Friday, October 26, 2018

A fresh perspective is needed

Psalms 51:12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 

Facing the challenges of people in business can be a daunting task. In business development, it means that I daily have to grapple with the challenges and problems that people present to me about their situations. Often they are related to their business, however, there are instances of some personal issues they need to address that often impact their businesses.

2018 has been a particularly rough year, it seems that bad news was just coming in from all directions. Averting foreclosures, turning around financial situations, dealing with all the challenges in business within an environment of uncertainty were all old hat to me or so I thought. The bigger the problem people had the more I enjoyed the challenge of successfully solving it for them.

This year, sure it may have been going on before, but I hadn't noticed it with this intensity. Lots of people I know died, and quite unexpectedly and at a rapid rate. It was at such a rate that I couldn't even attend all the funerals. Many were younger than I am.

'“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”' Ecclesiastes 1:2

I managed to recognize it earlier last evening when depression was trying to grasp me. Having heard others describe it, I never once experienced it before. Along the way, I wondered how many others have to grapple with this thing called depression, especially when everywhere they turn there is bad news. Reader, we have tried to compartmentalize our lives using human standards of understanding, and we are wrong. Life is intricately intertwined.

Of late, there are many who want to put God in a box, only calling on him when there is a tragedy. I have read comments by those who know better, it would appear, who post seemingly careless thoughts about what they think about God.

Well, thank God for my relationship with him, since you can really get some really negative thoughts coming at you that if left unchecked can result in a loss. It is important to have a default position. Mine is with Christ. The opening statement of this article sums it up to an extent.

How many others have to grapple with this with changes and challenges to their equilibrium with regards to work, family, lifestyle, country, and other aspects of living to which they have grown accustomed. Yes, the only thing constant in life is change, but are we prepared for these changes?

We can't rely on the government for assistance, but the government has to rely on us as we are facing a most dire rebuilding process given the magnitude of the situations we face. There are many who don't have a mechanism for coping. We have to be our brother's keeper. It is necessary for others to experience the joy of their salvation. A fresh perspective is needed.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Money...it's not always the problem

Often, when I engage with entrepreneurs they invariably think that inadequate funding is the source of their problem. On the surface, it may appear true; but when we take a real look examining the various aspects of the business, we find that there are some aspects of the business that if money was engaged the business would be far worse than it is without the funding.

The most cliched statement, "money follows management" is not just a cute sound bite. It's actually true. With good management, a business operation can address the issues that can cause it to flounder.

Surefire ways showing how the finances will be utilized are presented, often along with the marketing paint brush that includes the following:

  • We are operating in a $x million/billion industry. Just 1%.....
  • The SWOT does not allow for addressing real situations that were previously thought would never happen (Do we really need to say what kind of streets the business can end up on?)
  • Big titles/bunches of keys, and no real resources to back up the rhetoric
  • Inexperienced individuals who don't have the support of a more experienced team (see the previous point, since it is easy to deconstruct that there is no difference between the owner and the management. If incorporated, you'd find you can prepare job letters for employees to get loans, but you cannot get any for yourselves. 
  • NO DISCIPLINE, sometimes you get funding for entities who then misappropriate the funds like it was a huge payday and not something to be used as the plan prescribes. They party spending the money more on entertainment than business. 
  • No governance, who is going to ensure compliance with the plan within the entity? 
  • We are going to use Social Media in our marketing. When probed, there's no real plan. It does not work by throwing enough mud against the wall hoping for some to stick. 
  • Many are unable to answer operational questions of all types. 
I think you're getting the picture. Business is a team activity. Lone Rangers would be seen as owning a job and not having a business, they must work to generate income. Again no systems are in place. 

Many are operating in a red ocean of activity, often competing on price rather than looking at their unique positions to identify what their real model of operation is going to be. 

Take a serious look at your business, get help as needed to assist you in realizing the true potential of your entity. Should you require assistance, visit us at www.bladesandbladesconsultancy.com and we'll at the very least point you in the right direction if we are unable to help you ourselves. 

Have a wonderful remainder of the week. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The more serious entrepreneur...are we ready?

Small business, entrepreneurship though not synonymous are the trend that's been developing for some time now. People who have seen what their parents went through when their parents lives rattled along like a speeding train without much input of what choices they would like for their lives are saying no more. We want choices in life and will not live like they, our parents, did.

Some opt for the path of self-employment where they believe that whatever the outcome, it was their choice. They had a say in the matter. Still, others who are even more creative want to create lasting life-changing legacies. Whatever the choice they make, they share a common bond. They are frustrated by the financial systems.

Many of these business people are not just going to the financial institutions hand in glove to beg for an opportunity, but are using the information that they've gained over their lifetimes go approach the funding agencies better prepared.

These business people have done their research, they are armed with business plans (which they paid for), they are putting together leadership teams (not being the one-man operation), they are seeking information about doing business right. Yet, some financial entities are painting them all with a broad brush used from times gone where the financial assessment methods seem obsolete. Sure the numbers are calculated correctly, but the finance entities rather than structuring the entities to succeed, instead seem to sound the death knell before the entities are started.

Entrepreneurs are tokenized by competitions which speak to innovation, and yes we read about the prize winners who came through the process, frustrating as it was. But then what, where are the businesses of the winners today? Were they taught how to use the prize money to accelerate their businesses? It is almost like so much focus is placed on the wedding, there's no councilling for the marriage.

The criteria need to evolve. Gone are the days where business owners will have large amounts of collateral. They do have more sound backgrounds and exposure to education. They need information that is accurate and timely from the governmental agencies with which they have to register. The systems of incorporating an entity need to become more efficient. Registering a charity/not for profit, the process can be simplified.

Our environment has changed but we're working with outdated models for doing business. Let's wake up and do better as a people so that we can build a better nation and expand our borders. The term business banker does not mean just interacting with the business community, but having knowledge and competence about what is required to gear a business towards financial and operational success.

Really men?!? Haven't we been tokenised enough?

International Men's Day [IMD] passed recently and I was ONLY made aware when i received the greetings via social media from well meaning...