an organisation means additional opportunities to grow and develop, while also giving it the information it needs to avoid potential risk.

Yet organisations are not able to support data discoveries unless the organisation’s leadership supports data discoveries. Those in leadership positions must be especially conscientious of this fact, as it is their responsibility to lead their organisation into the future.

 

If your organisation isn’t using business intelligence and analytic data, it may be falling behind.

 

Business intelligence is only one example of how the business landscape is rapidly changing.

 

TEC can connect you to an immense network of colleagues and mentors, helping you make better business choices, and providing you the support you need to find better business tools and strategies. Contact TEC today to find out more.

 

Australian CEOs Innovate future proof

How These Four Australian CEOs Are Using Innovation to Future-Proof Their Business

Today’s businesses are having to aggressively pivot and strategise if they want to succeed in a constantly changing world. By embracing change rather than reeling away from it, organisations are able to better position themselves ahead of their competition.

Here are four lessons that we can learn from the C-suite of multiple successful Australian companies, from specific technologies that they are now adopting, to philosophies and cultures that they have developed over the years. These changes are being implemented at many levels, but have all been driven and guided by the organisation’s CEOs.

How can a modern organisation leverage digital disruption to its benefit? These four CEOs have it all figured out.

1. Domino’s Embraces New Delivery Technology — Through Drones!

“We invested in this partnership, and technology, because we believe drone delivery will be an essential component of our pizza deliveries.” – Don Meij, CEO at Domino’s

In November 2016, Domino’s first delivered a pizza by drone. But this was only the beginning of the company’s strive for innovation. Though the service was initially dismissed by many as a publicity stunt, Domino’s has continued to move forward with drone-based technologies. In fact, it’s even partnered with the Flirtey drone delivery service.

Domino’s Don Meij stated, “They can avoid traffic congestion and traffic lights, and safely reduce the delivery time and distance by traveling directly to customer’s homes. This is the future.”

Just six months later, Domino’s began to deliver pizzas with delivery drones in the Netherlands and Germany. These were different delivery drones — small, autonomous vehicles that traveled by sidewalk. The ultimate goal for Domino’s is to improve the way that food deliveries are handled, in a way that improves the overall customer experience.

Fast food pizza is a tough, competitive business. Many individuals have their “favourite pizza company” and often the pizza they order is determined by region. By looking into these new drone services, Domino’s poises itself to revolutionise the industry while also having something that no one else does.

2. Charter Hall Builds out Its Innovative Processes and Promotes New Technologies.

“We want to be at the forefront of this innovation; we’re not just focused on creating a pipeline of great ideas, it’s all about partnering with organisations to build capability and execute, and a culture of innovation to think and act differently.” – Aidan Coleman, CTO of Charter Hall

Why was Charter Hall named one of the Top 20 Most Innovative Companies by Collective Campus? If you ask their CTO Aidan Coleman, it’s all about company culture. Charter Hall has focused on creating a “well-established innovation pipeline,” designed to produce creative thinking at all levels of the organisation.

If you ask Charter Hall CEO David Harrison, it’s also about the buying: “In my career the profit is always in the buying. You have to buy well to generate good returns.” Both explain why technology is so incredibly important.

Coleman notes that the majority of the real estate sector is hesitant to adopt new technology. Outdated, legacy technologies can keep real estate companies lagging behind their peers in other industries. Charter Hall keeps itself intentionally agile in order to take advantage of new technology and innovation as it arises. They have their innovation processes to thank for this, which they spent 2 to 3 years developing. Coleman adds that encouraging diversity and different thinking has led to many new approaches throughout the company, as both bring in fresh new ideas.

3. Qantas Accelerates New Businesses, with an Eye on Potential Future Partnerships

“We had a very tough period, where the company had to make a lot of changes to survive. And what was great about the transformation program was how people got behind it.” – Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas

In early 2018, Qantas Group held its second AVRO Accelerator, in partnership with Slingshot. The AVRO accelerator is designed to give startup companies the opportunity to work with established businesses in order to quickly grow their businesses. At the same time, Qantas is able to learn from these partnerships, and potentially get on board early with new and innovative technologies. This has been a necessary development for a business that previously experienced economic hardships.

By interacting with up-and-coming businesses, Qantas can improve its own relevancy and potentially expand into new sectors. As a member of the notoriously competitive and tumultuous airlines industry, Qantas has focused on building out its customer service and overall user experience.

As a consequence, the AVRO Accelerator project is specifically targeted towards companies offering personalised experiences, life-enriching services, customer connections, safe operations, and original thinking. These are all values that Qantas holds today.

4. Carsales Uses New Machine-Learning AI Technology for Image Recognition

“Carsales sees the investment in AI as a key pillar moving forward allowing for future improvements in fraud detection, automation, personalisation, and recommendation engines.” – Jason Blackman, CIO of Carsales

Artificial Intelligence could be coming to car sales at Carsales. To encourage the development of new and unique products, Carsales holds a regular hackathon. During these hackathons, developers are free to work on related projects and prototypes, one of which is an Artificial Intelligence solution that can recognise uploaded images.

Called Cyclops, this AI-driven technology could radically improve the platform by making suggestions to users and helping users compare images. Rather than forcing employees to manually categorise images, the Carsales.com platform can instead automatically categorise images, greatly reducing administrative time.

Through machine learning, Cyclops can learn over time, improving upon its accuracy the more images it sees. And it sees a lot of images. Carsales has 20,000 images uploaded to its platform every day. Eventually, this technology may be used for other image recognition services. All of this was initiated through the scheduled hackathons that Carsales often holds.

The Future Is Coming: Is Your Organisation Prepared?

All of these organisations are very different, but they have one thing in common: they have embraced new technology and all of the opportunities that it represents. Naturally, it can be difficult for organisations to determine which direction they want to grow, as well as staying knowledgeable about new technology as it arises.

Having a strong network can help. Building a network of mentors, entrepreneurs, and other C-suite professionals can help executives in planning their company’s future.

For more information about managing digital transformation and connecting with other innovative businesses, speak to a TEC membership advisor.

How to benchmark the financial performance of your business

Nothing drives success quite like some competition. In order to gain some leverage against the competition, CEOs must first understand the competitors they’re stacked up against and compare it to their company financials to track how their own performance is measuring up. Like a sports team watching a film to learn more about the team they’re facing, CEOs can garner a lot of valuable insights by benchmarking their company against their competitors.

In this guide, we’ll look at how you can use the financial reports of your competitors to gauge the success of your own company and devise a strategy that allows you to rise above the competition.

Important benchmarks to consider

When comparing the current state of your company to the current state of other, similar companies that you are in competition with, there are many important data points for you to consider. These data points include:

  • Operating costs
  • Gross profits
  • Net profits
  • Sales trends and profitability trends
  • Marketing expenses as a percentage of gross revenue
  • Cost per employee
  • Revenue per employee
  • The ratio of revenue to fixed assets

Once you’ve identified your competitors, comparing these data points to that of your company allows you to determine how well you are performing against the competition. Since competing companies will likely be operating a business very similar to your own, it’s valuable to have the means to analyse and learn from how they’re running their operations while saving costs to generate higher profits. Doing it this way may also  reveal constant bottlenecks in your operation and highlight key areas where there is room for improvement. Likewise, identifying these key areas enables you to use them as a leverage so you can set yourself further apart and always be one step ahead of the competition.

Where to find financial data on your competitors

One easy way to garner loads of information on your competitors is to hire a consulting firm that has access to a large databank of industry data as well as individual company data to produce a comprehensive report that compares and contrasts your company against its competitors. However, if you wish to produce this report in-house, there are plenty of resources available so you can find the data points outlined above both in your industry and the individual companies you are in competition with. These resources include:

  • The Australia Bureau of Statistics. The Australian Bureau of statistics offers data on sales trends based on industry, product, and geography. Combined, this data can help you compare your own sales trends against the sales trends of the competition.
  • The Australian Department of Jobs and Small Business. The Australian Department of Jobs and Small Business provides information on employee wages per industry, enabling you to conclude how your cost per employee compares to the average amount of money other companies in your industry are spending on their employees.
  • Risk Management Association. The data provided by the Risk Management Association is the data that most banks use to evaluate a company, making it an invaluable resource for benchmarking your own company.
  • Morningstar – Morningstar provides comprehensive financial data on publicly traded companies. While this resource is most often used by investors, the same data can be used for benchmarking purposes.
  • Dun & Bradstreet – Dun & Bradstreet offers a wealth of data on individual companies, including sales data, important ratios, balance sheet data, data on employees and their earnings, and much more.

These, of course, are just a few of the resources available for unearthing enormous amounts of data both on individual competitors and industry averages. With a little time and a few expenses, you should have no problem finding enough data to thoroughly benchmark your business.

The value of benchmark-based goal setting

Goal setting is one of the most important things CEOs can do to achieve a benchmark that their whole team can strive for. However, it’s important not to set these goals at random. If the financial goals you set for your business are too high, you risk setting an impossible standard that hurts morale when it is not met. If your goals are too low, your company could end up meeting its goals and still underperforming.

This is why benchmark-based goal setting is so valuable. Once you determine how well your competitors are performing across a wide range of metrics, you can use that data to set goals for your own company. Since these goals will be based on the performance of other companies in your industry, benchmark-based goals largely eliminate the concern that the goals you set will be too high or too low.

Setting goals based on the performance of your competitors is just one of many ways you can use the data you’ve garnered from your competition’s financials to drive the strategy of your own company.  By taking the time to benchmark your company, you’ll gain a better understanding of your company’s performance and be in a much better position to rise above the competition.

TEC gives you access to one-to-one executive coaching and mentoring sessions with experienced business leaders who can help you achieve this. Contact TEC today to find out more.

Related article: How to stay motivated and stick to your goals by TEC Chair, CEO mentor and coach, Richard Appleby

The top 6 areas CEOs need to explore in 2018

It’s not your imagination: business is changing at a much faster pace than ever before. What was once considered market disruption is now commonplace — and CEOs are finding it necessary to evolve quickly. It’s time for all CEOs to revisit old strategies and explore new opportunities, investments, and trends. With that in mind, here are some of the most important areas CEOs need to consider in 2018.

 

Download the latest CEO Confidence Index Report 

 

1. Artificial intelligence and machine learning

AI and machine learning are starting to become widespread, showing extensive growth throughout 2017. Through AI and machine learning, businesses are able to automate and streamline their business processes, reducing the amount of necessary workforce they need as well as potential errors or bottlenecks within their operations. Companies such as Coca-Cola Amatil have been able to improve their market share by using AI in their business analytics.

Many industries are still exploring how artificial intelligence and machine learning can fit into their business structure. At the same time, more advanced and robust AI and machine learning solutions are being released. Many organisations will never need to develop their own AI system, but instead will take advantage of third-party resources that include it within their offerings.

2. Freelance workers and virtual office spaces

From Amazon to Apple, many businesses are now embracing the remote worker.  Businesses are now finding talent from all over the world, as technology has made it easier for businesses and employees to operate effectively from anywhere. With cloud-based document storage and communication suites, businesses can operate virtually almost entirely.

For employees, remote work has proven to be more accessible and attractive, and thus the employers who offer remote work are often able to procure better talent. For employers, remote workers reduce the overhead for the organisation and make it easier for them to scale up as needed.

3. Social responsibility and inclusiveness in company culture

Organisations are now taking proactive steps towards social responsibility. In the wake of the #MeToo movement and many high-profile harassment cases, many businesses have taken an active role in developing internal policies meant to reduce harassment and discrimination.

In 2017, companies ranging from Uber to Tesla were accused of discrimination in the workplace. These accusations have taken a significant toll on these companies, both in terms of legal fees and public perception. Social responsibility is now being explored in terms of risk management and prevention, to better understand the contributing factors, and minimise overall risk.

4. Automation of tasks and robotic workforces

From industrial robots to virtual ones, organisations are now transitioning towards increased automation. Task automation increases productivity, reduces risk, and positively impacts an organisation’s bottom line. Businesses are able to capitalise on automation to improve their scalability and reduce their overhead.

5. Digital marketing and global analytics

Even many local businesses are tapping into the advertising potential of digital marketing. With the increased ability to pare down to a specific audience and geo-target a specific region, digital marketing has become the primary solution for businesses trying to reach out. Both on a B2B and B2C level, it’s become necessary for organisations to boost their digital marketing to continue bringing in traffic and interest.

At the same time, organisations now need to explore their advertising analytics to determine whether their strategies are effective. Analytics may combine technologies from artificial intelligence or from machine learning to find information on which strategies are and aren’t working.

6. Managing cybersecurity threats and risk management

According to our latest CEO Confidence Index report, cybersecurity threats are now a major concern for CEOs. Yet, 37% of organisations surveyed by The Executive Connection do not have
a cybersecurity strategy that is documented or communicated to executive leaders. Download the full report to find out the challenges faced by Australia CEOs today and where their focus will be for 2018. CEOs are going to have to react to this increase risk if they are to mitigate risk for their organisation. In 2018, CEOs are going to need to take some additional steps towards improving their security. This may include running security audits or investing in next-generation cybersecurity solutions.

Many organisations will also be investing in cybersecurity insurance, to reimburse them for the costs associated with a data security breach. The cost of a data breach often amounts to millions.

Where are you focusing this year?

Ultimately, 2018 is about new, emerging forms of technology, and integrating this technology into current business workflows and strategies. It’s also become a more culturally conscious world, in which businesses are required to be empathic, morally conscious entities, and a brand identity has to evolve its own social and environmental awareness. Depending on industry, CEOs may want to look towards updating both their organisation’s technologies and their company culture.

Being a CEO changes from year to year, and there are a tremendous number of potential missteps. In order to make the right decisions, you often need well-educated, qualified advice. TEC can help. Through our monthly meetings, you can reach out to a number of CEOs, professionals, and entrepreneurs, who have also been updating their techniques and their operations. Contact TEC today.

 

TEC Dec 2017 CEO Confidence Index Report

 

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Australian SME Outlook: Confidence Index Highlights Q3 2017

 

According to the Confidence Index report, CEOs are exceptionally confident in the domestic economy and expect to see an increase in both sales and profitability in the year to come. This optimism is likely to have a direct impact on the market and will drive the strategy for many Australian businesses in 2018.

Sales revenue and profitability are leading targets.

By 2018, 76 percent of CEOs believe they can increase revenue while 73 percent believe they can increase profitability. However, this change isn’t being seen as driven by price increases. If revenue and profitability are to be improved at the same price points, companies will need to expand into new markets, grow their operations, and innovate. A potential barrier to this may be the increasing difficulties in both acquiring and retaining top talent.

Confidence in the economy will influence operational strategies.

CEOs confident in the economy and in their own profitability will be more likely to expand their businesses, purchase inventory, and invest in assets. In so doing, they will also be strengthening the economy and improving upon the very same market factors that they are relying upon as indicators. CEOs in 2018 are likely to continue investing in growth and expansion as their confidence increases.

CEOs should be aware of the bright outlook in the Australian economy and the consequences of current perception. Many companies are likely to begin expansion now, which may increase competition in certain sectors. As CEOs will be more willing to take risks, all businesses will need to improve upon their own fundamentals to remain competitive. CEOs looking towards improved profit and revenue will also need to create a strategic plan to work towards this growth.

 Download the full report 

Staying relevant in a disrupted industry: Lessons from Eckersley Group

Businesses need to move with the times, something that Tom Eckersley quickly realised when he took over his father’s company, Eckersley Group, with his brother in 1991. Providing a broad range of printed materials to businesses across Australia, the introduction of the digital age has meant Tom’s had to update his product and service offering frequently in order to remain relevant.

Keeping pace with digital transformation

‘The advent of digital technology has completely changed the way both our customers and we as a business look at printed products,” explains Tom. “Marketing has undergone huge transformations – our clients are connecting with their customers in completely different ways, everyone is trying to decide on the best medium to communicate through, and there’s now a far greater range of products to choose from.’

Rather than seeing the digital transformation as a challenge to overcome, Eckersley Group chose to work directly with new technology to provide a range of innovative, highly relevant products. These mainly focus around targeting printed media to increase engagement. “Instead of printing a generic brochure that goes out to 100,000 people, we’ll now produce 1,000 but they’ll be aimed at a specific sector or group. We’ll use data to individually personalise content, and through this we’ll increase engagement.”

From the business end, the technology Eckersley Group uses to produce material has changed dramatically over the years. Tom’s invested in a range of new technologies to keep up with this, particularly digital production equipment. “We decided it was best to concentrate on a few core activities rather than a broad range of service offerings. This has meant we’ve been able to carve out a niche slice of the market without over-stretching ourselves.”

A dynamic duo

The print industry is one where, as Tom explains, dynamism is key. ‘We need to be incredibly responsive to the market, we can’t work on one model from yesteryear, we need to change our business model constantly in order to keep up with the pace of technological transformation.’

Tom and his brother realised that, in recent years, there’s a clear need for an end-to-end supply solution in the print industry. Eckersley Group responded to this by focusing on logistics. ‘We’re no longer just providing the product. Instead, we’re looking at end-to-end solutions, including supply, warehousing and distribution into our offering,’ says Tom.

It’s this dynamism that’s gotten Eckersley Group to where it is today – a highly successful business that’s developed and grown over the years, taking on a number of other printing companies and adding them into the core. This has enabled Tom and his brother to receive acclaim from the print community, winning Craftsman Awards consistently for the quality of work they produce.

An outside perspective

In a family business like Eckersley Group, where meetings can take place around the dining room table as much as in the office, it’s essential to get an outside perspective. For Tom, TEC was able to provide that objectivity. “I met someone many years ago who was having a similar experience to me in terms of running a family business. He mentioned TEC and suggested that I go along to one of the meetings. From there, I never looked back. TEC’s given us that broader range of input and objectivity that we needed. When you’re in a family business, you’re so involved with everything and you have been all your life, so it’s important to get some perspective.”

As well as talking over issues around the table, Tom also enjoys hearing from the public speakers that TEC brings in. ‘The speakers bring a different dimension, they bring a lot of expertise to a particular topic, whereas with the group we can get that broader advice. Both have worked really well in improving my decision making at Eckersley Group.’

Fast Facts:

Established in: 1971 (Tom and his brother took over in 1991)

Industry: Printing

Size: 30 staff and around 1,000 clients

Markets: Australian SMEs, corporates, governments, some individuals especially book publishers

Product range: 1,000s of productions over 100 different categories, covering all marketing materials, printed matter and business stationery, both from a digital production and a traditional offset production point of view

The art of defining a market for business: Lessons from Norwest Recruitment

60% of Australian small businesses will fail within the first three years. When polled, 44% of failed Australian businesses suffered from ‘poor strategic management’ and 40% ‘fell victim to inadequate cash flow.’ Many of these businesses failed not because of a lack of opportunity but because they were not able to properly define their market and execute related strategies. In fact, small businesses have been opening m­­ore often throughout Australia due to favourable economic conditions; though all the components for success may be there, the focus and the market research is not.

Since 2002, Norwest Recruitment has operated with a simple goal: connecting businesses to the talent they need to grow and thrive. With over 20 business awards — and a ranking of 47th on the BRW Fast 100 — Norwest Recruitment has been a clear success in the competitive market of permanent and temporary employee recruitment. Erica Westbury, CEO of Norwest Recruitment, has achieved this success not only by identifying the commercial and residential growth within the North West but by also committing fully to the opportunities it represented.

Embrace the challenge

In Australia, recruitment services is not a growing industry. In fact, it experienced a downsizing of -0.4% between 2012 and 2017. This is significant, as nearly all sectors experienced growth. Since 2002, the unemployment rate in Australia has been generally falling, with a peak in 2009 and again in 2015. With this information in hand, it might be easy to think that a recruitment agency wouldn’t be able to succeed.

But it was a thorough understanding of the local market that led Erica to her conclusions. Erica realised that the recruitment agencies that already existed in Norwest Business Park weren’t offering premium-level professional services. Recruitment services were being ignored because they offered both poor customer service and a substandard talent pool. Recruitment services had developed a bad reputation.

By understanding the challenges facing the recruitment industry — one of poor reputation and a flooded workforce — Erica was able to position Norwest Recruitment in an area of the market that was not yet filled. By offering premium temporary and professional talent, she was able to sidestep issues related to low unemployment rates and a stagnant market. Norwest Recruitment became a resource through which HR departments could find the best professional talent. And this was something businesses would always need, even when the market was flooded.

Do it better

When asked about competition tech entrepreneur, Elon Musk, once said, ‘If other people are putting in 40-hour work weeks and you’re putting in 100-hour work weeks, then even if you’re doing the same thing, you know that you will achieve in four months what takes them a year to achieve.’

Businesses need to view their competition as a benchmark and should always be attempting to improve upon their work product. For Norwest Recruitment, it wasn’t just about providing a better talent pool. It was also about providing a better experience, refining processes, and reducing overhead. Businesses today need to be able to stay ahead of their technology, pivot when the market changes, and understand their customer’s needs. Often, a business will even be called upon to anticipate market and customer changes long before the change occurs.

Erica knew that in order to break into the market of recruitment and employment, she had to be able to do it better. There are hundreds of options available for companies that simply want access to a talent pool, but it was better customer service that many HR departments were looking for. By improving upon customer service and putting clients first, Erica was already a step ahead in the game.

The risk in decision-making

As a CEO, you’re faced with difficult decisions every day. Making challenging decisions can be the difference between success or failure, it could even change the entire course of your business. It is easy to fall into the habit of choosing the safest decision to achieve expected results and avoid the risk of being wrong. This may decrease risk but it does not improve results.

It is essential, as a business owner, to remain committed to your choice and be aware that no matter what option you choose, your efforts to support the success is far more important than the cost of being ‘wrong’. Erica’s decision to build a business in a saturated market was associated with great risk. The focus was not on whether this was the right decision to make – rather Erica did everything she could to ensure that her decision turned out right. The success of this is reflected in the 15 business awards won by Norwest Recruitment, including the 2014 Hills Local Business Awards, the 2011 Fairfield City Local Business Award, and the NPAWorldwide Australia/New Zealand Top Revenue Achieved Award.

Learn from other business owners

Business owners must never stop learning. Not only is there a wealth of knowledge out there available from other business owners, but the market itself may change with the times. Business owners need to stay on top of new technology, need to refine their leadership skills and learn new management techniques. They must understand modern accounting standards and have the strategy skills necessary to grow and expand in often challenging marketplaces.

Through TEC, Erica was able to reach out to other business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals. She was able to listen to experienced and accomplished TEC speakers and connect to a like-minded community that could offer her support and resources. Through this professional community connection, Erica was further able to build her knowledge and confidence as a leader. It’s time you belong to a peer network and learn from the best. Get in touch with TEC today.

CEO confidence on Australia’s SME growth

 

TEC’s Confidence Index Report (CIR) paints an optimistic future for Australia’s businesses, even if there may be some challenges ahead. The CIR outlines not only some of the positive aspects of the Australian marketplace but also some of the most pressing issues CEOs must address if they are to succeed. With a well-developed strategy, business owners should be able to leverage this coming year for sustainable and aggressive growth.

Australia’s economic outlook is bright

82% of CEOs believe the economic conditions of Australia will either grow or stay the same. This stability is incredibly important for businesses that expect to begin building their growth in the coming year. Even a stable economy ­­­— without growth — is a boon to a well-managed business.

Though a well-run business can succeed at any time, a strong economy improves upon all factors, from the cost of customer acquisition to the cost of goods. Businesses will be investing more in their own infrastructure, which in turn will contribute more to the growth of the economy overall. Even a perception of a stronger economy can have a resounding impact, especially at a local level.

Business owners expect an increase in sales revenue

78% of business owners anticipate an increase in sales revenue in the year ahead, and this is going to encourage business owners further to continue investing ­— not only in themselves but also in products and services from other local companies. An anticipated increase in sales revenue is due to an increase in customer spending, which naturally occurs when the economy is doing better.

At the same time, low consumer confidence may require that business owners become more creative and aggressive with their marketing techniques. By coming up with innovative ways to captivate their customers, leaders will be able to separate their companies from their competition. In fact, they will have to if they want to leverage the current economic conditions.

Businesses will be featuring new products and services

72% of business owners are citing new products and services as a part of their growth plan. As businesses grow, investing in a product base is a solid strategy as it gives consumers something new and exciting to be interested in.

At the same time, investing in new products and services can also be a risky bet for an entrepreneur. Without substantial market testing, companies can find themselves extending too far financially on products and services that they aren’t able to move.

Though market testing cannot eliminate this possibility, it can reduce the risk. New products and services can then open up brand-new markets for the business and aid them in development and expansion.

Altogether, the CEO outlook is an exceptionally positive one. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of work to be done. Though CEO confidence is high, consumer confidence is not. And CEOs are finding many challenges along the way, such as time management, skill development, and innovation.

Read the full Confidence Index Report