Rewired http://rewired.co Structured and systemized technology function Tue, 17 Apr 2018 15:26:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 How To 10x Your Content Marketing With Kyle Gray http://rewired.co/kyle-gray/ http://rewired.co/kyle-gray/#respond Tue, 17 Apr 2018 07:05:20 +0000 http://rewired.co/?p=422 The post How To 10x Your Content Marketing With Kyle Gray appeared first on Rewired.

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Welcome to this week’s podcast episode where I launch my new series of fascinating interviews with leading founders, CEO’s and CTO’s. This series is ideal for anyone who wants to take control of their business and rewire it for success.

In this week’s episode, I welcome my first guest to the show, Kyle Gray. Kyle is an entrepreneur and bestselling author who helps start-ups and small businesses grow with content marketing.

He has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs create scalable content marketing strategies for their businesses, by helping them create a compelling storyline that drives sales, growth, and engagement.

 

Key points from this episode include:

 

  • Kyle discusses his journey to success, which started with him working for a start-up (WP Curve). They provided WordPress fixes to small businesses, but their business really took off when they developed content and built their ‘story’ around helping businesses to grow (they went from zero to 7 figures in 3 years)
  • Kyle launched his own content marketing business, The Story Engine
  • How to make the connection between stories and scaling a business
  • Using compelling content to help drive sales and business growth, and the importance of setting up systems
  • Discovering how you can transform your story as an entrepreneur into influential content that speaks to your audience
  • The processes, people and technology that has helped Kyle scale his business
  • Why Kyle is considering expanding his team in 2018
  • Advice on how you can use technology and management tools to connect with your audience and enhance your strengths
  • The importance of interactive technology to help scale your business
QUICK FIRE ROUND

1What is the one thing people fail at when they choose a new technology?

1. Kyle reveals issues in the marketing world, including the overuse of automation via professional social networks such as LinkedIn. He also offers suggestions on how to overcome these issues, including the video email software BombBomb.

2What’s your favourite technology tool and why?

2. Kyle discusses his favourite technology tools and software programs including BombBomb. He also loves Zapier, which has made it easier for him to “Frankenstein” various software’s together to create functional systems!

 3. What do you think is the next big thing in tech, and why?

3. Kyle predicts the future of tech and speaks about the power of interactive content and chatbots to help build a broader audience and establish a loyal following.

 

Important Links and Mentions from this Episode

The Story Engine’s Content Strategy Quiz

Cloze

BombBomb

Zapier

Winning Strategies To Grow Your List With Lead Magnets

 

Get in Touch with Kyle

If you want to find out more about how Kyle can help tell your story and create amazing content online, visit The Story Engine, where you can enjoy a series of free articles and interactive quizzes.

His book, The Story Engine, outlines his process for making content marketing and brand storytelling easy and effective, so don’t forget to grab your copy today! Kyle’s also active on Twitter and you can follow him @kylethegray.

Here’s a video of my interview with Kyle where we talk about how to 10x your content marketing:

Head over to my Facebook group for useful advice and a back catalogue of all my previous blog posts and podcast episodes. I go live each week on a new topic and will be interviewing more great minds as part of my new podcast interview series.

Remember to subscribe to my podcast in iTunes or find it on your favourite podcast app; I’d love to hear from you so don’t forget to leave a review!

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Why Have A CTO Or Tech Function At All? http://rewired.co/tech-function/ http://rewired.co/tech-function/#comments Tue, 03 Apr 2018 07:05:46 +0000 http://rewired.co/?p=384 The post Why Have A CTO Or Tech Function At All? appeared first on Rewired.

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Nowadays, very few businesses have no technology. A technology function is an important part of your business and something you should invest in. So much so that some big businesses have almost forgotten what they do and how to service their customers. They are spending all of their time building their technology function in overdrive, and not focusing on their customers.

You need to be able to function as a business and you need the right technology to help you grow.

A CTO can help you with this.

What is a CTO?

As I have explained in more detail in my previous post – What is a CTO? – a Chief Technology Officer is someone who helps your business from a technology stand point.

They are the person who helps you to make the right investment decisions, at the right time, to make sure that your vision can be realised through your technology teams.

What is a Technology Function?

The moment you purchase a piece of software for your company you effectively have a technology function.

Here are 11 reasons why your business can benefit from having a CTO or tech function:

 

1. A CTO can help you get ready to scale

This is not only for small businesses or start-ups, big companies also need to scale. Whether it’s a new project, a change in the market, or simply growth – every business needs to scale. They need to change at some point and they need to be ready for that.

In order to scale you need to understand your technology function and make sure you can manage it effectively. Typically, a CTO would be in charge of that part of the business and be able to run this for you.

 

2. A CTO understands the long- term vision of your business

A good CTO understands your overall strategies, the roadmap of your company, and where it is you want to go. They will work closely with the business owners, founders, or co-founders of your business and that is important because you want that relationship to be as strong as it can be.

As soon as there is a change in terms of growth, or you need to understand your customers in a different way, you will need to be able to shift your technology. You will need to be able to change the way you are servicing your customers. We often get caught up in technology and forget about what is good for our customers and a CTO can help you avoid that.

 

3. A tech function can help you avoid PSS

PSS stands for Paid Software Syndrome. Particularly if you are a smaller company without an established tech function, people will often go out and randomly select software.

As the business grows you can end up with lots of different software that doesn’t join up, that is incurring costs, and you are not even using it! So, you must be careful about how you manage and invest in software. When you scale you don’t want your staff to be choosing software at random.

 

4. A CTO understands your processes

You can only select the very best software if you are choosing the software to manage and execute the processes that are running your business.

That could be to service a customer, or for internal use to manage your teams more effectively.

 

5. A CTO or tech function can manage your people more effectively

A CTO understands the people that you need for your individual tech function. They know the best ways for them to perform and the range of skillsets that you need.

Whether you have hired staff internally or you have outsourced, or both, your CTO should have a clear overview of your tech function. They should be documenting the skills you need to scale your business.

 

6. A tech function is all about managing your software

This is the key part to people – process – technology. You want all your software to be managed. You want this because your technology is part of the DNA of your company and you need to be able to know what you’ve got and how to manage it at any one time.

A good CTO will have a register of all the software that you have implemented at any one time. This is a great way to manage certain aspects later on and will save you money, especially when software is no longer needed.

7. A CTO can help your business run in a super lean way

Super lean means your CTO is constantly looking for ways to save you money. This includes using software that runs lean; cloud software, software as a service, and online software that people can operate easily. Your business should be looking to run on all of these, especially in the early days.

As your business matures security may become a feature and you may think about this differently, however, many web applications nowadays are secure and there are multiple ways to secure them using valuable authentication methods. The days of owning everything and having to have large servers on-site no longer exist, there are numerous, smart ways to buy cheap, effective software that can be used by a small business and then used to scale up.

Of course. if you develop your own software or you need a specialised program this is also a key part to having your own personal tech function run by a CTO.

 

8. A tech function can save you money

Your CTO should be looking to save you money constantly. Whether that is to see if users have left and no longer need a licence for software or maybe your processes or the way you interact with customers has changed and you no longer need a certain type of software.

A CTO should be constantly looking for ways to improve your technology to make it faster and better.

 

9. A CTO has a real time view of your business architecture

This means the overall landscape of your tech function, all the software you have, how it interacts, who connects in to it and how it looks currently.

A CTO can offer you a clear view of an architectural diagram that constantly says how your business is set up. They can discuss this with you and explain the current landscape at any time.

 

10. A CTO understands your technology but doesn’t need to know all the details

A CTO can know why you bought a piece of software and what it is that you need, but they don’t need to know every single piece of information about that software. Why is this important? Because software changes all the time.

What is more important is the part of the software you use and how you use it. For example, a CTO understand that you need a database to make reports but how you implement that will change from time to time. They understand how you can upgrade, scale, and acquire the next piece of relevant software.

 

11. A CTO has an innovative mindset

There is an abundance of great technology out there. This should seem inspiring to you and your CTO. You should not be left thinking that there is anything that can’t be bought or built for you. A CTO can help you create the most effective tech function for your business and your vision.

At times, your customers may think of unique methods for servicing their clients, a great CTO will go out and research what can be done and help you to deliver a better service.

 

In Conclusion

A CTO and an effective tech function can help your business to run smoothly and prepare it for growth. They will shape the direction of the business through technology, both now and in the future, and help you to run super lean to save you money.

For advice on what to look for when hiring a CTO take a look at my previous blog post – What To Look For In Your CTO.

A CTO will appreciate the core values and vision of your business, and they will understand you.

Here is a video where I am discussing how valuable a CTO or tech function can be:

Head over to my Facebook group for helpful advice and a back catalogue of all my blog posts and previous podcasts. I go live each week on a new topic.

Please also subscribe to my podcast –

here’s the link to Itunes and you can also find it on most other podcast apps. I’d love you to leave a review!

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How To Keep Your Business Flat Even When You Scale http://rewired.co/scale-business/ http://rewired.co/scale-business/#comments Tue, 27 Mar 2018 07:05:28 +0000 http://rewired.co/?p=364 The post How To Keep Your Business Flat Even When You Scale appeared first on Rewired.

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It’s very common to see a business scale to a certain point but then reach a plateau that can be very difficult to get out of. To avoid this happening in your business and to keep your momentum going, I believe that you need to keep your business flat.

What do I mean by this?

Simply put, I mean running the business with less hierarchy between staff and executives. It’s all about having large numbers of staff being managed by a small number of managers and the people in the chain of command from top to bottom being very efficient, both in terms of number and responsibility.

This flat, or horizontal, organisation structure can bring huge benefits.

Let’s look at some of them here…

 

1. Ease of communication

I’m sure that many of you who’ve worked in the corporate world will be able to identify with the continuous rat race mentality and the need to fight your way up the career ladder. There’s often many complex layers of organizational hierarchy and a wealth of middle management.

When it comes to running our own businesses though, I personally find that people think differently and often want to implement a different structure. I believe that to organise and improve communications, you need a flatter structure in your business.

By giving staff more input into the overall vision of the company, you will thrive and scale more efficiently.

This topic relates closely to my previous podcast on servant leaders.

Create small, efficient and hard-working teams and train team leaders who can excel in pushing those teams to achieve excellent results.

 

2. Communication lines are open and clear

When I say communication line I mean the verbal and written connection that exists between staff. The bigger a team gets, the more channels of communication there are to manage. If the lines of communication get overwhelming, communication and therefore productivity, can break down. By implementing a flatter structure, there’s less people involved and therefore the lines of communication are less likely to confuse, conflict and ultimately slow the business down.

How do we calculate lines of communication though? The simple formula to calculate the number of connections between your team members is:

N x (N-1)/2

N is the number of team members. For example, 10 people equals 45 connections and 30 people equals 435 channels of communication that we need to maintain.

This formula allows you to clearly see your channels of communication. If they’re very high, look at how they’re holding back the scalability of the business. Break large teams into smaller ones to keep your lines of communication to a manageable amount.

To improve communication on a day-to-day level, organise your teams together, whether that be physically in the same space, or virtually using software video communications such as Skype.

3. Specialist skills can shine through

A flatter organisation structure allows team member’s skills to shine through because their talents are not hidden in complex layers of middle management.

Truly understand your team member’s abilities and aspirations and use this to move them around the business and build their career with your company. They will feel valued, appreciated and more inclined to stay and grow with you.

It’s really important to identify people’s talent and nurture those abilities in your business to scale successfully.

 

4. Processes are more efficiently aligned

Centralise your processes within the team and at an organisational level, or often, both!

Here at Rewired for Success, we use a software programme called Process Street to map out all of our recurring checklists and procedures.

Get your team to create videos and learning materials and build your core processes portfolio. It allows teams to move forward and replicate success and it makes it easier to roll out induction and training each time you take on new staff.

By aligning and synchronising your teams, you’re getting your teams to produce efficient and more profitable outcomes.

 

5. Performance data is much easier to gather

If you’re not having to micromanage teams, there’s time freed up to focus on performance data, allowing the management team to clearly see any bottlenecks and allow them to adjust things accordingly.

It’s important to trust the systems you use to record staff performance and not to move forward until you record and analyse key data points on what your team is doing.

 

6. You can create teams for everything

A flat organisational structure is built on the concept of growing teams horizontally, rather than vertically with layers of middle management. Don’t be afraid to implement multiple small teams to manage specific projects. My tip – go out, not up!

The key to success is to make sure that all the processes and key performance indicators are coming forward. These are much easier to manage when you are working in smaller teams.

 

7. You’re financially more efficient

A flat structure offers many opportunities to save money on salaries. Because you aren’t constrained to the hierarchal structure of set salary increases as staff climb their career ladders, you can use your financial budgets instead to reward individuals based on outcomes and outputs.

You can use the value of money to grow your teams and reward people directly for what they achieve in the business.

 

8. You gain agility

Small teams of up to seven people are extremely flexible and are able to work quickly and efficiently based on direction from the top of a business. This is because the message doesn’t have to filter through multiple management layers within the organisation.

It means that you can make decisions quickly and easily and you’re able to delegate tasks efficiently to move forward with tasks.

Agility and adaptability is everything. Without this you’re not able compete well in the marketplace.

 

9. There’s less micromanaging

Flat structures eliminate the need for lots of micromanaging and allows your teams the space they need to flourish and grow in their respective roles. If you give your staff the responsibilities they need to thrive, they grow professionally and personally, and the business will reap the rewards.

Next week I’ll be focusing on how to set up teams and overcoming any worries you may have about flatter organisations. I will also be showing you that if you follow my system, you’ll be able to build a large organisation with flat structures.

 

10. Teams can self-solve

Smaller teams are able to work together to solve problems so there’s no need to tell the team what to do all of the time. The saying ‘all minds are better than one’ applies here, but only if you’re able to create efficient, motivated and well-communicating team in the first place.

 

11. It inspires innovation and creativity from staff

In a flatter organisation people’s voices are heard much more easily because they’re only ever one or two communication lines away from the management. This flat structure empowers teams and creates opportunities for staff to show great creativity and innovation as everyone has an equal voice.

 

To Conclude

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s topic on the importance of keeping your organisation flat as you scale. It’s a great opportunity to think about how you can implement these ideas and have you rewiring your business for serious scale-up success.

Here’s a video of me talking about this topic in more detail:

Head over to my Facebook group for helpful advice and a back catalogue of all my blog posts and previous podcasts. I go live each week on a new topic.

Please also subscribe to my podcast –

here’s the link to Itunes and you can also find it on most other podcast apps. I’d love you to leave a review!

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How To Be A Servant Leader http://rewired.co/servant-leader/ http://rewired.co/servant-leader/#respond Tue, 20 Mar 2018 07:05:43 +0000 http://rewired.co/?p=324 The post How To Be A Servant Leader appeared first on Rewired.

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How can you become a great leader? Or, more importantly, how can you become a servant leader? I introduced the concept of a servant leader in last week’s blog post, this week I am going to explain in more detail how you can become one.

 

What is a servant leader?

Becoming a servant leader does not mean becoming a servant, or just being a leader, it is a leadership style that will allow you to grow your team faster than you could ever imagine.

If you are a successful servant leader you will empower your team and create an environment where they can flourish, allowing them to perform to the best of their abilities.

Here are 12 qualities that represent a true servant leader, and how you can incorporate them into your leadership skillset:

 

1. Be confident, trustworthy and show up with a smile

The most important thing a servant leader does is show up, even if they are tired they show up with high energy and a positive attitude. They consistently build up trust with the people around them and in return they are trusted to lead.

The best way to achieve this is to be transparent with your team, ensure that they are always aware of what you are doing. It is important to define what value means for yourself and for your team.

 

2. Listen and leave out your own agenda

A servant leader is always curious and keen to listen to their team and doesn’t bring their own agenda to the table.

Listen to what your employees have to say without influencing the outcome of the conversation.

 

3. Coach your team to help them self solve

A servant leader should coach their team to help them solve their own problems. They train team members to self-solve to overcome the challenges they face. 

When a team member comes to you and let’s you know they are struggling with a task or they have a problem they can’t overcome you can help them to self-solve by coaching them through it. Ask them open questions: How would you normally solve this problem? Can you look at this problem in a different way?

This will encourage you to achieve a coaching mindset with your team and it’s a great way to help them learn how to solve problems by themselves in the future.

 

4. Always put the team first

A servant leader always puts their team and their people first.

Embracing this mindset will ensure that you always consider what is most important for the team, as a whole, and don’t focus on your individual needs.

 

5. Value diversity

It is important for servant leaders to value diversity, not only in the team itself, but in the skillsets of their team members.

Really understand and know that the power of what you want to achieve is in the power of your team and in the power of its diversity.

If we were all the same, firstly it would be boring, but we wouldn’t have different opinions, talents, and skills that we could bring to the team.

Diversity is something to be valued.

 

6. Encourage your team

When things are going well a servant leader commends their team on their great performance. They let their team know when they are doing things right and producing results.

They also recognise when their team needs a push or a little encouragement. The most important thing to remember when you let your team know they are doing a good job is to speak with authenticity.

Let them know you appreciate the fantastic work they did with sincerity. Give praise when you feel it and mean it, not just because you think you should. This is a great way to help move your team forward and for them to continue to be healthy and deliver well.

 

7. Help to develop other leaders

A servant leader helps to create leaders within their own team.

They give their people the space to lead and the space to think outside the box.

You can develop your leadership skills by allowing your team to learn from you to become better leaders themselves. Imagine that everyone on your team is actually a leader, they just need your time and help to achieve their best.

 

8. Recognise that your team can improve themselves

A servant leader is aware that their team knows how to improve themselves. They understand that each member of their team, in their hearts and minds, holds a piece of the puzzle of how to make their business a success.

They will often do a weekly retrospective that brings the team together. I recommend that on a regular basis, every week or every 2 weeks, you ask your team 3 questions:

  • What went well this week?
  • What didn’t go so well?
  • How can we create an action list to improve what didn’t go well?

You are coaching and challenging your team to come up with the answers to improve your business. If you go through this process I think you’ll be surprised that you will grow your team more by what they know than you could ever know yourself.

 

9. Consider external factors

People are not robots. External factors concerning their team, their work-life balance and emotional issues are all of interest to a servant leader.

You should be interested, aware, listening and observant to see where you can help your team members. Allow them the time and space to deal with these concerns. If you ignore them they will only impact the health of your team, so it is extremely important to take that forward and consider a way to manage them.

This can be achieved through one-on-one discussion with the individual and by thinking about what’s best for them as a person, not for the business.

 

10. Focus everyone on the outcomes and deliverables of the project

A servant leader gets work done by focusing their team on the outcomes and deliverables of what they want to achieve.

They understand that people can have fun at work but that ultimately they are there to produce certain results. When a team is heading in the same direction you get collaboration and camaraderie.

This is a great way to keep your team lean, agile, and focused on the right things.

 

11. Let your team commit to the work

A servant leader is not a manager, a micro-manager, or a project manager, they empower their team to come up with the right estimates and level of commitment.

If their team commits, they commit.

If they learn lessons along the way, or they don’t deliver, they only have themselves to look at and themselves to improve. This is the best way to continuously improve your team. Trust that they will start somewhere, that they might not get it right the first time, but they will look for a way to continuously improve in the future.

 

12. Cultivate a culture of honour

The servant leader knows that their team is there to respect each other, to respect them, and to respect the processes they are taking the team through.

Whether these processes include updates, estimates, or the approach you want to take to customer relations it is important that your team understand and respect your decisions.

Honour the process, the people, and the culture you are trying to create in your teams and your start-up.

 

In Conclusion

Becoming a servant leader is all about being a great leader and a servant at the same time, in the sense that if a team member needs help to finish a job you will do whatever it takes to help them get over the line.

As a servant leader you are able to lead, and to switch and serve your team and your business when it counts.

Hit play to watch a video of me discussing how you can become a servant leader:

Please let me know about your suppliers and how they’re helping to scale your business by messaging me over in my Facebook group.

My group page is full of helpful advice, as well as showcasing all of my previous blog posts and podcasts on rewiring your business for scale up success.

I also go live each week on a different topic. Please also subscribe to my podcast – here’s the link to Itunes and you can also find it on most other podcast apps. I’d love you to leave a review!

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How To Select The Very Best Suppliers http://rewired.co/suppliers/ http://rewired.co/suppliers/#respond Tue, 13 Mar 2018 07:05:34 +0000 http://rewired.co/?p=315 The post How To Select The Very Best Suppliers appeared first on Rewired.

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Every business needs great suppliers in order to be able to scale up successfully. Regardless of your current business position, your team’s ability to select the very best suppliers to build your technology function is absolutely vital.

The success of a business is determined by the quality of the suppliers it relies on. Trusted and reliable suppliers can bring a wealth of great value and support. It’s an area that is never more important than when you first start to build your technology function and get that initial idea into the market.

However, it also applies to established businesses who are looking to build new products.

I believe there are 12 areas to consider when trying to choose the very best supplier for your business.

Let’s take a look:

1. Know what you want

The key to working with great suppliers is for them to be able to fully understand your vision. It’s then being able to implement that fully to produce a successful end outcome. The way to ensure this happens is to be really clear about your exact requirements from the outset.

It’s extremely important that from the very start you write everything down and create visuals where appropriate. This ensures that what you’re wanting to achieve is explicitly communicated to your supplier, before a contract is drawn up.

Once you’re happy that the supplier fully understands the brief and you’re happy with their ways of working, draw up the key objectives and milestones in the contract. This keeps everything transparent.

By doing this, your idea and vision won’t get lost in the initial enthusiasm and eagerness to get the project moving forward.

Great suppliers will embrace this way of working and respect your professionalism and understanding of how to achieve excellence from the start.

2. Be aware of the intentions behind suppliers offering lots of free work

Some suppliers offer free work as part of a package to entice you on board. This can sometimes work really well, for example, if they’re giving you a taster in the spirit of the proposal before you financially commit.  But if it feels like it’s more than an initial taster, it’s critically important that you ask yourself exactly why they’re offering to work for free.

Is it because they need to pick up more work? If this is the case, you need to think about why they aren’t busier. Busy, successful, established companies won’t need to offer this, so question a supplier if they offer a lot of work for free.

It may be that they’re new and trying to increase their customer base but it’s always worth investigating the company further by doing a credit check and an online search for reviews.

3. Get referrals

Investing in a supplier is often a large financial commitment so don’t jump in before you’ve really researched their background.

It’s important that you get honest feedback to be able to make those key decisions. An easy way to do this is to contact other people who have used them before. By directly approaching customers, you’re able to quickly validate the credentials of the supplier in question.

If the supplier has a glowing report from previous customers, they’re more likely to do a great job for you.

4. Build redundancy into your suppliers

People often think that the fewer suppliers you use, the smoother the process will be, but this isn’t always the case.

Consider using multiple suppliers across different delivery platforms to ensure that if something goes wrong in one area, it won’t affect the entire project.

If one supplier fails, you already have another supplier lined up to potentially step in and deliver the project.

By building redundancy into your suppliers, you’re not only protecting the project delivery, but also minimising the financial risk.

5. Document the way you want to work

Clarity is key!

In order to get the best suppliers, you need to understand them as much as they understand you. Be crystal clear from the outset about organisation and logistics because if these aren’t set in stone early, there will be problems further down the line.

Consider:

  • What hours do you want to work?
  • How often do you want status updates?
  • When do you want to meet?
  • If they’re based in a different country, can they accommodate meetings at times to suit your time zone?

In order for projects to remain successfully on track, I believe you should have a call with your suppliers at least twice a week and be fully engaged in active conversation for regular daily updates.

Constant communication is the key to successful end outcomes.

6. Ask what they need from you

This may seem like an odd question at first, but it’s really important that you ask suppliers exactly what they are expecting from you. This gives you the chance to see that they understand you and your needs for the project.

The truth is, suppliers need access to your team’s knowledge and expertise in order to successfully deliver a project.

Suppliers can’t work in black holes. By this I mean that suppliers must fully appreciate the people and resources that you’ll need to provide to them to carry out the project, and equally you need to know what they need in order for you to plan and budget accordingly.

If there’s a mature and considered response when you raise the question of what you should have in place in order for them to proceed, it will show you that they’re confident in working in the way you need them to. It also helps to validate whether this supplier could be a great culture fit for the project you want to deliver.

7. Have a trusted advisor to validate quality

How can you ensure the quality of the product you’ve produced? The answer is to find a trusted advisor who can give you valuable and, crucially, unbiased, feedback.

Suppliers may provide you with a great product, but you need to ensure that it’s been well designed and coded before it’s then delivered to your technology function.

A trusted advisor will be able to give you the honest feedback you need in a few hours a month or more, depending on your needs.

This process is something that can be done in a small test project with the supplier before the main project is agreed, or if the project is already underway, at the point of delivery and before implementation into your business.

Either way, it gives you a safety net and that’s really important.

8. Agree service levels in advance

It’s vital that the service levels that you expect after the work has been delivered are clearly written in the initial contract. This not only avoids confusion, but it gives you a solid platform to ensure that problems are addressed in the time frames originally agreed.

Here’s a good rule of thumb to use for clarity:

  • Low level issue: resolved in a week
  • Medium level issue: resolved in a day
  • High priority issue: delivered in half a day,

9. Allow agility in the project

Let’s focus on what this really means when it comes to suppliers. In essence, it comes down to whether you choose to go down a fixed price route or a more flexible rolling contract.

Fixed prices can be great if they’re a good deal for everyone, but it doesn’t give you the agility to move and change directions if the project changes after the fixed contract has begun.

In all cases, link specific outcomes to specific milestones. Use these to then draw up a payment plan. This allows both sides to see how they’re delivering and payments are tracked against expenditure and value.

This is much easier with a flexible monthly payment plan. It’s not to say it can’t be implemented on a fixed term plan, but you’d need to speak to the supplier for individual terms as fixed fees are often used for specific purposes with little room for manoeuvre.

It’s often the case that the initial cost that you save on a fixed term contract is worth less than the increased productivity of having the ability to pivot and change direction if needed along the way.

10. Clarify what’s included

Don’t sign a contract until you’re absolutely clear on exactly what is going to be delivered, and when.

Clarify all the key delivery questions. Some important ones include:

  • Who’s providing the design resource?
  • Who’s managing the project?
  • How much time do they need from you? (In my experience, double it!)
  • What impact will it have on my business?
  • If you’re working with an offshore team, will the logistics of this meet your needs?

11. Pay suppliers in advance and pay them well

It’s important that the supplier is quoting a price that means you are the highest priority. Or in other words, be aware if there are certain client tiers/rankings and know where you stand (ideally as their main priority).

It’s important that you are in the forefront of the supplier’s sights and they make your business a priority. From your point of view, you need to make sure that they are being paid at a level which makes them responsible to you and crucially, you have invested enough for your business to get the priority it needs and deserves.

12. Get the ‘value’ feeling

Short test projects and early engagement with the supplier is a great way to find out whether they are someone you want to work with.

If they perform well, it makes you feel good that they’re bringing lots of value to the business and the business will achieve because of this.

In conclusion

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s topic. It’s all about giving you the tools and advice to make sure that you are equipped with the knowledge to choose the very best suppliers.

Here’s a video of me talking about the topic in more detail:

Please let me know about your suppliers and how they’re helping to scale your business by messaging me over in my Facebook group.

My group page is full of helpful advice, as well as showcasing all of my previous blog posts and podcasts on rewiring your business for scale up success.

I also go live each week on a different topic.

Please also subscribe to my podcast – here’s the link to Itunes and you can also find it on most other podcast apps. I’d love you to leave a review!

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How To Make Your Tech Team Hyper-Productive http://rewired.co/productive-tech-team/ http://rewired.co/productive-tech-team/#respond Tue, 06 Mar 2018 07:05:18 +0000 http://rewired.co/?p=308 The post How To Make Your Tech Team Hyper-Productive appeared first on Rewired.

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The people involved in your business are extremely important to its overall success. They’re the driving force behind you achieving your overall vision and so it’s crucial that you get the best out of them and the overall technology function.

But how do you do this?

I believe there are 12 ways that you can make significant improvements to your tech team to make them hyper-productive.

Let’s take a look:

1. Don’t micromanage your team

If you’re looking after the technology function in the business – whether you are a CTO, CEO, founder, Tech Lead…you need to ensure that you don’t stifle your team by constantly questioning their every move. Instead, address the real question of why you feel the need to micromanage in the first place. Next, put a strategy in place to make sure you don’t do this in the future.

How do you do this?

Understand what really motivates your team. You’ve already put your trust in your people by hiring them in the first place, so trust that instinct and find a way to take a step back.

As a leader, it’s your responsibility to create the best environment for your team to flourish. Micromanaging can often create more problems than it solves.

Become a servant leader – someone who serves their team by understanding each individuals’ personal needs, motivations, abilities…etc. By being a good leader, your team will follow you.

2. Get your team to deliver work in small chunks

When you are running a technology function it’s really important not to overwhelm your customers by delivering too much to them at once. Instead, deliver smaller chunks of work throughout the process. It’ll mean that they can digest each part, give you timely and valuable feedback and ensure that the work is on the right track.

3. Always keep track of the end output goal

Whether your business is producing a product or software, your goal is to be successful in both the timely delivery of the goods and also to ensure that the work serves its purpose.

The value has to be achieved so the goal here isn’t simply to follow a process, but to produce successful outcomes. Always keep your eye on what those outcomes are.

4. Encourage one-to-one conversations

Encourage your teams to have one-to-one conversations, either face to face or over video using a software program such as Skype or Zoom. Video is a great way to create a personal bond in the conversation. Having a well connected team that bond with each other will lead to increased team productivity.

5. Focus on intensity, not overtime

Your team will be happier if they can work more intensely when needed, but not necessarily having to repeatedly work overtime.

If your team are repeatedly working overtime they will overextend themselves. This will almost inevitably lead to quality issues and low morale.

Teams will appreciate intense periods where they can work closely, collaborate and then at the end of the day, switch off, take a rest and come back revitalised and ready for the challenge of the following day.

6. Keep it simple

Focus more on the things that you shouldn’t be doing rather than the things you are doing. Let me explain…

Encourage an environment where you and your team regularly review what work could be stopped.  For example, look at where you’re wasting time.  By proactively focusing on the things that are wasting time, this will give you a great opportunity to increase the time that the team spends on the right things.

Also, be vigilant when it comes to spotting work that you’re doing that doesn’t add value to your client.

Clearing away the things that are less relevant allows you more available time for the team to be doing the right things.

7. Trust your team

Your team are there to do their very best in the environment you’ve given them. If you try and second guess them, it’s not helpful and it can slow them down. They’ll be then second guessing themselves and not moving forward.

Stop this and everyone will move forward together.

8. Deliver what your customer really wants

There’s a clear way to achieve this – it’s by delivering results to your customers early and often and getting immediate feedback. After this, adjust and repeat the cycle. Updating your customer every week or two is really beneficial – you don’t need to worry about things falling off track or misaligned expectations.  Regular updates, reviews and feedback cycles will continuously improve what you’re doing and the final outcome.

9. Have a strong base

When you build a house, you don’t just focus on the nice furniture. You also have to have strong foundations and fix things as you go along. Your tech team should always be working from a strong base and using that as the platform to then bring in designs and features on top. If the basics aren’t solid and ongoing problems aren’t addressed, it will cause bigger issues for you later on.

10. Be open to change

When a customer wants something, it’s your job to consider how you’re going to deliver it. Embrace this by being nimble and open to change. There’s no point in continuing the direction that you’re taking if it’s not right and you could be spending your time more efficiently elsewhere.

11. Increase the closeness to the customer

Keep customers close to the project. Have an open feedback loop where the customer can provide requirements and feedback – this could be by them directly participating in the team or providing some of the requirements needed for the final delivery. By doing this, you’ll create a feedback loop and ensure that the customer is part of the story that you’re going to deliver. Don’t break the telephone wire!

12. Continuously improve

Be careful not to fall into the trap of blindly following a process just because it’s the norm. At the end of the week, analyse the positives, ask your team what went well and what they could have done better and turn any necessary improvements into action.

In conclusion

A hyper-productive tech team will enable your business to scale faster and run more efficiently. It’s all about focusing on the needs of your team and making sure that they are well looked after.

A motivated team is one that will be working most efficiently for your business.

Here’s a video of me talking about this topic…

Please let me know how you’re implementing it in your business by messaging me over on the Facebook group. As well as providing lots of advice and information, I also go-live each week with a different topic.

I’d also encourage you to subscribe to my podcast to make sure you’re getting all the latest content on how to rewire your business for success. Here’s the link to my podcast on Itunes  and you can also find it on most other podcast apps. I’d love you to leave a review!

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How To Get A Resilient Tech Team, Fast! http://rewired.co/tech-team/ http://rewired.co/tech-team/#respond Tue, 27 Feb 2018 07:55:55 +0000 http://rewired.co/?p=305 The post How To Get A Resilient Tech Team, Fast! appeared first on Rewired.

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A resilient tech team is crucial to scaling a business quickly and efficiently. People often assume that full-time staff are integral to success, but that isn’t always the case.

Creating a team of highly skilled and knowledgeable part-time workers who can flex with your growth is an innovative way of realising your business vision fast.

Let’s have a look at 10 ways that you can achieve your resilient tech team in the quickest, most efficient way.

1. Don’t worry about cultural fit

People often worry that a part-time employee might not fit into the culture in the same way that a full-time person will.

The truth is, the culture of your company will exist for all – part-time or full-time. For most corporate companies and small businesses, staff are already a great cultural fit – it’s why they were hired in the first place – and the workforce will vary considerably in terms of work arrangements.

Businesses thrive on the people who work in them. Your staff will be the people that you resonate with, who you want to work with and who see your overall vision whether full-time or part-time.

2. Be family-friendly

Retaining staff is crucial to a resilient team and being flexible improves morale and loyalty. You could offer part-time work to suit people’s lifestyles, support working from home, or provide other family-friendly opportunities.

3. Don’t confuse ownership with productivity

Hiring a full-time person doesn’t mean that they’re going to be shackled to your business! People often think that hiring full-time is the only way to get full commitment. However, I would argue that if you hire the right person they’re going to be dedicated regardless of their contractual arrangement.

It’s not about owning people – people will respect you more for giving them their freedom. By feeling free, they can appreciate what you do, grow your business and help you in the ways you really need.

4. Assess risks

What happens if your full-time staff member turns out not to be the right fit for you?

Hiring full-time can be a risk. Whereas, if you structure contracts appropriately and in a more flexible way, there’s much less risk. If someone is taken on for a short term part-time role, you can quickly decide if they are someone that you want to work with for the longer term.

It’s all about reducing your risk, creating a resilient team and using part-time staff to your financial and growth advantage.

5. Access niche skills

A full-time person may be a good all-rounder but consider the option of having a number of highly skilled part-time staff with expert knowledge in different niche fields. You can leverage those skills in a flexible way and this will give your business real expertise.

Even if you need to get a project manager in place to coordinate everything, you will have a highly skilled, efficient and resilient team.

6. Always build in flex

Businesses grow and scale back all the time. There’s no need to feel guilty about hiring part-time people for fixed periods of time to work with your business’s needs.

There should always be the opportunity for people to move around and many part-time workers will move on quickly and happily if a contract ends.

7. Explore fixed fees

If you hire someone on a fixed fee everyone knows where they stand. Knowing your fixed costs can help you to budget more effectively.

8. Embrace experience

Part-time people can often offer deeper, richer knowledge of the industry and the different ways in which businesses work because they’re usually working with other client. This experience can give them a richer understanding of the industry.

These people may be starting up themselves, productising their business, making their teams hyper- productive and looking at a way to scale. Whatever the situation, use this knowledge to your advantage to scale your business.

9. Manage peaks and troughs

By increasing the ability for your business to change in a seamless way, you’re making yourself much more resilient. Using a combination of part-time and full-time staff can help to manage the peaks and troughs of a business on a day-to-day and longer-term growth vision.

I’ll go into this in more detail in a future blog posts, videos and podcast episodes.

10. Reduce workloads

Part-time staff can assist with work when full-time members are working at capacity. This will reduce overtime costs, prevent negative stress and the fatigue of staff. Remember that a strong, happy team is a resilient team.

In Conclusion

A resilient team can consist of part-time and full-time team members. Don’t feel that you need to hire full-time only. You may even want to hire only part-time members of staff when you are starting out, and that is okay.

Please do take the time to understand the tax implications of hiring staff and the labour laws and rights that you need to abide by.

Here’s a video of me talking about this topic:

If you’re rewiring your business for success, I’d love it if you can subscribe to my podcast. Click here to find my podcast on iTunes, you can find it on most podcast apps. Please leave a review!

Head over to my Facebook page for tips and advice for scaling your business. I go live each week and you can message me at any time.

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7 Ways A CTO Can Neutralise Waste http://rewired.co/cto-can-neutralise-waste/ http://rewired.co/cto-can-neutralise-waste/#respond Tue, 20 Feb 2018 07:55:38 +0000 http://rewired.co/?p=301 The post 7 Ways A CTO Can Neutralise Waste appeared first on Rewired.

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Reducing waste in your technology function is crucial to scaling your business and streamlining your overall vision. It’s the engine of your business and it needs care and attention to run smoothly and efficiently.

Your CTO should be at the heart of this, ensuring that you’re focusing on what the business needs and not wasting money on inflated technology with no targeted focus.

If you’re at the stage of looking for a CTO, my previous blog post is really informative.

 

Here are 7 ways that a CTO can neutralise waste in your business

1. Don’t overachieve

There’s endless technology solutions out there but there will only be a few that are right for your business. Ask yourself what your customer really needs. This is what you should be scheduling and building.

Don’t chase the maybes as it only reduces productivity and it takes precious time away from doing the quality tasks that actually do need doing.

If possible, try to neutralise the situation by taking some time out to see where to focus your efforts. It could be as simple as taking your team out to reboot. This takes courage, but it will reveal the problems that your overachieving is hiding.

By choosing the things that your customer really needs, rather than what you think they need, you save time and money, and improve your productivity.

2. Clear bottlenecks

If you delay a key decision, you’re effectively bringing the business to a halt for that period of time. Take the time to visualise your processes and identify where these bottlenecks can be sorted.

A well-managed and maintained technology function that links processes and seamlessly feeds them into one another can dramatically reduce this lost time.

3. Increase automation

Your business doesn’t have to be fully automated but increasing the reliance on technology can cut out excessive process steps and crucially, human error.

Consider the areas to automate based on processes that don’t add value to your customer. Map these out and visualise where the opportunities to automate are.

4. Don’t assume one tech fits all

The simple solution is not to purchase an ‘all-in-one’ technology function at the start. Instead, spend time recognising what you do actually need and then migrate yourself to specific point solutions.

If you’re already tied into something bigger, think about how to lower the cost and tailor it for your specific needs. This could be using a range of smaller technologies to deliver specific automated functions, rather than paying more for something that does everything with a price tag to match.

5. Reduce Work in Progress

How many tasks are still in progress? They may all seem important, but if they’re not being finished as a priority, you need to find the most important thing and complete it.

Teams will be more efficient if you’re able to prioritise workloads and they can feel the satisfaction of seeing tasks through.

Think of this as a clogged artery and it’s then difficult to move forward. If you clear the blockage by finishing important tasks, you will get back to a seamless work flow. This will improve both customer service and costs.

6. Remove the jack of all trades

Many of us have a person in the business who can solve a lot of problems, but you need to ask yourself is whether that person is being utilised to the best of their skillset. Identify what they are best at and redistribute tasks to others to neutralise the load.

7. Address defects

It’s often easy to hide away from problems, but if you continue moving forward and don’t address them, they will eventually catch up with you and cause bigger issues. Make difficult decisions to ensure that your business’s bottom line doesn’t suffer and cause potentially huge repercussions.

It may be the case that you need to stop altogether while you sort the problem or potentially find a way to continue the flow while you address it. This can be done through employee involvement or a Continuous Process Improvement strategy. Either way, it needs addressing.

If you’d like to see me talking about this topic in more detail, please watch my video below:

I have a Facebook group where you can message me and I go live each week with new advice and tips.

I’d also love it if you can subscribe to my podcast. There’s a wealth of episodes on rewiring your business for success. Hit subscribe here and please leave a review.

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10 Reasons to Avoid Equity when Hiring your CTO http://rewired.co/avoid-equity-hiring-cto/ http://rewired.co/avoid-equity-hiring-cto/#respond Tue, 13 Feb 2018 07:55:03 +0000 http://rewired.co/?p=292 The post 10 Reasons to Avoid Equity when Hiring your CTO appeared first on Rewired.

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If you’re a business owner and you’re serious about scaling your business, don’t give away equity too easily.

A Chief Technology Officer (CTO) who is going to turn your vision into your strategy needs to understand you, your business and where you want to go.

For more on what to look for in a CTO, head over to last week’s blog post.

The key thing to remember is your CTO must share your vision and be able to put it into action. You are serious about growth, scaling up and want to take your business to the next level, but how? Equity and CTO’s often come hand in hand but it isn’t always the best path to take. Avoiding equity can often see your business thrive and scale faster because you are not locked in with your CTO.

 

Here are 10 reasons why I think you should avoid equity when hiring your CTO

1. Giving equity to a CTO is agreeing to a business marriage

If you offer equity and combine it with your vision, you’re getting married to your CTO!

It’s important to remember this. Offering equity is a bit like getting married – is your CTO someone you want to get married to? Think about how you spend time with that person before you commit to an equity stake and start a business marriage. Work out a way to date your CTO first, before you give any equity away!

2. Your strategy needs to evolve to scale

A clear strategic plan on what technology you need is essential, as so is selecting the best person to action this. Work out how your CTO can scale with your plan.

If your needs change as the business grows, can the person that you initially thought would grow with you do so? They may not have the understanding to take your business forward. If you are tied into an equity stake this can be problematic.

3. Falling into the ‘title’ trap

If you have a technical co-founder, a significant equity stake is common because they’re trying to develop your business and they already understand the technology behind it. Ask yourself if they are a true CTO or if they hold that title for ease. A co-founder can be in love with your dream, whilst a CTO is unbiased. Differentiation of roles is key to success and growth.

4. Is your CTO scalable?

Think about the business marriage again. If you marry your CTO, is that person definitely right to scale, grow and turn your vision into reality? You must consider whether you’ve spent enough time with your CTO to understand whether they are right for the business to scale successfully.

5. Technical input doesn’t have to be full-time

If you need to deliver technology, giving equity to a CTO is not the only way.

Think carefully about getting technology input for the right price and crucially, from the right person. Instead of assuming a full-time CTO is the answer, think outside the box. A developer could be hired for a specific project, or the business could partner with a supplier.

Another option would be to take on a CTO part-time. Consider the wealth of ways to get technology advice without compromising an upfront commitment that could be difficult to move on from further down the line.

6. Rockstar CTO’s are not always the answer

Most rockstar CTO’s are in high demand and can also be very expensive. Approaching them for a part-time role is one useful option. Every business is unique. Consider whether you really need this, or something more tailored for you.

Head over to my podcast on ‘What is a Chief Technology Officer’ for more on this click here.

7. Equity costs businesses more

Giving a CTO an equity stake is often much more expensive that hiring a part-time CTO. This is a good option to consider when being creative about your scalability.

A CTO who can come in for a few days a week or month, can provide you with a short, sharp piece of work to help you understand things better. This could be a better outcome. This is a good way to start dating!

8. An equity stake can cloud business judgment

An equity CTO is married to your dream. You may think that without equity, your CTO wouldn’t be interested in the business. The simple answer is they may not be, but that’s a good thing.

Without equity, a CTO can be unbiased and offer alternative views. They could tell you they don’t think something will work and back it up with honest reasons. The truth hurts but it could be just what you need. Remember that equity doesn’t always mean that you get the right outcome.

9. Not tied in

If you tie yourself in through offering equity, you’re in a marriage. If your business takes a different direction or you change technology, this could make things difficult moving forward. As I’ve said before, rather than tie the knot with an equity CTO, find a way to date first and avoid a messy divorce later!

10. You retain control

If you set the plan and outcomes, you can continually take the business forward from your perspective. If you decide on a part-time rockstar CTO, agree your outcomes and terms. They need to understand business and technology, but also the people and processes, not only in the beginning, but also throughout.

This article isn’t to put you off offering equity, but to open your mind to the reasons why it may not be right for you at this time. If you decide to give equity to your CTO, do it once you’ve had a chance to date and work with them fully!

I really look forward to comments. Please head over to the Facebook page and let me know what you think. I’m live each week.

If you’d like to see talking about this in more detail on my video, please watch my video below and head over to this link to subscribe to my podcast.

I really look forward to comments. Please head over to the Facebook page and let me know what you think. I’m live each week.

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What to look for in your CTO? http://rewired.co/look-for-in-cto/ http://rewired.co/look-for-in-cto/#respond Tue, 06 Feb 2018 07:55:30 +0000 http://rewired.co/?p=286 The post What to look for in your CTO? appeared first on Rewired.

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What to look for in your CTO?

As a business owner, you need to take control in order to grow. One of the most important ways of doing this is to make sure your leadership team is strong, adaptable and, crucially, scalable.

A Chief Technology officer (CTO) is at the heart of this and will shape the direction of the business, both now and in the future. They need to appreciate the core values and vision of the business, but they also have to understand you.

In my blog post and podcast last week I defined CTO for you. Go ahead and have a look if you haven’t done so already by clicking here.

A CTO is someone who gets your business vision and then has the skills, knowledge and experience to realise and act on that, through a strong technology strategy.

For many though this isn’t always the case, especially when you’re in the first few years of business.

What situation are you in right now?

1. Your CTO is your co-founder

This person will often be someone that you started the business with. They will have a background in technology, have a good understanding of where your business is going, and will grow with you as the business scales.

2You want more from your CTO

There’s already a CTO in place and the business is growing well. They may have an equity stake, but you’re at the stage where you’re expecting more from them. You’re not sure if this is the right person to move forward with your business vision.

3. No CTO

If you’re a start-up, it’s often the case that you don’t have a CTO at this time. You will be actively trying to find one and will have someone within your small team who is trying to do the work of a CTO on a daily basis. In essence, you’re looking to fill this role in order to move the business forward.

Although CTO is one title, there are many different interpretations of the role. Each business and business owner will require a different approach, based on personality, business model and the overall vision.

The 4 types of CTO

The Founder CTO

This is someone who has been brought onto the team early when the business was initially set up. The role will typically involve long hours in order to get the business up and running and established. It’s a fast-paced, ever changing role to gain stability.

The ‘I Can Do It All’ CTO

This will be someone who is a jack-of-all-trades who was potentially offered equity as part of the role. They will have joined a little further down the line and will be doing great things in a team of around a dozen. You know there’s alignment there, but you’re struggling to send them in a particular direction and are unsure of whether they fit into future expansion plans.

The Silent Operator CTO

This person is very good at listening to your goals and vision and knows how to implement ideas to get things done. This type of CTO is the person you are looking for as you scale upwards of 10 people.

The Strategic CTO

Having had lots of exposure to managing projects and teams, this person could have risen through the ranks and may have an equity stake. They’ve proven themselves to be knowledgeable and have the experience to back it up.

How to hire well

There’s no set formula for hiring but what you need to focus on is that feeling of whether the potential CTO understands you, your vision and can then link that to a tech plan and strategy to move your business forward. My blog post on how to develop a tech plan is very useful reading on this. You can find it here.

Equity often gets offered as part of a CTO role, but you must be aware of the limitations that this can bring. If you lock someone in with an equity stake, you need to be certain that this is a person that can scale with you and the business. As you grow, you will take on all kinds of different people with varying skillsets and experiences. You need to be sure that this person will be able to align with teams and realise your vision.

My advice? Think ahead, make the right decisions and don’t lock yourself in.

Please go ahead and let me know what you think on our Facebook group. I go-live each week.

Here’s a video of me talking about this in more detail.

Make sure to visit my LinkedIn page where you can join in the debate about what a CTO is and what you should expect from them. You can subscribe to my podcast by clicking here.

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