A guide to bad bosses


 MANAGEMENT TODAY.01 January 2013

Bosses come in every shape and size. There are, however, some who remain beyond the help of training or advice and will be forever awful. Here’s a guide from cult illustrators Modern Toss on how to spot the managers to avoid.

1. The Narcissist Boss

You can spot the Narcissist Boss when you attend his industry event and he’s booked his own indie band to headline. Of course, you should have guessed when you encountered a company simply named Shaun, which had a silhouette of Shaun’s own head as a logo. Here even the slightest company achievement is seen as further evidence of the value of Shauning. Company colleagues, or ‘Baby Shauns’ as they’re officially known, must crank up for work every morning by singing the Shaun song. It may be a nightmare for everyone but Shaun, but such desperate self-promotion does have one positive: a business achieves an enviable sense of togetherness when everyone, from the postroom to the boardroom, thinks Shaun is a dick.

2. The Wimp Boss

The Wimp Boss is endearing at first, as he bumbles his way through the introduction to how the place works. But it’s not just eye contact he’s avoiding: the Wimp Boss will also go as far as is humanly possible to duck from reality or censure. That’s why he’s still using the hole-punch as a puppet while the sales figures fall off the chart. And when the office is repossessed and he’s operating instead from his mum’s lounge in a vest and pair of jogging bottoms and still calling himself a company – and his poor PA is stuck sorting his Snickers receipts two days a week in order to feed her kids – she’ll realise she should have quit while she still had a desk.

3. The Burnout Boss

Why is everyone still at their PC at 9pm? Thank the guilt that comes with working for the Burnout Boss, who’ll be there past midnight. Presumably, they’re helping assuage his own disappointment for never making it past county tennis, despite all those hours of serving practice he was forced into. The enemy of the Burnout Boss is the Christmas break: stripped of work, his fists clench as he sits staring uncomprehending at the smiley shapes on the TV, a faint internal cry of ‘mummy’ crushed under a towering lists of tasks that he’s been banned from tackling. The Burnout Boss is on the board by 15, retired at 21, and dead by 30. Too right: the quicker we get life crossed off the to-do list, the sooner we can get to winning in the afterlife.

4.The Bully Boss

The law of the playground states that the bullied will become the bully. But it doesn’t end there, as the Bully Boss has gone on to live a life of escalating tyranny and been richly rewarded: from climbing on her mates to her first promotion, to stripping other people’s assets – whether that’s tearing companies apart or snatching wedding rings from weeping execs in late-night poker bouts. Now the Bully Boss lords it over a department of subjugated souls, following them on a bank of CCTV screens as they scurry past her office door, humming the Weakest Link theme while she awaits Dressing-Down Friday. What she doesn’t know is that her nemesis, the Bully Chairman, just got out of the lift on her floor…

5. The Territorial Boss

The Territorial Boss measures success in square-footage, so don’t dream of entering his office without knocking. Never mind that it’s a Portakabin in the car park – he’s sweated for this. The plans on the desk aren’t for the company when he becomes CEO, they’re for where he’s going to stick his fish tank when he gets the job. For now though he’s got his Portakabin. And his shelf in the fridge. And his stapler. And his chair. And his parking space. All are duly marked. But this possessiveness extends to people too, and becoming his friend may have its benefits. But when he finally gives you a go in his chair, late at night, and proceeds to subject you to brutal tales of his divorce, you know you’re only one step from having his name Tippexed on your face.

Checklist: Get Your Small Business Started


 

Sandra Bienkowski.SUCCESS.November 21, 201

Questions to ask yourself and answers from SUCCESS.com resources.

Checklist: Get Your Small Business Started

Starting a new business comes with no guarantees. While risks are unavoidable, you can vastly improve your chances of succeeding with proper planning. Use this checklist from the Small Business Association to help you get started. Poor planning is actually the No. 1 reason for small-business failures, so make sure you are prepared.
Do you have a business plan for the enterprise you are planning to start?

Do you know and understand the components of a business plan?

Do you know what form of legal ownership (sole proprietor, partnership or corporation) is best for your business? Do you know if your business will require a special license or permit and how to obtain it?

Do you know where to find demographic data and information about your customers?

Do you know how to compute the financial break-even point for your business?

Do you know how to compute the startup costs for your business?

Do you know about the various funding programs that are available?

Do you know how to prepare and interpret a balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement?

Are you sure your planned business fills a specific market need?

Do you know your target market and how to attract clients?

Do you understand the tax requirements and tax advantages associated with your business?

Do you know how to prepare a marketing strategy for your business?

Do you know how to learn about your business competitors?

Do you understand marketing trends in your industry?

Do you feel comfortable using technology and social media to improve business operations?

Do you have a payroll process planned for your business?

Do you have a customer service strategy in place?

Do you know how to obtain an Employer Identification Number for your business?

Do you know if your business should have some form of intellectual property protection?

Do you know where to obtain information about regulations and compliance requirements that impact your business?
If you don’t feel ready, don’t be discouraged. The Small Business Administration says anyone can learn the skills needed to be an entrepreneur. Review your answers to identify weak areas and proactively seek the information and resources you need to build up your skills. Consult with experts in your field or use websites such as IRS.gov, Score.org and NSBA.biz. Start putting your perseverance to work for you.

How to Take Your Business to the Next Level in 2013


BY Gwen Moran|ENTERPRENEUR |January 2, 2013

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Holiday leftovers aren’t even cold before conversation typically turns to resolutions for the new year. A December 2012 TD Ameritrade survey found that half of Americans want to improve their health and 32 percent hope to strengthen their finances in 2013.

Companies also will be taking steps to achieve greater prosperity next year. To make your own resolutions about growing your business, consider these 10 steps as part of a successful 2013 action plan.

Move forward even in uncertain times. Over the next 12 months, companies will need to deal with health-care reform, changing regulations and still volatile economic times, but they can’t let those uncertainties paralyze them, says Jeffrey Fox, a business author and consultant in Chester, Conn. Even in the worst economic times, some businesses thrive, says Mark Stevens, founder of MSCO, a marketing advisory firm in Rye Brook, N.Y. He advises companies to aggressively investigate potential new markets, invest in marketing, and test new ways of promoting themselves to bring in new customers and revenue.

Tap your employees. Your employees are a tremendous resource for new ideas, says Ken Blanchard, co-author of best-selling classic The One Minute Manager (William Morrow, 1982) and founder of the Ken Blanchard leadership training companies based in Escondido, Calif. For example, he notes that a Southwest Airlines employee proposed the idea that led to Business Select, which allows passengers to pay extra for such perks as priority boarding. “That one idea has made the business millions of dollars,” Blanchard says.

Reconnect with your purpose. When you started your business, you had a vision for what you wanted to create. Find ways to rekindle that fire in your belly, Blanchard says. Whether it’s sales, finance or product development, spend more time working in the areas of your business that excite you, he suggests. “If you don’t love what you’re doing, you’re never going to work hard enough to be one of the best.”

Diversify your income opportunities. Look for ways you can sell more to your customers and prospects. If you sell products, you can add complementary items, bundle offerings or add service packages. Service providers can often add products to boost the bottom line. For example, when Blanchard and his wife Marjorie started their company in 1980, they conducted business seminars. Soon, they realized their income was limited by just offering seminars. After they branched into selling such products as books and diagnostic tools, their business grew to more than 300 employees.

Adopt value pricing. Fox doesn’t believe that all products and services have to compete on price. Retailers may sell similar brands, but you can add value based on location, customer service, convenience, cleanliness and other factors that are important to customers. Manufacturers can differentiate based on innovative new products, quality, on-time delivery record and exceptional salespeople. “Even salt has been differentiated—sea salt, kosher salt, salt that comes in shakers,” Fox says.

Hire rainmakers. One of your best investments is an employee who can bring in new business, keep customers happy, and sell based on factors other than price, Fox says. When you’re interviewing potential rainmakers, look for people who are engaged, politely persistent and well prepared for the interview. Fox says these coveted employees are able to speak specifically about past successes, whether a significant personal accomplishment or the amount of business they landed for their latest employer.

Set aggressive growth goals. Since he launched MSCO in 1995, Stevens has worked at doubling his business every 18 months. He advises setting a goal that makes you slightly uncomfortable and then determining what it’s going to take to get there. Analyze how you landed your best customers, the length of your sales cycle and the ratio of prospects to customers to get a better understanding of what’s working in your sales and marketing efforts, he says. Then, focus on the most effective methods.

Measure every marketing activity. If you can’t measure it, don’t spend money on it, Stevens says. It’s often easiest to track online marketing, but other types of promotions can be measured as well, such as special offerings with a unique response telephone number, coded coupons or response cards, unique landing pages, and free white paper or information downloads. “When you combine tools in this way, you can track marketing effectiveness that some people say are unmeasurable, like outdoor advertising and public relations,” Stevens says.

Pay attention to the experience. Consider what it’s like for customers to do business with your company. How is their experience with the receptionist or sales team? Is the store or office environment pleasant? Do orders arrive on time? Is the customer service team responsive? Even small glitches or a perceived slight can cost you a customer, Fox says. “I know a bookstore owner who has signs all over ‘No shoes, no shirt, no service. No cell phones. No food.’ No one wants to be scolded like that.”

Try doing what you tend to avoid. For years, Stevens thought radio advertising would be a poor medium for promoting his marketing firm. Finally in 2008, an employee persuaded him to spend $10,000 on radio ads. The return on the investment has proven so strong that this year, the company spent roughly $1.25 million on radio. Whether it’s an assumption about a new market, marketing technique or management technique, Stevens advises you to challenge your belief that a new approach won’t work.

How to Find New Business Ideas in Everyday Life


BY Nadia Goodman|ENTERPRENEUR|December 27, 2012

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The idea for Disneyland’s Magic Kingdom was born on a family vacation. Walt Disney was visiting Tivoli Gardens, one of Europe’s oldest amusement parks, when he realized he could create a bigger, better version in California. His method is not unusual: Great entrepreneurs find new business ideas by paying attention to opportunities in everyday life.

“The world around you is filled with ideas that can be useful,” says Andy Boynton, co-author of The Idea Hunter (Jossey-Bass, 2011).

None of those ideas will come to you by thinking really hard in a vacuum. You have to get out in the world and practice behaviors that lead you to new ideas. “Innovation is not about how smart you are; it’s about the hunt for ideas,” Boynton says. “Behavior trumps IQ.”

By learning to think and act in ways that bring new opportunities to light, you can find a constant stream of business ideas in everyday life. Here are three tips to help you find inspiration in the world around you.

1. Keep a list of opportunities. “At any given time, there’s a job that has to get done,” Boynton says, meaning the world is full of problems that need to be solved. As you go about daily life, keep a running list of jobs that others have abandoned, ignored, or failed to address effectively. Each is a potential opportunity.

“Start with your own experience,” Boynton says. Ask yourself, what bugs me? What could be easier? More fun? More convenient? Your own frustrations will guide you to real problems that can drive a new business idea.

2. Hunt for ideas in diverse places. New ideas require creativity, which thrives on novelty and diversity. You might find a great idea while you’re on vacation or unexpected inspiration in an experimental art exhibit. “If you open your eyes, the answer is there,” Boynton says. “But your world has to be broad enough and diverse enough to feed you the ideas you need.”

Your search needs to be intentional. “When effective idea hunters talk to people, they’re not just going through a social dance,” Boynton says. They’re looking to learn what others know or do — mining the world around them for useful ideas.

3. Notice how others solve business problems. In any situation, you are surrounded by problems that someone has tried to solve. Each is an opportunity to learn. Start noticing how convenience stores organize inventory, how packaging catches your eye, or how Amazon encourages impulse buys. You might find a better way to solve the same problem or inspiration for solving a different problem.

“You really can borrow and reuse ideas, and reapply them,” Boynton says. “If you develop a mental habit of [noticing others’ solutions], it opens your eyes to what’s out there.”

Happy New Year


bY OLUSEGUN   OGOLO

I wish us all a very happy and prosperous new  year.

I pray that we shall have the grace to provide excellent leadership,that we’ll be  much more innovative in our use of reources (especially our minds),that our Enterpreneural endeavours shall succeed in the generation of wealth for us and others,and that we’ll have sufficient strategic insight to stay ahead of the pack.In Jesus name.Amen.