Finding Your Critical Numbers

sbAs a Business Coach I have created and reviewed hundreds of annual business plans. I find many companies do a poor job of creating their plans, which seriously diminishes their growth in revenue and profits. On the surface, these plans look like they have the right ingredients for success. However, a closer look shows that the leaders inadvertently led themselves astray. They then lose valuable time and energy, creating a profit leak.

As a certified Gazelles coach, I help clients implement the concepts found in Scaling Up by Verne Harnish. The “One-Page Strategic Plan” is a key tool that everyone looks forward to using in our annual planning process. Whether your company uses this business planning tool or something else, the issues you must consider are the same. Only the presentation of the business plan is different.

At the bottom of each of the “priorities” columns of the “One-Page Plan” is the “Critical Number” section. I have found that selecting the “Critical Number” may be the single most important decision in the planning process. The “Critical Number” is a key performance indicator that you have identified

The Rise of the Global Boutique Production Company

avProduction companies working with film and photography have seen the industry change over the course of the 20th century. Once relegated to the mega-studios or individual advertising companies, now it is common to find a production that is small enough in size to serve the individual needs of each of its customers, but able to do so on a global scale. With modern technological advances and partnerships with the right niche contractors around the world, these companies handle every digital branding need for businesses large and small.

Global Impact, Local Service

As industries grow, it’s been common for businesses to evolve into massive corporate entities, with huge staff and presences around the world. While this made it effective for these companies to handle a volume of work, each individual client that they served often lost out on that personal touch that is so necessary to effectively building and maintaining a brand presence. For example, a company looking to target customers overseas may find that working with a large company means they never know who they will be talking with at any given time, while instead, finding

What Is the Definition of Work?

rewgI have worked for many years all over the world. Ten of those years, I spent in Japan. Work there was always different somehow. It seemed more exciting and fun. I had wondered why. I also saw that the Japanese had a work ethic second to none. After my time was up there, I left, having never really understood why they worked so hard and so well.

After a decade, I returned. This thing called work still plagued me. Was it because of their Buddhist and Shinto cultures? I wondered. It had something to do with their culture and beliefs. But I could not put my finger on exactly what it was.

Then one day I was receiving my change from a convenience store attendant. The attendant was bowing and somehow I could tell she wished me well. It was not a job thing. It was not something she was doing for her. She was doing it for me.

I thanked the attendant and looked at her.

I turned to my wife, who was Japanese. “Can I ask you what your definition of work is?” She laughed, as

5 Roadblocks To Success

1. Not Having A Daily Productivity Goal
Every morning ask yourself what you are going to do today that will drive your business forward.

As an entrepreneur, it is up to you to take action and move forward. If you have never been an entrepreneur before, this is something that may brand new to you. You are now the creator that has to make things happen. This can be a big stumbling block for people in the beginning.

At the end of the day, be really honest with yourself, and ask what you did today that actually moved your business forward. If you focus on this every single day, you will start to see the compounding results of your efforts.

The #1 focus of every entrepreneur should be to make money. Unless you make money, your will not stay in business! You must know the driving force that will continue to make money for your business.

2. Trying To Do Too Many Things At The Same Time
You cannot possibly focus on everything, but you can get good at one thing. If you jump from one thing to another you will simply spin your wheels and not get much done. Master one thing at

Software Localisation Services, A Growing Industry

Software has undergone numerous shifts in the last decade. There have been new approaches, tools, agile methodologies, scrum techniques, automated processes, open-community leanings, parallel development, containerization or Dockers that have impacted the industry as we know it.

Along the way has come an equally appalling and disruptive onslaught of form-factors. The world is no more just about plain-Jane desk machines when it comes to devices. First, the desktops were displaced with things more portable and then phones or carry-along devices themselves underwent huge advancements. There was miniaturization of technology accompanied by a fierce pace of consumerization.

Soon these phones became smartphones and while the world was getting used to technology getting crisper, faster, smaller, cleverer; there were wearables, Virtual Reality headsets, and IoT-powered house appliances waiting on the verge.

In short, an average user cannot be summed up with one device. Form-factors have been melting and new ways and interfaces continuously surprise and wean away existing users. These are also times when companies and marketers keep guessing the app-only or website debate with much confusion and risks at stake.

When one is being surrounded in an environment such as this, one cannot at least ignore the common denominator when the guesstimates are happening on

Taking A Look At The Different Types Of Threads

If you own a cloth, embroidery or any other business that requires you to use sewing threads you need to use the highest quality of threads for you to get ideal results. There are many types of threads in the market that you can go for. The most common being:

Cotton thread

It’s probably the most common unit used in sewing delicate fabrics. It’s also heavily used in lingerie sewing companies. These threads come in different categories including: all purpose, cotton, perle, stranded, tatting, flower, quilting, and coton a broder. The different categories are ideal for different types of fabrics. To avoid damaging the fabric, always use the right thread for the right fabric.

Polyester

It’s said to be a true all-purpose thread and a great choice for both machine and hand-sewn projects. Its main feature is the wax or silicone finish that allows it to easily slip through the fabric that you are sewing. There are two main categories of these threads: all-purpose and invisible. You use the all purpose in sewing almost all types of fabrics. While you can use it in almost all of your projects, experts recommend that you avoid it in embroidery projects. The invisible thread resembles the fishing

The Inevitable Rise of Discount Supermarkets

One of the 5 defining factors of the competition model is the threat of new market entrants; the UK supermarket sector was widely used as a live example of high barriers. Well that has been blown apart with Aldi and Lidl taking the sector by storm in the last 10 years, barriers to entry may as well have not existed.

Is it any wonder then that Waitrose has recently announced its intention to take on the budget stores whilst retaining a premium offering? This notion would have had you kicked out of the strategy lectures I attended. The idea of being ‘stuck in the middle’ would give undergraduates nightmares but here we are 10 years later and the differentiation of supermarket propositions has become a blurred line.

Have we reached a point where a business can be everything to everyman? Or have supermarkets fallen into the very trap that Porter said they would if a business tries to provide both high value and mass quantity offerings.

There is no doubt that the consumer has become price savvy and expects the best deal, Waitrose used to stand out as a more pleasant shopping experience than some supermarkets but as we increasingly turn to online

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Neuroscience and Being Busy

We all know that mental stimulation is good for our brains and, more generally, for our wellbeing. But what about when we complain about being ‘too busy’? Are we moaning about something that is actually good for us?

Or does the stress that can come from being too busy outweigh any of the mental benefits we receive from it?

A recent neuroscience study may take us one step closer to answering this question.

The study

Scientists from the University of Dallas and the University of Alabama recently studied 330 healthy men and women ages 50 to 89 years old. They first asked them questions, including:

  • How often do you have too many things to do each day to actually get them all done?
  • How often do you have so many things to do that you go to bed later than your regular bedtime?

The researchers then awarded each a “busyness score,” based on their answers and then participants were tested to measure their cognitive abilities. This included their brain’s processing speed, working memory, episodic long-term memory, reasoning, and crystallized knowledge.

Tests included viewing two strings of numbers and determining whether they were the same or different; looking at boxes on a computer screen and maintaining the location of

Criteria for Choosing the Right Kind of Barriers

Crowd control and highway control barriers come in various materials and sizes. They have to be selected according to the purpose. They are widely used for different reasons from construction, highway to law enforcement. It is important to pick the right barrier for safety and security of the people and property.

Criteria to Choose Quality Barriers

Your choice should be economical and efficient while providing protection against unexpected traffic. It is important to source the barriers from reputed companies since quality is crucial for achieving the purpose of a barrier.

The barriers have to be portable for events and other purposes. In this case, water-filled barriers can be purchased. You should choose the supplier based on his record in the industry and reviews. The supplier should satisfy your budget and individual requirements. Water-filled barriers are portable and serve the purpose of regulating crowd efficiently.

Value Added Benefits

You should also make sure that barriers have interlocking hooks that can bend and are properly welded to the frame to avoid any separation. Choose a concrete barrier which has a good gauge for durability and strength to withstand the heavy traffic.

Concrete Jersey Barriers

When choosing a jersey barrier make sure that they are of the highest quality and

Looking For A Good Company To Hire? Ask These 5 Questions

When you’re faced with having to hire a company for the first time, knowing the things to look for in good companies can mean the difference between hiring someone for now and finding an ally you can call upon for years to come. From hiring pest control to finding a fantastic caterer for your son’s wedding, ask these 5 questions to ensure you are working with a good company:

1. Do you have references?

Ask for references, and contact them, before you do anything else. A credible company will happily provide references to show that they want to do business with you. A company having references will tell you a few things: this company values the opinions of their customers; this company is concerned with more than their bottom line; this company relishes the opportunity to wow intelligent consumers who choose to do their hiring homework. If a company doesn’t have references at the ready, or worse, scoffs at the idea of providing references, consider it a red flag and move on.

2. How would you contribute?

After you’ve contacted a company and spoken to their references, explain what it is you’re looking for. At this point the company has the opportunity to describe

How to Run Your Business Badly – Case Study

Recently, I’ve had a run-in with a vendor providing a service to my company. I contracted with this business almost a year ago for a service she’s going to provide in the upcoming weeks. She emailed me a couple of weeks ago to tell me that she has to cancel our arrangement due to some work she has to have done in her business. Note that we’re talking about scheduling something 7-8 weeks before our contracted date.

Valuing connection and communication, I called her to talk this through. I called every day for three days in a row and left messages. She did not call me back. Because we have a contract, I got in touch with my lawyers to see what we needed to do, and we’re looking at our legal options.

She has finally gotten in touch with me, but the situation is still unresolved. Based on this situation, and my 14+ years in business, it’s pretty easy for me to spot the flaws in her business.

Here are the problems I see:

1. Not communicating properly or in a timely manner or at all. The business owner should have called me with the bad news. In addition, she didn’t respond to

Regulate Traffic and Protect Property Successfully With Barriers

It’s not easy to manage heavy traffic. Any event or road that attracts huge traffic can be tough to organize without proper control mechanisms. If the event is not properly planned, it could lead to a lot of confusion and chaos.

Organizers have to plan the location, travel routes, entry, and exit for free traffic movement to the site and amenities which doesn’t allow the crowd to get out of hand. An angry crowd can become tough to handle and sometimes they could turn violent leading to a lot of damage to property and people. To regulate and limit the movement of traffic peacefully you need to have a proper plan and more importantly crowd security control measures must be in place.

Crowd Control Barriers

One of the best ways to control traffic is to use crowd control barriers. They help direct the crowd and avoid any traffic congestion. These barriers can be designed in a flexible manner to prevent any harm to the people. They come in handy to regulate traffic, lead them in a particular direction, control heavy traffic to stay within limits, barricade a special place, etc.

There are various kinds of barriers which allow for peaceful regulation of traffic. It

Breaking and Making Habits – And Consequences For The Workplace

Understanding how habits are formed, how they can be broken, and how more favourable ones can replace them, is an area of interest to both neuroscientists and business leaders.

Our decisions dictate our lifestyle choices and form the habits that contribute to our health and wellbeing; and, in the workplace, without the power to take control over habitual behaviour, improvements in performance are less likely and changes in organisational culture less effective.

A recent neuroscience study has shed light on the chemical reactions occurring in the brain when making decisions, and which influence our choice between habitual behaviour and goal-oriented behaviour; this may pave the way for greater understanding of how to break old habits and form new ones.

What are habits?

Habits are basically reflexive behaviours that have become engrained into our everyday actions. Brushing one’s teeth or shaving are ‘habits’ – actions that we do without thinking or conscious effort. These are perhaps ‘neutral’ type actions that everyone does, and which are necessary for everyday functioning.

Other habits can be classed as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. ‘Bad’ habits can lead to addictions and health problems; in the workplace ‘bad’ habits lead to consistent poor performance.

And, of course the reverse is true of good habits.

How Does a Certified Equipment Appraiser Help?

A majority of businesses depend on modern equipment to produce their products. The equipment helps in making production, logistics easy and fast. It is important to keep such useful equipment well maintained. These equipment are real assets of any business. The equipment should be properly valued. However, it is not easy to appraise the equipment. It requires help from certified equipment appraisers to know the value of the equipment.

Why Appraise Your Equipment?

There are various reasons for companies to know the value of the machinery. Since they are valuable assets of the company they help in times of:

– Mergers and acquisitions
– Filing bankruptcy
– Obtaining loans
– Filing taxes
– Selling the machinery

The value of machinery is essential to assess the worth of the business.

Various kinds of Appraisal Reports

Businesses currently accept two types of appraisals as per the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice or USPAP.

1. Complete Appraisal Reports – It contains all the information about the equipment, it’s market value, the condition of the equipment, salvage value, number of years if operation, etc. It is one of the most common kind of appraisal.

2. Restricted Appraisal Reports – It’s an in-house report which can be used for internal purposes. This

Expert Tips For Effective CRM

Today’s store owners don’t need to manage their operations all on their own like the salespeople in more ancient times did. These days, technology is available to make everything from the simplest to the more complex retail processes easier and faster to accomplish, resulting in benefits all around. Here are some of the crucial software tools that make retail management a cinch for today’s enterprising individuals and organizations.

CRM. Most retailers require a system for effective customer relationship management which would enable them to keep track of every single interaction with their existing as well as future customers. At the most basic level, CRM software lets retailers store their current and prospective clients’ contact information, social media profiles, details on the calls made and emails sent, and such. More advanced systems would allow the creation of meeting schedules, display of sales forecasts and pipelines, and the like. Thanks to this solution, sales and customer service reps won’t have a hard time looking up client information for lead generation purposes and after sales functions, which helps them build stronger interactions and relationships.

POS. Step into any physical store, gather up the products you mean to buy, and take it to the store’s sales

Practical Reasons to Consider Certified Business Valuation

In our age of a highly competitive startup environment where new businesses are incubated and sold every hour, certified business valuation gains a lot of importance. If you wish to sell the business, you should know how much your business is worth. If the value is overstated, no one may come to buy, if it’s understated, you will lose in the process. Hence, certified business appraisal is crucial.

Difficulty in Valuation

It is not easy to value a business. There are both tangible as well as intangible assets which contribute to the value of the firm. These intangible assets like intellectual property and knowledge assets have to be assessed carefully. The right valuation gives you an upper hand during negotiation.

Subjectively deciding the price based on whims of the business owner will not have value in the market. The owner cannot determine the value of the company based on the debt he wants to recover. No buyer will be willing to pay the price that the company is not worth.

Determining the Business Value

Mere estimation cannot ascertain the value of the business. It doesn’t matter what you or others perceive the value of the firm. What matters is the real value of the business

Enhanced Customer Satisfaction With DevOps

DevOps is one of the latest buzzwords in the market today. At the enterprise level, the leadership team is focusing more on moving their projects to DevOps mode that benefits their customers in providing a quick feedback to the development teams to work on the changes and deliver the desired service/product.

DevOps are on the broader terms is an approach based on lean and agile practices in which development teams, operations and testing teams communicate and collaborate to deliver the product/service in a continuous manner to reach out to the end customer that helps them to seize the market opportunities. This provides a chance to receive timely feedback and incorporate the changes in a quick manner. DevOps as a concept emphasizes communication, collaboration and integration between software developers and IT operations to enable faster and reliable deliverables to the end client in reduced timelines. This way the execution gaps in a project can be controlled and togetherness can be brought in within the groups working on the project.

Unlike traditional software applications, which are designed with massive data and reliability and can satisfy the customer with one or two releases a year, the current web & mobile application demand continuous delivery and

10 Benefits of Hiring an Outstanding French Caterer

Although French food is generally a win for many different types of special occasion it is essential to make sure that you hire a quality caterer. Here are 10 benefits of hiring an outstanding French caterer compared with some of the more budget options on the market.

The first reason is that a quality caterer is far more likely to offer more authentic food. Whether this is the perfect crepe made in a crepe bar with popular French fillings, or classic dishes such as paupiettes de veau or moules marinieres, authenticity is the key to guests enjoying the experience as much as possible.

This leads to the second main benefit of hiring a quality caterer, and that is that well trained chefs are much more likely to deliver a high standard of food. The best caterers will have professionally trained chefs – often with training in France – which will mean that you get authentic, high quality, delicious food provided by genuine professionals in French cooking.

The third benefit of hiring an outstanding French caterer and not a budget one is that you will be able to leave guests with some spectacular memories of the great food that they have tasted. Although choosing

How the Best Catering Companies Make Your Event Memorable

Organizing any special occasion can be exciting but also stressful, with many different factors to consider and different aspects of the event to coordinate. This includes everything from sending out invitations right through to finding the entertainment for the day or evening in order to keep all guests happy.

With that said, one of the most important things to get right is booking a great caterer, as this can make huge difference in people’s experience of your particular event. Indeed, finding a great caterer can actually mean that the event is memorable in all the right ways; here is how the best catering companies make your event memorable.

The first way that a caterer can make for a memorable event is by serving something that guests do not normally enjoy during their meals at home. This can be a foreign cuisine or a themed dinner, both of which have their advantages and are suitable for different types of events and guests.

Themed catering options can include having a French fry bar, a waffles bar or a crepe bar. Others can include sushi bars or salad bars. In these instances, people can select the flavours that they enjoy to experience a fun, more personalised

Strategy for Successful Merger and Acquisition

In order to make a merger work, it is pertinent to have a sound strategic planning so that maximum benefit is taken out from the merger. Before signing on the dotted lines, the company doing the acquisition must evaluate the performance, market position, cash flows, future opportunities, technology, regulatory issues of the target company to fix the right price for the deal. The management of the company doing the acquisition must have a clear and well-defined strategy for their specific business.

It is always advisable to take lessons from the past deals if the company has done in the past, learn from the experience of peers and look into industry benchmarks. This can help in formulating a sound strategy which will pay off in the long run. One must look into the working environment, employees and other cultural issues of the target company so that all misconceptions are sorted out at the initial stage and employees of both the companies know what is in store for them. As the deal has to make sense for both the target and the acquirer, it is important to identify synergy between the two companies.

Most prominently, the strategy must lay out the business drivers of