Got business problems or challenges at work? With his Two Cents page, Loaay Ahmed shares his expertise in strategic management consulting to help managers, employees, and entrepreneurs thrive.
I want to encourage my employees to have a professional look and behavior. I made a list but found it too long and I was afraid of a negative impact. What are the most essential points that I should focus on?
LA: Each Company has to determine what works best for their brand, however, there are common guidelines that can and should be shared in any workplace. For a start, a laid back grooming look like the Eighties-George-Michael with the stubbly beard is not suitable for every working environment. Personal phone calls are acceptable – we can’t expect employees’ lives to stop because they’re at work. But too many personal calls cause distraction to the other employees around. RING RING: Being LOUD on the phone is inconsiderate to colleagues, think ‘library or museum’ communication codes. Keep in mind that smelling like a talking ashtray after lunch break is not attractive. Speaking of smells and breaks, food stinks sometimes. Chicken curry sandwich aroma in the office or the shop is not an exciting scent for visitors.
Also, talking too openly about beliefs can cause gaps in relations. Whatever you believe in, keep it in your heart. Last but not least, improper attire is wrong on many levels. And by improper I mean both extremes, the too casual “I couldn’t bother dressing up” and the over-the-top flashy “I’m going to party with friends later and I don’t want to go home first to change”. Having said all that, it’s important for employees to be themselves. They can do all the things that make them comfortable as long as their behavior matches with the brand culture of the company they work for…and that’s just my two cents.
Ultimately, every company wants to generate the highest returns for its investors. So, how do you define corporate success? Is it by who made the biggest profit, growth percentage, or something else? I’m curious.
LA: As with professionalism (see above) the definition of success differs from one company to another depending on their journey and where they want to reach. If a company was losing money and they manage to breakeven by the end of the term they set for themselves then that’s success. However, success in the corporate world is not always defined just financially. Some companies have social, ethical and environmental goals and they will not consider their financial achievement successful if they didn’t reach the other objectives.
There are certain factors if you’re interested in relevance. For example, in Profit Share you measure the percentage of profit your company gained compared to competition. In Market Share you measure how many customers you have from the pool of consumers. Here’s an interesting one: Revenue per Employee, which is calculated by dividing the company’s revenue by the number of employees to measure the quality of staff in generating income for the business. In this case, if your revenue last year was KD2 million and you have 100 employees, then your R/E is KD20,000. If a competitor had KD3 million in revenue and 300 employees, then you’re more successful because their R/E is only KD10,000. You can only measure your bottom line when you have defined it first…and that’s just my two cents.
I have a plan to approach a number of potential investors to pitch my business project. Other than showing good numbers, what else can I do to convince them to join?
LA: Many investors think of one line when they see an opportunity. This line is what Rod Tidwell, a character played by Cuba Gooding Jr. in the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire, said to Jerry (Tom Cruise): “Show me the money.” When investors evaluate different opportunities they look at a number of things revolving around the money they’re promised in thick prospectuses and endless presentation slides. They look at risk factors, duration, realistic potential return on investment, quality of the management team, uniqueness of the product/service and its demand, and more. If your project also has a social path, then approach only those who care about making money while helping society. Otherwise, they’ll see it as a bad opportunity. To build a persuasive pitch, address all the points above to make it difficult for them to say no.
Pay close attention to how the industry appeals to the type of investors you’re approaching. Are they interested in the type of product or service you’re offering? Do they understand it? Is the revenue scale that’s generated by the industry you’re in considered substantial enough for them? For example, Petrochemical plants and factories generate more revenue than Retail. So, you’ll approach investors with deeper pockets for the former than you’ll do with the latter. If your plan is to approach family and friends to invest in your project, then think twice. Money has a way to test close relationships. If you made them profit, they might want more. If you lost their money, they might not forgive you for it. Either way, you have to think if your project is worth crossing the forbidden zone…and that’s just my two cents.
For Loaay Ahmed’s advice on business or work matters, send a short email to [email protected]. Please note that only the questions chosen for publishing will be answered.
Loaay Ahmed is a management consultant and strategic expert. To learn more about Loaay and his consulting service, strategic business therapy, visit www.knightscapital.com.