Berkonomics

Have you been celebrating each victory?

Berkonomics

Here comes another story. Of course. This one may be like one or more you have experienced in your company. It is a story about focus upon the customer, first.

Here’s a rule for companies with outstanding loans

Berkonomics

Here is one that is so important to the continued health of a growing company that it cannot be overstated. It’s a bit complex for novices. But hang in there as I explain a bit about accounting classification of assets and liabilities. Differences between types of assets and liabilities.

Have you made the mistake of hiring too soon?

Berkonomics

Well, you may not be alone. Many executives and managers have made the mistake of using the financial and sales forecast to plan and execute hiring of new employees – so that they could be trained and up to speed when the demand arrives. The balance between preparedness and cost.

Insurance is always too expensive – until it’s needed.

Berkonomics

I expect that you have a story about how insurance saved you lots of money in your past. As usual, I have a story to make your hair stand on end. But first: here’s a fact.

Sites 59

How do you pay an early stage board?

Berkonomics

Give one percent equity to each outside board member vesting over four years of service. Many early stage CEOs and board members have asked for some guidance regarding pay and time commitments for board members. Here is my best advice, based upon many boards and many years.

I won’t serve on a board without D&O insurance!

Berkonomics

Close. I’ve been sued as a board member too many times over the past twenty-five years of board service. Five times. Does that shock you? It does me. Entrepreneurs blaming their board for failures of a fragile, early stage company.

How about your board members’ time commitments?

Berkonomics

Expect a board member to give a meeting a month, emails and phone calls between. Urgent issues require more of all. Board members are usually busy people, often running other companies or serving on multiple boards.

Email 54

Any advice can be worthless, or worse.

Berkonomics

Close. Ever get bad advice? We all have in our past. Ever take that advice without question because the person giving it was an investor, a superior in rank, the chairperson of your board? I’ll bet you have at least one story of bad advice taken and being bitten as a result.

Hire a consultant; ignore the advice.

Berkonomics

At one time or another, most all businesses use consultants to fill the gaps in knowledge or to provide guidance for management. Consultants are good in that you can sample their work with short projects, change to other consultants quickly, and stop using them when a project is completed.

Bankers: love ’em or hate ’em. They may affect your future.

Berkonomics

Let’s get right down to it. Your banking relationship can be like a great marriage or a bad trip to the DMV. In most cases it is strictly your choice. But the results of that choice will reverberate for what could be years. For a start…. How did you open your first bank account?

Take only “smart money” investments

Berkonomics

Close. This statement could be considered controversial. We have previously made the case that professional investors demand more in the form of restrictive covenants and lower valuations. Now we explore the other side of that coin.

How to cheat legally on your tax return.

Berkonomics

Close. When do you cross the line between honesty and dishonesty in tax planning? Is it ethical to allocate income between periods to take advantage of tax breaks? Can expenses be put off until the next period to increase income, or accelerated into this period by prepayment to decrease net income?

.Net 54

Please learn this: “Noses in; fingers out!”

Berkonomics

Many of us have someone who reports directly to us and who supervises others in return. If that fits, well then, this one is for you. And it is one of the most important lessons you can learn as a manager or board member of a company or a non-profit enterprise.

Accounting: What kind of bean counter do you need?

Berkonomics

Close. Accountants are trained, certified and usually quite experienced in financial analysis, both creating and reviewing data. Bookkeepers are often trained on the job although sometimes more formally and handle the physical work of accounting for the transactions.

Can your lawyer destroy a good business deal?

Berkonomics

Over the years in business and as a member of over forty boards, I have received good advice from corporate attorneys and on occasion bad advice as well. There is a line that should be drawn in a relationship between corporate attorney and CEO or board.

What’s a company board good for, anyway?

Berkonomics

Some of you have gotten along forever without a board of directors, or used your spouse as the “other” board member from the start. But there are some very good reasons to build a great board composed of some outside members. And good board members can add real value to you and the company.

Ideas 54

Niche marketing works. Here’s how.

Berkonomics

Close. How many of us throw away marketing dollars because our paid efforts reach an audience that is much larger than the target or niche audience we need to reach?

What if you come across juicy competitor information?

Berkonomics

Close. Many of us belong to industry associations and find ourselves at conferences and trade shows with time to spend with competitors. Some of these are old friends; some even former associates. It is natural to want to associate with these people for many reasons, certainly socially.

Guide 54

How well do you use your business time?

Berkonomics

Forming business relationships at the highest level. As you follow these insights from ignition to liquidity event, you’ll detect a continuing theme, emphasizing the need for deep and wide relationships that the CEO and senior staff can call upon for advice and guidance.

Class 54

Several more real costs of taking outsider investments.

Berkonomics

Close. Let’s talk about the reality of taking money from professional investors. It is not the first time we’ve covered this general subject nor the last. But this time, we concentrate upon governance changes.

How would you like a great advisory board?

Berkonomics

Have you ever thought of creating an advisory board? As you can guess, that would be an informal group with no legal responsibilities, but one able to be called upon to act as business, industry and scientific advisors to you and the company.

Are you ready to take on an office lease?

Berkonomics

Rent your first office with caution. . Several years ago, I became involved with a Southeast Asian company looking to expand into the United States.

Class 56

An experienced coach has seen your movie before.

Berkonomics

Business coaches come in all sizes and shapes. Entrepreneurs will have a relative willing to devote time, a school friend with business experience, professionals who charge for the service, investors with a reason to promote your success and more. Photo courtesy IBM Business Coaching.

Coach 54

Will tech kill your job?

Berkonomics

Close. Stop me if you’ve heard this story before. “My My job as a (newspaper publisher telephone installer, stockbroker, travel agent, retail store manager) is safe as this economy continues to grow.” Thought so. We are in a decade of creative destruction that will affect most everybody.

Coach 65

Avoid “The tyranny of the new office” syndrome.

Berkonomics

Close.

Sign short term leases early on. Move as you grow.

Berkonomics

Close. Avoid long-term commitments. It is statistically true that at least half of the young companies funded by angel or venture investors will not survive three years from funding to demise, and more than that percentage will die with two years if not well financed.

Are you uncomfortable with home-based workers?

Berkonomics

Do home-based employees work with the same dedication and productivity as those in office cubicles next to each other? That depends upon the management as much as the employee. I have a friend who is a.

Careful about equity and options in early stage businesses

Berkonomics

Close. This post is longer than usual. For those negotiating equity allocations it covers some of the most complex issues to address in the process. I just couldn’t reduce it to far fewer words… Dave.

How to make a small problem into a big one.

Berkonomics

Allowing small problems to escalate into big ones is simple. Just ignore the signs for long enough and the job is done. It takes far more energy to review regularly the key performance indicators you’ve established for each individual and yourself.

Love letter to a … battery backup.

Berkonomics

Well, if you’ve had a computer long enough, it has certainly happened to you. Power surges, power outages, surges upon reinstatement of power, low or high voltage from your utility (brownouts or surges.) I’ve had all of these over the years and lost equipment from motherboards to microcells.

Even a taste of ownership motivates employees.

Berkonomics

Close. How about employees all the way down the line and through the corporation? How do we align them to the goals and strategies of the enterprise? Obviously for the appropriate individuals, a bonus program aligned to the department’s goals is appropriate.

Why cash is only one measure of employee happiness

Berkonomics

Close. In 1981, Herb Cohen wrote and published “ You Can Negotiate Anything ”, an excellent guide to great negotiating. I’ve read and reread the book a number of times and find myself using the techniques often in many areas of my life.

Guide 54

Here are ten vision tests for your success

Berkonomics

Your vision for success must be solid and flexible enough to pass several critical tests if it is to guide a business enterprise to greatness. Here in brief are ten tests for your successful vision.