Here’s what I know: there’s always something new to learn

Steve Jobs said of one particular decade at Apple, “Each year has been so robust with problems and successes and learning experiences and human experiences, that a year is a lifetime at Apple. So this has been ten lifetimes.”

We feel the same here at Peninsula.

I’ve been building businesses for more than fifty years now, thirty-five of which have been at Peninsula, yet 2019 has seen some of the most rapid growth and exciting developments we’ve experienced.

I still feel as though I learn something new every time I set foot in the office. So here are five things we’ve taken from 2019 that are worth bearing in mind as 2020 approaches.

1. Service round the clock

Customers know what they want. Not only that, but they want it when they want it.

At Peninsula, we’ve been available to our clients 24/7, 365 since we started back in the early eighties. We had people on site manning the phones round the clock.

24-hour support was seen as a radical approach back then, and it gave us a considerable market advantage.

These days, it’s easier to facilitate and exceed customer expectations. Use technology to find solutions that work for your customers to enable them to access your product or service when they want to, how they want to.

Otherwise, they’ll go somewhere else.

2. Look after your workforce

Stress in the workplace is the single biggest threat to employee wellbeing and productivity.

The science shows that early intervention is the best way to help people who are feeling unable to cope. So think about introducing an employee assistance programme (EAP).

For pennies a month per employee, it gives them access to a confidential, independent third party counselling and advice service either online or, if necessary, face to face.

It is life-changing, and it works, both for the individual and the business. For more information on EAPs call 0800 028 2420

3. Don’t be scared of change

We are facing uncertain times and have been for some time now.

As this edition goes to press, we don’t know the result of the election or how Brexit will play out. But, as Stephen Hawking said, “intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”

Change can bring tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges. Don’t resist it but seek to work with it. Only one thing is for sure: you can’t stop it.

4. Opportunities can be dressed up in strange clothes

By this I mean you might not recognise opportunities when they first come along. Our move into Australia came about because of a chance phone call.

I was asked to give some business advice to a friend of a friend, who had a business similar to Peninsula in Australia. Within a fortnight, I was on a plane to Sydney to investigate a joint venture.

Now, it’s one of the fastest-growing businesses in Australia. I had never thought about launching there until that phone conversation. Keep your eyes open.

5. Combine technology with old-fashioned client service

Technology is a fantastic enabler. In launching our BrightHR service, for example, we’ve embraced and invested in the best of cloud computing and app development. But it’s not enough to rely solely on the technology.

You also need good, old-fashioned customer service to back it up—human beings to talk to and interact with to ensure the job is done and done well.

If you can crack that combination and blend the two, you’ll be onto a winning formula.

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