One of the worse case scenario of family members working for a company that I’ve come across was that of a business I called one day. This company was both a client and a customer. As the new account manager of the organization I represented, I needed to meet their account manager who was also the owner, since we would be crossing paths many times and would be working together on a lot of projects.After identifying myself to the receptionist who answered the phone, I asked to speak to our account manager. She said that she didn’t know who that would be and asked what I wanted. I told her and she said that she could help me. Respecting the fact that she may have been more than a receptionist – we have a lot of that now with the corporate downsizing of the last decades, people sharing the telephone answering — I began to relay some information and then asked pertinent questions about equipment used in our mutual business.After giving a couple of foolish responses and comments, I realized she was the wrong person to talk to. She got all excited and speaking of my organization she said, “Oh not again, they keep getting new people and we have to start to train them all over again, and went on and on.I patiently said to her that she didn’t have to train me, because I had been in my own graphics business for several years and was perfectly in tune with the operation. She replied, “Yea, that’s what they all say”. I politely asked again if I could speak to the person who looks after our account. She said she was that person. Subsequently I found out that she did the billing and thus, to her, “account” meant accounting.I tried re-wording to “sales account”, “account executive”, “the sales representative who looks after this company”, but it didn’t do any good. To make a long story short, finally, one day I had to call on another matter and she said I would have to “talk to John”. I asked her who John was and she got excited again and said, “Well, he’s just John, he’s John”.Since John wasn’t there, I left a message for him to call me. When John called me back, that’s when I found out he was our sales representative, account manager and production coordinator all rolled into one as well as the owner of the company. And then, the mystery unveiled itself as to why “John was just John” – she was his mother.It’s nice to have your mother help out but, putting her at the front desk without experience and training is a bit daring. Your whole company is judged there by visitors and callers who connect with a lot of other companies.In another example, I was operations manager for a small company in the hotel magazine business. The receptionist was the sister of the owner of the company. She would come in late every morning after 9 o’clock. When she was approached on the matter, she would explain that it wasn’t her fault, “the bus didn’t arrive before 8:45. She was a very soft spoken, pleasant young girl, but she didn’t believe that she should have to take the 8:30 bus. But as the sister of the owner, it was a difficult problem to deal with, since he wasn’t bothered with it. In other words, she was his sister and she could come in late every morning.Working with family members can be very difficult for both the family and non-family members. First, members of a family operation must forget they are family when they step into the business premises. They must give themselves titles with attached responsibilities. Even if they wear various hats — then have various business cards with the various titles/responsibilities. All members should be following regular training programs, even more so than any other businesses. They should treat one another in front of customers and suppliers in such a way that these people wouldn’t even have a clue that they were a family team. That goes for a husband and wife operation or father/son, brother/sister, etc.Some years ago, I was in the sailboat business with my husband — our first business when we were in our twenties. Having both been working in the corporate world prior, we would always strive to operate in a professional manner, keeping both our areas of responsibilities separate. I looked after finance and administration and my husband looked after sales and service. When visitors, customers and suppliers came in for either of these areas of business, we would take them to the one in charge.When it comes to business management in a family operation, it is critical to make sure that the people who are placed in their positions are experienced or have been given proper training, because not only will it put stress within the company but it can ruin the total reputation of the company. Constant professional, outside training is the survival key here, more than in non-family organizations. /dmh
Have you ever asked what propelled successful businessmen to meteoric rise?One of the skills of great entrepreneurs is their ability to pin point few business activities, out of the many, that they can focus and work on. It is like being a great pianist and knowing what specific keyboard tab to press, among the many, and pressing them at an appropriate time.You see, in the outside, business is a complex undertaking with multiple activities running simultaneously. It can be overwhelming.However, if you know what specific activities are you going to check (like the pianist); you can run your business with such great harmony resulting to bigger bottom line – net profit.Fortunately, all business activities can be boiled down to seven areas of business management.The seven areas of business management are:1) production 2) marketing 3) finance 4) accounting 5) human resources 6) management information system 7) product research and developmentHow do you know if your business is healthy? How do you know if your business needs help? Ultimately, your net profit will determine if you have a good business or not.The art of business management (in my own definition) is the ability to detect problems and address them as soon as possible. Early detection is the key, before it reflects in your profit.I made up a checklist to help diagnose the problem before it is too late. This is not comprehensive, but I believe it covers the essentials.1) productionSuppliesDo the supplies of raw materials arrive on-time? Do you have alternative raw material suppliers?ProductionHow many percent of the time are your machines operating? How many percent of the products that you produce where defective? How much is your production cost?DeliveryHow many percent of the orders are delivered on-time? How many customer complaints did you receive? How many customer returns did you receive?2) marketingHow much money did you spend in advertisement? How many additional sales (from new customers) did you get after advertising? Is the amount of money you earn from new customers greater than the amount of money you spend for advertisement?3) financeAre your personal money and your business money separated? (this is a No – No. For small business owners, make sure you have separate accounts for the two)Do you have enough capacity to pay for your business debt (liquid asset greater than liability)? Are your customers paying off their debt (for those with installment payments)? Do you have ability to pay your suppliers and other debts on the agreed time (payables)? Are your receivables growing (amount of money owed by people from you)? Is your business expense growing faster than your sales? Is your profit margin growing? (Profit Margin = Net Income / Gross Sales)4) accountingDo you pay your taxes correctly? Are your financial records updated? Do you have a financial system? (you can use free software like quicken or you can hire accountants)5) human resourcesAre your employees productive? How many percent of your employees are constantly leaving (turnover ratio)? Are your employees happy and satisfied? If you are in a technology business, did your employee signed non-disclosure agreement when they started to work in your business? Do you have a good relationship with your employees? Do your employees have a good relationship with one another?6) management information systemWho else know your trade secret? (Ideal should be only YOU). Are the bad news traveling fast and reach you? (Being hands-on has an advantage here) Are your files safe? (who knows the password) Do you have back-ups?7) product research and developmentDo you know your customers? Do you know why they are buying from you and not from your competitors? Do you know your competitors? Are you doing things to improve your products? Are your products customized for the needs of the customers? How much budget do you allocate to research and development? Are you protecting your intellectual property rights through patent, trademark and copyright?Mastering the art of business management is a lifetime process. This is worth repeating. The key to running a good business is to detect the problem early and address them. Go for offensive. Don’t wait for the problem to occur. work to improve the seven areas daily.I wish you great success in your business.
This article is about a business management and the example of a man named Boaz. In the course of life you may elevated to manage people in a work force. Remember, it is a privilege to manage the greatest resource on the planet, men and women. Let us take a look at one man and how God used his life to be a blessing to others. This author recognizes that some may not recognize the Bible as a management hand book and that is okay. That being said let us turn our attention to the book of Ruth in the bible.We will pick up the scene with the arrival of one of the central figures a man named Boaz. What this author finds interesting is the way Boaz greets his farm hands with the greeting, “The Lord be with you.” It seems to me that Boaz is not simply greeting his crew with an empty greeting. Here is a man that is concerned with his workers. As a leader in any business, managers or owners must have a deep concern for the people that are placed under them. A quality manager takes the time to know his people.The reaction of his workers is one of blessing. The people in the field seem to understand that for them to be blessed Boaz must be blessed also. The relationship here cannot be missed in business. If you are running a brick and mortar business or an online business this relationship dynamic must be at work. The online world as well as the offline world must have people that will give value first, then reap a harvest. We can see that Boaz is the alert owner because he sees a new person, Ruth, in the field. She is not a worker but a gleaner. Gleaning was the way that God provided for those who had little to nothing to eat.Ruth is not asking for a handout here. She is willing to work. Managers must be on the lookout for this type of person. This kind of person will give the value first and is willing to wait for the harvest. Boaz then is willing to go beyond the norm for her. Are you a manager or sponsor that has overlooked this kind of person? Look at your down line or the people that you manage and look to be a blessing not only to them but also their families.Jim Collins puts it this way, “Get the right people on the bus.” These people will be attracted to you only if you become one of the people who learn to add value to other peoples lives. Business managers must look for ways to be a blessing everyday. Greet those below you in a happy way and let them understand that, yes, you have a business to run but you are concerned for their welfare. Doing this will help you build a productive work force.