Blog -World Class Leadership

How to Increase Revenues and Profits in uncertain times

The conventional methods of selling and earning good margins has completely changed. Buyer behaviours have changed and more choices are now easily available. The key question is, how can you increase revenues and profits during these disruptive times?

Boohoo, an online fashion retailer posted a 97% increase in profits and growth in sales by 51% in the past year. On the other hand, Next, a fashion chain posted a drop of 2.5% in total sales in 13 weeks. The point I am trying to make is, what is a successful growing company doing compared to another in the same industry which posted unfavourable results? Though Next has retail outlets as well as an online presence.

There is a common trend for companies that are successful. They focus and act on certain activities which struggling companies are inconsistent with.  I filtered out 7 insights which have made a positive impact to businesses which are key to their progression over the years. These are:

1) Asking the right questions...

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7 Signs of an Effective Board for a Private Company

Many boards are vague on what board meetings discussions should focus on. I recall a family owned manufacturing company, where the directors met to discuss monthly management reports. A senior member of an accounting firm was chairing these meetings. There were reactive arguments throughout one such meeting (I had the opportunity to observe) which lasted an hour and a half.  The chair was dominating the meeting and ultimately making decisions without much contribution from the other directors and executives. They considered these to be board meetings as they comprised of directors and the head of finance.

 My point is, there are many such companies who have not evolved to the new reality. The global landscape rapidly changes and boards must prepare more than ever before. Board level discussions and management meetings must have clear distinctions. In this article, I reveal 7 signs of an effective board.

 1)      Focused on Priorities: The...

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Small Enterprise Corporate Governance: The Structure of Sustainability

In turbulent times when clients are decreasing their budgets, banks aren’t lending, competition is becoming more hostile and threatening, and change is no longer variable but a fixed part of “business as usual” it often effects small companies much differently than large companies. A major reason for this is that larger companies (at least those that are solvent and long-standing) for better or worse depend on their infrastructure and internal systems to get them through tumultuous times. A major part of this system is the Corporate Governance Structure of the organization. This system provides structure in times of uncertainty, it provides a network of quality individuals who are familiar with the company and capable, as a group, of making logical decisions on matters that will determine the level of success or failure within that organization. Some may assume that small companies don’t require the same type of structure to succeed; in fact some may argue...

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Through the looking glass: Key indicators that can alert your board of directors to potential executive smokescreens  

 The job of an employee is to perform the actions of his job responsibly, to achieve those goals provided to that employee by management, and to work as a part of an overall unit to maintain and usher growth for the company as a whole.  The job of the executive team within a company is to develop and implement the strategies that will carry the company into the future while protecting the infrastructure of the company and managing the integral parts of the company in an attempt to move the company towards its goals. 

These are pretty defined objectives for these two classes of stakeholders within a company; and it is in that definition that they are able to serve their purpose.  While it is important to have defined roles within the company, not all parties involved share this particular trait.  The board of directors of a company has a simple mandate as it relates to their duties “Protect the Interests of the Shareholders”; and while very...

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The one question every director and executive must ask

We see rapid changes taking place globally and technology disruptions forcing companies to tweak and make relevant changes to their business to adapt to these external realities. Though this article aims at help all sizes of companies, research indicates that 96% of small businesses fail in the first 10 years. 

I have come across businesses who are doing well on paper, but face serious cash flow problems. The reason is, directors and executives don’t take enough time to evaluate the critical triggers which drain company value. 

Before we go into the question, I often get asked as to why I refer to both directors and executives. After all, the duties of directors are different and segregated from what management does. Directors must not entangle themselves into micromanaging and not all executives are on the board. 

The following are some of the reasons why directors and executives need to work together in certain circumstances: 

1)     ...

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The Financial Ingredient: Financial Management in the Corporate Strategy Equation

The Financial Ingredient: Financial Management in the Corporate Strategy Equation

It seems like a principal that is easy to understand; to make corporate decisions you must understand the financial ramifications of the actions that are being taken. How else can you make strategic business decisions; right? You have to consider how the strategic position being taken will affect the company’s financial infrastructure.

While this ideology may be simple to understand it is often ignored (or at the very least undervalued) when company’s are developing their operating strategies. This is not to say that decision-makers don’t consider the financial costs of such decisions, because they might; this is to say that many times they don’t fully under- stand how their financial infrastructure will be affected in the long and short-term as it relates to other factors beyond costs.

When operating strategies are being created, it is incumbent on management to understand how...

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More than One Way – How to grow from Good to Great in a stalled economy

More than One Way – Good to Great

In a poor global economy most companies are required to stand back and reflect on the situation that they find themselves in and how that situation will change with the volatility in the market (be it local, regional, national, or international). When doing this analysis many companies will be in one of the three following categories:

  • Static – We have made the efficiency changes in our operational infrastructure to withstand market volatility and maintain our primary sources of business. In these cases management likely has formulated the necessary plans to support operations if shifts occur (i.e. sales fall by 15%, or the credit markets freeze up, or costs increase); furthermore they likely have the resources to support operations if the worst should happen as these companies generally have good liquidity levels; manageable debt and expenses, and have the ability to make cuts as necessary risking overall operational efficiency. While...
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Power in Numbers: The importance of collective thinking in Corporate Decision Making

Decision making is the most basic and vital aspect of running a company and the ability to do it well is a major determinant in the level of success that a company may experience. At its best corporate decision making is a collaborative effort between those in the company that have been specifically placed in positions of power due to either their specialties or their overall business acumen. In these situations, multiple individuals seek to make decisions by analyzing specific situations, providing their input, and allowing the group to determine the best course of action. While ultimately there is a key decision maker who signs off on the final decision, that person depends on the groups’ ability to collaborate to make informed decisions. 

The problem that arises in modern corporate settings is that this type of collaborative decision making rarely occurs because of the structure of the organization. Whether the CEO is the chief decision maker and rarely requests the...

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Beyond Risky: Going Beyond Risk Mitigation and Risk Tolerance is a Risk Analysis

In its simplest form, risk, from an operational perspective, is a mathematical equation that focuses on the simple concept of risk vs. reward.  When we analyze how risk mitigation and risk tolerance effect business decisions, we are asking the decision-makers within the organization how much risk (or chance) they are willing to take versus the perceived rewards that could be obtained through a positive outcome of the decision being made.  These are simple formulas and in a perfect scenario these two factors (risk mitigation and risk tolerance) would provide all of the information necessary to make major operational decisions.  Unfortunately, like everything in life, it just isn’t that simple.

 

When assessing risk, it is extremely dangerous to use a simplified approach to decision making, because the fact is that risk must always be analyzed on an individual basis.  While risk tolerance and risk mitigation are always factors in analyzing risk within...

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Corporate Excellence - The 7 triggers of Corporate Excellence

Corporate Excellence – A webinar conducted for Executives in Morocco.

These 7 triggers of Corporate Excellence are vital for the success of organisations. It goes through the core elements both at board and management level which we believe will lead to accelearated accomplishments of milestones. As we know that Strategy, vision, mission is not enough. These Corporate Excellence triggers reveals certain deeper drivers which act as key enablers to growth and success.

 

 

 

 

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