Sunday, February 19, 2017

Business Management

Do you communicate well in business?



Effective communication is a vital tool for any business owner. Your success at getting your point across can be the difference between sealing a deal and missing out on a potential opportunity.

Communication is also important within the business. Effective communication can help to foster a good working relationship between you and your staff, which can in turn improve morale and efficiency.

Here are some suggestions for consideration:

1. Listen
It's one thing to ask good questions - it's another to really take on board the answers. Active listening means paying attention to the speaker – both to verbal and non-verbal cues. It is vital to make sure you don't let your attention wander. Important pieces of information can be missed if you are not alert and engaged. This can lead to misunderstandings later on, or possibly embarrassing situations where you appear to have forgotten something you have been told.

2. Non-verbal Communication
Body language can back up the words you use and how you say those words, but can also betray your true feelings if you are uncomfortable in a conversation. Looking people in the eye when talking to them is a good way to let them know you are listening to them and interested in what they have to say. Eye contact can also convey sincerity and confidence, which is often important in business situations.

3. Respect Cultural differences
The world is shrinking. Companies not only hire foreign employees, but they also work with more colleagues abroad. As a result, management needs to be culturally sensitive and aware of the subtle differences in the way people of different nationalities interpret words and gestures.

4. Trust your staff
When employees feel as though they have control over their job, they feel a sense of purpose and are more invested in the entire process. Autonomy breeds innovation and job satisfaction. Babysitting, on the other hand, makes employees feel as though the company doesn't consider them competent enough to do their job. They feel insecure and unmotivated. Provide your workers with the tools they need to get their job done, and then give them the freedom to do it.
Communication effectiveness can have dramatic effects on employee morale and productivity. Always work towards maintaining high standards and rewards will be there. Please let me know your thoughts. gerry@polarisgroupmc.com

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Business Management

How Satisfied Are your Employees?




In most organizations the most important asset is the staff. There are many ways to maintain and improve the level of satisfaction employees feel as part of the organization and many steps can be taken without spending vast sums of money to attain this goal. Here are a few to consider:

1. Inspire
Explain your vision, mission and values. Motivated by their own intrinsic sense of purpose, 1 most people would be willing to help their employer be successful. But to do so, employees must first understand and then believe in what your organization stands for, and know how their individual efforts contribute to the achievement of that mission.

2. Train
Provide the training and tools needed for success. Clearly, employees need to know how to perform their duties, and be equipped with the right tools to get the job done efficiently. In today’s digital world, developing and delivering high-impact training programs (whether in-person or online) has never been easier. Beyond training for today, think about building employee capability for tomorrow.

3. Communicate 
Keep employees informed on company goals, issues, and how individuals can contribute to the overall success of the business. Show trust, accountability and expectations through clear communications. Listening to employees is another key way to show they are part of the team.

4. Encourage initiative
Empower employees to take the lead. It’s easy to fall into the trap of simply telling employees what to do. A more enlightened approach may be to explain what outcomes you’re expecting them to achieve, then encouraging individuals or teams to determine their own way to achieve the desired results. A culture of innovation requires leaders to allow their people to make mistakes, while encouraging and supporting their efforts and celebrating their successes.

This is a short list of some ways to keep employees satisfied and thus helping the organization achieve its goals. None of the suggestions need break the bank but the return can be substantial.


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.