Compucare Blog

SME Decision Makers & the Importance of “NO”

Clocks And Business Owner B

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” Steve Jobs

Every SME owner should know their core priorities. We must be able to maintain a strategic focus in order to arrive at our desired destination. Take the time to plan your mid and long-term projects. Break them down into short-term goals as well as daily to-do lists. When you know what’s on your plate – you are better equipped to judge the potential impact of adding extra slices of “opportunity” to it… If done consistently, over-committing (just like overeating) can cause high blood pressure, heart diseases, stress, frustration, etc.

The business world is a buffet of opportunities, but you don’t have to take them all just because they’re available.

Why not ask yourself the following questions prior to making a decision:  

  1. Is this opportunity in-line with my long-term vision? 
  1. Will this ‘yes’ delay or negatively impact my ongoing projects? 
  1. What’s the cost of this opportunity loss (can I afford to say “No”)? 
  1. Is this the right time – is it a “No” for now and a possible “Yes” later?

Having too much on your plate is not a sign of success. Over-committed businesses make plentiful mistakes (diminished service/product quality). The price of over-commitment can be high, and one should remember that costs aren’t always tangible (e.g. dedicated labour or refunds). What about those intangible costs? For instance: loss of brand reputation, customer dissatisfaction, dealing with complaints and issues that steal time which should be allocated to serving your clients and making money… Furthermore, remember that your time and resources are limited. If you say “Yes” to a so-so opportunity today you may have to say “No” to a Great Opportunity tomorrow.

Here are four things we believe an SME owner should say ‘No’ to: 

  1. Doing things your employees should be doing (pitching in all the time or micromanaging may seem harmless, but those minutes add up detracting from your bottom line;
  1. Clients who don’t respect your work and/or time e.g. consistently fail to pay (on time) or continue to ignore your professional advice and then blame you for the consequences;

Who are the people that make your organisation? Click here to read Business & People

  1. Taking on too many projects incl. collaborations, joint  ventures, ideas (yours and those of others)
  1. Usual everyday non-critical requests and demands placed on you by yourself or others.

Click here to get more tips on a Small Business Owner’s Work Life Balance

Besides the above mentioned, one must watch out for boredom and other emotional triggers (e.g. excitement stirred up by new ventures). A business owner’s schedule is bound to include some routine tasks which need to be completed over and over and over again… Timely, polite refusals are like healthy borders that protect your organisation from distractions. You cannot be everything to everyone – be selective and purposeful, so you can succeed and stay sane…

Stay true to your business’ vision and values. If you do, your organisation will be better positioned to flourish and your life (as well as work) will be more satisfying. “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” Jim Rohn

If you’re not accustomed to saying “No” it may feel strange to do so at first. When that happens, just read this or a similar article again and don’t worry – practice makes perfect! Saying “No” when necessary doesn’t mean you’re selfish or lazy even though some might disagree (especially those who want to hear ‘Yes’). Pay no mind to temporary feelings of guilt (it’s just a feeling) and remember that ‘No’ is a complete sentence

Having said that, there may be a time when you’d prefer to offer an explanation. We shall post on this topic soon, so Please Subscribe Here to receive more valuable content in the future.

When you do, you will also receive a free Compucare cyber-security e-guide. It will give you and your team the knowledge you need to protect your organisation from malicious emails.

Say “Yes” to this offer! IT is worth it.

Compucare is an IT Support Provider based in London. We have been delivering reliable, personal and innovative IT support & services to SMEs and Charities for over 25 years.

Email!

Our inboxes function in a world riddled with viruses, ransom-ware and malware. It would be great if every malicious attempt came with a clear warning, but they don’t. The warnings tend to be more subtle. Yet, they become more obvious if you know what to look out for.

It is cheaper to teach your staff how to spot malicious attempts than to deal with consequences of a successful cyber-attack via e-mail. We created a simple guide to help you stay safe in cyber-space. Please share it with your team and encourage them to read it. This guide consists of 7 simple steps which will help you identify a malicious email. Be encouraged. You don’t need to be an IT expert to be able to do that.

Click Here to Subscribe & Receive your Free Guide Now.

 

Cyber Threat HackerReportedly, UK SMEs were targeted by hackers over 200.000 times each, in 2016.

Cyber-crime is a real threat, which often goes unrecognized by small business owners. Hackers know it is so, hence often pick SMEs expecting them to be an easier target. You might think your business is too small to be at risk. However, if you have sufficient quality data e.g. clients’ contact info, payment details, etc. you’re not too small. 

You might be aware of recent major ransom-ware attacks affecting companies across the globe. British advertising agency WPP was reported to be among the affected UK companies. 61 NHS organisations were significantly disrupted by global ransom-ware attacks carried out in May 2017. Firms in Ukraine were one of the first to report ransom-ware issues, and BBC UK continues to report on cyber-attacks experienced by Ukraine. It is said that those attacks were not about money – instead they were Russia’s attempts to destabilise the country. Whatever their motivation, however, global and local cyber-attacks create chaos in affected organisations – both large and small. What’s really frustrating is that most of them can be prevented.

The most recent mega-virus, justifiably called ‘WannaCry’, infects only machines running Windows operating systems. If your organisation uses Windows, and you do not update it regularly or you’re not careful when opening and reading emails, you could be at risk. We strongly recommend that you migrate away from unsupported operating systems and software as well. On that note, Outlook 2007 will reach its end of life on the 10th of October 2017. The product will no longer be supported by Microsoft. Failing to upgrade before it expires will make you more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Click here to read more about Outlook’s 2007 End of Life, or get in touch for more information.

Ransom-ware attacks disrupt IT systems by freezing users’ computers and demanding untraceable ransoms to be paid for files’ restoration.

In order to protect your organisation (outside of having sufficient IT Support):

  • Run regular updates, migrate in due time;
  • Use firewalls and antivirus software;
  • Be careful when opening and reading emails.

Moreover, regularly back-up your data, so you can easily restore your files should you be affected. Bear in mind that succumbing to hackers’ demands doesn’t guarantee files’ restoration.

This topic deserves our attention. Cyber-security may be a virtual issue, but when ignored it is extremely likely to threaten affected SMEs physical existence.

If you believe your current security measures aren’t sufficient to protect your organisation please get in touch. We have been helping our clients to prevent and deal with cyber security issues for over 21 years!

Do what you can to stay safe in cyber-space, or get in touch if you need IT Support.

E-mail sales@compucaresystems.co.uk or call 0800 008 6181 now.

Alternatively, please subscribe via e-mail RIGHT HERE to receive more valuable content in the future.

According to a recent study by Sage, 45% of business owners work 40-60 hours a week while 16% work more than 60 hours per week. 

To some extent, having a small business is like having a baby. You give birth to it (sometimes, adopt). You protect it and watch it grow. You feel good when it’s doing good and distraught when it’s not. It’s easy to understand why many business owners struggle to maintain a proper work-life balance.

Work Life Balance

The love for what you do and the passion you have for your company may be one of the reasons why you decided to have one in the first place. Having said that, a recent report, by the Telegraph’s research team and Omnicom Media Group agency, included a survey which gives surprising insights into the motivations of the SME founder community. It reveals that the top reason given for launching a company was to have more control over one’s work-life balance. Many SME owners fail to accomplish the latter, hence put themselves on the path to losing that first love they once had for their businesses – not to mention many other health-related threats connected to overwork.

Technology has made it easy to work remotely which, in theory, could improve our work-life balance. On the other hand, however, the same technology made it easier than ever to work from anywhere, at any time, sometimes all the time. Why do business owners find it so difficult to disconnect?

There’s more than one answer to the question above, but we believe it’s a choice. If you’re out of balance and are fed-up enough to change it, you need to be deliberate about it.  Does overwork affect your relationships with family and friends, make you tired and stressed out most of the time? What are you going to do?

Thomas Jefferson said “I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” Agreed, hard work is good, but there’s a reason why it’s called HARD work. It’s not easy. Sometimes, it is necessary to put in the extra hours, but then those hours need to be compensated by an adequate rest. We know this may be easier said than done, but the choice is yours. If you’d like more information on how to have a better work life balance please read this insightful report on Work life balance by Sage.

In summary, “Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices.” Betsy Jacobson

We hope you found this article helpful. Please Subscribe via E-mail to receive more valuable content in the future.

Compucare is an IT Support Provider passionate about vital Business and Charity related matters.