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Digital Transformation: Transforming the Customer Experience

Posted by on Aug 31, 2017 in San Diego Lawyer | Comments Off on Digital Transformation: Transforming the Customer Experience

Digital Transformation: Transforming the Customer Experience

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One important area companies are transforming digitally is in their customer experience. The customer experience can be bucketed into three categories:

Customer Understanding

A company can create customer understanding using data and predictive analytics, being more deeply involved in their pain points through analysis of social media, budding trends and successes/failures of other organizations’ interactions with customers in varying industries. Social media, advanced search and much improved CRM systems have made this type of information much more accessible, organized, and affordable. Resources that used only to be available to deep-pocketed companies are now readily available for much smaller organizations.

 

Top-line growth

With a better understanding of your customer you can be more effective in anticipating/understanding needs and catering to them. This is particularly important in the sales process. As your organization becomes more mobile and nimble, your sales force can be better equipped to engage customers. Another essential aspect of top-line growth enabled by digital change is brand management. It is now easier than ever to guide a brand with a well-managed marketing strategy–but don’t worry, you don’t need to be the expert. True to form, digital disruption has changed the advertising industry and many small “marketing boutiques” are available remotely that specialize in digital marketing and promotion.

 

Customer Touch Points

One of the greatest benefits of technology in the customer experience is speed and response time. Especially in competitive, commoditized industries where products are hard to differentiate, customers look more and more for speed, access and convenience. Companies can more readily engage customers through social media, targeted mobile push notifications and ensure 24/7 access to solutions, products or service information, payment, scheduling and ordering.

 

The fast evolving digital landscape has broadened your ability as an organizational leader to transform the customer experience. Through understanding your customers, driving top-line growth and increasing the quality and quantity of customer touch points, your company will better be able to serve customers who will in turn spread the word to their broad and easy to reach social networks.

Digital Transformation: Our World is Evolving, Is Your Company?

Posted by on Jul 31, 2017 in Entrepreneur, Small Business | Comments Off on Digital Transformation: Our World is Evolving, Is Your Company?

Digital Transformation: Our World is Evolving, Is Your Company?

Image result for digital transformation

Just out of curiosity…

What was the first thing you did today?

You just stepped into line at the DMV, what do you do?

How has your job changed over the past 10 years? Or if you haven’t been in the workforce that long, did your job even exist a decade or two in the past?

And finally, last time you made a purchase for a Christmas gift, how did you decide what to buy and where to buy it?

 

No doubt, technology has changed the way we live. We are constantly connected, always being advertised to and last year’s “ways of working” are outdated. We’re living in an era of digital transformation.

Now, the question is, are you leading your organization through the digital change necessary to keep up with (and we hope, outpace) your competitors and offer outstanding value to your customers?

With this question in mind, our next series is called: Digital Transformation. A new set of posts where we’ll help you get started (or help you continue) on the path to improving your customer experience, digitizing your day-to-day operations, and even redefining or reinventing your business model for a digital landscape.

 

The graphic below, developed by digital consultancy Cognizant, is an excellent way to summarize this process of organizational change.

First, we become aware of a need to change

Second, we design a roadmap (strategy) of how to approach the transformation

And finally, we relentlessly focus on the implementation/execution of that plan

 

The next few posts will be regarding three critical areas of digital transformation, developed as a framework by researchers from MIT and Capgemini Consulting. Following are the main topics:

Transforming the customer experience

Transforming operational processes

Transforming your business model

 

We look forward to discussing such an exciting and relevant topic within the fast-evolving business environment and hope these principles will better arm you to continually pivot with, and even be in front of, your ever-changing customer.

 

 

 

 

4 Reasons to be Grateful for Independence

Posted by on Jul 3, 2017 in Entrepreneur, Inspiration, Success | Comments Off on 4 Reasons to be Grateful for Independence

4 Reasons to be Grateful for Independence

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As we approach another 4th of July, we commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the beginning of the United States of America as an independent nation. This is a day when we should put our differences aside and come together in gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy.

Here are 4 reasons why:

Freedom

  • We have a right to freedom of speech, press, ownership, religion and economic opportunity.

 

Respect for the common law

  • In general, the United States is a lawful country that is conducive to a functional business climate and peaceful society. It is through the living of those laws that we are liberated together.

 

Technology

  • Technological advances promoted in the US have made life much more livable, comfortable and convenient. Yes, this applies to entertainment and pleasure but consider the advances in medicine we all enjoy. Technology has provided many opportunities for a better life.

 

Entrepreneurship

  • The story of America is a story of pioneering, independence and industry—probably not unlike your own as an entrepreneur. In the United States, you can make your dreams happen.

 

So, today let’s take today to reflect on the opportunities we’ve been given and consciously be grateful for the freedoms of our nation.

We hope you have a wonderful and happy 4th of July!

 

Analysis for Managers: The Most Important Measure

Posted by on Jun 29, 2017 in Entrepreneur, Inspiration, Success, Tips for Entrepreneurs | Comments Off on Analysis for Managers: The Most Important Measure

Analysis for Managers: The Most Important Measure

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Today’s post is to help you as a leader, manager, entrepreneur, family member and/or individual to perform perhaps the most important analysis of them all. And it begins with a question posed by management scholar and innovation strategist, Clayton Christensen: How will you measure your life?

After all is said and done what is truly most important to you? What are your deepest goals and desires? When you look back, what will be your measure of personal success?

No doubt, the vast majority would put family, relationships with spouses and children, faith, values, positive impact in the community, etc. as their measures of success. Now the question is, how well do you allocate your personal resources to reflect those desires?

When you analyze a company, you don’t look at it in terms of its intentions, you look at it in terms of how it actually spends it’s time, money, physical and human capital. Is it investing in new products, markets, technology or talent? Or is it grinding at the gears chugging along without much current investment in hopes of finding another organization to purchase?

Now what about you? As you look back on today, how did you spend your resources? Did the investments you made today align with your deepest goals and desires?

If not, it’s never too late to reallocate your resources and decide how you’ll measure your life.

This may be the most important executive decision you ever make!

Analysis for Managers: Financial Ratios

Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Setting up a Small Business, Small Business, Small Business Tips and Tricks Series, Taxes | Comments Off on Analysis for Managers: Financial Ratios

Analysis for Managers: Financial Ratios

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If I were to tell you that someone weighs 75 lbs, you might say that he/she is a very light person. But what if I told you that person was a one-year-old? You would probably either fall off your chair, drop you phone on the ground or just flat out think I was bluffing.

And what if I told you that a certain company made a $1 million profit last year? Sounds like a big number, right? Does it change your perspective if I tell you that this company did $100 billion in sales last year? That’s only a 0.1% profit margin. Pretty slim in all reality.

The lesson here is a lesson on relativity. Measurement often becomes much more insightful when taken in context and shown with or in contrast to another measure. Weight to height, cost per square foot, profit to sales, short term assets to short term liabilities, etc.

Going along with our last post on cash flow, today we’re going to provide you with a quick list of places to go to find financial ratios that will help you dig a little deeper into your business’ financials. Here are three very useful sites on the subject:

Staples.com

  • Simple, easy to understand explanations of key financial ratios

 

BBT

  • Provides a quick reference guide separated by topic with easy calculation references

 

ZionsBank

  • A detailed guide to analyzing your small business financials—very helpful!

 

We hope these three resources, along with any others you find, will help you to do an even better job managing your business in order to keep serving your customers and taking care of you and yours.

 

Analysis for Managers: Cash Flow

Posted by on May 30, 2017 in San Diego Lawyer, Setting up a Small Business, Small Business, Small Business Tips and Tricks Series, Tips for Entrepreneurs | Comments Off on Analysis for Managers: Cash Flow

Analysis for Managers: Cash Flow

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Have you ever been confused at the fact that you can sit at your desk and wonder, “How on Earth am I going to make payroll?” and yet the P&L (Profit and Loss statement) your accountant or QuickBooks just showed you says that your company is turning a healthy profit?

Welcome to cash flow problems!

This won’t be a completely comprehensive article on the subject but it should be enough to at least get you started or pique your interest. And for many, this will just be a quick review.

Below are four key points regarding the ever important concept of cash flow.

 

First: Understanding why cash flow analysis is important

Jonathan Moreland put it well when he said:

“At least as important as a company’s profitability is its liquidity – whether or not it’s taking in enough money to meet its obligations. Companies, after all, go bankrupt because they cannot pay their bills, not because they are unprofitable. Now, that’s an obvious point. Even so, many investors routinely ignore it. How? By looking only at a firm’s income statement and not the cash flow statement.”

A cash flow statement removes the noise of accrual accounting and helps us talk in terms of money in the bank here and now. This is essential because in business, “cash is king.”

 

Second: Building a cash flow statement

In most cases your accountant will be able to do this for you (but you may need to request it!) and oftentimes your small business accounting software will build one automatically. Do some clicking to find out.

For those who want to take on the exercise themselves (which is a fantastic way to truly understand), here is a helpful link.

 

Third: Analyze the information

The cashflow statement will end up giving you four net figures:

  • Cash flows from operations – how much money your company brings in and out during it’s day-to-day operations
  • Cash flows from investing activities – how much money your company brings in and out as a result of investments such as capital expenditures, purchase of securities, etc.
  • Cash flows from financing activities – how much money your company brings in and out from loans, outside investor capital, issuance of dividends, etc.
  • Net cash flows – the sum of them all, or the total net cash in the door

In addition to a standalone look at these metrics, another key here is benchmarking. You can compare to previous periods, other areas of the business or against key competitors in your industry. Just make sure that you’re using strategic benchmarking, or benchmarking against the best-in-class, rather than just an industry average. A good place to find industry benchmarking data online is found here.

 

Fourth and finally: Take action!

Now that you see where you’re netting positively or negatively in a given timeframe, or that you tend to dip into the red during certain periods of the year (using multiple period comparisons) or perhaps that you have some headroom when considering best-in-class performance, take action!

One important action you can take is to manage a cash flow budget. This can be as simple as listing your actual cash inflows and outflows over future time periods to forecast where there might be trouble. Then, have the discipline to either wait to spend or bring in some more cash.

After all is said and done, profit is still important but understanding exactly the money flowing in and out the door is equally as such (if not more). We hope this information has been helpful and that with this new skill set (or quick refresh) you can avoid that awful feeling of not having enough to make payroll and that you can have the power to grow your business into the future.

 

 

Not Filing Taxes Could Get You in Trouble with IRS says Gary Quackenbush Tax Expert

Posted by on Apr 6, 2017 in San Diego Lawyer, Small Business, Tax Season, Taxes, Tips for Entrepreneurs | Comments Off on Not Filing Taxes Could Get You in Trouble with IRS says Gary Quackenbush Tax Expert

Gary Quackenbush on NBC TV with Consumer Bob

CONSUMER BOB HELPS TO SAVE YOU MONEY AND TIME

Not Filing Taxes Could Get You in Trouble with IRS

Here is the link to a TV show Gary was on with Consumer Bob. The question was whether the IRS would catch up to you if you did not file a tax return. The answer may surprise you.

LINK – Quackenbush on TV with Consumer Bob – Late Filed Taxes – 2 minute video

 

Analysis for Managers: Industry Analysis

Posted by on Mar 31, 2017 in Small Business, Success | Comments Off on Analysis for Managers: Industry Analysis

Analysis for Managers: Industry Analysis

 

The next important analysis to undertake around your business is an industry analysis. This is where we look at the entire landscape of the economic branch in which your business operates. To do this we’ll use a well-known and effective tool, called the Porter’s Five Forces,” which helps a manager to understand the current and future profitability outlook of his/her business. Figuratively and literally, each of these “forces” presses/suppresses profit margins within a given industry.

So, grab some paper, a notepad, or a open new Word doc and let’s answer some questions.

  • Industry rivalry—How intense is the competition in your industry? Do you feel like you’re “one-of-a-kind” or are you working hard to get others’ customers?
  • Threat of substitutes —How easy is it for a customer to substitute your product or service for another and still get the job done?
  • Bargaining power of buyers—Do the buyers in your business hold the big stick?
  • Bargaining power of suppliers—Or do the suppliers hold the big stick?
  • Barriers to entry—How easy is it for someone to enter into your line of work? (i.e. start doing what you’re doing?)

Other important questions to ask include:

  • How is business changing in my industry? i.e. more online, demand for speed, lower prices, etc.
  • What do I see my customers wanting in 10 or 15 years?
  • Why are these changes occurring?

As you consider these questions, it’s essential to flex that analysis muscle and keep asking, why? Doing so helps us identify the true and fundamental trends that are occurring in our industries.

Industry analysis is a higher level and more future-centered analysis than others, and for that reason it is vital. A manager that analyzes his/her industry, looks to the future and makes investments/changes as a result is much more likely to stay profitable!

All our best in your journey to continue to seek future success.

Analysis for Managers: Customer Analysis

Posted by on Mar 30, 2017 in Small Business | Comments Off on Analysis for Managers: Customer Analysis

Analysis for Managers: Customer Analysis

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As we begin our first functional post on analysis, let’s begin with a simple definition. One simple definition is:

“ [A] detailed examination of the elements or structure of something, typically as a basis for discussion or interpretation.”

With that in mind, today we’re going to examine our customer base and interpret their interactions with our business.

The two main things we recommend are 1) building and maintaining a detailed customer base and 2) talking to your customers.

Building a database will help you to discover patterns in your customers’ purchase behaviors so you can better understand who they are. With each new customer, find ways to gather information on them, i.e. a membership profile on your website, a loyalty program, using traceable tender (i.e. card numbers) or simply by taking time to watch who your customers are and taking hand notes on them.

Search for things such as: age, gender, race, income, where they live, what they like, why they came in who referred them, how they heard about your business, etc. Then start with some simple bucketing of the data, perhaps tied to how much they spend. Ask questions like:

  • Who is coming in? Older folks, millennials, families, higher/lower income, etc.
  • What percent of my business comes from each of these demographics?
  • Who spends the most or buys/uses your most premium products/services? Least premium?
  • How do most people hear about you?
  • What is the job that my product or service is being hired to perform?
  • Etc…

In the bestselling book, The Innovator’s Solution, authors Clayton Christensen and Michael Raynor teach that understanding a pattern in customers’ behavior is not enough to predict how they’ll act, rather it’s though the understanding of why they behave the way they do that you can begin to meet best their needs. That said, as we’ve now identified patterns, let’s develop theories as to why they emerge.

This is best found in two ways: 1) asking yourself why a pattern exists and 2) talking to your customers directly.

One great model for talking to your customers is by holding focus groups, or small sit downs with a few customers, to ask them questions (perhaps offering free things in return for their time) and then taking what you learn from a small sample to build a survey to send to larger groups. This can either be sent via email or simply filled out in person and put anonymously into a box. Everything helps!

Analyzing your customers this way will help you understand their wants/needs, identify who your target customers are and how better you can serve them. Good luck!

New Series: Analysis for Managers

Posted by on Feb 28, 2017 in Entrepreneur, Small Business | Comments Off on New Series: Analysis for Managers

New Series: Analysis for Managers

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An essential capability of managers is the ability to analyze. Analyze situations, numbers, markets, trends, products, people, financials, and more. For that reason, we’re excited to launch our newest series: Analysis for Managers.

This new series will feature posts on everything from the cognitive process of analysis to analyzing financial ratios and a business’ customer base.

But before you decide that you’re exempt from “this type of thing” and your not planning to read our upcoming posts because you “never liked math in school” or “you’re not a numbers person,” take heart from the famous statistician, Edward Tufte. He wisely taught: “If the statistics are boring, then you’ve got the wrong numbers.”

The numbers you read in high school about John approaching Jane at x miles/hour and Jane approaching John at y miles/hour were, most likely, “the wrong numbers” –and for that reason, you used to get bored. But when we start to discuss metrics such as your company’s income per employee, the dollar amount of liquid assets you need to operate your business (working capital) or time series analysis to understand market trends, you’ll start to be much more interested. Moreover–these posts won’t all be about numbers!

We look forward to discussing and learning together over these next few months and hope you join us in learning to be better, more analytical, managers. We promise the return on investment (ROI) of your time will be positive!