• The Art of Pitching: Is it Overrated - or Essential?

    Pitching… that thing we force notoriously introverted geeks to do for funding. The main idea is that an entrepreneur — unless his name is Elon Musk or Tony Stark — has limited resources and needs the financial support of pockets that are substantially deeper than his own.

  • What to Expect: New Changes Coming to Lease Accounting Standards

    The upcoming revision to lease accounting standards was one of the topics discussed by the HFTP Hotel Advisory Council in their February 2018 meeting. The surprising conclusion from the council: The hotel industry in general is not prepared for the changes, and there is no viable off-the-shelf software that any of the members were aware of that would assist with the accounting for the new standard.

  • HFTP GDPR Guidelines: Hospitality Organization Flow Charts

    This document is a set of flow charts illustrating data flow scenarios, involved parties providing hospitality services, steps of the guest journey and more. Four scenarios are presented: independent hotel, independent hotel with third party agreement, branded hotel and branded hotel with independent control.

  • Job Description Template: Club Accounting Positions

    The HFTP Americas Research Center has developed example job descriptions for club accounting positions. The process involved reviewing sample job descriptions, and compiling the information into standardized job descriptions.

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Entrepreneurs: Employment law is not on your side!

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·12 April 2018
Small companies most often scrape by with borrowed or invested funds, doing everything possible to grow and prosper with limited resources. So, it is like a punch in the gut when an employee makes a claim against the company for a perceived or actual but unintentional violation of a law or regulation. Or when a former employee strikes out with a suit claiming discrimination for one of a thousand causes.
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Insurance is always too expensive - until it's needed.

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus· 5 April 2018
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. Business insurance is one of the more poorly managed mitigationof risk in small and many medium sized corporations, often because of failure to assign the responsibility to an individual or department, and sometimes just from the willingness to bet against the event and save cash.
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Any advice can be worthless, or worse.

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·29 March 2018
Ever get bad advice? Sure. 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.
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I won't serve on a board without D&O insurance!

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·17 March 2018
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. Shareholders unhappy over the same loss, reaching out to sue every name available. Employees reaching out to anyone above to redress grievances. In one case, an aggressive lawyer finding all the members of an LLC, and suing every member found. Whew!
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How about your board members' time commitments?

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·15 March 2018
Board members are usually busy people, often running other companies or serving on multiple boards. Early stage boards usually meet once a month for two to a maximum of four hours, enough to ruin the rest of a day for those who travel even short distances. Inaddition, most all board members freely receive phone calls and emails from the CEO during the month, all considered part of service.
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Bankers: love 'em or hate 'em. They may affect your future.

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·15 February 2018
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…
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Take only 'smart money' investments

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus· 8 February 2018
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. Professional investors usually bring “smart money” to the table, defined as money that comes along with good advice and great relationships for corporate growth. Often, that money is worth more than the cash invested, because the investors who often become members of the board, bring a wealth of experience, insight, relationships and deeper pockets to the table.
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Accounting: What kind of bean counter do you need?

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·25 January 2018
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. To expect a bookkeeper to provide analytical planning is to ask for something they often cannot provide, except in a cursory way.
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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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