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Archive for October, 2008

Isn’t it Time to Pay Lots of Attention to Your CFO or VP of Finance?

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Crunching those numbersYes the economy is challenging. No it isn’t going to get better anytime soon. Yes you have heard that over and over. So what’s my point? During times like this you need answers to questions and frankly pretty fast. Important questions like:

  • How is your cash flow?
     
  • How does your accounts receivable look?
     
  • How are we doing vs. budget?
     
  • What accounts are behind projections?

All questions you need timely answers to better manage your business. If your company is like ours, all answers to questions like that lead to one place…the finance group. In our case, our VP of finance. With the unemployment rate for accounting jobs less than 2%, these people are in high demand and if you find a good one, take my advice: hang on to them. Challenge them to find creative (yes legal) ways to improve your bottom line. Because they see all the numbers across every revenue group, they may have a better handle on specific numbers than the person who leads any specific group.

Our VP of Finance is very important to our company. In fact over the past year she clearly has become even more important. She helps us evaluate potential acquisitions and reviews all NDA’s and client contracts to ensure that yours truly can sign them. That alone makes her worth her weight in gold because this is an enormous time savings. Over the past few years our leadership team has challenged this person to give us more information, better reports and insight so that each department head can better manage their business.

I believe we are in a much better place now because we have allowed our VP of Finance to educate and inform us with information that is critical to our leadership team.

  • Have you done the same?
     
  • What reports do you get weekly or monthly that are necessary to better manage your business?
     
  • How are you challenging your VP of Finance?

I look forward to your comments.

I Wish Our Offices Were Like That!

Monday, October 6th, 2008

All of us probably create a positive atmosphere and environment for our company. It is so important to have a comfy, safe, and fun space for staff to be able to be creative, be happy and make things happen. To me a happy employee means a happy client. Below are some pictures of Google’s headquarters:

Z-z-z-z
What do you think about their decompression (stress) capsule that is impermeable to sound and light?
 
 
Weee-e-e-e!
Or slides and fire poles that allow you to move easily and quickly from floor to floor…
 
 
"Seconds?"  "No.  Thirds."
Of course employees can eat all they want from a vast choice of food and drink.
 
 
Decisions, decisions!
Each employee has at least two large screens at their work station.
 
 
Tip a canoe and...
INNOVATION: Large boards are available just about everywhere because "ideas don’t always come when seated in the office" says one of Google’s managers. (Ok raise your hand if you could be creative sitting in a canoe!)
 
 
Murmur, murmur, murmur...
On each floor, there are private cabin areas where employees can attend to personal affairs.
 
 
Thanks for the memory...
Problem with your computer? Bring it to the technical support area (and yes that is a bar to have a drink while you wait.)
 
 
A littleto the left...yes...that's it!
Professional masseurs (eusses) are available.
 
 
Sleepin with the fishies...
Tough vendor call? Come to this room and relax in one of the massage chairs that you control … (while you view relaxing aquariums).

Simply amazing! It seems like they have thought of everything.

  • Would this environment get your creative juices flowing?
     
  • Would you want to work in a place like that?
     
  • What is your favorite area?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Food For Thought–What Is The Reason Why…

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

WHAT IS THE REASON WHY:

  • Hotels haven’t added TIVO in their hotel rooms and used this as a revenue stream?
     
  • Stadiums haven’t added some type of technology to allow fans sitting in premium seats to view replays at their will?
     
  • Scientists can’t figure out a way to control the weather and contain hurricanes in the ocean ?
     
  • Every airline makes an announcement prior to take off giving instructions on how to use a seatbelt?
     
  • There isn’t some type of technology to disable cell phones in restaurants and movie theatres?
     
  • With every business looking for more revenue, why isn’t customer service great these days?

I look forward to your thoughts and comments.

This Diamond Is Even More Special!

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Over the years we have all gone to concerts where the performance wasn’t great. Perhaps the artist was having a bad day, wasn’t feeling great or frankly just missed the beat. The show was weak and you came away not only unhappy but a little angry.

Even though I wasn’t in Columbus Ohio on a hot summer night in August, 11,000 fans were at the Value City Arena and frankly witnessed a show that wasn’t up to par for Neil Diamond.

After a subpar performance, Neil Diamond apologized and offered refunds to the 11,000 people who attended the concert.

“Dear Fans in Columbus,” the singer said in a statement, “I haven’t let you down before, and I won’t let you down now. Until you hear from me again remember, ‘You are the sun–I am the moon. You are the words–I am the tune.’ Forgive me. I love you. Neil.” Diamond, whose voice was extremely hoarse throughout the show, said that he was suffering from acute laryngitis. Ordered by doctors to rest his voice, he canceled his two other shows later that week in Green Bay and St. Louis.

WOW! What a classy move. Anyone who knows me well is aware that my music is all about oldies…and yes I love Neil Diamond. Now I think even more of him. He had a bad night and offered the fans–his fans–a refund. I DON’T BELIEVE THIS HAS EVER BEEN DONE BEFORE AND MAY NEVER BE DONE AGAIN.

  • Raise your hand if you have gone to a professional baseball game and you saw athletes NOT giving their all!
     
  • Raise your hand if you have gone to a Broadway play where the star takes the night off and their understudy takes the lead

For the record my hand is raised and I am sure that many of the readers’ hands are as well.

  • What do you think of Neil’s gesture?
     
  • Wouldn’t this be a great trend to start with prices for concerts and games being so high?
     
  • Have you ever gone to a show/game and wanted a refund?

I look forward to your thoughts and comments.