Business Financial Strategy


Financial strategy examines the financial implications of corporate and business-level strategic options and identifies the best financial course of action. It can also provide competitive advantage through a lower cost of funds and a flexible ability to raise capital to support a business strategy. Financial strategy usually attempts to maximize the financial value of the firm.

The trade-off between advancing the desired debt-to-equity ratio and relying on internal long-term financing via cash flow is a key issue in financial strategy. Many small and medium-sized companies try to avoid all external sources of funds in order to avoid outside entanglements and to keep control of the company within the family. Many believe that only by financing through long-term debt can a corporation use financial leverage to boost earnings per share, thus raising stock price and the overall value of the company. Higher debt levels not only deter takeover by other firms (by making the company less attractive), but also leads to improved productivity and improved cash flows by forcing management to focus on core businesses.

A very popular financial strategy is the leveraged buy out—a company is acquired in a transaction financed largely by debt—usually obtained from a third party, such as an insurance company or an investment banker. Ultimately the debt is paid with money generated from the acquired company’s operations or by sales of its assets. The acquired company, in effect, pays for its own acquisition. Management of the leveraged buy out is then under tremendous pressure to keep the highly leveraged company profitable. Unfortunately the huge amount of debt on the acquired company’s books may actually cause its eventual decline by focusing management’s attention on short-term matters.

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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Incremental Change Analysis


Most business focuses on the current situation, with changes defined on an iterative, cumulative basis. In this context, issues represent problems or opportunities for change from the current situation. The gaps represent ways that a company may achieve or enhance a competitive edge.

The most common way to define issues is to assess the changes that are expected t occur. These are derived from either internal or external changes, intended by management or occurring as a result of uncontrolled forces (as in workforce changes). Issues are identified in the way that people normally think—incrementally from the present toward future.

In this process, managers identify and evaluate human resource issues by sorting through available strategic planning, competitive, and environmental information for evidence of changes having human resource implications and then define human resource issues that may be addressed. Such analysis may examine employee productivity issues, service quality, staffing surpluses or shortfalls, succession needs, skill requirements, utilization, costs, turnover/retention patterns, or employee attitudes.

Managers also obtain and consider perspectives of relevant constituents, such as other managers and employees, vendors, suppliers, and customers. Companies solicit inputs from managers at various levels through their participation in the planning process or through interviews, focus groups, or surveys with key managers. Many companies survey employees, either specifically for planning inputs or more broadly as an assessment of organizational climate and human resource practices. Companies may involve employees through interviews or focus groups to help define issues and alternative strategies. Some also interview or survey customers, contractors, and other business partners regarding human resource issues to be addressed.

Environmental scanning is used to identify prospective human resource issues deriving from changing external conditions. Scanning the many changes occurring in social, political, legislative, demographic, economic, technological and other areas yields a wide array of issues that may be considered.

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.

Corporate Philanthropy


Corporate philanthropy is the modern expression of the charity principles. The stewardship principle is given meaning today when corporate managers recognize that business and society are intertwined and independent. This mutuality of interests places a responsibility on business to examine care and social concern in formulating policies and conducting business operations.

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.

Performance Review Discussion


  • Review what has been achieved since the last review and examine reasons for successes and failures;
  • Agree on actual levels of achievement;
  • Stimulate and discuss ideas about what can be done to improve results achieved;
  • Agree on future performance goals, the basis of measurement, and timing of review;
  • Help the individual analyze personal performance and underlying factors affecting performance such as skills and knowledge, job structure, standards, and resources available;
  • Strengthen the individual’s commitment to the job;
  • Learn about the individual’s interests, goals, and long-range career plans, and help the individual relate these to the current job;
  • Strengthen the understanding between manager and individual, and foster an open line of communication;
  • Discuss and resolve specific anxieties, uncertainties or misapprehensions affecting job performance plans and directions for future career development, plan specific activities in  support of these plans and directions;
  • Get feedback from the individual on how well you have managed.

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.

Cost Leadership


Business success built on cost leadership requires the business to be able to provide its product or service at a cost below what its competitors can achieve. And it must be a sustainable cost advantage. Through the skills and resources a business must be able to accomplish one or more activities in its value chain activities—procuring materials, processing them into products, marketing the products, and distributing the products or support activities—in a more cost-effective manner than that of its competitors or it must be able to reconfigure its value chain so as to achieve a cost advantage.

Strategists examining their business’ value chain for low-cost leadership advantages evaluate the sustainability of those advantages by benchmarking their business against key competitors and by considering the impact of any cost advantage on the forces in their business’ competitive environment. Low-cost activities that are sustainable and that provide one or more of these advantages relative to key industry forces should become the basis for the business’ competitive strategy.

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.

 

Criteria for Performance Excellence


The Leadership category examines the company’s leadership system and senior leaders’ personal leadership. It examines how senior leaders and the leadership system address values, company directions, performance expectations, a focus on customers and other stakeholders, learning, and innovation. Also examined is how the company addresses its societal responsibilities and provides support to key communities.

The Strategic Planning category examines how the company sets strategic directions and how it develops the critical strategies and action plans to support the directions. Also examined are how plans are developed and how performance is tracked.

The Customer and Market Focus category examines how the company determines requirements, expectations, and preferences of customers and markets. Also examined is how the company builds relationships with customers and determines their satisfaction.

The Information and Analysis category examines the selection, management, and effectiveness of use of information and data to support key company processes and action plans, and the company’s performance management system.

The Human Resource Focus category examines how the company enables employees to develop and utilize their full potential, aligned with the company’s objectives. Also examined are the company’s efforts to build and maintain a work environment and work climate conducive to performance excellence, full participation, and personal and organizational growth.

The Process Management category examines the key aspects of process management, including customer-focused design, product and service delivery, support, and supplier and partnering processes involving all work units. The category examines how key processes are designed, implemented, managed, and improved to achieve better performance.

The Business Results category examines the company’s performance and improvement in key business areas: customer satisfaction, financial and marketplace performance, human resource results, supplier and partner performance, and operational performance. Also examined are performance levels relative to competitors.

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.

Value Chain Analysis


The term value chain describes a way of looking at a business as a chain of activities that transform inputs into outputs that customers value. Customer value derives from three basic sources: activities that differentiate the product, activities that lower its cost, and activities that meet the customer’s need quickly. Value chain analysis (VAC) attempts to understand how a business creates customer value by examining the contributions of different activities within the business to that value.

VCA takes a process point of view: it divides (sometimes called disaggregates) the business into sets of activities that occur within the business, starting with the inputs a firm receives and finishing with the firm’s products (or services) and after-sales service to customers. VCA attempts to look at its costs across the series of activities the business performs to determine where low-cost advantages or cost disadvantages exist. It looks at the attributes of each of these different activities to determine in what ways each activity that occurs between purchasing inputs and after-sales service helps differentiate the company’s products and services. Proponents of VCA believe it allows managers to better identify their firm’s strengths and weaknesses by looking at the business as a process—a chain of activities—of what actually happens in the business rather than simply looking at it based on arbitrary organizational dividing lines or historical accounting protocol.

Judgment is required across individual firms and different industries because what may be seen as a support activity in one firm or industry may be a primary activity in another. Computer operations might typically be seen as infrastructure support, for example, but may be seen as a primary activity in airlines, newspapers, or banks.

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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