Ideas to Organize Corporate Events

A special day of course needs special arrangement which includes perfect decoration, delicious menu and provision of entertainment. It requires proper planning to make each thing perfect such that the guests in the party can have moments to cherish forever.

If you are planning to throw a corporate party, then you must be thinking about the best possible ways to make a fantastic party. Besides offering fun-filled atmosphere to employees, corporate events are a way to symbolize the position of the company. By organizing events, you can break the monotony of daily working routine and also can strengthen business relationships with business partners.

Are you thinking of various ways to make your event successful? Here’s a short list that won’t disappoint you for organizing corporate events:

• Party Venue: For organizing a corporate party, you can consider choosing a venue that has separate sitting arrangement, a platform for live performance, a dining area and other areas for entertaining activities. Along with that, you must leave some space to move around as everyone doesn’t like to occupy one seat for the whole party.

• Decoration: After making a selection of the venue, the next thing to consider is the decoration. In order to give elegant look to the corporate event, you can consider decorating the venue with flowers, ribbons and candles. Besides these, lighting arrangement is the major thing to concern. For flawless lighting, you can seek assistance from companies which provide high-quality electronic lighting equipment on rent.

• Food: Be sure to have quality catering services that have provision of variety of cuisines including soft and hard drinks. You can try the food before you finalize the caterer for your event.

• Entertainment: To make the corporate party interesting, you can think about entertainment activities such as discotheque, magic shows, orchestra, dance floor etc. The entertaining aura in the party will help your employees to experience a change from the routine life.

Organizing corporate events need lots of planning. In order to have your party arranged in a comfortable manner, you can think about contacting professional event planners of your area as they have experience in organizing parties for business, wedding &special events in the best manner. They can also suggest you variety of ideas to make the event an extra-ordinary one. So, get in touch with reliable and experienced party organizers located near your area and start planning to make the event special for everyone.

Factors Affecting Your Corporate Identity

The strong Corporate Identity is vital need for any organization irrespective of its size. Even a smaller company with strong corporate identity can beat its strong contenders. In other words, the brand image of any company, business or organization is vital to its success. An organization can generate fresh set of customers through strong corporate identity or industry presence.

There are various factors which can affect the brand image of any organization. Some most important factors are as follows:

  1. Website – A perfect portal is must for every small, medium or big organization, company or business. The world has become so small in this e-connected world, people are eager to know anything and everything about the details of products being offered by a particular company. They are also interested in knowing what your past customers are saying.
  2. Logo– A logo represents the goals, vision, and attitude of any organization or company towards his business and customers. They need to be specific in terms of a Logo. Companies give stress on a logo which design can match the services and targeted customer’s prospects.
  3. Stationary – Stationary is also one of the most important factor in deciding corporate identity and brand image of a company, business or organization. That includes, Company Letter Heads, Correspondence Business Envelopes, Services Brochures, Post Cards, Business Cards, and Employees Identity Cards (Magnetic Cards). A letter head makes an emphatic impact on readers or viewers mind. If your Letter Head looks professional as well as classy at the same with illustrating vital information regarding your organization, most of your business proposals will be readily accepted or at least you will get first hand queries enquiring more about your services. Business cards also make a great impact on your company’s identity and brand image. Those are not a thing to be included in wallets of your Top Business Executives and marketing personnel’s in fact they carry the most feasible means of contact for your organization. With every distributed business cards you executives are leaving information as well as future business prospects for your company, so it should be realistic and matching to your company’s identity and Brand.
  4. Print Advertisements – Print advertisements still carry the same level of importance in front of people as earlier. Every ad flyer or ad brochure is representing a sample of your organization. So it should reflect the pride and uniqueness of your organization.

There are several other branding options and ways of enhancing your corporate presence. But stationary is one of the most important among all of them. No doubt the business scenario has changed a lot during last few years from manual to automatic transfer of operations. But still your printed materials are very important and you should not avoid it at any case.

Effective Small Business Marketing – Down With Corporate Mumbo Jumbo

“Corporate speak” is everywhere. That doesn’t make it a good thing. By corporate speak I mean such cryptic statements as “we help you achieve optimum enterprise performance, maximize efficiency through the value chain and leverage proven practices and integrated solutions to accelerate your business.” Huh? This gobbledygook may make you sound smart, but do you want sound smart or be smart? Good marketing is clear. This stuff is anything but.

Many businesses fall prey to the siren song of corporate speak. It’s tempting for a few reasons. For one thing, it’s what they’re used to seeing. What a waste of valuable marketing space.

For another thing, it shows off their impressive vocabulary, which many misguided businesspeople think is a way to position them as experts. Well, maybe “We utilize proprietary methodology to precisely identify, quantify and create a hierarchy within specific business acceleration opportunities,” sounds impressive to some. But does it meet the company’s primary marketing objective, which is to attract new clients?

What if the site said this instead:

Using proven investigative methods, we will help you:

  • Identify processes that are draining your resources
  • Define the changes necessary to reduce the drain
  • Design an action plan that offers the greatest benefit in the shortest time
  • Reduce waste, improve efficiency and raise profits

This second formula works because it’s in simple language that everyone can understand quickly. It still sounds knowledgeable and professional, yet the bulleted layout is easy to understand. These are critical points in a world where you are competing for attention with not just your competitors, but a constant onslaught from incoming email, beeping Blackberries, ringing phones, 24-hour news sources droning in the background and endless opportunities for Internet surfing.

Here are few tips to help you clarify your message:

Junk the Jargon

Let your spouse or a friend who is not in your line of business read your marketing. If he or she can’t grasp it quickly, simplify the message. And remember that terms that you’re intimately familiar with will sound like a foreign language to many potential clients. Kaizen, Six Sigma, Hoshin Kanri, Lean. If you just can’t resist the urge to include these terms, at least define them for your less-informed clients. They may be the ones with the greatest need and the deepest pockets.

Away with Acronyms

PVM, CRM, KPI, 3PL…your clients shouldn’t need a secret decoder ring to understand who you are and what you do.

Wordiness Weakens

In marketing, less is always more. Be concise.

“As a corporate leader, it is imperative that you maintain constant contact with each member of your organization and maintain an open door policy to make your staff feel comfortable approaching you with questions, concerns and feedback to engender team spirit, enhance motivation and make everyone happier and more productive.”

Can be boiled down to this:

“Maintaining open communication within and between staff on all levels of your organization will improve motivation and productivity.”

Simple is not a dirty word. Deliver a clear, easy-to-understand message…and you will optimize the effectiveness of your marketing collateral and Web-based communications to maximize their impact on your target audience, which will pre-sell prospects and accelerate your ROI. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Book Summary – Corporate Canaries – Avoid Business Disasters – Written by Gary Sutton

Gary Sutton is a business turnaround expert and this little book is packed with great stuff. If you are interested in business or have a business then this book needs to be on your desk. Use it as a business desk reference. I am a big believer in “Inversion” which is to study the opposite of things. If you want to be successful then study success & failure to really understand the full spectrum. Gary’s book outlines 5 major early warning signs which are similar to blood pressure, insulin levels, cholesterol and heart rate for physical health.

Why is this important to me?

There are several reasons you need to take into account that make this book important. Are you an employee? If so then you need to read this book. The early warning signs will make sure that your company is solid. Enron employees thought that their money and retirement was safe. As we all know this was not the case. One of the main principles on debt would have given them the knowledge to make a change before they lost all their retirement.

Do you own a business? If so then you need to understand all of the principles outlined in the book. You have a fiduciary responsibility to make sure your company is sound to all stakeholders. This is important because they depend on you and these early warning signs are imperative to understand so you can make the necessary changes.

Gary uses his grandfather’s advice as a coal miner to outline the 5 main problems to be avoided. I will focus on the 5 without the story but understand that coal miners used to use canaries to detect a gas leak. Thus if the canary died then they knew they had to evacuate the coal mine. We will dive into each of the 5 principles now:

1. You can’t outgrow losses – You see this time and again where short term Wall Street conscious firms focus on top line growth with no regard to profit. This is a bad idea. Mergers of two mediocre companies that have top line growth only yield one big average company that will bleed money.

Early warning signs are:

1.) If company revenues have grown at twice the rate of net profits for three years

2.) The sales force is commissioned on volume, without regard to profit.

3.) Hallway conversations are about sales, not earnings.

2. Debt’s a killer – This one is nebulous but Gary gives a great indicator of when debt is too much. If you have seen any of my other summaries then you know I am a big fan of OPM (other people’s money) to leverage good debt to buy cash flow assets. With that being said, too much debt can kill you in bad times.

Early warning signs are:

1.) Debt to equity exceeds 1:1

2.) Equipment is always leased, never bought

3.) Executives spend more time with bankers than with customers.

3. Fools fly blind – This one has to do with financial controls. When these are sloppy then nobody knows where the business really is. This is a killer because the operating P&L’s take too long to distribute or worse than that they don’t even use them as tools. Also, when bigger companies focus on revenues and earnings per share but have no idea if they have enough cash to cover payroll.

Early warning signs are:

1.) Year-end audit adjustments are more than 1 % of revenues or 5% of earnings.

2) The books don’t close within two weeks of the month’s end.

3.) When you ask employees where the company makes its best profits, nobody knows.

4.) There are no lead indicators for sales.

4. Any decision beats no decision – “Analysis paralysis” kills innovation and speed. These two factors separate market leaders and everybody else. When people are scared to make decisions or spend too much time covering their own asses then this uncovers deeper company problems and bad leadership. These behaviors create bureaucracy, inefficiency and ineffectiveness. Check out my summary on How the Wise Decide to overcome this bad behavior.

Early Warning Signs:

1) The mission statement tries to say many things to many people (wishy-washy)

2) Brochure and ad headlines don’t offer specific and meaningful benefits to buyers

3) Employees, customers, and vendors give different answers when asked what the company does best. Leadership has failed. Nondescript companies die.

5. Markets Grow and Markets Die – Company leaders have to recognize when markets are dying. If they don’t then the reinvestment yields “diminishing returns”. Basically this means the company will die by a thousand cuts. In the book Good to Great, Jim Collins profiles Kimberly Clarke’s entry into the consumer paper business and exit from their traditional business. They had to sell the mills. This was a big decision that worked out but can be very difficult because you have an established business that makes money. I can attest to number 5 because it has happened in my own business. We have had to reinvent ourselves twice in the 14 years I have been working it. There are types of businesses that are more successful and easier than others. This is worth the study in and of itself and I will profile business types in future summaries.

Early warning signs:

1) Sales have dropped two years in a row.

2) The competitors’ sales have dropped two years in a row.

3) Nobody’s making money.

In summary, Corporate Canaries is a must read book. The lessons are critical if you strive to build a business and the lessons can translate to your personal finances as well.

I hope you have found this short video summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days.

One thing you can take away from this book is to keep your debt to equity below 1:1. This is difficult for most people because they have the debt and no equity. Through daily discipline and simple daily changes, this can change easily.

Corporate Business Gifts – Gift-Giving in Harsh Economic Times

In our day and age pretty much any business transaction can be done online. Whether you are purchasing a service or a product, the Internet has allowed us more choices and better deals. This is exactly what you get when you buy your corporate business gifts online.

The gesture of giving corporate business gifts is a classic tradition and a renowned way of saying thank you. With a corporate business gift you could be saying thank you to your customers, staff or boss and thanks to the boom in online business there is now more choice than ever when it comes to gaining corporate business gifts. Almost any gift that you can think of can be found on the Internet; even unique gifts. All of the gifts that are available can be customized to present your business name and logo as well as an original image that you have the option of supplying.

Below are examples of some of the most popular corporate business gifts that are available for you today:

· Pens

· Mugs

· Umbrellas

· Bags

· USB Products

· Mouse Mats

· Conference Folders

· Key Rings

Depending on who and how many people you are giving corporate business gifts to, you are able to order the above, and many more, in bulk or individual orders. You could want to say thank you to the customers of your business or, on the other hand, you may want to use corporate business gifts to thank your staff for their continued hard work. However, despite who you want to give a corporate business gift to, it is becoming increasing difficult due to the state of the economy.

The credit crunch and threat of recession is all too real and as a result you may find it difficult to afford the corporate business gifts you want to buy but don’t worry help is at hand.

Believe it or not there are companies out there who aren’t out to bleed you dry for your every last penny. Many of the companies who offer you corporate business gifts understand that to make money in these hard times they need to lower prices. Corporate business gifts may not be on the top of a priority list, which is why these companies are offering you some of the best deals around. In these cases you get the corporate business gift that you require and the companies supplying them don’t lose out on business.

To help you beat the credit crunch the companies who supply corporate business gifts have an array of offers that you can’t miss! If you are planning on buying corporate business pens then did you know you can buy a minimum of 500 for as little as 30 cents? How about coffee mugs? Well you can get a minimum quantity of 100 from $2! If Key Rings are more what you are after then how about a minimum of 100 from $3.50 or less. These prices are some of the lowest that you can find on the web, if you search around more, you will probably find much better deals. With a bit of web browsing you will find the corporate business gifts that you require at a price that is hardly going to break the bank.

Corporate business companies who offer prices such as the above will allow you to buy the perfect corporate business gift for your clients or staff; in fact at prices like those you could afford to buy all of your clients and staff corporate business gifts and still feel financially good about it.

Importance of Corporate Governance For SMEs

There are several definitions for corporate governance. However, the most appropriate definition which is more relevant to small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) describes corporate governance as “a set of rules, regulations and structures which aim to achieve optimum performance by implementing appropriate effective methods in order to achieve the corporate objectives”. In other words, corporate governance refers to internal disciplines or systems which govern the relationships among ‘key players’ or entities that are instrumental in the performance of the organization. Moreover, it supports the organization’s sustainability on the long term and establishes responsibility and accountability.

The guidelines of corporate governance aim to achieve greater transparency, fairness and hold executive management of the organization accountable to shareholders. In doing so, corporate governance plays a pivotal role in protecting shareholders and, in the meantime, duly consider the interest of the organization at large without prejudice to employees’ rights. Whilst executive management should have reasonable level of power to run the business, corporate governance ensures that such powers are set to practical dimensions in order to minimize misuse of authority to serve objectives not necessarily in the best interest of the shareholders. Therefore, it provides a framework for maximizing profits , promoting investment opportunities and eventually creating more jobs.

In general, corporate governance highlights two major principles:

A. Oversight and control over the executive management’s performance and strategic directions

B. Accountability of the executive management to the shareholders

For that reason the principles of corporate governance apply on those who assume the ultimate responsibility for success or failure of the organization. On the other hand, it is imperative to understand that the proper implementation of good corporate governance does not necessarily guarantee success of the organization. Meanwhile, a bad corporate governance practice is certainly a common syndrome causing failure in many organizations.

It is interesting to know that a recent survey revealed that more than 48% of investors are willing to pay additional premium over stock prices for companies known to implement sound corporate governance practices as opposed to other companies which may have same level of profitability but characterized with inefficient management or a record of poor governance practices.

The misconception about SME’s stems its roots from the size and contribution of this segment to the economy. The reality is today SMEs may appear small in size but likely many of them have potentials to grow and become big entities in future. Sadly, this prophecy still not well realized and as a result, implementation of good corporate governance practices continues to be ignored.

SEMs in Egypt form large segment of business activities. Generally, they take the form of private companies owned by small number of shareholders. Often have less than 100 employees. Such companies are usually family-owned run by family members where the authorities and powers are generally held by an individual normally the major shareholder. For that reason the owners commonly consider themselves as running their personal properties.

Perhaps the question that strikes the mind of business owners and directors of small and medium size companies as well as the executive management team ” why should we opt to choose to introduce new systems and internal rules which impose limits on the way we do business and our business conduct?”. The answer is simply corporate governance plays a significant role for SMEs since it defines the role of shareholders as owners on the one hand, and as business managers on the other hand. This is best done through a process that spells out governance rules and guidelines. These aim to assist all parties to understand how to manage the organization. As a result, internal conflicts would be better managed and more attention given to achieve growth objectives and support profitability.

There are at least three reasons for small and medium size companies to show greater interest to implement corporate governance principles:

A. The good governance practices pave the way to companies to grow or attract additional investors as alternative to raising capital through borrowing from banks at high cost. Additionally, companies may consider going public through IPO.

B. Sound governance practices lead to improved internal control systems which results in more accountability and higher profitability. The latter is attributed to enhanced controls which minimize the likelihood for fraud losses.

C. Corporate governance framework ensures that shareholders are freed from executive and administrative duties. As a result, conflicts among business owners who assume management roles in the organization would be reduced to a greater extent particularly in organizations owned by few number of shareholders where the distinction between ownership and management capacity is blurred.

Raising capital has been for a long time seen as the major challenge facing SMEs. The real challenge is absence of good corporate governance practices in such organizations. Consequently, it would be difficult to access sources of finance from banks or investors.

Adoption of corporate governance framework is not common not only in Egypt, but also in most developing countries. This is mainly due to lack of awareness about what corporate governance is about and its relationship with corporate performance and objectives. Besides, the widespread fallacy that implementing corporate governance entails high costs coupled with doubts that such costs would not generate the envisaged benefits to the organization.

The biggest challenge for small and medium size companies in Egypt is about how far they can cope with the external business conditions and internal problems which threaten their ability to survive. Surveys indicate that one-third of this category of companies collapse after three years for the following reasons:

-Absence of planning and forward thinking

-Inadequate leadership and management skills at senior management level

-Lack of future business plans for growth and new investment plans

-Problems with cash flows

-Inability to innovate, present ideas for business development and cope with ever changing business environment and economic conditions

-Inadequate access to technical assistance

If we consider the main reasons why small and medium size companies fail, we may conclude that implementing corporate governance contributes to a far extent to support chances for these companies to perform well, grow and adopt better process for decision making. For family owned businesses, corporate governance improves management efficiency, limits internal conflicts and helps in making transition of ownership to heirs a smooth process.

Practically speaking, we need to realize that SMEs may face several problems in implementing corporate governance framework which may often seen costly exercise. Consequently, it is essential that consideration should be given to reduce the relevant requirements for compliance and disclosure and introduce less expensive financial and administrative alternatives which such companies can afford.

In order to help small and medium size organizations to implement corporate governance, we recommend that the competent state authorities issue a code for SME’s corporate governance similar to that issued by General Authority for Investment in collaboration with Cairo & Alexandria Exchange. Particular attention should be given to the following:

-Transparency (strategies, organization chart, processes etc)

-Role of Advisory Board and relationship with other entities

-Risk management system and planning

-Human resources function with focus on succession plans for senor management

Finally, we propose a short prescription to deal with the challenges and assist in implementing corporate governance framework for SMEs:

-Separate ownership from management duties and specify clear roles and responsibilities for business owners, partners and other stakeholders

-Create a balanced board and invite non-executive directors who would add value to the board (replace the board of director with an advisory board for companies that are not legally required to establish a board of director). Non-executive directors play an important role in ensuring integrity of the financial data provided to the board and to protecting shareholders’ interest. They also exercise control over executive management and reduce the risks arising from poor management practices or gross negligence

-Introduce Code of Business Conduct

-Raise corporate culture with a focus on benefits of corporate governance

-Develop senior management’s administrative and technical skills particularly in areas such as strategic planning and leadership

-Create clear organization charts

-Establish independent internal audit function (or employ an internal auditor based on the size of the organization)

-Create job descriptions which establish clear responsibilities and reporting lines

-Introduce succession plans and rules for conflicts of interest

Essence Of A Well-Positioned Brand – Lessons For Corporate Nigeria

The word branding is not a relatively new business concept. More than three decades ago, marketing expert Michael J Baker wrote an introductory text on the importance of brands and branding. What is new is the degree of attention and sophistication it has gotten the world over in recent years.

Maybe this has to do with the increased mental clutter in our lives and in the marketplace, which makes it difficult for companies to get across their messages.

“Brands are quickly becoming the basis for most critical business decisions,” an observer noted. Branding is the sum total of whatever a company or an idea represents. For most part of it, branding is as simple as doing the right thing, consistently and clearly.

Today as expected, Nigeria parades herself with her most celebrated brands of all time – her super brands! Indeed, for a few of them, branding is not about getting your target market to choose you over the competition, but it is about getting your prospects to see you as the only one that provides a solution to their problems.

While a brand is the uniqueness a customer perceives of an organization or idea; there’s a connection between a brand name [identity], brand image [perception] and brand reputation [respect].

All strong brands depend on, more than anything else, its reputation. In as much as corporate executives try to build a good brand, they ought to be mindful of corporate reputation also. In essence, a good reputation accounts for a good brand.

However, for obvious reasons, Nigerian entrepreneurs are quick at building strong brands to their advantage only to allow them crumble in no distant time, for lack of brand management skill.

I have to admit I used to buy UAC’s Gala Sausage, until Leventis Meaty came along. The experience was always positive and I always had the feeling of that tasty snack with pure beef filling. But where did Gala go wrong? Gala lost its unique positioning in the heat of competition. Apart from the sudden change of wrap [which I think I don’t like so much], the sausage in it has become so lean.

UAC failed to realize that branding is more than just putting on new clothes.

The problem with many of these great brands is that they don’t usually realize the repercussion of their actions and inactions until well after the time and money have been invested or after it is too late.

How many times have you pulled into a company’s parking spot and saw a sign that read, “Parking reserved for xxxx customers only. All others will be tolled,” or “Cars are parked at owners’ risk”? Have you ever met a lousy school proprietor raining indecent words on parents? Or how many times have you had to queue for long hours somewhere, only to be disappointed at the way a customer service officer treated you?

These are all negative branding and reputation at work. We experience it everyday. It affects the way customers perceive us.

Corporate bodies should pay great attention to their messages – spoken or written.

Words do the talking for our business, so it’s worth investing in the best copy we can afford. Unprofessionally written communications and marketing materials can actively work against us, telling potential customers things we didn’t mean to say.

Instead of the stereotyped “Cars are parked at owners’ risk,” why not try something like “While we ensure your vehicles are safe, we don’t accept any risk”? Long but it’s full of great impact.

Our dear economy has suffered from a breakdown resulting from her choice of words. They cost money, but words efficiently applied produce great wealth.

So let’s begin to take a good look at everything we do: our message; our corporate identity; our approach to communicating with clients; our demeanour; our products; our packaging; our advertising and our staff.

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