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

How to inspire your team for a successful 2018

We are just a few weeks away from the end of 2017, you should be very close to achieving the targets and critical numbers you planned to reach by year end and in fact, you should already have written your 2018 business plan. 

2017 has been another tough business year, and with the introduction of VAT next year, 2018 is likely to provide some interesting dynamics and no doubt distractions.  The success of your Company will in the most part have been down to your leadership and management of your team and their support and commitment to you these past 12 months. 

The importance of bringing a team together to work together is something that is often talked about but rarely implemented. Strong leadership is one of the elements that will ensure a team stays together and continues to be efficient. By developing good leadership skills, you will avoid issues such as high staff turnover, micromanagement, conflict in the workplace, and low productivity. As a result, your actions and behaviour determine your team’s success. Here are five ways to inspire your team in 2018.

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VAT Registered?

VAT implementation does seem to have been shrouded in mystery and confusion, there are still many unanswered questions, but clarity is forming and the one thing that is for sure, VAT in the UAE goes live on 1st January 2018.  All the unanswered questions will slowly be demystified as the months go by.

Time is ticking by, the deadline for VAT registration in the UAE is 4th December 2017 – so have you registered?

Hopefully you are not one of the many that have not registered in the hope that the implementation would be delayed.  If you are, time to get your head out of the sand and get registered by the deadline or face a fine.

For those of you who have yet to register, let me help with a simple overview of the VAT registration requirements for those that have yet to go through the process.

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Getting new business contacts

Finding new business is a constant focus for Company owners.  Depending on your deliverables and/or services, you cannot rely on repeat business alone to keep sales coming in.  Competition is tough and continuously snapping at our heels, so to keep the sales pipeline filled up is a goal for everyone in the Company to focus on, not just the Sales Team.

One of the things the Middle East is great at is networking – everyone seems to know someone in this region and so this allows you to focus your networking skills to get new connections working for you.  To do this, it’s very important that you have a clear and concise message that is easily understood and explained.

 

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Why do we need a BHAG?

In his book “Good to Great”, Jim Collins’ research found that all great companies had developed and pursued a goal through time that was so challenging they might not know how they would accomplish it when they first set out, it was likely to be thought as impossible by anyone outside the Company, but was internally regarded as completely possible.  Jim Collins called this goal a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” or BHAG for short.

To have an exciting and achievable plan - either personal or business - you need to identify a BHAG. Something so inspirational that you (if this is a personal plan) or your Employees (for a Company plan) can get fired up over.  Something that gets the juices flowing, something challenging and yet fulfilling and totally possible if you put everything behind it.

 

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2017 – the last push!

Wow, where did 2017 go!  Has it whizzed past you at speed as it has us? 

Here we are at the beginning of November, and there are only 8 business weeks of the year left.  If you assume the “Festive Season” celebrations will put a stop to business for approximately 2 weeks, then in reality we have only 6 weeks left to achieve our business plan targets and cross the finish line.

So how are you doing?  

If at this point you are reaching into your bottom drawer and blowing off the dust that settled over the business plan you sweated blood and many hours over at the end of 2016 to write, then it’s likely that you have deviated away from your plan and have spent much of this year chasing targets and work that haven’t in any way moved you forward to your achieving the overall target.

If this is you, don’t despair, there are still a few weeks left to crack the essentials of the plan and see some positive steps forward.

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What we can learn from other generations

We are a small business, with our team of 2 being born in different generations (late Baby Boomer and early Gen X).  We were both brought up by the Traditionalist Generation and, being close in years, have very similar views in our business approach.

We are also lucky to work with many Companies and across many different generations.  As their business coaches, we can install into them the habits we have learnt over many years of corporate life and the younger business leaders are teaching us business hacks that their generation take for granted.

One of the Companies we are grateful to work with are a UK based start-up Company called Upward Fitness & Wellbeing. Both owners fall into the Gen Y / Millennial generation and it’s fair to say that there has been learning from both sides.  We act as their business coach and they act as our personal fitness trainer and nutritional coaches.  We manage this business relationship whilst being based in 2 different countries, over 7,700 km apart, different time zones and working weeks!

So how do we manage the joint coaching relationship? Let us share how we do this and how this relates to our personal education from the “millennial kids”!

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When should you engage a coach?

How many of us have tried to diet or improve our fitness by ourselves?  We know we need to make some changes in our health, but are lost to know what we are doing wrong and how to put these things right. So, we join a gym or buy organic, but are often left out of pocket financially and still the same weight and still chowing down on fast food!

We start with great intensions, complete online research to the foods to avoid and those we need to eat, and may even have seen some great results at the beginning, but walking past fast food outlets becomes impossible after a few weeks – one burger and chips won’t hurt will it?  And were back on the slippery slope heading back to our bad habits and our results start show our lack of focus.

 

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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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