Looking to improve your data visualization and presentation skills? Check out this upcoming event from the PEI Chapter of the Canadian Evaluation Society:
MRSB Consulting Services has recharged their strategic planning offering and is ready to help POW3R your team, your organization and your future!
The new face of strategic planning
There are a multitude of factors that can affect the growth and success of businesses and organizations in sectors across Canada. In today’s rapidly shifting markets it is imperative that leaders not only have their fingers on the pulse of their organization, but take an active role in enacting change.
One way to combat the shifting tide of organizational priorities is to make sure you and your team have clearly defined goals and a widely understood vision. One of the best ways to achieve this is via strategic planning, but what does this really mean? To some, a strategic plan is a lengthy document – perhaps written by one senior staff member and signed off on by a few more – that outlines a set of goals for the not-too-distant future. There’s nothing wrong with goal setting, but the problem with some traditional strategic plans is that they are just that – plans. Mainly focused on what should happen, they fail to include the real-life actions and collaboration that see things through to realization.
At MRSB Consulting Services, we offer a refreshing approach to strategic planning that takes into account the myriad influences shaping your team and your organization, using these influences to enact real results.
Click on the image to read more about the three steps involved in the POW3R process
A simple approach to complex demands
Our process brings together your team to draw from their collective experiences and opinions, and come up with manageable but motivational goals and actions that move the organization not just toward success, but a stronger, more productive and ultimately more fulfilled team.
‘Power’ is about the strength found in each organization, and in the individuals that fuel their success. In defining our process we wanted to channel this energy and make our clients feel as enthusiastic about strategic planning as we are. After all, this is all about you, your team and your aspirations.
In defining our core offering we came up with three steps. These steps, while seemingly simple, engage your team in meaningful sessions during which you reflect on your core business, prepare for action and implement a ready-to-action roadmap. Most importantly, the process takes you far past simply discussing and writing ideas down; it purposefully drives everyone involved along a clearly laid out path toward success.
Customized to your unique needs
Because each of our clients is so different, there is no typical timeframe for POW3R. Some clients choose to get their team together for one full-day session, after which we work with the team to finalize direction. In other cases we hold multiple sessions, allowing more time for reflection, planning and implementation. We have worked with clients through a monthly or quarterly process to assist them with the implementation of their strategic priorities.
Whatever your preferred schedule, during our sessions your team will come to a mutual understanding of the organization’s core strengths and challenges, what success looks like and what needs to happen to achieve results. Participants are often reinvigorated and have a clear sense of direction. The sessions become much more than ‘a day out of the office’.
A good strategic plan, and the process that accompanies it, results in a working team that is truly engaged and passionate about achieving that next stage of growth. Team members come away with a clear picture of how they can make their organization better. With a results-oriented action plan in hand, the leadership team has the necessary tools to power your team, your organization and your future.
Need more information? Visit our POW3R page, or contact Wendy to schedule an initial consultation. Our priority is to implement a process that will achieve the best possible results, completely based on your needs.
Accounting Manager Lisa Kennedy on the potential pitfalls involved in financial forecasting
Financial forecasting, which is a fancier term for budgeting, can be a useful tool for businesses. It is a process that involves using historic data and estimates to determine inflows and allocations of resources over a period of time in the future. Practically speaking, a financial forecast provides information that enables business owners or managers to identify potential risks and cash shortfalls, provides a benchmark against which future performance can be measured, and assesses the financial viability of a new business venture.
However, there are many cases where the benefits of financial forecasting aren't achieved. Be sure to follow these tips so that you, and your business, get the most out of your financial forecast.
1. Identify the type of forecast you need
Before you begin developing a budget, you should understand why you need one and what outcome you want to achieve. Sometimes financial forecasts are required by third parties, such as lenders and investors, who want to see a full set of future-oriented financial statements (balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement). In other instances, internal forecasts are prepared by business owners to focus on one specific area - in most cases, to determine whether they have sufficient cash funds to cover planned expenditures. Forecasts can be prepared using any time period including monthly, quarterly and annually, so you will have to decide which option will address your needs and goals.
2. Be realistic
Business owners have a vested interest in their company and its products and services. This can sometimes mean they are likely to overestimate future sales, especially for a new product where historical data doesn't exist. For this reason it is important to take a step back and develop realistic expectations. Industry trends and market statistics should be researched and will help provide you with reasonable expectations for inputs such as selling price, number of units sold, and expected growth. A sensitivity analysis will allow you to see how the forecast will change as a result of increasing or decreasing various outputs and is helpful if you want to see the outcome under different scenarios.
3. Support your estimates
All too often, people do not conduct enough research or have enough support to substantiate their estimates for expenditures. Since the purpose of a financial forecast is to predict future results, it is important to be as accurate as possible when estimating expenditires. Use historical data, obtain quotes from third parties and discuss costs with others who operate in your industry or may be able to give you additional information. It can require more work upfront, but well-supported figures will ensure a more relevant and reliable forecast.
4. Review and update
Things change, and so should your forecast! Once you've prepared your working document, it shouldn't be filed away in the back of the cabinet. By comparing actual results to the forecast, you are able to see how you performed. Were you able to reach your sales target? Perhaps a significant expenditure was missing from the original forecast. Did you make money in one area and lose money in another? This analysis may lead to revisions in the forecast and will also provide you with information to make better business decisions going forward.
If you would like more detailed information about financial forecasting and how it can help your business or organization, feel free to send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
MRSB Credit Manager Alana Chandler on how you can bring a little more sunshine into the lives of your team – and a local charity – this summer
Summer is a time of cold drinks on hot sand, swimming in the blue ocean and camping out under the stars…unless you’re sitting at your desk in front of a computer, that is.
It can be hard to feel motivated at work when, just outside your double paned office windows, tourists are eating ice cream and locals are enjoying their first heady days of vacation. Why not kickstart your team’s summer fun factor with a charitable activity that gets you outside for a breath of fresh air?
You don’t need to be a manager to get these summer FUNdraising ideas rolling; they just take a couple hours of planning and a worthwhile cause:
Break out the mats and cotton tights and invite a group of colleagues to downward-facing-dog their way to fundraising success. Hit the local park for maximum exposure, put up a couple of signs and ask passersby (or family and friends in advance) to sponsor 10 minutes of yoga for a dollar, or an hour for $5. The brighter your clothing and the bigger the group, the more attention you’ll attract.
Hot Tip: This idea also works with aerobics, net sports or spinning!
Arts & Crafts Sale
Pay for a booth at an outdoor craft fair or artisan market and let your staff’s inner artistry shine. This one takes a few weeks of prep to make sure you get enough donated items together to sell, but you will have both the pleasure of managing your sale as a team and the thrill of selling your own hand-crafted wares. Win-win!
Hot Tip: Framed photographs, knitted or crocheted baby items, jarred jams or preserves and woodworking are all attractive yet doable items for this type of event
You undoubtedly work with someone who knows a farmer, or has one for a neighbor. Use your selling skills to sweet talk him or her into letting you borrow their barn for a shindig. Sell tickets in advance for $5 or $10, decorate the place with fairy lights and flowers and either recruit some local musicians or just fill someone’s iPod with country-tinged tunes. A late night of dancing in the hay will ensue – just make sure no one spikes the punch with homemade moonshine!
Hot Tip: Your local community centre or church hall will work just as well in a pinch
Ice Cream Stand
Dip into your petty cash drawer and buy a few big tubs of ice cream in different flavours and fill a large cooler with ice. Ask staff to take turns selling at a buck or two per scoop to sidewalk-weary pedestrians.
Hot Tip: Have both wafer cones and paper cups on hand so parents can easily buy for their little ones as well as themselves
Attack your local beach or park with rubber gloves and garbage bags. This is a great one for large teams as a bunch of you can take part at once. Request sponsorships, or speak to local council and ask if they’d be willing to make a one-time donation for your services. You’ll not only be raising money for your charity of choice, but giving your local green space a good scrubbing.
Hot Tip: Come prepared with bug spray, extra gloves and water bottles to make sure your team is as comfortable and cool as possible
So there you have it – five fundraising ideas to get your team away from their desk and enjoying the sun this summer. Tweet us your favourite #summerFUNdraising idea, or a past success @MRSB_Group. Enjoy the season!