Contributing to our position as Australia’s premium Financial Risk Management resource, our management globally explores and surveys relevant and valuable articles published by respected professionals, academics and organisation. The articles offered here are suggested reading for any Business Owner and Financial Risk Management professional.
7 Jun 2015
Thank you is so easy to say and the effect lingers long after it is expressed in gratitude. However many people forget to say thank you.
We live in a fast paced world, crowded with people, noise, and information. Therefore how do we stand out in such a world so that people want to do business with you? Saying thank you is one of the few actions we can take and costs so little.
Jeffrey Slater provides a nice story on the value of saying thank you through his story.
If you have forgotten how to say thank you, why not read Jeffrey's article and try it yourself?
20 Apr 2015
How many times do we receive a poorly framed sales call, which is nothing more than a prospecting contact which annoys the hell out of you? Unfortunately it happens far too often.
The problem in business today, is that sales people are often employed for their willingness to try anything to get a sale, rather than for their sales professionalism.
Regretfully we also see this practice currently occurring in other work professions. However I transgress.
Returning back to Greg's article, regrettably many non-professional salespeople and other salespeople who are desperate for work, no longer seem to understand the difference between the two types of contact. Therefore it may be interesting to ask a salesperson, "Are you prospecting or are you making a noise in the hope of making a sale?" I respectfully suggest, many salespeople would be unable to answer this question with confidence.
You may have salespeople within your firm who can fill one of these roles successfully at the moment, but not both. To add value to your existing salesforce therefore, assisting them to be successful in both roles would seem to be advantageous. If you are looking to review your work practices and to have your salespeople act more professionally, I suggest Greg's article is one source worth reading.
PS: As an example of the difference between a sales prospector and a salesperson, I have a friend who is a fantastic sales and business prospector. Sadly, I would not trust my friend to represent any company as a salesperson.
13 Apr 2015
Colin Porter highlights a number of issues in relation to what you say in your emails.
It is always wise to remember what you put in writing maybe used against you if the email is seem by other parties other than the intended recipient. This possibility is always a possibility if you are involved in any legal action.
We are always surprised when we stories in the media on what was said in emails when they are leaked by disgruntled people or in discovered in the event of any legal action.
Colin also provides additional information in his second blog - Business emails: Legal matters (Part 2)
If you do not have a policy or have taken the time to review how you write emails of late, I suggest these articles are worth reading. However before preparing any policy and procedures, please ensure professional advice is sought to assist in your particular situation. This action will assist in preparing the right policy for your business.
7 Apr 2015
Occasionally, despite your best intentions, there is bad press levelled against your brand and your business.
Sue discusses concepts to be considered when these events occur. These concepts include addressing the matter as quickly as possible, completing a review of the situation, being honest and having a plan for when such situations do arise. Even if you believe the situation is minor, always treat the matter with respect because the issue is always important to the person raising the issue.
Therefore three key concepts stand out in Sue's blog as follows.
1 Don't panic but confront the issue with an acknowledgement and carefully with a honest reply.
2 In order to reduce the effect of the bad news, prepare a plan of action.
3 If you feel overwhelmed, seek professional help.
In today's world, bad press at some stage is almost inevitable. With the advent of social media, bad news travels faster than an out of control bushfire. Therefore doing nothing is not an option these days. Follow through properly with any bad press and you will create a stronger brand.
11 Mar 2015
The eleven secrets which should be considered when building a successful website according to Ron Stark could also be considered in building your own business. People about to start a business, or those wishing to re-evaluate their business, are advised to complete a business plan.
Aspects of all business plans contain similar topics as those covered in Ron's list. The benefit in using this list of topics as part of your review is the language used. Ron uses topic headings which look less threatening to people not familiar with business and accounting terms and the issues of creating a business plan.
Many people enter the business world believing once they have created the business, nothing much changes. Unfortunately for these individuals, yesterday's business model, does not always survive over the long-term. Whilst the original business model might have been successful, that model may no longer be suitable for the current business environment.
Irrespective of whether you are a newcomer or an experienced business person, evaluating your business from time to time, is part of doing business. If a business plan is perceived to be too big a challenge, perhaps using this list of 11 secrets is another way of undertaking the task. Ron says of websites, "A successful website is one that delivers what you expect of it." Therefore it may be a useful exercise for you to ask yourself periodically "Does my business deliver what I want?"
If your business is not delivering according to your expectations, it would seem to be a wise decision to complete a review using the 11 secrets as a guide or a fresh business plan.
17 Feb 2015
One of the reasons you might not get paid as quickly as possible is because you failed to complete your invoice(s) properly. When your invoice is incomplete, it provides another good excuse for your customer to hold back payment.
Colin's article highlights the key criteria which need to be completed before sending out your invoices. In addition, as Colin also helpfully points out, create a process to ensure your invoice is completed properly. This process can then be employed to train your existing staff and any new staff appointed to the task.
Ensuring your invoice(s) are completed properly, removes one key reason the customer cannot use for not paying you on time.
9 Jan 2015
If your business completes projects on a regular basis, you will probably already be aware of the importance of taking out an insurance policy on the major projects.
On the other hand, if you are a business owner or manager with little experience of the possible pitfalls of projects, you may not have thought of taking out an insurance policy for your next project. After all, not all projects are equal and many include significant risks for the unwary.
This blog raises a number of issues associated with projects which are worth considering. For instance, the importance of seeking professional assistance in understanding the terms of conditions of the contract associated with the project.
If you are inexperienced with the risks which may occur when planning your next project, this blog is worth a read as a starting place to begin the process of understanding project risk. You would also be wise to consider the benefits of obtaining insurance if there is any possibility of a material loss if the project does not go to plan.
21 Oct 2014
The point of entering a trading relationship with a customer is to make a profit. Unfortunately, too many business people are seduced by the concept of raising an invoice. Therefore when a new customer comes along they too often think of raising an invoice, not the nature of the future relationship and whether a profit will result.
However as Jacqui James points out, not all customers lead to a profitable trading relationship. Jacqui's list of what makes a good customer combined with her second list of what makes a bad customer, are therefore worth reviewing. You will be surprised how valid these lists are when you study the behaviour of your own customers.
I heard a quote many years ago which said "every mistake is a fruitful learning opportunity". Therefore I do like Jacqui's comment of "Even a bad client turns out to be a good client. They teach you what it is you don't need."
The fact is, despite our best efforts, we all still get caught with an occasional bad client. When this happens, it is a good reminder; not all customers will add value to our business. However, these bad clients also teach us something more about our business process, if we take a positive perspective.
If you are interested in doing good business with the right type of customer, I suggest Jacqui's article is worth a read.
24 Aug 2014
Many years ago, when I first became involved with lending and advancing credit, I was advised that a reasonable level of bad debt write offs, was sign that you had maximise selling and profit opportunities. This case was put to me during my years involved with both consumer and business to business lending.
An open slather policy on advancing credit, is usually a good way of going broke and is not advocated. However a balanced approach about why you are in business, what it takes to succeed and how you should extend credit are questions should lead you to understanding why a level of bad debts is not always a sign of a business in trouble.
Therefore Dean Kaplan's article raises a valuable business question; "Is your credit policy costing you money?"
On that basis, Dean's article is worth reading as start for re-evaluating your credit policy and or learning about advancing credit.
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