Aron

About Aron Brajtman

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Aron Brajtman has created 37 entries.

Managing Through a Financial Crisis

When faced by a financial crisis a business owner must focus on the following three important areas:

Reassessing the business model
Changing operations to reflect the new environment
Ensuring that enough cash is available

The Business Model
A business model does several things:

It explains why customers buy from your company. It’s seldom because you do the best work. Other dentists, builders, accountants etc. are just as competent. It’s not because you have the best team, as others also have great players. The reason your customers prefer your company vs. your competitors may be for a variety of reasons, such as price, convenience, location, inertia (too lazy to change), trust, or other intangible factors. For example, perhaps you provide 24/7 service and the competition does not.
It explains how you are able to charge prices that provide a profit, and how you provide enough value that customers will pay for what they receive from you.

The importance of a business model cannot be taken for granted. Environments change quickly, and the value you once provided may no longer be so special. In fact, your company’s added value […]

By |October 22nd, 2014|Growth, Survival|Comments Off on Managing Through a Financial Crisis|

Growing Your Business – No Longer Just a One Man Show

What is the difference between a CEO that operates a one man show, vs. a CEO that leads a real team?

Too many of us create a business consisting only of ourselves and two to three workers, and there it stays. In too many cases there is a lack of a business plan and sense of mission for the enterprise, and other more personal challenges such as limiting mind sets. We can refer to this type of business as a “one man show”.

What are the other attributes of a one man show?

First, the CEO owns the whole company. The owner’s view rules. The owner makes the decisions and the workers are only there to carry them out. Because of the small structure, the owner doesn’t do much planning, and may not even be aware of the importance and value of a business plan.

These owners compete on price and have a small number of customers. They care about their product but often don’t consider their staff worthy of further development. They have difficulty raising money and managing cash flow; work long hours, and at best make […]

By |October 22nd, 2014|Growth, Leadership|Comments Off on Growing Your Business – No Longer Just a One Man Show|

Customer Relationship Management

Customer Relationship Management
Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, is an integration of philosophy and software that caters to customers’ needs. CRM creates a relationship with a customer and ensures that your business is on the top of their mind when the time comes for a purchase. CRM also allows businesses to track their customers. The system calculates their value, their contribution to the bottom line, and ranks them as a desirable, mediocre or undesirable customer.

Some personal examples; my florist has a record of my earlier purchases and the occasion of the purchase. They have my e-mail, and so I receive reminders to send flowers for t holidays and birthdays.  They offer me a choice of selections, and continue to send me reminders up until the last minute, when   I can simply select an item and know that they will take care of delivery. They already have my credit card; so the whole process is seamless. I have never met my florist, but we have a relationship and I don’t even look elsewhere for another florist.

Much of my shopping for home furnishings is done at Bed […]

By |September 17th, 2014|Marketing|Comments Off on Customer Relationship Management|

Attaining Competitive Advantage

A business owner who wants more than just a job for life must design the business to attain some form of competitive advantage.

Your competitive advantage is what drives your customers to call you first instead of going elsewhere.

Competitive advantage leads to above average performance in one’s industry. Lack of competitive advantage implies at best an average performance, or being the same as the rest of the industry. […]

By |September 17th, 2014|Competitive Advantage, Strategy|Comments Off on Attaining Competitive Advantage|

Small Companies and Dangers of Growth

Small Companies and Dangers of Growth
In general, the owners of small businesses that I meet with believe that growth of sales is the solution to all problems. On the surface this makes sense. We sell more and our bottom line is improved.

What is not usually understood is that overhead grows along with sales, and that too goes to the bottom line. Growth requires additional sales and administrative staff, capital investments in machinery and buildings, and working capital that requires larger lines of credit. Growth also introduces complexities not considered previously, such as a larger and stronger management team. Our exposure to competitive forces is also increased as we are taking business away from our competitors. They will retaliate by lowering their prices, and so will we if we want to retain our customers.

As much as we desire growth, it needs to be part of an overall strategy that insures the growth will be well managed and ultimately successful.

By |June 8th, 2014|Strategy|Comments Off on Small Companies and Dangers of Growth|

Industry Profitability

Industry Profitability
 

What determines the profitability in an industry?

 

Michael Porter provides several answers to this important question.  Today we will deal with one of the answers, the threat of entry.

 

Threat of entry

 

When examining the threats of entry into an existing or potentially new market, the following questions need to be raised:

 

How easy is it for newcomers to break in?

Can anybody enter?

Think of the example of another pizza parlour opening up in your neighbourhood. All of a sudden the market has more vendors than before, with everyone fighting for the same size of the pie .

 

Do  newcomers need to fear sharp retaliation from incumbents? Can the incumbents drive the newcomers out?

 

Is a minimum size required for entry? Does this provide the incumbents with a cost advantage that the newcomers cannot match?

 

Do incumbents possess  a strong brand identification? Have they created powerful customer loyalty, or will the newcomers have no difficulty taking customers away?

 

 

Whether you are already in an industry or contemplating entry, consider the above, and evaluate the threats.

 

You may need to re-examine your business model.

 

By |May 26th, 2014|Strategy, Survival|Comments Off on Industry Profitability|

Considering New Markets?

Considering New Markets?
 

 

When considering new markets answer the following questions:

 

Does the market have high potential?

Is the market dominated by strong competitors or is it fractured among many small businesses?

Is the market easy to enter or are there strong barriers to entry? Will fresh competition find it easy to attack you ?

What is the profitability in the market? Is  it dependent on raw material costs that you have no control over and that cannot be passed on to the customer ?

 

Right  answers to the above will greatly enhance a successful entry into a new market.

 

By |May 26th, 2014|Strategy, Survival|Comments Off on Considering New Markets?|

Competing Today: Part 2

Competing Today: Part 2
In last month’s blog  I wrote that competing today means having the ability to provide the goods or services faster, helping buyers achieve their needs by providing new benefits, and building a mutually profitable long term relationship. This month I’m providing current examples of strategies used by various providers.

 

Strategy
Details of strategy
Applied by

Be cheaper than the competition
Be more efficient than the competition
Food Basics,IKEA,DollaramaCostco

Provide a higher quality product or service than the competition
 Provide a no hassle refund policy
Bed Bath and Beyond

Appeal to the social conscience of the target market
Fair trade products
Starbucks,Body Shop

Provide a unique experience for the customer
Enjoy the visit, know what you get, always find something new
Costco

Create a new business model
Appeal to customers’ unstated needs
Amazon,Apple,Charles Schwab

Discover and appeal to a niche
Eliminate the middleman
Property Guys

What can you do in your industry? Which strategy may work for you?

By |April 29th, 2014|Strategy|Comments Off on Competing Today: Part 2|

Have You Been Blindsided and Now the Business is Stuck?

Does this sound familiar?

In the past the business had been doing OK. The results were not spectacular but it provided a living  and there was hope for better things.

Suddenly things have changed. For some years now there has been no growth, maybe even a decline.

At best the future looks no better than the present. At worst the business is on its way to closing.

You may have been blindsided

Being blindsided may mean a total destruction of your business. Suddenly a new technology, a new service, and/or a new product make your business model redundant. And you are gone. For example, we all know how digital music has impacted the music business, and how digital news has affected newspapers. More recently how on line shopping has decimated retail stores.

Jim Harris, in his book “Blindsided”, talks about blind spots that organizations have that makes them susceptible to being blindsided. He claims that we as managers are too concerned with problem solving, and not enough with problem seeing. It’s problem seeing and opportunity perceiving that will separate the market leaders from the losers.
Why do companies get blindsided? Some […]

By |February 17th, 2014|Stuck, Survival|Comments Off on Have You Been Blindsided and Now the Business is Stuck?|

Have You Identified Your Key Success Factors?

Running a business appears complex. However, did you know that for most businesses, no more than five key factors need to be properly managed?  Here are some examples of industry and business key success factors.

Banking  requires:

○     the ability to obtain money cheaply

○    investing the money  at a profit.

The beer industry needs to have: :

○     full utilization of brewing capacity;

○     a strong network of wholesale distributors;

○     clever advertising

Apparel manufacturing demands:

○     appealing designs to attract the target market;

○      low-cost manufacturing efficiency to achieve  those high profit margins

An airline performs well when it has:

○      efficient routes;

○      excellent customer service;

○     ability to sell-out  seats;

○     forward contracts to weather the rising cost of fuel;

○     standardized airplane models for cheaper maintenance

A  hotel must have:

○     a good location

○     global appeal to attract world travelers

○     quality management. One hotel employee  can make the difference between a delighted customer or a customer who goes online and writes a bad review about their experience.

○     flexibility to meet the varying needs and expectations of customers.

 A   coffee business requires:

○      loyal customers

○     sufficient customer traffic in the neighbourhood;

○     satisfied and skilled […]

By |January 22nd, 2014|Stuck|Comments Off on Have You Identified Your Key Success Factors?|