First Line Manager: Understanding Vested Interest

Vested interest exists. This means an individual has a special interest in protecting or promoting that which is to their own personal advantage. Or, there are groups that seek to support or control an existing system or activity from which they derive private benefit.A first line manager’s vested interest are in their functional area goals. A first line manager’s external business environment is also important. Effective first line managers must support a balance between their and others’ vested interest. A first line manager is like a fish in water; the fish contains water and is in water. There is internal business vested interests and external business vested interests. Let us consider these interests.First consider, a business’s internal interest and the manager’s role in each. There are two types of first line managers; functional line managers and general managers. I was a functional line manager as a restaurant manager, an accounting manager, and a territory sales manager, in these roles, my success was dedicated to that function. I was a general manager of hotels and a Business Office Manager; in these roles, my interest was in accomplishing all the functional goals of the organization.Functional first line mangers have to make sure their area of responsibility is accomplishing the assigned departmental goals. A functional manager’s is a success if their departmental goals are accomplished. Managers that are removed of not successful. Acceptable managers goals are within the acceptable range. Managers that consistency exceed their goals are considered for higher management. They are top performers. Here is the rub, functional managers must maintain a delicate balance between their department’s interest and other department’s vested interest.As a District Accounting Manager I approved the credit on sales contracts for appliance sales, a marketing function. If I was too selective marketing did not make quota and the salesperson salary suffered. If I was too lenient, the marketing department made above quota and the salesperson was very happy. In my accounting function was responsible for the payment of the contracts. I reported to a Division Accounting Manager who expected me to collect the money for the appliances. I received my promotions and my bonus on how effective I was in collections not in sales. This is the conundrum of a first line manager; how do you carry out line goals while not alienating other departments.Now think about this, if a first line manager wants to become a general manager, they must keep the other departments goals in perspective. Other first line managers must know, even though, you have departmental interest; you understand other departments have vested interest. You must be seen as cooperating with them to make every manager and the company successful. This is very important, and an extremely difficult balance.If you want to progress to a mid-level manager within your functional area, cooperation with other departments vested interests is important. A mid-level functional manager most times reports to a middle level general manager and higher level functional manager. Progression to a functional middle manager is difficult, most times, you have to be on the top of the department’s functional goals. In addition, you must be acceptable to the mid- level general manager. A mid-level general manager will not want a line functional manager that creates problems for other functional areas as a mid-level functional manager.Now, consider the first line manager as general manager. I was a first line business office manager and general manager, I was responsible for all the functions of the company. I had an interest in the accomplishing the goals of accounting, marketing, and operations. I had goals in each of these functional areas. I reported to a middle level general manager. I was given these positions because I was a successful first line manager. Also, I was chosen for these positions because of my expanded activities in the community and within the company. I achieved my functional goals and helped other departments make their goals; or, I would never been given these general management positions. As a general manager my energy was divided among the functional areas of the company. My success was based on my teams success in all the functional areas. I had a vested interest in all functional areas. Now, I had to deal with reporting to functional middle managers whose vested interest was in their area.Second consider, a business’s external interest and the manager’s role. A couple examples are the vested interest of Labor unions, and the community.Labor unions are an external vested interest. Unions present a unique problem for a first line manager.I remember my Dad explaining mistletoe to me. Mistletoe gets it food from the tree. If the tree dies the mistletoe plant will die. I wondered if the mistletoe knew it could kill the tree. Labor unions have a vested interest in keeping the union alive. Do they care if the business survives? I think that to a great extent a union does.As a first line and general manager, I had to contend with union concerns. This meant, I became an expert on the union contract. I realized the written comments in the contract did not always mean what they seemed to mean. This conundrum meant, I had to know the memorandum of understanding of the comments between the company and the union. Also, I made use of a company industrial relations person when there was confusion.A union employee’s interest was not always in the best interest of the company; it was with the union. Seniority is a vested interest in unions. This means that seniority was a interest of union employees. Our contract gave certain entitlements for seniority. I had to know how to manage seniority. If I was not careful, union employees would use seniority entitlements to their advantage. For example, union employees that reported to me wanted all new vehicle to go to the senior employee. This entitlement was not in the contract and was not in the interest of the company. I refused to allow the senior employee to get the new vehicle. Why is knowledge of the contract contents important to a manager? If you are not careful, you will set a precedent in your department that will be used against the company in negotiations or arbitrations.First line managers must understand community interest. First line managers must at times place these community interest ahead of company and personal interests. This is very important today because of social media. A manager must always be aware of risk management and ethics in their decisions. Some decisions may seem correct for your department or company; but, will not for the interest of the community. Your decision could become a risk management issue for your company.Consider, General Motors, because it did not consider the interest of the community when it did not recall the cars because of the starter problem in their cars. This decision had a tremendous negative impact on the image of General Motors with the public.I will not continue with other examples of invested interest first line managers must consider.The point is, a first line manager must be sensitive to other’s vested interest; then, manage their vested interest accordingly.

Business Loans In Canada: Financing Solutions Via Alternative Finance & Traditional Funding

Business loans and finance for a business just may have gotten good again? The pursuit of credit and funding of cash flow solutions for your business often seems like an eternal challenge, even in the best of times, let alone any industry or economic crisis. Let’s dig in.

Since the 2008 financial crisis there’s been a lot of change in finance options from lenders for corporate loans. Canadian business owners and financial managers have excess from everything from peer-to-peer company loans, varied alternative finance solutions, as well of course as the traditional financing offered by Canadian chartered banks.

Those online business loans referenced above are popular and arose out of the merchant cash advance programs in the United States. Loans are based on a percentage of your annual sales, typically in the 15-20% range. The loans are certainly expensive but are viewed as easy to obtain by many small businesses, including retailers who sell on a cash or credit card basis.

Depending on your firm’s circumstances and your ability to truly understand the different choices available to firms searching for SME COMMERCIAL FINANCE options. Those small to medium sized companies ( the definition of ‘ small business ‘ certainly varies as to what is small – often defined as businesses with less than 500 employees! )

How then do we create our road map for external financing techniques and solutions? A simpler way to look at it is to categorize these different financing options under:

Debt / Loans

Asset Based Financing

Alternative Hybrid type solutions

Many top experts maintain that the alternative financing solutions currently available to your firm, in fact are on par with Canadian chartered bank financing when it comes to a full spectrum of funding. The alternative lender is typically a private commercial finance company with a niche in one of the various asset finance areas

If there is one significant trend that’s ‘ sticking ‘it’s Asset Based Finance. The ability of firms to obtain funding via assets such as accounts receivable, inventory and fixed assets with no major emphasis on balance sheet structure and profits and cash flow ( those three elements drive bank financing approval in no small measure ) is the key to success in ABL ( Asset Based Lending ).

Factoring, aka ‘ Receivable Finance ‘ is the other huge driver in trade finance in Canada. In some cases, it’s the only way for firms to be able to sell and finance clients in other geographies/countries.

The rise of ‘ online finance ‘ also can’t be diminished. Whether it’s accessing ‘ crowdfunding’ or sourcing working capital term loans, the technological pace continues at what seems a feverish pace. One only has to read a business daily such as the Globe & Mail or Financial Post to understand the challenge of small business accessing business capital.

Business owners/financial mgrs often find their company at a ‘ turning point ‘ in their history – that time when financing is needed or opportunities and risks can’t be taken. While putting or getting new equity in the business is often impossible, the reality is that the majority of businesses with SME commercial finance needs aren’t, shall we say, ‘ suited’ to this type of funding and capital raising. Business loan interest rates vary with non-traditional financing but offer more flexibility and ease of access to capital.

We’re also the first to remind clients that they should not forget govt solutions in business capital. Two of the best programs are the GovernmentSmall Business Loan Canada (maximum availability = $ 1,000,000.00) as well as the SR&ED program which allows business owners to recapture R&D capital costs. Sred credits can also be financed once they are filed.

Those latter two finance alternatives are often very well suited to business start up loans. We should not forget that asset finance, often called ‘ ABL ‘ by those Bay Street guys, can even be used as a loan to buy a business.

If you’re looking to get the right balance of liquidity and risk coupled with the flexibility to grow your business seek out and speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor with a track record of business finance success who can assist you with your funding needs.

Stop Client Dissatisfaction and Grow Your Business

For the past several months we have been surveying advisors about their marketing programs. When we ask them which marketing tools they use, it amazes us that only about 21% use a client newsletter.At a recent conference for financial advisors, we heard from several elite advisors on the subject: One said, “I had an existing client transfer an additional $700,000 IRA account to me after reading an article in my newsletter this spring about the charitable IRA strategy allowed by the Pension Protection Act.”Another said, “We have a top prospect who received our monthly newsletter for almost 18 months before they moved their accounts to us.”We heard from another advisor, “I started with about 100 newsletters a month and now I’m up to over 250. It’s my primary means of marketing. I am averaging over 3 new accounts a month and each new account is over $300,000.”So why don’t you do a newsletter?They don’t work. It’s too hard. I can’t write. I never got around to it. We’ve heard them all. Let’s look at just a couple of reasons why you should make newsletters a core part of your marketing and how you can easily add a newsletter to your marketing without multiplying your staff.1. Clients are dissatisfied.31% of financial advisors believe that their clients are extremely or very dissatisfied with them. 40% of wealthy respondents reported some level of dissatisfaction because their advisor was not proactively maintaining contact and 11% stated that their advisors were difficult to reach.(Phoenix Wealth Management Survey, August 2002, Net worth of $1M+ excluding debt and primary residence; Financial advisors who manage at least $50 million of assets and have 10+ years experience)For advisors intent on improving their showing in this realm, excellent client service appears to begin with a high level of client contact. As a snapshot of the industry standard today, and perhaps an indication of where there is the most room for improvement, nearly half of high net worth investors claimed to be either somewhat or fully dissatisfied with the level of contact they have with their financial advisors. Only 55% of investors stated that they are somewhat or completely satisfied with the amount of contact they have with their primary financial advisors.Satisfied clients hear from their primary financial advisors on average more than 28 times per year, or better than twice per month. This contact can either be in person, over the telephone, or in personal correspondence through the mail or electronically. On the flip side, dissatisfied clients hear from their primary advisors less than 17 times per year.The most telling statistic about the vital importance of client contact is that advisors’ income runs directly parallel with the amount of time they spend speaking or meeting with their clients. Advisors who spend two-thirds of their time with clients have an average income of $160,000 annually. Those who spend between one and two-thirds of their time with clients average $50,000 and those who spend less than one-third of their time with clients average only $30,000.(Tiburon Strategic June 3, 2005)2. Position yourself to KO the competition.Largely due to these rates of dissatisfaction, nearly half of investors have given recent consideration to changing their primary financial advisors. Specifically, 43% of investors responded that they had recently considered a change, whereas 57% stated they had not been considering a change in the near future.(Tiburon June 3, 2005)The landscape is covered with competition. How do you stand out and attract the kind of ideal clients that will make your business thrive? Give the customer what they are looking for. It ain’t rocket science. Clients today are looking for answers. They are smothered with retirement, IRA, estate planning, long-term care planning, college funding and tax issues. This morning your best prospect woke up and wanted an answer to his problems and not a financial product. Give them what they want. You need to be a problem solver. You need to position yourself as the leading expert in your target market. Step One is to tell the audience how you can help them solve their challenges. Isn’t that the point of a good newsletter? It is relevant to the target market in terms of content and it educates them about their financial concerns while demonstrating your expertise in solving those problems. Voila – you are their problem solver.Newsletters made easy.If you are like most financial advisors you have two to three hundred clients in your book. You also know that if you want to make an impression you need to have a consistent process for delivering the newsletter. Finally, you need to make sure the newsletter is getting read, the probability of which you can increase through branding so your clients know the newsletter is from a trusted source. And finally, you need to make a personal connection, so you’d better make sure it’s personally addressed. Oh, did I mention you’ll need to have 3 or 4 articles a month for your newsletter.Before you hit the panic button, there is a solution – BuildYourMarket.com [http://www.buildyourmarket.com] can handle all of this for you. Every month, they create a professionally designed and written 4 color newsletter with content that speaks to boomers and seniors. Each newsletter has a personal message from you addressed to the client or prospect.In case you’re thinking, I’d like to write something about what’s going on in our business, the answer is yes, you can customize as little or as much of the content as you desire.Now what’s your excuse?