How to effectively use post COVID-19 resumption in other industries to improve your business?

Certain instances, we hear news about the resumption of normalcy in different business segments. Gradual rise in one industry category creates a positive impact to the other industries. Because business transactions are integrated with many other services and products. This is the time you should be on top of the business news on a daily basis!

You can be an entrepreneur, start-up company or an industry leader. Stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the business environment. Some business owners tend to ignore certain updates if its is not about their industry.

If you know very well about the strengths and weaknesses of your organisation; this is the right time to explore hidden opportunities resulted by resumption in other industries. For you to take this decision, your organisation should have a clear vision and goal. This will support you to make most viable business decisions after analysing prevailing business news.

Few examples are quoted below to understand how the changes in one industry can impact the other business segments.

1. Rise in international and local tourism/travel

Travel industry attracts both local and foreign tourists. Travel industry depends on facility management, hospitality management, entertainment, communication, education and mind refreshing activities ( Ex: Yoga, meditation), medical tourism related business, rent /renovation/ accommodation etc. More importantly this has a positive impact to those who engage in essential supplies such as Agro and farming industries. Thus when there is a gradual increase in tourism industry, it has a positive impact to the inter-related industries we have explained above.

2. Rise in Education industry ( Resuming class-room lectures)

This will attract both local and foreign students. Connected businesses that has a positive impact will be accommodation, communication, transportation, ready-to-cook products, home made food and delivery etc. There will also be opportunity for you to hire interns on a contract basis if you have part time/vocational jobs that you need to get done. This might eliminate the burden on relying on full time employment.

3. Rise in Care Homes / Care Workers Industry

Many research documents have indicated that there will be a significant demand for care workers post pandemic. Certain countries have already declared government funding to improve infrastructure facilities in this area. This will be a positive news for the community service providers, job agencies/consultants, training and development consultants, construction and related service industries to be prepared for the forthcoming demand.

We are currently assisting one of our clients in the telecommunication industry to grab potential opportunities indicated by trustworthy industrial statistics. We expect this to be a yielding business growth to our client company.

Written by Nara, ACMA, CGMA (CIMA-UK), MBA (ICFAI University). Nara is a Commercial Accountant at SandS Australia. She has 15 years of experience in business, finance and accounting in senior managerial roles helping analyse, identify, and drive business growth

Edited by Sam Mansoor. Chartered Management Accountant, CPA, Chartered Global Management Accountant, Dip. Equity Trading. He has over 30 years’ experience helping businesses achieve immediate and long-term success.

Emotional Intelligence in Business. Does this really matter? …

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the ability to perceive, manage, and regulate emotions. There is no other best time than the pandemic that stressed the importance of Emotional Intelligence. This has become an increasingly importance topic in the business environment nowadays; though this was limited to HR related training discussions sometime back. Specially EQ is an important element and a soft skill to possess by strategic leaders and business owners.

As a result of maintaining social distance urged by the pandemic, majority started operating in a remote work environment. This has worked effectively for most of the businesses. However, one drawback of remote work is that it’s more difficult to communicate emotions via digital media than when you’re face-to-face.

This will be a challenge for the leaders who haven’t had to supervise teams or individuals virtually before. Its important to know how you can effectively cultivate EQ in your organisation. Shown below are some of the practices one can follow as a business leader;

1. Leaders to be aware and lead

2. Know each others’ strengths and weaknesses

3. Creativity to manage stress

4. Work and play together

1. Leaders to be aware and lead

Initially leaders should have a fair understanding about their own emotions and their team members’. This is a challenging task but this will make practising EQ in the office more meaningful. Effective communication is an essential element in achieving this. Leaders should have the ability to listen to others and willingness to help. This creates a good team bonding and team members and peers will like to work with/for a leader with a good emotional intelligence.

2. Know each others’ strengths and weaknesses

It is not easy to have an understanding about someone else’s emotions. The best strategy is to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Because emotions are driven by strengths and weaknesses. When you know your teams strengths and weaknesses, you know how to handle tough business situations and to manage communication within the team. This will minimise conflicts and earn 100% contribution from the team.

3. Creativity to manage stress

It is best to minimise and eliminate methods of increasing stress in your organiization/team. You should find creative ways to eliminate stress without impacting your business’s goals and results. Listed below are different methods to avoid /minimise stress within teams;

– Have a schedule and a system in built. Stick to the schedule.

– Allow team members to disconnect from work when necessary and take breaks

4. Work and Play together

If your work plan allows individual work most of the time; create opportunities for the employees to work in team projects. This will allow collaboration and opportunities to share knowledge. At the sametime, allow team gatherings and outings on periodic basis. Ensure to celebrate team achievements and individual achievements!

We at SandS when undertaking projects to build high performing teams, we include Emotional Intelligence as an important element. Steps mentioned above have helped our clients immensely to build productive teams.

Written by Nara, ACMA, CGMA (CIMA-UK), MBA (ICFAI University). Nara is a Commercial Accountant at SandS Australia. She has 15 years of experience in business, finance and accounting in senior managerial roles helping analyse, identify, and drive business growth

Edited by Sam Mansoor. Chartered Management Accountant, CPA, Chartered Global Management Accountant, Dip. Equity Trading. He has over 30 years’ experience helping businesses achieve immediate and long-term success.

Networking to grow your business

Business networking is the process of meeting, connecting with, and establishing mutually beneficial relationships with other entrepreneurs, business leaders, and potential customers. Most businesses owners tend to invest all of their time and effort in running their business. As a result they don’t have time to spend on networking and making connections. Networking can be beneficial for businesses as it helps develop sales opportunities, therefore business owners should make it a practice to spend some time every month on making new connections.

In today’s world success is determined based on how well the company is able to build trusted relationships. This is where networking would prove to be useful. We at SandS have outlined ways that you could use networking to grow your business.

1. Support community events

Keep your business in the radar by partaking in community events. Frequent participation in community events will keep the business visible in the eyes of potential clients. When you see an opportunity to help your local community, do not hesitate to help out. This could be in the form of supporting people affected by natural disasters, sponsoring families in need and contributing part of sales made to a worthy charity.

2. Take care of your staff

Employees are the most valuable assets of the company so make it a priority to keep them content and motivated. One such means to take care of your staff is by setting up scholarship programs for the children of employees. This will help generate good word of mouth as the employees will be more likely to recommend the company to their contacts.

The company can also invest in programs to improve the health and wellbeing of employees. One of our clients in the Signage industry has engaged their employees by offering fitness training sessions which is a good opportunity for team members to connect with their colleagues and have fun.

3. Use social media effectively

Social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can be used as part of your digital marketing strategy. Not only is this an effective tool to achieve growth, it is also cost effective. Use these sites to interact with your customer base and attract new customers. Facebook and Twitter could be utilized to organize contests and giveaways which will keep customers engaged with your brand. You can also generate leads by posting content in Linkedin which are relevant to your target audience.

4. Join a business oriented community group

Connect with business owners by joining a business oriented community group which gives you the opportunity to exchange ideas and help each other grow. You could join the local Chamber of Commerce which advocates for businesses in your industry. Rallying together with similar businesses will keep you updated on latest developments in your industry and also makes it easy to negotiate with policy makers on any laws that need to be amended.

Written by Zara, ACMA,CGMA, BBA(Accountancy & Finance). Zara is a Finance and Commercial Executive at SandS Australia. She has 4+ years’ experience in Auditing, Finance and Accounting which helps her drive business growth.

Edited by Sam Mansoor. Chartered Management Accountant, CPA, Chartered Global Management Accountant, Dip. Equity Trading. He has over 30 years’ experience helping businesses achieve immediate and long-term success.

How to attract your right target market?

Target marketing is important to every business. When selling your products or services; if you’re trying to approach everybody, you’re going to have a difficult time reaching anybody. Vague and generic messages are far less likely to resonate with consumers than specific, direct communication ; this makes target marketing a vital area to focus. Once you select the target market; it is also important to have a strategy to attract them.

SandS has helped SMEs to develop their go to market strategy to attract the audience. Shown below are the areas business owners should consider when attracting your audience after selecting the right target market.

1). Marketing Channel

2). Differentiate and address the problem

3). Continuous improvements.

1. Marketing Channel

This can be direct marketing, indirect marketing or digital marketing. Some business uses a combination of marketing channels. It is important to select the marketing channel based on the life time of your product. If it is new to market it may require a direct marketing method to build trust and confidence among your audience. This method is valid for most organizations providing professional services. Digital marketing (including social media marketing) has become one of the hot topics these days. In certain instances, this method does not bring expected results for most businesses. Digital marketing can be used to create awareness during the very early stage of a product; but it is not worthwhile to expect 100% of your revenue from digital marketing. On the contrary; if your brand is established and has spent some years in the market; digital marketing will boost your revenue. For certain services such as insurance; indirect marketing works quite well as opposed to other channels. Carefully analyse your product and service features before investing on the marketing channel.

2. Differentiate and address the problem

If your product or service is yet another prototype available in the market; it will be less attractive to your audience. Ensure that your product /service answers the specific problems. This avoids confusion and make it easy for the audience to understand product features. Product differentiation should be done at the product designing stage. This can not be investigated after introducing a new product or service. It is also important to address emotional aspects of your product/service to your audience. This makes your product/service more attractive!

3. Continuous improvements

Your product/service should be upgraded with the changes in the market and technology. When upgrading your products and services; it is important not to forget your customers who have already purchased your products. Ensure that a strategy is available for them also to enjoy new features/facilities when you upgrade it. This is an area forgotten by most of the business owners; when they do product/service improvements.

We helped a client in the signage industry to improve their go to market strategy years ago. We identified various marketing channels to use based on the life cycle of the brand. This helped our client significantly and they are still with us for more than a decade as a loyal customer.

Written by Nara, ACMA, CGMA (CIMA-UK), MBA (ICFAI University). Nara is a Commercial Accountant at SandS Australia. She has 15 years of experience in business, finance and accounting in senior managerial roles helping analyse, identify, and drive business growth

Edited by Sam Mansoor. Chartered Management Accountant, CPA, Chartered Global Management Accountant, Dip. Equity Trading. He has over 30 years’ experience helping businesses achieve immediate and long-term success.

How to prevent fraud at your organisation

Fraud refers to the use of deception to dishonestly make a personal gain for oneself and/or create a loss for another. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the world’s largest anti fraud organization, it is small and medium sized businesses that are the most susceptible to organizational fraud. They face fraud risks such as misappropriation of assets, check tampering, corruption, payroll fraud and claiming of fake expenses. The ACFE’s 2020 Report to the Nations identified 26% of fraud cases occurred in small businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

The fewer anti fraud controls at small businesses could be a reason for the increased fraud risk that small businesses face. There could be other contributing factors too such as employees performing several functions, staff lacking experience to detect fraud and the absence of formal procedures. Thus it is important that efforts are made to prevent and detect fraud as soon as possible. Elaborated below are some of the steps that you can take to prevent fraud at your organization recommended by SandS consultants.

1. Hire right

Make sure you carry out the necessary screening before recruiting employees to your organization. Review their previous employment records, criminal records and professional references to determine if they would be a right fit to the company. This would be more important if the potential employee is going to be handling inventory or cash.

We at SandS always recommend our clients to have a formal recruitment policy in place to ensure only the right candidates are recruited.

2. Don’t let one employee handle all the work

Divide responsibilities among the team, so no single employee controls the whole process. For instance in the Accounting function, processes like payments, invoicing, bank reconciliation and accounts receivable management should not be allocated to one employee, instead it needs to be allocated among the Finance team.

If your organization lacks the staff to do so, then consider rotating responsibilities every few months. This would serve as a deterrent to fraud as potential perpetrators would know that someone else would carry out their role for a period of time and hence their fraud would have a greater chance of being exposed.

3. Implement internal controls

Make sure a robust set of internal controls are in place. This involves having processes to safeguard your company’s assets, ensure the integrity of its accounting records, and deter and detect fraud and theft. Some examples of internal controls are access controls where only authorized personnel are provided access to financial data and multiple approval levels for payments.

4. Review the business bank accounts

Keep an eye of the bank accounts for any payments made to unknown businesses or individuals and missing checks. When employees know that the banking activities are being monitored they would be less inclined to carry out fraud as they risk being exposed if they do so.

5. Carry out audits

Conduct a surprise audit covering the high risk areas at least annually. The audit should look into cash, inventory management, financial records and any other relevant processes. This serves as a major deterrent to fraudulent activity.

6. Train your employees

It is important that the employees are trained in preventing and identifying fraud. Have a whistle blowing policy in place so that employees can report any fraud that they have identified. This method facilitates anonymous reporting so they won’t face any pressure from their colleagues for reporting the fraud. The company should be committed to treating all disclosures seriously as employees will not make disclosures if they feel no action would be taken.

Written by Zara, ACMA,CGMA, BBA(Accountancy & Finance). Zara is a Finance and Commercial Executive at SandS Australia. She has 4+ years’ experience in Auditing, Finance and Accounting which helps her drive business growth.

Edited by Sam Mansoor. Chartered Management Accountant, CPA, Chartered Global Management Accountant, Dip. Equity Trading. He has over 30 years’ experience helping businesses achieve immediate and long-term success.