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5 Startup tips – get your finances right

By Morgan International Staff Writers

There are so many things to think about when kicking off with your first startup, finances being one of them.  Here we take a look at a few tips that will enable you to get your finances right from day one.

  1. Cash flow is key

Don’t ever take your eye off the ball when it comes to cash flow; you should always know what your money situation is at any given time.  If it comes as a shock to see that money is tight when you check your accounts, you are not doing it properly.  Track every single dollar and treat each one spent or coming in as vitally important.  Keep to a budget and don’t let yourself get into a sticky mess financially.

  1. Track spending

Particularly at the beginning, you are going to have a lot of expenses.  Work out how much you need to set aside for this and stick to it.  Rather than hire an accountant to do the books, use one of the fabulous accounting packages that are online (some free) or set up your own spreadsheet in Excel.  If you do this on a regular basis, at the end of the tax year you will have your figures all ready to go.  Only go to the expense of a professional accountant when your business starts to become too much for you to handle.

  1. Limit your fixed expenses

Don’t go overboard when it comes to things like office space or facilities/equipment.  A single room should do to begin with; some people convert garage space or use a spare room.  Later on, as you grow, you may want to look at hiring a small commercial space or even a spot in serviced offices. It is essential that early on your capital is fed into growth and not overheads. Keep revenue as your top priority and don’t lose focus.

  1. Maintain a safety net

Don’t expect to make a lot of money from day one; keep a safety net/slush fund of savings so that if you do have dry periods financially, you can keep going. If you are giving up a full time job to go it alone, maybe maintain your key source of income for a while until your business is ready to replace it.  Some people decide to create their own start up after being made redundant – this can also work, particularly if you have a large redundancy sum of money to keep you going while the business grows.

  1. Love your customers

Each and every customer is paramount to the success of your business as, without them, you have nothing.  Set time aside to acquire them and don’t neglect your marketing. Try and make use of the channels that cost little or nothing, such as social media.  Once you have a customer, look after them well and maintain your relationship.  This all bodes well for building a great client base.

Bringing your first startup to life is incredibly exciting but do take note of our tips and ensure that you begin slowly, building steadily and always paying attention to that one vital things; finances.

For those of you looking to begin a new business, make use of our professional training courses which will provide you with much more information on how to make your startup successful.

Contact us now to find out which of our training programs are most suitable for you.

 

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When to change how you lead

By Morgan International Staff Writers

It’s fair to say that the world of business is becoming increasingly demanding due to the fast paced and often challenging times we live in.

This often means that business leaders are forced to respond to change faster than ever before. But does this mean that you have to change the way you lead? And, if it does, when’s the right time to change?

There are a number of different leadership styles, all offering their own pros and cons, and each potentially effective in their own way. However, that’s not to say that all leadership styles are appropriate or effective for all businesses, employees, and leaders.

The main management styles are:

• Directive

The leader closely controls employees and motivates them through threats and discipline. The classic, “do it the way I tell you” manager.

This style of leadership is most effective when there is a crisis or when deviations are risky, but is not effective with underdeveloped or highly skilled employees.

• Authoritative

The firm but fair manager who gives employees clear direction and motivates through persuasion and feedback on performance.

This style of leadership is most effective when the leader is credible and when clear directions and standards are needed, but ineffective when employees are underdeveloped or the leader is not credible.

• Affiliative

The people first, task second manager who avoids conflict, focuses on good personal relationships between employees, and motivates by trying to keep people happy.

This style of leadership is most effective when used in conjunction with other leadership styles, for routine tasks, and managing conflict. It is not effective when performance is inadequate or when a crisis situation requires direction.
• Participative

The everyone has input manager who encourages employee input in decision making and motivates by rewarding team effort.

This style of leadership is most effective when employees are working together, when staff have experience and credibility, and in a steady working environment. It is least effective when employees must be co-ordinated, when there is a crisis, or when there is a lack of competency.

• Pacesetting

The ‘do it myself’ manager who performs many tasks personally and expects employees to follow by example. Motivates by setting high standards and expects self-direction from employees.

This type of leadership is most effective when people are highly motivated and competent, requiring little direction or co-ordination.

• Coaching

The developmental manager who helps and encourages employees to develop their strengths and improve their performance. Motivates by providing opportunities for professional development.

This leadership style is most effective when skills need to be developed and when employees are motivated and keen to embrace development.

Before you change your leadership style, it’s important that you understand what type of leader you are and why change is needed.

Changing your management style certainly isn’t easy, but it’s worth it in the long term. There are a number of times in which change can be highly effective, or even essential.

Of course, you might not see results instantly, and it can be all too tempting to fall back into your old ways. But stay aware of your personal progress and keep yourself on track.

But that’s not to say that you can’t rethink your approach. If you find that, despite your best efforts, your new management methods aren’t proving beneficial for your team, you might need to alter your approach again.

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Is it time to outsource your family business’ HR activity?

By Morgan International Staff Writers

When you’re a family run business, it can be difficult to know when to keep your business activities in house, and within the family, and when to outsource them to external parties.

 

The importance of HR within a family business

 

HR is important within any business or organisation. However, within a family-run business, it plays a more crucial role. Why? Here are just a couple of reasons:

 

  • Family businesses often treat their employees as family (even if they aren’t). This makes it more important that HR issues are handled with the necessary care and respect.
  • Family dynamics can complicate the emotional environment of a family business.
  • The family’s relationships and reputation are at stake.
  • The livelihoods and fortunes of business families are tied up in the companies they run, so they need to secure maximum value out of the business.

 

Why Outsource?

 

Due to the factors outlined above, HR can contribute a great deal to a family run business. And bringing in an external HR professional can be highly advantageous.

 

Although HR is frequently perceived to be a relatively easy business function, creating processes and systems that optimise engagement, productivity, and satisfaction is far from simple. And in a family run business, it’s important its done right.

 

Save Time

 

Most family business owners are all too familiar with the frustrations of spending their valuable time on human resources activities. Outsourcing your HR will free you up to spend more time on revenue generating activities.

 

Skills and Knowledge

 

An external HR consultant will be a skilled and experienced HR expert who will utilise those skills to ensure that your HR activities offer optimum performance, impact, and results.

 

Save Money

 

Rather than paying a full time wage for an in house HR consultant, outsourcing will allow you to pay just for what you need, when you need it.

 

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Money and what to do with it!

By Morgan International Staff Writers

All of us learn to have loads of money but in truth, becoming a billionaire is something that happens to very few.  But just imagine what it would be like if you had so much money that you could literally live on the interest without having to dip into the capital; if you had $1 billion and made a 5% return then your annual interest would be a whopping $50 million – much more than the take home salary of most!

The problem is that when you have the money you need to know what to do with it in the way of investments.  One thing that all billionaires tend to do is invest in liquid securities so how about we take a look at how some real-life billionaires invest?

  1. Bernard Arnault - Chairman of LVMH – approximate net wealth of $38.1 billion

The richest guy in France runs a mix of luxury goods companies including Christian Dior and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.  A great art collector, much of his money is invested in his companies with his cash sums coming from things like salaries, holdings and dividends.  Properties also encompass a large amount of his wealth with a mansion in Paris and a home in the Bahamas; the rest of his millions is divided amongst art and yachts.

  1. Steven A. Ballmer - Former chief executive of Microsoft – approximate net wealth $30.8 billion

Although he is no longer with Microsoft, much of his money is invested into the company’s stock and he keeps several billion in cash and several hundred million in Twitter shares.  His various homes are also worth several million between them.

  1. Susanne Klatten - Deputy chairwoman of Altana – approximate net wealth $20 billion

At 54 and already the richest woman in Germany, she inherited stakes in BMW and Altana.  Also chairwoman of the SGL Group, most of her wealth is tied up in these companies with several billion of it in the BMW Group.  Keeping 22.5% of her money in cash, she is fairly private when it comes to disclosing the details of her wealth.

  1. Azim Premji - Chairman of Wipro – approximate net wealth $10 billion

His wealth was inherited from his father who owned the Wipro Company (originally Western India Vegetable Products).  64% of his wealth is invested into company shares and 13% into an offshoot company named Wipro Enterprises. Several million are held in JM Financial, several hundred million are in cash and about a million is tied up in property in Mumbai.  His wealth has been set up in a way that his privacy is well protected.

So as you can see, the issue is not just about accumulating wealth but looking after it once you have it.  All of these people have one thing in common and that is that they have spread their wealth well, keeping some in cash and the rest secured via a variety of investments.

Many people can struggle with knowing how to take care of their wealth which is why we provide a range of training courses that can imbibe you with the necessary knowledge to share with them.

Contact us now and find out exactly what type of courses will suit you best.

 

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5 Tips to Create an Effective Webinar

A webinar is a great way for businesses to convey a message/content to a large audience, without asking people to travel to a particular location. From a business perspective, it is a straightforward way to reach out to current and potential customers to share ideas and create brand awareness. However, for the strategy to be effective, webinars must be captivating. Follow these top 5 tips to create an effective webinar.

1)       Audience engagement

Engagement with the audience should not just be during the webinar. Send materials, or a small taster before the session to create a buzz, then afterwards be sure to send some kind of follow up to solidify the message in people minds.

2)       Have a great speaker

The person hosting should be engaging and also an expert in the topic. This avoids it seeming like somebody is simply reading from a script. The host should be able to competently answer audience questions. Furthermore, if the webinar is going have a video stream, the host should feel comfortable in front of the camera.

3)           Consider the format

Think about which format is most appropriate. For example do you want to share a PowerPoint presentation, do you want an interview format, or perhaps a live panel? There are lots of engaging and interesting options to consider.

4)       Have a strong script

It is important as I said previously not to read verbatim from a script – even if the audience can’t see you, it will likely sound somewhat robotic. However it is important to have a robust outline of what you want to cover and use that as a basis for what you want to say.

5)       Create a strong slide deck

If you are going to have a deck to accompany your webinar, ensure it is visually appealing and represents the brand. The great thing about a slide deck is that it can be used to send to participants after the webinar as a reminder of the content that has been shared.

 

In Summary

A webinar is a fairly inexpensive way to engage with current and potential customers. It allows you to share interesting content that creates a buzz around your brand. Consider the tips we have shared above to ensure your webinar packs a punch.

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Ethics and the Financial Industry; do the two go together?

By: Morgan International Staff Writers

When it comes to the financial industry, ethics are incredibly important.  No matter the size of the business operating within this arena, it is essential that it behaves in a totally ethical way, not just for the business’s benefit and that of their customers but in order to protect the image of the financial industry as a whole.

The worrying thing is that although the financial industry has a massive impact upon the economy, in the past it has been tarnished by the sometimes illegal or unethical behavior of a few.  This in turn can have a vastly negative impact in other areas, with lack of transparency adding to the issues.

But what can be done to preserve and establish these ethics which are so very important? Some have said that the overall values need to change and that bankers, for example, should take an oath (as doctors do) to protect the interests of their customers.  The trouble with this idea is that although it seems great in principle, in practice, values cannot be amended purely by re-writing them as they naturally tend to evolve over time and after all, how do you split financial culture from the effects that it has upon money and the economy?

The solution needs to come from elsewhere.

  • Compliance needs to be rigorously enforced

The Government may oversee the financial industry but what does it do if something goes wrong?  It needs to ensure that if companies or individuals cross the line, behaving unethically, and regulations will kick in that will ensure they are dealt with severely; it is not just enough to give them a rap on the knuckles but custodial sentences must be top of the agenda.  Where certain professions are obliged to comply with a set code of ethics, such as with certified public accountants, not only should their training ensure that this is understood but they must be seen to actually comply.

  • Individual businesses need to pay attention

Let’s take a look at ethics where they apply to businesses, such as in the case of an accountant working for a client in line with a code of respect and trust.  In this case, they must always put the client first, guaranteeing that their financial affairs and their money is safe.  Even the slightest flavor of unethical behavior in these circumstances not only destroys the client-accountant relationship and the business but also impacts generally upon the way in which the industry is regarded by those outside of it.

  • Total transparency needs to be applied

This may sound like an obvious statement but it is paramount that anyone operating within the financial industry reveals all and any relevant information that involves the parties they are dealing with.  Not only should client details be kept confidential but contracts should be explained clearly and self-regulation should always be in place; by setting up their systems and procedures to operate in this way, laws and codes of ethics more easily be complied with.

In summary, ethics within the financial industry are essential, not only because rules and regulations demand it but because failure to apply them tarnishes the image of a sector that has long been subject to bad press; sometimes purely due to the nature of the business as money and morality are not always seen as going together.

Many of our clients take part in our training courses to ensure that they are fully compliant with the financial industry’s code of ethics.  Check out the many training opportunities that we provide that deal with this matter in detail and point you in the right direction when it comes to running your business not only professionally but absolutely ethically.

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Seven Tips on How to Be a Great Leader in a Crisis

By Morgan International Staff Writers

Projects should run smoothly, but invariably different forces conspire to create problems and great leaders are defined by how they react to those issues and deal with the problems.

Look for early warning signs.  A crisis rarely just happens, and it is usually apparent that something is going wrong before it happens.  Learn to look for the early signs that something is starting to go wrong – such as team member reports or unexpected results – and prepare a contingency plan.

Respond with quick, effective, decisions. A crisis can be made all the worse by procrastination and poor decisions.  As a project manager, you are expected to be able to make quick decisions, based on your project knowledge, to prevent a crisis becoming disastrous.

Face reality. In a crisis, it can be easy to ignore the hard facts and look for the positives, but that can lose you valuable time.  Learn to look at a crisis for what it is – something going badly wrong - and determine how you are going to remedy it and not learn to live with it.  You can’t make realistic decisions unless you face the reality of a situation!

Manage communications effectively. Others are going to want to know about the crisis, and you need to learn how to impart that knowledge in a salient information only.  Senior managers won’t want waffle – they want to know the facts and what you are going to do about it.  In a serious crisis, you may need to respond to the media too, so be prepared for that.

Manage team ideas. In a crisis, your team are the people who will help you overcome it, but they need careful managing.  Get them together early on and work out ideas using standard tools such as brainstorming to overcome the problem.

Encourage problem solving.  As a project manager one of your main roles is to get the best out of people, and a crisis is the one place where your people have to excel. Usually, your team will look to you for direction but in this instance, you need to encourage them to find the answers within their own areas of expertise.

Be determined.  As a crisis grows, others outside the team may try to take over and pull the project from you.  In these cases, you need to stick to your principles and ensure that you have control.  If you lose governance of the team and the situation, it could turn out much worse.  Be determined and own the problem, right until its conclusion.

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Job descriptions – why they’re important and how they can prove beneficial to your company

By Morgan International Staff Writers

A job description is essential part of the recruitment and staffing process, helping potential candidates to clearly see if they possess the necessary skills, knowledge, and expernce to fill the role.

But did you know that an effective job description can also be a powerful management tool?

Here’s a rundown of the range of uses of a good job description:

• Performance Management

A well-crafted job description provides a clear and comprehensive outline of the duties that are assigned to the role. Within a performance management context, these can be used to set goals and targets and then monitor progress.

• Training and Development

Job descriptions can also be used to encourage on-going training and development. If your employees can clearly see what steps they need to take to reach their next role or position within the company, they are more likely to pursue the relevant training and development options.

• Pay Grades

An accurate, well-written job description can be incredibly helpful when it comes to standardising pay grades and outlining the upper and lower limits for each role.

• Reward and Recognition

As the job description will clearly outline the minimum expected from each employee, you can encourage them to go above and beyond their job description as part of your reward and recognition scheme.

On the other hand, if employees are under-performing, the job description can be used to highlight problem areas and illustrate the level of performance expected.

• Essential Job Function Analysis

A thorough, well-written job description will provide details on the essential functions of a position. This can be extremely useful when it comes to Equality and Diversity in the work place, highlighting the essential prerequisites for each role and also providing a defence against charges of employment discrimination

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3 Supply Chain Fails and Avoidance Strategies

By: Morgan International Staff Writers

The role of any Supply Chain Manager is to ensure the supply chain is robust and resilient. They should be well versed with the common pitfalls and put strategies in place to avoid them from happening, or being able to quickly recover if they do. These are our top 3 supply chain fails with avoidance and/or recovery strategies:

 

  • Over reliance on a supplier

When a fantastic supplier is found, it can be tempting to put all your eggs into one basket. The prudent Supply Chain Manager who inherits this situation would carry out thorough due diligence to ensure the supplier is a going concern. Thereafter they would look to try and diversify and have at least one back up supplier, because in reality even if they are financially sound there may be unforeseen circumstances that could shake the supply such as an act of God, or perhaps a takeover. Over reliance on one supplier typically puts them in a very strong bargaining position, and therefore to ensure competitive pricing a contract should clearly govern the relationship and cap any price increases. Strategic supplier relationships are hugely important, but it is purely good business to have a back-up plan.

 

  • Illegal practices

Nike has been dogged with allegations of illegal working practices in factories in their supply chain. In 2011 Nike admitted that there had been mental and physical abuse of employees at one of their suppliers producing Converse shoes in Indonesia. In fact an internal report showed that almost two thirds of the 168 factories producing Converse products worldwide failed to meet Nike’s standards for their suppliers. This is worrying to say the least, and the result it not only bad press, but also consumers choosing to buy elsewhere. The role of the Supply Chain Manager is to ensure that strict due diligence is performed on each supplier, and that audits are carried out regularly.

 

  • No contract

A contract should not be seen as an admin exercise. It is used to agree to the terms of the engagement, and to govern the relationship. The process of agreeing the contract is in itself incredibly important so that the supplier and client are clear on their own roles and responsibilities, and what the consequences will be if they fail to deliver on those. Without a clearly written document, it is near impossible to ensure delivery is as expected.

 

In Summary
In any supply chain, simple or complex, there are inherent risks. The role of a Supply Chain Manager is to consider the exposures and to put in place various strategies to manage these in a suitable and practical way.

Source

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2014325/Nike-workers-kicked-slapped-verbally-abused-factories-making-Converse-line-Indonesia.html#ixzz4ogYhUr00

 

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5 Low Budget but Effective Marketing Strategies

By Morgan International Staff Writers
Marketing was traditionally a major expense line as it involved TV adverts, radio promotions, printed materials and so on. The great thing about social media and the internet more generally is that it has provided many low budget but very effective marketing strategies.
1) Blogs and SEO
First of all write high quality content that is interesting for the prospective reader. Then SEO optimize that content to attract high traffic to your site. SEO can seem complex but it simply involves good article structure, backlinks, and the use of well-placed keywords.
2) Referrals
People are 4 times as likely to purchase a product when it is recommended by a friend. So why not get your customer base to do your marketing for you? One way to achieve this is to run a referral scheme such as offering a gift or discount for each referred customer that makes a purchase.
3) Press Releases
If you have something newsworthy then consider writing a press release and news outlets should be more than willing to report it which will draw attention to your business for free. You may even get some inbound traffic to your site.
4) Email Marketing
It is important to start with a self-created list as opposed to one that is bought – this ensures that those receiving the email have actually shown an interest in your brand and therefore the target group for the email is appropriate. Using email marketing tools are typically inexpensive and can provide useful statistics such as open rates.
5) Social media
Produce business profiles on the major platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Update the profiles regularly and share interesting content and use it as a way to drive traffic to your site.
 
In Summary
In the modern era of the proliferation of the internet and social media, marketing needn’t be expensive to be effective. To learn more about digital marketing, why not consider a Digital Marketing Specialist course.