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Entries posted by ann.snortland

Managing layoffs with dignity and respect

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Prolonged economic difficulties are forcing many previously healthy middle market companies to face the question of layoffs. This is an area that is ripe with potential hazards and might have unintended consequences if not handled correctly. It is critical to understand that in most cases layoffs are best considered actions of last resort. Local human… Continue Reading Managing layoffs with dignity and respect

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The election is over and it appears change is heading our way, or is it?
Senior management for middle market companies, and the rest of the business world, is watching to see what changes might be in store with the new presidential administration.
If we are to take candidate Barack Obama at his word, we would be facing some dramatic changes to the tax code, health care, education, energy and more. However, President-elect Obama is starting to hint that his more likely approach will involve less change. Continue Reading Middle market companies watch for new administration policy changes

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The demise of the residential real estate market has become legendary and has dominated the news for months on end — and for good reason.
Meanwhile, the commercial real estate market has been largely left out of the headlines. The tightening credit situation and weak economy are starting to bring questions about the strength of the market to the forefront. Continue Reading Now is a good time for firms to review real estate expenses

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In times of economic uncertainty it is very easy for middle market managers and employees to become distracted worrying about their jobs or the value of their 401ks.
But it is important to avoid distractions, stay focused, keep your team energized, attract the right people and above all communicate with employees to be successful.
The question is how to keep your management team and employees engaged, excited and help them continue to innovate. Continue Reading Keeping employees engaged best way to avoid economic distraction

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The economy is giving off mixed signals these days.
Oil prices are easing and gross domestic product numbers have been stronger than expected during the first half of the year. The dollar is gaining ground and consumer confidence got a boost. Continue Reading Strategic repositioning key to preparing for next cycle

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Business cannot thrive on cost cutting alone. At some point you have to sell more products or services to grow.
Finding new ways to increase sales, enter new markets or grow sales without adding staff can be a challenge to middle market companies. Growth can be capital intensive and it takes time to fully realize a return on that investment. Continue Reading Leveraging growth with channel marketing a long-time project

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Middle market companies often struggle with growing and developing a strong leadership team that is ready to face the challenges that come with each stage of a company’s development.
Too often, the founder and visionary of the company reaches a point where he or she is no longer effective. Often the next step is for the board is to intervene and hire a new CEO, which can leave the founder wondering what went wrong. Continue Reading Developing business leaders who can face tomorrow’s challenges

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It is no secret that the high cost of fuel is affecting consumers, but middle market companies are no less immune to the impact of higher energy costs.
There has been a push for several years to become greener by reducing the amount of energy businesses consume. The spike in energy costs has accelerated that process. Now it is both socially and economically advantageous to become more energy efficient at the office. Continue Reading Rising costs energizing desire to reduce energy consumption

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The traditional sales process — handing your sales staff a product and sales materials, and then instructing them to go out and tout all the great features and benefits of the product and how the prospect can’t live without it — has lost its effectiveness, according to many sales experts.
That outdated approach has taught prospects how to keep your sales people on the hook long enough to get free information and consulting services, all the while the prospect is building up the ammunition needed to buy from your competitor. Continue Reading Closing the sale just simply isn’t what it used to be

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Crossing the ethical line

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The question of ethics is often left out of the business discussion. Yet, as we learned, thanks to Enron, Quest and ImClone, they can have a profound impact on business beyond the offending companies.
Consider the Sarbanes Oxley legislation.
One might assume that when the economy slows, people are more likely to cross ethical lines in business. But that might not be the case. Continue Reading Crossing the ethical line

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