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How Do You ‘Start Up’?

Or perhaps more importantly, how do you create a project plan to help your start-up succeed?

There’s no shortage of information, advice and guidance for those wishing to ‘start up’ a business.
Apparently we’ve all got a business in us and given the lack of growth in the economy and the lack of jobs, becoming self-employed or starting a business is now becoming a necessity rather than a choice for many.
But all the information and advice doesn’t make taking the plunge any easier. Business appears complex and risky, especially when you have no experience or lack formal training. So, how to improve the chances of your success as a new business owner; how to reduce risks and make the right decisions?
How do you get to the point where you ‘start up’ your start-up….?
I’d like to consider the idea that there is a process that can take you from your great idea…. to actually doing something about it. There is a way of planning you journey to success; in whatever way you define that.
The idea is simple. Define where you are – the ‘start point’. That might be the ‘unique selling proposition’ of your new product or service or a description of the fabulous shop you want to open. The thing is, it’s a way of describing what you are passionate about creating.
Next, the goal. Why are you going into business? There’s got to be a reason, otherwise why bother? You should be able to define it clearly and also state when you want to achieve it by. If you’re working in a team, it would be good if you could all agree on what the goal is too!
So, you now know where you are and you know where you want to get to. The next stage is thinking about the journey from start to goal and creating a project plan. Planning is how you will make it happen. There are lots of things to think about, but in the context of your business, they need to be prioritised so that when you start to implement the resulting plan… you know what to do first and why.
This is where we believe that help from outside is really useful. Say that you could access the knowledge and experience of other start-ups, the coaches and mentors who support them and even those who watch and research who does what in their start-up journey.
How would that be helpful? Well, ask yourself the question…. This ‘activity’, that people have done before in creating their business, does it feature in MY journey?
If yes, then when do I need to do it? Now, soon or later? And how does it fit into other things that I have decided I need to do in my journey? Does it come before, after, or perhaps at the same time as some of the other things?
These questions can be answered with the team – or just by you – the entrepreneur – and a friend, colleague, coach or other trusted advisor.
MAPP is the tool that can help you go through this process simply, effectively and economically.

mappstoreClick on the logo to go to our MAPP Store for some great start-up tools.

Can MAPP Help Our Service Personnel Prepare to Leave the Forces?

We were told earlier this year that “all 3 services have worked hard to limit the numbers of personnel involved throughout the armed forces redundancy programme which has meant that this final tranche will only consist of up to 1,505 personnel.

This will include a maximum of 1,425 soldiers, 10 medical officers from the Royal Navy and 70 medical personnel from the RAF.”

  • Final Tranche of Armed Forces Redundancies
  • From: Ministry of Defence and The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP
  • History: Published 23 January 2014
  • Part of: Defence and Armed Forces

Whilst these figures reflect the final ‘tranche’ of redundancies they hide the fact that in these modern times some 20,000 people leave the Armed Forces each year.

But all Service Leavers share one thing in common – leaving the military life for Civvy Street. Each carries a kit bag full of hopes and fears and many cases along with the hopes and fears of their dependents.

Planning for this move between two distinct worlds can be traumatic and there is the Career Transition Partnership to help out.

Add these two figures together and some 21,000 personnel will leave the armed forces over a 12 month period.

So after having carried out a personal assessment (individual or family needs, money, education and transferable skills to name just a few key parts of that assessment) what one question should every Service Leaver (SL) ask themselves?

It is, “Do I want to move where there is family but a risk in finding work, or do I want to move where there is work but risk feeling isolated?”

When I carried out resettlement advisory sessions with SLs I always came back that question. I believe that everything else follows on from that one decision.

The MAPP has a resettlement planning tool that can help service leavers (SLs) work with dependents, friends and family (both inside and outside the armed forces) on a 24/7 timetable. Tasks can be shared and advice given, meaning an SL (or their spouse or partner) is never alone even when operational tasking takes them right to the wire.

Project Managing TUPE – 1st Steps

It is easy to leave the TUPE process to HR and to legal advisors. They are the subject matter experts to whom we often defer when it comes to the legal side. But should any manager, employee representative or union representative involved just lie back and think of England?
There are a large number of tasks that will be carried out by managers and negotiations that will involve managers, employees and their representatives. It follows therefore that there is a need for these people to understand what is going on during the TUPE.
The three basic rules of change management state that those impacted by a change should be:

  • Involved with the decision-making processes – If you do not involve, you will meet with resistance and those impacted will not take ownership of the change.
  • Informed as to what is happening at all times – If you do not inform, people will make it up and often think the worst.
  • Bad news is better than no news.

The most important people involved in TUPE are not HR or lawyers but the people impacted by the TUPE.
However, before taking any action you must consult with HR and legal advisors. You can then use the MAPP to co-ordinate decision-making, discussion and the delegation of tasks.

Take a look at “Project Managing a TUPE – 1st Steps”:

  • Your first decision-card is ‘thinking about a TUPE’. This first card sets the scene. You need to make sure that you are sure that a TUPE is appropriate.
  • You do this by identifying the ‘Business Transfers’ – what business do you intend to transfer out.
  • You also need be aware of any assumptions, risks and possible issues by carrying out a ‘Benefit and Risk Analysis’.

Once you have identified the business to be transferred you need to involve ‘Key Stakeholders’ – remember the three basic rules of change management. Oh and don’t forget your customers!
There are other steps involved but at this point you should also be well into relationship management with the other business involved – the one taking on the transfer of people and business. So some cards are duplicated here into transferor actions and transferee actions.

The two cards identified – and repeated here – in 1st Steps are:

  • Inform of Possible TUPE
  • TUPE Preparation Meeting

Both of these actions will need to be carried out by transferor and transferee businesses.

mappstoreThese are just some of the first decisions that you need to take into account. Remember that ‘Project Managing a TUPE – 1st Steps’ is free – just click on the MAPP Store image and follow the link.
And if you like ‘1st Steps’, then follow the same link and purchase the full set of ‘Project Managing a TUPE, which carries more decision-cards and allows everyone to be involved in the process from advisors to decision-makers.


Job Description or Development Plan – MAPPraisal

Most companies are not philanthropic when it comes to staff development. So during annual appraisal – and out of just these two cards – I would say that the development plan is the most relevant to the performance management of an employee and the needs of the business.
Why? Because the job description should be derived from the business needs and when it comes to creating a SMART development plan for an employee it is vital we focus on business objectives.
Imagine the manager of a fast-food outlet who agrees to a development plan that includes dress-designing. Obviously, that does not add value to the company.
An extreme example admittedly but if the same manager offered “customer relationship skills” or “management skills in the fast-food industry” then there is a link to business objectives and business brand. It is also relevant to an employee’s appraisal.
My dress-making skills would have left me wanting when it came to that appraisal – even with my Cub Scout’s sewing badge. Having worked in a Happy Eater my CRM skills may still have needed developing!
The CIPD will tell you that performance management means mapping job description to brand values and as a result mapping performance of the individual and organisation as a whole through to those same values.
If brand values are taken from business objectives and performance then the MAPPraisal allows you to make the same connections when appraising an employee.

mappstoreTo purchase a copy of “MAPPraisal 1st Steps” or the full “MAPPraisal” click on the MAPP Store logo.


MAPPraisal – 1st Steps

The appraisal process is nearly always a daunting one for both managers and for employees [first published on 7 July 2014].

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development tells us that performance appraisal is an excellent opportunity for employees and their managers to ‘engage in a dialogue’ about ‘performance and development’.
They also state that whilst HR is there to provide advice and guidance the responsibility for carrying-out HR policy lies with the manager.

What are the first steps that should be addressed in any appraisal? My experience of the appraisal process has been as an appraisee and appraiser within the Armed Forces, the Civil Service and the private sector. There were a number of common elements in each experience, such as:

• A start, middle and end to the process.
• Two people involved – normally me and my manager or me and someone that I managed.
• Three main documents – job description, the appraisal document itself and a development plan where appropriate.

The 1st Steps MAPPraisal addresses these eight elements and has a decision card for each:

  • The start – As a manager you should have been informed by HR that an appraisal was required. As an employee you should have been informed by your manager or HR that your appraisal was due. Place this card on the left-hand-side of the work area as the start point for the planning and decision-making related to the appraisal process.
  • The manager or team leader – The responsibility for carrying-out the appraisal process is with the line-manager or team leader.
  • The employee – you are at the centre of the appraisal process – it is your performance that is being appraised.
  • The appraisal document itself – All appraisal processes should be supported by a document that guides the employee and manager, records progress of the appraisal process itself, provides HR with a record of completion.
  • The job description – Each role within the organisation should have a job description that states the functions expected to be carried out by an employee within their assigned role. For the employee it is a true statement of functions and objectives laying out the required standards of performance.
  • The appraisal interview – This is the point at which managers and employees come together to discuss performance and development needs arising from that performance. It is important that any discussion is structured but free-flowing within that structure.
  • The development plan – Once the employee’s performance has been appraised and agreed the development plan can be created. The plan should consist of SMART objectives that are agreed by all parties but mostly between the employee and their manager or team leader.
  • Appraisal Process Completed – This card should be placed on the right-hand side of the process. It is the card that you work towards and reflects the fact that the appraisal process is complete for this period.

mappstoreRemember these are just the basic elements of a MAPPraisal.
For a more comprehensive set of decision cards and prompts purchase the MAPPraisal set from the MAPP Store.