Red Zebra Business Centre - Management Memos
April 2011 Making Measurably More For Your Business Since 1985! Page 2

My Red Zebra

Build a Budget

Plan to Succeed. Overall, a privately owned business of most types should achieve a return of at least 10% to sales, 12% shows real long term prospects, and 15% is achieved in special cases.  Sadly, many small and medium businesses we see are achieving only 5% or less.

You will plan to do things to improve your business every year. The Red Zebra 'BizPlan' budget tool puts all your improvement plans into figures. It helps build you a budget. Simply. Easily. See a sample - Click Here.

Once you have built a budget, it is easy to keep track of how you are travelling against your plan to grow.

Where would you like to be? We can take a sounding of the present health and achievements of your business, and then help you put in place a straightforward, down to earth plan, complete with budget. Later, we will use the 'BizMon' Business Monitoring Tool to keep watch on progress.

New Format Makes Printing Easier

A few years ago, we ceased our practice of providing 'Management Memos' in pdf format for easy printing. The only reason for that was that no-one seemed to use it. Gradually the style changed, and printing (which no-one seemed to need) became a bit of a problem.

For some time, though, we have been receiving occasional comments that it would be much better if 'Management Memos' could be printed off easily. So, now we have changed the format again to make that possible.

This change now means that some articles will run over more than one page. So, we have provided a page navigator and a print button at the bottom of each article.

The settings we have used mean that your browser print function must be set up to have blank headers and footers, otherwise you may miss a line or two on some pages.

We are pleased to offer this additional service for avid readers of 'Management Memos'!

When the unexpected takes you by surprise, 
how do you respond?

2. The real damage is damage to your reputation - so you have to be seen to take action.

In this case, while we are confident that the system had not been breached, the perception was 'out there' that a breach had occurred.

Although there was no damage done to the working system of client information, it had become necessary to remove any lingering doubt. A comprehensive, wide ranging strategy to improve security was put in place, and although this was costly and time consuming, it was the minimum necessary response to the events that had occurred.

Amongst other things, changes meant that if, by some chance, Google had indexed any other contents of the client information system, any such link would be broken. The changes we had introduced would produce a clear break between what had been done, what would be done.

3. No matter how well you are doing, there are always ways to improve.

Anyone who takes a long, serious, look at any business process, see ways to improve.

An event like this made us go back to first principles, to find our solution. By reviewing every step we take, and why we have chosen the processes we had, we were able to make the opportunity to review our clients' access to the our client information system.

It also helped us review, the goals we have set to ensure client confidentiality.

Overall, the review process brought about changes which enable greater security. Unfortunately, this was at the expense of some client features. The conflict between the two interests arose because one of the features we had provided was just not being used. So, it had to go!

As a simple rule - the more things you try to do, the more opportunities you provide for security breaches.

One very revealing insight was: we had to make choices to ensure the integrity of the system - ahead of providing freedoms to make it easier for individual clients. Without maintaining the system integrity, we would not have been of any value to clients at all.

4. Do the right thing, and you'll come out of this much better off.

Before this event, our system was secure enough.

Secure enough, that is, to meet the ordinary day-to-day needs of our clients. While we had arranged our system to defend against an intelligent human attack, along with the usual kind of internet problems that can arise from time to time, we had not built in any defences against ignorance, lack of understanding, or stupidity on the part of some users.

In this instance, the complete security rethink has created a system in which client information is stored much more securely than it needs to be, while still being readily accessible to authorised people.

And that's where the user comfort begins!

Did you miss some recent issues?

March - Choosing a Manager
February - Customer Loyalty Will Make You Money
January - The Year of Opportunity
December  - 2010! The Year That Was.
November - The Cautious Customer
October - Are You Managing Through The Rear View Mirror?
More on Page

If you'd like to find out more about how to make measurably more in your business right now, talk to us, or ask us a question here! Remember, there's no charge or obligation.

This same offer applies in New Zealand. Click Here!

McNicol Williams Management & Marketing Services is a Small Business Advisor listed with the Small Business Victoria, and has presented The Red Zebra program under its auspices. This listing requires that the first hour's consultation is always free. So when we say "No charge or obligation", we mean it!