Sam Floy

Interesting posts about start ups, East Africa and fried chicken

Archive

Excel/ Google Sheets Training

Overview

A lot of companies use programmes such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to run the core operations of their business.

It’s often a major component of the workforce’s working day and yet they have typically been left to figure out how to use it, without any formal training. As a result, there’s lots which can be done to make work easier, but that won’t be obvious.

As workloads increase it can soon become that operations becomes the bottleneck. Employees are forced to do lots of repetitive tasks which puts a strain on human resource.

The conclusion many organisations take is to employ more people, or invest in expensive and complicated technology packages, where in fact, a lot can be solved by training the current workforce to be more productive.

Why can I help?

I have done projects with numerous companies improving their work processes and undertaking strategic/ data analysis.

In every single one, the bottleneck of implementation came with the employees using Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets far below what they were capable of.

I therefore devoted time in each project to train the employees in how to use Excel, in the process opening up other ways in which to be productive with work.

Having this combination of knowing what’s important for a business, but also how software can make things a lot easier, gives me an excellent position to deliver value to your organisation.

Is this you?

I have seen that people who benefit most from being unlocked in Excel find themselves doing the following:

  • Regularly copy and pasting information from one sheet to another
  • Colour coding different sections of a sheet to identify
  • Memorising and having to explain exceptions in the sheet when someone else looks at it
  • Answering questions like “How many people bought a product on this day?” by scrolling through the sheet and counting on a calculator
  • Always going up, down, left and right to find the information that they are looking for
  • Find yourself saying “We’ve always done it like this” when a new person joins the team

In all of these cases, things can be made a lot easier by seeing the ways how Excel can be used!

Get the best from your team

Once the basics of Excel are understood, it then unlocks the ability to undertake smart, rigorous analyses rather than either guessing, or taking hours to answer a question which you intuitively feel should be easy to find out

This can include:

  • Building monthly reports with Pivot Tables
  • Customer segmentation with Nested IF Functions
  • Analysing survey results with Advanced Charts
  • Combining data sets with VLOOKUP

How can I help?

If having this type of skill set within your team sounds desirable, then there are a number of ways in which I can hope to help.

In person training

This will typically involve understanding the needs of your team, and then coming to your office for half a day or a day to train in person.

We will cover a structure of material in an interactive way, and work on specific use cases for your team.

Online training

There are many benefits to learning Excel in a modular, tracked manner where courses can be tailored to specific needs.

I work with various excellent Excel training courses (which I use myself) and so this could be the best option for you/ your team.

Remote consultations

In some instances there will be a specific issue which you need to overcome, where the simplest solution may be to get outside help.

Where this is the case, I can work with you directly to resolve issues that you may have.

 

~~ DOES THIS SOUND INTERESTING? ~~

If you, or someone you know, might be interested in how getting a greater understanding  of how to use Excel can improve their personal, or organisation’s performance, then it would be good to talk.

Feel free to get in touch through this form, or by emailing training@samfloy.com

 

Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence is a relatively new term to describe a fundamental concept: getting a better understanding of your organisation.

Business leaders have always sought to understand “what’s actually going on” in their team or company, and the traditional methods have been things like compiling a monthly report, or stitching together a dashboard.

These are laborious processes and, as a result, the level of insights almost always falls short of what’s useful, and regularly comes through too infrequently to get a sense of making a sensible decision.

Blind decision making

The result is that many organisations are forced to make their decisions based on a feeling of what’s the right to do.

They don’t have the information at hand to make an informed decision, and as such try to progress by guessing their way on what the right thing to do is.

Missed opportunities

What this means is that are likely areas of your business which are being underutilised which, with adequate attention, could result in a step-change transformation.

Typically there will be particular sections which contribute disproportionately to your company’s profitability, and others to the cost. Despite this, they often receive proportional levels of resource.

Your highest value clients might be leaving your service, spelling doom a few months down the line but, without being able to get a regular grip on this, it could all come crashing down too late.

Most businesses feel they are operating in the dark

and as a result are hampering their ability to grow, or become more effective.

The information is there

What’s changed over the past few years is both the volume of information being collected, and the ability to translate it into something useful.

Whereas businesses of the past were run from pen and paper, with more business moving online, many more of the interactions are being collected and stored in databases which act as a repository of everything a company does.

The issue is taking the stacks of data which is held, and turning it into something valuable, and which you can take action on.

What I offer

The company I run takes the data a company is storing and makes it useful to them.

In some cases, organisations won’t know the value of the information that they are sitting on, and in others they know that they should be “data driven” but are struggling with the execution.

In the same way that you outsource your bookkeeping to an accountant, or legals to a lawyer, we come in as a trusted advisor to ensure you’re getting the most value possible for your business.

What this really means

Stepping down from the high level theory, here are some of the practical areas in which we can help

  • We’ll find the customers leaving your business each month and work with you to win them back
  • We’ll show you peak trends in your sales and how you can prepare for the next.
  • We’ll flag fraud that has been happening under your nose
  • We’ll let you treat your customers with offers they’ll adore.
  • We’ll show you where your most valuable customers are coming from so you can get more
  • We’ll get you live updates of your KPIs on your smartphone

What does it look like

This differs depending on each company’s set up, however it is always with a view of making insights as intuitive and easy to access as possible.

Reporting and Dashboards

The backbone of the service we offer is improved reporting.

Every manager has to report on something and, when it’s taking them hours each week, this is time away from what they were hired to do.

Through smart automation techniques, we can typically turn laborious reporting procedures into streamlined, auto-refreshing reports which can be drilled down into to get insights not possible before.

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All this means your employees are spending more time acting on insights, rather than compiling insights.

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Business Intelligence is not just about representing your current reports in a more effective manner, but about ensuring that you are asking the right questions of your business.

With our ability to show you what is possible from the data you’re sitting on there then becomes a whole host of other metrics, targets and reports which become possible for you to see at your fingertips.

Trying to navigate this fog of data can be overwhelming

There is a whole science around ensuring that you are looking at the right KPIs for your organisation so that you can know in advance where issues might arise, and be sure that you’re tracking the right trends.

Of course, it is possible to read up on the subject, and try to fit this understanding into your busy working schedule.

When it comes to the heavy lifting though, we have found that our experience across various industries, and the fact this is our core competency, means that we can offer real value to businesses setting up their reporting and dashboards.

Flexible for you

This process can almost always be managed remotely, meaning you don’t need to be confined to travelling across town for meetings, or be spending time and resource maintaining a physical, permanent presence in the office.

With an introductory call and typically a conversation with your CTO/ IT Manager we can begin showing you the types of insights possible, to see if this is something you’d like to take further.

If it is, we’ll set out a scope of work, organise regular check-ins, and get clarifications on the best way to present things for you.

A big part of our offering the peace of mind of that we can just get this done for you.

Moving forward we’ll ensure your reports and dashboards are kept up to date, and be your trusted counsel if there are other areas of the business you’d like to know more about.

What’s more, through us using our years of business analysis experience we can provide strategic suggestions and pointers for areas of improvement or opportunity.

 

~~ DOES THIS SOUND INTERESTING? ~~

If you, or someone you know, might be interested in getting a greater understanding on what is happening in their business, then we should talk.

Developments in the industry have meant it’s now much more possible to get a handle on what is happening within an organisation, however without the expertise to bridge that gap, it can be easy to feel left behind.

I can help get you set up using the latest practices in intuitive and effective reporting, and then make the most of these insights.

Feel free to drop me a message view the contact page.

East Africa Business Insights

I moved to East Africa to understand the business scene, and seek where opportunities might exist for me to start my own venture.

In doing so I travelled across the four main countries (Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania) and developed an comprehension how the main industries operate, some nuance of the different cultures, and what commonalities existed throughout all.

This has resulted in a solid grasp of the main ways in which different businesses function, as well as tangible insights from being “on the ground” still.

Hear these insights

To record the journey of what I was learning, I started a podcast.

The East Africa Business Podcast is now one of the leading podcasts on business in Africa and contains 40+ interviews with entrepreneurs across the region, in a diverse range of industries.

And you can listen to them all, for free.

On podcast platforms

A podcast is essentially an audio recording which can be downloaded and listened to via an app on your smartphone. If you’re unsure how to download them, see this article and if you’d like a general introduction to podcasts see here.

Assuming that you’re set up on iTunes, Stitcher, or another podcast app then all you need to do is search for:

The East Africa Business Podcast

and it’ll appear. Click “Subscribe” to be informed of future episodes, and scroll through to find episodes you might like

On your browser

If you’re sat at your computer and have a good internet connection then you can stream an episode at any point.

Head to www.samfloy.com/podcast and see which take your fancy.

Looking at this from a desktop, you should also see a sidebar with all of the episodes, if that’s easier to navigate from.

For an overview of the insights…

You can listen to a talk I gave in London in August 2017.

It covers the pertinent lessons from the various industries in East Africa and also includes a comprehensive Q&A from the audience.

The podcast episode is called:

*SPECIAL* Silicon Savannah Talk

and, again, this can be found via The East Africa Business Podcast

Industry specific

For more of a delve into particular lessons from different industries, you can look to the following articles I’ve written detailing key takeaways from different business types:

Food

Digital Platforms

Physical Goods

Financing

Each link to particular podcast episodes which expand on the key lesson.

Mobile money

Another very interesting aspect of East African society is the usage of mobile money.

The region is a world leader in the adoption of this technology, and its uses and implications are far-reaching, impactful, and pioneering.

There are lots of lessons that can learned about its usage, and the following article

How (and why) mobile money works

gives a solid overview of its history, and important features.

 

Are you looking to understand business in East Africa?

As a result of the insights I’ve accumulated from being on the ground in the region, I’ve worked with several organisations and individuals who are looking to understand a particular aspect of how the region operates.

Using the network I’ve built through running the podcast, and generally through working with businesses in the region I can further make connections to industry experts where necessary.

What I offer

I understand how different people want different things, and so I’m flexible around using the insights I have to ensure that you get the best outcome that you want.

The following are examples of work I’ve done for those interested in the region

  • High-level overviews: typically a Skype conversation of a particular industry/ theme
  • Company diligence: a discussion about a specific business and its applicability for investment
  • Written research: reports on industries to be used for personal, or business interest
  • Customer interviews: speaking with consumers/ suppliers of a business to gather feedback
  • Trade connections: sourcing potential EA customers for international products/ services

 

~~ DOES THIS SOUND INTERESTING? ~~

If you, or someone you know, might be interested in getting a greater understanding on what is happening in the business scene in East Africa, and the opportunities that exist, then please do get in touch.

Despite being an incredibly vibrant region full of potential, having an on-the-ground perspective can both give you a ‘real’ view of the landscape, and what’s more accelerate your understanding of where best you can fit.

Feel free to drop me a message view the contact page.

 

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