Tuesday, August 6, 2013

7 Ways to Restructure Your Company for Opportunity, Inspired by Disney

Today’s economic climate is challenging for any corporation. One industry seems particularly lost — film. Unfathomable budgets have led to major losses and far fewer successful franchises. Home entertainment distribution virtually imploded with on-demand, Redbox, and iTunes. 3D is being forced on the public (and theater operators), but many are still skeptical of the price. And during this unstable time, Disney CEO Bob Iger fired the chairman of Disney Studios, arguably the most beloved major studio, leaving many inside and outside the industry to speculate on what’s next for the company. Applicable to any modern corporation, my only thought is one word: opportunity.

Based on these actions, I hope Iger has recognized the socioeconomic trends all big businesses should be considering, and is preparing for major restructuring, which has started with announcing former Warner Bros. executive Alan Horn as the new chairman. Horn has had tremendous success with recent franchises like Harry Potter. However, the world is far less organized, and its people far more connected than even two years ago when that franchise wrapped.

Any organized field needs to find its place in the rapidly evolving world order, and every company within that field must maintain its standing in that order. Here’s how I believe Iger and Horn (or any other company’s executives) could lead the way: 
  • Commit to quality over quantity, both in company size and product development. With hugely profitable websites being run by 1-2 people, thousands of employees don’t make you powerful. They make you expensive, necessitating an ambitious output schedule. Keep only those truly dedicated experts and ask them be accountable and resourceful; put out only those quality products which the group can confidently, passionately promote.
  • Become less organized. Organizational charts and major divisions were designed for the railway system. Each individual should bring an expertise to a team, and teams should be flexible enough to allow everyone involved in a project to discuss it from conception throughout development. Nothing new, including a film, should be executed in assembly-line fashion.
  • Make everyone an Imagineer. It should be part of everyone’s job description in some way, rather than a title. Each individual has a responsibility to look at the world around them and consider ways to make it more effective, enjoyable, and interesting. Sure, they may need to collaborate with someone else to execute on it, but that’s the next point.

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Five Tips for Maintaining Customer Relationships

Your customer’s relationship with your business is a core part of your brand. This relationship determines whether customers will walk in your doors, buy a product, and return in the future. Like any relationship in your life, customer relationships and branding your customer experience will require effort on your part. Here are five ways of nurturing and building this key part of your small business brand.

1. Focus on meeting needs. 

Instead of telling customers how great your business and its products are, tell them how you are going to meet their needs. What problem are you solving for them? If you can make someone’s life easier or more pleasant, it will be easy to be viewed as a friend, an entity that the customer has an ongoing relationship with. Make this customer focus a core part of your brand and your marketing. Read more about marketing to the affluent.

2. Make all interactions as pleasant as possible.

Few people can maintain a healthy, ongoing relationship with a person who is difficult to deal with, and business relationships operate in a very similar way. From the way you and your employees answer the telephone to the way you handle returns, all customer interactions should be streamlined and managed in a way that the customer comes out feeling like a winner. As with human relationships, business relationships are developed over time through positive interaction.

3. Create an aesthetically pleasing environment. 

Studies have shown over and over that the public prefers attractive people for both personal and business relationships. While aesthetics aren’t everything, they are a huge part of the overall picture. This means that creating clean and attractive spaces, both in physical locations and websites, is a key part of nurturing the customer relationship.

4. Put yourself out there.

How to revitalize and turnaround a failing small business

Turning around a failing business isn’t easy, but it is possible

The key is starting early. Often, entrepreneurs try to convince themselves that a slowdown is just another hiccup, and end up waiting until their business is on the brink of collapse before attempting a reboot.

But even though the thought of revitalization sounds daunting, it’s also a chance to tighten weak points and set a correct course for the future. So, what can an entrepreneur do when a major turnaround is necessary?

Every business is different, but there are basic principles that improve your chances of success.

Know when to get outside help

According to David Ian Gray, founder of consulting group DIG360, the first step is speaking with fellow entrepreneurs who faced similar challenges. Simply asking for advice and resources can put you on the right track.

“[Speak to someone who] isn’t going to recommend something that is overly risky, overly costly, or overly simplistic.’ Gray says.

He also notes that while it doesn’t hurt trying to fix the problem yourself, there are three signs that your business needs outside help: 
  •  You’ve tried everything and the downturn continues
  •  You don’t have the time to plan a revitalization alone
  •  You need help persuading others that something is fundamentally wrong.
Gray says small business owners may be averse to bringing in outside help, as they often overestimate their capabilities.

“[The owner has] been highly successful in a model that’s been developed for a time and place and situation,” Gray explains.

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Management Consulting and the Success of Small Business

Small businesses make up the majority of all businesses and create more jobs than large firms. Essentially, small business is a necessity for the economy, locally and even nationally. However, the survival rate of small start-up businesses is approximately two-thirds for the first 2 years. When it comes to successful owning and operating a small business, two years isn’t really that much time to prosper. What are some of these small businesses doing wrong?

Many factors influence the reason for small business bankruptcies and failures; lack of education, lack of capital, overconfidence bias and lack of organization and planning. The good news is most of these can be avoided with the help of management consultation. Management consulting oversees small businesses’ strategies and goals, giving them the opportunity to not only succeed in the first 2 years, but to prosper in the long run, as well.


More often than not, small businesses have a difficult time with organizational skills. The owner and operator may take on more responsibility than typically seen from a boss or manager. On top of that, small businesses may lack the proper education of how to organize a business effectively.

Highly organized businesses have a greater chance of succeeding than those that aren’t. Small businesses may find it difficult to manage an entire business properly, due to a large and potentially overwhelming work load, and lack the understanding for the necessity of organizational skills. However, with the lack of time or knowledge, small business owners will soon realize the need for organization, which is where management consulting comes to the rescue.

Once businesses corroborate the need for organization, but don’t know where to start or have the time, management consultation companies assist by finding ways for these businesses to build a set of organizational skills and form synergy in their operations.


Forming clear, integrated and attainable strategies and goals are arduous as it is, but implementing and achieving them will face greater challenges. Small businesses, especially start-ups, must understand the importance of forming and achieving goals and strategies effectively and efficiently. A distinct mindset of what a small business wants to achieve may seem reasonable in terms of pursuit and completion of its objectives, but realistically the chances of that actually occurring are lower than one would think.

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5 Tips for Turning Around Your Financially Troubled Business

Chances are that, like most small business people, you are an optimist—pessimists usually work for someone else. Even if your business is melting down in front of your eyes, you hope that sales will pick up next week, next month, or next spring. Sorry, but when economic times are bad and threatening to get worse, the opposite is more likely to be true. Just as in boom times your happiest projections may consistently be surpassed, chances are that when many things are going wrong, more will. You need to create change and make cutbacks fast enough to bring income in line with expenses. Here are some ideas.

Question Your Assumptions 

Every small business rests on a set of fundamental and often simple commercial assumptions such as these:
  • When dogs get sick, owners take them to a vet.
  • When cars are filthy, people wash them.
  • When people are hungry at the beach, they buy food.

This much is obvious. But what can be less obvious is that when a recession hits, the assumptions behind many successful small businesses become invalid or lose much of their power.

     EXAMPLE: Pam operates an upscale children's clothing boutique  in a trendy resort town. Her fundamental business assumption is that grandparents on vacation will pay top dollar for cute outfits to take home as presents for their grandkids. But six months into the recession, Pam realizes that this is no longer true. Because only about half as many older tourists are visiting the town as previously, and many are traumatized by their shrinking retirement plans, the days of free-spending grandparents are plainly over.

      So, with her sales down 50% and her lease expiring, and no reasonable prospect of returning to profitability in the next six months, Pam has a big sale and closes down. She knows she'll eventually open another business, but for now she'll spend more time with her own grandkids.

Concentrate on Your Core Business

Once you honestly face up to the fact that boom times may not return for many years, you need to either close down, sell, or quickly develop and implement a realistic plan to turn your business into a survivor. This often means identifying your business's profitable core and shucking off all or most activities that are not part of it. For instance, a publisher of regional guidebooks with a dozen well-established, profitable titles, and many others that barely break even, might be hit hard when a recession cuts into the area's tourist business. 

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10 Tips for Turning around Flagging Sales and Boosting your Small Business Revenues

If your sales are struggling and revenues are falling, it's essential to conduct a full review of your business to understand where things have gone wrong and where the opportunity lies for turning things around.

If yo;re a fan of reality TV business makeover shows, i-s a formula you see all the time, from Gordon Ramsay to Tabatha Coffey, conducting a full review of your business is essential to understanding where things have gone wrong and where the opportunity lies for turning things around.

This is, of course,
easier said than done when you are living and breathing this stuff each day, but here are some tips that can help you stand back from your day-to-day business and build a plan for a successful turn-around.

1. As the Owner and Manager, It all Starts
With You

honest, are you running your business as it should be run- holistically, with an eye on strategy and a finger on oversight, but without being buried in the day-to-day minutiae?

is a toughie, especially if you are new to business or have experienced sudden growth. Running a business is not like having a job, unless you provide a very niche service to a small group of clientele, i's rare that you can do
everything yourself.

this is you - try to step back and understand where you need help, whether i's with accounting, marketing, building a better business Web site, or empowering your team, do it, i's worth the investment. If you ca't afford help in these areas, consider outsourcing certain functions.

2. Embrace, rather than Retreat from Market Forces

and keeping a finger on the pulse of your industry is fundamental. Ask yourself' has the industry changed, do you still have a full grasp of the market and goals in place to go after that market? What is the competition doing? If they are doing well, take a hard look at what it is that you think your business is doing wrong, in the light of what your competition across town is doing right.Next find a way to re-connect with your target market using those lessons learned - whether it's diversifying your products or correcting your price points. Embrace, rather than retreat from market forces.

3. Give Your Customers What they Want

10 Tips for Turning Around a Failing Business

How Can You Salvage Your Business and Lead It to Success?

The only question to ask is: How do you turn around your failing business? Here are some effective methods and tips you can apply today:

1. Develop a Positive Outlook

You might not think much about it, but how you view your business, your current situation, your competition, and your progress can greatly impact how you manage your business. That’s why the first thing you need to do to change your business outcome is to improve your attitude and outlook. Always think positive, and focus on setting realistic but continuously growing goals.

 2. Know Exactly Where Your Business Stands

If you don’t know what the real problem is, then how can you solve it? You have to get down to the roots of all your problems and find out whether your product is not selling, if your employees aren’t really helping, if you’re spending on unnecessary things, or if you’re pursuing the wrong clients.

 3. Work on a New Business Plan

Once you understand what’s causing your business failure, you can start working on a new plan to eliminate that cause and replace it with better options.

 4. Control Your Expenses

Turning around a failing business can be tough, so you have to be strict, meticulous, and cautious about where you’re spending your money. Cut any expenses that aren’t contributing to your success, and focus on those that are really producing your desired results.

 5. Look for the BEST Business Partners

No man’s an island, and your business can’t succeed with your efforts alone. That’s why you should try to find the best business partners. That includes both investors and suppliers.

 6. Let Go of the Least Profitable Clients

New Business Financing Tips

Tips and explanation on how to finance a small business, including practical money saving solutions, loans, grants, government resources and more.

The decision to go into business for yourself is an empowering one; after all, business ownership is the epitome of the American dream. But, once the decision has been made the hard work begins. How much money will I need? Where will I get it? What do I need to know? How will it be paid back? What are my options?

A common misconception is that when a business (start-up or existing) needs money, the only option is a bank for the common loan. Depending upon the size, nature and financial requirements of your business, there are alternatives ranging from short term fixes to long term commercial loans.


Often times, we think of financing as simply acquiring more money when in actuality it can be restructuring the way our current funds are distributed. Perhaps starting your business out of your home office (or an extra bedroom) is an option rather than taking on the added expense of commercial office space. This is an especially good temp to perm money saving solution if you don't see clients on a regular basis. If your business is not designed to function out of your home (i.e. the packaging plant just won't seem to fit in the hall closet) then look at a wide variety of spaces for your company. When it comes down to signing a lease, opt for the less desirable - and often times much less expensive - location. When the demand for an area is not at its peak, the chance of the rent increasing is significantly lower. You can always grow. Functionality is functionality. You can pay a lot or you can choose to pay less somewhere else. It doesn't matter how wonderful your facilities are if you are out of business in a year because the business couldn't afford the location.

Buy used office machines and furniture. Often the cost is less than renting and it is ALWAYS less than buying new. Auctions are a good place to find these buys as well as newspaper and online classifieds. Companies look to revamp their look and entire offices can be had very reasonably.


A relatively easy way to keep from incurring additional debt while still "finding" money to start your business is by refinancing personal property. Homes and cars are the most obvious places to begin. It goes without saying that holding onto an asset such as a boat or motorcycle, if not in use, is a piggy bank waiting to be tapped. A small, home based business's financial needs can perhaps be satisfied in this way, but a larger undertaking is probably better served through other means. 

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Restructuring and Re-Organisation – 10 Top Tips

Here are some simple recession advice and tips, to ensure that businesses can run as efficiently and productively as possible in this difficult economic environment:

1. Meet from afar:

Is every business journey necessary? Think of the amount of wasted time and money that it takes to attend a one-hour meeting away from your office. More often than not, you will find that the meeting can be just as productive if it is held over the phone.

2. Be transparent:

Chances are your employees will be feeling much more stressed than normal, even if they don’t realise it. Holding secretive meetings will only increase the pressure, so keep them informed and involved in decision making, and let them know about changes as soon as feasibly possible.

3. Employee’s welfare:

In a period where you would expect workers to give their all to their job, we have experienced rising levels of absence throughout 2008. Stress is believed to be its primary cause. In order to combat this, why not introduce initiatives such as: regular five minute breaks from the computer and real lunch breaks, rather than working through, or even coordinate fun team building or ‘energizer’ exercises at lunch times?

4. Introduce flexible working:

Flexible working enables people to balance work and life, especially if they have children, and it allows companies to retain talent and experience in the work place. Other feasible options would be job sharing, working from home or part-time work.

5. Consider your space:

If you are lucky enough to have extra office space, or rooms that you just don’t need or use, then there is a great sub-letting opportunity. Not only would you be generating extra revenue, it would be at absolutely no cost to you or your business. You could even sell off excess equipment on eBay. Perhaps you should review your premises; could you reduce the rent, or move to a cheaper location?

6. Relationships: