The Most Comprehensive Online Business Management Manual
Created by Meir Liraz
Here's the definitive manual to starting and managing a business, featuring 300 'how-to' guides covering almost any business situation you can think of. It will teach you scores of tricks, secrets and shortcuts - and teach them so that you can start using them at once. This resource does far more than impart knowledge... it inspires action.
You'll discover here dozens of simple to understand step-by-step guides and worksheets reducing your learning curve by years, and everything is laid out for you section-by-section and topic-by-topic to make it easy to get to the right spot as you need it. Simply flip through the table of contents, find the topic that applies to your specific situation and adopt the easy to follow advice. Enjoy!
Checklist for Starting a Business: Essential Ingredients for Success
If you are thinking about going into business, it is imperative that you watch this video first! it will take you by the hand and walk you through each and every phase of starting a business. It features all the essential aspects you must consider BEFORE you start a business. This will allow you to predict problems before they happen and keep you from losing your shirt on dog business ideas. Ignore it at your own peril!
For more insightful videos visit our Small Business and Management Skills YouTube Chanel.
Be a Leader that People Follow
Powerful Goal Setting Techniques
Get More Done In Less Time
Improve Your Planning Skills
Be in Control of Your Work and Your Life
Effective Delegation Techniques
How to Make the Right Decisions
How to Constantly Improve Your Abilities
Are You Fit to Be a Manager?
Do you have what it takes to succeed in a Business? This management quiz will help you assess your managerial skills
The first question you should answer when you are thinking of starting a business is "Am I the type?" You will be the most important employee in your business. It is more important that you rate yourself objectively as the business manager than how you rate any prospective employee.
Appraise your strengths and your weaknesses. As a prospective operator of your own business, acknowledge that you are weak in certain areas and cover the deficiency by either retraining yourself or hiring someone with the necessary skill. The questions in this quiz indicate to what extent you have the personal traits important to a business manager.
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Here are start-up guides to over 90 different businesses. Feel free to download and use any of the following books free of charge with our compliments.
You'll find here a large variety of businesses you can start, spanning a range of industries, customer segments and initial funding needs. All are within reach for those with a healthy supply of common sense and determination. And, yes, luck always helps.
How to Be Successful in Business
Ask yourself: If I just bought this company, how would I sell more/expand what I sell to this customer base?
Ask yourself: If I could invest this cash in any one part of this business/niche/product line for the biggest cumulative return/profit over the next 5 years, where would I invest it all?
3. Market Leadership
Ask yourself: To remain the market leader for the next 25 years, where should I invest my time and company's resources right now?
Ask yourself: What can I do to double the strength of our current reputation, within the next 6 months?
Ask yourself: What's working well right now and how can I keep it working well?
6. Key Staff
Ask yourself: Who are the 5 key people in my organization and what game/plan can I create with them so they'll stick around for a long time?
Ask yourself: What systems work so well that we take them for granted? How could we improve them?
Ask yourself; How quickly and completely do we respond to changes in our customers, market, technology, staff needs or economic conditions?
9. Intellectual Property
Ask yourself: What do we have, IP-wise, that just isn't being as leveraged as it could be?
10. The X Factor
What do we have that's very, very special and that we could really maximize, just for the pleasure of it?
How to Be a Good Manager
How to become the boss everyone loves to praise, rather than the boss everyone loves to hate!
1. Acknowledge your staff.
When a member of staff does a job well, make sure you notice it, and acknowledge her or him for it. Don't let the opportunity to praise a piece of good work go by.
2. Never, ever, humiliate anyone on your staff team.
If you are annoyed with someone on your team, or they have done something wrong, make sure you keep your cool, especially in public. If you humiliate someone, he or she will hold a grudge against you, and their work will suffer too.
3. Create a culture where mistakes are OK.
If you don't make mistakes, chances are you are not stretching yourself. If your staff are allowed to feel that mistakes are part of reaching for new highs, rather than something to feel bad about, or shamed for, then they will take more risks on your behalf.
4. Remember personal details.
Take time to get to know your staff, who they are, who is important in their lives, etc. Be interested in them as people, not just as workers.
5. Don't hide behind your position.
Be human and friendly with your staff - that way you will all be able to support and encourage each other when things are tough.
6. Be approachable.
Allow your staff to feel that they can come and talk to you about sensitive issues, about inside- and outside-work difficulties, and that you will respect them, and not hold what they share against them.
7. Admit your mistakes.
If you get it wrong, say so. Managers don't have to be infallible! Your staff will respect you more if you are able to admit your mistakes, and then set about sorting out a solution.
8. Listen in such a way that your employees will talk to you.
Often people feel afraid of, or intimidated by, management. Make sure you show people that you are willing to listen to what they have to say, that they are important and worthy of your time.
9. Be clear in your requests.
It is your responsibility to ensure that people understand your requests - so communicate clearly, and ask if people have understood what you are asking for.
10. Treat everyone respectfully and courteously at all times.
Particularly when there is a problem! Everyone who works for you is a valuable human being who deserves respect. A manager is only as good as how she or he treats the people on her or his team.
How to Manage Change Effectively
1. Start with the end in mind.
We know that navigating successfully in a world that is changing as fast as ours can be tricky at times. In fact, if we allow it to overwhelm us, change can feel extremely stressful and downright frustrating. If we're smart, however, we've learned that although we can't alter the fact of constant change, we can learn to manage our response to it. Here's a sample of how I coach my clients on managing change in their lives:
2. Accept change as a fact of life.
As human beings we are constantly in process. We never get there, our in-box is never empty, and we can't catch up with technology. Our world is changing at a pace never experienced before…indeed, change is our only constant….accept it!
3. Commit yourself to lifelong learning.
If change is constant, then learning must also be continual. As long as we are learning we're on the road to an exciting, fulfilling, meaningful life. Learning helps us feel as though we're moving with the ever-changing world. This helps to relieve our anxiety of feeling left behind. We feel better because when we're learning we are moving with the world.
4. Get healthy then stay healthy
Change, even positive change, is stressful. To keep stress from getting us, we must stay physically healthy with proper nutrition, enough rest and regular exercise.
5. Look at change as an opportunity.
Changing our attitude about change is one of our best management tools. Look for opportunities in every change in your life. Rather than digging in your heels and resisting change, allow yourself to flow with it and see where it takes you.
6. Develop and maintain a strong network and support team.
Many changes in our lives require us to lean on others for emotional support and/or advice. Have your team in place…ready to see you through the inevitable significant changes in your life.
7. Develop your spirituality.
God is the only aspect of our lives that is constant. She is the same today, tomorrow, and into infinity. This is a comforting and stabilizing thought in today's world. To have a friend, a confidante, a love who will never outgrow us, leave us, or change her behavior toward us is surely one of the greatest gifts of life.
8. Engage in rituals.
Performing a task or celebration in the same way week after week or year after year gives us a sense of stability, a feeling of being grounded, a sense of security. Even the ritual of pouring a cup of coffee before settling down to work, eating dinner as a family, having lunch at a special restaurant on Fridays, or writing daily in a journal can be significant in dealing with change. Performing rituals and celebrating holidays in a certain way, gives us the satisfaction that not everything is changing.
9. Eliminate the tolerations in your life.
Get rid of the little irritations (and sometimes big ones) that drain your energy…energy you need to manage change. A toleration can be something as simple as a missing button or as significant as a toxic person.
10. Keep a daily journal.
When change is viewed over a period of time there is more sense to it. Seeing this historical perspective of past change in our life can give us more objectivity to meet the current changes that are facing us.
11. Engage in meditation.
Being centered within yourself grounds you for the changes you're required to face every day. Take a moment to quiet your mind, your body, your soul. You'll reap the rewards of this gift you give yourself.
How to Motivate Employees in the Workplace
Supervising people involves more than telling them what to do. Effective supervision involves motivation from within the individual, not by externals.
1. Treat them as individuals, not merely as necessary cogs in a wheel. Remember their personal problems, find appropriate times to ask how they or their families are, how the big event went, whether the plumbing problem got fixed.
2. Acknowledge their contributions. Let them be confident that when you pass their suggestions and contributions up the chain of command you will acknowledge the members of your team as the source.
3. Back them up. When things go wrong, the buck stops at your desk. Do not deal with problems by telling your superiors how awful your supervises are. Tell how you will go about preventing a re-occurrence.
4. Take time for them. When a supervisee comes to you, stop what you are doing, make eye contact. If you can't be interrupted, immediately set up a later time when you will be able to pay full attention to them. Otherwise people may feel that they are bothersome to you, and you may someday find yourself wondering why no one tells you what is happening in your own department.
5. Let them know that you see their potential and encourage their growth. Encourage learning. Help them to take on extra responsibility, but be available to offer support when they are in unfamiliar territory.
6. Explain why. Provide the information that will give both purpose to their activities and understanding of your requirements. Providing information only on a need-to-know basis may work for the CIA, but it does not build teams.
7. Don't micro-manage. Let them know the plans and the goals, that you trust them to do their best, and then let them have the freedom to make at least some of the decisions as to how to do what is needed. Morale and creativity nosedive when the flow of work is interrupted by a supervisor checking on progress every two minutes.
8. Let them work to their strengths. We all like to feel good about our work. If we can do something that we do well, we will feel proud. If you believe supervises need to strengthen areas of weakness, have them work on these, too, but not exclusively.
9. Praise in public, correct in private. NOTHING undermines morale as effectively as public humiliation.
10. Set reasonable boundaries, and empower your supervises to set theirs. Once set, respect them. This is not a challenge to your power, it is their right as human beings.
How to Manage People Effectively
The ten below (and there are surely more) are a good yardstick to determine your profit potential through people management.
1. Create Expectations
Tell people up front what is expected of them.
2. Set a Stretch Challenge
Make people grow and coach them along the way.
3. Never move too slowly on critical personnel decisions
Dragging your feet here will really hurt your business.
4. Involve people in both DEVELOPING and IMPLEMENTING strategy
Too much tops down brings the top down.
5. Call a Spade a Spade
Address poor performance or it'll cost you -- BIG.
6. Reward your stars!
Pay good performers what they're worth, and it will be returned to you tenfold.
7. Get the Right Person for the job
Define the job and find the person who can do it rather than redefining the job to fit the capabilities of the incumbent.
8. Require that People do Their Homework
When people are not prepared for meetings, the company is not prepared to make decisions. Stop the presses!
9. Constantly Upgrade Skills
Provide continuous training to keep people at their best.
10. Recognize That Pride Drives Performance More Than Money
Complement people for a job well done.
How to Choose and Keep Customers
1. Do you know who your customers are?
It may sound automatic, but many businesses simply don't keep track of who actually buys their products. And, those that do, rarely analyze buying behavior. A customer database is essential. If you don't have one, create one. Start by capturing the basics: customer contact information, product preference and purchase frequency.
2. Have you ranked your customers?
Not all customers are created equal, yet most businesses treat them exactly the same. That's why you need a customer ranking system. Look at those variables that are most relevant to your business -- purchase frequency, revenue, selling costs, referral potential, and so on and score your customers accordingly. Marketing research firm CRI, for example, ranked their 157 customers using a simple quadrant that bucketed customers according to the kind of business they generated each year, i.e. High Volume/Low Margin and Low Volume/High Margin.
3. Do you know which customers are your most valuable?
The ranking exercise may help explain puzzling disparities in company performance. The 'Why aren't we growing/more profitable/gaining market share when we have more customers than we ever have?' dilemma can be crystal clear when you really look at how each customer is contributing or subtracting from the bottom line. CRI found that only 10 of its customers fell into the preferred category-High/High.
4. Do you have too many customers?
In CRI's case, they concluded they were 'spending much too much time and valuable employee resources on too many unprofitable customers' -- in fact, 101 of them essentially contributed nothing to the bottom line. Smart CEOs understand precisely who their target customers are. And, they know how to go after only the right customers. Is there room in your business to be more customer-selective?
5. Which of your customers may be worth firing?
Less can definitely be more when it comes to unprofitable customers. Like CRI, who cut its customer base in half, getting rid of some customers may be your company's secret growth strategy. Also think about the costs you would NOT incur if certain customers went away. Are some draining the business? The process of raising your customer standards and paring automatically opens space to attract the flow of new, more profitable business.
6. When is the last time you checked customer satisfaction?
If you're not regularly taking the pulse of your customers, they may be sacrificing, rather than being satisfied. 'Customer sacrifice = What the customer wants EXACTLY minus what the customer settles for' say B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore, authors of The Experience Economy. Check to see if you can shore up the areas of your product or service that may be cracking or settling.
7. Are you spending too much on finding new customers?
Determine all of the costs (people, time and dollars) you incur to grab new customers. Are more company resources focused on customer acquisition vs. customer retention? Consider putting more attention on holding on to the ones you already have. It can have a profound impact on the bottom line -- current customers are 5-10 times LESS expensive to sell to than new customers. And, you can avoid nasty customer defections due to neglect.
8. Are you actively converting first-time buyers to long-term customers?
In some businesses, such as car or life insurance and credit cards, companies actually lose money on first-year customers. Check to make sure you don't have a 'leaky bucket' --- losing mature customers and replacing them with new ones. It takes many new customers to compensate for the loss of just one veteran, according to Frederick Reichheld, author of The Loyalty Effect. And, the bigger the leak, the harder you have to work to keep it full.
9. Are you fortifying relationships with your best customers?
There are 4 strategies to keep great customers, say Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, authors of The One-to-One Future: #1) Recognize your Most Valuable Customers (MVCs) with special treatment (perks, MVC Club, unique services), #2) Reward loyal buyers, i.e. frequent buyer programs, #3) Deliver Consistent Product Quality and Satisfaction, and #4) Customize Product/Service For Individual Customers -- the ultimate way to keep customers loyal longer is to spend more time catering more to their individual tastes. What can you do to better personalize each customer's experience with you?
10. Are you earning customer loyalty?
Strategic CEOs treat customers like assets and do everything they can to invest and safe keep them. Customer loyalty standouts, such as Lexus, State Farm and MBNA, engineer their entire company (not just the customer service dept.) around customer loyalty -- manufacturing, pricing, sales incentives, and all operations inside and out are built for lifetime customers.
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