There are various startup schemes and government grants provided by the government in Thomson Singapore that you can benefit from. There are a number of business support grants for companies to help them overcome obstacles in their growth. Overall aim of these grants is to help businesses in capability upgrading and internationalization.
Government knows the important role that its startups and SMEs play in its economy and hence support these entities with business support grants. Financing is one of the most fundamental aspects of starting and growing your business. There are hundreds of government grants available for small businesses that help in saving money, lowering startup costs and helping grow your business.
Business support grants are small amount of seed money that further the goals of federal, state, or non-profit organizations. Unlike a loan, you don’t have to repay it. Most business support grants in Thomson are awarded to help launch a start-up or new business, with the aim to generate jobs and stimulate the economy. There are fewer grants available for established businesses.
Avoiding The Sales and Marketing Trap To Increase Revenue
Government can assist businesses in two ways- financial help and administrative support. Understand what government grants are available to businesses. Grants are available to sole traders, partnership, limited companies and social enterprises.
Now grants aren’t just government funded as more and more organizations develop grants program in Thomson. Grants are now offered by government, private agencies, universities, corporations and humanitarians.
Business grants are available in all kinds of forms. Generally, business support grants are either a direct grant, equity finance or a soft loan. Direct grant is money given to your new business to cover startup essentials such as investment in equipment, training or reaching new markets. Equity finance, not strictly a grant, offers reduction in income tax on investment made in new businesses. Soft loans are actually loans with lower interest rates and more generous terms than other lending.
Innovation is about the networks among people, and more importantly, the interactions between those people. To be honest, that's not really what I had in mind, when I started thinking about this topic. When I started thinking about the failures I've had when it comes to legal technology and innovation.
I was thinking more along the lines of legal technology innovation being a full contact sport. Leading innovation and implementing new legal technology is hard work. You are going to make mistakes and you are going to feel beat up by the process.
When I work on these initiatives, I know I'm going to have to roll with the punches. I'm gonna share with you the story of a project that failed for us. The five mistakes that we made that led to that failure, and the lessons that we learned. Unfortunately, I can't tell you the project became a success. However, I can tell you that other projects which have followed have been successes because of this failure.
I have to keep the details confidential, and when I anonymized everything, I realized that this is a case study that could apply in any organization, across multiple different types of legal technology. A number of years ago, we embarked on a pilot of a new legal technology tool. We were introduced to the tool by one of our partners who thought we should check it out.
I was excited by its prospects, and we had a few lawyers who were willing to try it. Mistake number one - KM was the champion of this project. This was a huge mistake. It was not enough. Despite the fact that we had a partner who brought the technology to us that person did not have a vested interest in using it personally in his or her practice.
As a result, we did not have anyone standing shoulder-to-shoulder with us, telling their colleagues to use the application and why. When the project failed, KM was left holding the bag. As a result of this mistake, we have changed our approach. We now want one of two things in place before we start on anything new. The first is that we have someone, preferably a partner, who is willing to put their name to a project in a meaningful way. Or second, we have a critical mass of lawyers who are all interested in using the technology, such that we feel we have enough momentum to move forward.
It is incredibly frustrating to know that a new technology tool is out there that could make the lives of your lawyers more efficient, yet you just can't get the buy-in to move forward. No matter the temptation, you can't go it alone.
If the technology is not sparking interest, you are better off taking the time to find out why than pushing ahead. We saw several demos of the product and we asked a lot of questions. We really thought we knew what we were getting. Still, lots of technical issues came about, it couldn't do everything that we needed, and the lawyers did not think it was as easy to use as the vendor did. Mistake number two - we were wearing rose-colored glasses.
To be fair to the vendors working in this space, I don't think that anyone is trying to sell us snake oil. I actually think that a number of the problems and challenges that our technology vendors are trying to solve are really, really difficult; and we are difficult customers. We're slow to make decisions and we have very high expectations. However, for those of us trying to implement and use these new technologies, it is never ever as easy as we are led to believe.
My point is this, if you're trying a new technology, then be prepared. Plan for the fact that it probably will not work as you think it will. Plan for the fact that you can't anticipate every single use case, and plan for the fact that you will need to spend a lot of time with the vendor giving them feedback. Forging ahead with our pilot, we promoted the software, demoed it to practice groups and tapped individuals to try it. In all of these interactions we were enthusiastic, optimistic, and talked about how great the software would be.
Mistake number three - we did not anticipate failure. We treated the pilot of this new innovative software, the same way we treated pilots of established proven software.
Knowing that new technology is not going to be perfect, you need to manage expectations with the lawyers who are willing to try it. We now communicate in a way that sets the stage for possible failure. There's a fine line we walk between selling, in order to get pilot participants, and also being realistic with them, that trying out the software will require effort on their side. We also support them in ways that we don't, for proven software. We also give them lots of kudos for participating, because they are guinea pigs and they are taking one for the team.
As I noted, this was a new technology product, while a couple of firms were using it, we would certainly be an early adopter. Some of the functionality was not quite ready, but the vendor promis edit would be released during the pilot.
Mistake number four - bad timing.
Our timing was terrible, it was way too early for anyone to be trying this software. If being an early adopter gives you a competitive advantage, then it makes sense. Otherwise, if you do not have the time and the patience and the resources to be an early adopter, you need to think twice. I am now quite prepared to let others go before us. Do the hard work with the vendor, iron out the kinks, and then we will start using it. This is really, really difficult for those of us working in this area. Standing on the sidelines while others are trying new technology that we think can help our group, and we're always anxious to get our hands on it.
But, understanding and appreciating the culture, and what drives the business models of our organizations is really important. As with most of our pilots, someone on the KM team was responsible for arranging the demos and the training, working with IT to install the software,testing the tool and finding pilot participants. This is a successful proven approach that has worked for us in the past. But it didn't work in this case and we weren't sure why. We had trouble finding pilot participants. Those who tried it, didn't really like it. What was worse, was that those who tried it said it made them less efficient. This was a terrible result for an innovative legal technology tool. Mistake number five - under estimating the importance of people and processes. New legal technology tools that embed legal knowledge or legal processes, often require lawyers to change the way they work, in order to take full advantage of the software. If you don't change the way you work, or approach your work, the software may not help, and in fact, it might hinder your existing ways of working. Successful pilots and implementations of these new technologies must take that into account. One of the key takeaways that has informed our innovation efforts going forward, is that these tools are not like other technology tools that we have in the firm. They are designed to be used by lawyers, but not on a day to day basis.
We need to have the people resources to support the lawyers in using these tools,in order to make the most of them. As I said, I would like to tell you that this project ended up being a success, but it was not.
It was a failure,full stop.
We kept at it for about six months before we threw in the towel, gave up and turned it off. I know we all talk about being agile and failing fast; but when you work in an organization where there are professional, ethical and legal obligations that are core to the services you provide, failure is not something that really happens. So having a project that failed, and explaining that failure, was an interesting experience. The lessons we learned have set us up for success in projects that have followed.
Lesson number one - don't go it alone. Look for that key champion or make sure you have a critical mass of lawyers who are prepared to back the project.
Lesson number two - be realistic about what you're getting into. Using brand new technology is not for the faint of heart. How much tolerance do you and your organization have to be early adopters?
Lesson number three - manage expectations. Prepare participants that getting up the learning curve will take time. Prepare management that the project may fail.
Lesson number four - sometimes it's just better to wait.
And lesson number five - it's not really about the technology.
There is a reason that that phrase goes,"people, process and then technology.
I hope that by sharing these lessons learned, you will make different mistakes. And if you are feeling a bit beat up by legal technology and innovation, it means you are probably doing something right, and you are actually making progress. My only advice is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep at it.
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Many programs can assist small business to access professional advice and support in critical early stages of establishing a business. While there are a lot of grants available, getting a business support grant from the government can be a challenge. Government grants are often complex with lots of processes and stages, and each grant will have its own requirements and criteria for applying.
While being awarded a grant is winning, they are notoriously hard to acquire. Not only are grants programs highly competitive, they can take months to process. Aside from finding one you’d be eligible for, you have to compete with other companies for the same. The other downside is that grants usually come with specific instructions on how you can use the money.
A grant for companies in Thomson Singapore can give your business a huge leg up and can be a great alternative to traditional finance. To apply for grants, first become familiar with the process. Eligibility for grants will vary depending on the grant in question.
Do your research. Identify programs that are a match for your business. Apply for the grant and submit eligibility requirements. Keep in mind that you’ll need to meet certain criteria to be eligible.
A successful New Employee Orientation Program:
- takes time to develop
- uses a systematic approach to gathering information
- is supported by top management
- is a single, yet readily customizable program
The key points to remember about well-planned program are:
Successful orientation programs take time to develop. This is not an over-night or quick solution to your employee retention and engagement challenges. In some cases, it may take months to gather the necessary information and prepare an effective program. Be prepared to spend the necessary time and resources if you're committed to creating a valuable program.
You must use a systematic approach to collecting information to ensure that everyone affected by the new program has an opportunity to contribute and that the true needs of the new employee are discovered and addressed.
Many of the same techniques that your organization currently uses to research their clients will be easily leveraged to determine the likes, dislikes, needs and wants of your employees.
Don't skimp on this process. If the program you eventually launch doesn't obviously address the new employee's needs, it will be flung to the wayside and departments will again use their own processes. Can you imagine the money that will have cost your company if you've spent even six months developing the "company-wide" New Employee Orientation Program?
Like any other company-wide initiative, the New Employee Orientation program must have the support of top management, supervisors and the HR team. Gaining this support is crucial for the development team to proceed with surveys etc and to be allotted a project budget but an equally important reason for gaining executive support is to gain company-wide "buy-in". Without everyone in the organization fully understanding that this initiative has top management support and really is a company-wide initiative, individual departments or work groups will continue to use their own "ad hoc" methods of bringing on new staff.
Also keep in mind that it is one thing to have management support on paper, perhaps buried in the middle of some minutes to a meeting somewhere, but it's another completely to have this support clearly and unequivocally communicated through out the organization. Make sure that your New Employee Orientation Program initiative is well known by marketing the idea in your company intranet and newsletters. Include letters from executives endorsing the project and outlining the its benefits. Maybe consider an official launch party and inviting everyone.
The goals of the program must also be clearly communicated to everyone in the organization and be in line with the organization's goals. The goals of any project that your organization is prepared to pay for should align with the needs of the organization. There must be a clear business reason for spending the time and money to develop an effective New Employee Orientation Program. If one of the business' needs is t reduce Employee Turnover by 20% in the next three months for example, then one of the goals of the New Employee Orientation Program needs to be to reduce Employee Turnover by 20% within that time.
The heart of the program must be a single, multipurpose program that has been designed for the level of employee hired most often. But, your New Employee Training Program must also be flexible enough to meet your organization's changing needs. An entirely new program is not needed for every level of employee that joins. By developing your program for the most common cases using easily customizable components, re-inventing the wheel is minimized and therefore reduces the start-up cost of a taking on a new employee.
Here is a sample checklist for those who are developing a New Employee Orientation. For maximum results, a clear Project Management approach should be taken including Work Breakdown Structures, Milestones and Gantt Charts. The times listed are for guidelines only and will probably vary in different organizations and by whether the program is delivered in a group meeting, online, individually or a combination. The point here is to start developing the plan well in advance of your new employee's first day.
Also note that the tasks listed in the first eight months are for program development. Once you have the program in place, only items in the last two weeks need to be repeated for each employee.
SIX TO EIGHT MONTHS Before Launching the Program
- Decide the best time to deliver each part of the program content based on interviews with recently hired employees. Also consider obligatory timing requirements as set by industry or union standards.
- Determine the goal(s) of the program. Remember to align these goals, with the business goals, mission and vision of your organization. This awareness will help "sell" the orientation program to the executives/managers in the organization who will be paying for it. Be sure to answer the question, "What are the current/future business needs that orientation will meet?"
- Determine the specific Learning Objectives that the orientation program needs to meet. What does the new employee need to know, do, and believe when they're finished the program? Align these Learning Objectives with the goals of the program.
- Identify the supervisors, subject matter experts, managers, course developers, trainers, web master, human resource professionals, and employees who could contribute and ask for their support.
- Interview employees with one to two years of experience. What was their experience as a new employee? Remember to leverage your organization's current client research methods.
- Perform a Target Audience Analysis (TAA). A TAA provides you with enough relevant information to design an effective orientation program and identify the most common audience characteristics and spotlight how many (if any) customized modules you will need to create.
- Review exit interviews of the employees who left within a year of being hired and identify what could have been done differently during orientation to improve retention. Determining why the left will give you some very good insight into what should be included in the New Orientation Program. For example, if they stated that they did not feel they were trained well enough to perform as needed, then be sure to incorporate a comprehensive On the job training component in your New Employee Orientation Program. This is a basic example, but I think you get the idea.
FOUR TO SIX MONTHS Before Program Launch
- Coordinate logistics. Speak with the appropriate people to arrange tours of their departments. Book classrooms, technical equipment, and other training aids.
- Create a detailed plan for the new employee's first day.
- Create activities for both the Orientation Sessions and the "at the desk" time. Include the goal/purpose and the timing for each.
- Decide on how the content will be delivered (large group, small group, self-directed, etc.) taking into consideration when the information needs to be delivered. Not all of the information needs to be delivered the same way. Using a variety of means provides the new employee a wider and more comprehensive learning experience.
- Decide what is to be done for the family of the new employee. This step is not necessary for all types of work but for some such as jobs that requires long absences from home, it's necessary to include the family in the orientation process.
- Determine how to represent the organization's "corporate culture".
- Develop written material such as the employee manual or workbook. Prepare audiovisual scripts, visuals, etc.
- Identify the best presenters for in-person portions of the content.
- Prepare presenter's materials.
- Review Learning Objectives and delivery methods with the presenters.
THREE TO FOUR MONTHS Before Program Launch
- Decide how you will evaluate the new orientation process to ensure that the program has met the stated goals.
ONE TO TWO MONTHS Before Program Launch
- Run a Beta-Teach of the new program with newly hired employees who did not receive an orientation.
- Make adjustments as required.
- Recognize members of the advisory board/task force for their efforts.
- Train New Employee Orientation facilitators and supervisors.
TWO WEEKS Before New Employee Arrives
- Arrange for computer/software and phone installation.
- Assemble relevant organizational materials
- Coordinate a meaningful first work assignment.
- Identify and contact possible "buddies".
- Identify and contact possible mentors.
- Order business cards.
- Order company credit cards or set up expense account.
- Order name plate/security pass.
- Order supplies.
- Prepare job standards (Check with HR Team and/or Union Rep).
- Prepare work area/desk; remove signs of previous employee.
- Schedule New Employee Orientation sessions.
- Send internal memo to co-workers announcing new employee's name, position, arrival date and duties.
- Send welcome letter confirming reporting time, date, and place.
- Send welcome letter.
- Set up an email/Voice mail accounts.
- Set up network id.
As you can see, developing a comprehensive New Employee Orientation Program really is not an over-night or quick solution to your employee retention and engagement challenges but following these checklists and a clear Project Management methodology will make the process far more manageable. And, it really is worth the effort. A well designed and delivered program increases employee engagement and retention. And, increased employee engagement and retention let's you keep and earn more money.
Each scheme is different. Check you meet the general terms and conditions. Talk to the grant body to assess chances of success. Read grant objectives carefully. Have a great business plan.