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General Business Management Guides

This section features business management guides and articles that do not directly relate to other sections. Among the topics covered: strategic planning, productivity management, profit planning, management by objective and more.

Small businesses often fail because owners and managers are unaware of the many elements that can prevent the business from growing and being successful. Often, small businesses are organized around the manager's specific area of expertise, such as marketing, accounting or production. This specialized expertise often prevents the business owner from recognizing problems that may arise in other parts of the business.

The guides in this and other sections of the bizmove website will provide the small business entrepreneur with the essentials for successfully manage the business.


The aim of productivity management is to provide small business owners and managers with an overview of how company productivity can be improved. It covers what productivity is, how it is measured, and what a company can do to increase it.

Why should productivity management growth be a national concern? It is because, if too low, the Nation can neither improve its standard of living at home nor compete successfully abroad. Productivity growth affects wage negotiations, inflation rates, business decisions, exchange rates, a host of other economic, political and social conditions, and, therefore, every small business owner and manager.

The factors affecting both National and individual firm productivity are many and diverse. Nationally, changes in employment, hours worked, the educational, age and sex composition of the work force, levels of capital investment and savings, government regulations, capacity utilization, inflation, among others, all can affect, favorably or unfavorably, productivity rates.

Managing Business Success Video

There are many productivity factors the firm can manage. How well does the firm utilize new knowledge; is it working at an economy-of-scale level; are the employees highly motivated and loyal or is there labor unrest and high worker turnover; is the resource (human and capital) allocation maximizing established goals; and finally, what is the overall quality of the company's management? And, if management sees productivity as a problem, is there a commitment to establish a company-wide Productivity Improvement Program?

Establishing A Productivity Improvement Program

Recent studies indicate that the quality of management is the key to increasing business productivity. It is up to the managers to identify productivity problems and develop an appropriate program to solve these problems. In the past several years, many of the Nation's most successful, larger corporations have started Productivity improvement Programs (PIP). With profits slipping, their managements realized that improving productivity was the key to improving income; that only through an efficient and effective utilization of resources could they remain competitive and profitable.

The following Productivity Improvement Program outlines the key elements of programs successfully used by many companies including such giants as Honeywell, Westinghouse, GM and Ford.

Key elements of a Productivity Improvement Program (PIP):

1. Obtain Upper Management Support. Without top management support, experience shows a PIP likely will fail. The Chief Executive Officer should issue a clear, comprehensive policy statement. The statement should be communicated to everyone in the company. Top management also must be willing to allocate adequate resources to permit success.

2. Create New Organizational Components. A Steering Committee to oversee the PIP and Productivity Managers to implement it are essential. The Committee should be staffed by top departmental executives with the responsibilities of goal setting, guidance, advice, and general control. The Productivity Managers are responsible for the day-to-day activities of measurement and analysis. The responsibilities of all organizational components must be clear and well established.

3. Plan Systematically. Success doesn't just happen. Goals and objectives should be set, problems targeted and rank ordered, reporting and monitoring requirements developed, and feedback channels established.

4. Open Communications. Increasing productivity means changing the way things are done. Desired changes must be communicated. Communication should flow up and down the business organization. Through publications, meetings, and films, employees must be told what is going on and how they will benefit.

5. Involve Employees. This is a very broad element encompassing the quality of work life, worker motivation, training, worker attitudes, job enrichment, quality circles, incentive systems and much more. Studies show a characteristic of successful, growing businesses is that they develop a "corporate culture" where employees strongly identify with and are an important part of company life. This sense of belonging is not easy to engender. Through basic fairness, employee involvement, and equitable incentives, the corporate culture and productivity both can grow.

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