Red Zebra Business Centre - Management Memos

Making Measurably More For Your Business Since 1985!

November 2012 Now including My Local Pool Shop Monthly News. Page 1

For some,
A Welcome Return to Normality.
Max Williams
Principal Consultant

Over the last six months, there has been really intense activity getting the ‘My Local Pool Shop’ program into a sustainable state.  There is more about this in the main articles. 

During those months, our attention has been focussed on “getting the message out” to a number of clients who have had difficulty in understanding some of the aspects of modern retailing when it comes to internet working.

Generally, these articles have also been re-written for a more general audience, and replicated in the last six issues of ‘Management Memos’.  We hope you will take the trouble to read those issues, because they do provide an interesting insight into the crazy world of selling via the internet.  If you’re thinking of moving that way, we now have a lot of learning to share with you!

Preparing monthly newsletters is a very demanding task, and that’s why we provide that service for our clients.  When it comes to our own newsletters though, it is no less demanding.

Finally, we have bowed to the inevitable, and combined the two publications.  This makes it a bit tight on space, but it is the only practical solution to keeping a balance between the demands of the new world we find in the internet, and the ongoing challenges of managing a business that people rely on.

There is a personal aspect to the lateness of ‘Management Memos’ over the last four months.  There has been a  recurrence of some family health concerns.  These matters always drain your energy and steal your time.

Along with the regular publication of what is now a combined monthly newsletter, we do propose to increase our activity in providing helpful material in a downloadable form.

This month, for example, we have a guide to developing an approach to an exit interview for separating employees.  Soon we will be beginning the progressive release of an e-guide to understanding and really owning your website.

These additional resources will help take the burden off ‘Management Memos’,and we hope, provide a more useful service to those who get benefit from new insights into how to manage a business.

Click the link below to go to the 'BizStaff' section of the My Red Zebra website.

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This is no way to Exit Interview!


n recent months, our focus has been on developing a clear understanding of the impact of internet selling practices, whether retail or B2B (Business-to-Business). This month we integrate the latest My Local Pool Shop news, and return to the more general aspects of managing. This time, we continue with the "exit interview"

The 'Exit Interview' is an Important Part of the Business of Employing People

The "exit interview" can be a very difficult time for everyone. That's why so many small employers ignore it. Then make the same mistakes with the next 'new hire'.

Before we launched on our six month campaign directed towards achieving a better understanding of on-line selling, we ran an article on the difficult task of recruitment.  The big issue appearing time and again as we see small and medium business people tackle this vexed subject, has been a failure to properly identify the essential needs for the job in the first place.

There are some classic mis-steps!  For example choosing someone with potential, when what you need is someone with experience.  Or choosing someone who “has just set up house, so they must be ready to settle down and they will need the money, so they will stay”. 

Only they aren’t, and they don’t.  And they couldn’t really do the work anyway.

So when one of your selections does quit and leave a hole to be filled, do you ever ask the separating employee “Why?  What was wrong?”

Employee turnover is a constant part of business life, and you must be prepared to handle the flow of employees through your organization.  This means you must take an active part in the separation process, before, during, and after the event.

During an employee separation, it’s important that everyone involved communicate accurately and effectively. Confusion, anxiety, and rumour can be avoided by having a standard procedure in place for employee separations.  So, create a standard procedure now while you don't need it - one which includes an effective exit interview.

We spend a lot of resources in selecting employees in the first place.  Then we commit more resources to train them and correct the mistakes they make while learning. 

Doesn’t it just make so much business sense to find out why this expenditure did not produce a better outcome?

Here are some clues. 
  • There was no position description to guide the employee - so either they got frustrated or you did because it just didn’t work out. 
  • You had a position description, but no-one ever read it or used it, so the job you wanted never really got done.
  • There was no need to do a performance appraisal because he/she was so good at first. (That’s code for “they tried really hard to do a good job , but had no idea what you wanted and finished up going in the wrong direction”!)
  • They wouldn’t do what they were told, and were always causing trouble.  (That’s code for “They were being micro-managed and smothered”, or “this person has none of the skill set we really need and should have been looking for”.)

Of course there are a hundred (or more) other elements to this - these are just a few.  But until you create a proper separation process, and carry out proper separation interviews (even if you have just one or two staff), you will never get off this treadmill of staff selection mistakes repeated.

And our Tanya would love to help you avoid these selection pitfalls! email now for our simple guide to creating an exit interview!

Arrival of 'Express Start ' Program Triggers New 'My Local Pool Shop' Activity

The arrival of Express Start at My Local Pool Shop has generated renewed interest amongst pool shop owners.

This new feature means pool shops can go on-line with the absolute minimum of fuss and distraction.

The core principle in My Local Pool Shop is for each on-line store to be a reflection of the individual physical pool shop it represents. Building up the owner's main store is the key objective.

However, for a variety of reasons, some found the issues daunting. "It's all too hard!" they said, despite wanting to be a part of this new age of pool shop retailing.

In real life, as it turns out, it has been hard for pool shop owners to decide which products to put on-line, and what their relevant price points are. Express Start overcomes all these issues.

With Express Start, a complete pool shop is there already. All it needs is a little tailoring to match the individual store.

The program is quick and easy to implement, and it includes a variety of payment options making it suitable for all commercial environments.

Fourteen Pool Shops Now Actively On-Line

Uploading and creation of the first round of on-line pool shops is now complete.

With the initial launch of My Local Pool Shop last season, some up-beat operators got right onto it and made the most of last season. Strong in-store growth followed.

This experience has been a real life demonstration that multi-channelling really works in an ordinary small business environment!

'Poolrite' Products Remain on My Local Pool Shop

While there is considerable doubt about the future of supply for 'Poolrite' branded products, My Local Pool Shop has made a policy decision to keep these product lists active in My Local Pool Shop.

Poolrite SQ Junior

The key considerations affecting this decision are:
  • Several attempts are in process to keep the products in production and available
  • Stocks still exist in stores, and
  • With a huge time investment in listing, along with the possibility of having to re-list in the near future, de-listing is another major time commitment that might not give a payback.

As soon as there is clarity on future supply, a permanent decision can be made.

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