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Archive: Apr 2020

Our top 6 steps to understanding financial statement

Posted: April 23, 2020 2:14 pm
Being able to understand the financial statements generated for your business is crucial, especially in unsettling and uncertain times. This will provide you with essential data when it comes to the current financial health of the business and what risks and opportunities might lay ahead.
  1. Value chain analysis

The first step required is all about context. Identify the chain of steps involved in what the business makes or provides to customers, from creation to distribution.
  1. Look at what is on offer

It’s essential to get perspective on the business offering. This will include current profit margins and the USP of the business and the product or service. You’ll need to be able to identify factors such as brand awareness and commitment among customers, as well as cost control, supply chain and geographic reach.
  1. Review the structure of the statements themselves

At this stage you’re looking to understand whether the statements are well constructed and offer all the necessary information. For example, does the balance sheet provide an accurate overview of the business’ financial state? Does the income statement give you all the information that you need when it comes to economic performance? And when you’re looking at the cash flow are you able to clearly see where cash came into the business and where it went out and how liquidity within the business has changed over time as a result?
  1. The analysis stage

Financial statements really come into their own with respect to making decisions about the future of business and planning strategy. This can involve some key analysis, including looking at how profitable the business is relative to its assets and how profitable it seems to key stakeholders such as shareholders. Financial statement ratios such as asset management, debt management/coverage, risk/market valuation and liquidity are all going to be essential when it comes to taking the information in financial statements and converting it into analysis that can be productively used.
  1. The forecasting element

It’s often difficult to take existing data and turn it into a prediction for the business in the future but this is also an essential part of strong ongoing management. Making assumptions about the future of the organisation like this – in the context of the industry in which it operates – will steer decisions made for both cash flow and funding so it’s key that they are based on strong data and sensible forecasting.
  1. Establish a valuation approach

Being able to value the business is essential, and not just in a situation where it is about to be sold on. There are a number of different approaches available when it comes to valuation, from a discounted cash flow methodology to accounting-based or relative valuation strategy. Financial statements offer key insight into the way that the business is performing and the potential that it has for the future. Understanding them is the first step towards being able to use this data to make a positive difference. Find out more by booking onto our Interpreting Financial Statements training course...

More courses added to Face-to-Face Live

Posted: April 16, 2020 1:55 pm
The recently launched Face-to-Face Live resource from PTP allows delegates to log in from anywhere to take part in a training session. While current lockdown restrictions make physical training sessions impossible businesses and individuals still need to engage in development. Face-to-Face Live makes this simple by providing exceptional online teaching via both public courses and 1-2-1 training sessions. Now that more courses have been added there is even more of an incentive for those who are keen to use their time productively and with business goals in mind. The benefits of virtual training Face-to-Face Live is a type of virtual training that has a lot of advantages for individuals and organisations and not just during this time of global pandemic. The benefits of virtual training include:
  • It’s a much more convenient way to learn. Travelling and time away from work can both be reduced as virtual training can be accessed anywhere at any time. It’s also worth noting that we don’t learn at the same pace – not everyone benefits from a classroom environment in which a structure is strictly adhered to. Others may prefer to tackle topics on their own terms and on different devices.
  • It’s easier to integrate learning into life. The degree of flexibility that is available when it comes to scheduling training in a virtual environment means that it’s much simpler to fit it in around other commitments.
  • Generating greater ROI. If the return on learning investment is represented by improved knowledge retention then virtual training provides a lot of opportunities to increase this. A modular and interactive approach, as well as giving learners more control over how they digest information can mean that they actually retain it for longer.
  • Improving training engagement. It’s not just in a traditional classroom setting where you’re likely to see high levels of engagement. There are also many ways to ensure that this is consistent when it comes to virtual training too. This could be anything, from allowing for training rating to enabling chat and comment features, which will also provide perspective on how effective the training is. PTP Face-to-Face Live training is designed to maximise engagement, for example by having the trainer live on the call.
PTP Face-to-Face Live Face-to-face Live from PTP optimises all the benefits of virtual training by providing a range of courses and several different delivery options for learners. Public courses are open to anyone (up to a maximum of 10) and 1-2-1 sessions are available for individuals and groups. The range of courses now on offer via Face-to-Face Live is being expanded all the time – all delegates need to join is a strong and stable internet connection. In challenging times businesses need to adapt when it comes to fulfilling the ongoing learning and development needs of staff. Thanks to technology today there are many more ways to do this even if the business is largely under lockdown. PTP Face-to-Face Live is a cost effective option with a range of courses that is constantly growing. Find out more by clicking here...

How to manage change in the workplace

Posted: April 9, 2020 9:19 am
Change seems to be a constant theme today. While at the start of the year, adapting to Brexit was the biggest priority today it is the huge upheavals caused by coronavirus that are requiring a new focus on change management across the economy. For any business looking to ensure that change in the workplace is productively and proactively managed there are some key steps involved.

Plan for change

If you don’t already have contingency planning in place for change then it’s not too late to benefit from creating it. If you do have planning in place then make sure it’s constantly updated. Any good changing planning should revolve around objectives, markets, and a mission and integrate the affected areas of the business, as well as the impact on key people, such as customers and stakeholders.

Be clear about the change that is taking place

Make sure that you have defined the change that is taking place and that you continue to refine this as the situation evolves. COVID-19 and its impact on businesses and the economy is unpredictable so you may need to revise the definition of change and how it’s affecting your operations on an ongoing basis.

Make sure employees feel relevant

It’s important to give employees goals that relate to the current circumstances and to show how and where they are individually relevant to the future of the business. Many may be struggling with motivation right now and the more engaged they are with the business and its future the easier it will be to stay productive. Be clear about why change is being implemented and what benefits it may have.

Keep communication channels open

It’s likely that all members of the workforce, from employees to managers, will have questions about current changing circumstances and what this means for them. It’s essential to listen to concerns, to validate them and to provide clear and concise responses that are honest and straightforward.

Don’t shy away from talking about challenges

It’s the difficulties of the current circumstances that your workforce is most likely to be worried about so it’s crucial that you focus on these and don’t try to sweep them under the rug. Even if you don’t have perfect solutions in place yet, talking about the challenges and what the business is doing to tackle them will be reassuring for the people involved.

Provide a structure that makes changes relevant

The faster change can be integrated into performance appraisal, assessment, compensation, and promotion cycles the easier it will be for employees to adjust and be productive. Staff will want to know how they will be evaluated under the current circumstances and how career progress can be maintained – that’s why it’s essential to upgrade existing objectives and goals to make them relevant to the situation right now. Change management is incredibly challenging for any business, especially in a situation where an entire economy is affected. However, there are steps that each organisation can take to ensure that negative impact is minimised. Find out more by booking onto our Managing Change training course...

How to get your employees seeing through the customers eyes

Posted: April 2, 2020 12:17 pm
Effective selling is often about understanding what it is that the customer really wants. It’s very easy to get lost in promoting your product, focusing on its features and design, or it’s potential to change lifestyles and dramatically shift a market. However, what any potential customer for your brand is really looking for isn’t a product description but a solution. Switching to a true customer-centric view means appreciating that solving problems for customers is the context in which your products can really shine. With this truth at the heart of your marketing you can start to build in more opportunities to get your employees to see through customers’ eyes and understand what it is they really need from your brand.

Refocus the customer experience

The crucial shift here is to move from product marketing to looking for ways to help your customers – this is the true customer-centric view. That inevitably means giving customers as much information about your product as possible so that they can see where it will solve their problems and what its features are. Such an open approach is something that many sales teams have tried to avoid in the past, as providing information was seen as a way to allow customers to shop around and then buy from another brand. However, research has found that the more information you provide the more customers are likely to trust your brand and to shop with you. There are many different ways to make this part of the experience, from using social channels to vlogs and blogs that focus on specific pain points.

Share your intelligence business-wide

Many different teams can have an impact on sales today. While the sales team might be the direct point of contact with customers, many other departments’ efforts influence eventual outcomes. Data from customer service, legal and accounting teams might be crucial in helping to deliver a more personalised, customer-centric experience that encourages a customer to buy, for example. Plus, sales information could be key for the work of others across the business too. It’s essential to ensure that your business is sharing data and that internal communication barriers and silos are being broken down.

Achieve balance between sales and marketing

It’s difficult for your employees to really see through their customers’ eyes if they are focused purely on either sales or marketing. The two should be symbiotic and work together to help achieve your overall business goals. The sales team, for example, has access to customer views, which can be shared with marketing. This insight is essential knowledge for the marketing team to craft messaging that directly addresses customer needs when setting out your brand’s solutions. Both teams will be focused more on how the customer thinks and feels and what they need from the business, which will make both functions more effective as a result. It’s not that difficult to get your employees to start seeing your business from a customer perspective – and this is a shift that could be transformative when it comes to driving growth and reaching new audiences. Find out more by booking onto our Through The Customers Eyes Training Course…