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  • Value Added Tax in the GCC

    Details on the new VAT established in the region covered by the GCC, including implementation best practices and documentation requirements. By Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA

  • Members Only: A Room for Robots in Hospitality

    Realistic uses for artificial intelligence are increasing, making way for machine-based assistance in accounting, marketing, customer service and more. This feature details current scenarios where robotics is used in the business environment, such as for accounting tasks.

  • Letter from the HFTP Global President: A New Year Equals New Possibilities

    Written By: Timothy G. Nauss, CHAE - We are officially in the year 2018. Now is the ideal time to reflect on the successes of the old year, and prepare to make this new year the best one ever. Just as we set goals for ourselves to make us healthier, happier and more successful, HFTP as an organization sets goals each year to better meet the needs of our members and the hospitality industry.

  • GDPR in Hospitality: Vendor Compliance Query Template Available to Industry

    As a professional association, Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) created a group of hospitality industry experts to develop hospitality-specific guidelines to assist with preparation for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance.

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What's a company board good for, anyway?

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·11 January 2018
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.

How well do you use your business time?

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·28 December 2017
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. This is the time to elevate those insights to the level of highest value for the corporation, one that cannot be listed on a balance sheet nor included in an appraisal of corporate worth.
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Several more real costs of taking outsider investments.

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·21 December 2017
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.

An experienced coach has seen your movie before.

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus· 7 December 2017
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. But by far the best coaches are those that have lived through the process you’re going through and built successful enterprises in your same industry. Especially if they have sold their companies and live comfortably upon the proceeds, these people are often the most willing to help and the most patient through the process.
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Avoid 'The tyranny of the new office' syndrome.

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·30 November 2017
One of the most obvious observations I make with growing company CEO's is that planning for a new office is done with an optimistic view of the future, incorporating planned space that compromises only slightly the measured needs for the ...

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

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·23 November 2017
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. The greatest burden of either a growing company or one needing to retract and reduce expenses is the office lease. Although payroll is almost always the greatest cost, companies have flexibility as to how to handle both rapid growth and rapid decline in the personnel arena.
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Are you uncomfortable with home-based workers?

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·16 November 2017
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 CEO of a recruiting firm who “virtualized” her company after a decade of maintaining a fixed office location. She organizes morning conference calls, has each employee tweet the others in their department when starting work and ending the day, creates the feel of closeness with employee contests, and rewards her best sales people by assigning them the best leads, creating an environment where the best excel and those unable to cut it in a virtual environment fall out on their own accord for lack of revenue.
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Niche marketing works. Here's how.

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus· 9 November 2017
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? Whether it be for publications, social marketing, or even those once-necessary postal mailers, we have tools now that were not available just a few years ago.
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Are you ready to take on an office lease?

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus· 2 November 2017
Several years ago, I became involved with a Southeast Asian company looking to expand into the United States. During the discussions with the CEO about hiring North American managers, he made it clear that he wanted us to find a first-class office facility from which to start the search process, and proceeded to name cities that attracted him. Even after discouraging him from this backwards method of infrastructure-building, he kept bringing up the subject in subsequent months as new senior managers and sales people were hired, each starting with an orientation week at the Asian headquarters then returning to work from home.
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How to make a small problem into a big one.

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·26 October 2017
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. But a small excursion caught early and corrected saves massive corrective resources later.
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Even a taste of ownership motivates employees.

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·19 October 2017
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. But how about awarding stock options for all employees?

Why cash is only one measure of employee happiness

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·12 October 2017
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.� ...
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Would you pay a high achiever more than yourself?

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus· 5 October 2017
Recently I was asked to review an offer letter for a senior director of business development. The CEO was concerned that he was offering far too much in the form of incentive compensation, with bonuses that could greatly exceed the base salary if all the bonus items were achieved. I asked the CEO to imagine what the company would look like if all those bonus-expensive items were completely achieved in one year.
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Careful about equity and options in early stage businesses

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·28 September 2017
Here is the warning: The execution of partnership equity allocations and of a good incentive program using equity is often mismanaged, damaging the corporate capitalization structure and even affecting the outcome of subsequent investment into the company.
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Fire fast, not last.

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·21 September 2017
Here is one that takes a real leap for a younger manager or CEO to believe. After hiring someone with all the attendant enthusiasm followed by the training and learning curve, if an employee shows signs of weakness in the job or problems dealing with contemporaries, it is the natural tendency for most of us to go first into coaching mode, and reset the observation clock to see if our excellent coaching does the job.
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Hire as if your survival depends upon it.

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·14 September 2017
Many of us go through the motions of hiring to fill a position, trying to use our intuition and skills to find the best candidate for the job. Sometimes we use consultants or recruiters; often we use internal talent to fill most positions. And over the years, we students of business success have learned that there is a science to the hiring process that continues through the life of an employee’s tenure with the company. Bradford Smart captured this succinctly in his book, Topgrading. His thesis is that “A” players amount only to the top ten percent of the talent pool at any given time, and that your job is to find, recruit and retain only “A” players to make a successful business. It is hard to argue with that.

Are you mentally equipped to depend upon others?

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus· 7 September 2017
I guarantee that there comes a time when growing businesses outgrow the original span of control of the entrepreneur. It is a critical period, and is a test of the entrepreneur’s desire and ability to delegate. And I found from experience – after investing in many other entrepreneurial businesses over the years – that this stage typically occurs first at about twenty employees or $3 million in net revenues (or gross profit) for most any kind of company. In future weeks, we will dissect this $3 million-dollar phenomenon separately.

Are you or your business 'time bankrupt?'

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·31 August 2017
You’d know the symptoms, if not the name. You’re fighting to put out the fires from customer complaints, or incomplete work, or are suffering from an inability to focus upon new development or new customers before cleaning up the mess inside your organization.
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There's no second chance to create first quality.

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·24 August 2017
Let me illustrate this insight with a personal story. As my enterprise computer software company which produced innovative lodging systems for hotels and resorts grew quickly, we found ourselves straining to keep up with the hiring and training of good customer support representatives, a critical part of the equation then and still so today in the 24-hour environment of hotel front desk operations.
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Haste makes waste; but to lag is to sag.

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·17 August 2017
Let’s examine the relationship between time, quality and competitiveness. If you are getting the impression from these many insights that complex relationships cause simple problems, you are right. We have heard the “haste makes waste” ditty since childhood. There is little need to reinforce the obvious. On a larger scale, there are epoch stories of giant companies eating massive losses in a recall of product, often based upon limited testing before release.
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Wasted time is money lost.

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·10 August 2017
There is a relationship between time and money that is more complex than most managers think. Fixed overhead for salaries, rent, equipment leases and more make up the majority of the “burn rate” (monthly expenses) for most companies. Since this number is budgeted and pre-authorized, managers tend to focus upon other things such as sales, marketing and product development issues.
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Greatly exceed early customer expectations.

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus· 3 August 2017
There is so much history behind this insight, and so many stories that illustrate this point. Your first customers for any product or service form your reference base, the important group of allies that your marketing and sales people rely upon when attempting to create buzz and make a mass market for a new product. If you’ve been involved in the launch stage of any product in the past, you should recognize the overwhelming feeling of panic when initial customers make first contact with complaints about quality, functionality, speed of service or other critical part of the new release.
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Love letter to a ... battery backup.

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus· 2 August 2017
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. And I’ve lost data due to sudden power loss. I have worried over every wind storm or thunderstorm.
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Find your 'teacher customer.'

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·27 July 2017
This week’s insight came from personal experience and from a good friend who advanced the notion of the “teacher-customer” years ago. I internalized this phrase, recalling the many times I had partnered with customers to design new feature-functionality into my hotel computer system back when such systems were brand new to the industry. It was an ideal partnership between my growing company, as it approached one hundred employees on the way to almost two hundred fifty, and selected special customers anxious and willing to spend time telling us of their pain points.
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Everything changes from concept to release.

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·20 July 2017
You can take this headline as a rule, not an exception. You’ll recognize the truism, “No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy” first stated by German Field Marshall von Moltke way back in the 19th century. Our variant of the “battle plan” truism is important to internalize. A product at the concept stage contains feature-functionality that customers may not want or be willing to pay for, or which just might not work well enough for release to the public.
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Don't rest until you test!

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·13 July 2017
But what have you done to test the concept against the realities of the marketplace? Have you developed a prototype, alternate pricing schemes, even a PowerPoint mock-up to show to potential buyers? I would be very, very nervous without testing the product in the market as early as possible, ready to make changes and enhancements before committing to production and release.

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