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Every outsourcing project should create and make a WBS available to all its outsourcing staff. What is a WBS and how can it help you manage your outsourcing project? All projects consist of small tasks and quality control procedures. A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) breaks down all the tasks that must be performed on the project and estimates timing and resources for each task as well as the order the tasks should be done in. It pays to have a clear and effective WBS in all your outsourcing projects.

An effective Work Breakdown Structure starts with high level activities (these may be your milestones) and breaks these activities down into lower and lower levels until you’ve covered every conceivable step in the process. Before you ever begin work on a project, also confirm with your outsource staff that they understand the overview and the individual components of your WBS and give them the opportunity to ask questions. It is never helpful to assume that they have it all under control. It is preferable that if any questions or problems arise they do so before the project has even started.

An example of a WBS is if one of your milestones is submission of the first draft of chapter one of a book someone is ghostwriting for you. You would then break that down into its smaller steps, like research, outlining, and writing. These steps would then, in turn, be broken down into even smaller steps, like types of research, verification of facts, and so on.

For each low-level task, estimate time needed for completion, start and end dates, human resources required, and in what order each task should be completed. Obviously, facts can’t be verified until the research is done but you get the gist.

If you have the knowledge and background to begin a WBS during the planning stages for your project, please do so. Regardless of whether or not you’ve already started the WBS, work with your provider to nail down the details and finalize the breakdown.

A well thought out Work Breakdown Structure is of immense help to any project, small or large. It enables your freelance staff to work with confidence and it enables you to know that your outsourcers can carry out the work competently. A good Work breakdown Structure will also minimize hiccups, saving time, money and energy.

Source by Steven Brough

June 29, 2017 0 comment
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If you are planning on seeking funding or investors for your daycare startup then a solid child care center business plan will be essential for proving the feasibility of your idea to them. There are also some other compelling reasons why you should take the time to prepare this important blueprint for business success. If you are going into business with a partner, a business plan will allow both of you to make sure that you are thinking along the same lines. And even if you are going it alone and have nobody to impress, a plan offers you a way of getting all your thoughts and research down on paper in one structured report.

A business plan allows you to see if your child care center is viable and helps you to set goals and benchmarks that you can later measure your progress against. Below we offer a child care center business plan template. The ideal way to put together a plan is to look at a few that have been done for other child care centers and then make adjustments to suit your unique situation. It can be an extensive report or something brief that fits onto one page.

What to Include in a Business Plan for a Child Care Center

1) Executive Summary

This is a summary of your daycare business plan and it should be written after the plan is complete. Detail the contents of your plan and declare some of the conclusions that you have made.

2) Company Mission

Put money aside for a minute and write a little about how you want to fit in with and impact your community in a positive way. Write about the importance of child care in society and your personal philosophies on early childhood development and daycare. What kind of image do your want to project?

3) Table of Contents and Introduction

Introduce the reader to your business plan and let them know what kind of daycare you have in mind. What is the basic concept? What services will you offer? What age groups will you care for?

Set out a contents page so that readers can easily navigate their way through the report.

4) Background

You should include some background on the child care industry to help readers to better understand the present state of the industry and how your business will fit into it. Personal backgrounds of yourself and other key players should also be included to let readers know who you are and what led you to the conclusion that you want to enter this industry. What skills, experience or attributes do you have that make you particularly well suited to setting up and managing a child care center? Attach any supporting documents such as your resume to the business plan as an appendix.

5) Objectives

Summarize your financial goals as well as any expansion plans that you have for the daycare over your first two or three years in business.

6) Startup Requirements and Financing

List out all anticipated startup costs and other hurdles that must be overcome before you open your doors to families. How you propose to finance the new business?

7) Business Structure and Legal Considerations

Will the child care center be a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a corporation? Include details on the daycare licensing process for the state in question as well as other local regulations that must be complied with such as zoning and building safety requirements. What insurance policies will be necessary to protect the business and its owners from property damage or liability claims?

8) Organization

How will your daycare be managed? Your daycare business plan should include information on the ownership structure (if there are other owners involved). Set out a plan for taking on and managing staff including hiring practices, necessary qualifications, wages and other policies. Outline job descriptions for each position and set out a clear hierarchy showing which managers are responsible for which employees.

9) Market Analysis

A good business plan will usually have an analysis of the local market. This is where you can present the findings of any market research that you have undertaken. Your market analysis should include information gained from surveys with prospective daycare clients in the area to find out more about them and about what they are looking for in a daycare service. You can include demographic data about your local market here and attempt to establish some typical customer profiles. Discuss your proposed location and why you think its location is strategically significant.

Look at a variety of niches within daycare such as infant care or after school care and decide on the niches that you will go after with your set up and your marketing. Give details on all local competitors and suggest ways that your daycare could offer unique services that differentiate it from these other market players. Look at their strengths and weaknesses and try to come up with the ideal service for your market that is an improvement on the services that are already available.

10) Marketing Plan

Put forward a marketing plan for gaining new customers. Outline a branding strategy, a pricing strategy and how you will consistently promote your daycare to local families. Try to identify precisely what advertising and marketing methods you would use to get leads and what sales approach you would use to turn prospective families into new clients. Write an online marketing plan discussing a proposed website for the child care center as well as a strategy for bringing targeted traffic to the site.

11) Financial Plan

Lastly, you should include some detailed financial forecasting. Estimate revenues and expenses over a period of two years and set these out in a spreadsheet. Profit or loss can then be projected based on these estimates. Put forward several different scenarios where for example costs are higher than expected or income is slower than expected. Identify the break even point or the point that the business becomes profitable.

A good child care business plan template along the lines of the one that we have outlined above will give you a clear direction of where you want to go, will help you to measure progress along the way and ultimately will help you to reach your personal and financial goals.

Source by Sienna Brown

June 28, 2017 0 comment
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The decision to rent a money counter may seem simple but it is not. If your business handles cash you probably already own one or more money counting machines. You know that currency counters not only save time but increase accuracy. You might have periodic trade shows or sales events that require cash handling equipment. You need to decide whether to try to pack up your money counter and take it with you, or rent a machine on-site. In almost all cases renting is the best alternative for several reasons.

Packing and shipping is a major issue. If you take your equipment with you, you will need to properly pack it and ship it so that it will arrive on time and in working condition. Money counting equipment is very sensitive and subject to losing calibration or shipping damage. Rental companies know how to properly pack and ship your machine so that it will operate properly when it arrives. They also will test and calibrate you equipment prior to shipping it to the rental site.

Something else to think about is that if you bring your equipment on the road, how will your business be able to function without it while it is out of the office? Why should the main office need to go without the use of the equipment?

If you need to handle several locations at once, renting is the only way to go. We had a major bank that was running a charity coin collection in over 100 cities at once. They needed to rent coin counters for all 100 locations during the same week. Renting was their best choice.

Renting is also a great way for you to try out newer models and features. Currency counting equipment is expensive and is constantly evolving with new features and functions. If you rent you have a chance to try out all the latest and greatest features without a capital investment.

Another important consideration in your decision to buy or rent is accounting. Renting is an operating expense and is treated differently than purchasing, which is a capital expense. For tax purposes the rental is a full write-off and does not get depreciated over time as a purchase would. The rental expense will be budgeted as part of the trade show or event that it is directly related to.

There are many reasons that renting a money counter makes sense. If you do decide to rent, reserve your equipment as far ahead of time as possible. Rental companies with take your reservation up to a year in advance. During peak trade show seasons machines can easily get fully booked.

Source by Bruce C Mitchell

June 28, 2017 0 comment
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The fashion industry does seem very small and saturated but that it is like an alternate universe when you get in. There are so many market segments to uncover and since there is the need to be clothed and the need to feel good when clothed, it keeps on becoming a thriving business to the rest of the world. If you are starting out a new label, knowing the industry and where you want to position the label are the crucial points to uncover to set your business as well as your products on the right direction. Let us start by identifying the unique market segments and what makes these segments unique and why you should put your business at that level.

As of the moment, there are around 5 market segments that are within the fashion industry. They are normally distinguished by levels, pricing and procedural nuances. These segments are haute couture, ready to wear, mass market, Eco fashion and niche fashions

Haute Couture

A label that is exclusive to fashions that are completely handmade or most of the procedures done by hand; of materials made of the most luxurious and laboriously concocted patterns and fabrics and presentations that are well beyond magical, Haute couture is the pinnacle of market segments selling to the richest women. The term is carelessly used by others when they are indeed made to measure companies. Haute couture is a label controlled strictly by Chambre Syndicale in Paris and only a select few houses are labeled as haute couture houses. The likes of Christian Dior, Chanel, Givenchy and Elie Saab have the rights to be called haute couture houses. The market can be called niche since it only caters to a very small, privileged people who can spend $20,000 on a suit to over $150,000 or more for an elaborate dress with embroidery. It requires an audience with the Chambre Syndicale so if you want to be a full blown couture house, you need to establish your brand and show point of view that can be refreshingly couture.

Ready to Wear

This started out in the 1960s as an alternative to haute couture. These are ready to purchase items that come in standard sizes. This is one of the biggest money makers of fashion companies and where they also put much of their efforts adverting and presenting. If couture is held twice a year, ready to wear can have several runs ranging from the conventional spring and summer fashions, pre-fall and resort plus other specialty lines for kids and even pets. It is a massive industry. Ready to wear comes in several sub sections including luxury ready to wear. Most couture houses have their own ready to wear lines that are less expensive than haute couture by a mile but still are very expensive. Then there is the diffusion line that is catered to a more hip audience but still range similarly in price. High street lines are often less costly.

Mass Market

This is where most people buy their products. If you are starting out, it would be great to begin here and then head up, or diversify. Mass market normally is sold at very convenient prices but can vary in influence like the more posh labels to department store clothing. Boutiques normally offer a broad range of fashions from working class, leisure, daily and glamour/evening looks. Young companies can either begin here or at ready to wear label, the latter is ideal for those who want to create a stronger commercial impression.

Eco fashion

This is a unique market that focuses mainly on environmentally conscious materials and processes. It takes a lot more creativity to transform the fashions and make them rally stylish but it pays off very well since there is an emerging market for people who like Eco friendly options especially for accessories.

Niche fashion

This is focused on a specific area such as undergarment, jewelry, hats or shoes. This is another great option and it is easier to sell or market to boutiques or set up online compared to pieces of clothing.

By understanding the aspects of fashion and its different segments, one can easily make a decision about the best options and ultimately plan the business and the future strategies.

Source by Mark P Spencer

June 28, 2017 0 comment
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I’m sure most business leaders and managers have heard the saying ‘walking the floor.’ But are we doing it? What does it mean? And does it actually work?

It means making time on a regular basis to find out what’s really happening in your business (department or team) – literally walking around the place where your employees actually work.

Many successful business leaders believe it’s crucial to improving morale, performance and results.

They say it helps show employees that you’re interested in them – that you value their knowledge, skills and opinion, and that it can improve results – because by asking questions you get to know the real issues affecting business performance and can often get the best suggestions for resolving problems.

These business leaders believe it helps foster commitment and push forward actions to change problem areas much more quickly than would otherwise happen, because by dealing with them personally people see that you’re serious and this can empower them to take action quickly.

When I ask the business owners and managers I work with whether they ‘walk the floor’, some common themes occur. See if you recognise any of these statements:

  1. I don’t have time to go out and about meeting my staff; I’m too busy trying to do my job/get new business/sort out their problems. (I’m sure there are a multitude of statements you can substitute here – you get the idea!)

    If you say this yourself at the moment, then it’s clear you’re prioritising other things i.e. you don’t think it’s important enough!

    What if you could view this as one of the most important parts of your role as a business leader?

  2. I don’t have any staff, I work with associates, and they’re not based in the same office as me- so this doesn’t apply.

    Of course it doesn’t apply in the same way, in the sense of physically being with your team, but it can be applied in other ways. For example, you could set up regular meetings via Skype.

  3. My staff shouldn’t need overseeing, they should be doing the job they’ve been paid to do anyway!

    While I agree that most team members don’t need monitoring 24/7, the majority of them will respond to knowing that you are genuinely interested in what they’re doing, that you feel their job really matters to you, to the business and to your customers.

  4. It’ll just antagonise them if I go out and ask questions. Or they’ll think I don’t trust them and I’m checking up on them.

    Whilst it’s possible some may feel like this, in my experience and in the experience of many of my clients, the majority won’t – provided you are genuine, ask questions, listen, and praise appropriately.

    Also, I guess sometimes you will be checking up on them, or rather checking progress on actions! Again, provided you’re genuine and not constantly criticising, then I believe trusting relationships can be developed this way.

On the opposite side of the equation, when dealing with people who are being managed, I’ve heard the following complaints:

  1. The boss doesn’t know who I am or what I do!

    Regardless of the truth of this statement ‘walking the floor’ can demonstrate that you do know your staff and that you do have an appreciation of what they do.

  2. We don’t know the boss – we never see her.

    Making time on a regular basis to ‘walk the floor’ will mean that you’re more visible to your staff, they’ll get to know who you are and it will help show that you are approachable and interested in them.

  3. When things are going well she takes the credit and when they’re not it’s our fault!

    Again, ‘walking the floor’ allows you to give recognition and credit where it’s due and create a problem solving rather than a blame culture.

Of course, this activity must be done with the right intention and with sufficient attention for it to work. Your team will see through it immediately otherwise – people can always tell when you’re not genuine or you’re preoccupied with other things.

I believe ‘walking the floor’ (or making regular time for your employees or team members where you’re geographically dispersed, or you’re home based) is crucial to Leading rather than Managing, to allow employees to see, feel and hear you – to actually experience you and the direction you’re taking them in, so that two way trusting relationships can be built.

So, if you recognise yourself in any of the above statements, then maybe the time is right for you to start ‘walking the floor.’

How about scheduling some time on a weekly basis? After all, you have little to lose and potentially much to gain, as a leader and as a business.

Source by Julie Anne Johnson

June 28, 2017 0 comment
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It is a tough and competitive business environment you

live and it is getting more and more difficult to achieve

your goals. You have to stand out among your colleagues

and competitors. You have to work hard for career

advancement, and better compensation.

Whether you are a senior executive, an entrepreneur or

an employee, this book will show you the best way to

succeed, accomplish your personal and career goals,

outshine your competition and differentiate yourself

from the pack. David F. D’Alessandro shows you how to

stand out from the crowd by developing your own

“personal brand”; and provides valuable lessons in

the etiquette of reputation building.

What is Personal Brand?

You need to realize that success does not only come

from hard work and appropriately playing the part.

To be successful in business and in your career, you

must be able to distinguish yourself from the rest of

the pack – you need to develop, build and defend your


Personal branding is a way you manage your career or

business. It is a way of communicating that makes you

different and special. By using these qualities you

can distinguish yourself from your peers so that you

can expand your success.

There are 10 rules you can follow for building a

successful personal brand and keeping it:

Rule 1: Try to Look Beyond Your Own Navel – The biggest

obstacle in building a positive personal brand is your

own ego. In order to develop an attractive personal

brand, you need to have self-respect and you need

to respect the people around you.

Rule 2: Like It or Not, Your Boss is the Coauthor of

Your Brand – You must realize and accept the fact that

early on in your career, your boss will reap most of

the rewards for ideas you give, money that you brought

in, etc. This is how the corporate world operates. Do

not fight the power structure. Instead learn how to

play and live by it.

Rule 3: Put Your Boss on the Couch – Not all bosses

will help you. It is best that you recognize what type

of personality your boss has so that you would realize

what advantages and disadvantages this person can

cause to your brand.

Rule 4: Learn Which One is the Pickle Fork – Good manners

are crucial in developing and enhancing your personal

brand. Manners are about consideration and respect,

knowledge and patience. Practice good business etiquette.

Rule 5: Kenny Rogers is Right – While it is important

for you to seize the opportunity to build your brand,

it is equally crucial to know what battles to take. Know

when to keep on fighting and when to move fold.

Rule 6: It’s Always Show Time – You must realize that

reputations are not usually made by big events –

sometimes it is those big events that smear your brand.

What builds your reputation is your day-to-day

behavior in the business setting, such as how you deal

with people, how you make decisions, your work habits,


Rule 7: Make the Right Enemies – The best personal brands

include courtesy, fairness, tolerance, self-respect and

having good and proper manners. However, a small amount

of ruthlessness is good for your brand. Your reputation

will not suffer much if you fight your enemies,

but it will suffer if you lose your self-respect.

Rule 8: Try Not To Be Swallowed By the Bubble – Once you

are successful in building your brand and is rising in the

ranks, do not lose sight of the forest. Do not be too

full of yourself that you will be swallowed by success.

It is bad for your humanity, and bad for your career.

Rule 9: The Higher You Fly, the More You Will Be Shot

At – Everybody makes mistakes. The higher you are in the

ladder of success, the more likely that your mistakes

will be highlighted. Accept the fact that bad press comes

with prominence in any field.

Rule 10: Everybody Coulda Been a Contender; Make Sure You

Stay One – Set yourself to be distinct from your peers.

Since you are constantly being compared to your peers,

don’t be afraid to offer something unique or distinctive.

Don’t give up easily. Don’t throw in the towel immediately

because of a setback or two. Learn from your mistakes and

turn it into an opportunity. Don’t lie, cheat or

steal. Be cautious of the reputation you are building.

Source by Regine Azurin

June 27, 2017 0 comment
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Why are you writing about Eric Wandless Renton?

Eric was my uncle, and he was my mothers younger brother. He was viciously murdered 25 years ago, when I was just 16. I want to write something in his memory, as a tribute to him. Also, I want to explain about my families background circumstances that led to him being brought up in an orphanage – i.e. his mother died a few days after his birth, and his father, then a lay-preacher, turned to the drink because of the death of his wife. When he was murdered the newspapers have not got the time, or inclination to give these matters the explanations that they deserve, and recently, it was all brought up again in the local media. So it is time to elaborate on the events, and the family background.

What do you remember about the events of 25 years ago?

My uncle, Frank Hughes discovered Eric’s body. Frank was Eric’s brother in law, who had known Eric for decades. Frank got a phone call from an employee of Eric’s supermarket, saying Eric had not arrived for work. This prompted Frank to go to the bungalow with his wife Hilda (my mothers sister). Frank looked through the window first and told Hilda not to come inside. Hilda phoned my mother and initially told her that Eric had passed away. It was a few days later when my mother was told about the grim reality, which was met with numbness and disbelief. Obviously it was a massive shock to everyone. Eric was buried about a month later. Crime Watch publicised some of the items that the murderer stole from Eric’s home, and a member of the public recognised one of the items, a lamp that he had recently bought from the second hand shop, which led the police to catch the killer.

How do you and the family feel about the 25th anniversary of his murder?

I think it is very important for people to realise that whatever Eric’s death was nothing other than the act of a malicious and evil person who had a vicious plan in mind, to inflict on an easy target.

The killer was not provoked. How ridiculous is it if someone (anyone) was so called “provoked” to commit murder, then to start loading their victims TV, Microwave, lamp etc in the car as an after thought to a trauma. The killer had a dagger and a rolling pin in his bag. He stabbed hit Eric with the rolling pin an stabbed him seven times. That is the action of a cold, calculated, ruthless murderer: Malcolm Roberts. It is that action that got him caught – with the help and dedication of the police, Crime Watch, and the public.

What do you remember about the house in Charnock Richard?

It was a nice and tidy place, in a cul-de-sac. I remember his cabinet full of miniature cars, which were expensive collectors items. I can only remember sitting at the dining table, and after eating, we played chess there too.

What sort of person was Mr Wandless Renton?

He was a smart, intelligent man. My brother Michael said he was also “comical”. He was no threat to anybody, and probably couldn’t harm a fly if he tried. He was tall, thin and not at all athletic. His enthusiasm for chess inspired many others to play and compete. Like his father, and his sister Hilda, and her sons Martin and Graham, Eric was tall. Martin said Erik was a big spender. My sister thought he was a bit of a snob, but she did not she met Eric very few times. Also like his father, Erik suffered from chronic bronchitis.

A phrase comes to mind that sometimes “only the good die young”. I think that inspiring people to compete in any activity is commendable, and many people have commended Eric on his participation and contribution to the world of chess.

The many friends Eric made only goes to show what a likable person he was. It was more than just a loss to our family; he will be remembered and missed by many.

Eric had many friends. My mother told me that Eric used to go to Holland to play chess, not least with his friend the legendary Charles Aznavour, who sang “She”. I recently contacted Tom Rose, who was a very close friend of Eric’s. Tom Rose was the first person to win the Eric Wandless Renton memorial Trophy. This is what Tom Rose said about Eric:

“He [Eric] was one of my closest friends. I first met him when I was about 12 years old. Years later he would often call unexpectedly on my wife and I and share a meal.

“Eric was a role model in his enthusiasm, and in actually getting things done, rather than just talking about them or planning them. He did not just arrange for the Chorley tournament to take part (and assisted in getting the Blackpool tournament going) but also pestered people for sponsorship, and tirelessly solicited entries. He knew it was not enough to simply mail entry forms – so wherever he went he would approach players and persuade them to enter. As a result the Chorley tournament had a very large entry and a lot of sponsorship. After his death it fell off markedly.

A lot of people did not know the true Eric. They saw only the slightly eccentric character and his homosexuality (which incidentally was always discreet – and never brought up in the presence of his heterosexual friends. When you got to know him you would discover that he was one of the kindest and most generous souls you could ever hope to meet. Not a day goes by that I do not miss him and remember him with some sadness. His other close friends were Tony Hill (local businessman and owner of Hill’s bakery and retail outlets). Sadly his closest chess friends (Roy Waterhouse, Jack Wolstenholme) died some years ago.

Eric played several chess tournaments in Holland and had many friends amongst Dutch chess players. Some he invited to play at Chorley and arranged accommodation for them with his friends, so when we lived in Chorley we had Dutch visitors staying in our spare room at August bank-holiday time.

He met the great concert pianist Sviatoslav Richter through their mutual friend Roy Waterhouse (a keen amateur pianist) … when Richter played a concert in Manchester in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s.”

Why was Eric brought up in an orphanage? What do you remember about your uncle?

It is difficult to say the precise reason, but if you look at the events, the reason seems understandable in the circumstances. Doreen (my mother) was 15 months old and her sister Hilda was about 7 when Eric was born. Their mother, Evelyn, died a few days after giving birth to Eric, which effectively left the father James Luther Wandless, without his beloved wife, but with his two young girls and a new born baby. James Luther Wandless was a Methodist Lay Preacher, and the loss of his wife was too much for him to take. Up until then they never kept alcohol in their house. Loss of his wife was too much and he turned to drink and soon after joined the Army, and survived WW2. After the war James Wandless worked in the foundry at Ferrington, Leyland. He died when he was about 60. We do not know what conversations took place at the time about what was to happen to the children. Evelyn had a sister called Lillian, who was married to Arthur Noblet. They had a daughter called Edna, who still lives in Chorley. Edna’s parents boldly took on the two additional young girls, Doreen and Hilda at their home in Bootle, and effectively raised the three girls. A newborn baby (Eric) may well have been too much to take on, as they would indeed have their hands full with the three girls. Getting help from an orphanage must have been the logical approach, but they never lost contact with Eric. Eric was not abandoned. His father may have even known someone at the orphanage, which made him think that was the best option at the time, rather than trying to care for him by himself when he was devastated by the loss of his wife. We have a photo of Eric and Doreen, when he was just three and a half years old, and what a striking resemblance they have of each other. He looks in good health in all the photos. When the war started Edna and Hilda was old enough to be evacuated to Southport. My mum stayed with Auntie Lil and Uncle Arthur, taking cover in the Bomb shelter in their back yard. A bomb even landed in my mum’s bedroom on Litherland Road in Bootle. When she was five, they moved to Chorley and to begin with, lived in the cellar of a Dentist on Park Road (Teddy Tyrer).

After the war, my mother, Doreen used to go everywhere with her brother Eric when they were in their teens. Though they used to argue quite a bit when they were young, they were also best friends. Doreen used to stick up for Eric, because he was not an aggressive person. Eric said she, my mother, should have been a boy because she was so tough. So when Eric was older, he also stayed at Auntie Lils, and Uncle Arthurs in the summer holidays. Doreen also once stayed with Eric for a week – albeit in the girl’s dormitory – at an orphanage in Frodsham. So we are not aware of Eric complaining about any of his life in an orphanage. No doubt wartime was difficult for everyone, but he turned out to be an educated, well-spoken gentleman, with many intelligent friends.

My brothers, Michael and James Fowler helped Eric move from St Thomas Road to the bungalow in Charnock Richard. I remember visiting Eric once at his Bungalow. He made me a microwave meal and we had a game of chess in his kitchen. I was about 13 years old and had learned how to play not long before then. Eric taught my brother Michael to play chess, and he, and our cousin Martin Hughes used to keep Eric company on his insurance round in the Bacup area.

Eric’s, Doreen’s, and Hilda’s mother and father are buried together at the cemetery in Bootle. Hilda Renton adopted Eric at age 16, and his adopted mother is buried with Eric at Chorley cemetery.

Did you and the family know about your uncles sexuality?

Eric told his sisters a short while before the murder. It was never even thought of, raised, discussed or suggested or implied in any way to me or my brothers – sexuality was not a topic of discussion. My mother, and my cousin Martin and his wife Sandra remembers that Eric did have a girlfriend once, whose father owned many butchers shops near Frodsham, Cheshire. Coincidentally Frodsham is where the orphanage was. Martin and Sandra remembers visiting them at the girls fathers farm, so may be his sexuality was something that changed later in life.

Maybe Eric was not as successful as he would have liked to have been with the ladies in the UK – not an uncommon problem that can affect and change people. I know from personal experience that the ratios of single women to single men in the UK is heavily stacked against men, and I will be writing more articles about that shortly. However, what happens behind closed doors is nobodies business, as long as it is mutual.

Will you and the family be marking the anniversary?

We visited the cemetery, and met some relatives. It is not a date of celebration. In a way the family feel it is dragging up bad news. We all have good memories of Eric, and we know that many people thought a great deal about Eric, which is very important to us, and remembering those you have lost is the most important thing.

What has happened since the murder?

His estate was wound up soon after the murder. Eric was a businessman, and businesses require investment, as far as we know very little was left to anybody. Eric left some of his miniature cars to Tony Hill, of Hills bakery. Hilda and her husband Frank passed away in the last couple of years.

We were told that Malcolm Roberts was sentenced to 15 years for murder, so he is probably out – that can be of little consolation to anybody.

The 11th of January 09 marks 25 years since the loss of Eric Wandless Renton. Clearly a great man, from Chorley.

I’ve answered these questions in memory of my uncle: Eric Wandless Renton.

Doreen Bottomley (Previously Fowler and Wandless) may well be the last surviving Wandless in the bloodline. Doreens father, James Luther Wandless was born in Ireland. It is possible that James Luther Wandless had relatives in Cork, Ireland, who moved to America, but we have no documentation of this.

Source by Steven Fowler

June 27, 2017 0 comment
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Loan sharking is the practice of lending money to desperate people at extremely high and illegal rates of interest. Loan sharks, or shylocks, make a big profit from people who can’t get loans from legitimate sources, such as banks or other lending institutions. For as long as people have needed money they don’t have, there have been loan sharks there to provide their services for a fee. They introduce themselves as a solution to a problem; they are businessmen who want to help a borrower get out of a bind. Prey to these sharks can be compulsive gamblers, single parents, the elderly, illegal immigrants, white-collar executives, or anybody else who desperately needs more money than they have access to.

Most people associate loan sharks with gangsters and organized crime. Loan sharking is a very lucrative business for criminals, and it’s a major source of income for the crime families. They receive a very good rate of return on their investment, and in a short amount of time, often a matter of weeks. They may charge interest at rates of up to 20% per week, and possibly even higher. In one New York investigation, it was found that a loan shark syndicate was netting 3000% annual interest! Dallas mobsters were more competitively priced, they charged only 585% annual interest. These were rates in the ghetto. Shylocks would be more competitively priced for corporate white-collar businessmen; rates might be more in the 5% weekly range.

In the mafia world, shylocking is also known as six-for-five; you borrow five and pay back six at the end of the week. You can see how this can turn very expensive. If someone borrowed five hundred and did not have the full payment, the loan shark would accept the interest payment of one hundred and extend the loan for another week, with interest. If they can’t pay when they’re supposed to, they would be forced to take out another loan, interest is added on top of interest and the debt can quickly become impossible to get out of.

The funds for shylocking would usually come from the top, the family boss. The boss would loan money to his capos (lieutenants), knowing he could trust them to pay him back with interest. The capos then loan money with interest to the lower ranking members of the mob. These are the loan sharks that made loans to the common citizen, and enforced payment.

Loan sharks ensured payment with threats of violence. They require no collateral other than the borrower and his family’s well being. “Leg-breakers” were often employed by loan sharks to be sure they receive payment. It’s not true that people were always killed if they didn’t pay. Dead people can’t pay back their debts, so it would not be good business practice to eliminate resources. They would occasionally “make an example” of some who owed very little to be sure other borrowers took them seriously. The borrower, worrying about life and limb of himself and his family, would have no option but to pay the shylock even if it meant he had to lie, cheat, or steal.

Modern Day Predatory Lending

There is no legal definition for predatory lending, but it generally includes the use of unethical practices by lenders who use tactics that skirt around the law. They might give unfair loan terms, use confusing language, charge hidden fees, and use high-pressure sales methods. They make money as long as they can keep borrowers in debt to them. They commonly target the elderly, low-income, minorities, or people with poor credit, but anyone can be a victim of these unscrupulous lenders. Predatory lenders thrive on consumers who need or want more than they can afford to have, and trick borrowers into believing the loans are necessary and affordable.

Many commonly accepted loan services are available to consumers that work on the same principles as a mob shylock. There are laws regulating the amount of interest that can be charged for a loan, but lenders can charge “service fees.” Check cashing places offer “payday loans”, you can write them a post-dated check for the amount of the loan, plus a hefty fee for use of that money for a week or two. The fees can amount to 400% APR, these places are happy to loan as much as possible based on the borrower’s expected paycheck. Then what happens when he gets his paycheck and realizes that it’s already spent? He’ll go back to take out another payday loan so he can pay his bills and buy groceries. This cycle of borrowing more to pay back a loan can trap a person into being perpetually in debt and never getting ahead. These places are usually found on the same block as a liquor store in low-income neighborhoods. These lenders prey on people with limited means and encourage them to live paycheck to paycheck.

Title loans are another way people are getting ripped off. People who own their car free and clear can bring in their title and an extra set of keys, and drive away with up to half the value of their car. They agree to a loan at an extremely high rate, or with a large balloon payment without realistically being able to pay. The title loan companies don’t care what kind of credit the borrower has, because they win either way. They receive an excellent profit on the interest charges or they repossess the car and sell it for twice the loan amount. Sounds like a “can’t lose” situation for them, so it must be a “can’t win” situation for the borrower.

I’ve heard predatory commercials on the radio from car dealerships. The announcer might say something ridiculous like, “We’ll give you $5000 for your trade on anything you can push, pull, or tow in here, and we don’t care how ugly it is!” We’d all be rich if we could sell junk cars for $5000, but who would buy one? These predatory lenders just add that $5000 that they “gave” you to the price of your new car being financed. You’ll drive away in a shiny new car and you’ll get stuck with a loan for $5000 more than the car is worth.

What if you owe more on your trade-in than it’s value? It’s known as a negative equity loan or an upside down loan. This is quite common, considering car dealers want to sell expensive cars more than cheaper ones, and consumers want to drive the best car they can get a loan for. Cars depreciate faster than the loan can be paid down, and when you spread the payments over five or six years instead of three, this can amount to thousands of dollars. Eager to sell you another new car, dealerships work with lenders and add the difference to your loan amount, ensuring that vicious debt cycle.

It is appalling that greedy predatory lenders would go so far as to trick people out of their homes, but it happens. Abundant offers for second mortgages or use credit card balance transfers to pay off credit card debt come daily in the mail. It’s shocking that lenders would encourage you to take equity from your home to buy a two-week vacation, a hot tub, a motorcycle, or other big “toys”. Would a sensible person really want to pay 15-30 years with interest for some unnecessary material items that make life just a little more fun? These predatory lenders like to remind you of all the improvements you could make in your life if you just had access to the equity in your home. They encourage you to dream of everything you’re missing out on because your assets are tied up in your house. They sell you on the idea that you’ll “save” money by consolidating your high interest debt. You might have smaller monthly payments… but the debt is stretched out over many years, increasing your total interest costs. Many borrowers just rack up new debt after getting that second mortgage to pay off bills because their formerly maxed out credit cards are now freed up again. When the borrower can’t afford his mortgage, second mortgage, and new credit card debt, the home goes into foreclosure and the borrower loses everything he’s worked for.

Home-improvement scams have also hit America hard, particularly the elderly. Someone who has been making regular mortgage payments for many years has most likely built up lots of equity in their home, which makes them a prime target for these ruthless predators. Contractors offer to make repairs or improvements to the home, and can even be so “helpful” as to set up financing for the unsuspecting homeowner. An elderly widow, who can’t do the work herself, is grateful for the nice young man who can help her get her home back in shape. When it comes to the confusing legal jargon in the contract, she trusts him and his simple explanation of what it is she’s signing. She unknowingly agrees to take out a high-interest second mortgage that requires a balloon payment at the end. She later finds out that all her payments have gone to pay mostly interest, barely making a dent in the principle owed. She can’t pay the huge balloon payment when due, and loses her house in foreclosure. It is unfortunate that these predators are willing to put someone’s grandmother out of her home to make their fortune.

My neighborhood is several years old and a part of it is still in construction. This addition draws many first-time homebuyers. When I shopped for mortgages, I thought it was odd that my builder’s mortgage lender approved my loan for an amount about 30% more than a regular mortgage broker could get for me. Don’t we all want the best house we can afford? It’s tempting to take a mortgage that’s barely affordable, to get that bigger house with more options. It’s interesting to note that there are quite a few foreclosures in this neighborhood, usually the houses that are about two years old. On brand new homes, you would only pay taxes on the value of the empty lot, that is, until it is reassessed with the value of the house on it. This happens where I live about a year and a half after the home is built and closed on. The mortgage lender does warn you that your payments will go up in a couple of years after the taxes are reassessed, but still approves your mortgage based on your current income and the tax on the empty lot. You might not think much of it then because you believe you’ll figure something out by the time your payments go up. About 18 months later, your PITI payment increases by a couple of hundred dollars a month, but your income hasn’t. Many families have lost their homes to foreclosure because they weren’t prepared for this dramatic increase in payment.

Predatory lending has many more faces; I gave just a few examples. You’ve heard of scams people have reported in the newspapers. You can read about victims in internet blogs. The nightly news is always showing a new story about a new way predators are trying to take our money. You’ve seen the ads that the lenders themselves have run. These unscrupulous businesses may be fraudulent, or just plain tricky. They thrive on the “Gotta have it now” attitude that many consumers live by. The only way to protect yourself is to educate yourself. I’ve referred to the borrowers several times as “victims”, but truly they are victims of their own lack of awareness.

Protect Yourself From Predatory Lenders

  • Use your financial common sense; if you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t buy it.
  • Plan a realistic budget and stick to it.
  • Have a savings plan so that you’ll be prepared in case of a true emergency.
  • Keep your credit rating high so that you won’t be forced to go with “sub-prime” lenders, where predatory lending is common.
  • Be skeptical about quick fixes and easy money.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Bad credit, no credit, no problem! This is one of predatory lenders favorite lines.
  • Buy here, pay here! Rent to own. No money down! You must act now! Some of their other favorite lines.
  • Any loan, including your first mortgage, which uses the equity in your house as collateral should be looked at very carefully.
  • Know what it is you’re signing, and never sign documents that don’t have all the terms filled in.
  • If you don’t understand the contract in question, consult an attorney. Lawyer fees can be a bargain compared to the potential loss.
  • Shop around for loans of any kind; never say yes to the first offer.
  • Visit The Center For Responsible Lending for information about laws to protect you, or how you can get involved in the fight against predatory lending.
  • Don’t let salesmen pressure you into something you aren’t sure about.
  • Refuse to take out more loans to pay off already unmanageable debts.
  • Beware of the temptingly low interest rates that skyrocket after you’ve had enough time to shop more than you should.
  • Take responsibility for your financial well-being.
  • Predatory lenders are out there taking money, but don’t let them take yours.

Source by Michael Yanda

June 27, 2017 0 comment
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An ERP system is a centralized approach to handle the day-today activities of today’s business environment. There are a number of examples of ERP systems that show how advance ERP systems are than their predecessors, who used to offer a mix custom-built support and package software support to business organizations. Let’s talk about some of these examples in detail to get a clearer picture of ERP systems.

Example 1: To calculate sales commissions:

A simple example of ERP system is to calculate sales commissions. The human resource users calculate sales commission using an ERP system, by accessing a web service. This is done using getSalesCommision web service. This web service accesses two different back end systems to calculate the sales commissions. One is the ERP system that provides that invokes a function called getSalary and the other system is the CRM system that invokes getSalesData function call, wherein each function call is in the form of a web service.

Thus, from above simple example we can see how an ERP system with its integrated web service applications. Help to calculate the sales commissions of various agents of a sales team in an organization.

Example 2: Fundamental ERP examples:

ERP software is the heart of every large organization as it manages the various computing activities and fix them up through its integrated approach. In a large organization, it is very important to manage its information as there is a large flow of information both inside and outside the organization and this large flow of information makes information management a difficult task.

Thus, a centralized solution, which can handle all the information inflow and outflow from a common platform, is a must. This ways there is a proper account of each piece of information in the common database and you don’t have to search here and there for it. This approach is what ERP provides. The centralized approach also helps to fight against any redundancies in data or duplications. Thus, it help to avoid any confusion and makes managing and accessing the information an easy task for you.

An example of ERP to manage information system can be related to a purchase department, where the department can quickly adjust material orders while looking in to the information in the centralized database related to increase or decrease in the customers orders. Thus, ERP solutions increase the workflow activities and make them all the more efficient. Read more about Erp at http://www.companiesimplementingerp.com

An ERP system is a multi-module computer application which is designed to support all the major activities that takes place in an organization like manufacturing, purchase, sales, marketing, supply chain, etc.

Therefore if you are looking for ERP solutions to manage your human resource modules or supply chain operation like product planning, inventory control, production control, etc, then there are many good examples of ERP systems that can help to fix up your problem.

Source by Dean Forster

June 26, 2017 0 comment
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With all the research, number crunching and planning that goes into starting or buying a laundromat, many entrepreneurs end up waiting until the last minute before they even think about choosing a name.

Choosing the right name for your business is an important decision as it will help to shape public perceptions towards your brand. Brand positioning is a key element in any good marketing plan. Laundromats need to be promoted, just like any other business, if they are to reach their maximum potential in an area and a great name can help you out with this. Here are some tips and ideas that you may consider when looking at possible coin laundry names.

Changing a Name

If you have bought a laundromat you will have to decide whether to keep the existing name or to change it. It is usually advisable to resist a name change if possible as you will have expenses associated with re-branding. If a lot of goodwill has been built up under the current name then you may as well keep it. On the other hand, if the business in question was not running so well and you plan on making big changes then it may not hurt to highlight the fact that the place is under new management. If you already have a small string of coin laundries with a good reputation in the area then it would make sense to bring your new acquisition under the umbrella of your established brand.

Suitable and Descriptive

The name that you choose for your laundromat should be suitable. You don’t want to confuse people about what kind of business you are when they view your signage or advertising. One school of thought when it comes to choosing business names is to choose something that makes it obvious as to what business you are in. For this reason you should consider including the word ‘Laundrette’ as a part of your business name.

You may also want to include other words in your trading name that convey what is unique or special about your coin laundry and the services that you offer. You may offer fast service, the best value, or a wider range of machines than other coin laundries and want to get this message across. Or maybe you are open twenty four hours a day and want to highlight this fact.

A Name for the Future

When choosing a name, give some thought to the future. You will want a name that will allow you to easily expand into other areas and additional services. Choosing a name based on your geographical location may be an impediment to future development if you buy other laundromats outside the area.

Funny or Clever Laundromat Names

If you search around online you can find some laundromat names that are really clever or funny. However, any examples that you come across will most likely have been taken so you really have to be more creative and think of your own ideas. A name for a coin laundry does not necessarily have to be funny to command attention. Something more serious and professional sounding may in fact be more appropriate. By any means, it should appeal to everyone in your target market and not come across as being distasteful to any particular ethnic or age group.

Distinct and Memorable

The ideal name will give customers a great first impression of your business weather they are reading it on a flyer or hearing it spoken over the phone.

It should also be memorable so that your customers can easily recall your name when they are speaking to others about your business. Facilitate ‘word of mouth’ to spread in every way that you can.

Do a test run with friends and family members. Run a small list of possibilities by them and ask for their opinions. Then get back to them a week or so later and find out which ones they were able to remember and which ones they were able to pronounce correctly.

Originality and Legal Concerns

It is important that your name is unique, especially among other players in the laundromat business. An original name can not only help you to stand out in the market but it can also help you to avoid legal troubles. Make sure that you do a thorough search online and via the business names database at your county clerks office. Only them will you be able to confirm that you are not infringing on the intellectual property of other businesses.

Marketing Considerations

Give some thought to how you will use a name in any future advertising campaigns that you will do to promote your laundromat. Shorter names are usually more effective and memorable and they can be easier to print on marketing materials and signage. Can you think of any slogans that would go well with the name?

You will also need to get a website set up at some point. Before finalizing your choice you should search some online domain name registrars to make sure that there is a suitable domain available. Register it right away.

Personal Reasons

Don’t ignore any personal preferences that you have for specific names. After all, it is your business and you have to have a name that you are happy with. Go with your instincts to some extent and choose something that you feel you can be proud of. Go with a name that will inspire you to lead your laundromat business to success.

Source by James K Rouse

June 26, 2017 0 comment
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How do small firms choose their capital structure? When is it appropriate for a small business to fund its operations with borrowed funds? What is the nature and function of effective leverage in financial management? These questions relate to the optimal capital structure of a business enterprise-the appropriate mix of debt and equity that maximizes the return on investment and shareholders’ wealth while minimizing the cost of capital, simultaneously. Clearly, effective leverage is vital to a sound business strategy designed to maximize the wealth producing capacity of the enterprise. In these series on effective financial management, we will focus on the pertinent financing strategic questions and provide some guidance. The overriding purpose of this article is to highlight some basic financial theory and industry practice in effective financial leverage. For specific financial management strategies please consult a competent professional.

Please note that the appropriate amount of financial leverage for each firm differs markedly based on the overall industry dynamics, market structure-level of competition, stage of industry life cycle, and its market competitive position. Indeed, as with most market indicators firm-specific leverage position is insightful only in reference to the industry expected value (average) and generally accepted industry benchmarks and best practices.

Types of Leverage:

Financial Leverage: Degree of financial leverage is the ratio of the EBIT/EBT-earnings before interest and taxes divided by earnings before taxes. When a business relies on borrowed funds for its operations-the financial leverage is created as the business incurs fixed financial obligations or interests on the borrowed funds. A given percentage change in the firm’s operating income (EBIT) produces a larger percentage change in the firm’s net income (NI) and earnings per share. Indeed, a small percentage change in operating income (EBIT) is magnified into a larger percentage reduction in net income. The degree of financial leverage (DFL) measures a firm’s exposure to financial risk or the sensitivity of earnings per share (EPS) to changes in EBIT. Therefore, DFL indicates the percentage change in earnings per share (EPS) emanating from a unit percent change in earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT). In general, a firm’s short-term financing needs are influenced by current sales growth and how effectively and efficiently the firm manages its net working capital-current assets minus current liabilities. Note that ongoing short-term financing needs may reflect a need for permanent long-term financing including an evaluation of the appropriate mix and use of debt and equity-the capital structure.

Operating Leverage: Fixed operating costs, such as general administrative overhead expenses, contractual employees’ salaries, and mortgage or lease payments create operating leverage and tend to elevate business risk. The impact of operating leverage is evident when a given percentage changes in net sales results in a greater percentage change in operating income (EBIT)-earnings before interest and taxes. Operating leverage is calculated as follows: DOL = CM/EBIT-contribution margin divided by earnings before interest and taxes or percentage change in EBIT divided by percentage change in sales (revenues).

Combined Leverage: Degree of combined leverage (DCL) is the combination of the effects of business risk and financial risk. Degree of operating leverage (DOL) and degree of financial leverage (DFL) combine to magnify a given percentage change in sales to a potentially much greater percentage change in earnings or operating income (EBIT). There is a direct relationship among the degrees of operating leverage (DOL), financial leverage (DFL) and combined leverage (DCL). A firm’s degree of combined leverage (DCL) = DOL X DFL or CM/EBIT X EBIT/EBT that is CM/EBT. The degree of combined leverage (DCL) may also be calculated as percentage change in EPS divided by percentage change in sales that is the percentage change in earnings per share emanating from a unit percent change in sales volume.

Optimal Capital Structure: This is the appropriate use of debt and equity that minimizes the firm’s cost of capital and maximizes its stock price. Please note that a non-optimal capital structure or lack of optimal debt and equity mix may lead to higher financing costs and the firm may reject some capital budgeting projects that would have increased shareholders’ wealth with an optimal financing. Further, the effects of different capital structures and differing degrees of business risk are reflected in a firm’s income statement. Please note that operating leverage tends to magnify the effect of fluctuating sales (revenues) and produce a percentage change in operating income (EBIT) larger than the change in sales (revenues) while financial leverage tends to magnify the percentage change in EBIT and produce a larger percentage change in EPS. Therefore, a change in sales (revenues) through operating leverage affects EBIT. This change in EBIT through the effect of financial leverage subsequently affects EPS.

Some Useful Guidelines:

When a firm grows, it needs capital which may be funded by equity or debt. Debt financing has costs and benefits. Debt has two significant benefits: Interest paid is tax deductible, which minimizes debt’s effective cost; and debt carries a fixed charge, so stockholders do not have to share their net income if the enterprise is extremely profitable. On the other hand, high debt ratio indicates higher risk and hence higher cost of capital; and if the firm fails to earn sufficient income to cover its fixed charges it must produce the shortfall or face bankruptcy. Therefore, firms with volatile earnings and operating cash flows must limit their use of debt financing. Certainly, effective cash flow and leverage management is critical to prudent and sound strategy designed to maximize the wealth producing capacity of the enterprise. Additionally, strategic analysis, market analysis and financial analysis should be internally consistent and congruent. The EBIT/EPS analysis allows a firm to evaluate the effects of different capital structure on operating income and the level of business risk. The variability of sales or revenues over time is a basic operating risk. Please note that in capital budgeting for a specific project to increase shareholders’ wealth, it must earn more than its cost of capital or hurdle rate.

In practice, firms tend to use target capital structure-a mix of debt, preferred stock, and common equity with which the enterprise plans to raise needed funds. And because capital structure policy involves a strategic trade-off between risk and expected return, the optimal capital structure policy must seek a prudent and informed balance between risk and return. The firm must consider its business risk, tax position, financial flexibility and managerial conservatism or aggressiveness. While these factors are crucial in determining the target capital structure, operating conditions may cause the actual capital structure to differ markedly from the optimal capital structure. Therefore, the target capital structure should be used as a guide toward an ideal capital structure that minimizes the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) while maximizing the shareholders’ wealth.


Source by James Gaius Ibe

June 26, 2017 0 comment
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Everyone seems to agree innovation is important. Consider the following:

• Studies show innovation increases profit and return for investors.

• Being innovative can help you make better business decisions.

• Focused innovation can also increase productivity and reduce employee turnover.

• Searching for ‘innovation’ on Amazon within business books returns 5,757 entries.

Even allowing for duplicates, this indicates a lot of interest in the subject!

So why aren’t more companies innovating more often? Can innovation really work inside a corporate structure?

Are you Darkminding?

“Darkminding” is a term I use to explain two of the natural ways in which we think:

• Sticking to what is known – we don’t like things to change, so even if we could be more creative we resist developing new ideas because they create risk. We “mind the dark” by maintaining it and trying not to let any light in (i.e. new ideas). This is another way of saying we like the status quo.

• Avoiding trying to develop new ideas – it’s just too much hard work! Why think new things when the old way still works? We keep our minds dark and avoid the effort of creating light.

Darkminding can be quite useful for some things. If you had to reconsider every step in every process you carry out, you’d never get anything done. Routine can be efficient and helps us achieve things we do on a regular basis.

But, unfortunately, the world changes and often the process we’ve developed doesn’t. These changes happen very gradually, though, so it is hard to notice when the normal routine becomes less useful. If things start going wrong, a few tweaks to what we are doing and we may be back where we were. But if the fundamentals have changed, these minor differences suddenly become very big problems.

All this is exacerbated by a corporate structure which often awards, in subtle and more obvious ways, keeping to how things are done and protecting your own area of the business. Change in a company often means a threat to status and control, which makes coming up with ideas dangerous.

How a Company Can Create a Solution

If our brains naturally work that way you may be asking “Can innovation fit inside my company?” Fortunately, our brains also work in more creative ways which you can encourage, based on easing up our initial reaction to ‘Darkmind’ at the first glimmer of a new idea. It may be hard work, but realising our limitations and implementing some of the changes below can create an atmosphere of innovation in any company.

1. Why should I care?

The first step is understanding why innovation is important. There are a number of ways to achieve this, but the most important ones are those which give insight into your specific company. You can produce multiple studies and statistics showing the value of innovation, but without relating it to your company it will not have the same impact.

What are your competitors doing? You need to understand how they innovate, and whether you are up to their standard. Comparison to others outside your industry may also give you a benchmark to aim for. Analysis like this will give you details about where you are falling behind and prey to more creative competitors.

You also need to know how big the gap is between where you want to be in, say, three years and what it will take you to get there. If you want to increase turnover by 20% in that time, and assuming some of your products and offerings will become outdated or obsolete, how are you going to make up the difference? If revenues from new products need to provide part of that turnover, how many new innovations are required? If your analysis indicates two to three new products will be needed, it can often mean you need to have a minimum pipeline of 6 or more viable ideas. The gap may be bigger than you think, but you won’t know until you check.

2. Make ‘Business as Usual’ unusual

Let me deliberately be provocative for a moment. People need the motivation to put forward ideas and accept a culture of innovation. One radical but effective way to do this, suggested by Peter Drucker in his book Innovation and Entrepreneurship, is to review every single area of your business at least every three years and make it clear they will be on trial for their life. Underperforming areas should be rigorously reviewed and cut if necessary. This approach focuses minds on new developments and ideas and keeps people from stagnating and going with the flow. If you know you’ll need to explain how you’ll be profitable in future, you’ll need to be able to explain the gap and how you’ll close it. Innovation is the best way to make your case. If this sounds scary, the pressure the market will eventually put on an underperforming area is usually worse. Globalisation only amplifies this pressure.

3. Make it a part of the system

Whatever systems you have in place, make innovation part of what is done every day. If you review monthly budgets versus actuals, add a section on the status of current product development. If you have regular staff meetings, add a five minute slot to let people discuss recent innovations they’ve developed. Make innovation seem important and soon it becomes part of the culture. Don’t forget you should also take time to step back from your usual work and actually go through some techniques to generate new ideas that can lead to new products, market approaches or cost savings. Just put some time in your diary! Remember, if you make it a habit, it gets easier to keep doing it.

You also need a system to track innovations being developed, including who is doing the most work in this area. You can then ensure you have a fresh and growing list of new ideas waiting to be developed. You can also award people who are continuously innovating. Someone should be responsible to the CEO for this list and for growing the number of ideas produced. Without a system, you’ll have no oversight of where innovation is needed nor will you know how to use the full skills of your most innovative employees.

4. Create connections

Creativity is connection, so the highest priority is to foster people’s ability to do new things and meet new people. Innovation is killed by people working in silos, passing the product from one area to the next. Your company can’t survive with the following mentality any longer:

• “Here you go engineering. We’ve designed it, now you build it.”

• “Here you go marketing. We’ve built it, now you let people know about it.”

• “Here you go sales department. We’ve advertised it, now you sell it.”

Everyone needs to work together, at inception, on ideas or services to make sure they will perfectly fit what the customer needs. The side benefit is that the more a diverse team works together, the greater number of unexpected innovations will arise. Try mixing people up and see what happens.

Another way to get people thinking differently is to move them around. Make secondments easy, for both internal and external moves. And when they’re off, make people aware that part of their time should be spent thinking about how their experience can enhance what the company does in other areas.

The need for leadership

Some of the above ideas you could implement easily, in fact they can be done without people realising you are fostering innovation. Underlying it all, however, is our human inclination to prefer how things are, so there is hard work needed to implement a fully functioning process. Which leads to a need for leadership. Innovation always brings out uncertainty and the top managers and directors of the company need to define a vision to make it all seem less scary. Can you help people see, feel and know this is all the most important issue facing the organisation? Can you make the vision so vivid and so compelling people naturally want to go into that future? That is often the hardest part of driving innovation.

Source by Mark Swiecichowski

June 25, 2017 0 comment
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