Sunday, December 3, 2017

Does your business have high standards for business ethics?



Have you ever wondered how many of the successful business get caught in the public spotlight and are criticised for the lack of integrity in the organization.






Clearly culture counts and it starts at the top with senior management or the board of directors. Organizations need to understand that compliance with influences or rules created outside doesn’t drive ethics it should be the opposite, ethics driving compliance in the organization and leadership in the organization is responsible for setting the tone.

There are different levels of ethical issues; there is workplace fraud and corruption, sometimes conducted at the highest levels of the organization, and ethical issues relating to how employee and customer relations are handled.

Checks and balances require care in how the organization structure is designed, how human resource decisions are made, and how overall business is conducted. It needs to be recognized that this is a very time consuming process and organization integrity is paramount; when difficult decisions are faced the instinct must be to default to core values.

Too often larger organizations pressure smaller business for concessions they can ill afford but if they don’t concede an entire contract may be lost. This happens even if the original pricing were agreed between the parties when the contract was signed. Where is the pride in living up to one’s word? What values are at the core of that behaviour?

 Ethics are derived from values and they make integrity a way of life in the organization. Honesty, respect, and responsibility can be pillars on which to build. It is essential that these values are shared throughout the organization through constant dialogue and through practice in decision making.

Corporate governance is used to promote business ethics and social responsibility. It also creates the framework for guidelines used by all individuals who are part of the organization. Fairness is one of the very basic business ethics concepts as it covers how the organization treats people in its commercial dealings.

The vast majority of businesses are ethical and at least have informal standards expressed through the behaviour of the CEO and senior managers. Anyone working in an organization that seems to behave in an overtly unethical way and chooses to stay or ignore the behaviour is part of the problem.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Business Management

Networking tips




Networking can be a core tactic for both independent professionals and small business owners. Customers are more easily attained this way than through costly and time consuming cold calling. Here are a few ways to enhance your networking.


1. Set goals 
When attending networking meetings are you attending to learn? Make contacts? Or strictly making business connections.

2. Volunteer help
 This provides you with greater visibility and you give back to groups that help you. Act as a resource for others to enhance your role.

3. Clearly articulate your needs
Some people cannot answer a simple question like “How can I help you”?

4. Think long term
Connections open doors but relationships close deals. Networking is not just exchanging business cards and email addresses. Networking pays off when long-lasting mutually beneficial relationships are formed.

5. Follow-up
 If you receive referrals follow-up quickly. The way you respond is a reflection on the person providing the referral.


I hope these ideas help. Please let me know your thoughts. gerry@polarisgroupmc.com

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Do you have a handle on the finances of your business?



Keeping up with all of the day-to-day demands of operating a small business can cause owners to lose sight of the company’s overall fiscal situation. Owners should be proactive with company finances; here are a few tips that may be useful:







Benchmark
Know where you are and what your targets should be. A plan is useful and need not be too formal. As milestones are reached know how you are going to get to the next level and what financing may be needed.

Liquidity

How liquid is the business? Having immediate access to cash can reduce borrowing costs. With funds available you are able to make the most of capital-intensive business opportunities.

Profitability
If sales are growing but there seems too often to be a cash shortage after bills are paid, the business may have profitability issues. Monitoring profit margins instead of gross sales will help determine what the business is actually earning.


Stay involved
Business liquidity, profitability and other key ratios are important to evaluating the business – but only if owners spend time reviewing the information. It is necessary to schedule time every month to actually review the data.


While it is not necessary to review financial data daily, consistent reviews are the only way to know if the business is improving or regressing. Owners owe it to themselves and to shareholders to stay aware of the financial health of the business.

I hope the tips are useful, let me have your thoughts.

gerry@polarisgroupmc.com       
               
       

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Is your Business Ready to Sell?


If you’re thinking about selling your business, think it through carefully. Selling should never be a spur of the moment decision. There are a number of factors to consider including if you should sell, when is the best time to sell, and what you need to consider before selling. Here are a few of the issues to help determine if it is the right time to sell:



1. Business readiness
Make sure you can produce two to three years of tax returns that are accurate and show maximum profitability to get the best price for your business.

2. Team approach
It's important for entrepreneurs to figure out whose services will be needed to help get the best price for their business. Do you need an accountant? How about an appraiser, attorney, consultant and business broker? The buyer is typically going to have a good team to go over your business, so you should, too.

3. Coping with Change
Rapidly changing technology, increasing globalization and other business trends can prove too much for some business owners. Keep your eyes trained three or four years down the road, and if you don’t believe you can keep up, sell before your failure to adapt catches up with you.

4. Diversification
Can the business thrive without the owner or without a key customer? If a buyer is concerned that a business is too dependent on the owner or a single customer, he may take his offer elsewhere. "A good business can operate when the owner is on vacation and has good revenue diversification, where no one customer represents more than five percent of the business.

5. Valuation
An incorrect valuation is often the main reason businesses don’t sell. If your price is too high, buyers don't take you seriously and won't bother to investigate further. If it is too low you will leave something on the table. Most sellers don't know the value of their business. Ask a broker, get a valuation. Ask an intermediary that is experienced in selling your type of business. Having a firm idea of what you would like to achieve is ideal but keep it within reason.

I hope these few thoughts help clarify some of the key factors that can help you maximize the potential return if you sell your business. Please let me know your thoughts. Gerry@polarisgroupmc.com

Monday, September 18, 2017

Business Management Issues

Issues Facing Small Business




There are a variety of issues facing new and growing businesses. 

Here are a few to owners should be aware of to ensure growth continues.





1.Cash
Finding it and managing the cash flow. It’s hard to get and there is never enough. If you are a fast growth company you can rapidly outgrow your available sources, if you are an underperforming company you can’t get it. The majority of companies don’t manage it well.
Most businesses experience some problems getting paid on time by their customers and with debt recovery. Good credit control helps to prevent this becoming a serious problem.

 2.Lack of a Clear Plan
Most 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 revising your plan according to changing economic and business conditions and to ensure your survival in weaker economies.

3.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.

4.Prioritizing Activity
To help you determine what needs to be done immediately and what can be tackled later, ask yourself questions such as: "How much time do I have to make this decision, contact this person, or complete this assignment?"


5.Owners capacity for stress
Start with the most worrisome task; this will reduce your anxiety and stress levels for the next tasks and in many cases improve your performance. Take breaks if you feel you are about to overload. Even a short period away from the desk is effective.


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. gerry@polarisgroupmc.com







Monday, August 14, 2017

Business Management

Key Growth Strategies



Turning a small business into a big one is never easy. The statistics are grim. In other words, most businesses start small and stay there.

But if that's not good enough for you—or if you recognize that staying small doesn't necessarily guarantee your business's survival what follows are some options that can help you create a growth strategy of your own.

Internal Growth

Market Penetration. This is the least risky option of selling more products to current customers. Find new ways for customers to use your products.
Market Development. Develop ways to sell product to an adjacent market by expanding to another city or province.
New Distribution Channel. You may expand by offering product on line.
Product Development. The classic growth strategy offers new products to existing and new customers.

Integration

Horizontal. This strategy could involve buying a competitor. This not only adds to growth of your business but eliminates a competitor.
Backward. This involves buying a supplier and in addition to growth provides increased control of the supply chain.
Forward. If appropriate you could buy a component of your supply or distribution chain. This provides increased overall margin through profits at each level of product sales.

Diversification
This involves growing the company by buying another company in a sector unrelated to your business. This can be risky and certainly requires an understanding of the new market place.

Growth strategies are never pursued in a vacuum, and a company needs to be willing to change course in response to feedback from the market. Too often, companies take a year to develop a strategy and, by the time they're ready to implement it, the market has changed on them.

The marketplace generally rewards those with agility, decisiveness and ability to capitalize when opportunities are presented.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Business Management

Make Better Business Decisions




Making a decision is one of the most powerful acts for inspiring confidence in leaders and managers. Yet many bosses are sometimes squeamish about it. Some decide not to decide, while others simply procrastinate. Either way, it's typically a cop-out -- and doesn't exactly encourage inspiration in the ranks.

It can help to learn how to make better decisions. You'll be viewed as a better leader and get better results overall. Here are five tips for making quicker, more calculated decisions:


1. Stop seeking perfection. Many great leaders would prefer a project or report be delivered only 80% complete a few hours early than 100% complete five minutes late. Moral of the story: Don't wait for everything to be perfect. Instead of seeking the impossible, efficient decision makers tend to leap without all the answers.

2. Create a constructive environment. For successful decision making, make sure you establish an objective, involve stakeholders, hear others opinions, and ask the right questions.

3. Generate Good Alternatives. This step is still critical to making an effective decision. The more good options you consider the more comprehensive your final decision will be. When you generate alternatives, you force yourself to dig deeper, and look at the problem from different angles. If you use the mindset ‘there must be other solutions out there,' you're more likely to make the best decision possible.

4. Don't problem solve, decide. A decision can solve a problem, but not every problem can be solved by making a decision. Instead, decision making often relies more on intuition than analysis. Deciding between vendors, for instance, requires examining historical data, references and prices. But the tipping point often rests with your gut. Which feels like the right choice?

5. Communicate Your Decision, and Move to Action! Once you've made your decision, it's important to explain it to those affected by it, and involved in implementing it. Talk about why you chose the alternative you did. The more information you provide about risks and projected benefits, the more likely people are to support the decision.
An organized and systematic decision-making process usually leads to better decisions. Without a well-defined process, you risk making decisions that are based on insufficient information and analysis. Many variables affect the final impact of your decision.