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Human Resource Skills for People Managers

Have you heard the statement ‘people are the most important assets” when referring to an organisation? I’m sure you have, and even if you haven’t, it’s likely you believe this statement to be true. Whether you’re a human resource manager, a line manager, or even a team leader, you’re aware of the value people add to a business. They’re invaluable components that move the business forward. It’s safe to say that without good people, the organisation would certainly collapse.

“People can exist, indeed did exist for thousands of years, without companies. But companies cannot exist without people.” — Lazlo Bock

If people really are the most important asset, doesn’t it make sense that each person who finds themselves in a leadership role should understand basic HR practices? Understanding how to manage staff challenges, support hybrid workspaces, successfully drive employee motivation, retain key employees, and hire good people should not be left up to the HR department alone but instead should be a prerequisite for managers across the board.

The benefits of strengthening your HR skills as a people manager:

Before we emphasise the benefits of strengthening your HR skills, let’s first understand the general responsibilities of managing other people. You may notice that almost every managerial function involves the employees and teams that are being managed.

People-focused responsibilities that managers are called to perform include:

1 | Staff management: managers are required to interview, hire, and train new employees.
2 | Communication: managers act as the information-sharing vessel between top management and employees.
3 | Delegation: effective managers identify strengths within their team and allocate tasks accordingly.
4 | Motivation: a people manager is required to encourage and further motivate staff, increasing productivity and performance.
5 | Enforce company policy: managers enforce company policy, creating an environment built on accountability, responsibility and respect.
6 | Training: managers are required to devise training strategies and develop employees on new technologies or systems that being are introduced.
7 | Evaluate: managers evaluate employee performance and analyse data to ensure goals are being met.

Do you agree that the role of a manager requires a certain level of skill in human relations and people management? A manager does not perform their core responsibilities without interacting, managing, and involving the people they are working with.

 

How you will benefit from strengthening your HR skills:

  • Understand people and personalities to ensure your staff management strategies are optimised.
  • Learn effective recruitment and selection techniques to ensure you build high-performance teams that’ll accelerate growth.
  • Devise and develop winning training strategies to get the most value out of your team.
  • Understand performance evaluation techniques, and learn how to strengthen performance and rapidly improve employee motivation.
  • Deal with grievances and disciplinaries in line with legalities.

A good manager becomes an excellent manager when their HR skills are just as strong as their technical and conceptual skills. Through their basic understanding of HR, their team will be positively impacted, encouraging further growth of the department and the business as a whole.

Developing HR-related skills will advance your career in management:

“Having good people skills means maximising effective and productive human interaction to everyone’s benefit”, says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant; How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job. “People want to connect on a humane level in the office; the alternative is a sterile environment with low productivity. So, the more you demonstrate these abilities, the faster your career will advance.”

She goes on to say:

“Given the choice between a savvy job candidate or, similarly, an employee seeking promotion – the one with excellent people skills and less technical ability will usually win the prize versus the converse.” She adds that “having good people radar is harder to teach than technical skills, but is a requisite for long-term, effective leadership.”

What are the five leadership styles?

top leadership styles

Not all leaders are created equal. Each business has different requirements and effective business management need varying leadership qualities to ensure success.

There are five different leadership styles that entrepreneurs and managers usually use. It is important for any aspiring leader to know the different styles in order to identify their own, or to be able to adapt should the business require it.

The five leadership styles

1. Participative
2. Autocratic
3. Laissez-Faire
4. Transformational
5. Servant

what is your leadership style

What is a participative leader?

This leadership style involves input from all employees, resulting in a decision that reflects the majority’s views. For example, if there is a company-wide problem, managers will inform the staff and a majority vote will determine the solution.

Why this works

It’s a lengthy decision-making process, but it has its benefits. It improves employee morale as they are given a voice and feel like their opinion matters. With participative leadership, employees will start taking an active role within the company and are more willing to accept workplace policies.

Famous participative leaders include Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America. When Toyota vehicles were recalled, Lentz appeared on a website Q&A to field any questions customers had.

The downside is that if a decision needs to be made fast, the participative style might not work as the participation process takes time.

What is an autocratic leader?

Autocratic leaders will inform everyone of a clear goal and will tell you how to get there. Everyone understands what role they play and are provided with guidelines if they need. Unlike participative leadership, if a new strategy is implemented, there is no input from subordinates. All goals, procedures, and tasks are decided by the leader and will be delegated amongst everyone. The team faces dire consequences if goals are not met.

Why this works

Firstly, if decisions need to be made quickly, autocratic leaders can make decisions without any pressure or stress. If there is a clear chain of command in the workplace, tasks get done more efficiently. This leadership style is also beneficial if you have employees who need extra guidance and rigid processes. The disadvantage of an autocratic leader is that there is often a divide between employee and employer in the workplace. This often leads to a hostile work environment and high staff turnover.

Famous autocratic leaders include businesswoman Martha Stewart, who was once described as a “scrupulous and meticulous boss”. However, Stewart has built a global empire using this leadership style. Director Ridley Scott is also considered an autocratic leader. He is known to be a perfectionist and expects his actors to know their positions and lines. This has worked well for him considering his box office success.

What is a Laissez-Faire leader?

‘Laissez-Faire’ is French and loosely translated it means ‘do as you will’. In terms of leadership style, it’s more laid back. This approach allows teams to explore creative strategies and drives innovation. You will usually find this kind of leader in a creative environment, where deadlines are not crucial and team members manage themselves. Employees are given the resources they need and what they do with it is up to them. The leader will provide the information and trusts the team to achieve a great result.

Why this works

In a creative working environment, independence is valued. Teams are highly motivated and usually meet requirements and deadlines without any guidance. A hands-off approach makes employees feel that they are trusted and in return, feel confident in their ability to perform the task.

Famous examples of Laissez-Faire leadership include Warren Buffet, who rarely intervened in the workplace and allowed employees to perform tasks without his help.

The leadership style does have its disadvantages, especially in an environment where deadlines need to be adhered to. With the leader uninvolved in many of the procedures, employees could often mistake this as disinterest, which could result in a poor performance.

What is a transformational leader?

Transformational leadership is someone who actively communicates any changes to employees and is always motivational. Team leads are good examples of this. Once they receive a task from management, they communicate what is needed and inspire the team to achieve this goal and maximise productivity. They also offer support to individuals in a team and encourage an open communication space.

Why this works

These leaders tend to be supportive and loyal. As a result, team members will mirror this attitude. No matter the workload, tackling this project and achieving the desired outcome will be the main priority of the team. This also results in a high retention rate, as employees feel that they have an ally within the company.

Sir Richard Branson is a famous transformational leader. His approach to management is that the key to success is to ensure that all employees are motivated: “If you can motivate your people, use their creative potential, you can get through the bad times and enjoy the good times together… if your employees are happy and smiling and enjoying their work, they will perform well.”

While it is the most common style used by management, this approach could backfire. The leader needs to be sure of the decisions made. If not, the team is put in the line of fire, not the leader. Employees are also increasingly motivated to achieve their goals and will work long hours and burn out while doing so.

What is a servant leader?

Servant leadership puts the spotlight on the employees, while management is usually working behind the scenes. Like participative leadership, decisions are made by a group instead of one person. Servant leadership toes the line between leader and servant. In a nutshell, they lead with the others in mind. You’ll find this approach at non-profit organisations, where the mission is key.

Why this works

A servant leader values diverse opinions and everyone’s contribution is taken into consideration. People working under this leadership will feel that they are contributing to something meaningful and always feel encouraged in the workplace.

Famous servant leaders include Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Theresa, and Mahatma Gandhi – people who put the needs of others before their own.

This type of leadership is rare in a business environment and may not work, especially with deadlines. However, certain characteristics of this style can be used when motivating a team.

How do you find your leadership style?

Leadership style depends on personality type and playing to your strengths. You can also combine the above styles or switch between, depending on what the goals are. Online courses in management can also help you focus on finding your leadership approach.

How to save money and avoid holiday debt

saving money on holiday

It’s the silly season and with every family member on the gifts galore train, you may be asking yourself how to save money and how to manage debt this festive season. There are no easy ways to save money on a tight budget, but it is possible. If you stick to a savings plan and a goal, you can save money and avoid debt this year. Follow us as we take a closer look at how to save money and how to manage, or how to get out of debt this festive season 2018.

Stick to your budget

One of the biggest problems in the holidays is sticking to a rigid budget. The year has gotten long in the tooth for many and all you want to do is unwind and have a little fun. If you are looking at how to save money and how to manage debt this silly season then you need to set a budget and stick to it religiously.

How to save money by doing research

Retailers are at their peak, their crafty tactics make everything on the shelf look like the bargain of a lifetime and you feel this overwhelming compulsion to spend your hard earned money. People often tend to even put the item on a credit card and pay it off the following year.

You need to learn how to save money by doing your research thoroughly. Remember not every deal is a bargain. Hold back on your impulse and consider shopping around before purchasing what you want.

These essential money saving tips can start to give you an idea of how to save money and how to manage your debt this festive season. The choice is entirely up to you. Prepare a budget and stick to it. Make wise decisions and you too could save money on a tight budget.  

How to save money by cutting down on daily fun

The kids are screaming, the wife may be pleading and all you can think about is to dish out your hard earned cash, just for some peace and quiet around the house. You can learn how to save money by cutting down on activities that cost too much and send you straight over your budget. If you’re still repaying last seasons debt then you may be looking at how to get out of debt or avoid debt completely, this festive season 2018.

Cut down on activities that require spending money you may not have. A day at the beach or a picnic in the park is never overrated. You may even be surprised at the results. Spending quality time with your family can teach you how to save money and bring you even closer and make your bond stronger over the holidays, resulting in less spending overall.

How to save money by using the right tools

These money saving tips aren’t exactly easy. People are far more excitable and tend to get carried away over the holidays. If you are in search of ways on how to get out of debt then keep reading. Using the right tools can prepare you and extend your savings, making your money go further this holiday 2018.

Some banks may offer you a linked savings pocket. Other institutions afford you with the opportunity to lock your money for a certain period of time. Do some research on interest earned on these options. It may be wise to save money in one of these options throughout the year to secure a better festive season. These are great methods to help you save money and avoid holiday debt in 2018.

Keep checking back on our blog page for informative money saving tips and other useful insights that can help you reach your goals in 2019.

What is Project Management? Everything you need to know

project management guide

What is project management?

Project management involves overseeing the opening, planning, implementing, and closing stages of tasks done by a team with the intention of successfully completing specific goals in a specific time frame.

The project management process

Project management is centrally focused around achieving goals within a process. As a project manager, one needs to ensure that resources work together in cohesion to achieve the project’s goals, and that all team members involved perform their function flawlessly. The purpose of any project is directly linked to it achieving its goals successfully and efficiently.

Project management in 2020

Today, project management organisations have built upon the process that has been developed over time and has become more streamlined than ever before. The roles that people fill in modern times have become flexible and encompass a great range of tasks.

General project management is a skill required for people to stay on top of their work. To ensure you are making yourself the best you can be, take a short course, earn a project management certificate, gather new skills and stay relevant in a world that is constantly changing.

MasterStart has an array of exciting, time flexible online courses that will keep you up to date in today’s modern world while offering flexibility.

Project management in industry

Project management in construction

At the core of construction project management, there is planning, coordination and the execution of a construction project. The construction industry handles an assortment of various projects including agricultural, residential, commercial, institutional, industrial, heavy civil and environmental.

Project management in finance

The project manager in a financial project is responsible for making plans, leading and taking control of activities within finance-focused tasks, systems changes and technology improvements in the department of finance.

Project management in the insurance industry

As an insurance project manager, one is expected to collaborate with team members effectively to keep an eye over project scope, ultimately reducing scope creep.

Project management in healthcare and social assistance

Healthcare project managers are primarily concerned with lowering cost outputs. However, the biggest benefit of a healthcare project manager is the ability of the institution to be a step ahead of any potential risks.

Project management in science and technology

At the core of the scientific and technology world is the aim to improve life. Project management in these industries allows for greater control and execution of tasks. A project plan is implemented and executed accordingly on time and within the budget constraints, mitigating any potential risks in a project.

Project management in mining

As a mining project manager, one is required to ensure that the relevant project management phases are completed in a timely manner. Ensuring that the right people with the relevant qualifications and experience are on your site is critical as well as seeing that the mining equipment used on site is well maintained and upgraded constantly to achieve the best results in all the project phases.

Project management in retail

The retail market is highly competitive, within local, regional, national and international markets. This leaves the gate open to an assortment of potential challenges, so a project manager needs to be constantly up to date in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) project management industry.

Project management in education

Project management in education aims to promote the quality of learning to make it more interactive and enjoyable. Web based tools allow for real time communication and collaboration, enhancing learning experiences.

What to study if you want to change your career to become a project manager

If you are interested in a career change or if you would like to incorporate project management skills into your C.V, a project management course from MasterStart can help you achieve new heights effortlessly. Download the brochure here.

Technology in project management

The digital world has taken the pressure off emerging businesses for physical project managers. Now, business owners and startups can use project management software to run plans efficiently.

Online project management tools offer the user a variety of unique benefits. This includes the ability to plan projects on demand while keeping everyone in the loop, time management through constant communication and sticking to the company’s culture all while building the business. Useful online tools keep track of what’s ahead; effectively creating a space where project management can exist for non-project managers.

Project management in small to medium sized businesses

Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are important to any economy, offering employment and fresh innovation. Project management is significant in enabling this input smoothly. Unlike larger corporations, SMEs require less administrative procedures of project management than those used by larger, traditional organizations.

Project management in large organisations

Project management is essential in big companies. Industries like construction and mining are the backbone of a country’s infrastructure and bring in a wide variety of investments.

The dedicated project manager in a large organisation will manage the entire company’s workforce effectively, to achieve the best project management life cycle.

Project management steps

Project managers require a very specific set of skills. They need to implement distinct project phases to help them achieve their goals. There are a few project management phases to consider which are essential for successful outcomes:
1. Set clear project expectation
2. Define clear goals in project phases
3. Communicate effectively
4. Plan around project risks

Project management careers

Starting out in project management can be challenging. If you are on the lookout for careers, there are numerous factors to consider. Entry level jobs require some sort of project management certificate to get your foot in the door.
Show potential employees’ dedication to your chosen field by undertaking a project management certificate. This will help you get started within project management coursework that could ultimately lead to a project management internship and then, steady project management jobs

Finding project management jobs

If you are really interested in learning project management, a short hands-on course could be just the boost you need to secure a project management internship. MasterStart in collaboration with the WITS Business School (WBS) have a Project Management online short course that provides participants with real workplace skills that can be implemented on the job almost immediately.

Are project management jobs right for me?

Specific skills are needed to ultimately excel in the workplace. If you are interested in project management jobs, see if your personality fits these ambitious characteristics:
· Detail-oriented
· Communicative
· A concise planner
· Efficient at delegation
· Natural leader

Project management salary summary

The industry is growing rapidly with many opportunities in this occupation, the expected project management salary is also becoming more attractive.
According to payscale, an employee that has undertaken short courses in project management can expect to earn the following according to their occupational level:

The industry is growing rapidly with many opportunities in this occupation, the expected project management salary is also becoming more attractive.

According to payscale, an employee that has undertaken short courses in project management can expect to earn the following according to their occupational level:

Occupational levelAverage annual income
Entry levelR159,950
Project manager professionalR400,000
Top-end manager professionalR767,740


Furthermore, bonus remuneration in the project management industry varies according to your experience and ranges from R4,862 – R101,030.

Project Management certification

The project management online short course offered by MasterStart in partnership with the WITS Business School (WBS) will provide course participants with the confidence and knowledge to create a successful, extensive project plan. The course will guide participants from the inception of project management phases all the way through to final execution of a given project.

MasterStart’s project management online short course aims to bridge the gap between a lack of practical working experience and project management theory. By embarking on this online short course you will obtain a problem solving mindset, where you will learn new and exciting skills from each module.

All skills acquired in this short course will help you build a solid portfolio that can count towards your professional designation as a project management professional.


Grow into a project management role in just a few short weeks, download the Project Management brochure.

The project management process

Costing in the project management process

Cost management in the project management process is estimating, allocating, and controlling the costs of a particular project. It allows a business to predict future expenses in order to reduce the chances of going over the project’s budget. Projected costs are calculated during the planning phase of a project and must be approved before work even begins. As the project plan is executed, expenses are documented and tracked so all costs stay within the budget.

Quoting in the project management process

As a project manager you would need to constantly interact with suppliers. A quotation is a supplier’s response to a customer’s request for goods or services. Once a quotation has been issued the supplier is legally bound to the price of the initial quotation for the time period that it is valid against.

Client management in projects

Client management in the project management process is about improving the project experience, simplifying the processes, exceeding expectations and reducing stress for the client. It focuses on creating powerful client relationships and puts the client first.

Communication in project management

Leadership and communication are key to the project management process. As a project manager, you need to have strong leadership and mentorship abilities, not only to help people accomplish project tasks but also to help them grow and learn practically.

Reviewing the project management process

Reviewing project tasks is also apart of briefing people. The project manager will review tasks and work on deadlines with the team accordingly. In the review process the project management phases start to take shape and the goals start to build towards the end result holistically.

Resourcing in the project management process

In the project management process, resources are required to complete the project life cycle. Project managers need to ensure that the correct resources are used appropriately, so as not to waste, keeping the project plan within the specified budget. Resources are machinery, workers, equipment, facilities and even financial capital. Resources ensure that the project management phases run smoothly and efficiently. Without resources the project would ultimately fail.

Time management

Time management is crucial as a project manager. You will need to organise and plan the time spent on tasks each day. Mastering the art of time management will boost your team’s effectiveness and productivity. The easiest way to achieve effective time management is through strategic planning in all the project management steps.

Efficiency and profitability in the project management process

The project management process is built on efficiency and profitability. These core values allow the project management lifecycle to play out as planned. A project management professional needs to achieve goals efficiently, utilising resources effectively in order to achieve maximum profitability.

A day in the life of a project manager

A project manager has a vast array of responsibilities and daily tasks that he or she must implement on demand daily. The daily project management process encompasses many activities including:
· Planning and Defining Scope
· Activity Planning and Sequencing
· Resource Planning
· Developing Schedules
· Time Estimating
· Cost Estimating
· Developing a Budget
· Documentation
· Creating Charts and Schedules
· Risk Analysis
· Managing Risks and Issues
· Monitoring and Reporting Progress
· Team Leadership
· Strategic Influencing
· Business Partnering
· Working with Vendors
· Scalability, Interoperability and Portability Analysis
· Controlling Quality
· Benefits Realisation

Tips for project managers

Tip 1: Successful project managers learn to observe their surroundings

Soak up your surroundings and analyse your team members, learn their strengths and weaknesses and apply each member to tasks accordingly. Successful project managers listen to what their team has to say and implements their suggestions accordingly. This will show cohesion and willingness for an adaptable project management style.

Tip 2: Work smart and solve problems

Planning is the biggest factor that allows project management professionals to mitigate risk. If you do your fair share of planning before the initial project phases, then you will be able to solve problems much more efficiently and mitigate potential threats.

Tip 3: Utilise tools effectively

Successful project managers stay a step ahead and look to optimise working platforms in any way possible, to make the project run more efficiently. Keep taking notes on what works and what doesn’t and stay on track of the project’s goals.

Tip 4: The customer is king

You need to learn what your customers want and how to give it to them. Successful project managers listen to their customers’ needs and adapt the project management strategy around that.

Tip 5: Successful project managers sharpen their skills

There are a variety of options available for a project management qualification, especially in today’s digital age. You can study a project management degree, opt for a project management online course or even a project management short course certificate. Your qualification or furthering your studies will show your employer that you are committed to a successful project manager’s mindset. Pursue your qualification with passion and you may soon find yourself a member of the Project Management Institute of South Africa (PMISA).

Effective decision making as a business manager

effective decision making

The good the bad and the ugly of effective decision making.

As a business manager, you will be faced with difficult decisions every day. Effective decision making is vital to the business’s objectives. You need to learn good decision-making skills, which can be difficult to implement at the best of times, as you are constantly under pressure at work.

There are many examples of difficult decisions in the workplace, as a business manager you need to overcome challenges and take the personal aspect out of your decision-making process, to do what’s best for the business’s needs.

Take a step back look at all the angles

Effective decision making, especially in a business environment can only be achieved with a clear head. Sometimes you need to back away from the situation at hand and place it in context for yourself. The decision-making process needs to be rationalised from a cool and collected stand point. Take a back seat, breathe and analyse the problem in order to communicate an effective solution, resulting in good decision making.

Don’t just rely on your intuition to make important decisions

As a business manager, you need to look at your world holistically. No one is born with good decision-making skills, this is a unique tool that must be honed and perfected over time. What have you learnt from your mistakes in life? If they have taught you anything you would know that evidence should guide you for effective decision making.

E.B.M or the evidence-based management approach is an essential part of decisions in business management. People tend to lean towards their gut feeling and make impulsive decisions based on what they see at first sight, rather than digging deeper to uncover the real facts. Use scientific evidence and data within the business strategies for an overall effective decision-making process.

Use outsiders perspectives to challenge the status quo

You must trust your own judgement and have the courage of your convictions for effective decision making in the business world. That being said; getting an outsider’s perspective can help you challenge your thoughts and create an objective standpoint to which you can reason with and challenge for a proficient decision-making process.

This will challenge your own status quo and will help you think outside of the box, developing a problem solving mindset that can help you in many areas of an organisation as a top business manager.

Mitigate risk for effective decision making

There are numerous examples of difficult decisions in the workplace, yet as a business manager, one aspect of running an organisation that you can never over-plan for is your business risk. These can always be learnt from some of the greatest entrepreneurs.

You need to establish clear plans and mitigate risk effectively in your decision-making process. This is one of the most difficult parts of effective decision making as you need to play the devil’s advocate all the time. You constantly need to be on the lookout for what can go wrong and you need a contingency plan should the potential threat strike unexpectedly.

Operational planning and Strategic management

strategic management

In business management there are two very distinct management processes to follow to keep the business running efficiently. Follow us as we take a look at the differences between the role of a strategic manager and the functions of operations management.

Strategy versus implementation processes

The role of a strategic manager is difficult to pinpoint. A strategic manager in a business needs to implement a strategic management process which affords the organisation with a vision that ultimately informs the functions of operations management.

So, strategic management is concerned with analysing a long term plan with a specific vision. The role of a strategic manager is to work closely with the company and help them reach their long-term goals. It’s important to note that the role of the strategic manager analyses the market, accounts for trends and plans for potential threats or risks. The strategic manager will then implement the company’s vision through the functions of operations management.  

The role of a strategic manager is holistic while operations management is practical

The role of a strategic manager in a business environment utilises analytical, synthetic and rational decision making processes to create a company vision. They combine these qualities with innovative thinking that focuses out of the conventional box to create long-term company goals. This makes the strategic management process holistic as it focuses on the company from an aerial perspective.

The importance of operations management should however, never be overlooked. Without operations management, strategic management would fail. The functions of operations management work hand in hand with strategic management. Operation managers implement the company’s vision on the ground. They ensure that all processes are optimised for efficiency. They handle staff and company objectives, ensuring company policies are upheld at all times. Operation manager skills are essential as they are the practical tools that keep the company flowing daily.

How do these two types of management affect businesses?

The role of a strategic manager is chiefly concerned with establishing a businesses target market, and how it will go about competing and capturing value in each segment of that market. Therefore the strategic management process can be summed up as an analytical business plan.

The functions of operations management is more practical and hands on. An operation managers skills are implemented to physically run the business daily. Operations managers work with the company’s resources and maintain company policies to achieve goals and keep the company on track.

What does a business manager do daily?

what business managers do

What does a business manager do in an organisation daily? Essentially a business managers job description is to oversee the company’s productivity. He or she will manage all the processes and staff to ensure that the organisation runs at optimal capacity. Business manager skills are important because they keep employees actively involved in all aspects of the business. From small businesses to large organisations, all companies require the skills of a professional business manager.

The role of a business manager in various sized organisations

When you think about it, what does a business manager do in various sized organisations? A business managers job description can vary from company to company, especially when you consider the size of the organisation. The role of the individual will also affect a business managers salary range.

What does a business manager do in small businesses?

In small companies a business managers skills will be applied to overall operations. A small company may even subdivide the work, where the business managers job description is to run operations and the office manager will deal with all clerical concerns and oversee the staff compliment.

What does a business manager do in large organisations?

What does a business manager do differently in large organisations as opposed to small businesses? Bigger companies require more targeted business manager skills. Large organisations will make use of a business manager to oversee specific departments such as marketing, sales or even production. This targeted approach makes use of specific business management skills to optimise individual departments in large organisations for maximum productivity.

What does a business manager do, the tasks, duties and responsibilities

Business managers are responsible for overseeing the activities of workers, from hiring, training and even evaluating the performance of new employees. The business managers job description is never set in stone, as the company grows and changes the responsibilities may change dynamically to suit the expanding needs of the organisation. Most importantly, a business managers job description is to ensure that a company or specific department is on track to meet its financial goals and expected growth.

Aside from managing staff and running operations efficiently a business managers job description may also include other activities. These include developing and implementing budgets, preparing reports for senior management and ensuring that each department complies with official company policy. A business managers skills also need to be devoted to the company holistically. This means that they can’t just expect people to work without the necessary resources, it’s part of the business managers role to ensure that the staff have the necessary resources to maintain a high standard of work at all times.

Considering a career in business management?

If you’ve been pondering what does a business manager do in a company daily, then you have more than likely considered a career in business management. As a business manager you need to have excellent written and verbal communication skills to direct employees and lead departments.

The majority of employers require a business management qualification

You can opt for a formal business management degree, or if you would like essential skills to start you off consider a business management short course to break into the workplace. MasterStart has a multi faceted Business Management and Leadership online short course that will provide you with practical working skills, which you can implement in the workplace almost immediately.

If you want it, grab it

If you are a natural born problem solver that loves leading teams and accomplishing goals then business management may be the perfect career for you. Keep checking back on our blog page for more insights into business management courses, careers and skills.

Grow your value & upskill multiple employees effortlessly

upskill your employees

Africa is a young continent, packed with unlimited potential. MasterStart is a platform geared for all of Africa’s future leaders, to help them develop and grow dynamically within the workplace. Excellence begins with education, which is why we’re committed to nurturing you and your team’s potential through our premium online short courses.

MasterStart’s corporate offering is enhanced by a new dynamic skills development structure, centred around corporate learning. This new structure caters for organisations of varying sizes, affording you the opportunity to upskill many employees on a large scale effortlessly

MasterStart and USB-ED

MasterStart is the collaborative partner in online education of USB-ED (University of Stellenbosch Executive Development). Through this partnership, we support USB-ED in its mandate to provide transformational learning experiences for Africa’s future leaders

MasterStart and B-BBEE Points For Your Business

Empowerdex, one of the most respected ratings agencies in South Africa, has issued an opinion classifying the online short courses offered by USB-ED and MasterStart in Category B of the Skills Development matrix.

The Skills Development category forms one of the primary pillars of B-BBEE which benefits your organisation and the positive upliftment of your staff. Earn up to 20 B-BBEE points (and 5 bonus points) through the Skills Development category towards your scorecard.

What does that mean for your business?

Training points are earned by:

  1. – Internal training – limited to 15% of total training spend
  2. – External training

How much do you need to spend to achieve full points?

Any company generating a revenue lower than R10 million per annum are exempt from upskilling black employees.

Companies that generate R10 to R49.99 million are required to spend a minimum of 3% on upskilling black employees.

Companies that generate R50 million and upwards are required to spend a minimum of 6% on upskilling black employees.

MasterStart’s courses could contribute towards your training spend

  1. – A category B course rating in the Learning Programme Matrix from Empowerdex (one of the most respected ratings agencies in South Africa) means that spend on MasterStart courses could form part of your total training spend.
  2. – All spend on category B courses could be included in your training spend, contributing to the required 6% of leviable payroll amount.
  3. – In addition to the actual course cost, the salary earned by the employee during the duration of the course could also be included in your training spend.

Benefits for the employer:

  • – Employers can include our courses in their mandatory grant application to access this grant from their Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA).
  • – Minimal productivity downtime as employees do not have to spend time off-site.

Enrol in a lifelong learning journey with us today! Empower your staff and your organisation, delivering a bold blow to Africa’s future success.

The common reasons why most startup businesses fail to grow

why start ups fail

You probably don’t want to be reminded – especially at this stage of your entrepreneurial endeavour, about the possibility of failure or early stagnation. As grim as the subject is; hearing the reasons why most small/startup businesses fail to grow, gives you, the aspiration for the best head start.

According to statistics published in 2017, the Small Business Administration (SBA), discovered that around one-fifth of startups fail within the first year. Interestingly enough, after investigating further, they found that there were a few common denominators/areas within the business’s which were being managed poorly, or neglected by the new business owners. These were likely the cause of the business’ deterioration.

Here are just some of the common ‘mistakes’ they uncovered which are the possible reason why so many startups fail to grow and in some cases, collapse.

1. Building a strong team is not prioritised

Many new business owners and amateur entrepreneurs fail to see the importance of building a strong team, especially during the start-up phase. They often think they can do it all on their own – and perhaps are incentivised by the cost-effectiveness.
Building a strong, competent team is crucial to the success of a business and, in fact, is most important during a business’s infancy years. This is because new ventures face many challenges; for example, limited capital and resources, as well as the challenge of breaking into the market. Without a strong team who have the skills and experience in building businesses from the ground up, the venture may be at risk of early stagnation.

2. Poor management and leadership

Poor management and leadership are one of the main reasons why startup businesses fail to grow. Most new business owners take on the role of a manager as they perform the management function in the beginning, however, they often struggle with the leadership aspect. With that being said, it is possible to get by on a good management approach even if the leadership aspect is not refined; however, if both areas are weak it is a major cause for concern. Some entrepreneurs are great visionaries and have exceptional business smarts, but are not strong managers or leaders. For the sake of the business, it’s important that they refine their skills in these areas. Luckily one can be taught how to be a great manager and an inspirational leader!

3. Budget allocations are managed insensibly

Startups often have limited capital and monetary resources which is why it’s imperative that money is handled sensibly. Certain important functions which will propel the business forward should be prioritised in the budget. These include areas such as marketing and staff for example – but this depends on the nature of the business. Many unsuccessful startups have allocated capital to the wrong areas and spent money on less important business functions. It’s critical that you identify your businesses fundamental needs and allocate money to these first.

4. Lack of business knowledge

This is an all too common ‘mistake’ in the startup sphere. While anyone can be an entrepreneur – it takes some business smarts to be a successful one. It’s, of course, impossible to know everything well – but that’s why hiring people who have strengths in certain areas where you may have weaknesses is incredibly important. However, if this is not possible, it’s imperative that you learn fundamental business skills so that you are able to carry the business forward. For example; marketing is one of the most important functions, but if you’re not aware of this, and are unable to execute successful marketing techniques due to your limited marketing knowledge, the business will surely suffer. Invest in yourself – in your skills and your business knowledge, so that you are able to give your business the best shot at success.

5. Poor customer relations

Your customer is your bread and butter. If you or your team fail to identify the importance of treating your customer well; communicating with them effectively, and listening to their needs and wants, you will have a hard time building customer loyalty and your sales will likely decline drastically. As a startup breaking into the market, you need to find ways to get the customer on your side. You need to give them a reason to leave what they know, and instead use your services or buy your product. Too many startups are caught up in the operations and keeping the business afloat, that they often forget the reason for what they are doing. The reason is: solving a problem – for who? The customer.

Managing operations in small businesses: 5 essential techniques to learn today

managing operations

Big businesses don’t struggle in the same way when it comes to certain operations, as sometimes small businesses do. This is because you’ll often find big businesses have various departments with many skilled individuals who have extensive experience in managing specific business functions.

The role of operations management within a big business, for example; is a streamlined process headed up by one, or perhaps a few, experienced and highly knowledgeable operations managers. Most times there’s a team of people supporting the managers’ operational objectives by constantly seeking out ways to improve business operations. With a core team, it becomes a lot easier to find solutions and fully optimise operations.

The role of operations management in small businesses on the other hand often lacks a clear-cut process, usually developed through trial and error, and often managed by the business owner themselves, or a manager who is less knowledgeable on how to effectively manage operations. Unfortunately, this is usually because small businesses lack funds, especially during the startup phase.

With the role of operations management being a critical function within a business, what are small businesses to do if they’re unable to hire an experienced operations manager, but want to improve business operations and achieve a streamlined process? Well, the trick is, in fact, going back to basics, and finding a logical step by step method of managing the operational processes.

Take a look at these 5 essential techniques you can learn and implement today, to better manage operations within your small business:

1. Assess each task

The best way to assess a task is by breaking it up by asking vital questions. Firstly, find the source of the work – where does the work come from? Is it from a client, is it from the supervisor, the vendor? This will give you an idea of the nature of the task and how it should be handled.
Secondly, evaluate the process of that specific task. If it’s a work order for example; break down the process of how this task is managed by detailing each step: add up the charges of the work order, enter the values into the computer and hold it for payment from the customer etc. Creating a process is an incredibly important step.

Then, decide on how the work is stored. Is it filed in a personal client folder? Should it be stored away? Through assessing tasks it’s easier to create a process and identify the kind of person suitable for the job; as well as to better create job descriptions and worker manuals.

2. Prioritise tasks

Prioritising tasks is not just about creating a deadline – that comes later on. This covers the sequence of the task; which is also concerned with the creation of the process. Thereafter, tasks can be prioritised according to importance as well as the deadline – which can be managed by the employee themselves. When people have a clear indication of timelines and are aware of priorities they are able to streamline the process for themselves; resulting in a more efficient operation – even without much help from the operations manager.

3. Delegate accordingly

After you, as the manager, have assessed the task and have prioritised the sequence of workflow, you’ll have a good understanding of the perfect type of employee who will be able to carry out the task effectively and efficiently. You’ll know the skills and strengths that the task demands, and you’ll need to align this with those of the employee. Assigning the task to a person within the team who you think will best fit the requirements is called delegating.

4. Evaluate outcomes

Once the task is complete, it’s important that you evaluate the outcomes – especially in the beginning. Be careful not to look like you are micromanaging – it could come across that way if you continue evaluating results every single time after a task is complete, for months on end. Spot evaluations work more effectively as it does not threaten the employee.

5. Find solutions to areas of concern

After evaluating the outcomes, you will have a good idea of where the weak areas in the processes are. It could be a weakness in the work sequence, or even in the employees’ ability to carry out the job. Whatever the concerns are, you will need to find alternative solutions for them; which will hopefully better the operations. Remember that you should be committed to constant improvement – even a solution could prove to be ineffective.