Monday, July 28, 2014

Financial Institutions and SMEs

Many SMEs are noted for taking short cuts and often get seemingly reluctant help from institutions which are supposed to cater to them. Many SMEs do not have proper systems in place resulting in poorly kept financial records, poorly documented operations, zero succession planning, market definition is non-existent in that their client is someone who spent money with them rather than them being clear about who they are serving.

Despite these aforementioned characteristics, I still work with them to give them a fighting chance for success. This exposure has given me some measure of a perspective of their frustrations as SMEs trying to do the right thing in the realm of business.

Have you noticed the following as well:

  1. When SMEs have to seek aid made available to them, they have to wade through tons of bureaucratic documentation to access the said aid, and after the frustrating process find that there is often one or two areas which exempt them from ever realizing the aid. 
  2. So they need funding, instead of doing their own plans, they hire the services of a professional/series of professionals to help them obtain the financial assistance; often using funds they can ill afford. These institutions then tell them that they will issue them less funds that they have sought, though they have the supporting collateral, and they can always reapply later for any additional amounts which will require additional fees on the part of the SME. Makes one wonder why it was necessary to get the assistance of the professionals in the first place. 
  3. Lots of entities are set up to provide technical assistance for SMEs but few are set up to offer the money needed and determined by the technical assistance paid for to help them realize their goals and objectives. 
I'm sure that I can go on with a longer list but will stop here on this occasion. The question is:
  • Are we really willing and able to do all that we can to assist SMEs or is it really just rhetoric? 
Your views and feedback are welcomed. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Customer Service used to be just Service

On occasion I have the opportunity to wonder about a few things that years of experience have granted me the privilege. One that comes to mind was Service; where did it go? Why was it so lacking nowadays, and who's this new Customer Service that though qualified academically does little when compared to the natural capabilities of Service? Here are a few thoughts about what I mean:

  • Nowadays we get hospitality degrees and designations of varying sorts, yet seem unable remember encounters of those we've met in the last week. Despite the various devices, communication and other sorts, we seem incapable of remembering little details of our customers. How come that those of the older era who didn't have the tech aids and were able to remember the names of people, families, their likes, and some favorite activities? The older era didn't count the time they were with a client. Service was not given in exchange for something, only as a means of helping another feel more comfortable in a more inviting atmosphere. The result was higher value in the minds of the customer. 
  • Attitudes that have developed by the work force that they only seem to seek support when their jobs are threatened are archaic; we have a responsibility to people! Regardless if whether they are seen as customers or fellow workers just to name a few. People are important! 
  • Have we forgotten the "magic" words? [good morning, good evening, please, thank you] 
  • There's also the rising trend of people having to refer to their sexual preference to determine their ability to work. I mean who really cares who you sleep with? The real question is can you do your job?! This coming out business, is really no one else's business but your own. Keep it there! It's not a badge of honor about your level of competency on your job. 
  • Pay attention to detail - serving beverages and food in a sloppy manner in a huge NO! A lot of marketing dollars can be saved when you take the opportunity to serve people that you have in your presence well. If you're superior, they will return for a repeat experience. 
  • A sour face, with the attitude of people accepting you as you are is tantamount to suicide. You really can't seriously expect to be mean, rude, and all the other adjectives that I can't publish; and then expect people to want to do business with you. 8 hours per day is a third of a lifetime, shouldn't it be enjoyable? Man has but a short time to live. 
  • Let's look at no only enhancing customer service, but enhancing service. We would find that not only do we please others, but we can be quite pleasant to be around. The result can be in more people wanting to be in your company and doing business with you. 
Have a wonderful day folks! Let's look at the totality of the service we offer - regardless of where we work and live. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dun Wuk [Vagrant Life Rule]

This is going to be the lament of some people over the next couple of months. Charley was no exception. He ran a business and tried to do everything by the book and yet was feeling overwhelmed. No matter what he did, he just didn't seem to win. All the obstacles seemed to be stacked against him. What did Charley experience?

  • Non paying clients. No matter how much the clients came with an emergency and begged him to do the work; offering at times to pay significantly more than necessary to get the work done. The unified problem was that once the work was done, so what the interest in paying. 
  • Excessive taxation. Like PAYE [pay as you earn - based on what you earned], PFWYE [penalized for what you earn - an incremental tax], NYSI [Now you see it - for social security], VAST [ Value Added Still Taxing - computed on the value of the inputs], Property Taxes and Road Taxes; coupled with the recently Environmental tax - yes you pay to be living in a taxing environment. If a calculation was done, we - the working class, would probably get to keep 3 cents of every dollar. Then there's a CESS on gas so that you must cease driving and catch public transportation as you can't afford to drive in an already expensive environment. 
  • Policy on how government can raise revenue to do its work is not only based on taxation, but the information used to set these taxes are based on the ridiculous things like what the populous spend their money on - rims, hair extensions, money spent on beautification. There are NO incentives to establish a business. It hardly makes sense to work as an employee since you are basically penalized for working. 
Charley has decided that he dun wuk. [No more working for Charley]; he's going to become a vagrant. Why? 

  • There's no tax on begged revenues - standard nor incremental
  • Risks are low and rent is free
  • Food can be made available if you like what's on the free menus. 
  • There's no burden on society since your society changes as you move around
  • You don't have to maintain books, since no one thinks you are capable of doing so.
  • Through all the changing scenes of life is more than a hymn. It's a way of life. 
So long Charley, and best of luck with your decision!

Hospitality - the business of businesses

  When you're working in hospitality, there's one sure thing: all your days will be different. The industry comprises various moving...