Sunday, January 26, 2014

Managing Change

Managing change in an organization is crucial if the business is to move forward with adapting any new structure or shift in business focus needed to realize its goals of growth and profit improvement.

Here are a few thoughts on areas management needs to focus on to implement and manage change in the organization.

1. Responsibility. 
Clearly management and communication of change rests at the senior levels of the organization. Employees have the responsibility to try and accept and help implement changes.

2. Involvement. 
Management should involve employees in the changes – it is never a good idea to just impose change from the top. Employees want to understand how they are impacted.

3. Understand.
Knowing where the organization is and understanding where you want to be at a specific time, why, and what steps are needed to achieve the goal are all critical steps.

4. Plan.
The organization must develop a plan that is achievable if management is going to be credible. The plan should set out stages for implementing change in phases that are not only achievable but measureable.

5. Communicate
This stage cannot be overly stressed. Clear communication of objectives, involvement of staff at the early stages, and empowering them will facilitate involvement and buy in for the company.

It is obvious to most business owners that people matter. Sometimes however the organization gets lost in plans and processes rather than facing the difficult and more important people issues. Making the initial steps to involve the entire organization starting at the top will help achieve success.

I’m always happy to hear your thoughts.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Increase your business value

This is a key issue if you intend to sell your business, but at any time, business owners should look for ways to maximize the value of their business.
Here are some steps that may help achieve that goal.

1. Get professional advice.
Maximizing the value of your business may be enhanced with advice from an outside professional whether you are preparing to sell or just interested in improving your profits.

2. Improve profits.
If the business is only breaking even it is unlikely the owner will receive a high offer when selling. Cash should be retained and re-invested in the business. This will strengthen the balance sheet and the health of the business.

3. Lower costs.
As sales grow look for ways to improve operations. Continue review of ways to improve processes and to renew equipment; if this is not a continuing plan, the business will lose value.

4. Plan.
A formal plan that includes well developed goals for the future will add credibility to any outsider considering the purchase of the business.

5. Differentiate.
Showcase your business to show how your product/service differs from competition. Sometimes testimonials from key customers help you stand out and demonstrates business stability.

Some of these steps may help build a stronger, more stable and valuable business.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Need Coaching?

As a business grows owners may be in a position of managing more and more areas of the business that they are less familiar with. The owner’s original background may be manufacturing but now oversees finance, sales and HR issues.

An experienced business advisor may help develop these skills and improve decision making as the business grows.

Here are a few examples of situations where a coach may help:

1. Development of managerial skills for owners or senior managers.

2. Refocusing management to a strategic vision and plan.

3. An objective business performance review of results against planned objectives.

4. Improving operations by reviewing decision making processes and staff communications.

An independent coach can facilitate change with some of these issues if the environment welcomes an outside, fresh perspective. If the process is not welcomed by all participants the results will be more than counterproductive so owners should proceed carefully to ensure success.

I hope these ideas are helpful. Let me know your thoughts:

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Managements Tips

It is not easy to manage a small business but here are a few tips that may help as reminders of key elements to think about to enhance success:

1. Prioritize Planning
Owners of make key decisions in the heat of the battle without a definite plan. This is especially important if the business is growing fast. A plan that outlines your current position in the market, your longer range goals, and potential roadblocks will help avoid potential disasters.

2. Monitor Competition
No matter the level of success, owners should be aware of competitor’s activity, strengths and weaknesses. Work to find ways to differentiate.

3. Grow with your Customers
Do not become too dependent on a few customers. Work closely with customers to exploit their needs but also expand the customer base to minimize risk of business loss if a key customer is lost.

4. Manage Margins
Growing the top line is nice but growing the bottom line is better. If a product or service is unprofitable it should be eliminated if possible.

5. Plan cash Flow
Owners should be keenly aware of cash flow and should not delegate cash flow management to an outside accountant. Track flow of cash in and out so you know your daily needs and can respond quickly to the marketplace if necessary.

These are just a few ideas that may merit consideration and I hope they are useful in helping owners manage their business. Let me have your thoughts.