Sunday, December 16, 2018

Business Management

Are you a Decision Maker or Procrastinator?

Decision-making is the key to moving forward and in doing so the greatest obstacle is procrastination.

Think the time you spend answering e-mail, composing and trolling Twitter doesn’t have an impact? Think again. Procrastinating in making business decisions generates enormous costs from time wasted and decisions delayed.

There are several approaches that may be considered to eliminate this waste.

1. Don’t delay. 
Any time you put something off the problem often gets bigger leading to more stress and possibly more procrastination. Recognize this behavior.

2. Reduce the issue to small tasks. 
Work in short bursts to complete each portion. This focused activity for short periods allows you to get the feel for accomplishment. Concentrate on results, not on being busy.

3. Learn to prioritize. 
You may never get caught up with everything you need to do. To be an effective leader you have to prioritize and decide what’s important and manage your time effectively.

4. Turn off distractions. 
If necessary, turn off email, stop answering the phone; give 100% attention to the task at hand.

5. Create a daily plan. 
At the end of each day spend 3-5 minutes setting up the next day’s schedule. It may save an hour the next day while you try to determine where to start your work activity.

6. Be accountable. 
Make yourself accountable to someone for what you want to accomplish. This could be an associate, friend, or business mentor. 

A task can more easily be tackled if you visualize it completed. Remember the “Law of Expanded Time”. Work will fill the time available to complete it. By making less time available to complete a task, you will spend less time completing it.


I hope these ideas help with your decision-making process. Please let me know your thoughts.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Business Management

Keys for successful managing

Let’s look at some key factors that contribute to business success. The role management plays is critical and management must focus on and achieve the goals and objectives set for the business. This can be facilitated with effective use of these skills:

1. Effective Interpersonal Relationships
Staff members and colleagues respect managers that demonstrate trust and treat people with dignity and respect. Strong managers keep their word, and show character even under challenging conditions.

2. Leadership
An effective leader has a vision, a drive, and a commitment to achieve beyond that vision. The leader must then also have the skillset to enlist the support of the organization to achieve the stated goals.

3. Communication
An effective manager communicates effectively in person and through all communication channels. That person also is open to feedback and listens well to input from staff and colleagues.

4. Understand the business’ finances
Understand the financial aspects of the business and sets goals and measures and documents staff progress and success. This allows the team to feel a sense of progress, that they are reaching goals and exceeding expectations. Staff want to know how they are performing against expectations and that needs to be openly communicated.

These are just a few characteristics of management success. I trust this outline provides an opportunity to expand opportunities to reach new levels of success in your business.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Business Management

Communication issues in business

Communication is the foundation of every single relationship you have in your personal life; it's no different in business. Without effective communication, there can be misunderstandings, problems and conflicts among your staff, your clients and everyone else you come into contact with. Poor communication can make effective delegation, productivity and an enjoyable work environment virtually impossible.

Here are a few issues that you may want to address:

1. Failure to Listen.
The inability to listen is a huge problem. Often you will see co-workers interrupting speakers or planning what they will say next instead of effectively listening. and still others just forget to pay attention, they are too distracted or have a short attention span. Obviously these all reflect on their failure to listen.
To resolve this stress the need to listen before you start a discussion. Focus on content of discussion and make notes later. Maintain eye contact to facilitate understanding. Turning off cell phones, email, or even closing an office door can help ensure the speaker has your full attention.

2. Culture Differences.
The office has become a melting pot stocked with people of diverse backgrounds and cultural customs. People tend to “hang" with others familiar to their culture or habits. When these individual groups assemble, managers face the challenge of team communications vs small group dynamics.
People often cling to “like-minded" individuals or want to share space with others in their culture. Try to mix them together and make sure that during brainstorming sessions, everyone is contributing—even if you have to walk the floor to listen. If someone is reticent, ask them for feedback. The most important thing however, is to repeat back what you’ve heard. Make sure that your understanding is clear. By reframing your understanding, it allows others to know you are listening and fosters better communication.

3. Ask good Questions
When you want to persuade someone, questions can be more powerful than statements. The reason: you engage another person more strongly. You get him or her thinking about the ideal answer – and the steps necessary to get there.

4. Gender Bias
The battle over which gender makes the best leader is taking the focus away from the real issue. Sometimes workers only want to relate to people of the same gender.
Don’t wait for an invitation to speak. Speak loudly and make sure your viewpoints are expressed; establish eye contact, and own your space. Never issue disclaimers, engage in demeaning yourself—and avoid unwarranted apologies.

Effective communication can be important to your business success. It may be worthwhile taking the time to reinforce practices in your organization to ensure improved results.
I hope these suggestions help. Please let me have your thoughts.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Business Management

It’s Time for an Effective Business Plan

Creating a road map for a business may be a key to growth and success but how many entrepreneurs do it right. Here are suggestions for developing a solid plan.

1. Shorten the planning horizon. 
With the speed of change today the 5 year plan has become obsolete and even a 3 year time horizon may be a stretch. You can have great vision and well developed strategy but unless you can connect the dots between where you are today and where you want to be, you will fail.

2. Manage what you can measure. 
Knowledge is power. Monitor the right information and your plan will have a greater chance of succeeding.

3. Increase planning frequency. 
When the 2-3 year plan is complete, management meetings should be held at least quarterly to review where you are and what to do next. This will enable the organization to assess progress and realign targets to meet new business conditions.

4. Write the plan yourself. 
This is an element of business that entrepreneurs love to delegate to a consultant. A plan is better understood if it is created within the organization. The elements contained within the plan vary depending on the size and complexity of the organization. Only when there truly is a lack of the skillset for developing plans should the process be delegated to an outsider like a consultant.

5. Share the process. 
Entrepreneurs who keep their plans close to their chest, not revealing them to anyone, do so at their own peril. Making other managers part of the process provides the opportunity to hold them accountable and share ownership of the plan.

6. Be realistic.
Plans that are overly optimistic or too safe are both wrong. Optimistic plans project revenues and a resulting spending scenario that may not be achieved. Deficits will result. Plans that are too conservative may result in limitations on spending because revenues are not expected. This may result in lost opportunities. Every effort to achieve realism should be undertaken and frequent reviews help keep the business on track.

7. Share the plan. 
Once completed the plan should be shared with the management group so everyone understands expectations and the yardstick for success. The organization should, where possible, tie performance bonuses to result attained in the plan.

When employees feel a sense of ownership about the future you may be amazed what they will be willing to do for the organization to help ensure success.
I hope these suggestions help you focus on building an effective plan for your business. Please let me know your thoughts.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Business Management

Succession Planning Tips for Small Business

Many small-business owners know what it is like to take risks, work long hours and juggle multiple priorities. Even many successful ones drag their feet when it comes to succession planning, but there are steps they can take to cut down on succession headaches.

It's not hard to understand why. Succession planning can be complex, expensive, time-consuming and emotionally wrenching. But business owners who don't have a succession plan are putting a lot at risk if they hope to someday cash out at a fair price and/or ensure that their companies survive them.
Succession planning isn't a cookie-cutter process. The amount of time it takes is often dictated by the size of a business and the particular issues involved, as well as the approach of the advisor or other professional overseeing the process. Yet successful planning hinges on some of the following considerations:

1. Don't wait too long to begin
It can take as long as a year to put together a succession plan, and plans are often implemented over the course of many years. Succession planning can involve wrestling with emotionally difficult issues, such as deciding whether a relative or longtime employee is most qualified to eventually take over.

2. Shop around for the right advisor
Advisors may collaborate with other types of professionals, including lawyers, accountants and those who specialize in valuing businesses. Valuations prepared by objective third parties tend to be viewed more favorably by potential buyers, including internal successors, than those calculated by business owners themselves.
There are estate-planning issues, tax-related concerns and money-management considerations involved in succession planning. Nobody is an expert at all of those things.

3. Evaluate your own retirement savings and insurance.
As part of the succession planning process, business owners may want to consider whether they have sufficient retirement savings and life and disability insurance. Some owners opt to buy a "key" person insurance policy, which generally compensates a business for financial losses arising from the death or extended incapacity of a critical member of the company.

4. Discuss succession plans and update
A good succession plan should clearly delineate the individuals responsible for  management, governance and ownership positions. The players involved in all three areas are likely to change over time, as will tax laws and other important matters. Therefore, succession plans should be revisited periodically and updated when necessary.

I hope this provides some ideas of the importance and necessity of business owners having a well developed Succession Plan. Please be sure to work proactively with key expert professional to develop a plan. The business may be at risk without a plan.
Please let me know your thoughts.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Business Management

Effective Cash Management Tips

As a small business owner, one of the key focus areas that determines your success is effective cash management. In fact, the interest rate and loan amounts from banks and lending institutions are primarily based on how well your business is able to manage cash.

If you are floating money and creating bad debt other businesses know about it. Managing cash is not just about perennial success. Having a healthy cash balance in your balance sheet will also help demonstrate effective management to potential investors by helping secure a better valuation of your business.  … no one wants to buy an unstable company.

Here are a few tips for better cash management.

1. Track cash flow monthly.
Use a budget to track anticipated cash inflows and outflows so you can assess your situation and react to problems such as the loss of a key sale. Cash flow forecasts and variance analysis against actual should be performed monthly in order to identify improvement opportunities. This frequent monitoring allows you to delay discretionary payments if necessary.

2. Protect capital expenditure.
It is important to preserve the cash that your business generates. One way to do this is by slashing your capital expenditure. While you’re in a growth phase, slashing capital expenditure may not always be feasible. However, you should perform your due diligence on expenses and ensure they are backed by a thorough return on investment (ROI) analysis.
If cash is tight don’t pay cash for long term investments in equipment. It is better to use debt or leasing to finance these projects. Debt can be used to re-finance fixed assets to free up capital. 

3. Build in a culture of cash consciousness.
This is especially important if you have separate teams handling sales and finances.    Typically the sales team would consider cash management to be the responsibility of the finance team and would offer liberal credit terms in the hope of increasing sales numbers to make quota or get that bonus.
One way to overcome this hurdle is to incentivize cash conscious behavior. Instead of sales incentives based on sales figures, you can offer sales incentives based on collections. This will ensure that your sales team focuses on not just achieving the numbers, but in the quality of sales.

4. Be aware of incentives.
No matter which part of the world you are operating in, there are typically a lot of   incentives available for small businesses operating in specific industries.

Take time to research available incentives at a federal, provincial or municipal level. Some of the programs may help improve your company’s cash flow and profit margins.

Ultimately, where cash flow becomes an issue is when small business is operated like “small business.” You can’t arbitrarily spend money on things that may be working or go months without analyzing your expenditures.
Being your own boss is great but there’s much to learn from “big business” management. 

I hope these ideas help. Please let me know:

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Business Management

Issues Facing Small Business Today

Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. There are many standard challenges every business faces and these include things like hiring the right people, building a brand and so on. However, there are some that are unique to small businesses, ones most large companies have grown out of long ago. Here are a few thoughts:

1. Client Dependence
If a single client makes up more than half of your income, you are more of an independent contractor than a business owner. Diversifying your client base is vital to growing a business.

2. Cash
Finding it and managing the cash flow. Cash is hard to get and there is never enough. If you are a fast-growing company you can rapidly outgrow your available resources, if you are an under performing company you can’t get enough cash. Many companies do not manage cash well.

3. Fatigue
The hours, the work and the constant pressure to perform wears on even the most passionate individuals. Many business owners, even successful ones, get stuck working much longer hours than their employees. Moreover, they fear their business will stall in their absence, so they avoid taking any time away from work to recharge. Fatigue can lead to rash decisions about the business, including the desire to abandon it completely. Finding a pace that keeps the business humming without grinding down the owner is a challenge that comes early (and often) in the evolution of a small business.

4. Lack of a Clear Plan
Many businesses don’t know how to plan. Lack of a plan worsens the cash problem by wasting cash chasing tempting diversions, and throwing money at problems. Equally important is updating your plan according to changing economic and business conditions and to ensure your survival in weaker economies.

5. Ineffective Leadership
This issue takes many forms. It is frequently in the form of depth of leadership. The founder of the company is too much hands-on and a) does not concentrate enough on his primary role as a leader rather than a manager; and b) fails to enlist support of competent managers and staff behind him or her either through recruitment or by outsourcing. This eventually causes the company to stop growing and eventually could lead to failure. Directors should always remember their core role and responsibilities.

I trust these ideas provide thoughts to resolving some issues faced daily by many businesses as they strive to develop and grow.
Please share your thoughts.