Business Development & Marketing General Rescue, Restructuring & Recovery Turnaround

Do your employees need to be certified by professional trade associations?

Many small businesses offer services and skills that require individuals to be certified by professional trade associations.
In some sectors membership is a legal requirement, such as the Gas Safe register for Gas Engineers or Part P registered with NICEIC or NAPIT for domestic electricians. In others the professional status can be blurred as neither qualifications nor membership is always necessary, such as corporate finance, estate agency, valuation and accountancy services. Despite this some aspects of these activities are regulated hence the minefield of professional status.
The benefit to small businesses of their individuals having such membership is considerable. It means they can offer reassurance to clients about a level of expertise. Trade bodies also provide support for members such as providing advice, offering continuous professional development (CPD) and regular updates on developments within their specific industry. It can also make recruitment and employee reviews that much easier by reference to the qualification, the qualifying body and maintenance of CPD records.
Where membership is not compulsory a business may find a problem with insuring its activities such that the lack of qualification can result in expensive or useless insurance.
Increasingly sophisticated clients ask for insurance although this is not necessary for those who are regulated as indemnity insurance is a condition of such regulation and underwritten by the professional trade body.
The holding of tenant deposits by letting agents or client money by lawyers are two such areas where clients ought to check they are dealing with a regulated firm.
Please let us have your thoughts on professional trade bodies.

Business Development & Marketing General Interim Management & Executive Support Rescue, Restructuring & Recovery Turnaround

Where can a business leader turn for support?

It is, as we have said before, important that the owner/MD/CEO of a business is focused on strategy and leadership, but this can be a very lonely place.
There is also the danger of becoming isolated or out of touch if the position prevents people from offering ideas and input into strategy development.
So how can a business leader stay in touch and where can they find support?
The traditional way is to look outside a business for support; however there is another source that might be considered.
There is an inspirational example in Paul Walsh, the former CEO of the drinks company Diageo. He used to pretend that he was not the boss and ask other executives what decisions should be taken.
The purpose was to encourage them not only to have the confidence to speak up when necessary but also to question him when they had more knowledge than he did.
This is a great example of a business leader involving subordinates in strategy development. It achieves a number of key objectives for any company; it builds a sustainable long term business by accepting input from everyone; it develops managers and prepares them for leadership; it establishes a culture of valuing people and their role in shaping the future; and it ensures that a CEO/owner does not become isolated.
Please share other examples of best practice by leaders who have inspired you.