The value of a sounding board

In times of Change, people feel much more secure with strong and clear leadership, but they need considered action and decisions from their leaders. The trouble is, with the pace of business today, the pressure has never been higher and consequently there is always a temptation to act just for the sakes of moving things off the pending pile and appearing decisive.

Change specialist Richard Derwent Cooke suggests that sometimes, the best way forward is infact to stand still for a moment a lend some quality time to a spot of good old fashioned conversation.

Surviving the downturn part three – When it goes wrong

Many are wary of upsetting key customers by chasing slow or overdue debts. But as a frequent surprise to many suppliers, buyers often report privately that a failure to chase agreed debts is not seen as a relationship-building exercise, but as weak management. A contractual debt owed is a contractual debt to be paid!

In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, we have stressed the importance of ‘starting off on the right foot’ contractually, and ‘keeping your eye on the ball’ financially.

Of course, some organisations have no shame in delaying payments to their creditors, until pushed really hard.

Whether you really want to trade with such bad payers is entirely up to you, but here are some more handy tips that might help however things might go wrong.

Surviving the downturn Part two – Getting Paid!

Part 2: Keeping your eye on the ball

Getting your Terms and Conditions right and checking customers’ credit status are vital. (See Part 1 of this series). What else can you do to ensure prompt payment?

Monitor your Aged Debtors and set Customer Credit-Limits

You will probably already review your debtors at least monthly, to keep an eye on defaulters. Most financial software packages readily provide this data phased by sums due over successive months. Ignore it at your peril.

The monthly ‘Total Outstanding‘ figure per client is also critical. Your credit checks on each customer should also produce credit limits and you need to have really good reasons to allow these to be exceeded. (Banks, Factors and Debt-Insurers can be laughably conservative in guiding you here, but don’t ignore their advice without excellent reason.)

Surviving the Downturn – Part One

When doom, gloom and despondency reigns in business, the inevitable response is always to make cuts. No surprise here. The media resound with everyday stories of staff cuts, budget cuts and training and development cuts. And yet, at the same time, there is an astounding growth in job advertising for ‘business development’ executives of multiple shapes and sizes. It’s a stereotypical and oh-so predictable response to tough times ahead. Jeremy Thorn assesses the problem

Don’t crack in the credit crunch

In February Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, stated that “tighter credit conditions will bear down on demand” and he projected poor growth forecasts and higher inflation.  At times like this, banks may refuse or reduce credit facilities and so it becomes vital that businesses have their own stringent credit control systems in place to ensure cash flow is maintained.

The secrets of survival

So the decision has been made to go it alone. Casting the master-servant relationship aside after years of promising to do so has finally arrived and the world is now your oyster.
Launching a small business is tough, with the line between success and failure being extremely fine.
However, there are a few simple questions and rules, which, if followed through, may make the difference between deciding to throw in the towel before you get your feet wet or wading into the murky depths of small business ownership.

The future of networking

Increasingly, businesses have been looking to ‘word of mouth’ marketing to find clients with the growth of networking groups providing opportunities for companies to spread the word and get referrals.
Times move on and with the growth of online social networking opening people’s eyes to the power of the internet, companies are looking to see how the increasing number of ‘social’ business networks can be used for marketing and sales purposes.

Surviving the Downturn

When doom, gloom and despondency reigns in business, the inevitable response is always to make cuts. No surprise here. The media resound with everyday stories of staff cuts, budget cuts and training and development cuts. And yet, at the same time, there is an astounding growth in job advertising for ‘business development’ executives of multiple shapes and sizes. It’s a stereotypical and oh-so predictable response to tough times ahead.

Retailers fight against an ever increasing card crime threat

Credit card fraud protection specialist, The 3rd Man, says that ‘card not present’ crime in the UK is far higher than official statistics suggest and is getting worse. Over £500 million of fraud was attempted during 2007.

This alarming figure shows that the appetite among fraudsters around the world to use the Internet for crime among UK retailers has far from diminished, and comes at a time when retailers need every penny of revenue they can get to cope with the effects of the global credit crunch.

Businesses are leaving themselves open to collapse

THOUSANDS of business owners are risking the collapse of their companies due to inadequate business insurance.
 
Mitchell Charlesworth Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors has found that business owners, whilst protecting buildings, finance and equipment, often forget to insure the key ingredient to their success – their people.

Stress is all too common a reality in the workplace

Did you know that little or no awareness of your staff’s natural behavioural styles can lead to their poor physical health, stress and even depression?

In a recent report from Dame Carol Black, the National Director for Health and Work, it was revealed that ill health is costing the economy over 100m pounds a year. We all hear sad cases of people having a mental breakdown or worse, this costs not only the companies they work for, the government and the NHS, but the costs to the individual in the worst cases are often overlooked.

Are Your Employees Stars In Your Eyes?

If you are a manager or run your own business, it’s highly likely that you’ll constantly be on the look out for junior employees who can make the transition to senior level and continue to drive the business forward. However, knowing what the early signs to look for to identify these individuals can be tricky and fraught with uncertainty.

British Chamber of Commerce Annual convention

Monday 28th April 2008, BT Convention Centre, Liverpool
The annual Business Convention hosted by the British Chambers of Commerce is the ultimate gathering of business, government and skills leaders. This is the year’s essential business, policy and trade event with excellent networking opportunities for business leaders and policy makers. Delegates will hear from international and UK business leaders on how they have applied a creative entrepreneurial approach to grow their businesses into global companies.
The convention will provide an understanding of future market trends from the most successful budding entrepreneurs and show how to support the next generation of British business leaders. To register with the special rate for Business Matters readers, please email offers@bmmagazine.co.uk