Expense Management Reporting Software for Small Business

Controlling expenses is an essential element of any company. It allows you to be aware of where you spend your money, and also helps you make the most efficient use of resources. There are numerous types of expense management reporting software that are available Some are more well-known than others. Let’s look at some of the most popular options.

Microsoft Windows is one of the most well-known options in expense management software. Windows includes a variety of the essential features you’ll need in your brand new software. Windows comes with a variety of new features , including an expense report generator. If you feel that Microsoft Windows is too complex and you’re looking for something more simple to use, you can look for a Linux expense management software.

Zulu is another well-known choice for software that manages expenses. It is a product from the company Intuit and was designed to meet the needs of businesses that require expense reports. It offers a number of functions including the ability to manage expense by department and also the ability to create customized reports. Zulu does include a purchase card management function and it is easy to include the capability control your corporate cards using this user-friendly application.

Small-scale expense reports for businesses can be difficult to write and send on your own. Utilizing an automated expense management reporting software makes it simple to write professional-looking expense reports at any time you require them. Software for managing expenses, such as expense reports generated by QuickBooks or similar software are simple to operate and manage. Many small business expense reports can be sent by email. You can also track and print your reports in just moments with the correct program.

If you are considering making use of software for expense management for your small-sized business, think about getting a the telecom expense management software. Telecom expense management software has a number of valuable features that make it an suitable choice for small companies. This includes an authorization system for payments made through telecom that makes the acceptance of debit and credit card payments and e-checks more convenient and secure. The program also has a telecom tracking system which lets you keep track of your invoices anywhere you have any Internet connection. A telecom reporting authorization system is able to accept payment by credit card and electronic checks that allow you to print out reports for your employees , or create invoices online.

Another business expense management reporting tool available through QuickBooks can be the dashboard optimizer. With the dashboard optimizer, you can personalize your dashboards and reports so that they’re designed to be compatible with your company’s specific data. The dashboard optimizer includes tools to assist you in creating customized reports and also tools that can help you edit or delete reports as your business grows. It is a great method to cut down on time spent making and managing your company’s expense reports. It is simple to use and simple to modify which makes it a great option for mid-sized to small firms.

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How To Get Approval To Keep Pets In Your Strata Unit

There are many reasons why these restrictions exist, but one of the main ones is due to insurance requirements for strata buildings; it’s more likely that strata policies will exclude damages caused by pet-related incidents than other types due to an increased risk of injury or illness when there are animals living in close proximity to humans. If you are thinking of moving into a strata unit, it is important to get a strata inspection in Sydney so that you know early where you stand regarding your pet.

Usually, strata unit owners are required to seek approval from the governing body of their building before they can keep a pet in their home. This process may seem intimidating, but with some patience and guidance it’s easy to get through this step successfully, without ending in heart break.

The first thing that every Strata owner should do when thinking about getting an animal into their apartment (or even having one already) is checking if there are any rules regarding animals in the bylaws or covenants. You can learn this easily through a strata report in Sydney. If there aren’t then it’s possible that no written consent will be needed at all; however, once these documents have been read over, you can always contact the Strata Company for any clarifications needed.

The second thing a person should do is speak to their neighbours and let them know about the animal they plan on getting, before it becomes a problem. It’s best not to keep an animal as a surprise since many people may already have allergies or just don’t want animals around at all. Most strata units will require written consent from every single neighbour who has shares in that unit (which means you will need permission from everyone even if your home was meant for one person), so be sure to give yourself plenty of time; however, once all approvals are gained, there shouldn’t be anything stopping you and your furry friend becoming friends with the whole neighbourhood in your strata scheme in double quick time.

In general, you will need to follow the ensuing procedure when thinking of getting a pet into your strata unit.

Find out what regulations are in place for pets.
By getting a strata report in Sydney you can find out what regulations are in place for pets, and whether in fact, they are allowed in your strata.

Check your strata’s bylaws to see if they have any clauses about pet ownership.
All rules and regulations regarding pet ownership are laid out in the strata’s bylaws, which you can get during a strata inspection in Sydney. A quick check of these will let you know what is expected when it comes to pet ownership.

Talk to other owners in the building and find out their opinions on pets.
You may first want to see what your neighbours think about pets in the building. Talk to them and see if they would be open to a furry friend living with you. It’s important that your neighbours are on board for pet ownership before going any further because there may be complaints from other unit owners in the future, so it is best to get their input up front.

If you have already decided that this is something you want long term, then perhaps finding out who might complain when introducing an animal into your life will help move things along more smoothly when you do finally ask permission from the strata council. In most cases, people can simply talk to others in their buildings or even email everyone individually asking what they think of having a dog or cat in a unit without too much trouble.

Present a petition with the signatures of all owners who want to keep their pets.
You may not be the only one in your building who needs to ask for permission, in which case you can do up a petition form and get all the other people to sign it. This will save you a lot of time and effort, but also show the strata council that many people are in favour of this request being granted.

However, if there is no one else who needs to ask for permission or support your application then presenting a petition might not be necessary. The general rule here is to have an open conversation with everyone living around you so if they do have problems with pets becoming a part of your life at home, they can voice their concerns early on when any kind of discussion takes place about allowing animals into the building.

Provide proof that you will be responsible for cleaning up after your pet, including a letter from a veterinarian confirming that your pet is healthy and well-behaved.

Consider getting an insurance policy for your pet.
Getting a pet insurance may be a good idea to consider. It might be a good idea to get pet insurance just in case your dog gets into some kind of accident or something happens, then you will have the money for medical treatment and so on.

The best way to get the strata corporation’s approval is to have a meeting with your neighbours and show them that you are committed. If you can convince everyone in the building, then it will be easy for your application to go through without any problems. This is because if one person doesn’t want it, they could say no or put up an objection which would mean getting unanimous consent isn’t possible anymore.

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Expense Management Reporting Software to Maximize Business Profit

The management of expenses is a crucial part of any organization. It allows you to be aware of where you spend your money as well as assisting you to make the most efficient use of resources. There are a variety of expense management reporting software on the market today, some more popular than others. Let’s review some of the most well-known ones.

Microsoft Windows is one of the most well-known options for expense management reporting software. Windows provides a lot of the essential features you’ll require in the new program. It has a lot of innovative features that include the ability to generate expense reports. If you feel that Microsoft Windows is too complex and you’d prefer something simpler to use, try looking for a Linux expense management tool that’s based on Linux.

Zulu is another top choice for software that manages expenses. The product is from an organization called Intuit and is designed to meet the needs of companies that require expense reports. It offers a number of functions including the ability to manage expenses by department, as well as the ability to create custom reports. Zulu offers a buy card management option and it’s easy to include the capability control your corporate cards via this easy application.

Small-sized business expense reports may be difficult to write and mail by yourself. Utilizing an automated expense management software, you can make it simple to write professional quality expense reports anytime you need they. Expense software such as expense reports from QuickBooks or similar software is easy to operate and manage. Most small business expense reports are transmitted via email. You can also track and print your reports in a matter of minutes with the right program.

If you are considering making use of software for expense management for your small-sized firm, you might want to consider telecom expense management reporting software. Telecom expense management reporting software includes a range of beneficial features that make it an excellent choice for small businesses. These features include the ability to authorize payments via a telecom system, which makes accepting debit and credit cards and e-checks easier and more secure. It also comes with an electronic tracking system for telecoms which allows you to keep track of your invoices from any location with access to an Internet connection. A telecom-related payment authorization system automatically accepts electronic checks and credit card payments, allowing the printing of reports for employees and generate invoices online.

Another expense management tool, which is offered by QuickBooks can be the dashboard optimizer. With the dashboard optimizer, you can customize your reports and dashboards so that they are designed to fit your specific company information. The dashboard optimizer includes tools that allow you to create customized reports and also tools to assist you in updating and delete your reports as your company grows. This is a fantastic way to speed up the process of making and managing your company’s expense reports. It’s simple to use and easy to customize and make it an excellent option for smaller to mid-sized enterprises.

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Marketing Objectives for Your Web Site

Do you have marketing objectives for your Web site? With objectives to help overcome your main online challenges you can work smarter, not harder.

Think of your Web site objective as the “big picture”. It is the basis for a marketing plan and, in general terms, answers the questions:

“How can I use the site to overcome my business’s main Internet related challenge?” and/or “What is the purpose of my site?” When setting marketing objectives, keep your site’s business model and customers’ decision-making stages in mind.

Business Models

The business model defines how your Web site fits into your business – how it will help your company grow. Direct revenue is a popular Web site business model, but it is not the only one. Some business models include:

- Direct Revenue / e-Commerce

Some of the most known Web site objectives relate to e-commerce or other types of direct revenue from the site. That is, the objective is to establish a direct source of revenue from orders or advertising space.

- Build Brand Image

A long-term marketing objective for your site could be to improve sales by building an image for your product, brand, and/or company. Increasingly, this is an explicit goal for large companies with ample budgets.

Small-budget companies can follow suit on a more affordable scale by building an image during the natural course of marketing. You can do this by consistently presenting similar design elements and “personality” at each point of contact with the world – whether that contact be virtual or physical.

- Enhance Customer Service

Your site can increase revenue indirectly by improving customer service. When customers are more satisfied, they tend to spread the word about your products as well as buy more often themselves.

Customers often do product research on a Web site then later place orders via catalogue, telephone, sales representatives, a physical retail store, mail, and/or fax. In all of these cases, a Web site indirectly contributes to building the business.

- Lower Operating Costs

A Web site can help your business by lowering costs. Automated customer service functions – Web-based FAQ, order status reports, product specifications, etc. – can lower the number of customer service calls, reducing customer service labor costs.

A Web presence can also lower operating costs by streamlining communication with your business partners. Business-to-business companies can create secure Web space to communicate and collaborate with customers.

It is even possible to have individual, private sites for major clients. A central “meeting place” that archives communications and other customer-specific information can cut down on administrative costs related to “phone tag”, inquiries, and/or the need to consciously keep all players “in the loop”.

On the supply side, you could reduce costly business disruptions by giving key vendors Web-based access to your inventory or other real-time information.

Customer Stages: Awareness, Interest, Trial, and Repeat

When setting your marketing objectives, it may help to think in terms of awareness, interest, trial, and repeat. These concepts are often used in marketing to explain the stages a new customer (or site visitor, in this case) goes through on the path to becoming loyal to your business.

The potential visitor must first become aware of your site. Once aware, you must spark an interest with the potential visitor, motivating her/him to trial, or respond to a call to action on your site. After (s)he visits your site, that person becomes loyal by revisiting in the future.

You may be able to most effectively build your business by focusing on one or two of awareness, interest, trial, or repeat visits, then changing your focus over time. If your site is brand new or known to very few people, for example, your plan is likely to concentrate on ways to increase awareness and interest.

A focus on interest and trial may be in order, however, if you get an above-average number of “window shoppers” – visitors who never purchase (or do not respond to some other call to action).

Additionally, if you sell multiple products or a product that needs replenishing from your site, focus on repeat purchases may be more effective.

Setting Your Marketing Objectives

While there are different approaches to setting objectives, my preference is to develop a single objective for a site that may encompass more than one approach to business building.

In the marketing plan, I include separate strategies and tactics to address each approach suggested in the site objective. I also like to note in the objective both the customer stage(s) and business model(s) I will focus on in the marketing plan. This makes it easier to decide upon the most effective marketing strategies.

Another approach is to address the customer stages separately, in a summary or write-up. With either approach, you should view your marketing plan as evolving over time. As the business environment and situations change, your focus should change as well.

Once you get past the launch stage of a new site, for example, you are in a better position to evaluate site traffic, so your plan may shift from focusing on awareness and interest to building trial and loyalty. Similarly, a better understanding of site visitors may lead you to adjust your business model to more closely address your company’s and Web customers’ needs.

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Common Exhibit Marketing Mistakes: Ten Tips on How to Avoid Them

The key to great exhibiting is marketing. But marketing is a very inexact science that leaves room for a multitude of errors to occur. The following are 10 of the most common marketing mistakes that exhibitors often make. Learn to avoid them and you will increase your chances for a successful tradeshow.

1. Have A Proper Exhibit Marketing Plan

Having both a strategic exhibit marketing and tactical plan of action is a critical starting point. In order to make tradeshows a powerful dimension your company’s overall marketing operation, there must be total alignment between the strategic marketing and your exhibit marketing plan. Tradeshows should not be a stand-alone venture. Know and understand exactly what you wish to achieve – increasing market share with existing users; introducing new products/services into existing markets or into new markets; or introducing new products/services into new markets. This is the nucleus on which to build.

2. Have A Well-Defined Promotional Plan

A significant part of your marketing includes promotion – pre-show, at-show and post-show. Most exhibitors fail to have a plan that encompasses all three areas. Budget is naturally going to play a major role in deciding what and how much promotional activity is possible. Developing a meaningful theme or message that ties into your strategic marketing plan will then help to guide promotional decisions. Know whom you want to target and then consider having different promotional programs aimed at the different groups you are interested in attracting. Include direct mail, broadcast faxes, advertising, PR, sponsorship, and the Internet as possible ways to reach your target audience.

3. Use Direct Mail Effectively

Direct mail is still one of the most popular promotional vehicles exhibitors use. From postcards to multi-piece mailings, attendees are deluged with invitations to visit booths. Many of the mailings come from show management’s lists and as a result, everyone gets everything. To target the people you want visit your booth, use your own list of customers and prospects–it’s the best one available. Design a piece that is totally benefit-oriented and makes an impact. Mail three pieces at regular intervals prior to the show, starting about four weeks out, to help ensure your invitation is seen. Wherever possible, use first-class mail. There’s nothing worse than a mailing that arrives after the show is over.

4. Give Visitors An Incentive To Visit Your Booth

Whatever promotional vehicles you use, make sure that you give visitors a reason to come and visit you. With a hall overflowing with fascinating products/services, combined with time constraints, people need an incentive to come and visit your booth. First and foremost their primary interest is in “what’s new!” They are eager to learn about the latest technologies, new applications, or anything that will help save them time and/or money. Even if you don’t have a new product/service to introduce, think about a new angle to promote your offerings.

5. Have Giveaways That Work

Tied into giving visitors an incentive to visit your booth is the opportunity to offer a premium item that will entice them. Your giveaway items should be designed to increase your memorability, communicate, motivate, promote or increase recognition of your company. Developing a dynamite giveaway takes thought and creativity. Consider what your target audience wants, what will help them do their job better, what they can’t get elsewhere, what is product/service related and educational. Think about having different gifts for different types of visitors. Use your website to make an offer for visitors to collect important information, such as an executive report, when they visit your booth. Giveaways should be used as a reward or token of appreciation for visitors participating in a demonstration, presentation or contest, or as a thank-you for qualifying information about specific needs etc.

6. Use Press Relations Effectively

Public relations is one of the most cost-effective and successful methods for generating large volumes of direct inquiries and sales. Before the show ask show management for a comprehensive media list, and find out which publications are planning a special show edition. Send out newsworthy press releases focusing on what’s new about your product/service, or highlighting a new application or market venture. Compile press kits for the press office that include information about industry trends, statistics, new technology or production information. Also include good product photos and key company contacts. Have staff members at the booth who are specifically assigned to interact with the media

7. Differentiate Your Products/Services

Too many exhibitors are happy to use the “me too” marketing approach. Examine their marketing plans and there’s an underlying sameness about them. With shows that attract hundreds of exhibitors, there are very few that seem to “stand out from the crowd.” Since memorability is an integral part of a visitors’ show experience, you should be looking at what makes you different and why a prospect should buy from you. This is of particular concern with generic products in your industry. Every aspect of your exhibit marketing plan, including your promotions, your booth and your people should be aimed at making an impact and creating curiosity.

8. Use The Booth As An Effective Marketing Tool

On the show floor your exhibit makes a strong statement about who your company is, what you do and how you do it. The purpose of your exhibit is to attract visitors so that you can achieve your marketing objectives. In addition to it being an open, welcoming and friendly space, there needs to be a focal point and a strong key message that communicates a significant benefit to your prospect. Opt for large graphics rather than reams of copy. Pictures paint a thousand words while very few exhibitors will take the time to read. Your presentations or demonstrations are a critical part of your exhibit marketing. Create an experience that allows visitors use as many of their senses as possible. This will help to enhance memorability.

9. Realize That Your People Are Your Marketing Team

Your people are your ambassadors. They represent everything your company stands for, so choose them well. Brief them beforehand and make sure that they know: why you are exhibiting; what you are exhibiting and what you expect from them. Exhibit staff training is essential for a unified and professional image. Make sure that they sell instead of tell; don’t try to do too much; understand visitor needs; don’t spend too much time; and know how to close the interaction with a commitment to follow-up.

Avoid overcrowding the booth with company representatives. Have strict rules regarding employees visiting the show and insist staffers not scheduled for booth duty stay away until their assigned time. Assign specific tasks for company executives working the show.

10. Follow-Up Promptly

The key to your tradeshow success is wrapped up in the lead-management process. The best time to plan for follow-up is before the show. Show leads often take second place to other management activities that occur after being out of the office for several days. The longer leads are left unattended, the colder and more mediocre they become. It is to your advantage to develop an organized, systematic approach to follow-up. Establish a lead handling system, set time lines for follow-up, use a computerized database for tracking, make sales representatives accountable for leads given to them, and then measure your results.

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Marketing Students: 5 Guidelines For Your Final Paper

Get motivated! (‘Why do I write this paper?”)

This is a basic question with a not-so-basic answer. In order for a job to be done well – and your dissertation paper is, in fact, a job to be performed – you should give yourself time to figure out why you will do it and get yourself motivated. No motivation – no job quality, any professional can confirm that. Here are some possible answers to the motivational question:

- Because it is a must – if you do not do it, you do not graduate;

- Because, if done with responsibility, it is an excellent opportunity to stand out from the crowd and your peers – the Marketing job market gets busier with every day;

- Because you can practice your research skills while being directed and supervised by professionals (eg. your university professors);

- Because it could be a starting point for your career.

We all know the more you think about it, the more answers you can find. Once you have your motivational level raised, you will surely want to start your paper right away.

Choose your subject (“What should I write about?”)

Allow yourself plenty of time to think what subject you would like to pick for your paper. In some cases, your professors already have a list of subjects from where you can choose one but sometimes they would happily accept your own subject, providing it is of interest and you convince them of your reasons. Consider the following, before you go for a subject or another:

- “Marketing” is a broad field – which of its aspects do you feel more interested into, and more comfortable discussing about? Do you recall any particular course / chapter / subject that raised your interest at a time?

- Why would your subject be of importance and who would be your auditorium?

- Is your subject researchable? Is there any academic literature base on the subject?

- Do you think you can come up with a personal contribution to the subject?

- Do you see yourself developing that topic further on?

- Can you name at least a couple of persons who can guide you? Would they be willing to do that for you?

Documentation, documentation and… documentation

“Documentation” is a magic key for any successful paper. Student or acknowledged professional, once you made up your mind about the subject of the paper, most of your efforts will be directed (or should be directed) towards documentation. Depending on your subject, on your knowledge and your search capabilities, you might want to start with this even 1 – 2 years prior to raduation date, in order to have enough time to collect and review as much information as possible.

Major information resources: libraries, bookshops, internet, newspapers and magazines (consider subscribing to main specialized magazines in your field!), university printings, company exhibitions and presentations.

Build your paper

You do not have to review the whole documentation before you start to lay the bricks of your paper. Usually, such works are done using the “top-down” strategy, meaning you start with the major lines and then you develop the minor ones. You can compare this strategy with the action of drawing a tree: you might want first to draw the tree trunk, then the major branches, you will draw then some smaller branches growing from the big ones, and at the end you draw the leaves and flowers.

Therefore, once you are clear with the subject and the basics of your paper – the trunk of the tree, you can start organizing your chapters – the major branches. Generally, you wont have less than 3 main chapters and more than 6 – 7: remember your paper has to offer a valuable content but in the same time it has some space limits (for example you could be told not to exceed 70 pages including the appendix and graphics).

As you go on with your documentation, you will probably feel the need to reorganize the chapters and subchapters several times – this is the way of any good writing, so don’t be afraid of doing it as long as you stick to your subject and your chapters are part of a whole, “flowing” one from each other. Consult with you supervisor for any major changes, and ask directions if you feel the documentation is overwhelming, it becomes difficult to discern from the large amount of information and you feel like losing your coherency.

As a future Marketing professional, creativity is a basic skill as well as analytical thinking: you should prove them by including your own comments, opinions and conclusions upon the subject and not limit yourself to present only what other people said. Be critical to yourself and to others. Don’t be afraid to bring out your own vision – that’s what counts the most!

Writing style

Your paper is an academic piece of work, and so it should look and feel like. Give a lot of attention to your writing style:

- language issues – keep an academic and formal style, with no colloquial expressions and no slang terms. Be very precise and avoid hypes (yes, yes, we know it’s hard to do it especially when you’re a Marketing or Advertising professional-to-be) and irrational use of superlatives (“the best”, “the greatest”, “the most”… ).
For a professional look, avoid using vague expressions such as “some authors say…”, be specific and precise! A common mistake is to assume some things are obvious or known: no, they’re not obvious to everyone, so you have to justify your statements (okay… except maybe if you’re saying that “1+1=2″…)

- grammar issues – nothing can cut enthusiasm for a paper more than poor spelling and grammar! Check – check – check and check again your grammar before submitting your work: make use of the grammar facilities included in the word processors, ask your friends to proofread your paper, use dictionaries and grammar books every time you’re unsure about something.

- layout and other issues: keep a professional clean simple layout, and stick to one font type (eg. Arial, Times New Roman or Verdana). Unless you’re asked to submit your paper in another layout, you might want to leave 3 cm (1,2 in) edges on both left and right side, use line spacing at 1.5 and font sizes 10 to 12 (depending on the font type) for normal text, with chapter title sized at 14. Double check your quotations to be acknowledged, and make sure the tables and drawings are numbered correctly.

Take a final look at your work and ask yourself if you’re feeling proud of it. If the answer is a strong “yes!”, you’re probably ready to present it.

Presentation – the final torment!

Let’s not forget these guidelines were written especially for Marketing students. For you, the presentation of your paper should count much more than for other students, since it is a way to promote yourself and your work. If you fail at marketing your own person, how can you be successful in marketing something / someone else? This is the reason why you should dedicate a lot of time and energy to this apparently insignificant last issue.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that since your paper content is great, it will speak for yourself. It will not! You have to bring out the strengths of the paper and try to minimize its weaknesses, if any. Treat your paper like it is a new product that needs to be launched, and your teachers are the consumers. Make them “buy” your paper, make them enthusiastic about it!

Start your presentation with an introduction of how the paper subject attracted you, then shortly point the elements of novelty you bring in. After that, you can proceed with the content briefing: keep short and very objective. Talk loud and clear and note people’s attention level: try to keep them awake but if you see them drowsing, you can refresh the atmosphere by changing your tonality or inserting a joke.

At the end, don’t forget to conclude: a paper with no conclusion is an unfinished pointless paper!
Sustain your speech with a proper visual support: in most cases, a projector would do a great job. Be careful of how you build your slides: use 80% drawings and figures and only 20% text, as the human eye and brain respond much better to suggestive drawings instead of regular boring text. Pay attention to coherency: your presentation must flow and your ideas must have continuity. Practice your speech at home or in front of your friends, ask for comments and critics.

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Corporate Governance: Investing in the Emerging Market of the Czech Republic

In the securities market of the Czech Republic corporate governance plays a crucial role in instilling investor confidence and ensuring an efficient market. Post the fall of Communism, the economy was transitioned from state owned to capitalist in a very short time. Since then, the Czech Republic has come a long way to quickly reach standards of other capitalist markets and successfully obtain accession into the European Union. As the market continues its progression, the need for transparency of information and alignment between board members and managers in firms greatens.

From the Czech Republic’s voucher privatization program in 1992 to the late 1990′s, corporate governance was viewed negatively and/or non-existent for publicly traded Czech companies. A path began with a lack of regulation, continued with a lack of enforcement, and finally turned directions beginning in 1998 with the Securities Commission Act. Even now, as Czech companies attempt to become more competitive on a global scale in the market, the realization amongst firms of the need for structured corporate governance and more transparency in their reporting of information takes hold as a continued effort necessary to report and align enterprise goals with those of other stakeholders.

Through an analysis of the top ten publicly traded companies, in terms of market capitalization, on the Prague Stock Exchange, I will assess the availability of information regarding corporate governance in order to discern the current state of compliance with the Corporate Governance Code. This information will serve as a benchmark and will allow investors to relate the positions of the largest companies on the PSE to other companies within the Czech Republic, and apply the knowledge generally to the Czech securities market. The results allow investors and other stakeholders to get an idea of corporate governance practices and the transparency of information in the companies operating in the Czech Republic today.

Current State of Corporate Governance

I turn now to the analysis of the corporate governance disclosure in today’s Czech market. Using the ten largest publicly traded companies (see Table 1) listed on the Prague Stock Exchange in terms of market capitalization, I will determine the degree of their stated corporate governance policy disclosure as found in their most recent annual reports. This is the 2004 annual report for all of the companies. Furthermore, I will briefly assess the availability of information on the companies’ websites.

Table 1
Top Ten Listed Companies on the PSE

Rank Company Market Cap. (Mil. CZK)Market Cap. (Mil. USD)

1 ČEZ 402,881 16,293

2 Erste Bank 317,598 12,844

3 Český Telecom 160,014 6,471

4 Komerční Banka 128,397 5,193

5 Unipetrol 42,922 1,736

6 Zentiva 41,683 1,686

7 CETV 39,718 1,606

8 Philip Morris ČR 32,816 1,327

9 Severočeské Doly 14,434 584

10 Prazská Energetika 11,492 465

Source: Prague Stock Exchange, Novermber 2005

ČEZ

ČEZ, a joint stock company, is the largest power conglomerate in Central and Eastern Europe. The company’s website has an investor section with information on shares, bonds, and financial information, and lists the date of the annual general meeting, but does not provide information specifically related to corporate governance practices and structure in general. Shareholder structure, relations, and dividends are presented on the website. Within the annual report, ČEZ follows the German corporate governance model, and has key members of the board also part of management. Board structure and board members are discussed extensively. The board of directors meets weekly as a matter of practice, where the requirement is monthly. The company complies with the Commercial Code concerning protection of shareholder rights, and bases its corporate governance on the Corporate Governance Code. The ČEZ Group actually participated in the 2004 drafting of the Corporate Governance Code. Overall, the company reports on most of the key corporate governance areas, but does not have one section devoted to their policy, making it necessary to scan the entire report for relevant information.

Erste Bank

Erste Bank, based in Austria, is the leading financial services provider in Central Europe. Its website contains an investor relations area in which detailed information is provided, and also a corporate governance section in which the company discloses it follows the Austrian Code of Corporate Governance in practice. In the annual report, the company discloses it follows all of the statutory rules of the Code, and adheres to most of the recommendations. It directs individuals to the website for the actual provisions of corporate governance, making the information accessible, but not detailed within the annual report itself. Furthermore, policies regarding shareholder rights were not easy to discern.

Český Telecom

Český Telecom is a telecommunications group that operates primarily in the Czech Republic. The company has a website with shareholder information including board structure and notification of the annual general meeting. In addition, access to the company’s annual report leads to extensive corporate governance discussion. The company acknowledges improved reporting in this area beginning with the 2004 annual report as compared to previous annual reports, and as stated in the 2002 annual report, the company will be in full compliance of the Corporate Governance Code by 2005. One note made in the report includes a list of the members of the supervisory board that qualify as independent, an important provision as recommended by the 2004 Code.

Komerční Banka

Komerční Banka is among the most important banks in the Czech Republic and the Central and Eastern European region, and provides comprehensive services for clients in retail, corporate, and investment banking. The company’s website provides access to key shareholder information, and has an investor relations section. However, there is not a specific corporate governance section. Accessing the annual report allows one to see most of the requirements of corporate governance, but there is neither specific mention of their general policy towards corporate governance nor mention of their adherence or lack there of to the Corporate Governance Code.

Unipetrol

Unipetrol, a group of companies that operate in the chemical industries sector of the Czech Republic, is a major company in Central Europe. The company’s website has direct links to board members as well as an investor page with access to its annual reports, but does not provide detailed corporate governance information. The annual report does not improve upon the corporate governance policy of the company. There is no statement concerning the company’s policy towards corporate governance, and the information given is primarily a list of board members. Qualifications are not given, and shareholder rights are not disclosed or discussed.

Zentiva

Zentiva is a pharmaceutical group that holds leading positions in the Czech and Slovak markets, and amongst the largest players in Central and Eastern Europe. Zentiva’s website provides extensive corporate governance information, including the actual rules governing the boards. Investor relations also has a prominent position on the company’s website, and lists shareholder information, the date of the general meeting, and other important information. As stated in the annual report, the company adheres to the Dutch Corporate Governance Code.

CETV

Central European Media Enterprises, or CME, is traded on the Prague Stock Exchange as CETV. The company, based in Bermuda, is an international television broadcasting company, and operates a group of networks and stations across Central and Eastern Europe. The company’s website includes the members of the board and their qualifications, as well as financial results and company policies such as their Code of Ethics. Interestingly, analyst reports regarding CME are accessible on the company’s website. CME is listed on NASDAQ, so annual report information is accessible through their website under SEC filings.

Philip Morris ČR

Philip Morris ČR is an affiliate of Philip Morris International, whose parent company is Altria Group. The website for Philip Morris directs all investors inquiring about shareholder information to its parent company’s website, although some financial data, its general meeting date, and agenda is disclosed for its Kutna Hora location in the Czech Republic. Just as was the case for CETV, Altria Group has extensive information disclosed in its SEC filings. On the Altria Group website, corporate governance is discussed extensively, and the by-laws as well as board members and governance guidelines are listed.

Severočeské Doly

Severočeské Doly is the largest producer of brown coal in the Czech Republic. The company mines, processes, and sells brown coal and its by-products. The company’s website lists the board members and their qualifications and shareholder structure. There is no area dedicated to corporate governance structure or policy. Within the annual report, the company disclosed they do not comply with the Corporate Governance Code, but it does respect the legal requirements and it hopes to adopt more principles in the future. Key areas of corporate governance are easy to find in the report, and although the company states it does not follow the Code, it does an extremely good job of reporting required as well as recommended information.

Prazská Energetika

Prazská Energetika is an electricity purchasing, distribution, and sales company operating in Prague and Roztoky, and an electricity trader in the wholesale market in the Czech Republic. Prazská Energetika’s website lists the management and board members, shareholder structure, and provides access to its annual reports. There is not a section specifically for corporate governance. In the annual report, the company reports statutory information as required by the Commercial Code, but does not go into great detail about corporate governance specifically. Furthermore, it does not mention its adherence to any part of the Corporate Governance Code.

Conclusions

After reviewing the information provided either on the listed companies’ website or their annual report (see Table 2), it was discovered that the transparency of information has been achieved. At least as stated, most all of the companies comply with statutory provisions of the Commercial Code and other Acts, and six of the ten companies comply with the recommendations of the Corporate Governance Code. Of the four that have not adopted the principles of the Code, some mention of the corporate governance policy is made through the disclosure of the relevant information.

I have found that companies listed on the Prague Stock Exchange with a large market capitalization have improved upon their corporate governance reporting in their 2004 annual reports from previous years. Steps have been taken by these companies to adopt the recommendations of the Corporate Governance Code even before they have become statutory regulations. Although these are stated measures that have been taken, it is assumed the policies are followed as a result of the auditor statement concerning the reporting of information contained in the annual reports. Overall, investor confidence in the Czech securities market should improve in light of the increasing transparency of information, and the future legislation of additional corporate governance requirements will improve upon this further.

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Small Business Marketing Secret #4: Congratulations on Becoming Brand Manager For Coke(r)

Woo Hoo…bring out the champagne and let’s toast to your new position. Brand manager for the big cola giant comes with tons of responsibility.

One of them is that you are required to spends tons of dollars on advertising that you aren’t sure is working. Advertising dollars you can’t measure and advertising dollars that you aren’t sure bring you a return on your investment.

This is called “brand advertising”. You may have heard it called “branding”, “brand building” or most common referred to as “getting your name out there advertising”.

The reason why you’ve been given this position is because you have experience doing this type of advertising in your business, just not with the big cola budget.

I’m sure you already know that you can’t afford to spend the dollars the cola giants spend, so guess what? You can’t advertise like them either.

So stop it.

Don’t believe anyone that says advertising that just gets your name out there is valuable. Don’t get me wrong, it does have some value…but it’s not profitable.

Can you make investments on your budget that aren’t profitable?

If you are like most of the people, you can’t.

We’re about to let you in on this little secret. The most powerful, amazing two words you will ever hear in regard to your advertising.

The two words you must never forget.

These two words will become your advertising mantra, chanted during late night creative sessions and deep mediation.

Are you ready for the two words?

Are you sure?

Here they are!

Nod your head and read these aloud three times.

DIRECT RESPONSE.

Direct response is the only kind of advertising that you can do. If you do direct response advertising you WILL end up with some residual branding effects.

These residual effects stem from what we call your “Natural Gravitational Pull.” We call this Brandscending. But you don’t pay for that.

It is a side effect of powerful direct response advertising that is tested measured and proven effective. This is a powerful part of Gravitational Marketing.

Effective direct response advertising requires three main components:

1. YOU focused copy

2. Effective metrics for testing and measuring

3. Hooks – an offer and a call to action

Remember these? Sound familiar?

They should be your best friends by now.

If you can befriend them, seduce them and love them, they will revolutionize your advertising.

In Jim and Travis’ small business marketing secret #5, we’re going to reveal an easy way to drum up a 20% in your business.

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Small Business Marketing – Understanding the 7 Step Sales and Marketing Cycle

One of the biggest myths as it relates to business comes from one of my favorite movies of all time, ‘Field of Dreams’. In the movie, Ray Kinsella, is inspired by a mysterious voice telling him to follow his dreams. The voice says, ‘If you build it, they will come’. True to Hollywood storytelling, Ray does build ‘it’ and ‘they’ do indeed come.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work the same in business. Many business owners have the false idea that if they have the very best product or service, they are guaranteed instant success. In essence, ‘if [they] build ‘it’, ‘they’ will come.

An incredible, ‘knock your socks off’ product or service does not guarantee success.

If you’re like most small business owners, you’ve doing everything you know how to do, but you’re still not attracting enough new customers. You’ve tweaked your website. You’ve increased the size of your yellow pages ad. You’ve even sent out direct mail pieces designed to generate some quick holiday business, but none of it seems to be working.

What most small business owners fail to realize is that there is a very specific process for creating demand for your ‘it’ so that in turn ‘they’ will come. Just as they miraculously did for Ray Kinsella. This process is called the Sales and Marketing Cycle.

By understanding each step in the Sales and Marketing Cycle, you will have the knowledge necessary to create a marketing ‘system’ that will allow you to build your very own ‘Field of Dreams’.

Step 1. Create a Marketing Plan

This step is undoubtedly the most important step in the cycle. You must clearly define where you want to go and how you plan to get there. As Steven Covey says, ‘begin with the end in mind.’

To create a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, you must define your target market, determine your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), write out your goals, and finally establish a marketing budget. Without each of these ingredients clearly defined, your vision will be murky and you won’t know when it’s time to make course corrections.

Step 2. Get the Attention of Your Target Market

If you’ve done your homework in Step 1, you’re well on your way to capturing your prospects attention because you already know who your ideal customers are and what problems they’re trying to solve. Now it’s just a matter of finding the proper medium to convey these benefits to your target prospects.

If you’re an offline business, a sequence of mailings to a targested list, lead generation advertising, television or radio spots, joint ventures, and even leaving flyers on car windows are ways to let your target prospects know that you have the answer they seek. For online businesses there is ‘Pay Per Click’ advertising such as Google AdWords, ezine advertising, joint ventures, or writing and submitting articles to online publishers.

One key to keep in mind, no matter the medium selected to convey your message, you always want to stress the BENEFITS. Sell the sizzle, not the steak.

Step 3. Educate Your Prospect about Your Product or Service

This step is more often than not the most OVERLOOKED step in the cycle. This step is where you begin to actually convert your prospects into paying customers.

Each day consumers are bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands of advertisements and offers for competing products and services. Often times the consumer is unsure of how to differentiate between competing solutions. By educating your customer about the benefits offered by your solution, you set yourself apart from your competition and it will go a long way towards gaining their trust and ultimately their business.

Some of the ways that you can educate your prospects include free reports via recorded messages, snail mail, or delivered via email spread out over several days. Tele-seminars are also popular these days and are an excellent way to educate your prospects about the benefits of using your product or service.

Step 4. The Sales Transaction Occurs

If you’ve been able to successfully educate your prospect and have shown how your solution can fill their ‘need’, a sales transaction should be the likely result. Keep in mind however, that this is not always the case. When possible, you want to try to find out what it was that kept your prospect from becoming a customer. Some of these reasons may include price, skepticism, they no longer have a need, or they weren’t fully educated about the benefits your solution offered.

Once you’re able to determine WHY they chose not to purchase and if you’ve seen a pattern with other customers, you should then work to improve your Step 3 in order to better educate them as to why you offer the ONLY possible solution to their problem.

Step 5. Deliver Exceptional Customer Service

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or not, but the meaning of the phrase ‘Customer Service’ has changed considerably over the years. No longer do you see ‘Full Service’ gas stations. Receptionists have been replaced by automated phone systems. Airlines no longer offer complimentary meals on flights. This decline gives you a significant opportunity to stand out from the crowd and create immediate loyalty by going above and beyond expectations.

‘Thank You’ notes, gift baskets, courtesy calls, or special discounts are a few examples of ways to provide service that goes ‘above and beyond.’

Step 6. Encourage Your Customers to ‘Spread the Word’

While Step 3 might be the most overlooked step in the cycle, this step is undoubtedly the most powerful step if done properly. If your customer has had a positive experience with your solution, it is possible to enlist this customer into your very own unpaid sales force.

There are many ways to create this army of marketers for you and here are two that I use quite frequently. The first is to simply ASK for referrals. If you don’t ask, they may never know that you expect them to spread the word.

The second way is to ask for and use testimonials. A short, but concise testimonial from a satisfied customer is a very powerful tool for removing skepticism in other prospects considering your solution.

Step 7. Repeat Steps 3-6 with Your Existing Customer Base

After going through the effort and expense of identifying, educating, and ultimately selling to your customer, does that mean the relationship must end? Absolutely not! A sad but true fact is that the asset most often overlooked by businesses today is their existing customer base.

Once you have a customer that has purchased products or services from you, simply begin steps 3-6 again with bigger and better products. Marketing to your existing customer base is the cheapest marketing you can do and it has the potential for delivering the greatest returns.

What do you do if you don’t have additional products or services to offer your existing customers? In two words, FIND SOME. Create an information product. Assemble smaller, related products into a ‘package deal’. Become an affiliate or licensee of someone else’s product or service. Whatever it takes, you MUST find more opportunities to sell more ‘stuff’ on a more frequent basis to your existing customers.

Understand These 7 Steps and You Will Be Able to ‘Go The Distance’

As a small business owner, it’s imperative that you understand this 7 step Sales and Marketing Cycle and how it relates to growing your business. Once you do, you will no longer wonder why even though you’ve built ‘it’, ‘they’ aren’t coming. You will instead know the exact steps needed to not only fulfill the first prompting Ray Kinsella received, but you will also have the knowledge and understanding needed to fulfill the next prompting the mysterious voice whispered to Ray: ‘Go the Distance.’

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Resistance: A Network Marketers Worst Enemy

It strikes when you are about to call a new lead; it kicks into high gear when you are on the verge talking to someone who you know would be perfect for the business.

It holds us back from achieving our goals in a gripping way and we often end up going in circles for weeks… months… even years. And sadly for some, their entire lives.

It pulls us right back to the hole we were fighting to get out of.

It… is Resistance.

Resistance preys on those who are set out to accomplish their desires and aspirations; it pays no attention to those who wish to lead a mediocre life.

From marketing your business, making phone calls, return calls, hosting meetings, listening to conference calls, watching live broadcast, a Home Based Business Owner is one who Resistance targets the most.

We set out to earn above average wages. We set out to create a long-term residual income stream that someday, we hope we can walk away from the business and have that income continue to come in year after year.

For some, Resistance has lost the battle and they go on to attract the success they desire with their Network Marketing businesses, while others are in constant struggle. Although for some, the word struggle is the light way of putting it. Many have been fighting tooth and nail for months – even years to beat Resistance. Often, they find that the harder they try to break free from its grasp, the faster they slip back into the place they know far too well.

And today, we’re going to dig into the mind of a struggling Network Marketer that is losing the battle with Resistance – which is keeping you right where you are right now.

What is it that you desire the most? Does reaching that point scare you in any way? Fear is simply a way of showing you that you are moving in the right direction. As Steven Pressfield puts it in the book, “The War of Art”, “Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.” He then goes on to say, “The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”

While most avoid the things they fear most, it’s those who battle their way through Resistance and fear successfully are those who obtain whatever it is that they want out of life. The new Network Marketer will dive into learning about this business with enthusiasm and force.

Resistance is on the sidelines unable to make its move until self-doubt or fear arises. As the new Network Marketer begins to dive into the business and spends some time learning the products and marketing plan, he soon develops his plan. It’s at the very moment after he has some ideas and has the mere thought of beginning a new project that Resistance jumps into take control.

For those who have battled with Resistance, they know it too well. Some battles they have lost; others they have won. But for the new Network Marketer, Resistance will win and it’s up to the new Marketer to learn, adapt, or fight back. Sadly, Resistance wins more often then not – especially on new prey and the new Marketer goes back into his shell and fear sets in.

Quote from “The War of Art”… “The armature believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless Warrior or a dread-free artist.”

The new Network Marketer then reads more, digs more, knowing enough to “make it” in Network Marketing, but scared to death to take action. His new endeavor is filled with procrastination and delays. His mind, which was once filled with excitement and ideas, now swims in a motionless sea of fear and constant self-sabotage.

When Resistance has you in its grip – the more you struggle to get out, the harder it pulls. Resistance uses your own power and force to keep you right where you are.

The more you want to change and try to change, the more Resistance you will attract. For some, this seems to be a catch-22, while for others, they see an opportunity: An opportunity to be free from the constant struggle and inner battle we all face on the road to success.

So young Marketer, you want to be a successful Network Marketer. Good. Figuring out how to do it is easy to discover in our vast digital world. But knowing how to battle the untold forces of Resistance is what will allow you to apply, use, and take action on what you have learned.

Learn to conquer Resistance, be lead by fear, get out your own way, and finally… the most important thing that you could do is to turn pro.

As far as I am concerned, for years I struggled to get projects off of the ground, websites up and running, books written, businesses launched, marketing campaigns executed, and fought the invisible force, Resistance. Turning pro is a simply a developed mindset that you eventually learn to prolong for extended periods – ideally throughout your entire career.

For example, a Pro Network Marketer is someone who has a new marketing idea at 2 AM – right before they are about to turn off their computer for the night; he/she then sits back down, and begins to make the idea a reality. Then, battling through Resistance and fear, he or she completes the project or idea… and moves onto the next one if need be.

Three years ago I read a book titled, “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. At the time, I had very little Resistance, as I had very little idea as to the direction that I wanted to go. I recall finding the book at the bookstore, and for whatever reason being drawn to it. I purchased the book and read it. I can remember having thoughts asking myself why I bought the book, as I didn’t get much out of it.

As time went on and the direction I had wished to pursue became more clear, Resistance and fear set in. I battled and lost over and over again. It wasn’t until I was organizing my massive library of books that I had purchased trying to find the answer as to why I was stuck, when I found my copy of “The War of Art”.

I thumbed through the pages, trying to remember what it was about. I soon began to find that several sentences were underlined throughout the book. I opened to page 16, which had been a page that I had folded over and circled several times. It read, “Master that fear and we conquer Resistance.” I then saw I underlined, “The danger is greatest when the finish line is in sight.” Then, “So if you’re paralyzed with fear, it’s a good sign. It shows you what you have to do.”

Three years ago, I underlined those sentences – why? I don’t know. They gave me no purpose then.

But now, they were exactly what I needed to conquer Resistance.

Re-reading this book has done more than I could put into words for me. As a Network Marketer, you always need to be working on “Winning the Inner Creative Battle”.

Keep moving forward inwardly and you will undoubtedly create momentum for you and your business in the outside world.

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