Monday, April 29, 2013

Business Management

Need a tip with Time Management

Time is one of the resources business managers have that is scarce, cannot be replaced once spent, and it cannot be borrowed or purchased. Here are a few tips to help manage it.
1. Plan your day. Before starting the day, schedule your activity including your own time for high priority thoughts and activity to grow the business. Schedule some time for interruptions that are bound to happen.
2. Take time. Before making calls take 5 minutes to determine what results you expect to attain and review results after to see if the goal was achieved.
3. Calls and email. Try not answering the phone every time it rings or reading an email just because it shows up. Few issues in business require an instant answer and you will be more efficient if you schedule time to return calls and email inquiries.
4. Plan the unexpected. It is inevitable that the unexpected will occur so leave open time in the morning and afternoon schedule to deal with “fires”.
5. Plan Strategic time. Plan ahead for weekly, monthly, and quarterly business reviews. It is important to continuously review and understand the business issues and if you fail to block off time some emergency may pre-empt the time and your plan will be postponed or eliminated. 
6. Downtime. Casual time over lunch can be useful for strengthening relations with employees, customers and suppliers. Use that time judiciously.

Remember that it is difficult to get everything done and bet results are achieved from those priority activities that are the focus of the business and future growth.
Thanks for allowing me to share your time with these tips.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Business Strategy

Strategic planning vs strategic thinking

Conventional thinking suggests all businesses should develop strategic plans and business plans to help direct the business and facilitate successful growth.
However there may be instances where strategic planning may be inappropriate for some small companies. Here are some reasons that may be the case and alternative action these companies may take.
- Time. There may be conditions that exist that do not allow management to take the time to invest in days of planning.
- Cost. The company may not have the financing to support engaging professional help and more important may not be able to take key executives like sales managers away from the jobs as it could impact revenue generation.
- Change. Smaller companies could be in an environment where change is needed frequently and long term strategies are inappropriate.

The option in this environment is for companies to adapt Strategic Thinking. Fast growing companies need to take advantage of challenges and opportunities and turn their size into an advantage.

- Plan informally on the go. All big ideas don’t have to come from formal strategy planning offsite. Quick huddles with key team members to examine key issues are effective.
- Challenge. Brainstorm to ask “why not” when faced with the inevitable “that won’t work”. Test whether initial negative positions are really valid.
- Make small bets. Large companies with major investments at stake may do exhaustive analysis before acting. Smaller companies can develop and test new potential strategies by making smaller bets by discussing an idea with a customer before the item is built, seeking out a potential supplier that is trustworthy, or discussing the idea with another person with expertise in the area.

These are some options available for strategic planning; the important issue is to make the process fit your organization. Be sure to take some action, sitting on the sidelines while competition takes the business should not be an option.
Let me hear your thoughts.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Business Performance

Do you Have A High Performing Organization?

Organizations that consistently outperform most of its competitors have a number of common characteristics. Managers use lessons that have allowed them to succeed individually within their organization to achieve similar strong results.
Here are some of these winning characteristics:
1. Strategies:
Business strategies are more consistently clear and well thought out.

2. Customer Service:
Service exceeds customers’ expectations in providing value and satisfies current and long term needs.

3. Ethics
Winners are more likely to adhere to high ethical standards throughout the organization.

4. Employee orientation
Managers in these organizations promote the best talent, ensure performance expectations are clear and promote strong team efforts. Training is also a priority.

These are just a few elements that identify high performing organizations. Clearly these winners also continue to strive for continuous improvement. This passion for improvement helps keep their organization at the top.

Do you have thoughts? Please let me know.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Business Plans

Do you have an effective business plan?

Developing a great business plan does not guarantee success but it can increase the odds. A strong business plan helps ensure that the management team has common goals and provides support to the feasibility of achieving goals established.

Here are some elements that are key to developing an effective plan.

The plan needs a concise Executive Summary. In two pages the plan should communicate what the business does and how it will make money, and why customers want the product or service.

A definition of the Market Opportunity. Define the size and potential growth of the market. Define opportunities and threats with definitions of how they will be resolved. Know the competition and how to capitalize against their weaknesses.

An outline of the Organization Structure. This is a key element for investors, suppliers and customers. The strength of the management team is important as it establishes the stability of the business and how well managed it is. Financial partners like banks are keen to know how well finances are handled if they are to risk loans for operating funds.

Financials. The projections of revenues, expenses, and most importantly, cash flows are perhaps the most important element of the plan. Past performance establishes bench marks for future projections and provides the credibility for expected performance that may be forecasted. Three year forward forecasts are a must and should include income statements, balance sheets and cash flow projections. This will provide the basics to calculate breakeven analysis to ensure investments for growth are covered.
These are key ingredients to a business plan and certainly additional details for sales and marketing are often added to expand on content.

I hope this provides some guidance to the needs for your business plans; please let me know your thoughts.



Monday, April 1, 2013

Business Success

New 5 C’s for Business


Contribution, Conviction, Culture, Commitment, Confidence


These 5 C’s act together in a business and support each other.  When one starts to become affected, the others may also become unstable.  This can affect the overall performance of the business. When employees have high levels of all the 5Cs, then they'll perform at their best whatever happens.


1. Contribution.
This is derived from the core work activities. It is important to have clear goals, striving to attain them and having management support to deal with issues that might prevent you meeting your objectives. Employees do best when they feel appreciated and valued by management and colleagues. So it’s not just about delivering: it’s about doing that within collaborative working relationships too.

2. Conviction.
This is expressed in short-term motivation both in good times and bad. The company benefits from employees who keep going even when things get tough, and maintain energy, motivation and resources that allow them to pull you through.The key to doing this is feeling resilient, efficient and effective. Employees are much more resilient than many managers realize and are often committed to dealing with problems faced in the job.

3. Culture.
Performance and happiness at work are really high when employees feel they fit within their organizational culture. Not fitting in is hugely draining and de-energizing. If you’re in the wrong job, you’ll find that the values mean little to you or political and you don’t have much in common with your colleagues.  

4. Commitment.
Employee commitment is important because it underlies the reasons of why you work. It is key that employees perceive they are doing something worthwhile, have a strong intrinsic interest in the job and feel that the vision of your organization resonates with them.

5. Confidence.
Confidence is the pathway leading to the other four drivers. If confidence is lacking in employees performance suffers. Too much leads to arrogance and sometimes poor decisions. Self-confidence with employees will produce employees who will take a risk or try new approaches to work. Confident organizations are a product of confident individuals treated with respect by management.

Management can support these elements by showing trust in employees, and recognizing good performance. This will instill pride in the organization and enhance the opportunity of success.