The MHC Blog

Powerful Business Insights for Succesful Leaders
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Claire Donnelly

A Business Growth and HR Strategist helping medium size companies to Scale Up using proven systems. Claire is an MCIPD qualified Human Resource professional, with 25+ years’ experience working within various industries and 10 + years’ experience of HR practices throughout the Middle East. As a HR Generalist she has held a number of senior and Board level HR positions. She is experienced in working at both strategic and tactical levels.
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Recent Posts

VAT 101

We had such a great response to the VAT article posted on 1st October, thank you to those that took the time to email us. 

 What the response did bring to our attention that many of you are confused as to what VAT is, so we thought it would be a good idea to provide a layman’s overview to VAT, what it is and what we, as business owners, need to do. 
This article is written with our Financial strategic partner expert, Caroline Thevenot of CTC Consultancy.

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Hiring for growth

Scaling a business is a difficult and often painful process that requires a great deal of time and focus.  When you first start up a business, it’s your baby, your creation.  When you first start out you tend to be the entire workforce as there isn’t anyone to delegate to!  You work as the Sales Manager, Business Development Manager, Operations Manager, Administration Manager etc as well as being the founder, CEO and general dogsbody. 

But as your business starts to grow, you need to add to the team.  You are no longer able to do everything so it’s time to hire team members.  I have spoken previously about making sure you hire the right people to your team; this blog is covers 5 pitfalls of hiring for growth:

 

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Heads up …. VAT is coming. Joint blog by Claire Donnelly and Caroline Thevenot

I don’t know about you, but since the headline that VAT is coming to the UAE, I have basically had my head buried deep in the sand hoping it would go away or be delayed for another couple of years by which time I may be out of my denial state!

But there is no avoiding it now, VAT is coming, effective from 1st January 2018, and its time now for me and anyone else out there acting like an ostrich to get our heads out of the desert and start finding out exactly what we must do and by when.

I did attempt to find out more details and was amazed at how little confirmed information there seemed to be out there to answer some pretty basic questions.  However, I did find out the following:

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Entrepreneurial spirit on the beach

A recent trip to Thailand showed us that entrepreneurship can be found everywhere.  In Phuket, 14 years after a tsunami devastated and wrecked the headland and villages, life has moved on and the beach is now a home for budding local entrepreneurs.  The owners of pop-up refreshment stalls, sunbed providers and restaurants do not need much to get started, however, they run their business in such an impressive way that many large businesses could learn business lessons. 

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Making the impossible possible!

The UK Environmental Minister, Michael Gove, recently announced that Briton will ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 amid fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide pose a major risk to public health.  23 years sounds a long time away, but the move to electric cars and vans will take many years to achieve. 

Car Companies need to move forward on electric innovation and the development of technology, charging stations need to be incorporated into the landscape and finally the population mentality needs to change in line with the Governments vision.    Electric cars currently account for less than 5 percent of new car registrations in Britain, with drivers concerned about the cost and limited availability of charging points and manufacturers worried about making expensive investments before the demand is there.  The statement from the Government was therefore a huge step towards the protection of the environment.

What is important here is that the UK have announced a date and committed to significant change in mindset.  By doing this they are already half way there to making it happen. Without the vision and commitment, then big, life changing events do not happen. Who can forget John F Kennedy’s famous 1961 speech “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth”, by committing to this achievement both financially and verbally, man landed on the moon in 1969 with the eyes of the world watching.

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What are you famous for?

This is a question we ask our clients when we work with them to scale and grow their Companies.  When new businesses start up, they often provide outstanding additional customer services that separate them from their competition, these become their Unique Selling Points (USP’s).  The business owner has probably spent a lot of time working on their USPs and are quite rightly proud of them, they WOW and draw customers back to them time after time.

The challenge, as they grow, is to ensure that the USPs remain in the business as they add additional headcount to their team.

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Quit and go it alone: Part 2

Following on from last week’s blog, here are further insights to the challenges you should take into consideration before handing in your resignation and going it alone with your own business.

5. Know your target market and core customer: this is so important, you need to narrow down who is going to buy your services and spend your time business developing into this core group of Companies / individuals. Ask yourself the following: where will I sell?  What will I sell? Who will I sell to?  The answers to these questions will allow you to narrow down your business development opportunities, where you should spend time networking and where to focus your marketing.

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Quit and go it alone?

Part 1

I think we have all been tempted at some point in our careers haven’t we, on the days when we come home from work grumpy, complaining to our better halves about how we could run the Company so much better than the boss.  Or we are budding entrepreneurs with the “next big thing that no one has yet to think of” idea we spend our paid working days day dreaming about.  Regardless what we do and what we want to do, many of us dream about the freedom of making our own decisions and running our own company.

Some of us take the plunge and make the enormous decision to quit our full-time jobs and set up our own businesses.  A recent survey in Bostine says that 70% of Millennials want to start their own business, a huge number, however, I don’t believe business set ups are limited to the millennial generation - ask any of the business set up Companies here in the UAE and they will tell you that age is no limitation to going it alone – in fact, older generations are more likely to be financially secure enough to take the plunge.

So, what do we need to expect when embarking on running our own business?  This 2-part blog will give you some insight to the challenges and lessons learnt you should take into consideration before handing in your resignation.  They are taken from clients we work with and of course, personal experience as well:

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5 steps to outsourcing

According to Forbes, an estimated 50 percent of large companies outsource all or part of their HR services.

Today many functions have moved to Human Resource Outsourcing and Administrative Outsourcing Companies.  Not only is this trend continuing to develop in the larger business world, but smaller businesses are now starting to jump on board.

Companies are always looking for ways to reduce costs and improve efficiencies and productivity. HR departments have been shrinking as Companies turn more and more of the responsibility over to outsourcing professionals.

The bottom line is that Company owners and management gain more time to concentrate on their business.

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The Generation Game

Whilst eating breakfast in a very busy remote UK hotel recently, we noticed something we hadn’t noticed elsewhere before - the workforce in the breakfast room of a large hotel was made up of 2 distinct generations, close to or past retirement age Baby Boomers and much younger generation Y/Z team members.  Generation X was completely missing!

But this wasn’t the end of our observations – it appeared that all the work, the running around, food serving, coffee/tea providing, table clearing, dealing with customer questions etc was completely being covered by the older generation, the young ones seemed to be standing around staring into space and looking completely bored.

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Time to grasp the nettle!

Most of you have been there - you have a poor performer on your team, you know you need to remove them but don’t know how to do it – it’s a tough conversation, easily put off, however you need to do something about it rather than hope and pray the Employee decides to leave before you must deal with it!

But how do you do you have THAT conversation? In my many years within the HR field, I have had to terminate many Employees for many various reasons, it’s not a pleasant conversation but I have learnt the hard way the best approach to use. 

Here are some pointers to help you prepare and finally “grasp the nettle”!

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Are your internal systems customer friendly?

As a small business owner, we are constantly dealing with complicated, red tape heavy requirements of obtaining and keeping a Company trade licence, personal visas and Company bank accounts.  Even after setting everything up and being able to move forward with our work, we have annual renewals to contend with and after 5 years of doing this, it seems the process changes annually and every action requires at least 5 visits to the bank or sponsoring Company to update everything.

The internal systems and connecting departments all work independently of each other.  Departments that work alongside each other are not able to connect the dots and help us move forward.  Even “Relationship Managers” seem to complicate things rather than simplify and you are often puling your hair out with frustration as you struggle to find a straight answer.

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Why it's important to be clear as a leader

Say what you mean

I watched with interest the James Comey meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee.  Highly interesting on many levels and I am sure this is not the last we have heard about the situation.  The main learning I took from the meeting is that Leaders need to be clear when giving instructions or making a request.  Much of the meeting with the Committee seemed to be based around the phrase “that’s what I took him to mean”. 

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Time to get your house in order

The summer months are a great time to start getting your house in order.  Much as I wrote late week about summer not being a time of taking things easy, working hard to find new leads and closing out business, the reality is that work does slow down a little bit as you wait for key decision makers to either return or pick up their email whilst on holiday. 

The quieter periods in your working months are a great time to get your house in order, what we call in the UK “spring cleaning”.  Here are some ideas to keep yourself occupied during the quieter months:

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Time to stop the summer excuses!

Let me share something with you that’s got me a little hot under the collar, and I don’t mean the high 40’s temperature or the humidity you can cut with a knife!

Here we are, the day after the long Eid weekend, back at work and ready to get our work done, and already I am hearing the excuses of the summer slowing everything down, phrases such as “last time we will be doing this due to the long summer getaway” indicate that everyone is heading out of the country till September.

Let me try and explain how it seems to work in the UAE to those that are unaware.  We live and work in the Middle East and its hot during the summer months, it’s also peak holiday season as the kids are off and many non working members of families head to the airport with their little ones to spend the whole of the summer out of the country to escape the heat. 

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