Monday, May 22, 2006

Carnival Of Business #5

Welcome to the 5th edition of The Carnival of Business. With this edition comes many great articles, along with each article I have posted a little comment to help describe what it covers. Next weeks host is debt hater, to submit an article for next week swing by the official Carnival of Business website and then go to Blog Carnival to submit.

Top Three Posts
I wanted to highlight three of my favourate posts, although all articles were fantastic these three stood out for me.

Title: Being Bold
Posted at:
Career Intensity Blog - David V. Lorenzo
Another fantastic post here about being bold, although not directly focused towards business this statement of "being bold" is key to success in the business world. Dave hits the nail on the head (sorry for the cliche) on several points here, this is a must read.

Title: Blah, It's Monday
Posted at: Dr. Deborah Serani
This is an absolute pearl of a post, it's one I can almost guarantee you will all be able to relate with. Dr. Deborah Serani gives some great tips about beating the Monday Blues, don't forget to read the mass of comments and a few additional tips Deborah gives.

Title: Meetings and Dominance Rituals: Implications for Corporate Governance
Posted at:
Professor Bainbridge
This is a great post on how the humans natural "dominance" instinct effects the way meetings are held and can make them rather inefficient. Stephen discusses the need to set an order of hierarchy or nominating a chairman before the meeting begins to create a productive meeting.

Customer related articles

Title: What Does Client-Centricity Really Mean?
Posted at:
David Maister's Passion, People and Principles
In this article David explains what Client-Focus really means and how most businesses, although they claim to have it, don't actually know what it means. David also has a great list so that you can judge your own company on how good they are with their client focus.

Title: The Lifetime Value of a Customer, A Strategic Prospective
Posted at: Jack Yoest
Jack tells us the importance of keeping the customers happy and the value of doing so. He has an interesting case study of the Ritz group.

Title: Give Your Customers Something To Believe
Posted at: Jim Logan
Jim has quickly listed a number of useful ways we can prove to our potential customers we are the right ones for the job.

Managment related articles

Title: Do you dare to Dream the impossible dream?
Posted at:
Todd has written a nice little article on great management spotting problems before people realize they are problems. Read the post to the end and you will find a humorous but very clever solution to a payphone problem.

Title: Too Much of a Good Thing
Posted at: The Scratching Post
K T Cat explains how his firm is now having to use 6 different management techniques. He describes how it takes time and practice to become good at using a scroll saw and that it is the same in business management.

Entrepreneural related articles

Title: Entrepreneurship is Not for the Faint of Heart It is a Vocation & a Lifestyle
Posted at:
Emmanuel Oluwatosin: Inspiring Excellencerealizingng Ambitions
Emmanuel reminds us of the harsh reality of being an Entrepreneur in the modern world and tells us of the key ways to survive in this fast moving environment.

Start-up Business related articles

Title: Simple Steps to Start Business
Posted at: Journey To Financial Freedom
A top little post with three basic steps you should take when thinking about taking the plunge into the world of self employment. Harrison also offers an alternative approach to achieving financial freedom without setting up a business.

Title: How to Build a Million Dollar Business
Posted at: Million Dollar Leverage - Dave Navarro's Coaching Blog
Dave has some advice on having the right attitude towards making a million dollar business. In this post there is a pop quiz to test the chances of our success and some tips on how to improve your chances of success.

General business articles

Equity Markets: Crunched by Deteriorating Liquidity?
Posted at:
Capital Chronicle
RJH discusses the mass of gnashing teeth regarding evaporating liquidity. He makes some very good points using graphs to help him describe the issues.

A Nice Problem To Have (CTSH)
Posted at: Stock Market Beat
Trent discusses the amazing growth of Cognizant Technology Solutions, the benefits and the risk factor of the continual growth.

Title: Diversifying Your Income Stream as a Safety Net
Posted at:
Freelance Writing for Nonprofits
This is a useful little article which reminds us that when self employed it is vital we don't rely too heavily on one income source. Kivi explains how she diversified her income sources and explains them to us.

There will be a few more articles to come as I have posted it quite early, you can expect these shortly. Thanks to everyone who took the time out to post an article, I have learned a lot this week.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Writing a business plan, needed or not?

There are literally hundreds of business websites out there with advice, tips and methods to setting up your business and there is one thing you can guarantee each one of them has on. Writing a Business plan, they will all recommend you make a detailed business plan before you even begin doing anything (well, after doing the market research). They will give you tips, advice and examples of business plans and explain that without a business plan you will find it hard to succeed.

Now if you need to borrow money from the bank to set up your business then there is no doubting that you need a very thorough business plan set out in such a way that anyone can understand it. However, what if you don't need to borrow money, what if you have a clear idea in your head about what you are going to do, have other businesses made a success despite not having a business plan together.

Let me just set the record straight, I think it is key to have a business plan and a strong idea about where you will be going short, medium and long term, however, I do not feel it necessary if you are not borrowing from the bank to have a detailed written plan.

If you have a strong entrepreneurial or business mind then I think that you can make a success of a business without it all being written down in a folder which you will pick up 3 times in 5 years. I want to give you a short case study of two unnamed businesses, neither wrote a business plan, both are at different stages of their business life but they are good to look at.

Business One: This business has been established for about 6 years and is a multi million pound company with about 15 staff members. This business had no business plan when setting up but it had two very good business minds. In the early days the partners new it was vital to find customers quickly and were extremely motivated to finding these customers. With their cheap marketing techniques and their strong selling skills they soon became established and very strong.

Business Two: This business is more in line with retail and has only been established a few months. It is struggling to break even from day to day and business fluctuates unexpectedly. The idea behind this company is a very good one and offers good services, however, it is not headed by a business person. They accept that they are not business minded but are hard workers and will keep working hard to achieve their goal. This company did not market the company effectively, it has a possibility of strong branding as it is a unique idea but a "shop front" will not do.

From these two businesses you can clearly see where it would have been advisable to have a business plan and even having a business consultant come in and help to produce one.

Marketing Plan, One thing I believe strongly in is marketing a small or new business, you will find thousands of websites which give the advice "once your website is designed you have to show people where it is, people will not just find it", this is also true for the offline world. If you set up a business then you have to let people know it is there. This is where many state-up businesses fail, it's not that they didn't write a business plan, it's that they didn't know how to market their business.

So, to summarize, I am trying to point out that it is not always essential to write a business plan before you begin your business. Your business will change in many ways at the beginning anyway so it would be hard to stick to your business plan. Please don't take this as meaning "you don't have to write a business plan", there is always an advantage to writing a business plan, I am merely pointing out that it is not the be all and end all of setting up a business.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A post on bullying and newsflash!

Following on from my last post, Bullying Bosses..., I found a post regarding the types of bullying bosses. It is definately worth a read whether you are a victim or not.

My main peace of advice is not to take it, I know it is very very hard to stand up to someone who is bullying you but it will pay off if you can either stand up to your boss or even go higher if possible.

If you have any stories about being bullied I would love to share your case study on my blog. It is a topic I feel very strongly about and will cover from time to time on my blog.

A quick newsflash!!
Single Mom is back from her move and unfortunately it didn't all go to plan, find out why here.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Bullying bosses rife in the workplace!

Please bear with me on this one, it is quite long but I hope I get some good points across and you can reflect and give your own experiences and thoughts.

This is a topic I am incredibly passionate about, although I can't claim to be the victim of a bullying boss I have first hand experience of it having watched my partner be subjected to it.

This also relates to a post I wrote a few days ago about Keeping your staff happy and efficient!

It came about because I read a
post on the BBC website regarding bullying by bosses. It's a post about bullying in the UK but I am sure it has relevance from where ever you are in the world. I have been meaning to write a post about how to deal with a bullying boss (more often than not I would just say quit but it's not always that easy) which I will do as part of the Improving you situation at work series I am currently writing.

Bullying is a horrible thing to go through at any stage of your life but unfortunately it seems to have become common in the workplace and often goes unnoticed or simply accepted as a management style. I don't care what anyone says, it is not a management style and it certainly should not be accepted, in my mind it is a breach of human rights.

Don't get me wrong, I know that sometimes as a manager, boss or company owner there are times you need to be a little harder than you normally would be to your staff. This is not what I am talking about, I am talking about the constant "picking on" of staff, the constant shouting, aggressive behavior and never letting up when they do something good.

There is a typical sort of workplace where bullying seems to be at a higher level and it is at the large companies in particular supermarkets where there are plenty of "pawns" available for particular exclusion.

Unfortunately all too many people seem to accept that the following is all part of having a boss;
  • Being screamed at.
  • Being told you are useless.
  • Constantly putting down despite successes.
  • Never being acknowledged for meeting targets.
  • Having your requests ignored.
  • Being called names.

Well let me tell you, no-one deserves to have any of the following done to them at the workplace, it doesn't matter if you are terrible at your job either, there is a way to tell someone. I believe that many of these, although accepted as common practice, is a breach of your human rights!

One of my close friends was a victim of bullying at work, I believe it was a case of jealousy. My friend is very ambitious and was always working hard, getting great results and constantly pushing for promotion. Unfortunately, the bosses felt threatened and always put her down and put her off promotion. They went as far as screaming at her in front of a packed store, in front of staff that she in turn had to manage. Despite this she pushed on, worked hard and got herself into a position for promotion several times. Unfortunately, the bullying continued and got to the point when she handed her notice in. At this point, several managers (who were not involved in the bullying) had a meeting with my friend and at this point they convinced her to stay as they didn't want to lose such a key member. At this point, the other managers were disciplined and they now treat her with more respect. Although not completely got rid of the problem she has now been accepted for promotion and will go on the relevant courses. She will then be an equal to the bullies, at which time I am sure they will completely stop the bullying.

I'm going to stop ranting now because I could go on ranting forever. Please take this piece of advice and try to take some inspiration from the above case study. You don't have to be a victim of bullying. When working for these large companies, as I have mentioned there is a "procedure" for everything...that includes bullying in the work place...use it.

  • Have you any experiences of being bullied, or being a bully yourself?
  • Do you think it is ok to use bullying tactics in the workplace?

Carnival Of Business, link love and free stuff.

Next week I will be hosting the Carnival of Business, I have put a permanent link on the top right of the blog if you need to post later in the week. I would love to get loads of submissions for this week, so get submitting! Thanks to Tim of My Money Forest for letting me host my first carnival, as it is my first I would like it to be a success. To submit a post please go to Blog Carnival.

Thanks must also go to
Jane of Boston Gals Open Wallet who has shown me some link love this week, an honour indeed.

Finally, I have received most of the free stuff from my free stuff experiment which is great! I am still waiting on the pashmina...I'm beginning to think I didn't meet the criteria...I'll keep my fingers crossed. BTW, the original Source (
get your free sample here) shower gel has a pretty strong aroma so I must apologize to you if you walk past me in the street. :o/

A little note, you can still get
Free Rubber Stamps, free business cards and free notecards here!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

We are no longer allowed to smile...:o(

Soon we will only be allowed to have frowns on our face...

wallmart are moving to bag the "smiley face" image as their trademark. The BBC have this little post about the smiley face and where it has originated from and how several people claim to have "invented" it.

Well seriously, I don't think we will ever find the true creator of the little image which pagues accross chat rooms, messengers and mobile phones throughout the world....perhaps it was a real forest gump effort somewhere.

Why not have a smile and read it here.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Keeping your staff happy and efficient!

5 Quickfire ways to help keep your staff/employees happy!
  • Always, always, always show them respect, never disrespect no matter what.
  • Never Scream at them! I wouldn't expect anyone to scream at me no matter who they are, if you are a boss, never scream and rarely raise your voice. You don't need to shout to show your displeasure.
  • Always encourage, work on positives and build on them, don't always point out the negatives. If you have to point out a negative use it in a constructive and positive manner.
  • Talk to your staff, have regular one on one meetings and discuss their ideas, anything that may be bothering them. This will help them feel more comfortable talking to you and will help them come forward with their ideas.
  • Give them a fair salary, employee happiness is rarely based on their wage but if you are not paying them fairly, they will be unhappy.

My most important one, never scream or shout at your staff. Reasons:

  • It never motivates them it just makes them afraid.
  • It embarrasses them infront of their colleagues.
  • It will make them reluctant to come to you with any problems or ideas.
  • They will not feel respected and appreciated.
  • It is not showing them appreciation for all the other stuff they have done for you.

Worst places for keeping employee happiness, supermarkets. Reasons:

  • They get "power freaks" at the top because they can shout loudest.
  • They often pay quite low.
  • They never show appreciation for hard work and good results.
  • They have stupid "dissapline" measures and they MUST go by the book each time.
  • They don't appreciate that they still need the checkout workers, they are mere pawns in their mission to world dominance! :o/

If you have any staff or employees you need to motivate them these are just a few ideas I have picked up from being on both sides.

How to write a business plan?

If you are looking to write a business plan then this little post may be of intesrest to you. I found it on the BBC website, it's a brief overview from the Director of Business Banking for Natwest of what he thinks a good business plan should contain.

I will be writing a couple of case studies later this week regarding a couple of businesses and writing business plans. Stay tuned for those.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Why does it matter what car I drive?

It's a little off topic but I need to rant about this somewhere!

When driving there are numerus times when you have to give way to other road users in most journeys. When you generously give way to let someone past or to let someone out of a junction you normally recieve a courteous wave or a flash to show appreceation. Why is it that this is not always the case...and from recent events it appears it depends on what car you drive!

I drive an average car, it's not flashy but it's quite new. When giving way in this vehicle it seems only every other road user waves at me to thank me.

I have driven more expensive vehicles in the past, quite flashy in fact, when I gave way in this car every single time I gave way people waved at me to thank me.

Recently I have acquired an old vehicle which could say it is a "banger". When giving way in this car very few people actually waved to thank me!

Why should it matter what car I drive to be thanked for letting someone past, I don't have to let them past, I could be stubborn and push my way through. Why then, do I only get thanked if I am driving an expensive car...why do I have to appear to have a lot of money before anyone will show me a little courtesy!

Anyway, rant over and now to try and make it fit into the theme of the blog.

Don't feel preasure to get an expensive car just because you can!

I know I have been excited about getting a new car in the past but here is why you shouldn't get an expensive car unless you can afford to buy it outright!
  • They lose over a £1000 as soon as you drive them from the dealership.
  • They never hold their value.
  • Interest rates on car loans are usually high.
  • They might make people wave at you but it is fake!!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Finding a balance between work and play!

Posts on Money Ideas have been a little light on the ground recently and for that I can only blame work. Putting in the extra hours to try and seal an advertising deal. It did pay off and although working over the weekend and most of the Bank Holiday Monday I got it sorted.

On Monday I took my girlfriend out for a nice meal to apologise for my lack of presence over the weekend. This got me thinking, is there a line when you should stop working and have some fun!?

I have a few friends who own businesses and they are ALWAYS thinking about work, always working and very rarely have time to spend to themselves. I also have friends who own businesses who seem to never be at work and are always out enjoying themselves.

So I propose a question!
  • Where do you draw the line between work and play?
  • Do YOU put extra hours in over the weekend?
  • Do you NEVER do overtime no matter what?
  • Do you think there is a line or is it just personal preference?