Is your business customer-centric? The late management guru, scholar, and author, Peter Drucker said, “The purpose of a business is to create a customer.” No customers, no business. No students, no school. No sports fans, no stadium! It’s that simple. If we believe this, why is poor customer service rife?
Oligopolies are not Customer-centric Businesses
In Canada, two key industries, banking and telecommunications, are oligopolies. Consumers accept the lack of effective competition, and are complacent. Often, businesses in these industries provide mediocre services while hiking fees continually. Ironically, when the government wanted more competition in telecommunications recently, companies played the patriotism card successfully. (more…)
Is you résumé working for you? Your résumé is a marketing document meant to show a recruiter you are the best fit for the advertised job.Your résumé is the start of building your brand. It is not meant to convey your life story.
Your goal in writing the résumé is to show clearly, concisely, on one page, maximum two, why you are the best fit for the organization. Effectively, how you might create superior value than someone else.
A two page résumé is better than a cluttered one page document. Eliminate fluff, be stingy—show only information that will help someone decide if he or she should invite you for an interview. You résumé must pass the eye test. Does it look crammed? If it does, reduce the words. These are a few areas that should be in and out of the résumé: (more…)
Christian Finance Advice Blog is pleased to present this blog from two budding authors, Briercrest College & Seminary seniors, Nicole Chenard and Meghan Friesen.
There was a time when Christian bookstores were prominent in the community and seen as a relevant resource for churches and Christians. However, like so many other businesses, times and consumer demands changed and most Christian bookstores did not adapt. In fact, many failed. They struggled to provide adequate returns on investment, and often they did not implement effective marketing strategies.
Many Christian business owners justified their poor business performance by saying, God would meet our needs; but they did not perform critical research to adapt to the changing marketplace. This lack of research crippled their businesses. Simply put, Christian bookstores performed sub optimally because they did not apply effective Bible-based business strategies, management systems, and performance metrics routinely.
Why don’t these businesses provide adequate returns on investments? We believe there are at least five main reasons:
Is the oil price drop a blessing or a curse to the Canadian economy? It is a reversal of the 1970s. The oil shock of the 1970’s caused panic worldwide. Businesses scampered to become more energy efficient. Under the guise of discouraging consumption, governments seized the chance to raise taxes on energy related income and energy use. And economies adjusted to high energy prices, which became the acceptable norm.
Oil Price Drop Shows Economy’s Weakness
In the past ten years, the Canadian economy, and the Canadian dollar strengthened. Strong and growing oil prices, among other fuelled this boom. Meanwhile, the world has been congratulating Canada on its skillful economic prowess. People overlooked Canada’s excessive household and provincial debt levels (excluding Saskatchewan). Ontario has been spending recklessly and racking debt and deficits at an alarming rate.
Alberta appeared to be doing well. But, the real situation has surfaced. Lower oil prices mean less income. In turn, this shows wasteful spending that oil revenues masked. Meanwhile the Federal government’s budget-balancing games continue.
Today, the fragility of the Canadian economy is being exposed. The excessive dependence on energy and commodities generally has been highlighted. Instead of rejoicing that lower oil prices will boost many segments of the economy, bloated governments are worried they won’t be able to rake in energy related taxes. Will this steep drop in energy prices cause governments to see their waste and the need to shrink? (more…)
Target saw an opportunity for its first venture outside the USA in the struggling Canadian discount retailer, Zellers, and bought Zellers’ store leases–not its business–for $1.8 billion. Unfortunately, Target made basic missteps that led to its demise; most notably, these three:
Protracted entry, rapid ramp up
Brand promise neglected
Competitive advantage over looked
Target off the mark with its protracted entry, rapid ramp up
Target gave its competition almost two years to respond to its entry in Canada. It announced its purchase of Zellers’ leases in 2011, and opened over 100 stores during 2013 in former Zellers’ locations. During this rapid ramp up, many stores had empty shelves, Target was not connecting with its customers, and it was accumulating massive losses. Still, it continued the sprint in 2013, even with supply chain challenges. (more…)
I have been mentoring a few small business owners for the past few years; some from startup. What a joyful journey! Coupling this with 32 years business experience mainly in executive positions gives me great insights. It is unimportant that I worked mainly in a large multinational business in many countries. Small and large business issues are similar. Still, I think there are three areas a small business owner should address regularly. And a new year is a perfect time to do it.
As a small business owner you have the joy of being your own boss; however, this brings responsibility for the entire business. Unless you pause regularly to examine how you are doing, you can burn out emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and financially. This happens gradually.
Investment fundamentals are key to investing. Before you invest, always recall these three for long term investing. First, there is nothing new in stock market performances. Second, nobody can predict future stock market values. Third, there is a time to save and a time to invest. I will develop each later.
The Old Covenant book of the Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, tells us there is a time for everything under the sun; book-ended with a time to be born and a time to die. This same book of the Bible, chapter one verse nine, reminds us there is nothing new under the sun–this includes gyrations in stock markets.
Undoubtedly, the stock market is sizzling and is due for a correction. When? Nobody knows; but for months, many people, including me, have been predicting a fall. Meanwhile, what should you do with your investments? Get out of the market and put everything in savings accounts or equivalents? Do nothing? Do something in the middle?
When your attitude is money-making, your only strategy, usually unconsciously, is to do whatever it takes to get more. If you have a plan, it has no substance because making money dominates it; your emotions fluctuate regularly depending on the state of the market; you take this emotional instability into your relationships, and generally, you live a highly strung, stressful life. This leads to greed-driven, speculative, short-term, high risk decisions that create panic and end in disaster.
No wonder after a sharp fall in the stock market many people complain they lost money, although a fall in stock prices, per se, does not create losses. Often, nothing but fear or greed drove prices up and caused them to fall.
Here are three investment fundamentals for long term investing:
1. There is nothing new in Stock Market performances
Stock prices rise and stock prices fall. That’s not a new phenomenon. Learn basic investing fundaments, not to become an expert, but to gain general knowledge of the process, players, and products. Don’t panic when the market falls because the market cycles over time, fluctuates wildly, sometimes daily. Ignore short-term variations, and remember you lose nothing when stock prices fall, unless you sell your holdings.
With an attitude to invest and not gamble, you will invest when you fulfill prerequisites (see three below). You won’t feel pressured to sell investments each time your stocks’ prices fall because you will have goals and plans supporting your investment decisions. Your investment goals will be the destination reflecting appropriate time-frames; these goals might change over time as your circumstances change. Meanwhile, your investing activities will be the journey to reach those goals systematically, methodically, and consistently.
Under the Lord’s guidance, develop a long-term, carefully crafted investment plan to invest funds not needed in the household budget. Understand when to buy and when to sell–buy based on your research and goals, and sell when your pre-established conditions exist. Don’t forget tax effects of selling.
2. Nobody can predict the timing of future Stock Market values
The most important investment basic to grasp is, God alone knows the future. No matter how qualified your investment advisor, TV investment guru, university investment professor, she does not know future results of the Stock Market. This is an indisputable fact you must accept before, and when you invest.
So-called experts will tell you a market correction is due; but not one of us knows when. Your best approach is to understand you are investing God’s money, work with a fee-only investment advisor, inform yourself generally, and know your informed opinion is as good and reliable as your advisor’s or any other person’s.
3. There is a time to save and a time to invest
The best answer to every financial question is, it depends. What’s your personal situation? Do you have debt? Do you have savings for big ticket and emergency items? Your time to invest is after you clear your debts, including your mortgage, saved for major predictable buys such as paying cash for your next car, and saved for “predictable” emergencies.
If you are investing and you do not fulfill these conditions, develop a strategy to exit the market; but only after you understand potential effects of that decision. Don’t do this alone. Seek advice from a fee only investment advisor. But please understand that this professional investment advisor will not necessarily do better at investing than you. That’s why you must get to know the rationale for her advice, ponder it, pray about it, and then choose the path ahead.
Most of all, know your precise reasons for investing and your investment time horizon. If your investment goal is to “make money,” you have a real problem. Do you want to make money? Print it! Doing anything with a goal to make money is gambling and speculating.
Before you invest, you must study: zoom in on the details of the specific investment, then zoom out to look at the bigger picture. As you journey, review your investments, compare them with your goals and plans, and depending on the result, act–do nothing, sell, buy, or a combination–based on information gleaned from the review.
Stress test your budget before the holiday shopping season starts.The so-called holiday shopping season, pre-Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas (November and December) is here, and merchants are thrilled about expected improvements to their financial results. They know their deals, sales, and enticements will bait naive consumers to spend, and spend, and spend. And voilà! Their financial statements will sparkle. How do consumers prepare to withstand merchants seduction? Start with a stress test.
Stress Test Your Budget With Managing God’s Money Quick Test
A recent National Research Federation’s consumer spending survey estimated retail sales during the holiday season at $616.9 billion, about 20% of the estimated year’s sales, and 4.1% over the same period in 2013. The survey found the average shopper plans to increase spending around five percent to $804, compared to 2013. (more…)
What is happening on global stock markets? Large fluctuations in the Dow and other stock exchanges over the past months are causing great anxiety. It’s been a bumpy and costly ride for many.
What’s Causing Steep Declines in the Stock Market
As the chart below shows, the DJI plummeted 1,000 points between September 25 and October 15. It recovered more than half that fall by October 25. However, notice the 50 and 200 simple moving averages (SMA) are almost flat over the month.
Managing God’s Money essential tool kit is built on the solid foundation of God’s ownership of everything. Over the past 20 years we developed this managing God’s money essential tool kit to promote effective stewardship. These aids encourage and facilitate a debt free lifestyle, when practiced regularly.
The GAS Principle provides the solid, unchanging base. Three biblical truths, the GAS Principle acknowledges our need to depend on our Messiah Yeshua to provide for our needs. When we accept and live according to the GAS Principle, we see the reality of Apostle James’ teachings in James 4:13-16 —- only God knows the future; let Him lead and guide us there. (more…)