Tag Archives: Business

Do Your Employees Need To Take A Business Course?

Whatever kind of business you run – whether you head up a team in an office, or are the manager of a supermarket department, every once in a while your employees will need to brush up on their skill set.

Perhaps your vision is to train certain employees to take on management roles and cut your workload. Or maybe you just want to enable your team to problem solve more effectively. Either way, a short business course could be the solution.

A good training program will teach your employees how to think critically and solve any problems they might face day-today. This involves learning how to diffuse conflict with employees, handle dissatisfied customers and give other problem-solving solutions.

Perhaps you have a promising employee you’d like to learn about management skills? An accredited training course could give them all the knowledge they need to run your company effectively in your absence.

Not only will they learn how to quickly and effectively solve problems at work, your employees will also learn to carry out preventative techniques to avoid issues occurring in the first place.

The right training program will also teach them how to approach many different situations with poise and authority, applying a range of unique skills to meet the requirements of different situations. A lot of this teaching will be hands-on and will involve role-play to get employees involved – they won’t just be taking notes!

Your employees will also gain valuable insight into the administration aspect of your industry, studying documents such as balance sheets, cash flow analysis reports and income statements. This will allow them to further their knowledge of the back-office element of management. They will also be taught about business systems and frameworks for different industries.

Perhaps you want to encourage more of a team ethic in your workplace? An accredited training program will teach your team to work more effectively and productively beside one another, fusing a range of proven techniques with new and creative practical solutions to workplace problems.

These types of courses are offered all over the world, and a simple Google search should generate some good results. It’s a good idea to build up a relationship with a reputable training company, so that you can use them again in the future when your employees are ready to learn something new, or need another refresher session.

Some companies will offer discounts to regular clients, particularly when they book classes in advance, so there are benefits to staying organised and getting your company training courses booked ahead of time. This works well for employees who may have to travel as well.

One of the benefits of using a global training company is that they usually use the most highly trained professional tutors. They also tend to give training programs for smaller groups, so your team will get more of a tailored approach to their learning, and each one of their needs will be met.

Global companies also tend to offer training in a few different languages, too, which will be highly beneficial if you use a diverse team.

There are a range of more specifically targeted programs available, including Business Plan and Critical Thinking courses. But if you want to provide your employees with a vast array of knowledge, an introductory program is a good place to start.

These training courses are invaluable, and will help maximise on both your employee and client satisfaction. They are also highly affordable, so you won’t be committing to an expense your business can’t manage. The benefits to your workplace will be numerable, and your employees will be more driven in their careers.

Online Business Degrees

Have you have made the decision to get an online business degree but do not quite know what business area to specialize in? If you are looking for flexibility, it is hard to think of another field as vast as business. Online business degree programs tend to incorporate classes from all specialties of business, giving you the knowledge to tackle any business project. You may choose a general online business degree such as an online business administration degree or you may specialize by pursuing a specialty such as an online accounting degree. To help you decide, here is what you can expect to learn in the many online business degree programs that are offered.   

Online Accounting Degree

Accountants are essential to all organizations, as accountants log income and assets. To remain competitive today’s economy, organizations are actively seeking job candidates who are thoroughly knowledgeable of accounting theories and practices. Upper level positions in accounting are always available for those with the essential understanding of generally accepted accounting principles practiced in today’s accounting profession. An online accounting degree will provide you with the knowledge of financial, managerial and tax accounting practices. Besides organizing and preparing a company’s financial statements, accountants are may also get involved in projects such as reviewing new accounting technology and evaluate financials for mergers and acquisitions.

 

Online Business Management Degree

For ultimate flexibility it’s difficult to think of a degree as valuable as an online business management degree. Organizations are actively seeking job candidates who are well-rounded in their knowledge of business practices and management methodologies. For those with the understanding of the skills to effectively direct the required imperatives that today’s marketplace demands, upper level positions in management are always available. An online business management degree will teach you critical communication and problem-solving skills, along with practical knowledge about how businesses operate and function successfully.

 

Online Business Administration Degree

Can’t decide what business specialty to pursue? If so, then an online business administration degree is the way to go. With a degree in Business Administration, you will learn all of the fundamentals required in business & management including communication, critical thinking, strategizing and problem solving. An online business management degree is your ticket to a wide variety of specialties, from office management and accounting to financial administration and human resources.

 

Online Communications Degree

With an online communications degree, you will become a vital part of any company seeking to stay on top of the fast-changing communications curve. After obtaining a an online communications degree, you will have a thorough knowledge of the different methods of communication including print, television, radio and the web. You will also learn the best practices to apply whether the you are trying to get a message across to one person, a community, or the entire world.

 

Online Finance Degree

The finance of any organization must be properly managed to make sure that the company is profitable and an online finance degree would make you invaluable to any organization as you help them to stay above their profit margins. With an online finance degree, you’ll learn the principles of accounting and finance, asset and debt management and financial analysis. After obtaining your online finance degree, you will know how to plan, evaluate and manage a company’s financial position and make recommendations to improve a company’s standing.

 

Online Human Resources Degree

As companies hire new recruits, companies turn to their human resources team to assist them in the company’s growth.  Your online human resources degree can make sure that you have a thorough understanding of human resources practices to help any organization grow. There is more to human resources than just interviewing and hiring. Earning an online human resources degree will not only provide you with the skills to interview and recruit new staff for a company, but you will also learn about employment law, labor policies, and proper hiring and training procedures.

   

Online International Business Degree

When companies have reached a maximum in their U.S. market share, companies often look to grow by gaining market share abroad. With an online international business degree in, you will be much sought after since you have the knowledge to take any company to an international level. An online international business degree will combine basic principles of business theory and management with an international focus. With the knowledge you gain, you will learn about the factors that affect international business activity and how to face roadblocks that international companies run into.

 

Online Management Information Systems Degree

Information is the lifeblood of every company and companies rely on MIS personnel to make sure that information is handy and can be shared in the fastest way possible. With an online degree in Management Information Systems, you will have a great understanding of both information and technology and how to combine the two together. Earning an online management information systems degree will teach you how to think like a businessperson and a programmer, enhancing your understanding of technology within the business world. This will allow you to deliver information technology solutions to any organization.

 

Online Marketing Degree 

The deeper we move into our fast-paced information age, the more important it is for corporations to invest in people with the most current, cutting-edge, marketing knowledge and expertise. An online marketing degree will provide you with this expertise. With an online marketing degree you will learn necessary skills related to marketing strategies and planning, price setting and product development, how to identify key customer needs and trends, how to promote products and services internationally, different communication avenues available in the digital age, and creative approaches that will arm you with the latest in vital marketing information.

 

Online Masters of Business Administration – MBA

An online MBA – Masters in Business Administration will give you the credibility you need to succeed in a competitive business environment. Earning an online MBA will broaden your chances of success as you will learn how to think like a business owner. An online MBA will also train you in critical thinking and enhance your understanding of the business and financial world.

 

Online Business Degree Programs

As you can see, an online business degree will prepare you for any career in the business world. Whether you want to join a corporation, already work for one, or want to start your company, an online business degree will embark you on your journey to success.

Fulfill Your Dream and Career Goals Through the Business Analytics Course

In the present era, the Data Scientists or the analytics are in high demand. Their occupation is extremely renowned as well as prominent amongst each and every individual. In fact, now a day’s youngsters want this specific occupation as the reliable career option.

What is the profession all about?

As you known people cannot live without oxygen, and as similar as that Data is the first and foremost option for them. The have their specific work based on numbers including the statistics collection and also optimizing. The scientist works on certain figures optimization, and they also have to carry the precise value of the stats. They actually cannot create the ultimate solution, but they have to deliver the best solution that they can provide.

Advantages of this particular job

In this recent marketplace, there is the particular standard issue towards the safe as well as secure job. Each and every youngster needs a reliable job in their career. One just has to be aware to get the proficient job in an extremely popular company.

At the present time people are very picky towards their job, they always are in search for best career breaks. This time, the job of the Business analytics course is very familiar.

Amongst all of the other career opportunities you can easily go for this particular course, which will help you in accomplishing the ultimate goal in profession. Basically, this is one of the reliable career options as the beginner. One can easily gain the vast knowledge of this job only by joining any institute. This can be a trustworthy job for every individual. Firstly, one should have a profound knowledge related to this job so that they can quickly catch the pros and cons by joining any organization.

A definite overview of this job

If an individual has a keen interest in data research job or they are virtually looking for the similar job, or they want to make their career in this kind of job then they must get the profound idea about what the job is all about. This particular certification provides the bunch of benefits that one can easily enjoy at its fullest.

Some of the people out there always love to manage this kind of project and have the charm towards the Business analytics course; they can apply for teachings at any institute. Once, they complete the relevant drill, they will be able to implement this training in many places and can make worthy uses of it.

So, if they you have the great ambition towards this job, they can get so many institutions to take the coaching. Ample of organizations are there provide the best training along with upgraded technologies. But whenever you go to take the training program you only have to go for the best place. You can easily increase the knowledge just by joining any of the commercial institutes.

One of the finest parts to join an association is that you will be supervised by lots of occupational professionals or subject experts. You can also discuss on any organization work along with them. In fact, you can also get from any famous and well-known company; you can get any worthy job related to this at anywhere. Choosing the proper organization and dealing with them will help you in accomplishing the right kind of career option.

Business School Campus Life – Be Creative

B School (Business School) is a university-level institute that provides the degree in management or business administration courses at graduate and master level programme. Whenever a successful businessman reveals his success secrets it begins with his b-school campus life. A campus life that offers the perfect blend of education and business. It sustains professional conducts and creates practical learning experience to embrace the core basics of the management. B-school campus life has a huge impact on the students’ life on the interpersonal and professional conduct. To provide practical learning towards management and related subjects.

With changing business environment, evolving companies are demanding more than the graduates- the creative thinker and the creative leaders. Significantly, management conventions are putting their best to cater the needs of the companies. The focus is more on practical experience with the detailed knowledge of management studies. The campus life ensures this notion with the advancement in studies and technical expertise and thus, become the practical life training institute.

The class lectures in training institute are combined with the numbers of functional aspects. It includes learning either through the presentation, case study analysis, role play, psychometric analysis, swot analysis or online research and database. Faculty always guide students to how to shape their career and achieve their business goal. Along with the study advancement, the campus life offers extracurricular facilities to groom students. It includes a high-tech library, wi-fi enabled campus, cafeteria and free transportation services.

Different campus activities are carried out through the student clubs. These clubs are created in the different disciplines (Human Resources, Finance, Marketing, Arts Community) to develop practical implication of the subject knowledge. It creates a practical learning environment that develops and enhances the communication skills, the teamwork, the management skills as well as leadership that cannot be expected in any single day skill development class.

The Business schools campus life plays a vital role in preparing students for the campus recruitment. The exercise begins from resume writing to the online test, moc test, pre-placement talk, group discussion and the personal interview. Workshops and career seminars are integral to the programme that develop organizational and leadership skills. It reviews students approach for choosing the correct career path and help them to shape it. They provide an insight into the method of choosing the career and its challenges and highlight the need of choosing the career at an early stage with combining the hobby and interest. This helps students to know the actual competition in the corporate world and their lacking areas to work upon.

What Makes A Good Business School?

Business degrees are very popular and there are so many universities and even colleges offering them. The business job market is lucrative hence more and more people are choosing to study business as a good investment for a bright future. But to get the best whether you choose to pursue an MBA or an undergraduate degree, you must start by selecting the best school from where to get your studies from. The right business school will propel you into your business field only if it is founded on the best qualities. What then are these qualities that will make your business school a good and reliable one?

1. Strong leadership – This is a very critical element that determines how good a business school is. The leadership or administration of the school matters; for you to get the best you must be led by an experienced team in academia and business. This way the school is run and set as part of the business community and there is the collective vision to support and balance student, alumni and faculty interests.

2. Competent faculty – For a school to deliver quality education in business, it ought to have talented and qualified researchers and teachers. The faculty should be knowledgeable and experienced so they can effectively teach the aspiring business leaders. An inspiring faculty does not only dwell on theoretical standpoints, but also emphasizes on the application of the theory to real business world issues. Apart from gaining valuable education from such a faculty, you will also have an easy time getting business advice and getting connected to business career opportunities.

3. Appropriate majors and subjects – There are so many areas in business field and you could choose to specialize in a given area or degrees that are more general. A good business school should offer relevant majors and subjects that address the goals you have in pursuing a business degree program. For instance, students who wish to start their own business in the future should go for institutions offering business courses that are solid and allows specialization in entrepreneurship. Think about where you want to be when choosing a school so you start off on the right path.

4. Student support – Making educational decision can be a little tricky and you should therefore get all the support that you might need to make the best. A good business school should offer you guidance from the time you apply for a program all the way to even after graduating. You should be offered necessary help with simple and complex matters so you have the resources you need to be the business professional you aspire to be. Schools with strong alumni networks and career centers are best placed.

5. Good reputation – The overall ranking of the school among business schools can tell you a lot about its quality and worth. Rankings usually rely on important factors such as faculty, programs offered, student services, career support an research. Find out what kind of ratings and reviews are given to the business school just to be sure.

The Primary Cause Of Business Financing Frustration

Finding proper business financing is not easy at the best of times for most small and medium sized business owners and managers.

There are a number of reasons that collectively explain why the business financing market can be so difficult to understand and navigate.

But probably the single biggest reason is the lack of useful information about how the business financing market actually works.

Business financing information and education sources predominantly come in two forms: 1) Text books; 2) Major bank advertising.

If you’ve ever read through a educational finance text book or taken a business financing course, you already know how difficult it can be to apply the theories, principles, and strategies to a small or medium sized business.

Our formal education system provides limited information as to how the market place works, how to plan for financing requirements, how to manage periods of growth, decline, transition, start up, etc.

Sure academic books and courses can go through all these areas in great detail, but is the information practical, real world, something you can relate to and apply yourself as a manager or owner of a small or medium sized business?

In most cases, the answer is a resounding NO.

Most finance text books speak to big business financing dynamics that are not easily transferable to small and medium sized business scenarios.

Outside of the formal education system, the next great source of business financing information is the information provided by the major banks, which they tend to make available to you by the boat load through their broad based marketing campaigns.

Unfortunately, the information by itself seldom helps you determine if a particular institution would be able to provide you with financing, or what would be required to qualify for a loan.

The good news is that business financing sources continue to grow in numbers as more and more lenders carve out a particular piece of the market to service.

In order to take advantage of these alternatives, you need to have a solid approach in place when seeking business financing.

Here’s a short list of things to consider

>>> Develop a solid, ongoing, understanding of both your personal and business assets, income, and cash flow.

Regardless of the business financing model, these elements will always come into play to some degree.

Being able to demonstrate a solid understanding of your business financials is also an indication of your ability to manage the underlying business.

>>> Monitor and manage your personal and business credit.

Small and medium sized business financing is focused on both personal and business credit histories.

Regular reviews of both personal and business credit reports from the major credit reporting agencies are important to avoid errors and credit practices that can severely damage your borrowing power.

>>> Develop your marketing position.

Yes, seeking business financing is a marketing exercise.

When applying for business financing, you’re marketing your business to lending sources and they in turn are marketing their business financing programs to you.

Think of the lender as a customer to better understand what they’re looking for. Then, develop a business proposal that addresses all their potential needs and concerns.

>>> Research Lending Sources

There are lots of business financing sources. But there is also lots of variation in the types of business applications each one is prepared to consider.

Broad based lenders rely on credit history and net worth. As you get more specific in terms of financing application and industry, lender programs become more narrow and can be harder to locate.

You need to consider things like industry, sector, and geography when looking for business financing sources.

Financing consultants and business loan brokers can be an excellent source of information to aid you in this process.

>>> Qualify The Lender

Before you make a formal application, find out if the lender has the programs and lending track record to meet your specific needs.

Too often, the lender is doing all the qualifying.

>>> Compare your options

Depending on the scenario, there can be several financing strategies that could work for your business.

Make sure you take the time to compare before making a decision. The extra time spent could save you considerable time and money in the long run.

>>> Start Today

Regardless of what your business financing needs are right now, you should regularly invest time staying on top of your business financials, monitoring your credit, and researching financing sources that fit your industry and potential future requirements.

When the time comes to acquire capital, your proactive efforts can make all the difference in getting the capital you need with terms and timing that are acceptable to your business.

Online Bachelor Degree in Business

Usually, online bachelor business degrees are awarded by colleges or universities after three to five years in study.

Also, online bachelor’s degree in business creates highly talented and competent professionals who can adopt themselves to the world of business. These bachelors business degree programs teaches and trains students as business marketing specialist because marketing is the key to financial success of a business organization. Online Bachelor Business degree programs are designed in such a way for students who want to complete a four year business degree from home, and most courses can be completed entirely on web while others may require students to complete lab work or hands – on activities at a designated location. Completing a bachelor’s degree online is advantageous over traditional campus – based programs and students of all ages and backgrounds can find suitable programs that complement their educational goals.

Bachelor Degrees in Business includes:

  • Bachelors Degree Accounting
  • Bachelors Degree Advertising
  • Bachelors Degree in Applied Management
  • Bachelors Degree in Banking and Finance
  • Bachelors Degree in Business Administration
  • Bachelors Degree in Business Management
  • Bachelors Degree in Christian Studies
  • B D in Communications
  • B D in Contract Management
  • B D in E – Commerce
  • B D in Economics
  • B D in Entrepreneurship
  • B D in Fashion Merchandising
  • B D in Financial Management
  • B D in Fraud Management
  • B D in Hospitality Management
  • B D in Human Resources
  • B D in Information Management
  • B D in International Business
  • B D in Labor Relations
  • B D in Leadership
  • B D in Marketing
  • B D in Non – Profit Management
  • B D in Office Management
  • B D in Operations Management
  • B D in Organizational Management
  • B D in Private Sector Accounting
  • B D in Project Management
  • B D in Public Administration
  • B D in Retail Management
  • B D in Sales and Marketing
  • B D in Tax Preparation

The business world is changing rapidly and evolving and the bachelor degree programs in business equips you with knowledge of unique and innovative strategies that help you to cope with any challenges and crisis posed by fluctuating business trends. Online bachelor’s degree in business acquaints you with quality business practices, business strategies, business ethics and business accountability. Online bachelor’s degree in business is designed so as to help students in identifying the current marketing trends, which is essential for the success of any business.

Colleges and Universities Offering Bachelor’s Degree in Business

  • DeVry University online
  • Kaplan University online
  • AIU online
  • University of Phoenix online
  • Columbia Southern University online
  • Ashford University online
  • Rasmussen College online
  • Westwood College online

The Importance of Business Acumen Training For Managers and Employees

The message to CLOs is becoming clearer and clearer. Company leaders want them to align educational offerings with the organization’s strategic objectives.

That’s not an easy challenge. They must ensure that education and communication initiatives reinforce the company’s goals. They must help employees understand these goals and develop the skills and motivation to contribute to them.

And at the most basic level of alignment, they must make sure that every employee understands how the company makes money. That includes understanding how profitability is driven, how assets are used, how cash is generated and how day-to-day actions and decisions, including their own, impact success.

Developing business acumen is fundamental to business alignment. Consider Southwest Airlines, which was founded in 1971. With 33 straight years of profitability, the airline has become widely recognized for the motivational culture it creates for employees and its extraordinary dedication to customer service.

Much of the industry has suffered during the years of Southwest’s growth, including many airlines that have merged or declared bankruptcy. Southwest buys the same planes and the same jet fuel as other airlines, and pays its employees competitive wages and benefits. What’s the difference?

Unlike some of its competitors, Southwest’s management team involves employees in the company’s financial results, explaining what the numbers mean and, more important, helping to link everyone’s decisions and actions to the bottom line. The airline has an open culture, one of inclusion at all levels, and employees understand their roles in providing great service and keeping costs in line.

Certainly there are other factors that contribute to the success at Southwest, but it’s difficult to ignore the positive impact of an approach that develops the business acumen of all employees and managers so that they can contribute to the airline’s success.

An Educational Challenge

Unlike those at Southwest, individual contributors and managers in many organizations today have not been educated about the big picture of their businesses. They have a narrow focus on their own departments and job functions and aren’t able to make the link between their actions and the company’s success. Multiplied by hundreds or even thousands of employees, this lack of understanding – the lack of true business acumen – means that too many decisions are being made and too many actions are being taken that don’t align with business objectives.

How can training help bridge this knowledge gap? For many companies like Southwest, implementing learning programs designed to develop a strong foundation of financial literacy and business acumen has made the communication of financial results to employees easier and more effective.

Business Acumen: A Definition

Very simply, business acumen is the understanding of what it takes for a business to make money. It involves financial literacy, which is an understanding of the numbers on financial statements, as well as an understanding of the strategies, decisions and actions that impact these numbers.

Someone with financial literacy, for example, would be able to “read” the company’s income statement. This employee or manager would understand the terminology (revenue, cost of goods sold, gross margin, profit, etc.) and what the numbers represent (i.e., gross margin equals total sales/revenue less the cost of goods sold).

With business acumen, the individual would be able to “interpret” this same income statement, taking into consideration how company strategies and initiatives have impacted the numbers during specific periods of time.

Consider a simple comparison: In football, it’s necessary for players to know how the game is scored as well as how to play the game to change the score. In business, financial literacy is understanding the “score” (financial statements) and business acumen is understanding how to impact it (strategic actions and decisions).

Asking the Right Questions

When business acumen spreads through an organization, employees and managers begin to ask questions. These questions are directed not only at the organization, but also at themselves and their departments – questions about processes, products, systems, staffing and more that can lead to necessary and innovative decisions and actions.

Business acumen helps everyone understand that it’s not enough to ask, “How do we cut costs?” or to say, “We need to increase sales.” Digging deeper, employees with higher levels of business acumen will ask questions that take into consideration the far-reaching impact of potential decisions and demonstrate a greater ability to make the connections between performance and results.

Questions that could get to the root of disappointing operating ratios:

• Have production costs gone up? If so, why?

• Have we changed prices? If so, how has that affected our margins?

• Are there any competitive issues impacting our performance?

• Have there been any customer requirement changes?

• If our costs per unit produced have gone up, can we better control the efficiency of our production or service delivery?

• Is there a way to produce a greater product volume at the same cost?

• Can we raise prices, still provide value to the customer and remain competitive?

When questions become more specific, the right decisions can be made.

Business Acumen for Managers

Managers at all levels need a high level of business acumen to do their jobs. Every day, they make decisions about employees, projects, processes, expenditures, customers and much more – decisions that ultimately roll up into larger organizational results. Managers who make these decisions while looking through a departmental lens only, with a limited understanding of how these decisions affect financial results or how they are tied to the organization’s goals and objectives, are working in silos that can ultimately damage the company.

Managers are often promoted to their positions of responsibility because of their “technical” expertise. They’ve been successful customer service representatives, great salespeople, innovative researchers or well-respected IT professionals. They are now entrusted with decision making, budgets, projects and people. They often do not have financial literacy, nor have they developed a higher-level perspective about the business. Over time, especially if they move up the managerial ladder, they may develop these. Or they may not.

Organizations need managers who operate as part of the management team, taking accountability for their own results as well as the results of the entire company. Therefore, more and more organizations have built financial literacy and business acumen into managerial competency requirements and have integrated business acumen training into management curriculums.

Business Acumen for Employees

Although there is little debate about the need for managers to develop business acumen, organizations sometimes question the need for this understanding at employee levels. But frontline contributors, those who are most directly involved with production or customer service, for example, take actions every day that impact business results.

Consider the salesperson who discounts products, or the service representative who deals with an unhappy customer, or the maintenance person who notices a problem. The actions each of them takes might erode profit margin, lose a good customer or allow safety issues to escalate. Without an understanding of how their actions impact the company’s results, they might not have the context to consider alternatives.

Many organizations have determined that financial literacy and business acumen aren’t just for managers anymore. They have decided to develop a company of people who understand the business; who know what return on assets and return on investment mean; who know how inventory turnover rates affect results and the importance of positive cash flow; who see the connection between the company’s financial success and their own health benefits, 401(k) plans and more. In other words, they need people who understand the “business” of the business.

In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins says, “We found no evidence that the ‘good-to-great’ companies had more or better information than the comparison companies. None. Both sets of companies had virtually identical access to good information. The key, then, lies not in better information, but in turning information into information that cannot be ignored.”

With an increased level of business acumen, managers and employees can better interpret information, making the connection between their actions and the company’s results.

Another Reality of Today’s Business World

A public company’s operating results are well known at the end of each quarter. Analysts, investors, the media, employees-everyone has access to a company’s financial results. With a significantly increased focus on accounting improprieties over the past few years, senior management has become highly conscious of the need to provide accurate and timely financial information. And employees have become much more likely to wonder about these numbers. “Is my company being honest? Are the numbers telling the whole story?”

Without a fundamental understanding of financial results and an ability to interpret them, employees may become suspicious and, ultimately, disengaged. Disengaged workers, in turn, negatively impact productivity and profits.

CEOs of public companies, then, must ensure that managers and employees are able to understand the numbers and have confidence in them. That means effective business acumen education as well as ongoing and open communication from the top.

Former GE chairman Jack Welch said in his book Straight from the Gut, “Getting every employee’s mind into the game is a huge part of what the CEO job is all about…There’s nothing more important.”

The Big Picture

As we have become a nation of specialists, armed with new information technology and enterprise-wide operating systems, it has become easier for managers and employees to become myopically immersed in their own jobs. This immersion can have the effect of obscuring their view of the big picture. They may not consider the cumulative effect of wasted assets. They may have little regard for the objectives and responsibilities of other team members, departments or divisions. They may lack the motivation to invest personal energy in critical project work.

Organizations that engage in developing business acumen provide a clearer vision and an overall context within which employees can work, while creating an environment that is more likely to break down internal barriers. There is less waste and less ambivalence. There is increased innovation. Employees are more engaged, they understand their role and its impact on business results, and they are more likely to believe that their efforts really matter. They are more likely to think like a business owner.

Think Like an Owner

To be successful, business owners must be able to helicopter above day-to-day issues and see the big picture. They must understand how the pieces of the business fit together to impact profitability and cash flow, and they must be able to assess the risks and rewards of potential decisions. The best business owners study the numbers, ask themselves tough questions, analyze their mistakes and take decisive action.

To truly understand the business, owners have to understand how that business makes money – in other words, how it produces sales, profit and cash. Organizationally, they know that it’s about people, processes and productivity. On the customer front, it’s about satisfaction, loyalty and market share. Ultimately, every action taken and every decision made in any of these areas will impact sales, profit or cash.

When managers and employees begin thinking like owners, they, too, look at the big picture, understand how all the pieces fit together, and assess risks and rewards. They understand, like an owner, how the company makes money, how it stays in business and how they contribute to its success.

The benefits to an organization of engaging managers and employees in this kind of ownership thinking are obvious. So how can a company develop the business acumen of its people?

Developing Business Acumen: Two Stories

Entrepreneurs are generally forced to develop business acumen on their own. They are hands-on with their businesses and have to make all the decisions as they go along, whether good or bad. They either learn from their mistakes or fail.

It’s very different for managers and employees in an organization.

They aren’t involved in all aspects of the business, and they make decisions primarily within their own areas of responsibility. Since seeing the connections isn’t easy, they need to learn in some other way.

Books and lectures can help. But business acumen is best developed experientially. Learners must be able to analyze situations, ask questions, discuss issues with other learners, consider options, make mistakes and see results.

Although there are a variety of ways to accomplish this kind of experiential learning, many companies have found that simulations, which mirror reality and allow learners to experiment in a safe environment, are one of the best ways. Here are the stories of two companies who chose to educate their learners with business simulations.

Comcast Cable Communications

The NorthCentral Division of Comcast – one of the country’s largest entertainment, information and communications companies, specializing in cable television, high-speed Internet and telephone service – set out to ensure that managers and employees throughout the organization had the financial acumen required to make good decisions. A companywide survey had clearly demonstrated this need – especially for managers of employees who had direct contact with customers.

For example, if a customer calls with a service problem, frontline employees and their supervisors can issue credits to the customer’s account in an effort to resolve the issue. Although this may be exactly what is needed for the situation, Comcast realized that employees making these decisions didn’t necessarily understand that a $10 credit could ultimately require more than $100 in revenue for the company to break even. Similarly, a service technician’s visit to a customer’s home might cost $50 directly, but the company might have to sell an additional $500 in services to cover the cost.

“The lack of financial acumen among supervisors and employees was largely understandable,” says Mark Fortin, senior vice president of finance for Comcast’s NorthCentral Division. “Almost 75 percent of the company’s employees are on the front lines in roles such as call center personnel or field technicians. They are trained to be good at what they do, but their backgrounds typically don’t include emphasis on financial literacy.”

Comcast human resource executives determined that a fundamental approach to the development of business acumen was needed. However, this approach also would need to be fast, engaging and job-relevant. Expanding upon its already robust Comcast University management curriculum, the executives chose to integrate a high-energy, tailored learning experience that would provide the “basics” and, at the same time, deal specifically with Comcast terminology, concepts and strategic imperatives.

As they participated, learners made decisions about products, processes, pricing and more, and they saw how those decisions impacted financial success. In the end, it became easier for them to make sharper day-to-day choices.

“The thing that sticks out for the frontline leaders, the field technicians, and the call center supervisors and managers who attend, is the high cost of sales in our business,” says Sophia Alexander, senior manager of curriculum and metrics for the division. “It’s like a bell goes off in their heads when they realize what it costs for us to earn what we need to earn to run the organization.”

Attending the learning session is not mandatory for supervisors and managers. However, there is an unwritten expectation that they will participate in business acumen training as well as other Comcast University core programs, according to Jan Underhill, senior manager of leadership development for the NorthCentral Division. That expectation, coupled with the fact that manager compensation has recently become tied to meeting specific financial goals, has kept attendance high.

Senior executive support also has been an important factor in creating interest and awareness around financial literacy. “Getting people to sign up is much easier when senior executives like Mark Fortin are strong advocates for the program,” says Underhill.

Feedback has been resoundingly positive. On average, for example, Level 1 feedback about the discovery learning based business acumen sessions has been 4.5 on a 5-point scale. That means that the program has exceeded expectations. Better than that, says Sophia Alexander, senior manager of curriculum and metrics for the NorthCentral Division, is the empirical evidence that the new insights and knowledge have made a difference. For example:

• Participant self-evaluations indicate that financial literacy has increased by at least 25 percent as a result of the business acumen training.

• After the training, there was a 20 percent increase in the participants’ ability to use basic financial terms and concepts on the job.

• Almost 45 percent of supervisory participants report that they are using their business acumen knowledge in daily communications with staff and peers.

“Some people, particularly in big companies, feel like there is an open checkbook. They think… I don’t own the company. It’s not my problem. Somebody will pay the bills. But in today’s environment, with some very large companies in trouble, everyone needs to be part of the solution. Business acumen education for managers and employees helps the company as a whole, but it also helps employees. It’s about self-preservation to some extent.” comments Fortin.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is one of the consistently profitable companies that makes “business literacy” a core component of its employee training programs. Every employee has a solid understanding of what a new customer, and new revenue, means to the company. Employees also know how the loss of a customer can impact the business.

According to Elizabeth Bryant, director of leadership training at Southwest Airlines, “Our training covers how the financial ratios such as return on assets and various margins are determined. Knowing that team managers, supervisors and all employees have this knowledge enables the company’s leadership to present detailed financial reports and explain to the teams where the margins need to be. Management can speak more in depth to all the employees, and the employees understand what the objectives are.”

Bryant added, “Because we don’t waste the little things, because we track every penny and every activity, we’ve all come to know the importance of each cent. With the pennies in hand, we spotlight the idea of compound interest- for example, how the small savings help us by year’s end and how small amounts of waste can conversely add up to hurt us.”

Consider the importance of a key operating metric for the airline industry – operating cost-per-seat mile. This is how much it costs an airline to fly one seat one mile. All the operating costs are divided by the total number of seat miles (the total number of miles of all the seats that were flown for a given period, whether a passenger was in the seat or not). Much of the industry has had cost-per-seat mile results at or over 10 cents. Southwest Airlines’ cost-per-seat mile is about 6.5 cents. The lowest cost-per-seat mile in the industry almost 25 years ago was just over 5 cents.

How do they do it? Certainly there are a number of factors that lead to success. However, one of the key influences is Southwest’s ongoing training in business acumen. This training ensures that employees know:

• How challenging it is to ensure ongoing profitability; making a profit can never be taken for granted

• The importance of utilizing the benefits of the good years to prepare for the tough years

• The impact of individual actions and decisions to the bottom line

In other words, Southwest invests in training to help employees think like business owners. This, in turn, produces real results, like its consistently low cost-per-seat mile. When Southwest’s learning team decided to implement a business acumen simulation several years ago, there was some initial concern about how well it would be received.

Bryant explained, “Some people, especially those without financial training, were nervous about the topic. We are such a people-oriented company that we didn’t want people to think that now we’re just a financially oriented company and everyone will be judged purely on financial performance. But we positioned the need for the business literacy training as another way to prove that we actually care tremendously for each employee. We explained that if you understand what the numbers mean then you can better understand how your work provides an integral contribution to the business.”

Southwest Airlines, according to Bryant, has never had a layoff – a rarity in the airline business. The more their employees understand the challenges of the business, the better they appreciate the importance of making smart decisions every day.

Bryant concluded that the discovery learning techniques in a robust business simulation work well in the Southwest culture because of the team orientation. “All the participants learn that they can’t individually make it all happen,” said Bryant. “They learn that they have to look beyond themselves, act and think like an owner, and realize that our efforts and financial results here are not just for a career, but for a cause. It’s this cause-oriented philosophy toward delivering a low-cost, high-quality service that allows people the opportunity to travel. Our success at achieving positive results translates to individual opportunities to work, to grow and to continually think of innovative ways to improve our business and serve our customers.”

The Classroom Advantage

These two companies chose to develop the business acumen of managers and employees by using a classroom-based simulation, facilitated by instructors at company sites. Although online options were available and were used in some cases to supplement the instructor-led training sessions, they decided that there were significant advantages to tackling this subject in a “live” session where they could leverage the power of:

• SHARED KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE: Learners bring their own perspectives and issues to the session.

• TEAMWORK: Learners work together, make decisions together and rely on each other as they learn.

• COMPETITIVE FUN: Small teams “play” against each other and enjoy a competitive environment.

• COMPANY-SPECIFIC DISCUSSIONS: The learners’ common interest in their own company’s financial and strategic issues allows for greater analysis and depth of discussions and a true “connection” between the learning simulation and the organization’s reality.

• LEARNING MOTIVATION AND COMFORT: Learners who may not be comfortable with the subject of finance find themselves playing a game in the comfort of a team environment.

Although there are a number of educational approaches available to organizations in the area of business acumen, classroom-based training that brings together teams of learners can help ensure that learning occurs and that connections to the business are made in ways that prompt action back on the job.

The Bottom Line

More than ever, successful companies will need to focus on developing the business acumen of managers and employees. These companies will realize that when their people understand the numbers, when they understand how their departments contribute to the company’s objectives and when they see how their own decisions and actions make a difference, they will begin to operate as part of a team rather than in a departmental or personal silo. And a critical piece of the alignment puzzle will be solved.

With widespread business acumen, companies can have a powerful asset – educated, knowledgeable and motivated employees. And with this asset, those will be the companies best positioned to succeed.

HR’s Viability & Role in Business Strategy

Human Resources management in recent years has fought to be seen as a vital determinant of the business. In addition, executive leadership along with board of directors’ decision on what HR actually brings to the table in regard to strategic business planning and organization has begun to reconsider the concept of HR being a high-level paper pusher but due to recent changes in employment law, the necessity for HR is imperative now more than ever. Today’s workforce is no longer a collection of the traditional employee but that of diversity, innovation, uniqueness, advanced technology and the urge towards corporate/social responsibility. Businesses, as well as major corporations, must provide strategic goals, objectives, mission, vision, and values along with an effective change in how to permit the new role of HR management within the scope.

Perception of HR in Business

HR perception in the past has shone dimly of actuality on the role of the HR professional. Due to a myriad of reasons such as lack of vision, related education, business acumen, experience, specific policy, strategic focus, and effective HR senior leadership has caused HR to be viewed negatively as a waste of labor hours. What may account for this perception is the human resources role within organizations in the past by senior executive management, human resources were known (and still is) as a paper pusher of company rules and is only around for hiring, firing, and handling complex issues regarding employee relations. Senior management’s direction placed on those in human resources is also the reason for the perception, when employment is low then they ask, what function is human resources serving, but when the need for staffing is high, then the tune changes and the role of human resources within strategic business and objectives is necessary. Those in senior management need to know how they want human resources to be included in business and organizational strategic planning so that the role and area of expertise are understood, in addition, responsibilities to both employees and the organization are well defined. The beginning includes reexamining the vision and mission of the company while also discovering what aspect HR will contribute for the organizational accomplishments beyond recruitment, staffing, termination, and utilizing the myriad of talent that human resources possess.

HR professionals bringing a new perspective with a bold mission for the organization is a great place to begin in how the change in perception revitalizes the role of HR because, in today’s workforce, diversity and organizational culture are one of the many roles of HR. The workforce of today requires HR displaying its focus areas/disciplines and distributing how much they impact the organization, especially with massive attention on workplace diversity, is a complex issue that requires more concentration on the employees within the organization in addition to a workplace policy that embraces differences within the talent community. HR professionals are frontline communicators leading the organization’s standard of operations inappropriate employee behavior, and respect for others but also involves management fully understanding employment laws and ethical employment practices.

Ensuring a steady comprehension of the company’s business and organizational goals along with being increasingly knowledgeable of current employment laws and regulations that assist in governing the company along with necessary training of managers and supervisors. Providing flexibility with communication and also taking the time to get to know employees and their goals is another method of revitalizing the perception of HR.

In regard to the changes that HR has gone through, some companies still utilize the department as executive secretary liaisons between the employees and management; however, this perception has dampened HR due to those in the department not really understanding how to address employees during challenging employment issues.

HR’s Road to Recovery

Recent research by business writers and HR professionals have begun to explain the lack of purpose attitude for the HR department as well as how HR can implement certain changes to reclaim its seat at the management table strategically.

Peter Cappelli, Harvard Business Review author of ‘Why We Love to Hate HR… & What HR Can Do About It’ addresses what HR can do to demonstrate why they exist and their importance to a company such as their counter departments and to reduce the hate employees may feel against HR. Cappelli suggested the following to create a stronger and relevant HR:

  • “Set the agenda.
  • Focus on issues that matter in the here and now.
  • Acquire business knowledge.
  • Highlight financial benefits.
  • Walk away from time wasters” (Cappelli, 2015).

Susan Heathfield, author of ‘The 3 New Roles of the Human Resources Professional’ explains that now HR has positioned itself with additional roles within the business that are strategic in implementing necessary changes. Heathfield states that “Successful organizations are becoming more adaptive, resilient, quick to change direction and customer-centered” (Heathfield, 2017). Academic human resources management courses that encourage business students and future HR practitioners to become more business oriented and customer-oriented in servicing both internal and external customers assists in preparation for revitalizing the role of HR. By adopting this new persona of the HR professional, businesses that influence this type of organizational behavior start within the culture of the business while also maintaining senior leadership that manages how HR should be represented within the organization. HR as a strategic business partner is evident organizations such as Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) providing resources and tools for HR professionals to go beyond their basic expertise and set up with learning skills that align with the organization. A strategic business partner impacts important business decisions that influence labor costs, marketing, financing in regard to organizational budget, and career-specific management programs. HR as the employee advocate is being revitalized to supply assistance to employees professional and personal concerns that impact job performance. Employee advocate within HR as a game changer permits employees to discover what the multitalented department can accomplish when connecting with employee issues that concern them while aligning HR focus areas to better serve the employee. Recovering the HR professional purpose is to “create a work environment in which people will choose to be motivated, contributing and happy” (Heathfield, 2017, para 7). The HR professional is there to incorporate organizational culture in addition to providing expert advice to management and employees regarding their business relationship with the organization. HR profession as a specific change innovator is quickly on the rise within the organization. HR reinventing the customer-oriented aspect while adding creative methods in initialing necessary changes in regard to mission, vision, organizational culture, employment practices, values, beliefs, and progressive programs to continue positive change reception from the overall organization.

The imminent requirement for a change in perception is connected to HR’s viability and role within the business.

The role of HR is imperative and continues beyond recruitment, staffing, and firing employees but the plan in which businesses want to utilize the vast knowledge within the HR role depend on senior executive management and key stakeholders as well as the strategic approach within the organization. Reexamination of HR within the organization impacts the business approach. HR now has the resources, tools, and strategic roadmap to be taken seriously within the business objectives by aligning human resources goals with that of the organization to rebirth a stronger and more business relevant department that supersedes the expectation and perception of their peers. The imminent requirement for a change in perception is connected to HR’s viability and role within the business.

Sources:

Heathfield, S. (August 2017). The Balance: The 3 New Roles of the Human Resources professional Retrieved on January 16, 2018, from https://www.thebalance.com/the-new-roles-of-the-human-resources-professional-1918352

Cappelli, P. (July-August 2015). Harvard Business Review: Why We love to Hate HR. What HR Can Do About It Retrieved on December 27, 2017, from https://hbr.org/2015/07/why-we-love-to-hate-hr-and-what-hr-can-do-about-it

13 Free Online Educational Resources for Business Owners

A small business owner wears many hats. Often, they are responsible for finding business, customer service, sales, advertising, and bookkeeping. This is in addition to the duties surrounding the actual service or product the business provides.

There are many resources available on the internet to help you wear your many hats with more confidence. Here are some of the most useful courses, websites, and other resources you can access now.

1. The University of the People

The University of the People is an online, fully accredited university, based in the United States. They offer tuition-free associate and bachelor degrees in Business Administration, Computer Science, and Health Science.

2. Coursera

One of the greatest bastions of self-directed education, Coursera offers instruction in on a variety of topics. Learn how to market yourself, and improve your personal brand. Take a class on bookkeeping or accounting. Or, sharpen and expand your marketable skills.

3. Open Culture

Open Culture bills itself as a repository of free cultural and educational resources found on the internet. Their list of videos, courses, and audio files, related to many different aspects of business management, will keep you busy for days.

4. Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration should be the first stop for every self-employed entrepreneur. Their website offers free courses, downloads, and videos to help you on every step of your path. Learn how to write a business plan, find funding, do market research, and so much more. The SBA also offers a mentoring program for new small business owners.

5. Free Management Library

If you want the knowledge that comes with participating in an MBA level business program, but don’t want the expense, the Free Nonprofit Micro-eMBA is for you. You get access to all the lectures, readings, and assignments that you would in a full university course. But you get to do the work at your own pace, and all for free.

6. iTunesU

The iTunes app gives you access to hours of podcasts. Many prestigious universities and schools have partnered with Apple to bring you audio and visual files straight from the halls of Ivy League business schools. Enjoy top notch instruction from schools like Stanford, Harvard, and UC Berkeley.

7. Udacity

Udacity is one of the newer faces in online self-directed education. Their courses concentrate on web and computer technologies. Take one of their free courses, or invest in one of their paid offerings. If your business is web or computer based, their offerings can help you find new services and products to help grow your business.

8. MIT OpenCourseWare

Best known as the gathering place for academic elite to explore engineering, science, and other futuristic technologies, MIT offers many past lecture courses for your personal development. They offer courses that cover many topics, including classes in business and entrepreneurship.

9. edX

Another new website catering to the self-educated crowd, edX offers a variety of courses that a small business owner or entrepreneur will find indispensable. They also offer certifications that prove you put in the work. Their MicroMasters program will have you feeling like an expert in no time.

10. Code Academy

Computer technology is the future. If you find your computer programming skills are holding you back, look at the courses offered by Code Academy. Their short, interactive tutorials and lessons will get you up to speed with what you need to know to tackle lucrative online markets with confidence.

11. HubSpot Academy

This one is for all you keyboard warriors! If you are attempting to carve a slice of the internet marketing pie for yourself, this is the site for you. You can work towards a certification in inbound marketing, email marketing, inbound sales, content marketing, and many other offerings. Most courses are free.

12. TED Talks

Make this your one-stop source for information, entertainment, and inspiration. TED talks cover the whole fabric of life, from personal stories to motivate to advant garde and unusual instructions and solutions.

13. ALISON Diploma in Social Media Marketing

If you want a quick yet thorough guide to effective social media marketing, the diploma in Social Media Marketing might be what you need. This free course will take you from social media newbie to media marketing master in under 20 hours.

Being a business owner is hard. But these free online business education resources can make it easier!