Sunday, January 22, 2017

Business Management

Business expansion Options


At one time or another, every business goes through a growth spurt and, whether it’s a multi-national corporation or an entrepreneurial enterprise, expansion is a tough process to navigate.
The real danger for any expanding business is that it does so too quickly or in an uncontrolled way. When this happens, cash flow and customer satisfaction are usually the first casualties and, in extreme circumstances, these can result in the demise of a once flourishing business. The trick is therefore to manage the growth process so you reap the benefits in the medium- and long-term.



  • Plan your expansion

It may seem obvious that any entrepreneur going through an expansion phase should do so with a game-plan, but many businesses expand in reaction to circumstances and don’t draw up a solid plan. Without this roadmap, it’s easy to get lost along the way, making changes to your business that are either too costly or not well thought out.


  • Don’t over-expand

While planned expansion can take a business to a whole new level, over-expansion is one of the biggest dangers of a growth phase. It’s easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment and to expand beyond the needs and the financial capacity of the business.
As a rule of thumb, plan capacity based on a five-year projection of demand and allow an additional 10% of capacity over and above that for periods of heavy demand or for partial down-time in any part of your business. More than this could be very risky and leave a business with overheads it can’t cope with.


  • Get professional financial advice

Whatever the nature of your expansion, there are financial implications for the business and it’s always best to seek professional advice. If you need to build or purchase your own premises, for instance, it’s important to speak to a financial institution that has experience in this area.
For plant and equipment, you may need to consider a flexible financing option, either a loan or a combination of a loan and an equity investment. Perhaps leasing is an option. Again, an institution with experience in the field and in your own industry is essential.


  • Develop a Project Management Schedule for the expansion

Again, this may sound self-evident, but many businesses expand without treating the expansion like a project – one of the most significant it will ever undertake.
Managing the process is as important as planning it and it’s important to commit to this in a formal way, building in the appropriate checks and balances.


  • Keep your customers informed

Expansion of any kind can cause disruptions in your day-to-day operations and it’s important that your customers know what to expect. Before commencing an expansion, tell them what you’re planning and what the expected completion date is. If possible, tell them what disruptions to expect and how you’re intending to deal with them.


  • Announce the completion of your expansion

Once the expansion phase is complete, it’s important to let both existing and potential customers know about it. Tell them about the increased capacity of the business and the additional products and services you can offer. Develop a special marketing drive to announce the occasion and send out media releases, especially to the local and regional press.

Celebrate this moment in your business – it’s one of the best marketing opportunities you could ask for. Thanks for reading. gerry@polarisgroupmc.com

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Business Management

Manage for Success






Here are some of the key factors leading to success in business.








1. Plan for success. A good plan increases your chance of success by defining objectives, framing costs, forecasting revenue and defining risks.

2. Management strength: a strong management group is critical. Entrepreneurs should have the confidence to surround themselves with strong people; this will pay dividends in productivity and growth of the business. Those owners who seek individuals who will follow and not lead will be constrained by their own failings.

3. Develop a network. Networks of peers can be a powerful resource for support and direction.  It is great if you develop both a network within the organization and a network of peers outside of the business.

4. Customer focus. An unwavering commitment to the customer is invaluable. Understanding their wants and needs provides the best way to gain loyalty. Repeat business is the lifeline to continued success. This also strengthens your reputation in the marketplace.

5. Continuous improvement. In order to stay at or near the lead in your market position there need to be continuous product improvement. Innovation and keeping pace with technological improvements provides that cutting edge performance. This also enhances productivity and profitability of the business.

6. Know your strengths. An honest approach to management of the business can help generate growth. Don’t waste time chasing dreams or ill-conceived ideas that do not match your core values or strengths in the business.

7. Manage time use. Entrepreneurs need to act with a sense of urgency to develop ideas. Learn to manage your time and include leisure activity. If plans are not working adapt to changes that will work even if it requires acquiring skills that may be missing in the organization. Working smart produces quality results which outperform quantity.

I hope there are a few suggestions here of value. Good luck. Please let here your thoughts. gerry@polarisgroupmc.com

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Business Management

Keep Key Managers



There is a key role for incentives in managing and retaining key executives for the company. Here are some reasons for and examples of how to structure effective incentive programs for management.

1. Turnover. 
You want to retain key management personnel for a number of reasons. High turnover destabilizes the company and can have severe effects on moral of employees and the bottom line.

2. Enhance Growth.
You want to retain high performing managers to enhance your own company’s growth potential and to keep key people from wanting to look at other opportunities.

3. Setting the Bar
Good managers don’t expect a bonus without achievement but don’t set the bar so high as to be unachievable. That becomes a disincentive to achieve.

4. Improve Profits.
Set goals that help improve your bottom line; just achieving new sales records is not a priority if the costs exceed the benefit. Sales executives should be just as concerned about profitable sales as the CFO.

5. Share.
Pay executives for overachieving by sharing profits. As profits goals are exceeded rewards can continue to be major incentives if shared fairly. Reward contribution. Roll plans forward and allow incremental bonuses for achievements in consecutive years. That’s a great way to keep a key person from leaving; that extra bonus for additional achievement may be too juicy to walk away from.
Incentives are important tool to maintain a motivated and dedicated management team and a well-designed plan can bear fruit over the long term.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Business Management

Is Time Management an Issue?



Do you feel the need to be more organized and/or more productive? Do you spend your day in a frenzy of activity and then wonder why you haven't accomplished much?
Time management skills are especially important in small business where owners often handle many responsibilities.
Here are a few tips to increase productivity and to stay calm and cool throughout the day.



1. Manage
No matter how organized you are there are only 24 hours every day. Focus on managing yourself and what you do with that time.

2. Time wasters.
It is easy to be side tracked and waste time “surfing the net”, reading emails, interruptions. Track your personal time so you can see where the focus of efforts are and how to improve time usage.

3. Plan.
Develop a plan to focus on changing behavior not changing time. Start with eliminating personal time wasters like taking personal phone calls at work. This will help improve productivity and reduce stress.

4. Prioritize.
Start the day with prioritizing tasks and benchmarking performance. If you have a list of 20 items, how many must be done that day? Use the 80/20 rule and spend time on the 20% of activity that generates 80% of results.

5. Delegate.
Every effort should be made to have others share the work load. A review of activity will help determine what can be delegated or outsourced and allow you to focus on priorities. Make sure those delegated to certain tasks are properly trained.

Remember, time is one of the resources business owners have that is scarce, cannot be replaced once spent, and it cannot be borrowed or purchased. Manage it judiciously.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Business Management

Cash Management – A few Tips



In today’s economy, many small and mid-size companies lack sufficient cash reserves to ride out the storm. Finding new customers is tougher than usual. Raising prices isn’t always an option.



Here are a few tips that may help:




1. Manage your receivables. Try to turn your receivables quickly without antagonizing customers. Advise key customers what you’re up against, and arrange more favorable terms. Ask them, ‘What can we do to get me paid more quickly?’ If you can persuade customers to pay quicker you improve your receivable balance. This creates more money.”

2. Manage down inventories. Growth doesn’t always improve revenues. If the business is seasonable make sure inventories do not exceed needs for the current year’s cycle.

3. Ensure new employee hiring is necessary. Employee salaries are a significant cash drain so efforts to maximize productivity from current employees are paramount.


4. Plan ahead. Make sure you forecast financial activity. A plan outlining expected revenues and expenditures is vital to understanding cash needs. You certainly want no surprises on cash flow activity.

5. Go to the clouds. If your business is large enough to have in-house servers, you are aware of the maintenance costs. If business is increasing this may be a cost effective way to create additional capacity without buying expensive new servers.


Business owners should share their cash flow objectives with other key managers to ensure every opportunity to maximize cash savings is realized.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Crisis Management

Do you have a Crisis Management Plan?



No matter the size of your business or the industry in which you work, you never know when a crisis could rear its ugly head. From financial issues to disgruntled employees, you should be prepared for anything that comes your way.
Here are a few tips to consider for your business.




1. Create a mission statement. This will make it much easier to act in a responsible and ethical manner, no matter what type of situation arises.

2. Know your core values. Establishing a set of core values early in your company’s existence is of utmost importance. Not only can this save you in the event of a crisis, but it will help employees better understand what you expect of them.

3. Collaborate with others. While there is nothing more important than forming a strong bond with your employees and clients, don’t overlook others with whom you should forge a relationship. This includes the local police department, community centers, and educational institutions among others.

4. Know your audience. Who are you going to notify in the event of a crisis? Since this depends on the type of crisis, you need to spend time pinpointing your audience for any situation that could arise.

5. Create a crisis management team with a mandate to trouble shoot, identify potential problems and empower them to recommend and enact changes to protect the business.

6. Don’t panic in a crisis situation. As the leader employees want strength. Keeping a cool head may facilitate focussing on the issues and getting a solution right.



No matter what has happened in the past, you never know what the future holds. At some point, you are likely to face a crisis. How and when you deal with this will determine what direction your company takes. I hope these suggestions help.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Business Management

Time Saving Tips for Entrepreneurs





It has often been stated that Time is the scarcest resource a business has and if not well managed the business will not optimize results.
Here are a few tips that may be worth spending your precious time to read.


1. Plan Ahead
At the end of a day, plan time segments for the next day for specific activity so you can start the next day with a prepared schedule. If the activity is important for your success, set aside the time to work on that issue.

2. Focus
Plan to spend at least 50% of your time on strategy and activity that produce most of your results. Try to ignore distractions such as checking email or chatting with associates. These activities break your concentration, interfere with your priorities and are rarely urgent or productive.

3. Don’t Stress over Trivial Matters
If an issue does not have significant impact on the business, don’t get stressed over it. Perfection can be a big time waster.

4. Limit Meetings
Meetings can be essential, but they can also turn into time wasters if they go on too long or happen too frequently. Accept and schedule meetings only for agendas that are meaningful.

5. Say No
Don’t take on tasks just because someone asks you to. If you don’t have the time and it won’t help your business, don’t do it.

These are but a few ideas to help manage one of the most important resource we use – TIME. I hope they help. Let me know gerry@polarisgroupmc.com