Is your business prepared for a disaster?

A couple of years ago the world watched as New Orleans almost became the ‘Lost City of Atlantis’. Hurricane Katrina almost completely destroyed this historic city on the Mississippi. Homes, lives, and businesses were lost in the matter of just a few days. Many of those businesses had enough warning to enable them to move vital information to secure spots. Unfortunately, many more chose to ‘stick it out’ in hopes that the storm and surge would pass by them. Most people who live along coastal waterways know there is the possibility that they will be subject to some kind of

Business Costs

When starting a new business, many have problems deciding how much money they need. They may have a figure in mind, but if they have never owned their own venture before, they may have no idea about hidden business costs. These can be small, or they can be very large and troublesome. Most figure out what they know, but far too many fail to do proper research before they take out a loan to start their own company or service. This usually means they will fail because they run out of money. Business costs can be something like Monopoly money.

Innovation in the Family Business

A danger in any business is stagnation. As our business becomes more successful, we become more comfortable with our surroundings and less motivated to change from existing practices. Family businesses are no exception: Starting out on an entrepreneurial high, family businesses are widely recognized as a major source of technological innovation and economic progress. But somewhere in the process we lose the drive, the desire to continually bring innovative practices and products to our organization. Owners may become more concerned about the risk of losing their business, than the prospect of growing it into a larger and more successful entity.

What Really Makes My Business Tick? 8 Questions Every CEO Should Ask

The US Army’s motto of “Be all you can be” served them well for years. But it applies equally well to any businesses, organizations, and even families for that matter. Many organizations see themselves as somewhat contented with the way things are, but of course it’s hard to think of anything else when there are real issues to be discussed. Still, for our businesses, we aspire for something deeper and more meaningful. In our businesses, we all have issues and challenges to overcome. But that should not keep us from striving to become not only all that we can be,

The 80 – 20 Rule – Don’t Abandon the 80

The 80/20 rule, otherwise known as “Pareto’s Principle” is going through a revival. Marketers, business analysts, and academics are all calling for an increased focus on this seemingly, set in gold, business and life ‘standard’. In simple terms, what the 80/20 rule says is that 80 percent of the work done, or sales made, or service given (depending on your industry or point of view) is performed by 20 percent of employees, customers, or clients. In other words, from a business perspective, the vast majority of your revenue, and hence profit, should be coming from a mere 20% of your

Is an Online Education Right For You? Choosing an Online Education, Part 1

Whether you know it or not, you have spent your whole life learning. You just may not have a fancy printed certificate hanging on your wall to show for it. Is now the time to make that step to get your degree? Taking that step in the past was a scary, and for many, impossible, feat. You don’t have the time to attend classes at night, you cannot afford the tuition and travel expenses, or maybe you are uncomfortable in a classroom setting. With the advent of the internet, learning online may be the key to achieving your goals and

Will rising fuel costs spur an increase in telecommuting?

The dream of working from home in your pajamas has probably been on the back of almost every ‘white collar’ worker at some point in their career. Not having to hassle with spending an hour or more in the car every day just to get to and from the office has always sounded pretty good. But that dream has never turned into a reality for most people. Even as recently as 2006 some suggested that there was more myth than reality to the idea of telecommuting and flexible work schedules (Gragg, 2006). However, as gas prices have risen past the

What is Management Consulting?

The world of management consulting at times appears to be clouded with uncertainty and confusion; it can require the patience of Job and the Wisdom of Solomon, the serenity of Gandhi and the confidence of Churchill, all at the same time. It can also be the most rewarding experience outside of family that a person can have. Seeing the impact a successful project implementation can have on an organization, even beyond the monetary rewards, makes the headaches and frustrations all worth it. The experience of being part of something that not only impacts your own life but the lives of

If it ain’t broke you may need to fix it

Normally, the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a well heeded thought. Unfortunately that is not always the case when it comes to technology. Recently a client brought to us a computer that was extremely old. This computer had been working for many years and was used to control equipment used in a manufacturing environment. There had been no need to monitor how this equipment was functioning, or the software it was running, because it ‘simply worked’. The problem that now surfaced was that this particular computer was failing. Simple enough to solve; or at least

10 Things You Should Know Before You Bid On a Business Product from an Online Auction

Recently I spoke with someone who had purchased a car through an online auction house. Unfortunately they found out too late that the car was not what it was supposed to be. They attempted to cancel the check, they wrote, before it was actually sent from the bank, but it was too late. Buying something on an auction site can be a thrilling adventure. You may have the opportunity to buy something at a price far below the normal cost of that item. You may also find items that are not available through normal stores and retailers. You also need

The 80 – 20 Rule – Don’t Abandon the 80

The 80/20 rule, otherwise known as “Pareto’s Principle” is going through a revival. Marketers, business analysts, and academics are all calling for an increased focus on this seemingly, set in gold, business and life ‘standard’.

In simple terms, what the 80/20 rule says is that 80 percent of the work done, or sales made, or service given (depending on your industry or point of view) is performed by 20 percent of employees, customers, or clients. In other words, from a business perspective, the vast majority of your revenue, and hence profit, should be coming from a mere 20% of your customers.

Business analysts and financial advisors are now advising their clients, in these trying economic times, to focus their efforts on those customers, or areas of your business, where you receive the most revenue from. That spending your time with the other 80% will result in higher costs, and less attention to the areas of the business that make you the most money.

In concept this is a great idea. Spending less time on those areas of your business that contribute the least to your profit is certainly a worthy goal. But, I wonder if we are being a little short sighted here.

If you think about your business and how it got started, or even better: Think about your most consistently profitable customer. Did that customer start out as being your largest customer? Sometimes they do. But most likely they did not start out that way. They started by buying small amounts of your products or services, and then gradually grew as their confidence in what you have to offer increased. They were at one time a member of that vast 80% that contributed less than 20% to your profits.

Are you willing to give that customer up today? No, you want them and their business.

Now look at your customer list. Is it possible that there is a hidden gem amongst that 80% that will someday become one of your best customers? Predicting which ones will make that monumental move may be the most difficult thing that a business can do. There are so many unknown variables that impact how and why customer relationships grow, that it is very difficult to predict what will happen. But you know your customers. Look closely at what you did to get that one customer over the invisible hump. You will most likely find clues that will help you bring others into the 20% fold.

Spending the majority of your time working with and building successful relationships with those customers that provide you the most revenue will help sustain your business in tight economic times. But don’t abandon the other 80%. You never know when they might become your greatest asset, and the key to achieving long term profitability.

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