Reforming Personnel Policies


If women are to be treated equally in the workplace, all jobs and occupations must be open to them so that they may compete on the same terms as all others. A company’s recruiters need to seek qualified workers and not assume that women are unqualified. Rates of pay and benefits need to be matched to the work to be done not to the gender of the jobholder. Pay rises for doing a current job well, along with promotions to more attractive jobs, also require equal treatment. Job assignments should be made on the basis of skills, experience, competence, capability, and reliability—in other words, proven ability to get the job done, not whether women have traditionally worked at one task rather than another.

Career ladders, whether short ones going only a few steps or longer ones leading into the higher reaches of corporate authority, should be placed so that both men and  women can climb them as high as their abilities can carry them.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

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Incentives for Professional Employees


Professional employees are those whose work involves the application of learned knowledge to the solution of the employer’s problems. They include lawyers, doctors, economists, and engineers. Professionals reach their positions through prolonged periods of formal study.

Making incentive pay decisions for professional employees can be challenging. For one thing, firms usually pay professionals well anyway; for another, they’re already driven—by the desire to produce high-caliber work and receive recognition from colleagues. In some cases, offering financial rewards to people like these may actually diminish their intrinsic motivation—not add to it.

However, that’s certainly not to say that professionals don’t want financial incentives, particularly those in high demand jobs like software and systems developers for information technology firms. Many are offering benefits that are highly attractive to professionals, including better vacations, more flexible work hours, equipment for home offices, and improved pension plans.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

The Master Plan


Many people assume that a formal business plan is only for big time businesses. Wrong. A business plan is for anyone who wants to give their enterprise their best possible shot. It is where you detail out all the operational, marketing, and money matters of your business. It is, in essence, a road map. With it, you will better be able to reach your goal. Without it, you run the risk of spending precious time and money traveling in circles or unwittingly wandering into danger zones.

In response to the question, what a business plan is, follow the following”

  • A business plan is written by the home-based business owner with outside help as needed.
  • It is accurate and concise as a result of careful study.
  • It explains how the business will function in the marketplace.
  • It clearly depicts its operational characteristics.
  • It details how it will be financed.
  • It outlines how it will be managed.
  • It is the management and financial “blueprint” for startup and profitable operation.
  • It serves as a prospectus for potential investors and lenders.

A study for “why” of creating it, note:

  • The process of putting the business plan together, including the thought that you put in before writing it, forces you to take the objective, critical, unemotional look at your entire business proposal.
  • The finished written plan is an operational tool, which, when properly used, will help you manage your business and work toward its success.
  • The complete business plan is a means for communicating your ideas to others and provides the basis for financing your business.

While you are to be the author of the document, you shouldn’t hesitate to get professional help when it comes to areas outside your ken, such as accounting, insurance, capital requirements, operational forecasting, and tax and legal requirements. Finally, in response to the question, “When should Business Plan be used?” note:

  • To make crucial startup decisions
  • To reassure lenders and backers
  • To measure operational progress
  • To test planning assumptions
  • As a basis for adjusting forecasts
  • To anticipate ongoing capital and cash requirements
  • As the benchmark for good operational management

If you have been doing your research and homework all along, you probably have most of the raw material for the business plan, so it won’t be such an awesome task.

Business plans differ greatly, depending on the nature and scope of the enterprise. Some elements a person in a retail sales business would need in his or her business plan may be totally irrelevant for your service business. Similarly, business plans vary in length—from five or six pages or a virtual booklet; some are written in an engaging narrative style while others take another approach—just the facts. However, while business plans may differ in style, tone, length, and components, there is some common ground. Below is a list of items that should be in almost every business plan:

  • A summary of the nature of your business and its principal activity with a detailed description of the product(s) or service(s) you will offer.
  • A statement as to the form your business will take (sole proprietorship, partnership, incorporation) and how it will be managed and operated (with information on employees or subcontractors if applicable).
  • A discussion of any extra-ordinary (and potentially problematic) matters revolving around such things as space requirements, production processes, and operating procedures.
  • A discussion of major trends in your trade or profession.
  • A discussion of your competition and the basis on which you will compete.
  • A description of your target market that might include a profile of a typical customer or client.
  • A discussion of your plans for pricing, sales terms, and distribution.
  • A discussion of how you intend to advertise and promote your products or services.
  • A detailed statement of startup and operating costs for at least the first year.
  • A discussion of how your business will be financed.
  • Profit and loss and cash flow statements for at least the first year of business.

If this list has made a business plan seem all the more scary and arduous a task, don’t panic. There are books on the market that will guide you through the process.

A clean attractive business plan is a sine qua non if you will be applying for a loan or looking for investors. But even if the document is for your eyes only, you owe it to yourself to produce a professional-looking document. Since it is your road map, the neater it is the better it will serve you when you refer to it at various stages of your entrepreneurial journey.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Opportunity Analysis


Opportunity analysis consists of three interrelated activities:

  • Opportunity identification
  • Opportunity-organization matching
  • Opportunity evaluation

Opportunity arise from identifying new types or classes of buyers, uncovering unsatisfied needs of buyers, or creating new ways or means for satisfying buyer needs. Opportunity analysis focus on finding markets that an organization can profitably serve.

Opportunity-organization matching determines whether an identified market opportunity is consistent with the definition of the organization’s business, mission statement, and distinctive competencies. This determination usually involves an assessment of organization’s strengths and weaknesses and an identification of the success requirements for operating profitably in a market. A SWOT analysis is often employed to assess the match between identified market opportunities and the organization.

For some companies, market opportunities that promise sizable sales and profit gains are not pursued because they do not conform to an organization’s character.

Opportunity evaluation typically has two distinct phases—qualitative and quantitative. The qualitative phase focuses on matching the attractiveness of an opportunity with the potential for uncovering a market niche. Attractiveness is dependent on 1) competitive activity; 2) buyer requirements; 3) market demand and supplier sources; 4) social, political, economic, and technological forces; and 5) organizational capabilities. Each of these factors in turn must be tied to its impact on the types of buyers sought, the needs of buyers, and the means for satisfying these needs.

Opportunity identification, matching, and evaluation are challenging assignment because subjective factors play a larger role and managerial insight and foresight are necessary. These activities are even more difficult in the global arena, where social and political forces and uncertainties related to organizational capabilities in unfamiliar economic environments assume a significant role.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Implementing the Sales Program


As with any kind of management, implementing a sales program involves motivating and directing the behavior of other people—the members of the sales force. To be effective, the sales manager must understand why the people in his or her sales force behave the way they do. Then policies and procedures can be designed to direct their behavior toward the desired objectives.

The model of the activities involved in implementing a sales program suggests that five factors influence a sales rep’s job behavior and performance:

  1. Environmental variables: Regardless of how highly motivated or competent salespeople are, their ability to achieve a particular level of job performance is influenced—and sometimes constrained—by environmental factors. The ability to reach a given sales volume, for instance, can be affected by such things as the market demand for the product being sold, the number and aggressiveness of competitors, and the health of the economy. Similarly other elements of a firm’s marketing mix, such as the quality of its products and the effectiveness of its advertising, can affect a salesperson’s ability to reach a high level of sales performance.
  2. Role perceptions: To perform adequately, a salesperson must understand what the job entails and how it is supposed to be performed. The activities and behaviors associated with a particular job are defined largely by the expectations and demands of other people, both inside and outside the organization. Thus, a salesperson’s job (or role) is defined by the expectations and desires of the customers, sales manager, other company executives, and family members. The salesperson’s ability to do the job well is partly determined by how clearly the sales rep understands those role expectations. Also, the salesperson may sometimes face conflicting demands, as when customer wants a lower price but company management refuses to negotiate. The salesperson’s ability to resolve such conflicts helps determine success or failure on the job.
  3. Aptitude: A salesperson’s ability to perform the activities of the job is also influenced by the individual’s personal characteristics, such as personality traits, intelligence, and analytical ability. No matter how hard they try, some people are never successful at selling because they do not have the aptitude for the job. Of course, different kinds of sales jobs involve different tasks and activities, so a person with certain characteristics may be unsuited for one selling job but tremendously successful at another one.
  4. Skill levels: Evan when salespeople have the aptitude to do their jobs and an understanding of what they are expected to do, they must have the skills necessary to carry out the required tasks.
  5. Motivation level: A salesperson cannot achieve a high level of job performance unless motivated to expend the necessary effort. A person’s motivation is determined by the kind of rewards expected for achieving a given level of performance and by the perceived attractiveness of those anticipated rewards.

A sales manager can use several policies and procedures to influence the aptitude, skill levels, role perceptions, and motivation of the sales force. Implementing a sales program involves designing those policies and procedures so that the job behavior and performance of each salesperson are shaped and directed toward the specified objectives and performance levels.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Lectures, Line of Sight

Profit Decay


Management can always shortchange sales, R&D, or market development, or forgo manufacturing improvements for the short term to make the business and profits look better. Doing so can lead the company into a cycle of profit decay that is very difficult to break out of without incurring major costs or write-offs.

A vicious and deteriorating cycle ensues until some combination of price increase or reductions in manufacturing costs and/or an expense occurs that allows the business to adhere more closely to the profit and loss framework. It is extremely important to understand that a company has, quite literally, no chance of generating attractive profits until it somehow breaks out of this cycle.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Hypergrowth in Companies


Hypergrowth is not just a feature of private companies with a profit motive. The public sector can also undergo hypergrowth, often providing growth opportunities for private companies. In the main, however, the days of big government appear to be over. Current trends for the state to be less of an actual provider of services and more a facilitator and purchaser of them from the private sector.

Companies and corporations welcome hypergrowth because of the perception that they will make more profit and thus be more attractive to investors. This is a reasonable perception provided that the hypergrowth is managed efficiently. If, however, it is poorly managed the company may well end up in trouble despite rapid growth.

It is also true that the larger an organization is the more power it can wield and the more it can dictate to its suppliers in order to obtain the discounts the economies of scale can offer. If a company buys 9 percent of one supplier’s product, the company is highly dependent on that supplier to deliver on time. If it buys 90 percent, it can dictate the terms because of it withdraws its business then the supplier will have a major problem. Many suppliers often express delight at gaining a huge contract with a large corporation only to be dismayed later on as that corporation begins to drive down the price. No organization should ever be completely dependent on another.

Just occasionally there are companies that do not want to grow – their owners are happy with them as they are. The danger is not growing, however, is being a target for acquisition by those who are. Hypergrowth is normally presented as a positive thing. For the individual who has not considered its implications it can be threatening. In a hypergrowth situation, change can occur rapidly and change is often uncomfortable. Senior managers should be aware that hypergrowth may produce fear in employees as well as pleasure and pride.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

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