Times are a-changing, are you ready to create your new future
In these strange times, we are all adjusting to what quite possibly is the new normal. The way we work with our colleagues, business partners, customers, and suppliers is radically different from what it was just a few months ago, and the old way of doing things is often neither possible nor profitable.
Now that you might have a grip on the situation, and the worst crises are mitigated, take this opportunity to improve your business. Why not,
- alter your business model; choose a business model that supports the benefits you would like to achieve, e g aspects regarding cash flow (timing of payments), value creation, or customer relationship
- review you pricing strategy and tactics; take a systematic approach to maximize your profitability
- change your cost structure; choose a cost structure that matches your preferred risk level. Renting, hiring, leasing, employment schemes, partnerships, business models of your suppliers etc, they all determine if your cost base is fixed or variable
- redesign you supply chains; improve customer experience, reduce operational costs, reduce negative sustainability impacts, and reduce capital tied-up
- develop your partnership structure; strategic partnership can lead to increased revenues, reduced cost or faster time to market
By doing this you can adjust the level of both your business risk and financial risk while simultaneously creating stronger relationships and better meeting the needs of your customers. How to do this? Start by reading our Blocks Setting the price, Make Business of IoT, Cost structures & Cost drivers, Create Value with Supply Chain Management, and Creating Partnerships.
As new solutions and practices are adopted, old contracts and agreements become obsolete or impractical and have to be renegotiated. When negotiating the goal is to find common ground between two parties so that you can agree to close the deal. This needs to be done with the mindset of reaching a win-win, where both sides walk away happy.
An employee is like a plant; they grow on their own power under the right conditions. If the environment is poor, they will wither and disappear
Prof. Anja Hagen Olafsen, University of South-Eastern Norway, USN has, according to the magazine Personnel & Leadership, a new way of looking at sustainable motivation and health.
According to the old way of looking at motivation, some form of control is needed, where both the carrot and the whip are needed to make us take actions to win or avoid things. The new way of looking at motivation, based on the scientifically substantiated Self Determination Theory, is instead about self-government. – That says people do something of their own internal power or drive, because we want to and because it “feels right,” says Anja Hagen Olafsen.
Rebbel Mountain interprets the article as saying that the carrot and whip-method is outdated as a motivational instrument and should instead be replaced by providing conditions for self-government; consider humans as “plants” that themselves can search for water, nutrition, and light to thrive.
According to Olafsen, three important conditions for self-government must be in place:
- You must be given enough influence to make your own informed decisions.
- You must have sufficient skills and be allowed to use and develop it.
- You must feel that you belong to the team and the workplace.
The first point is complex and assumes a combination of different “puzzle pieces”; paragraphs 2 and 3 must be in place as well as the right organizational conditions in terms of resources, communication, structure, governance, transparency, etc. There are several Blocks on Rebbel Mountain that address these areas (e g Make Change happen, Plan your Staffing, Ensuring Corporate Governance & Compliance, Identify business capabilities etc).
The second prerequisite about skills is the question of mastering relevant and sufficient business acumen to solve business challenges. This is the quintessence of Rebbel Mountain (RM): “empower yourself when you need it“. The RM platform – combining expertise with “real” business experience, strategic and tactical framework with step-by-step guidance, all gathered in one place – is hard to find elsewhere.
Last, but not least – the 3rd point is about leadership, inclusion, team building etc. Rebbel Mountain provides useful tools here as well. Visit the RM Room “Me and my team” and you will find relevant Blocks (Why staff diversity & inclusion, Management & Leadership, Increase performance with Teams etc).
To summarize: It makes perfect sense to see each individual as a “plant” for which optimal conditions are to be provided, i e the right access to light, water and various nutrients in the right quantities and when required. Then everyone can reach their full capacity.
Start by enabling managers to think like above, who then can enable their team members! Light, nutrition, and water can be found on Rebbel Mountain:)
A study from the University of Gothenburg finds that 80% of CIOs (Chief Information Officers) claim that digitalization is their responsibility, while only 20% of CEOs think it is theirs. This perhaps isn’t that strange: CIOs want to grow their department and strengthen their position, and in many cases, persons today titled CIO want to change their title to CDO – Chief Digitalization Officer.
In my opinion, a company needs both CIO and CDO, because, in many respects, these roles are significantly different.
For a CIO, the operation and management of IT systems is the main area of responsibility. This also includes development, but the development is mainly in the form of maintaining and evolving IT systems.
CDO is a role that focuses on a company’s strategic development. It is not so much about understanding technology, as it is about understanding what the company’s future business model should look like, how the company should communicate with its customers, and how it can streamline its internal processes. A CDO must have a deep technical understanding of what is possible today, and tomorrow, but do not need to know which digital components to use. It is more important for a CDO to understand how society develops and what trends exist within the own industry.
Can a CIO become a CDO? Sure, if they have the right personal qualities. However, often, there are probably very different personalities behind a CIO and a CDO role. Don’t make the mistake to replace the CIO with a CDO; make sure that you have both roles in your organization.
An experienced CIO and a visionary CDO can make a perfect team that, together with support from the rest of the management team, can make the digitalization process something that will have an immense positive impact on the company for a long time.
Mountain Guide expert at IoT and Digitalization
99% of all companies are Small and Mediumsized Enterprises (SMEs). 70% of all SMEs want to grow, but only 30% succeed, so Johan Wallquist’s reasoning is perfectly logical.
The starting point of all good business ideas must be that the supplier understands what the customer really needs.
Business leaders of SMEs need business advice/resources that
- Delivers real results, not temporary pain reliefs
- Are speedy
- Always available
- Let the business leader stay in the driver’s seat
Most SMEs do not buy extra support from management consultants today, simply because most consultants
- offer advice only… not actionable enough
- have the wrong business model, i e high cost just to get started and a model based on selling many hours at high rates
- often have single subject know-how
- are not available 24/7 and not in the same geographical spot as where the customer is
So, we decided to do something; time, money or your physical location should not be a barrier for you to get the access to savvy business know-how that helps you tackle problems, improve or expand your business!
We decided that our solution, a “digital mini-McKinsey in your pocket” must meet the following criteria. It has to
- Help the user achieve real and sustainable results
- Be fast and efficient
- “All” topics in one place
- Have a price level that is affordable to everybody
- And last, but not least – the solution should put the user in the driver’s seat
The name of the game is to start “Rebbling”, a combination of
- “do-it-yourself resources; modules (we call them Blocks) with “built-in” business experience containing strategies, tactics and step-by-step guidance so that you can create your solution. The Blocks are written by “Mountain Guides”, i e senior businessmen/-women and experts.The Blocks include lots of illustrations and examples and all text is short and to the point. As one of our users said, “it is knowledge condensed, packaged to be absorbed in 30 minutes”. All content has a systematic structure, which makes it fast and easy to grasp
- Online member forum where you can ask and discuss business topics with other members
- Possibility to purchase extra help from a Mountain Guide, if and when needed, from 30 min and upwards
Welcome to the Mountain!
Ingrid Ericksson, Founder
How important is training and skills development to you as a leader? This question was posed to several business leaders in a recent study done by the Swedish magazine Chef & Karriär (#2, 2019). 89% answered that it was Important or Very important. Leadership training and specific skill development is a top priority. However, 53% stated that they’d had no training during the past year – mainly explained by four reasons:
- Time: “I haven’t had the time” – 38%
- Money: “My employer thinks it’s too expensive” – 12%
- Prioritization: “I haven’t taken the initiative” – 35%, or “The employer does not prioritize skills development” – 22%
- Relevancy: “It is hard to find relevant training” – 27%
Getting the most out of your team is both about enhancing the skill of each team member and how the team works together as a group.
According to Gothenburg based company Tidwell, studies show that “no management teams work at its full potential” – most often due to inefficiency (Dagens Industri, May 10, 2019). Inefficiency can be caused by many different things, but from our experience, it is most often explained by
- Different perspectives and no common view of the current biggest business challenges for the company
- Too little time spent discussing strategic and tactical issues
- Lack of
- common business understanding; team members talk past each other and often have imperfect insights into their colleagues’ specific business challenges and how it affects the total group output
- direction and what to prioritize as a group
- time, resources and specific competences
At Rebbel Mountain we believe in releasing the full business potential; no one knows your company better than you and your team, but you can’t be an expert on everything and sometimes you need actionable strategic and tactical resources to tackle acute problems, improve or scale up the business. That is why we created Rebbel Mountain:
- Actionable “Do it yourself”-resources to empower your team
- Solving a business problem is seldom about fixing one thing – you often need to address several aspects. That’s why Rebbel Mountain starts with the symptoms of the challenges; when choosing a “Business Problem”, several modules packed with strategies, tactical advice, actionable steps, quick-wins & pitfalls to avoid appear
- You and your team get a mutual framework and business language, minimizing the risk for misunderstandings
- We have also included a calibration and prioritization tool to make sure your team is on the same playing field and gets the priorities straight
REBBEL MOUNTAIN is designed to get real results; it’s fast and affordable. And it puts you and your team in the driver’s seat.
Equip yourself and the management team with subscriptions and start releasing the full potential of your company, today!
The Rebbel Mountain Team
Elin Sobczak is a procurement specialist and Mountain Guide at RM. In this blog she shares her thoughts on how to maximize the bottom line with the help of purchasing.
Is procurement a crucial part of the service/product you deliver? How much of your total cost is related to procurement?
An important part in supply chain management is purchasing, typically the higher the spend on procurement, the more crucial it becomes to have a supply chain that is not only efficient but also robust. If you handle purchasing professionally it will not only secure a vital part of the supply chain, but also help you make decision and take the right actions.
Now, Let’s talk about coffee. I know this may sound like a trivial example, but it is a good illustrator of the point I want to make.
You have mapped the coffee consumption in your company. On average, an employee drinks 3.4 cups of coffee per day, and each cup costs €1. This means that if you have ten employees you will have an average spend of 10 x 3.4 cups x €1 = 34 € per day.
If you base your procurement only on this information you will probably get a good price for the coffee. But let’s stop and think for a while – are there other products you purchase to the office that are linked to the coffee consumption and impact the true total “coffee-cost”? Some of your employees may take their coffee with milk, or sugar, and there are of course costs for shipping and coffee machine maintenance.
So, before you make any procurement decisions, you must get the complete picture – what kind of “supplier-actions” does your Request for Quote (RFQ) trigger? Remember, your supplier probably knows more about your company’s behavior than you do; if you do not take the full picture into account, your suppliers will give you a low price on the coffee, but will most likely overcharge you for the milk, sugar and/or shipping and maintenance. To get it right you must look at the total cost, in combination with your needs:
To get good coffee, without the hassle – at the best price!
So, before you ask for a “coffee-quotation”, you need to ask yourself some relevant questions:
- Is the ordering of the coffee efficient? How much time does it consume and what is the alternative cost of time spent on ordering coffee?
- What does your service level agreement (SLA) look like?
- What is the total cost for coffee?
Do you spend a lot of time on ordering, or do you have a scheduled automated ordering process with the supplier? Tip, get a schedule, it’s transparent and base it on an SLA!
Service level agreement (SLA)
What service level do you need, e g intervals between service of the machines, refill of the coffee beans, restocking of milk and sugar, maintenance terms & conditions etc?
Not everyone takes their coffee with milk and sugar, but your supplier probably has decent statistics; ask the supplier what percentage of your employees that take their coffee with milk and/or sugar, then add the price and volume to the calculation of total cost for every cup of coffee.
- 10 employees drink coffee, 4 of them take milk and 2 like to have sugar in their coffee.
- The average cups of coffee per day per employee is 3.4 cups.
Black cup of coffee for 10 employees: 1.15 x 3.4 x 10 = 39.1 € per day (inc. shipping, maintenance, etc)
Add milk cost: (0.15 € x 3.4 cups of coffee per day) x 4 employees = 2.04 €
Add sugar cost: (0.1 € x 3.4 cups of coffee per day) x 2 employees = 0.68 €
Total cost for coffee for your company per day is: 41.82 €
Hence, the total cost for your coffee consumption is 41.82 €, not 34€. However, the true total cost is even higher if you include extra time you have to spend on bad ordering processes, inefficient service levels etc.
To master your purchases, you need to analyze and control entire processes. Imagine what you could gain/save if you applied this way of thinking on all your important company processes, not only the coffee.
Read the Rebbel Mountain Block “Purchasing – a strategic approach” to start your purchasing optimization journey.
In a survey done by Almi in Sweden, most business leaders want to grow their business:
- Almost 70% of companies are aiming for a substantial expansion
The GEM 2017/2018 Global report, by GEM, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor investigates global trends on entrepreneurship and the findings from Sweden can be summarized as:
- Ca 80% perceive good opportunities for Entrepreneurship, but
- Only ca 35% feel they have the right capabilities, and
- Only 8% express they have entrepreneurial intentions, even though
- Entrepreneurs have high status and entrepreneurship is a good career choice.
Many entrepreneurs find it hard to move from the incubator- to scale-up phase! This, by the way, is also true for leaders of established companies when facing a substantial expansion. The new situation requires the business leader to be able to balance several new aspects.
To achieve a sustainable long-term business, and to create value, expansion must be done in a profitable way. As a leader, you have to play different roles, see the illustration below:
Running a business with 5 employees is different from running a business with 15, 25, 50 or more employees. Complexity also increases significantly when you step-up your production, expand internationally, create partnerships, enter new market segments, etc. Business risks must be controlled, the organizational structure and processes have to be adapted, and new demands on management and leadership appears.
It is difficult to master all aspects above; being an expert on everything is impossible! Seek savvy business-advice when you need to; tackle acute challenges, plan your business, improve performance and scale your business at Rebbel Mountain. All resources in one place. Rebbel your business challenges!
The number one reason why startups fail is no market need – according to CBInsights: “Tackling problems that are interesting to solve rather than those that serve a market need” was cited as the No. 1 reason for failure, noted in 42% of cases.
Is it possible to influence, or even create a “market need”? Of course, it is! Sometimes the small things make the whole difference, to your customers. Let’s look at some examples.
Example 1: Make small design changes
Throughout history, men have worn black socks with their suit. Period. Happy Socks started to design socks with bold colors and/or funky patterns and by doing that they also created a new market need. All of a sudden, professionals could show some attitude by wearing colorful socks.
The company was founded in 2008, and revenue 2017 was close to €50 Million.
Example 2: Apply a proven business model to a new segment
Biking is becoming more and more popular as a mean of transportation but buying a decent commuter bike is expensive.
Bikelease.se is introducing the concept of leasing-bikes. Employers have for a long time offered fringe benefit cars; now the employer can also offer employees bikes as a fringe benefit, applying the same leasing-model as they do for the cars. So, instead of buying a bike for 1 000 Euros, the employee can lease it for a monthly cost of 20 Euros. Surely, this will make the demand for bikes increase!
At Rebbel Mountain we believe that you can drive market and create demand with offerings that are innovative. That is, innovative in the eyes of the customer, as shown in the examples above.
What could YOU do to drive market, based on small changes to your current offering?
Creating Strategic partnerships can be a great idea; you might need a partnership to e g increase revenue, reduce cost or gain speed/faster time to market. The Strategic partnerships are often of vital importance to your company’s success since the purpose is to share risks, increase speed, access know how, build market presence/acceptance, and/or sharing resources/costs.
But then there are times when they simply don’t work out. Maybe it’s because the partnership hasn’t met certain expectations or goals. This could result in consequences like disappointment, hurt relations and loss of market shares. Reasons to have reached a point like that can vary, but there are some great things both parts can do in advance to make sure to avoid a scenario of failure. If you are curious to find out things to keep in mind before stepping into a partnership, we highly recommend you check out our Block “Creating Partnership”.
There are several reasons why the partnership doesn’t turn out as expected. Look out for these red flags:
- Lack of vision; why do you need a partner? know-how? geographical coverage? market access?
- Different ideas, purpose, and goals regarding the partnership; do you see it as a strategic partnership but your partner doesn’t?
- Conflicting business cultures/values amongst the parties, which ultimately can hurt your brand
- Badly negotiated contract where there is no win/win; in a strategic partnership, both parties need to be winners
- No true ongoing commitment amongst the parties. No matter how good the intention is before signing, the true commitment starts to show when the ink is on the paper and the real job begins.
- Not enough dedicated resources to nurture and drive the partnership.
Creating partnerships can be tricky, which is why there are many more hints, tips and advice on the Rebbel Mountain ‘Creating Partnerships’ Block. We look forward to seeing you inside!
A business plan is the “glue” that keeps your operations on track and in synchrony, but before you start writing yours – make sure to have these five areas in check to save yourself time.
1. Where do you want to be in 5 years?
You may have a very clear idea of your business strategy, but you need to make sure that your team understands it as well on a five-year horizon. A well defined five-year vision will help both you and the team to make decisions to take you there.
2. Your Unique Selling point
Don’t let your customers be confused about what and why they should buy from you (and not someone else). Your business plan should include your unique selling points. This means that you and your colleagues will have a clear pitch when talking with clients. It also means that everyone on the team will be able to present your customers with the USP in an ‘on-brand’, common language. Your team can give your customers a clear answer as to why they should buy from you, and not from your competitors.
3. Decision Making
Decision-making is easier when you have a clear business plan to refer back to. Your plan will outline the vision for your business, and how you want your business to grow in five years. This makes it easier to identify any opportunities and say no to any that would detract from that growth. You won’t get as fatigued by decision making, because you can base them on your business plan.
4. Communicating with Investors
Investors and banks are more likely to give backing to a business who has a well presented, clear and easily understood business plan. It shows them that you are serious about your business, and have researched your industry.
5. Product Specification
Only a part of your business success will rely on talented salespeople. Another crucial part lies in making sure your salespeople know the value of your product. Your business plan will help your team know what to sell, and how to meet the client’s expectations.
Do you need to write or re-write your business plan? You can try our Business Plan block to keep updated on how a business plan for 2018 should be written! Do you need to update/rethink your business plan? Assess your situation by doing the quiz related to the Block Business plan today!