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.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Business Start-up

Avoid those killer start-up errors



Are you planning to start a new business?  There are many hazards that might be faced and avoiding these can help improve the chances of success.

Here a few hazards new entrepreneurs should try to avoid.


1. Under financing: lack of sufficient funding is probably the most common reason new businesses fail. Many entrepreneurs fail to assess the burn rate of the capital they have. One costly step is hiring too many people. Try paying people with equity rather than salary, you will end up with a much more committed team and preserve cash. Don’t overspend on equipment and technology you really don’t need to get going.
Also, many start-ups fail to realize that few customers pay promptly; this can severely impact cash flow.

2. Starting without a plan: enthusiasm over a good idea is over-rated. An idea is only an idea and without a well-developed business plan chances of success are minimal. It is also very difficult if not impossible to raise financing without a plan.

3. Fear of Failing
It is natural to have some fear that the business will not succeed and certainly problems will arise and challenge your business acumen. However, if the concept is strong and validated you should not let fear of failing stop you from trying to live your dream.

4. Inflexibility: with start-ups you have to be prepared to change on the go. Rarely does the plan get executed without a hitch. Marketplace dynamics, competitive behaviour and economic conditions can dramatically impact the plan. Ability to react and change plans may be a key to survival.

5. Assess your Strengths/Weaknesses: an honest evaluation of your skillset can be critical. Look for partners who my share the burdens of start-up by supplementing the skills you lack. Focus on your strengths and let others fill the void of skills you need. Chances for success will improve.

These are some hazards you may face in starting a business. There are others but avoiding these may help improve your chances of a successful start in business. I hope this helps you get underway. Let me know.
gerry@polarisgroupmc.com

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Business Management

Are you a Procrastinator?



Think the time you spend answering e-mail, composing IMs, 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 usually gets bigger leading to more stress and possibly more procrastination.

2. Focus.
Reduce the issue to small tasks and work in short bursts to complete each portion. This focused activity for short periods allows you to get the feel for accomplishment. It gets you started.

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

5. Plan.
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.

JUST DO IT.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Business Management

Make Better Decisions




Decision-making is a crucial part of good business. The question then is ‘how is a good decision made? One part of the answer is good information, another part is experience in interpreting information.


Managers can be trained to make better decisions. They also need a supportive environment where they won’t be unfairly criticised for making wrong decisions. A climate of criticism and fear stifles risk-taking and creativity; managers will respond by ‘playing it safe’ to minimise the risk of criticism which diminishes the business’ effectiveness.
Decision-making increasingly happens at all levels of a business. The Board of Directors may make the strategic decisions about investment and direction of future growth. Managers may make the more tactical decisions about how they may contribute most effectively to the overall business objectives. But employees are increasingly expected to make decisions about the conduct of their own tasks and responses to customers. As a result careful recruitment and selection, good training, and enlightened management are important supports to good decision making.

How do you make the best possible decisions, knowing they will have an impact on your company's future?

There are strategies you can use to hone your decision-making skills.  Making better, faster decisions will help you take advantage of business opportunities.
1. Review the problem/decision in a broad context to include as many perspectives as possible. But don’t procrastinate just to get another opinion.

2. Make decisions as much as possible on facts rather than emotion. It is good to challenge your gut instincts; use objective data to reinforce decisions.

3. Don’t hesitate to challenge the status quo. Staying in your comfort zone in order to be comfortable may lead you on the same path. Change does not necessarily take more effort.

4. Be open to others opinion but trust your own ability and ability of employees to make a well-reasoned decision.

5. Recognize that some constraints may influence the decision; financial constraints, practicality, and lack of resources to implement the decision may influence the path taken.

Decisions are not taken in isolation and the effects of any decision will depend on reactions of others. Competitive behaviour should be anticipated and can influence choices. In the end, the review process needs to be completed with minimum delays and decisions finalized. Respect for action taken with a firm unwavering approach or allowing responsible employees to decide will earn respect from the organization.
I hope this helps improve your decision making in the business. Please let me know your thoughts.
gerry@polarisgroupmc.com



Sunday, May 7, 2017

Business Valuation

Maximize your business value


If you’re seriously evaluating your exit strategy, managing the process through a professional may help. Having a third party involved to represent your firm often lends credence by serving as an indication that you're serious about selling.
Depending on your size, you may choose a business brokerage or an investment bank. Both help you accurately gauge market interest, bring potential buyers to the table and create a bidding process to get you the best offer.
In addition, such an intermediary will be able to guide you through the process – from signing a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) with a prospective buyer to help in structuring a transaction.
When preparing for sale here are some thoughts to consider for maximizing the value of your business.
1. Get Your Books in Order: Financial statements are the best indicator of the future performance of a business. Buyers evaluating your company will generally require at least three years' worth of financial information. The more formal your statements (accountant-reviewed or -prepared vs. internally generated), the better the impression you'll make and the easier the due diligence for a buyer. Audited financial statements are ideal. Having a top-notch business plan to accompany your financials will increase your credibility with potential buyers.

2. Grow Your Business to Sell It: It is always easier to sell a business whose sales are growing than one in a downward trend or even flat. Buyers generally want to invest in a company that will provide them with a good return, so they’re willing to pay more for a business that has a positive trend and outlook.

3. Valuing Your Business – Taking Intangible Assets Into Account: When pricing your business for sale, intangible assets – such as people, knowledge and market position – can be even more important than tangible property. Customer awareness that underpins a prominent position within the market is a key ingredient in many companies’ success. A strong brand and a loyal customer base can be distinct assets. Other distinct intangible assets include copyrights or trademarks that let a business sell its products for a higher price or in greater quantity than its competition

4. Get a Business Valuation: A professional valuation will give you a basis for gauging offers. It will give you an idea of what you can expect to net from the sale. It will also tell you your company's market position, financial situation, strengths and weaknesses (which you can address prior to putting it on the market). Valuations can be obtained from a number of sources, ranging from local accounting firms to business brokers and investment banking firms. In this area, Capital Assist (Valuation) Inc, headed by Federica Nazzani is an excellent option.

5. Concentrate on Core Competency: A company with a strong focus around a core business generally tends to be more appealing to a buyer than a company going many different directions. Make sure that the focus of all members of the management team is aligned in this direction and that your firm’s products and services add to the value of your core business.

6. Plan for Management Succession: If you're absolutely vital to your business, who will a buyer be able to turn to for help running things after you leave? Efforts should be made to gradually delegate key responsibilities to various members of the senior management team. A buyer's primary concern is that the business can operate successfully in the absence of the current executive.
In addition, review your incorporation papers, permits and licensing agreements. Make a good first impression. Insure that when prospective buyers visit, they see an orderly operation instead of one that is chaotic. And no matter what, keep your eye on the ball. Don't let your business performance decline because you're too focused on the sale. This will only give buyers additional negotiating power to lower their offers.

I hope these tips support your efforts to maximize your business value.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Business Management

Do you Have an Effective Business Plan?

Business Plans are a useful tool in managing and growing the business. The complexity of the plan varies with the size and nature of the business but here are a few ideas to improve your plan and areas of focus.





1. Don’t delay.
Too many business owners only create a plan when banks or investors insist on it. Find the time even if you are too busy getting things done. The busier you are the more you need a plan. Don’t spend all the time just putting out fires; the entire business may be lost if you focus on one burning issue.

2. Shorten the planning horizon. With the speed of change today the 5 year plan has become obsolete. Shorten the timeline to 3 years. 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.

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

4. Be Cash Flow sensitivity.
Most business owners seem to focus on profits instead of cash. The reality is that businesses spend cash to operate, not profits. Understanding cash flow is critical. If you only get one report to manage the business make sure it is a cash flow chart.

5. Support a strategic exit
Finally, at some point, the owners of the firm may decide it is time to exit. Considering the likely exit strategy in advance can help inform and direct present day decisions. The aim is to liquidate the investment, so the owner/current investors have the option of cashing out when they want.
Common exit strategies include;
Initial Public Offering of stock (IPO’s)
Acquisition by competitors
Mergers
Family succession
Management buy-outs


Investment decisions can be taken in the present with one eye on the future via a well-thought-out business plan. Given that valuing firms is notoriously difficult and subjective, a well-written plan will clearly highlight the opportunity for the incoming investors, the value of it and increase the likelihood of a successful exit by the current owner.

Thanks for your interest. Let me know your thoughts. gerry@polarisgroupmc.com

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Business Growth

Benefits of Networking





As an entrepreneur, networking is a key activity that is not only fun, but critical to your personal growth and business development.
Small business is all about networking, building relationships and taking action.
Building a successful business takes a lot of time and drive, so it’s good to have a network of friends and associates to draw energy from and keep you going.

Here are some of the key benefits of expanding your networking activity:
1. Shared Knowledge
Networking is great for sharing ideas and knowledge. Whether it’s asking for feedback or discussing your point of view, it will help you expand your knowledge and allow you to see things from another perspective.

2. New Opportunities
It’s natural that networking will result in opportunities. The thing you will not know is when or how they will materialize. Whether it’s a referral, offer partnership or request for your service or product, it is important to be ready to seize opportunities when they come along.

3. Connections
Remember you are not just gaining exposure to the people in the room, you are building connections with their network too. If someone they know has a need that matches your business, if you have made an impression, you will likely get a referral.

4. Raising your profile
Being visible and getting noticed is a big benefit of networking. By regularly attending business and social events, people will begin to recognize you. This can you help to build your reputation as a knowledgeable, reliable and supportive person by offering useful information or tips to people who need it.

5. Friendship
This one is more personal related rather than business related, but is a big benefit none-the-less. Many friendships form as a result of networking because you are all like-minded business owners that want to grow your businesses, and you meet and help each other regularly, so naturally strong friendships tend to form. Some of my strongest friendships have been started from networking.

I trust this was of interest and helps remind you of the benefits of reaching out to others as part of your growth strategy. One never knows where the next great idea may originate.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Business Management

Leadership – How do you stack up?



Great leaders may sometimes be born that way, there are certain traits that great leaders share in common that anyone can practice and adopt to become more effective.
What qualities are those? Well, to be a highly effective leader, you must ...


1. Inspire Action
Paint a vision of the future that inspires your people to do whatever it takes to get there. The best leaders also remove organizational roadblocks that constrain employees’ natural creativity and initiative.

2. Be optimistic
We all want to work with and for people who lift us up into the clouds instead of dragging us down into the mud. Make sure to seek out the positives in your people, helping them overcome their own feelings of self-doubt and spreading optimism throughout your organization.

3. Have integrity.
The top thing that employees want from their leaders is integrity. Be honest, fair, candid and forthright, and treat everyone in the same way that you yourself would want to be treated.

4. Have Confidence
Highly effective leaders know deep down inside that they and their team can accomplish anything they set their minds to. Failure is not an option. Tentative leaders make for tentative employees. If you’re confident, your people will be too.

5. Communicate
In any organization, knowledge is power, and great leaders ensure that every employee, from the very top to the very bottom of the org chart, is provided with complete and up-to-date information about the organization’s goals, performance, successes and failures. To achieve this level of connection, you should also provide ample channels for two-way communication between employees and managers, actively soliciting their ideas for improvement and rewarding employees for submitting them.

6. Be Decisive
One of the most basic duties of any leader is to make decisions. Highly effective leaders aren’t afraid to be decisive and to make tough calls quickly when circumstances require it. Once you have all the information you need to make an informed decision, then don’t hesitate--make it. And once you make a decision, then stick with it unless there is a particularly compelling reason for you to change it.

No matter what type of organization or industry you're in, it's possible to become a more effective leader, inspiring your people to give their very best every day of the week. I hope these ideas provide insight into ways to improve this facet of managing. Please let me know your thoughts. gerry@polarisgroupmc.com

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Business Management

Great NEW Branding Tips

In this week’s blog I am happy to endorse a series of books authored by one of my associates,
Ed Roach, a person for whom I have a great deal of respect in the Brand building business.
I recommend it to any business organization looking for a fresh approach to reviewing and renewing their brand.
You won’t be disappointed by taking the time to get a copy.
 
Branding Expert Releases Third Book in a series providing the reader with valuable tips they can use right now!




These books are packed with straight forward no B.S. branding wisdom bundled to easily steer any business in a positive direction.

 “101 Branding Tips,” “101 MORE Branding Tips,” and  “101 More Branding Tips AGAIN,” offer a wealth of practical advice that small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) can immediately use in the branding of their business.

 The books are  different in that they focuses their attention entirely on small to medium size enterprises.

If you’d like a copy email Ed directly for more information.

ed@thebrandingexperts.ca



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