Finding The Right Expense Management Solution For Your Company

In recent times, initiatives such as the Sarbannes Oxley Act in the US have dramatically raised the profile of compliance within the corporate world. As a key element of any corporate compliance policy, expense management has shared some of the limelight. As a result, an Expense Management Solution (EMS) is now critical to any business concerned with corporate compliance. But what is an Expense Management Solution (EMS)? Does your company need one? And where do you find a good one? Just as importantly, how do you successfully implement and integrate an Expense Management Solution (EMS) into your corporate environment. This article sheds some light on these issues.

What is an Expense Management Solution (EMS)?

The term expense management solution has been used to describe quite different commercial products and services. In the context of this article, an expense management solution is defined as a technology based system that processes:

(i) transaction records received from a credit card issuer (detailing employee use of corporate credit cards0; and

(ii) cash reimbursement claims originated by an employee.

In practice the target application is Travel and Entertainment expenditure. A robust Expense Management Solution (EMS) will also support procurement (pCard) activities as part of a broader strategy of effectively managing lower value, high volume business-to-business transactions.

The three core steps of any expense management process are:

1. the acceptance/input of validated source data;
2. the application of predetermined rules of handling expense records; and
3. the posting of transactions to a corporate repository such as an ERP system.

What is the purpose of an Expense Management Solution (EMS)?

The objectives of an expense management solution implementation should include the following:

1. to automate the preparation, submission, approval, and auditing of travel & entertainment claims, thus improving the productivity of account holders and reducing the time and cost of accounts staff;

2. to support the implementation of a standardized best practice method of managing high volume expenses through the use of corporate credit cards; and

3. to increase the transparency and enhance the governance of financial transactions conducted on behalf of the enterprise.

Sources of Expense Management Solutions

Australian and international organizations now have access to a range of quality expense management solutions which are well suited to driving down administration cost whilst meeting corporate compliance requirements. There are essentially three sources of expense management solutions:

1. ERP systems;
2. systems offered by card issuers; and
3. best-of-breed solutions.

Each will have their own merits and will suit organizations in different circumstances.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems

ERP sourced expense management has the attraction of being fully integrated within the financial suite of software, therefore offering a standard look and feel to all users of the ERP. With ERP sourced expense management functionality, the ERP supplies the core software, and the enterprise needs to customize and configure the system to reflect its own structures and rules regarding the management of staff expenses. If you’re considering the option of using their ERP for expense management, you need to be conscious of a number of factors, including:

the actual functionality available within their specific installed ERP system;
the backlog of work on the ERP system accumulated for the IT department; and
the deployment time and the cost of the project (which will usually be substantial).
License costs can be an issue if an enterprise if your company has not paid a license fee that will cover all card account holders and cash claimants.

Card Issuer Systems

Some card issuers promote expense management solutions which can range from a computer generated report through to an online system with some embedded workflow concepts. The attraction of card issuer expense management solutions is that they are offered as part of a card deal, sometimes (apparently) for free. If you’re considering a card issuer expense management solution, you need to know:

will you be ‘locked in’ to the card issuer?; and
will you be able to configure the expense management solution to adequately reflect internal requirements?

Best-of-Breed Solutions

Best-of-breed expense management solutions from specialist providers can be relatively seamlessly interfaced to an organization’s internal systems such as HR and ERP, but will not present a common look and feel to the ERP system. You would usually choose a best-of-breed expense management solution if you want:

1. your company to be independent of a particular card issuer;
2. to achieve a fast implementation; and/or
3. to configure the solution to its own unique rules and policies of expense administration.

Best-of-breed expense management solutions are typically deployed as either an ASP (Application Service Provider) or self hosted solution. Although exceptions are common, small to medium enterprises tend to appreciate the lower up-front cost of an ASP expense management solution, and larger enterprises are attracted to the control available through a self-hosted expense management solution. ASP expense management solutions are typically paid for on a per statement per month basis, and self-hosted expense management solutions have a range of options available from up-front license fees to monthly license rentals.

Overcoming the Cultural Resistance to Expense Management Solutions

Some Finance Directors still have an aversion to corporate credit cards. It’s not uncommon to hear a finance director say if I give everyone a card, they’ll spend us broke!

However, the benefits of an Expense Management Solution are apparent as soon as the Finance Director considers the difficulties of controlling the expenditure behavior of thousands of employees using a manual system of reimbursements which is largely based around a set of uncoordinated spreadsheets. Basic activities such as enforcing travel policies, calculating tax implications, reconciling, posting to a chart of accounts at a detailed level and auditing, are so difficult as to be more honored in the breach than the observance…

Viewed from a different perspective, a company with revenues of $700m $50m in EBITDA, and $20m in annual employee business expenses, can make a dramatic impact on its bottom line using an expense management solution without increasing revenue. If automation reduces these expenses by only five per cent in the first year, the savings alone have the same impact on the bottom line as $14m in new revenue. It isnt surprising that the return on investment of an expense management project is often achieved within its first 12 months of operation.

Expense Management Solutions also play a vital role in Fraud Control. Fraud in this context takes many guises, not all of which are the sort that land perpetrators in court. Information taken from our own customer experience and from publications of the USA Association of Certified Fraud Examiners identify the top four categories of fraud:

1. Mischaracterized expenses
2. Overstated (exaggerated) payments
3. Fictitious expenses
4. Multiple reimbursements

Research in the USA has pointed to as much as 1% of company revenues being lost to employee expense mismanagement. Expense Management Systems will not, in their own right, eliminate this but they are a vital tool in creating an environment that drives down the level of mismanagement.

Conclusion

Over the past 18 months, our company has observed a change in motivation for expense management projects. Whereas formerly expense management solutions were an exercise solely in the reduction of administration costs, now governance is equally a driver to implement technology based controls around high volume expenditure. The Sarbannes Oxley (SOX) act in the USA has captured the attention of any enterprise active in the USA. However, inside or outside the USA, the senior executives must warrant that their company has implemented adequate financial controls that prevent fraud and give a true and correct record of the enterprises financial activities. As a result, the Corporate Travel Manager who pitches a proposal on expense management to the senior executive team currently finds a willing audience.

Youtube Seo Strategy For Business Sectors

There had been much discussion on the ways and the strategies to optimise the videos for the YouTube channels. The strategy and the formulation adopted by the experts to optimise the YouTube in the best way possible. Its a proven and tested formula, by optimising the videos on the YouTube; it enhances the chances of being shown up on the organic Google search results. I would like to point out here more importantly; the role of Google here is just to drive the very specific video-based search result directly to the YouTube and not to the corporate websites or one can say in a way crisp, directly to a companys landing page.

Lets discuss or rather give a thought on the specific clever ways by which the corporate can easily get the visitors directly to the companys landing pages.

You are Profile on YouTube

Your SEO-setup to achieve that promising optimization of the videos for particularly your corporate website, any bidding advertiser can ensure that well aimed strategy and planning, by making it sure without any fail to incorporate the companys URL in their particular YouTube profile section.

SEO targeted keywords in the Title

By including, the particular targeted SEO keywords; in the videos is another important part of that well envisioned strategy and planning of the SEO for benefitting from the YouTube videos.

Focus on the Description

SEO has to be very particular about the kind and the quality of the video description. Its usually been kept short and crisp within the range of 27 characters. Be sure that you add your companys URL in the very first part of your description. One can include their marketing program link as well. The description will be an excellent carrier of the visitors to your corporate website, if you are certainly including the follow me links directing to the blog section and the twitter account.

Be categorically specific

Yes of course, the category that you are choosing that one category that will allow your corporate video to be well fitted to turn the tables around. There have been a limited category options available on the YouTube. One smart act you can certainly do is to keep a check on what your competitors are doing. You can certainly consider the categories that your competitor has selected.

That best appealing Video Thumbnail for your corporate video.

We know that mostly YouTube users stay limited towards the selection of the video thumbnail images. You make it sure that you chose the one of the most appealing and the best image which inculcates the corporate logo.

Tags, be limited.

Tags are undoubtedly important for making your corporate video in a way more chances of being found. I am talking about the specific point that you should have been using the minimum of only almost 10 descriptive tags for your video each. You should have multi-word tags as just one word tag, which is always a better strategy as per the latest web analytics. Minimum of the 10 descriptive tags for each video is what you need to do. Web-Analytics have been in much favor to this point. You can also mirror the tags with the specific word order on YouTube.

Tagging for the Locations

I will put it straight; tagging the location once your corporate video is uploaded is another master stroke for the SEO. This will help your corporate video well streamlined with the Google Maps and the specific Google places. Yes, top of the all, your Corporate YouTube video will be right there on the Google Earth searches.

Captions & Subtitles to get that linked text.

Lets talk about the importance of the captions which are any time important, if you upload the closed caption texts and the specific subtitles as the texts are searchable. The very of auto transcription has never been accurate. A closed caption text being selected for the videos is always a good option. SEO dont necessarily have to get each and every word matched with the video, the additional target keywords specifically in the closed captions works wonder. You better be using the words like its or our addressing the companys brand and the name.

Thumbs up from the Subscribers / Community

When you get the comments and the thumbs-up from the specific group of the subscribers and the people well targeted, is another well laid planning for your specific Digital marketing campaigns. It is going to give great thumbs up for the search ranking for the corporate videos in the YouTube. You should have to be careful in identifying the relevant subscribers, to be following your corporate video on the YouTube.

Benefits Of Commercialization To An Innovation Driven Business

The best way for a business to thrive is either through expanding its product line, or through product innovation/ invention. Innovation-driven businesses-especially- must constantly innovate or upgrade their products in order to stay competitive. Innovation-driven businesses are entities known for their diligent entrepreneurial and pioneering activities, founded on new product/s (NPD) or service inventions.

Of the industries that fall into the category “innovators”- office equipment, cosmetics, computer software, food technology, telecommunications, customer service upgrades, gaming technology, and pharmaceuticals- are just a few.

Business leaders, within innovation-driven industries, understand all too well how important it is to have systematic methods of consumer intelligence gathering, and also a timely method of responding to the ever-changing needs of the customer-base, effectively preempting the competition. Therefore industry leaders have implemented “Commercialization” within their organizations, as they have determined that the traditional “Marketing” frame-work ‘does not fit’ a core business strategy dependent on New Product Development or emerging technologies.

The new method therefore is for a Commercialization department to be established; under which the traditional functions of a Marketing department would fall. Some innovators, however, either do not have a Commercialization department, or have not properly integrated the frame-work into the daily operations of their companies.

Paul Patterson, author of:”Beyond the Beaker – How to Achieve Successful Market Adoption for Emerging Technologies”, has experienced this phenomena first hand: “Many research facilities, universities and investors are developing commercialization departments in order to enable more effective market adoption of their emerging technologies. In most cases however, the commercialization system has been incorrectly adapted by these entities, as evidenced by their production flow charts that incorrectly represent commercialization as an arrow pointing to the word “Market”. These organizations are not aware that Commercialization is as equally complex a process as technology development.”

A correctly implemented Commercialization system is based on the following fundamentals:

1. Constantly update knowledge base with customer intelligence and paradigm shifts. Assess if the company has the skills, technology, accumulated experience, and methodologies to respond swiftly with product changes or NPD’s.

2. Companies could investigate how their business customers are creating value, and whether the competencies of the company allow the development of products that would be useful to their customers’ new value-creating direction.

3. The implementation of one of 2 product development approaches: “compression” or “experiential” strategy.

4. Considering off-shore sourcing for supplies and raw materials by setting up a manufacturing plant in the targeted country, could benefit profit margins, as well as relationships “all around”. A company might be able to negotiate tariff barriers by this move: by buying from local suppliers/ producers as well as offering employment opportunities will open the doors to further concessions within that country, and might improve the host country’s relations with the parent country.

Commercialization is truly a complex process as highlighted by Paul Patterson in “Beyond the Beaker – How to Achieve Successful Market Adoption for Emerging Technologies”. However if the process is properly implemented, commercialization could possibly improve the outlook of a global business venture.

Business Strategist & Blue Ocean Strategy Expert

Can you think of a business that doesnt want to innovate and grow? The success and/or failure of an organization depend entirely upon the strategy formulation and the ability to execute that strategy. How do you decide upon a strategy?

Dr. Zunaira Munir (Founder and Managing Director of Strategize Blue) is a business strategist who focuses on innovative business growth strategies to help companies break out of competition and achieve profitable growth. With a client list that reads like a Who’s Who in Business, Dr. Munir addresses companies eager to grow and willing to innovate from organizations, large and small. Recent clients include Hewlett Packard, Coca Cola, T-Mobile, Center for Non-Profit Management, Ohio State University Medical Center, Technologico de Monterrey, American Advertising Federation, Banco Colombia, RJ Reynolds and California Chamber of Commerce to name a few.

Dr. Munirs specialized topic is Blue Ocean Strategy, a systematic approach to innovate and achieve profitable growth. It originates from the best selling book Blue Ocean Strategy (authored by Professors Kim and Mauborgne of INSEAD in 2005) that is known to have revolutionized business strategy worldwide.

Blue Ocean Strategy stresses businesses to make their competition irrelevant instead of continuously striving to beat it. As a senior member of the Global Blue Ocean Strategy Network, she works directly with Kim Chan and Renee Mauborgne.

Blue Ocean Strategy suggests that the traditional strategies are not sufficient to achieve or sustain profitable growth in the present day markets marked by cut-throat competition. Instead of striving to do better than the competitors for grabbing a bigger share of the market, it focuses on value innovating for creating uncontested market spaces where competition becomes irrelevant. It is about creating new wealth in the market instead of fighting over and distributing existing wealth in the market.

Additionally, whereas all other traditional approaches consider innovation to be a trial-and-error process that depends on an entrepreneurs creativity and risk-taking, Blue Ocean Strategy comes with a complete set of tools, frameworks and methodologies that make the innovation process systematic and replicable that anybody can learn and apply to achieve profitable growth. Challenging the traditional assumption that opportunities and risks always come together, Dr. Munir focuses on minimizing risks while maximizing opportunities to achieve business success.

The system is quite generalizable and scalable and has been applied for formulating national strategies; for achieving corporate success; for generating growth in small businesses as well as for an individuals success in career.

With a PhD in Innovation Management from Wuhan University of Technology in China and dynamic training and presenting experience in Asia, Europe, South America, as well as the U.S Dr. Munir continue to help companies develop concrete ideas and practical steps to create new market space

Brendan Murphy is the Marketing Manager for Strategize Blue http://www.strategizeblue.com, a Blue Ocean Strategy Training and Consulting company based in San Diego. He works under Dr. Zunaira Munir, the internationally exclaimed expert and keynote speaker on Blue Ocean Strategy.

The Academy Of Business Strategy – Critical Career Skills

AUTHOR
Dr. Kenneth J Troon DBA MBA BBA

So you have good qualifications and good experience, you have seen it all, done it all, surely this entitles you to have a moral right to every good quality vacancy which comes along? Well, no it doesnt of course. No individual has a divine right to preference over other candidates and those who genuinely believe that they should are probably suffering from delusion. This is also somewhat of an arrogant attitude to have.

The fact is that someone with inferior qualifications and less experience may ultimately be better for the vacancy.

Employers tend to be less impressed by candidates touting past experiences and past achievements as justification for employment and more impressed by candidates who are well prepared, who research the vacancies professionally and prove not only how much they want the position, but how well suited they are for it.

The right candidate for the job should make it very easy for the employer to hire them!

We can learn a lot from perusing through a candidates CV, the candidates choice of education, professional qualifications and positions they have been employed in. They way in which the CV is written also tells us a great deal, whether the candidate is willing to take credit for achievements which were not really theirs to claim for example.

A CV which has been developed in a generic format clearly illustrates that the candidate just sends the same CV out for all vacancies.

Whether there is commitment to ongoing self-development or whether it is just something that the candidate did ten years ago. The candidates references are also important both in terms of whether they just about do what is required or whether they go that extra mile.

The fact is that candidates should be targeting the positions that they want.

They should be conducting significant research into both the position they want and into the respective organization and industry. They should develop a unique CV for each position for which they apply. They should prepare a detailed report and presentation leaving the employer in no doubt that they are head and shoulders above any other candidate who may apply, but this should be achieved by demonstrating substance, not by offering the employer empty boasts or promises.

Taking the time to implement a detailed professional career management strategy with a few positions that are tailor-made for you, will be far more productive than sending generic CVs out to thousands of employers when it will be somewhat obvious to them that you have not really put any thought or consideration into your application.

Many candidates just send their CVs out indiscriminately as attachments to standard or even blank emails and in the unlikely event that an employer actually contacts them they will invariably have no knowledge or understanding about the vacancy at all. It naturally follows that if you are unable or unwilling to put any effort into the development and implementation of your own career, then how much effort are you likely to put into the job if the organization employs you?

The list that follows here features the key critical career skills which we at the Academy of Business Strategy feel are important for a candidate to possess if they are going to succeed with their careers.

CRITICAL CAREER SKILLS (CCS)

1.Specific skills and experience rather than generic and the ability to target specific vacancies professionally.

2.A methodical approach to career planning and development.

3.The ability to be proactive rather than reactive.

4.An ongoing commitment to self-development. The more we learn, the more we realize how little we actually know!

5.Modesty and professional courtesy. The former portrays confidence and the latter conveys peer respect.

6.Preparation is everything. Thinking on your feet, while necessary at times, is always reactive by nature. Good preparation invariably avoids having to do this.

A Beneficial Form of Pain Management

Pain Management – There are many forms and severities of pains and a vast selection of painkillers and medication specifically for particular types of pain. The definition of pain states it as an unpleasant feeling but anyone who has experienced severe pain knows that unpleasant is a definite understatement. Depending on the injury, illness or ailment/s, pain can range in intensity, from a mild discomfort to crippling agony. Different pain management methods are beneficial for different pains and areas affected.

What is MSM? This substance is found in all life forms, from animals and humans to plants, and is called Methyl Sulfonyl Methane or MSM; also known as “Organic Sulfur”. It is intended to supply sulfur to the body, this helps the body to make other needed and useful things. There are numerous conditions that MSM is used to treat, with a vast array of symptoms.

Regular organ function and all of the bodys systems depend greatly on this naturally occurring sulfur. It contributes to the correct functionality of over one hundred of the bodys compounds. The body uses the available supply reasonably quickly and then excretes the majority of the remaining sulfur.

MSM as a pain management option or as a dietary supplement can be extremely beneficial. It can be a great method of detoxification, flushing free radicals and toxins from the body, and can also contribute to healthy production of energy and a strong metabolism. By helping to digest food sufficiently and beneficially, MSM allows the body to break down and utilize the food eaten, greatly improving nutrition.

What MSM Is Used For? MSM is taken for several pain relief purposes but is most commonly known for its anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to increase blood flow, thus reduce swelling and improve circulation.

Uses for this natural medicine include treatment of bone and joint defects such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, joint inflammation and musculoskeletal pain, easing swelling and reducing pain. It is used to accelerate the bodies healing process. Cuts and abrasions and even stretch marks, scar tissue and wrinkles can be treated with MSM.

This natural pain relief offers possible aid for high blood pressure and cholesterol, plus poor circulation. Sufferers of Alzheimers disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, HIV and AIDS and lung disorders like emphysema have been known to benefit from MSM. This pain management method can even help people with cancers such as breast or colon cancer.

Other reasons to use MSM are for pain management associated with illnesses from swelling of the mucous membrane, inflammation of the eye to parasitic infections. Muscle cramps and swelling, headaches/migraines and surprisingly, people with hangovers can benefit from MSM.

Odd Uses – This natural pain relief sulfur has an endless list of uses. This list includes snoring. Said to alleviate snoring, getting someone to sleep without the disturbance. It is highly unlikely that any other natural pain relief medicine can offer so many uses as this one product. Ones hair nails and skin can benefit from MSM, making it a possible addition to beauty and hygiene products in the future.

Summary: MSM is a naturally occurring, Sulfur, present in plant life, humans and animals alike. It has immense beneficial properties and is best known for the anti-inflammatory properties and effective pain management quality. This article contains information, uses and benefits of MSM, the natural pain manager.

Long-term Seo Strategy For Small Business Marketing

In using search engine optimisation (SEO) as part of your small business marketing plan, you have to understand that this will not bring in the big bucks fast. You have to keep in mind that with this marketing strategy, the search engines are the ones running the show. So, if you choose to use the legitimate and recommended SEO tactics, then expect for things to advance at a slow but sure pace. The good thing about this kind of strategy though is that it is beneficial for your website ranking in the long run.

The two main factors to take into consideration are on page and off page optimization. On page optimization deals with keyword density on the actual website being optimized. It also deals with meta tags which help the major search companies spider the page properly. Each webpage should be optimized for one keyword only. More than one keyword being optimized on the page can confuse the spiders. On page optimization accounts for roughly 30% of the overall optimization strategy.

The second factor, off page optimization, is the most important factor to focus on. When speaking of off page optimization, links are the name of the game. Links, also known as back links, can be created in a variety of ways. The most popular techniques used are article marketing, directory submission, press releases, forum and blog posting, when creating links. Each of these techniques can be overwhelming to the uninitiated, but in each city such as Cincinnati, search engine optimization consultants are ready to assist you.

There are various components of best SEO and they are listed here:-

Link building: Link building is the most important aspect of increasing the search engine optimization. This is because any search engine looks at the number of links online and if your site has many links, then your site will be returned very high in the search results.

Unique content: Unique content is as important as the links for the best SEO results. Your web site should have as much relevant and unique content as possible for your site to have more traffic and the site to be returned very high up in the search engine results for a keyword.

Article submission: This is another method of increasing the popularity of your sites. You can write articles and submit them to various article directories and these articles should have links to your site for the best SEO for your site.

Webinar Service Providers Choose Wisely And Have A Winning Business Strategy

Web marketing is gearing up very fast and has emerged as a winner. Most of the businesses are online now, which has definitely made web marketing a very popular and successful marketing tool. Though online marketing has variety of techniques which work collectively and bring these winning results but there is one technique which has recently made a big impact on the online marketing strategy, Webinar services. This increasing demand has led to development of numerous webinar service providers. Every business owner knows that for making a strong hold of your business you need to conduct regular meetings. Same applies to the online business for which the concept of online webinars came into being.
Webinars are basically a platform made for conducting meetings online. There is number of webinar service providers across the globe but what will make a winning solution provider entirely depends on owners selection. If you want good results you definitely need to pay more. So, all your business owners choose somebody who is smart and unique in their business strategies. Different thinking can make you a winner. Join hands with the webinar providers which have the capacity to offer lead generation webinar solutions. If your webinar can generate qualified leads then only your business can grow.
There is no reason your lead generation webinars shouldn’t produce high quality leads for your business, just need to be little thoughtful in choosing your service provider and planning your webinar strategy. For example, do some survey of your prospects after registering your webinar. This will help your company in directly dealing with the interested people and address their queries and concerns. Secondly, while making the webinar concept, choose a title that speaks directly to prospects’ goals. If you follow these simple tips and spend some quality time in webinar strategy making, you can definitely have a win-win situation.
For making a lead generation webinar make sure you choose the experts who can strategies a power pact and winning webinar for you. Choose the webinar service providers who practice the latest techniques and the most modern technology equipment.

Overall Business Strategy

Porters five forces of competition

Under this model, porter mentioned threats of new entrants who may be interested in the same

business. New entrants affect market share, thus reduce profitability and increase costs of

marketing (Porter, 2008). New entrants also pose a threat since they may introduce a different

entry strategy that is inconsistent with existing firms. New entrants also may redesign, marketing

routs parallel to existing ones, and thus creating market related conflicts. Porters also looked

at the power of suppliers in the model as key drivers of business profitability, because they

influence supplies like raw materials and other services needed by firms, in order to produce.

Pricing of raw materials and other services is vital in determining the price of the finished

product. Suppliers determine the level of input thus affect production related overhead. Another

aspect of competition in the porters framework is the bargaining power of customers. Porter

insists that, customers can mount pressure on the firm to adjust its prices downward, particularly

in a price sensitive environment. This also involves buyers choice and preferences as well as the

purchasing power of such buyers. Threats of substitutes are also another factor that determines

OVERALL BUSINESS STRATEGY

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firms’ competitiveness according to porters theory. Under this, Porter was concerned with

possible product substitutes that can provide alternatives to customers in the event of price

variations. This reduces market attractiveness thus reduces firm’s profitability. At the center of

all these, Porters model also dwelt on competitive rivalry as one of the key aspects of the five

forces of competition. The number and capability of the competitors, determine the level of

market attractiveness that may affect market penetration and profitability of firms (Porter, 2008).

Application of Porter’s five forces of competition

This model applies to our company in many ways. We have to consider that as our company

seeks market expansion, there is likelihood of new entrants in the industry coming on board. In

the event they produce similar products at a lower cost, customers are likely to switch to these

alternatives, which is likely to affect our market share. We have also to consider that using

external website may reduce our direct physical contacts to our renowned customers as much as

it provides an avenue for new customers. On the other hand the bargaining power of these new

buyers may also affect our prices in the new market much as our production costs may reduced

through online marketing. The company also needs to consider the existence of rival firms that

may target our best customers by providing lower prices for similar products. This is because

our rivals will be able to monitor our strategies on our website are likely to employ counter

tactics to our strategies. The power of suppliers should come into the picture when developing

these strategies because expansion of the market may increase demand for raw materials thus

mounting pressure on suppliers to supply more. The power of these suppliers to bargain for

supplies also determines the pricing aspect in the both existing and new markets. Suppliers may

also be forced to seek alternative sources of raw as demand increases. These may come with

extra costs of obtaining these raw materials, which is likely to be passed to our firm. Expansion

may also come with the introduction of new suppliers. These suppliers may have different

strength and bargaining power. Our company will also require some time to build mutual trust

and good working relationships in the event of new suppliers. The cost of switching from one

supplier to another may adversely affect our firms profitability. This should therefore be put into

consideration, thus strategies should

Generic strategies applicable to Adventure Works

As our company embarks on the development of this strategic plan, in relation to its operational

changes, there is a need for new strategies. This can include adopting relevant generic strategies

developed by porter, in our scenario, adopting a focus strategy is key in our new direction. The

company needs to focus on our existing customers and other potential customers in Europe and

develop contacts with them. Focus strategy will enable us to concentrate on a narrow customer

segment with an attempt to achieve cost advantage. However, we need to employ a focus

strategy with an element of cost leadership given that the firm indents to utilize online

marketing; for this reason, there is need to monitor the implication of this online system on our

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distribution costs. Online business provides two important advantages that include reaching a

wide number of potential customers and reduces barriers that affect business (Rainer, Kelly, and

Cegielski. 2012). This strategy best fits our specialized business that revolves around bikes and

metals. This company needs to capitalize on existing customers needs with whom it has already

built good relationship and mutual. There is need to strength our regional sales teams as we

embark on our new plan. This can be done through mapping of customers in every region and

customization our website based on regions to suit the already existing systems. The focus

strategy will enable our company to concentrate on a market niche that we understand most. This

strategy is possible because of already specialized venture in bicycle and metals. Our company

will be able to capitalize on the existing customers based on our brand loyalty. In this case, as we

broaden our market scope, we have to consider our market niche that we are quite familiar with

before penetrating any new market. We also need to bring something new in the mix that will

enhance the attractiveness of our product to customers. When applying the focus strategy, the

aspect of cost leadership will not pose a major challenge because our company will rely on our

website as a key marketing tool when targeting bicycle buyers. Relatively, the company will be

able to reduce cost of distribution through the utilization of online marketing. Cost reduction will

also be realized across the value chain through engagement of specialized suppliers and market

agents across our company. Superfluous Activities in the value chain within the target segment

will also be eliminated through focus strategy. Cost leadership will also be necessary at this

point of time because broadening market entails penetrating other competitive environment,

however, we need to concentrate on existing customers as per contact our list, in this case our

company needs to understand market dynamics including the bargaining power of suppliers and

buyers before the aspect of cost leadership is prioritized. Much as other strategies like

differentiation may create brand loyalty in the market by reducing oversensitivity of customers

on prices, we have to consider that the company already has the best customers that it entails to

concentrate on during its expansion. The newly acquired Importadores Neptuno in Mexico,

provides a framework upon which networking and mapping of potential customers can easily

be achieved through our regional sales team. The focus strategy will be right for our company

to sustain and satisfy already existing customers, we shall also be able to clearly segment our

products in the new geographical regions in relation to renowned customer. Focus strategy is

built on the concept of serving a defined group of customer nitch exactly what our company

should look forward to achieve. Also to note is that focus strategy can help achieve

differentiation as well as the low cost advantage within a narrow market. The focus strategy will

also echo well with this company because of the understanding of customers unique needs and

market dynamics. This is because we have all along served our customers uniquely well,

according to the feedback we get from the hem.

Implementation Tactics

One of the most effective tactic we can use to achieve this is timing tactics. Douglas, John and

Essam (2012), p. 130 noted that moving earlier than competitors to introduce and sell new

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product or model makes an organization first mover while others will be early followers. While

we employ time tactics we must consider our resources, capabilities and competences. The

driving force in timing tactic is considering a market share as organization goal. OShaughnessy,

(1995), established that by using market share as a goal, a company either intends to protect its

market share or advance its market share. By use of a timing tactic, our firm will be able move

before competition, move with competition and move away from competition as provided by

OShaughnessy (1995) in his competitive timing direct matrix. Effectiveness of time strategy

will be determined by how we choose and prioritize our goals. Setting implementation goals

in terms of long term and short term will enable us to evaluate the progress and development

intervention approaches where necessary. This involves setting targets in relation to our current

position in the market and time of achieving these goals for evaluation purposes.

The competitive position tactic will also be key in the implementation of this strategic plan. We

need to position our initiative as market leader who will be followed by other competitors by

virtue of our customer base and their loyalty across our regional markets. More significant is

our level of technology that includes reaching our extensive markets through our website. The

competitive position tactic will make our competitors more of followers. Taking up competitive

approach will mean that, our company defends its position as market leaders within our

market scope through customer defensive tactics. It is good to understand that our expansion

majorly focuses on existing customers, thus losing even one of them will be detrimental to our

strategy. Douglas, et al.p. 134 noted that leaders are always vulnerable to attackers. In this

case, positioning ourselves as market leaders need the adoption of defensive tactics. Defensive

tactics entail to reduce the possibility of attack and reduce threat attacks to an acceptable

standard (Porter 1985b). One of the ways is protecting current market share through position

defense tactic by building fortification around our current position. By focusing our attention

on this strategic plan, our company will be able to position and maintain itself as leading firm in

manufacture and sole distributor of bicycles.

I will be glad to be part of the team that will oversee the smooth implementation of this strategic

plan when in place, and will always be available in case you need any of my input.

Customer Relationship Management Strategies in Times of Crisis

The current customers are the key to overcoming the current economic downturn. Attracting new customers costs between 6 and 13 times more expensive than the preservation and sale on existing ones. Under normal conditions, companies lose about 50% of existing customers average on every five years, while the difficult attraction of new ones in an environment of shrinking market and financial crisis, imposes to look at this as a cost-effective source of revenue. Effective management of customer relationships is essential in times of crisis and organizations can use customer – oriented strategies and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools to maximize the value and loyalty of their customers to open up new opportunities not only for survival but also for development.

Should the customer relationships be managed?

The typical client no longer exist and some companies learned it by the hard way.Until recently, business was more concerned about what sells. In otherwords, companies focused on selling as many products and services without giving importance who buys them. Still, many companies are product-oriented, based on its organizational structure and bonus plans on the products, which they sell, than on customers who buy them.

Modern companies have already changed or plan to change their organizational structure and information from product to customer-oriented, applying reengineering on core business processes and laying the groundwork for transition to the next stage of their development – active management of customer relationships.

If we perform an analysis, we will see that focusing on only 5% of loyal and valuable customers can increase profits by 25% to 70%. This, together with the fact that it costs much more expensive to sell to new customer than to an existing and loyal one, motivates companies to try to maximize their existing customer relationships. Also, dynamic market environment and business conditions make it necessary to take into account the following factors:

– Changed organization of work: In today’s business and corporate structure often professionals working in the departments of marketing, sales and customer service rarely and sometimes never made direct contact with customers. CRM is a business strategy, philosophy and technology that aims to fill this gap.

– Changed business environment: Changed is the behavior of customers and it is not the same as prior years. It is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to operate, meeting the symptoms of “marketing fatigue” in potential customers. The increasing variety of marketing and communication messages to customers, leads to the effect of continuing contraction of the benefits of traditional marketing tools and for the search for new ones.

– The increasing complexity of markets: The increasing globalization leads to the emergence of new competitors that offer completely new products and services.