Is There A Business Organisation That Cannot Collapse?

Michael's BUSINESSplaze

Exif_JPEG_420The internet is awash with news about the sale of the handset business of Nokia to Microsoft and the continued struggle of Blackberry to stay afloat. What is however not awash on the internet is a very funny thing a friend of mine said a while ago, about a very big bank in Nigeria. He said the bank can never collapse 🙂  This was very funny to me as companies much more bigger and stronger than the bank in question, with world class CEOs, have gone with the sands of time.

I was one of those who were not surprised when the problems of Nokia and Blackberry became public. Why? Experience has shown that today’s business environment is no respecter of persons or businesses organisations. It has become so complex and fast-paced that the skills, education and experience of CEOs are becoming obsolete with the passage of time. So much…

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What Is The Cheapest Means Of Advertising?

Michael's BUSINESSplaze

anthony.jpgLast week a friend complained to me about her generator and how the technician who had been handling its maintenance had been cheating her. I wasted no time in recommending the technician who had been maintaining my generator for years. I told her of two reasons why he is extremely recommendable and seemingly, my only choice.

Firstly, the guy is extremelysincere. He would never tell you lies about faults detected or give you outrageous prices of the spare parts that he needs to replace. Hence, I hardly beat down his service charge. Secondly, he was extremely good at his job. He hardly gambles. So, it boiled down to the fact that he was my choice because of his rare PERSONALITY. Rare, because greed and make-belief have taken over the world of business. What are common are people who are so eager to make ungodly money at the…

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The Place Of STAFF MOTIVATION In Business

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/DigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/DigitalPhotos.net

My first major stint at managing people was at the “tender” age of 26. This was the first major job I got after my national service. Interestingly, all the major staffers were older than I was. By my position, I was next to the CEO. In all, we were about thirty or thereabout. The driver assigned to my office as the Manager, Admin/Accounts, was old enough to be my granddad. So, I had a dilemma – how do I make these people work, because they were practically not ready to be ordered around by a “small boy!” This, they used both words and action to tell me. How do I conquer my age “disadvantage” and prove to my boss that the Federal Government of Nigeria Scholarship I won back in school for emerging tops in my department (Business Administration and management), and for which my boss was so impressed about, was not a fluke. One thing was certain – I was faced with a practical business management challenge, common with many managers – and that was motivating my subordinates to work, against all odds!

Staff motivation is one of the major functions of a manager. It could be very challenging and dangerous for a business where a manager(s) does not know what motivation means; or does not know the difference between ‘force” and motivation; or at what point a worker needs to be motivated; or what approach to adopt to suite each worker.

In my characteristic manner, I will make it as simple as possible. Simply put, motivation is the act of giving somebody a reason or incentive to do something desired. In business sense, it involves doing things that will make a worker to work. It involves making a worker do what you want him to do, even when it is against his wish. It involves making a disgruntled worker to work.

The question is – what makes workers to work? There is no generally acceptable answer to this question as what motivates a worker might not motivate another. Douglass McGregorAbraham Maslow, Elton Mayo, Fredrick TaylorFrederick Herzsberg and other experts in the field of human capital management, carried out studies, years back, into this very crucial function of a manager – all attempting to find out what really motivates a worker and what does not. I will not bore you with the details. I have however provided links for further reading. But it suffices to say that their work ended up with varied results, thus showing that staff motivation is indeed a complex function of a manager.

As a Business Management student I carried out a number of research work on motivation as part of my course. My finding was that the best approach to motivation was what I call the Michael Monday’s DISCOVERY APPROACH TO MOTIVATION. This was the magic wand I used (and still use) and it really worked (and has been working) for me. It involves finding out what really makes a worker to work. Is it money? Promotion? Giving a staff responsibility? Conducive working environment? Welfare packages? Care and concern? Praises? Showing respect to subordinates? Or the use of force/threats? The list continues….The use of force/threats have been found to be the most counterproductive. It has been found to breed unhappy, unfriendly, aggressive, criminally-minded and eye-service workers, who only work when they see you.

You might ask: what happens where the number of workers is enormous? Simple!  Make use of other managers down the line. This is where regular meetings become handy. That is what I did. It is usually counterproductive to assume that a method that worked on one staff or in another organisation will work for a particular staff or your organisation. Time is also of the essence in motivation. This is the main reason why some motivational efforts have failed!  Eventually, the worker[s] is fired for his/her poor attitude to work! The fact is that the in-coming staff will come with his/her own traits, different from the erstwhile staff. Where the same mistake/assumption is made, the cycle repeats itself. In this process, a number of organisations have lost key staffers who were simply not properly motivated to work.

An indisputable fact is that a manager’s success or failure is mainly judged by what he is able to achieve…usually through his subordinates. If you agree, then it means that motivation is a very vital function of a manager or business owner.

So, are you a manager or an entrepreneur with people working under you? Do you know that EVERY successful business today, has well motivated staffers as one of its secrets? Do you know what motivates your workers to excel at work? Can you say you have been motivating them properly? 

Wishing you loads of best wishes in your business management.

Thanks for your time.

Related post:

Take good care of your employees…

Staying Afloat In A Competitive Business Environment

Our streets, roads, the print and electronic media are awash with different offers from manufacturers and service providers. The one I enjoy so much is the one between the phone manufacturers. The competition is so hot that Apple and Samsung had to extend their “fight” to the court room 🙂  I also read online that one major phone manufacturer, and a one-time major player in the phone business, has been having some “survival” meetings with some organisations. How sad! But that is the nature of business. It’s like a game – no pity for the opponent and all the players cannot be winners.

As a consumer, I love competition for so many reasons. It affords us the privilege of having alternatives to choose from; it forces businesses (serious-minded businesses, if I may add) to see consumers as being the most important factor to consider and hence, be the focal point in business decision making process; it makes pricing to be at consumers’ advantage; it forces businesses to constantly seek for their loyalty; and it forces businesses that are not quality-conscious, to have a rethink……The benefits continues……

No doubt, as consumers are enjoying these benefits, businesses grapple everyday with the art of “out-smarting” one another in a game, an interesting one at that, that involves winning as many customers as they can, over to their side. Sadly, the inability to cope with competition is a major reason why so many businesses all over the world are finding it very tough to operate, and in extreme cases, many have “crawled” out of existence!

Competition has been the bane for so many businesses that have either not mastered the tricks of the game; cannot withstand it or have simply believed that businesses can survive on luck, mediocrity or chance for so long.

I got the urge to do this post after my wife started complaining that the number of businesses competing with her was rising every day. The fact is that the only way to avoid competition is to “close shops.”  Aside from legal monopolies (organisations given the legal power to be the sole producer or seller of a product/service), every business attracts other businesses in the same line of trade. Even where turnover/profit is not encouraging, or where a business enterprise is creative and launches an entirely new product or service, other people/businesses would still join the market and create competition.

So, since competition is inevitable, and the foundation of competition is “winner takes all,” what will a business do?  Apply for a legal monopoly status? 🙂 Well, I am not aware of any country where that is done. Cut corners? That too, is not a good business option as it is a short-lived solution that can even boomerang. So, what’s my take on competition?

Below are six [to avoid putting up a very lengthy post] of the tips I shared with my wife…..

1. See business like a boxing match. In a boxing match, boxers fix their eyes on each other to counter every move of the opponent. In doing this, they have to be alert and conscious of their environment – a case of complete alertness. Thus, businesses have to constantly be at alert – conscious of, and pre-emptive of competitors’ actions and inactions. I feel this among phone manufacturers this days. To me, competition among phone manufacturers is  good case study for my post.

2. Do something extra.something special.  Make your product or service very outstanding. Relate with your customers in a way your competitors are not known for. Give them a very competitive price, without lowering standards. Use marketing campaigns and strategies that your competitors have not explored or have not even thought of. Give your customers reasons to stick to you and give your competitors‘ customers reasons to cross over to you.

3. If making huge profits was your major focus, think of this : while you are busy chasing money, your competitors are busy strategizing on increasing customer base, including, of course, winning the hearts of your own customers over. So, my take on this is: re-strategise by making customer-focused strategies to be your main focus.

4. Where you do not see your customers for a while, do not wait for them. Reach out to them. In this age of high tech communication, distance or large number of customers is not an acceptable and reasonable excuse.  By just by clicking “enter” or “send” on your computer or mobile device, you can reach millions of customers. A simple message that reads : “Hi valued customer. I/we just want to wish you a splendid weekend” can go a very long way in reawakening a dwindled customer loyalty.

5. Every consumer loves convenience. Think of ways you can create convenience for your customers. There are many ways that this can be done. This however depends on the nature of your product. You can carve out time for home service, break bulk, arrange for delivery of the goods to the door-step of the consumers, ease usage, among others. All of these are aimed at satisfying different groups of consumers rather than seeing the entire market as being the same.

6. There is no doubt that the human resource “drive” an organisation towards growth, stagnation, decline or eventual collapse. It becomes MANDATORY therefore for businesses to engage and maintain(through motivation and excellent welfare and staff development packages) goal getters and workers who understand what business growth and success is all about. Thus, merit and not nepotism or sentiments should be a business’ over-riding criteria in employment.

Of special mention here, is the caliber of the CEOs and top management personnel who take far-reaching decisions affecting the entire business. This days, wrong choices of who pilots the affairs of a business would be a costly mistake as it could place a business on the path of failure, stagnation, inability to stand competition, and then collapse.

I hope you found my tips useful.  I would like to read your reactions 🙂

Thanks a lot for your time and wishing you loads of luck in your business 🙂

Aesthetics In Business

An ambiance of beauty

An ambiance of beauty

Everybody loves beautiful things. Everybody cherishes a beautiful environment coupled with beautiful, clean and well-laid-out furniture, fittings and equipment. I do and I know you do too.

Aesthetics (appreciation of beauty or good taste) is a crucial part of business. It speaks a lot about the “state of mind” of the business, the owners and the workers. It shows the businesses’ perception of taste, quality, health issues, attention to details, workers’ welfare and its attitude towards business success and competition.

Right from the lobby or reception of a business, you can tell what you are “likely” to meet inside. You are given a quick impression of the quality of goods and services you are about to exchange with your money.

Note that I used the word “likely” since you can still find very “beautiful” businesses that have nothing on ground that would make their customers want to come back.

Thus, the state of every physical structure a business uses sends a message across to its stakeholders, especially the customers. The colours, furniture, office equipment, stationery, documents like receipts, fliers, and every movable object, contributes to the beauty and ambiance of a business. No doubt, they add up to to form the assets which are capable of winning the hearts of customers over.

Where the business combines aesthetics and quality products, such a business is definitely every consumers’ preference.

Interestingly, while some businesses have very good taste and business sense, some businesses simply do not care. All they care about is making money, forgetting that businesses that displays an I-don’t-care-attitude towards their environment, with furniture, equipment and other business properties, in very bad state, send bad signals to their customers – two of which being that it has no concern for quality and has a strong non-challant attitude towards customer satisfaction and business/life generally. Such businesses end up attracting people of like minds. No theory is needed to prove this. It’s just common reasoning.

Interestingly, to have an ambiance of beauty does not cost a fortune. It’s a matter of having the right attitude. Having a very clean business place and environment goes a very long way.

So, do you own a business? What lasting impressions does your business have on customers and visitors? What kind of ambiance does your business portray?

Thanks for your time 🙂

Related : Please navigate through my “Business and Economy” category and check out a number of business tips there.

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

“I must be rich, no matter the means !!!”

MoneyIf you have crawled through all the corners of my blog, you are bound to say “here he goes again.” That is because I am about to talk about my wonderful late parents again 🙂

I learnt a lot from my late parents. One of the greatest things they FORCED into our brains was that “peace of mind was a priceless jewel which very many rich people did not have.” So, we must do everything possible to ensure that we (his children) did not allow anything to take it away from us. As good role models, they led by example. My dad once told us that he had opportunities to steal from his employers and become rich, but he chose his peace of mind and fear of God. Luckily for him, my mum was equally on the same page. Perhaps, just perhaps, if she was not, she would have convinced my dad to “hit the fast lane of life” and bring wealth to the family, with total disregard for the consequences.

Today, to many people globally, the short story i just told you would have been likened to one of those gospel videos where you are taught the virtues of patience, hard work, fear of God and imbibing the commandment of God that says “thou shall not covet….” To such people, it’s outright rubbish and foolishness to run away from money, no matter what the circumstance or consequences, which may include, imprisonment, loss of job, public disgrace and even death !!! The trend today is “I must be rich, no matter the means !!!”

With this mentality, globally, there is a complete disregard for proper reasoning. The craze for money is monumental. People are willing and ready to take the risk and do ANYTHING, and I mean anything to get rich, including to KILL !!! Ritual killers are everywhere seeking for who they use for money rituals, robbers are ready to take the life of their victims who are not willing to cooperate or do not have anything to offer. What about cyber-crime ?  The sophistication is increasing every day. A number of people and organisations have lost so much to cyber-criminals. Offices, public institutions and even churches are not spared – all in the name of “I must be rich, no matter the means !!!”

The level of desperation is suffocating. Age or gender is no barrier. The younger ones are even smarter. Conscience, peace of mind and fear of God makes no sense here. What makes sense is to live large even if it means ruining someone’s life time investment; even if it means putting people into sorrow or even if it means sending someone or people to their untimely graves.

Things are really in a bad shape. The spreading slogan seems to be “Get rich or die tryin.” But it can be checked….to some extent.  I am a strong advocate of “a child is a reflection of his/her family and immediate community.” Let’s start from there. It’s a huge task. But I am also a very strong advocate of “keep on trying and keep hope alive.” One individual withdrawn from that “fast lane of life” will go a very long way. Don’t you think so?

There are decent and respectable means of making money these days….I mean good money. It involves having the right kind of friends who will bring productive and society-friendly ideas. It involves searching for information about opportunities. It involves someone showing concern and care for his fellow human beings. It involves someone showing concern for the society and the masses. It involves having the fear of God. It also requires a strong resolve to work hard spiced up with determination and prayers. The government, business organisations and you and I…yes I mean you…..have different roles to play. It is advisory we act now. Why? Because what goes around, comes around.

Food for thought :  “Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.” (Prov 9:17)

Thanks for your time and God bless us all.

Related post :

The arduous task of parenting in the 21st century

What are we teaching our children

Fame And Fortune Without Wisdom….

MJ, famous and still makes money, even in death

MJ, famous and still makes money, even in death

How long does Fame and fortune last ? Is it possible to tell in each individual’s case?

How would it be if a very rich guy or lady later becomes someone who is looked upon with pity, simply because he/she now finds it so hard to eat a good meal at home or in a choice restaurant, cannot give the family a good life any more, goes around town in cabs, wears poor quality clothes and generally lives a kind of live that is not known with those with fame and fortune? I guess for such people, it is better imagined than excperienced. But sadly, that is the story of so many of our one-time celebrities all over the world.

One thing I noticed about fame and fortune, and unarguably too, is that it is impossible for anyone to accurately predict how long they will keep the lucky guy/lady “company.”

I know many celebs today who are now part of history – fortune gone, fame gone. One bad thing about fame is that it usually sings “I belief I can fly” as soon as the fortune is gone. Such celebs are now simply like any other guy/lady in the society – unnoticed, no autographs, no attention, no special treatment and what have you.

Let’s take a peep at how the likely good old days were spent by such celebs – fleet of very expensive cars, partying, clubbing, squandering and wasteful spending, drugs, womanising and such other unproductive “investments.” They carried themselves like small gods and never honoured God for all His blessings. They refused to help anyone to grow and would rather spend unlimited amounts of cash for their friends at clubs. Giving to the society that gave them so much fame and fortune was not a priority on their list. Some never had such things on their list. Having productive investments to secure their future did not occur to them. To them, life must be enjoyed today and tomorrow will take care of itself. Does that make sense? Sadly, today, many are singing one of my favourites by R.Kelly : “if I can turn back the hands of time.” Sadly again, it is not possible !!!

They miss the glamour, attention, expensive life style, power and everything that goes with having too much money and being famous. It’s most likely that someone told them in the past to be wise, but they shunned the advice….

So, while it is still possible, let fame and fortune be handled with wisdom, because no one knows (I stand to be corrected) how soon or how long both will go with the sands of time…..just like countless others that you and I know about.

A word is enough for the wise !!!

Thanks for your time.