The Keys to a Successful Business or Enterprise  

It is a well known fact that over half of new businesses will fail in their first 5 years, there is a plethora of reasons as to how this can happen ranging from poor financial management to changes in the market. There are a certain number of Golden Rules when it comes to business and the fact is that far too many businesses ignore them causing their untimely demise. Those who understand business like George Bardwil, always stick to they key principles of business and that is why they become successful. If you are just starting your own business then here are the keys to your success.

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 Have a Great Product

 Whichever industry or sector you are planning on entering into is irrelevant when it comes to the quality of your product. Before you even consider launching your business you must ensure that your product is the best that it can be. Continuously analyze and re-invent your product before taking it to the market, test it sufficiently and only when you are completely happy should you open up for business.

 Be Financially Minded

 As simple as it sounds, finances are everything and you should constantly have a watchful eye over what is going in and out of your business. If you are not naturally financially minded then either hire a professional or seek to learn more, ignorance of your company’s balance sheet will cause you many problems. Understanding the company’s finances also allows you to seek ways to cut costs, vital in any business, especially if it’s new.

 Communicate Perfectly

 Communication plays a huge role in the success of businesses, clear communication to your employees about the vision of the company and clear messages to your customers so that they fully understand what your business is about.

 Seek Growth

 Businesses should always have a plan for growth, it can be a 5,10 or even 15 year plan but there should be a plan in place. When you are beginning a new enterprise, it can be tricky to be realistic with your future planning, the key is information, look at how similar companies have progressed, read information about your sector and where it is heading. It isn’t easy to balance optimism and realism when planning but there is nothing wrong with having difficult to reach goals, these will keep you motivated and hungry.

 Reward Loyalty

One of the keys to successful business is loyalty, both being loyal and gaining loyalty, being loyal is within your gift, being dependable and flexible with your customers will show your loyalty, but what about gaining it? Well gaining loyalty comes as a direct result of you giving it and rewarding it, loyalty works like a circle, give your customers great service, a great product and consistently high standards and they won’t have a choice but to come back for more. Always remember those that have been loyal to you as they are the ones who will continue to be loyal in the future.

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Give Your Company a Boost With These Business Development Strategies

In the process of starting a business? If so, you’ll need a game plan to get your business off the ground. In this article, we have put together several strategies that will help you attract your first customers, and then keep them happy.

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1) Be true to your word

In today’s business climate, there are few things that are more valued than a company that is authentic in its dealings. When you say that you will get something done for a client or a customer, do everything humanly possible to stay true to your word.

This reliability and consistency won’t just help your company; it has also helped established companies such as Steve Sorensen Select Staffing. Building a reputation as a business that could be counted on to get the job done right, they have built a dedicated client base over the years.

By adhering the same discipline to your business dealings, it is likely that you will experience the same degree of success.

2) Embrace the power and responsibility of social media

We’re well into the 21st century, and the internet has infiltrated every aspect of our daily lives. There’s no excuse to be ignorant of the importance of social media any longer. Even if you have a non-existent presence on social media, there are customers on review sites such as Yelp that are building up (or tearing down) your reputation.

By taking the lead on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and monitoring social review sites, not only can you tackle problems head-on, but you can also pick up on trends that will allow you to shape the future strategy of your business.

3) Get involved in philanthropy

Seen as a way to give back to the community, not many business people realize that charitable giving and community involvement can also be a business development strategy.

While it might be crass to suggest that getting involved in an altruistic arena can be a way to boost profits, companies that are genuine about contributing towards the greater good are more likely to be seen in a positive light by members of the public.

This goodwill will become a factor when customers make a choice between your business and one of your competitors, so don’t be afraid to roll up your do-gooder sleeves!

4) Follow up with your clients (like you mean it)

When it comes to client acquisition, it is shocking how passive many small business operators are when it comes to following up. It is especially important in today’s world, where distractions of all kinds abound.

Just because a potential client did not answer your email does not mean they aren’t interested in doing business with you. It may simply be a function of an overloaded email inbox, or the fact that they are swamped with business from other clients.

While it’s important not to smother them, continue to make an effort to make or renew contact every four to six weeks. While this number may vary depending on your industry, it is a great place to start.

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Charles Phillips and What He Achieved So Far at Infor

Charles Phillips is a man with a vision. He developed his vision as a young boy, living on military bases. He knew then that he wanted to be involved in technology, and that is a dream he followed throughout his career. And it has been a very interesting career, one in which he has set himself apart as a true leader. His career now spans many years and many different companies, and includes the U.S. Military, Wall Street, and various tech companies. Where he really made his mark, however, was as President of Oracle. For Charles Phillips Oracle wasn’t the pinnacle of his success, but rather a stepping stone to his next career – CEO of Infor.

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Charles Phillips and Infor

At Infor, Phillips become a CEO for the first time in his impressive career. And it seemed that he started exactly where he left off at Oracle. Within just a few months of starting, he acquired Lawson Software for the sum of $2 billion. His acquisition strategies are what enabled Oracle to experience a 300% growth during his time as President, and he clearly wants to repeat this with Infor. By acquiring Lawson Software, he was able to add human resources and health care to the industry portfolio of Info. But what makes it different is that he doesn’t just focus on health care as a blanket industry. Rather, he pushes for products that serve niche markets within the industries. For instance, he has developed a software solution specifically designed for hospitals.

Since he started as Infor’s CEO, he has also been able to hire some 1,500 new members of staff. He has completely revamped the executive management team, hiring some high profile players, some who came directly from Oracle. He also moved the headquarters of Infor from Georgia to New York City, where he shares a single table with his management team. Plus, he has been able to create 70 new Infor products, leading to 2,500 new customers. These include Heineken and Ferrari. It is no surprise, therefore, that Infor is now at a really new level of playing field.

In fact, Infor seems to have found the leader of its dreams. Phillips has taken an aggressive acquisitions approach, with one of his latest acquisitions being GT Nexus, a true global player. GT Nexus is the world’s largest cloud-based software company. Today, Infor has some 70,000 individual companies. They have a presence in 194 countries the world over, and enjoy a revenue in excess of 43 billion per year. Clearly, with Phillips leading the way, Infor is really moving ahead. Now third largest of its kind, after Oracle and SAP, some believe it may soon grow to even overtake these two. Clearly, Charles Phillips aims to make Infor the leading software solutions company, and when he has a vision, he never stops until he actually gets it. Infor certainly is the company to watch at present, for some with anticipation and for others with real fear.

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Infor Truly the Third Titan?

There has been a so-called ‘duopoly’ in the world of enterprise software, held by Oracle and SAP. Microsoft has been a third contender, but was never truly a competitor. But now, there is Infor. What frightens the industry is that it is led by Charles Phillips Infor CEO, previously Oracle President. The world is now holding its breath for a true battle of the titans!

Oracle and SAP have a big problem, which is that companies who need a new ERP system on premise simply won’t turn to them anymore. They are too expensive, and setting the system up leads to significant downtime. That said, the money still seems to go to them, albeit from customers who are still stuck in lengthy contracts for maintenance and licenses. In 2011, Oracle earned some $28 billion, and SAP earned some $17 billion. Infor, at that time, ‘only’ took in $3 billion. Not much of a competitor, in other words.

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However, Charles Phillips, Infor’s relatively new CEO, is trying to break the duopoly to pieces. He has worked for about two and a half years to make sure that the company goes through, in his words, “a complete reboot”. He has completely changed the company’s management team and their strategy. No longer will Infor focus on building scale to products and innovation. Rather, they completely revamped their key assumptions and totally redesigned the architecture to achieve this. In so doing, the company now has 800 new developers on their books, and they have already developed 300 products.

While this is a good strategy to make Infor profitable, it doesn’t mean that SAP and Oracle are vulnerable. According to Phillips, however, the duopoly doesn’t have a strong integration strategy, because they don’t integrate cohesively. Instead, they have a bunch of ‘loosely coupled’ pieces, which can get confusing. Plus, Infor is focused on specific verticals, rather than entire industries. Their hottest area is health care, which is a huge one.

Another issue that Phillips says the other two have is poor usability. The minute you walk into the Infor headquarters, you will see their motto, which is ‘no fugly software’. They have approached their user interface with a focus on design, creating a thing of beauty that is also easy to use. As an added bonus, Infor offers everything as software as a service, which means people can try it and install it with ease, through the Amazon Web Services cloud.

So is Infor a true competitor for the big two out there? Two years ago, people would have laughed at that idea. Today, however, Infor takes up a shared second position in the enterprise software world, together with Oracle. And considering much of Infor’s management team was previously employed by Oracle, there seem to be some ripples in the industry. What the future holds is always anybody’s guess, but dismissing Infor in the way that Microsoft has been dismissed for years would certainly not be a good idea for the duopoly as a whole.

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The Infor On Premise v SaaS Revenue Tipping Point for 2016 Is Now Set

According to Charles Phillips Infor CEO and wife Karen Phillips, who may not be an Infor employee but always pays attention to her husband, there is going to be a tipping point between SaaS and on premise revenue in 2016. After the release of very strong second quarter numbers, the revenue of the company stood at $708.4 million. This is the highest it has been since Phillips took over the company.

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There has been revenue growth across every element of the Infor company, including consultancy, maintenance, and software. They have also attracted 628 new clients. This includes a 10 year SaaS deal for the City of Gold Coast, a Queensland, Australia company. That contract alone is worth $30 million. Here, Infor will replace 42 systems, some of which more than 25 years old, while also providing revenue functions, property management, and customer service.

For Phillips, clients like this one demonstrate that Infor is doing something that Oracle and SAP, its only real remaining competitors, aren’t doing: pushing for SaaS. There has been double digit growth in SaaS for Oracle, and he believes that the split between SaaS and on premise software will be larger than 50% by 2017, much sooner than expected by both Infor and the competition.

Naturally, making these types of predictions is always a bit of a gamble. You simply don’t know what people will want or need. That said, Infor doesn’t want to sell infrastructure, which means their entire focus is on SaaS.

So what does this all mean? It means that Infor is doing things with a difference. And these differences are often very daring. For instance:

  • Instead of developing its own cloud, Infor uses Amazon Web Services. According to Phillips, there is no point reinventing something that is already out there and that works perfectly.
  • They offer almost all their services on the cloud, which means customers don’t have to pay expensive licenses, have lengthy downtime, and more.
  • They don’t focus on huge industries. Where companies like Oracle and SAP develop products for the automotive industry as a whole, Infor develops it specifically for Ferrari. And where the competition focuses on the hospitality and catering industry as a whole, Infor goes for Heineken and bakers. The list is endless and demonstrates that their goal is micro-verticals.
  • Where most tech companies move to Silicon Valley in California, Infor moved to Silicon Alley in New York. Why? Because that is where the customers are, where staff want to live, and where designers and other tech talents can be found. Designers including fashion designers, by the way (another Infor micro vertical).

Seeing all the things that the company does differently, and how well those strategies are working, it seems logical to assume that Phillips’ prediction of SaaS tipping over on premise customers will also be true. Infor is certainly pushing for it, wanting to offer their clients something convenient and affordable, yet of the highest possible quality.

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Four Tips that Will Help You to Settle Into Your New Office

Settle Into Your New Office in London with these tips
Photo by CC user cgpgrey on Flickr and http://www.cgpgrey.com/

So, after all the legal and contractual hoops and hurdles, you’ve finally got your new lease and you’ve finally, actually, for real, moved into your new City of London office space. You’re really pleased with the deal you got, as well as the facilities, the amazing transport links and the quality of the coffee machine!

However, moving your business into a new office isn’t so far removed (geddit?) from moving house. Let’s face it, you spend upwards of eight hours a day there, five or six days a week, so it’s kind of like a home. You miss the creaky third stair, the friendly people in the newsagent next door… It’s a big deal to up sticks and start somewhere new and you can feel a bit disorientated for a while.

To help you with this feeling, here are four tips that will help you settle into your new office in no time.

Take some of your personal items with you to the new place

Moving office doesn’t mean a complete change of identity – you’re not going into a witness protection scheme! If there were some personal effects that you used a lot in the old place – a kettle, a set of mugs, a print or even some old furniture – take them with you if possible. You might find that the landlord of your old office is willing to sell or give you your old desk or chair. Don’t try to recreate your old place, though – you moved for a reason, even if it wasn’t your choice – you have to move on a bit. It’s a balancing act.

Buy some spanking new equipment and furniture

Chances are your new office might look a bit bare, despite your old mugs and prints. If you’re walking into a blank-looking, empty-feeling space every day, this isn’t going to help you feel settled. If you’ve got a bit of spare cash, buy some special “new office” items, like a new framed print, or a bright set of filing cabinets. A splash of colour will be welcoming and it’ll symbolise your bright new start.

Get to know the people who are sharing your new office building

One of the first things you should do once you’ve unpacked all your gubbins and plugged everything in is to go and knock on a few doors. Take some muffins or cakes and introduce yourself to your immediate neighbours. Some of them might be missing the old occupants of your office, so saying a friendly “Hi!” is a good way to build bridges. Not only that, but you could be making some important business contacts.

Get out and explore

You might have moved location as well as office space, so who knows what hidden treasures your new area has for you to uncover. There might be some brilliant delis, junk shops or a gym; who knows? Get out and do a recce or two and also explore the potential of your office space. It’s all good fun.

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Give Yourself Credit for Being a Smart Business Owner

What does it take to be a smart business owner in 2016? More importantly, are you one of those smart business owners?

Running a company these days takes myriad of skills and traits.

For starters, you have to be a people person. If you’re not, you stand a good chance of not being in business for the long run.

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Secondly, you have to be an intelligent person.

No, a Harvard law degree is not exactly necessary, but you have to have an eye for managing finances, overseeing people (your employees of course), knowing when to go full-steam into an advertising or marketing campaign and when to cut back or pass altogether.

That said one of your other important tasks in successfully running a business is making the right deals with vendors.

From those who protect your computer system to those selling you merchant service accounts and more, make sure you align yourself with companies that not only have proven successful in their own right, but have your best interests in mind.

So, can you give yourself credit for being a smart business owner?

Increase Customer Base with Sound Decisions

So that you can increase your customer base (and hopefully your revenue stream), remember a couple of pointers moving forward:

  • Payment options – You will find the going rough if you do not do what is best for your customer base as far as payment options. Yes, some business owners stand by cash-only payments, but they are growing less and less by the year. Many business owners realize that not only is the credit card option necessary, but so too is the mobile option. Allowing customers to pay via their mobile apps is becoming more and more popular by the year. One of the big decisions you have already faced or will in the near future is finding a reputable merchant services company. That is a key piece of the puzzle, especially given how millions of consumers still rely on the plastic buy and rent goods and services. If you have been slow to accepting credit card payments with your business, give that a serious reconsideration moving forward. With the right merchant services company working with you, the sky is oftentimes the limit as to how much revenue you can bring in, especially if you have been a cash-only business up to this point and time;
  • Service matters – Without a solid customer service effort day after day, your business probably won’t stand a chance against competitors. Yes, offering customers the right payment options and allowing them to buy and rent on-the-go is crucial, but your customer service initiatives can never be taken for granted. Make sure you remind your employees time and time again that the customer should always be given the benefit of the doubt that is without treating any of your workers with disrespect. Also look for ways to make the customer experience even better for them on a regular basis. For example, customers who have been with you for a while now should stand out from the crowd, so treat them with a little extra care. From rewards programs to pre-sales that are not open to the public until your top buyers have had first crack, there are multiple ways for you to reward those loyal customers. If you have been a business owner for years now, you’ve likely made a career out of giving consumers what they want. Always ask yourself, what can I do more of to make my customers keep coming back over and over again? When you have the right answers, the rest will typically fall into place.

Smart business owners are those men and women who lose a little bit of sleep at night. Why is that?

They are the individuals always looking for ways to move their businesses forward, ways that not all others running companies are quick to think of.

Put the time and effort into determining how you can be one of those smart business owners if you are not one already.

Over time, you will to find that many of the traits needed to be a smart business owner all boil down to good old-fashioned commonsense.

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Is a Long-term Lease or a Serviced Office Best for You?

A Serviced Office might be a solution that makes sense for your business at this point in its evolution
Photo by CC user jnyemb on Flickr

The time has come to leave the garage and find office space for you and your business. However, it’s not as simple as just finding a convenient location and signing on the dotted line. There are some considerations you need to make before you make your choice.

Are you a start-up?

There’s been a huge rise in the numbers of start-up businesses since the crash of 2008 and all these enterprises need a home! It might seem best to find somewhere secure and long term, but short-term offices may be best.

For a start, office space is expensive and hard to find and so can cost a lot. This, combined with the fact that start-ups may fail, makes a serviced office a better option. It’s much easier to pick up and leave that short-term office space in Brentford with a month’s notice than to get out of a five-year lease.

Additionally, serviced offices have all the utilities a small business will need included in the monthly fee – internet, phones, cleaner, business rates and insurance. It’s cheaper and easier for a young business to pay for these as a package, without even having to look for them!

Do you plan to expand?

If you hope to employ new people in the next 12 months or so, then you need a space in which you can expand and serviced offices can offer this. On the other hand, if you need to downsize, you can do that too, probably with just a month’s notice.

How many people do you have currently?

If you employ fewer than 10-15 people, it can be hard to find long-term premises that small, especially in London. A shared office is the ideal solution here, especially when you consider the utility packages.

How long do you want the office for?

If you’re confident that you can meet the five-year commitment, then you may be better off in a long-term lease. The business world is unpredictable right now, so flexibility is essential – you may need to move back to your garage or garden room and you certainly don’t want to have to buy your way out of a fiddly lease.

How quickly do you need it?

Setting up a conventional lease can take up to three months, whereas finding a suite or a room in a serviced office space can take anything from a few days to a week.

What’s your budget?

This is a big deal, and like most things, it’s not as simple as it seems.

Conventional office space is cheaper by the square foot, but there are many, many costs on top. There’s telecoms, furniture, buildings insurance, business rates, cleaners – all the things that are taken care of by a serviced office fee. There’s also the not inconsiderable cost of drawing up a lease agreement and the crippling costs of early vacation.

So a serviced office space will look more on paper, but this is because you’re looking at the price per desk.

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More Businesses Checking Their Climate Footprint

With carbon taxes looming, knowing one's climate footprint is important these days
Photo by CC user wheatfields on Flickr

In a world today where so much attention is focused on protecting the climate, more and more businesses are stepping up to do their part.

Whether it is doing more recycling around the office, purchasing and using office supplies that can then be recycled, getting involved in community cleanup activities, the list can go on and on.

That said what is your company doing to leave a positive footprint or two on the planet?

In the event you have been stymied as to how you can go about doing your part as a business owner or even an employee for that matter, don’t feel defeated.

As you will discover with just a little research, there are myriad of ways to contribute to helping the environment.

With that being the case, will your business be checking its climate footprint anytime soon?

Be Proactive and Creative

So that your business can be like Las Vegas Sands Corporation and others out there helping preserve the environment, remember these pointers:

    1. Research – First and foremost, work together with your employees to come up with ways your brand can contribute. While some ideas might pop into your head in a moment’s notice, others may take a little more doing. Hold occasional office meetings on this very topic, giving the entire staff a chance to knock heads together and come up with smart ideas. Given that many workplace meetings can be downright dull and unproductive, make these “climate” meetings fun. You can come up with ways (see more below) to encourage participation out of even the most reserved of employees;

 

    1. Contests – What employee doesn’t like a little contest every now and then? To help contribute to saving the environment, your brand can have the occasional contest, having various departments compete against one another in a friendly meeting of the minds. Most importantly, remind employees that these efforts are all for a good cause. You could have such contests as which department can manage to total the most cans, bottles, or even papers recycled. For something different during the week, give employees the option of working a half day on the weekends for a workplace recycling or community cleanup project. In return for participating, employees can have a half day off during a workday. Another option is to have your employees (those who reside not too far from the office and within a safe riding distance) bike to work one day a week, thereby giving their vehicles a rest. In doing so, they keep emissions lowered (at least one day a week). Getting away from driving also reduces the chances for an accident, though it is important that any employees cycling to and from the office do so in a safe manner. The employee who ends up cycling the most miles to work would win a prize, perhaps a gift certificate or even a day off. As you can see, there are many different options to consider, so get your thinking caps on;

 

  1. Promotions – It is also a good idea to promote any and all activities your business is doing to lessen its climatic footprint on the globe. Start an online newsletter going around the office, one that highlights all the various activities employees are doing to help the environment. Not only does this make the employees feel good about their efforts, but it encourages those who may not be participating just yet to give it a second thought. While you should never pressure or even force any worker into such a project, he or she may be more inclined to do it once they see the results and quite frankly fun others are having.

Businesses willing to check their climate footprints certainly do score some points with consumers in general.

As a result, they not only get their brands out in front of consumers, but they give them more reason to want to become a customer sooner rather than later.

If your business has been a little slow to helping the environment out up to now, change that moving forward.

As a company, your employees will feel better about their overall workplace efforts, while your brand will certainly receive some positive public relations in the process.

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Picture a Better World of Marketing with Video

Marketing with Video gives your business a buzz unlike any other ... photo by CC user Pattymooney via wikimedia commons

Photo by CC user Pattymooney via wikimedia commons

Is your brand getting the best marketing possible?

For many companies, the answer to that question unfortunately is no.

Whether businesses opt for email marketing, digital marketing, mobile marketing, social media usage, the list goes on and on.

One thing too many companies drop the ball with is opting for video promotion.

When you stop to think about it, video promotions can open up doors you probably never even thought about.

With that being the case, picture a better world of marketing with video.

Let the Professionals Give Your Brand Positive Light

If you’re thinking video promotions can help your business, the next question is then do you shoot the videos yourself or call the professionals?

Yes, you may be a bit of a whiz behind the camera, but there is much more to shooting a sound brand promotion than just the camera itself.

Keep in mind that you need to decide who will be in front of the camera, what the brand’s message will be, what the setting should be, how long the shoot should be and much more. When all is said and done, that is a lot of planning and detail to think about.

So that your video promotion catches the eyes and ears of consumers, your effort to find a Tampa Video production company or one closer to home should include the following:
 

    • History – Your search should begin with how long each video production company has been in the business. Do they have the long-term knowledge of the community that your business resides in? If no, can they quickly learn about the demographics you are trying to reach out to with your video aspirations? While there is nothing wrong going with a younger company in terms of experience in the business, finding one that has the video and local history behind it certainly does help;
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    • Customer service – As great as their video productions may be, your company of choice also needs to provide unparalleled customer service. In today’s fast-paced world, customer service sometimes seems almost like a lost art. You want a video production company that has not forgotten the fact that the customer always comes first. While many companies earn stellar customer service marks through word-of-mouth, you can also turn to the Internet to get to know something about a company. Along with going to the company’s website, look on social media to see if there is a buzz about the business. Are customers (current or former) talking about the video production company you might be thinking of using? If so, are the comments positive or negative? Remember that some consumers use social media to lash out at bad experiences they’ve had with products and/or companies, so take that into consideration with any questionable comments. Then again, positive comments could definitely lead you to the right company sooner rather than later.

     
    Once you have narrowed down your choices, ultimately deciding on the one company that best suits your needs, the actual video promotion comes next.

    Here is another area where it is important to remember just how fast-paced today’s world truly is.

    Many of today’s consumers can barely take time to eat breakfast in the morning, let alone sit down and watch a 30-second or longer video. As a result, your video has to deliver a message that makes your brand stand out in their minds.

    Once again, this is why letting the professionals shoot your video is so key.

    With the knowledge not only behind the camera, but also with how best to present your brand in front of the camera, video professionals can mean the difference between a product or service that gets so-so attention and one people can’t stop talking about.

    Since you want your brand to be the latter of those two choices, having professionals on your side is typically the best way to go.

    Yes, you could try and muster up the equipment and know-how to shoot your own productions, but there are many question marks involved as to how well it will come out.

    By turning to professionals with experience and dedication to the video production industry, you can all but be assured of picturing more business.

     

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