Category Archives: Business

Expert Tips For Effective CRM

bu20Today’s store owners don’t need to manage their operations all on their own like the salespeople in more ancient times did. These days, technology is available to make everything from the simplest to the more complex retail processes easier and faster to accomplish, resulting in benefits all around. Here are some of the crucial software tools that make retail management a cinch for today’s enterprising individuals and organizations.

CRM. Most retailers require a system for effective customer relationship management which would enable them to keep track of every single interaction with their existing as well as future customers. At the most basic level, CRM software lets retailers store their current and prospective clients’ contact information, social media profiles, details on the calls made and emails sent, and such. More advanced systems would allow the creation of meeting schedules, display of sales forecasts and pipelines, and the like. Thanks to this solution, sales and customer service reps won’t have a hard time looking up client information for lead generation purposes and after sales functions, which helps them build stronger interactions and relationships.

POS. Step into any physical store, gather up the products you mean to buy, and take it to the store’s sales counter to pay for your purchases. You’ll see that the cashiers use specific equipment such as a barcode scanner, cash register or drawer, computer, touch screen display and receipt printer. This is the store’s point of sale or POS system, and it requires the appropriate software to successfully tally the cost, conduct the sales transaction and create and maintain records of all transactions. The best POS software makes managing multiple retail processes (business intelligence store operations, inventory control, payment solutions, merchandising, and such) smoother and more productive. The result would be simplified processes, reduced costs, and increased revenue for the business.

Ecommerce. Most retail businesses today complement the performance of their physical stores by incorporating the use of an online platform. Setting up the best ecommerce platform for your business lets you take steps toward valuable benefits: providing customers with a new and different channel to access your offerings, building customer loyalty, streamline inventory management, increase revenue, and improve overall customer experience. What’s more, this software can seamlessly integrate the management processes for both your physical and online store, making monitoring your sales across all channels simpler and more effective.

Principles for Setting Mergers and Acquisition Agreements in Perfect Order

bu19Moreover, when one is dealing with billions of dollars, every aspect of the deal and the risks must be noted down in the document.

In a merger or acquisition transaction, there are three basic steps: (I) the negotiation period or pre-definitive agreement period; (ii) the definitive agreement or agreements; and (iii) closing.

The first and foremost step in an M&A deal is executing a confidentiality agreement and letter of intent. To keep the deal confidential, a confidentiality agreement must be signed on parameters on the use of information. The confidentiality agreement may contain other provisions unrelated to confidentiality such as a prohibition against solicitation of customers or employees (non-competition) and other restrictive

A letter of intent or Term Sheet, is a preliminary document potential buyers might send over when buying a company. A letter of intent must contain some sort of exclusivity provision known as no shop or window shop provisions. To spell it out, a no shop provision prevents the parties from entering into any discussions or negotiations with a third party that could negatively affect the transaction. A window shop provision allows for some level of third-party negotiation or inquiry like a party cannot solicit other similar transactions but is not prohibited from hearing out an unsolicited proposal. All these provisions must be clearly spelt out in the deal agreement.

The definitive agreement, which is also known as Share purchase agreement, spells out the finalised deal terms that the buyer and seller are agreeing to During the period between signing and completion, it is important for the buyer to have some influence on the conduct of the business. The buyer must take undertakings from the seller that the target will not do anything out of the ordinary during this period without the buyer’s consent.

In any sale and purchase agreement of M&A, the parties agree to transfer title to the shares (share acquisition) or the assets of the business (business acquisition). It will also state the amount of the purchase price and the timing of the payment. The most common forms of consideration are cash, shares in the buyer (often called a share for share exchange) or loan notes/debentures. For public companies, the price is always given on a per share basis, with the exact share count and the treatment of dilutive securities spelled out later on.

In order to protect a deal, the common deal protection is a standstill agreement. A standstill agreement prevents a party from making business changes like selling off major assets, incurring debts or liabilities or hiring or firing management teams. An important aspect of the deal agreement is the representations and warranties which provide the buyer and seller with a snapshot of facts as of the closing date. From the seller the facts are generally related to the business like title to the assets, no undisclosed liabilities, no pending litigation or adversarial situation likely to result in litigation, taxes are paid and there are no issues with employees. From the buyer the facts are generally related to legal capacity, authority and ability to enter into a binding contract.

In the indemnification or remedies part of the agreement, it provides the rights and remedies of the parties in the event of a breach of the agreement, including a material inaccuracy in the representations and warranties or an unforeseen third-party claim. The agreement must clearly spell out the regulatory issues and how to address them.

Key Due Diligence Activities In A Merger And Acquisition Transaction

bu18Proper due diligence at every stage will make the M&A a grand success

By planning the merger activity carefully and analyzing every issue that may arise, the target company will be better prepared to successfully consummate a sale of the company. The buyer is concerned not only with the likely future performance of the target company as a stand-alone business but must understand the extent to which the company will fit strategically. Evaluating the commercial attractiveness of an M&A deal involves validating the target company’s financial projections and identify the synergies.

The primary goal of due diligence in the M&A process is for the buyer to confirm the seller’s financials, contracts and customers. Due diligence starts the moment the letter of intent (LOI) is signed. All due diligence information must be made available to the buyer from the seller. Due diligence is a vital activity in M&A transactions, and may consume several months of intense analysis if the target firm is a large business with a global presence.

First and foremost, the buyer must evaluate all of the target company’s historical financial statements and related financial metrics. It must look at the reasonableness of the target’s projections of its future performance. The buyer must look at the extent and quality of the target company’s technology and intellectual property. It must focus on the domestic and foreign patents and whether the company has taken appropriate steps to protect its intellectual property including confidentiality and invention assignment agreements with current and former employees and consultants.

The buying company must look at customers and sales. The buyer must fully understand the target company’s customer base across all geographies including the level of concentration of the largest customers as well as the sales pipeline. The company must look whether there will there be any issues in keeping customers after the acquisition and what are the sales terms or policies, and have there been any unusual levels of returns or exchanges offered by the target company to acquire new customers.

The company must look at the target company’s employee and management issues. The buyer must understand the quality of the target company’s management and employee base and look at information concerning any previous, pending, or threatened labor stoppage. The buyer must look at employment and consulting agreements, loan agreements, and documents relating to other transactions with officers, directors, key employees, and related parties. Since integrating the employees is the most difficult part in any deal, the buying company must evaluate every aspect of the deal.

Lastly one must look at the tax issues depending on the operations of the target company. Central, state and foreign incomes sales and other tax returns filed must be look into. To make a deal successful, experienced due diligence and integration managers must be involved in these mergers, and there must be high-profile, executive-level participation from both sides. A strong analytical team must drive the market and competitive assessment, and the human resources team needs to focus on organizational and cultural issues. If there are areas of consolidation, functional representation is critical to ensure buy-in from management.

Two Great Tips To Build Your Business

bu13Two ways to build your business faster

Hi guys, how do you feel about your business today? That is a question you should ask regularly, because if you are not in love with your business how can you possibly interest others.

We all have off days, but they should be the exception rather than the rule, so to cheer you up here are two corking ideas to revitalise your business.

GO PROSPECTING WITH OLD CUSTOMERS

It never ceases to amaze me that so many people spend fortunes on trying to get new customers and never bother to keep in touch with previous happy clients.

Get your old receipt book out and just check how many potential customers that know you, are lurking there.

Dependent on what business you are in, create something that you can offer to these old clients that not only gives them some value but also says HELLO I would love to do business with you again.

You will be surprised at how many will react to your reaching out to them and once they respond, you will have opened a conversation that could well end in more business.

Don’t keep trying to load up the front of the truck, if potential clients are falling off the back.

BE CREATIVE NOT COMPETITIVE

So many people get too involved at being competitive. My suggestion is that you find your point of difference and enhance that. People are looking for solutions to their problems and are time strapped, so if you can point out a problem and offer a solution you are in a field of one and not in competition.

A mistake many people make in business, is to constantly monitor other businesses prices and although this should be loosely monitored it is not so important if you are offering something different.

Once you find out exactly what problems your clients have and offer them a solution, it is amazing how far down the line price becomes a deciding factor.

Have faith in what you are doing and tell your customers with confidence how your goods or services will benefit them.

Business is changing and the more effort you put in to communicating with your customers correctly, the easier your sales will be.

Once you have belief in your business it is so easy to convince others.

Do these things properly and you will notice that you feel different and your business will grow without too much extra effort.

What Makes a Business Successful

DelightYou might exclaim that it is profit! Certainly that is the object and does indicate whether or not the business is successful. However what all determines if the business even gets to that point? Some of the main components of success beyond the obvious things like a good product are mindset, focus and presentation.

There is really a lot to be said for the ‘spirit’ of things. This has to do with mindset and extends to the environment in the business. Is it bright and shiny? Or is it dark and dubious most days? It is obvious that if the atmosphere is one of positivity and hopefulness that it will carry the business a lot farther than if someone is skeptical and just has a negative attitude. This can be about the time, money or duties required to conduct the business.

A positive mindset is so important that steps should be taken to create a positive atmosphere no matter what is happening or not happening. Remember wherever you are focused, that is where you will likely end up. That is why it is so important that you force yourself to be in ‘a good mood’ about your life in general as well as your business. Do not allow yourself to get off into self-pity or create reasons that you know you will fail.

You can accomplish this positive mindset by doing mental exercises whenever you feel a dark cloud hovering over you. Truly know and believe that you can succeed. Do not look at what you can see, but look at what you might not be able to see YET. Focus on what you HOPE to attain and believe that you can accomplish it. Keep telling yourself about that over and over until you actually believe it.

Here is where it is important to keep your goals realistic. Certainly somebody who tells themselves they know they can make a million by Friday is going to be sorely disappointed. Keep it real. Give yourself goals that you can actually accomplish. Don’t be afraid to under-estimate. You can increase your goal each time you accomplish a benchmark.

Strategy for Successful Merger and Acquisition

bu17In order to make a merger work, it is pertinent to have a sound strategic planning so that maximum benefit is taken out from the merger. Before signing on the dotted lines, the company doing the acquisition must evaluate the performance, market position, cash flows, future opportunities, technology, regulatory issues of the target company to fix the right price for the deal. The management of the company doing the acquisition must have a clear and well-defined strategy for their specific business.

It is always advisable to take lessons from the past deals if the company has done in the past, learn from the experience of peers and look into industry benchmarks. This can help in formulating a sound strategy which will pay off in the long run. One must look into the working environment, employees and other cultural issues of the target company so that all misconceptions are sorted out at the initial stage and employees of both the companies know what is in store for them. As the deal has to make sense for both the target and the acquirer, it is important to identify synergy between the two companies.

Most prominently, the strategy must lay out the business drivers of the merger and factor in all the risks associated with the merger. If any major restructuring is required after the buyout, it must be chalked out and shared with the target company. This will surely ensure that all those involved in the merger process like management of the merger companies, stakeholders, board members, investors, employees agree on the defined strategies set by the acquiring company. If the plan gets consent of all these stakeholders, then it will be easy to go ahead with the merger and complete the integration process without much hassle.

At the time of chalking out the merger and acquisition strategies, one must consider the markets of the intended business, market share that the acquiring company is eyeing for in each market, the products and technologies would be required to achieve the target, the geographic locations where the business will operate and the skills and resources that you would require to make the deal a success.

Once the basic strategy is in place, then the acquiring company must look at the finances. Financing the deal can be done from myriad sources like cash, own accruals, debt, public and private equities, minority investments, etc. One must evaluate the cost of the fund depending on the needs and the amount of returns that the deal can fetch in the medium to long-run. Always build a preliminary valuation model by calculating the estimated cost of acquisition and estimated returns from the merger. It will help you in understanding the relative impacts of the acquisitions. Knowing the value drivers of the deal is the most critical element for success of any M&A. The acquiring company must do all due-diligence earnestly and identify the sources of value like intellectual property, people, markets and brand from the deal.

Lastly, one must remember that employee turnover in target company is usually very high in the initial years after the merger. The acquiring company must put in place an effective retention programmes for the key employees who drive growth and value for the company. As a substantial number of M&As fail, one must keep the acquisition strategy ready at the time of signing the deal and reap the benefits later on. It is naive to think of an acquisition as a panacea. The work of integrating an acquired company can take anywhere from 6 months to couple of years, before you begin to realize any benefits. There will always be complications, hurdles and disappointments, but one must keep the focus on the end result.

Enhanced Customer Satisfaction With DevOps

bu16DevOps is one of the latest buzzwords in the market today. At the enterprise level, the leadership team is focusing more on moving their projects to DevOps mode that benefits their customers in providing a quick feedback to the development teams to work on the changes and deliver the desired service/product.

DevOps are on the broader terms is an approach based on lean and agile practices in which development teams, operations and testing teams communicate and collaborate to deliver the product/service in a continuous manner to reach out to the end customer that helps them to seize the market opportunities. This provides a chance to receive timely feedback and incorporate the changes in a quick manner. DevOps as a concept emphasizes communication, collaboration and integration between software developers and IT operations to enable faster and reliable deliverables to the end client in reduced timelines. This way the execution gaps in a project can be controlled and togetherness can be brought in within the groups working on the project.

Unlike traditional software applications, which are designed with massive data and reliability and can satisfy the customer with one or two releases a year, the current web & mobile application demand continuous delivery and required intense focus on user experience, agility and speed that they reach to the market as end users directly use the system. DevOps enables all these, in an organized way with integrated teams and continuous feedback within and between the groups.

DevOps enable faster delivery to the markets, enhanced customer satisfaction and improved capacity to innovate within the teams. Agile environment enables enterprises to build quality into every individual increment of the application delivered where in with DevOps the whole execution process can be streamlined with reliable, fast and quality products to the market.

Principles of DevOps:

In one of the technical forum’s the following principles of DevOps are published by IBM and the list is still evolving based on the learnings and practices set up at the enterprise level.

• Develop and test against production like environments
• Deploy with repeatable, reliable processes
• Monitor and validate operational quality
• Amplify feedback loops

The goal is to allow development and quality assurance (QA) teams to develop and test against systems that behave like the production system, so that they can see how the application behaves and performs well before it’s ready for deployment. In the same note, automation is necessary to create repeatable and reliable processes.

Unlike traditional monitoring applications in a siloed and disconnected manner at the production end, DevOps suggest to push the process earlier in the lifecycle to monitor the quality and functionalities at development and testing phases that provides early warning about operational and quality issues that may occur in production. Quick feedback and rapid learning from the actions enable fast and reliable deliverables with improved communication within the teams and winning the trust factor of the end customer.

DevOps propose the adoption of the plan, develops, test, deploy and operate in a continuous manner to meet the tight deadlines and to rollout the application to the end market for their feedback for continuous improvement.

How the Best Catering Companies Make Your Event Memorable

bu15Organizing any special occasion can be exciting but also stressful, with many different factors to consider and different aspects of the event to coordinate. This includes everything from sending out invitations right through to finding the entertainment for the day or evening in order to keep all guests happy.

With that said, one of the most important things to get right is booking a great caterer, as this can make huge difference in people’s experience of your particular event. Indeed, finding a great caterer can actually mean that the event is memorable in all the right ways; here is how the best catering companies make your event memorable.

The first way that a caterer can make for a memorable event is by serving something that guests do not normally enjoy during their meals at home. This can be a foreign cuisine or a themed dinner, both of which have their advantages and are suitable for different types of events and guests.

Themed catering options can include having a French fry bar, a waffles bar or a crepe bar. Others can include sushi bars or salad bars. In these instances, people can select the flavours that they enjoy to experience a fun, more personalised offering that leaves everyone feeling satisfied.

These can also add to the ambience of the event, with the theme contributing to the atmosphere that is trying to be created. A great example of this is at a baby shower or an engagement party, where a sweets bar is the only thing on offer. This can add a unique touch to the event and make it stand out from the typical party food.

Another way that the best catering companies make your event memorable is – as mentioned above – by offering a type of cuisine that is out of the ordinary for many people. Often this consists of cuisines from specific regions of the world, including French, Italian, Russian or Japanese food, and many more.

This can be an excellent choice for more advanced occasions such as corporate dinners and weddings, especially in the case of luxurious cuisines such as French cuisine. In many cases it is possible to hire a caterer that is professionally trained in the country whose cuisine he or she is preparing and serving.

Typically, fine cuisine is only served at restaurants, which can be out of many people’s budget. For this reason, serving up an exceptionally high quality meal the likes of which are only found in the best restaurants will mean that a lot of guests are going to be walking away very impressed with what they have been treated to.

Of course, offering up exquisite cuisines or themed events are not the only ways that caterers can make a real positive impact at an event. Often these culinary experts are also professionals at providing great service and table decorations, meaning that your guests will be impressed by the quality of service and the aesthetics of the meal too.

This can include an exquisitely laid buffet table that is a feast for the eyes, and attentive and knowledgeable servers who can recommend on each and every dish served. In some instances, a fully trained professional chef will even be preparing dishes from scratch right in front of the eyes of guests.

This can make for some great memories, and is another way that the best catering companies make your event memorable. From delivering the best cuisine right through to ensuring that service is top notch, hiring a caterer can make all the difference at your event, leaving guests walking away fully satisfied and with some great memories of how spectacular the catering was.

The Three Times to Handle an Objection

bu14Most sales reps hate getting objections. When they get them, their hands start to sweat, their heart takes the elevator down into the pit of the stomachs, and they start wishing they had gotten that graduate degree and avoided sales altogether.

This is how most sales reps react when they get objections, but not the top producers. Top producers view and react to objections very differently. To start with, because top producers thoroughly qualify their prospects up front they generally uncover and deal with many objections during the qualifying stage. Objections like, “I’ll have to show this to my partner,” and others are already known and dealt with.

In addition, top producers have taken the time, long in advance, of scripting out two or three different rebuttals to the objections they get, so when they do get them, they know exactly what to say to overcome them. In other words, they are rarely caught off guard, because they know what to say to deal with them.

Third, because top producers know what the objections or stalls are likely to be in advance, and since they are prepared for them with solid scripts and techniques to overcome them, they are able to take advantage of the timing of “when” to handle an objection. Unlike most sales reps who feel they have to handle an objection the moment they get one (and hence instantly lose control of the call), top producers realize that they have three options as to when to handle an objection. They are:

1) When it comes up. Again, because top producers know what to say and how to effectively deal with objections, they have the choice of handling the objection when it comes up or of postponing it for later.

The first choice may be to handle the objection when it comes up. This is usually good if the prospect is rejecting a product or service at the beginning of the pitch because they haven’t been through all the details (features and benefits) of the pitch yet.

The way to handle this is to use a script, of course. But the key is to handle the objection and then move back into the pitch. An example would be if a prospect objects to the price at the beginning. It might go like this:

Prospect: “This is out of our budget – the price is just too high.” (Or any other objection.)

Rep: “You know, it might seem that way now, but the price actually breaks down to about $2.00 per (lead, incident, etc.), and when you look at it that way, it becomes very affordable – especially when you see how much time and effort it saves you. Let me just show you a couple of things… ”

In this example, the rep answered the objection but instead of checking in with the prospect to see how the close landed, they instead kept control of the call by continuing on with the pitch.

2) The second option to handling an objection is to postpone it till the end of the pitch. This is ideal if the prospect seems willing to keep listening but is stuck on an issue or two. The important thing is to acknowledge that you heard the objection and promise to handle that at the end. It goes like this:

Prospect: “This is out of our budget… ,” (Or any other objection.)

Rep: “I can understand that but let’s do this. Before you make any decision on this, let’s talk about all the things this can do for you first, and then you’ll be in a much better position to decide if this is worth it for you. I even have some payment options that might make the decision easier for you as well.

But first, let me show you this… ”

What you’re doing here is delaying answering the objection and thereby retaining control of the call. The nice thing about this is that by the end of your pitch, many times the prospect won’t even bring up the objection at all! You’d be amazed by how often that actually happens once you begin using this technique.

In addition to this, if you know what the objection(s) are at the beginning of the pitch – or in the middle – you can begin pitching and building value around the known problem area (objection).

Postponing answering the objection like this is a great way to get your pitch in, keep control of the call, and prepare yourself for what you know might be coming at the end.

3) The third time to answer an objection is… never! That’s right. So many time prospects will test you and try to put you off with many questions, stalls and objections that it’s just best to not respond at all. Here’s how you do that:

Prospect: “This is out of our budget… ” (Or any other objection.)

Rep: “Some of our clients felt like that until they heard about… ” (Now give a benefit or two and keep pitching).

This way you’ve acknowledged the objection but you remain positive and so sold on your solution that you let your enthusiasm drive the call – and often times your prospect’s mindset. It is said that enthusiasm sells, and that’s true in many cases. The problem with most sales reps is that as soon as they hear an objection they start to give up.

But by acknowledging, remaining positive, and continuing on with your pitch, you can often override any initial objection and get further into your pitch. In fact if you’ve done this before, then you’ll often find that the prospect changes to a different objection the next time they bring one up!

These three times to handle an objection also work for questions as well. The important thing to remember is that it is up to you as to when to break your rhythm and deal with an objection. The whole point is that you must remain in control of the call.

The Importance of Translation in a Document’s Lifecycle

bu11Imagine you are a company aspiring for global potential and new markets. Imagine that all the arsenal and resources as well as strategic edge, needed for this ambition are in place. But a small goof-up with some job to translate birth certificate lands you into an unusual spot stuck with delays and errors.

This is what happens to most companies which stay complacent when it comes to matters of good document management. Documents form an integral part of any business or industry. Their form and flavor may change but their significance continues untouched from stone times to paper era, to the electronic age.

Digital forces have both helped as well as muddled the space of documents. Technology can bring in speed, efficiency and storage as advantages but it can also burden documents with issues of relevance, accuracy and visibility.

Timely attention to various changes, big and small as well the context of any document still needs a human eye and hand. The organization in question has to ensure that a document is taken care of way beyond its creation and archival stage. It may undergo numerous changes and stakeholders from time to time and hence, it should be addressed and modified; and then the changes should be reflected well in time. These updates should also be captured on the Meta scale and their visibility as well as control should be handled well.

This is where document translation services become more crucial rather than just a small chore. An experienced firm here would understand right away the imperatives and challenges that documents carry. This enables these visionary and long-term-oriented players to undertake the translation job with a different approach and care altogether.

Professional firms in this area also offer document translation in several categories like Employee Handbooks, Legal Contracts, Technical Manuals, Website Content, Software Content, Brochures & Catalogs, Reports, Procedures, Birth and death certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees and many other types of documents.

The translation should incorporate language and region-related evolution of a document and the same should be reflected in, as well as aligned to, the overall strategy and structure of a document’s lifecycle.

This should, in turn, help an organization to be able to endure change management and compliance issues with ease, agility and a strategic advantage. A good document emerges readily for adapting to details and requirements that new strategies or regions may evoke. With proper care the same set of strengths, resilience and flexibility can continue in new contours of a market or an organisation’s growth further ahead.

Translation puts a good thrust on various aspects that cover a multitude of document management areas. This covers the linguistic parts, the regulatory expectation lists, the consumer orientation challenge, the marketing advantage that are added like an icing on the cake and at the same time averts small or big mistakes that can happen by omission or commission.

Translation services agencies well-versed with all kinds of organization strategies and experiences can ensure that translation brings in both sharpness and health that document management expects it to deliver and keep the lifecycle intact for long.