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Business Development & Marketing Finance General Turnaround

Don’t discount the awkward people in your business

awkward people are coolSocial misfit, loner or nerd. These are all words that are often used to describe awkward people.
In this context awkward does not mean deliberately difficult, disruptive or aggressive, but describes people who don’t quite fit in or interact socially with their group, peers or colleagues. Indeed, all too many amateur psychologists ascribe people with these character traits as being socially dysfunctional, or being ‘on the spectrum’, or worse, as having Autism or Aspergers.
But US psychologist, author and relationship expert Ty Tashiro argues that such people often have striking talents.
The author of AWKWARD: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome, argues that while such people are less likely to be socially skilled or good communicators they also have what he calls obsessive interests.
However, being socially awkward is not synonymous with being on the Autism spectrum.
Tashiro says socially awkward people are likely to have considerable focus and energy and to deliberately practice something that interests them repeatedly until they achieve mastery of it.
How can this benefit a business?
It is almost a cliché that to achieve mastery in an activity or discipline requires a single-minded focus and hours of practice.
So awkward people can often achieve a high level of expertise in what interests them.
The pace of technological change is being driven by innovation and advances in science so it is easy to see why having some awkward people in a business can be a huge benefit.
With the right level of understanding and support, an awkward person’s skill is a resource that can result in a ground-breaking innovation that could put the business ahead of its rivals.
So, it makes sense to recognise that an awkward member of your team may have hidden depths and to find ways of nurturing their interests and skills for the benefit of the business, its profitability and the security of everyone involved in it. Respecting, understanding and supporting them takes time and effort but the rewards can be stunning.
It is also called “leadership”.

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Business Development & Marketing Cash Flow & Forecasting Finance General Rescue, Restructuring & Recovery Turnaround

January planning – Re:fresh

RefreshYou’ve done your research and consulted with staff and others and should now have outlined your business goals for the coming year. Now it is time to refresh your business plan.
The big question in this phase is how to achieve your goals.
If your goals are ambitious, achieving them will require additional resources.
New products or services require investment of time and most likely money in R&D, in testing and refining, in design and packaging, in recruiting and training production staff, in plant and machinery, in stock, in marketing literature, in promotion and many more aspects that are key to the success of a new product.
New clients or markets require investment in time and most likely money in market research, in market testing, in advertising and promotion, in sales and marketing, in recruiting and training sales staff, in finding distributors, in learning about foreign markets and many more aspects that are key to establishing new markets.
Once you have a plan, then the plan needs to be resourced. Indeed the availability of resources and finance normally influence the plan. It may be possible to find it with reserves or borrowings but other options should be considered such as partnering with manufacturers, suppliers, distributors or clients who may be prepared to use their own resources for a slice of the benefits. Manufacturers may fund tooling and production and suppliers may fund stock and distribution or both might provide extended credit in return for higher margins. Distributors and clients may pay deposits or prepayments to fund production.
Whatever your plan, an accurate picture of the financial health of the business and projected cash flow will be needed as part of the planning process. Indeed it is often necessary to use the planning process to reorganise aspects of your existing business and restructure its balance sheet.
Having a plan is also necessary to monitor progress throughout the year and provide valuable insights for future goal setting and planning.
Having a refresh stage in the annual planning process will ensure your business remains competitive, even if you do not want to grow. Re:fresh can be used to reinforce a culture of continuous business improvement

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Finance General Insolvency Rescue, Restructuring & Recovery Turnaround

What’s the difference between stress and pressure in business?

stressed businessman 2 Huffington PostAsk a business owner how things are going and they are more than likely to use the words “stress” or “pressure” interchangeably in their response.
But, according to Dr Hendrie Weisinger, Ph.D, a well-known US psychologist who has worked with many leading businesses and professional organisations, there is a significant difference between the two words.
He argues that a stressful situation is one where there are too many demands and not enough resources available to meet them, whether these are time, money or energy.
A pressurised situation is one where the outcome of something depends on an individual’s, or a team’s performance.
Stress can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed, while pressure tends to cause anxiety.
So at this time of year, many in the retail sector are under pressure but if they have got their forecasts right they will have the resources, mainly staff and stock, to cope and meet demand.
However, for the struggling business experiencing cash flow difficulties, the situation is one of stress.  Whatever the causes, a lack of cash or a dramatic decline in orders, the issue is one of survival and how to continue operating without some action.
The problem is that feelings of being overwhelmed can lead to inertia when the last thing that the business owner facing such difficulties should do is nothing.
We will be looking at how to deal with stress, and stressful situations, throughout this month.
(picture courtesy of Huffington Post)