what all businesses can learn from Google

The Google business model will transform the way you go about problem solving and strategic thinking. Google is a great organisation and business to work for, especially since their mantra is to spark innovation to create business agility, employee engagement, and ultimately and stronger business results.

Launching goals

Google’s strategic team can’t predict which products and features will attract a sizable user base. They have included their teams into the thought process to quickly establish what the user wants and how they can learn from them. Instead of spending time perfecting the product, Google has decided to get it out there, and let the feedback guide future development.

If you are in need of business finance then your best form of supply and demand will come from good services, products, marketing and sales. Don’t try to be perfect, try to get your business to run smoothly for as long as you can and get the involvement of your customers. Your customers understand that you truly want their feedback to shape products and services, they will enthusiastically share their opinions.

Quickly learn from mistakes

Don’t attempt to implement to many new concepts at once. Gradually try a different technique, so that if you do happen to fail at it you can pick up the pieces and move on. However, if you happen to fail at a multitude of new concepts at once, there will be too many pieces to pick up. The worst fail is a slow fail. A crumpling business is one that every so often can’t be picked up again. Establish and declare the failures as quickly as you can.

Pay attention to your customer

The customer will always be your main focus. Always go out of your way for the customer, even if it won’t benefit your business. At the end of the day it is your reputation that will get you new clients, not the product or service you provide. If you can get each product or service to link to a problem or challenge, then you make their lives instantly seem easier. That is how word gets out quicker about a business.

Empower your employees

Google’s strategy concerning their employee, is to mobilise each employee where they feel they have a right to do something without having to worry about approvals. The idea is to remove barriers and to empower employees to act quickly. An employee should be rewarded for taking initiative, and their mishaps should be something to learn from. Once they have this message embedded into them, they will free to come up with much more innovative concepts.

How shops should handle crowds during the holidays

The Festive season can be problematic to many retailers and shops. It’s busy, it’s loud, it’s overflowing with eager, impatient customers, all wanting to purchase specific items as soon as possible – to make the Christmas deadline. As we’ve noted before, retailers ought to have their preparations in place for this time period – it’s the most rushed, but it’s also the most lucrative. It’s ideal then that retailers have their ducks in a row on more levels than just being able to make the sale.

One of the most important ways they can do this is through proper management of the crowd in their store. Queuing is an issue no customer wants to be part of: everyone hates waiting in line and would prefer it if they were served immediately and directly. But this cannot be the case when so many other customers also need attending to and are there before you.

The study of queues is actually a deep field receiving much attention. As Slate’s Seth Stevenson notes: “There are three givens of human nature that queuing psychologists must address: 1) We get bored when we wait in line. 2) We really hate it when we expect a short wait and then get a long one. 3) We really, really hate it when someone shows up after us but gets served before us.”

Stevenson notes that, for example, one enterprising business’ solution to reduce extensive waiting for a lift was to install mirrors; this seemed to reduce the employees’ anger and general irritation. Using this idea, make sure you have ways to customers to be distracted or interested in various items to mediate their boredom.

Seeing upset queues is also a deterrent to potential customers.

Another way stores themselves can help manage crowds is having dedicated employees who are there to engage directly with individual customers. The American National Retail Federation (NRF) advises: “Dedicate knowledgeable employees to communicate and manage crowds, from arrival to departure, and resolve any potential conflicts that may arise.”

Bigger stores are also advised to install structures like speedgates, bars and similar items, that can help manage crowd without human assistance or intervention.

There will be crowds and we need to manage them if we want those crowds to be tangible sales. This means being proactive and putting in place interventions that can help.

How shops should prepare for the Christmas rush

The Festive Season is a big deal to many of us – it’s finally the time to relax for a bit, celebrate with our families and give out gifts. However, since everyone else will be doing this, this means there’s a rush created as people only start acting closer to Christmas time. No one wants to be caught in the Christmas rush, but it will inevitably happen. The Festive Season is a big deal to retailers.

In the US alone, eMarketer predicts:

“US retail sales in the months of November and December 2015 will increase 5.7% year over year, reaching $885.70 billion. That’s an upward adjustment from the 3.2% growth rate predicted earlier this year—and the highest since the 6.3% rise in 2011.”

Yet, getting those sales isn’t merely going to happen by itself and stores need to prepare for the rush, to even get those sales in the first place. Stores, even in Australia, indicate this. As Lifehacker AU notes: “some retailers make up to 40 per cent of their yearly profits in the last quarter, making it a vital time of year to get things right.”

The issue a lot of smaller businesses face during the rush is the inability to deal with the frequency and volume of customer needs.

Shopify advises that you start preparing early and start setting policies in place that might not be in place at any other point; or rather, amend policies to apply certain leeway due to the holiday period, such as extended times for returns.

“Many online and offline stores will offer …more liberal and extended return and exchange policy for the holiday season. You’ll need to consider if this is the correct move for your store by carefully considering the impact it can have on not only sales, but also how it will effect your already established processes.”

It’s also important you’ve worked out various payment options: this could mean either examining options like PayPal or getting your point of sale software up-to-date.

It might also be important to ascertain what your suppliers are able to get you; naturally, yours will not be the only store and it is, therefore, important to know what precisely is happening in terms of your outside connections that you are dependent on to even have product to sell. After all, they, like you, are probably also dealing with the Festive Rush – this time from increased number of requests from all stores.

Taking these kinds of preparatory steps well in advance can see your store survive the rush.

Preparing for the unexpected

You have probably learnt in your life by now that there is always going to be something along the road you didn’t plan for. That is true for your business as well.

What can you do in the face of such unpredictability? Well, even if you don’t know what to expect, you can still expect the unexpected. By taking a general approach of being prepared for anything you can minimise a lot of the harm that could otherwise be the result.

How might such an approach look like?


It is imperative that you have the right insurance cover. Every industry has its own insurance requirements, so we will just add that you need to make sure you read the fine print of your insurance contract. Too often people think they are insured more extensively than they actually are.

Additionally, make sure you always pay your insurance fees on times.

Have an emergency fund for a rainy day

An emergency fund isn’t just important for your personal finances. Your business should also have a cash cushion to help it weather disasters.

However, how much should you put way for your business? Individuals are recommended to have three to six month’s income on reserve for life’s mishaps. It’s not a bad idea to also have three to six month’s cash reserve to keep operations going in a worst case scenario. Besides protecting you from unexpected expenses or cash flow droughts, an emergency fund can also come in very handy when unexpected growth opportunities crop up. After all, the unexpected isn’t necessarily always unwanted.

Rigorous predictions

Sometimes what we think of as unexpected might not have been all that unexpected if you looked far enough into the future with as clear a lens as you could.

For instance, cash flow projections can help you spot a potential iceberg ahead. If you know to expect a cash flow drought in six months then you have time to make the necessary arrangements to cushion the blow. The trick is that your cash flow projections need to be as accurate, thorough and realistic as can be. And don’t just make your predictions and let that be that. Continuously update your cash flow projections as new data comes in.

Perform a risk assessment

What are the potential pitfalls your business and particular industry faces? It varies so much so this is where you will have to do some thinking. Perhaps power outages are a real threat to your operation. To combat that you can apply for generator financing. Perhaps you are susceptible to internal or external theft, in which case you may want to take another hard look at your security.

The point is taking a proactive approach of being prepared, because even though you can’t predict the future, you do know it is going to surprise you.

What is your leadership style?

What is a leader? There are many ways to define a leader and how someone chooses to define a leader says a lot about the kind of leader they would make. Essentially, a leader leads. And there is more than one way to lead.

Contrary to what you might believe, everyone can become a leader. What kind of leadership style do you have?

The charismatic leader – This is the kind of leader that has gained a lot of cultural credit. Charismatic leaders naturally attract followers through their magnetic personalities. The Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King are a few famous examples. This is the type we think of as being born to lead, although you can indeed cultivate charisma.

The democratic leader – You don’t act like it’s not all about your vision. You lead by bringing other people on board to share your vision. You believe that everyone has something different to offer and you like to build a team that can work well together.

A leader who leads by example – You aren’t a “Do what I say, not what I do” kind of leader. You inspire people with your own behaviour. You wouldn’t think of asking someone to work late if you weren’t going to work even later yourself.

A holistic leader – A holistic leader realises that people are complex with many different facets. If you are a holistic leader you don’t just look at one aspect of a person’s life, like their performance at work, but look at their lives in general. You would understand that to have a productive workplace you need a healthy environment where people can really flourish. At the end of the day you really care about people’s wellbeing and this brings out the best in them.

The introverted leader – A leader isn’t always the person with the loudest voice. It may take a while for people to appreciate your leadership style, but your worth can’t be denied. In fact, in the last few years people are coming round to the fact that introverts make good leaders.

The take-charge leader – You have always been someone who in any situation can stand up and take responsibility. When other people are huddling around talking about the problem, you are already working on the problem. You take initiative and thrive under pressure.

You sit back and let everyone have their say, but when it’s your turn to talk you are insightful, wise and fair.

You may have noticed that we have left out the authoritarian leader. These types of leaders abound, but the world doesn’t need more of them.

Some people just seem to be born leaders, but everyone can step into a position of leadership. Just find your leaderships style and maybe even do some leadership skills training. The world can never have too many leaders.