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July 20, 2017, 8:47 am

Dr. Stan Park: “Have a Budget, Stick With It”.  How To Build a Financially Successful Dentist Practice

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business

Building an independent dentistry practice can be both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.

On the one hand, the freedom of having your own business and operating your practice exactly as you’ve always envisioned is incredibly exciting.  But, any time someone starts a new business, the stress of getting it off the ground is daunting. There are so many factors to consider: marketing, client loyalty, and most important of all, finances. The relative freedom of going it on your own is the same freedom that can lead to a massive financial downfall — if you don’t make intelligent business decisions.

Dr. Stan Park of Dr. Stan Park Family Dentistry in Ontario, Canada says it doesn’t have to be as scary as it seems. In fact, there are several habits that Dr. Stan Park and several other dentists would agree can help lead to a successful independent dentistry career for anyone in the field.

 

“The most basic, essential tip I can offer is to have a budget and stick with it,” Dr. Stan Park explains. By tracking spending, balancing expenses and revenue, and being careful to craft a budget each month that you work to follow as much as possible, you’re off on the right foot.

 

Another important habit that many financially successful people in general follow is to not be complacent, and to always look for opportunities. Dr. Douglas Carlsen in dentaltown.com adds to this point, saying: “Don’t just hang out in the corporate clinic break room and wait for opportunity to fall in your lap. Look for opportunity.”

 

As a dentist, you may be able to get by on just your skill and word of mouth from your clients, but why not put yourself out there a little more? Look for purchase deals for equipment. Make connections with older, experienced dentists who may need to recommend their clients to someone if and when they retire.

 

Speaking of making connections, networking is key. In May of 2014, Time published a piece on what the world’s most successful people have in common, and one of the things it listed was building networks. Networking with fellow dentists can be especially helpful in everything from gaining advice to educational opportunities to client referrals.

 

And when it comes to connecting with people, building loyalty and fostering satisfaction in your clients is extremely important as well. Offering a service that is above-and-beyond for your patients not only keeps them coming back, but it will encourage them to suggest your practice to friends or family members as well.

 

“The happiness of our clients is so important,” Dr. Park adds. “No one wants to go to the dentist, but everyone should.  And if you can make the visit as stress-free as possible, your patients will continue to come to you, and recommend you to everyone they know.”

 

And if you work on that loyalty, there’s a chance that your client base will grow. Assume that your production and patient list will both grow, and plan accordingly. You don’t want to fall short and have to scramble to keep up, especially because that could result in lost business.

 

The truth is, every dentist operates differently. But, many successful dentists have the same habits listed above, which can help anyone looking for financial success in their practice and profession.

 

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June 23, 2017, 10:00 am

Making the Business Case for Sustainability

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business

Even though the concept of sustainability has long since worked its way into modern society’s lexicon, the idea is one fraught with confusion. So, it should be no surprise that not every business has seized on its potential.

Sustainability programs are not to be confused with corporate social responsibility programs, which are more oriented to ethical actions and impacts. Sustainability is really more focused on operating in a way that preserves our resources.

It wasn’t all that long ago that nearly one-third of the members of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development – an organization noted for its support of this drive – said their management had little faith in the sustainability business case and didn’t support the concept internally.

Slowly, though, that’s changing, and Canada is one country that has a notable number of businesses that are seizing on the business case for sustainability. Case in point:

Toronto recruitment firm Arrow Professional Services conducts candidate interviews via Skype to avoid transportation costs and reduce its carbon footprint.

Benefits by design in Kingston, Ontario stocks office bicycles so staff can run errands without the hassle of driving a car.

Cisco Systems Canada in Toronto features recycling and take-back programs so customer can better manage their electronic waste at no cost.

One of Toronto’s most active developers, Mizrahi Developments, emphasizes sustainable design and development, as illustrated by its commitment to EnergyStar technology and GreenHouse Certification.

 

There’s absolutely a strong business case for sustainability, these companies and others would argue. As Sam Mizrahi of Mizrahi Developments points out, initiatives centered around sustainability creates a strong competitive advantage, even as it reduces costs through more energy efficient practices.

Environmental trends and their impact support a strong business rationale for sustainability practices that benefit any number of areas of concern. These include:

Risk management. Any number of circumstances – both natural disasters and civil conflict – can disrupt today’s supply chains and risks are only heightened by climate change and water shortages. In one study, 72 percent of the 8,000 suppliers to 75 multinational companies surveyed said climate change presents risks that might significantly affect their organizations. Managing social and environmental risks – all manifested over the long term – means making investment decisions today for tomorrow’s capacity needs and adaptive strategies. Coca Cola realized this fact after it had to shut down a plant in India in 2004 due to a water shortage. That helped lead to its investment of over $2 billion to reduce water use and improve water quality in areas where it operates.

Innovation. Sustainability can also be a major influence over the innovation pipeline when one considers how products and services can be reimagined to meet environmental standards. Nike is one that brought sustainability into its innovation process. One outcome was the $1 billion Flyknit line, launched in 2012. It’s a specialized yarn system of recycled polyester requiring little labor and dramatically reducing waste – by 80 percent, while also diverting 182 million bottles from landfills.

Financial performance. Despite conventional wisdom, you can have both profits and sustainability. And there are any number of examples to prove it. Dow has invested $2 billion in resource efficiency since 1994, saving $9.8 billion in manufacturing costs due to reduced energy and wastewater consumption. WalMart’s drive for fleet efficiency saw an 87 percent improvement from its 2005 baseline, saving the environment from some 15,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions that were avoided.

Sustainability is good for the environment and the business environment. It’s really no longer an optional strategy to make the preservation of our resources a core component of an overarching business strategy. It’s the only way to invest in our shared future.

 

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June 14, 2017, 12:53 pm

Attention Aspiring CFOs: Are You Adding Value Beyond the Numbers?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business,Career

Becoming a CFO is no longer just about your financial chops. In our fast paced and fluid environment, companies are searching for financial leaders who can think strategically about overarching business needs while at the same time, applying their experiences and persuasive skills to influence members of the C-suite, boardroom, key stakeholders and beyond. In this new context, the CFO is emerging as the advisor who ensures the organization is translating numbers into opportunities. Yet, being viewed as a partner and a trusted advisor is often where many fall short and fail to break out of the accountant mould.

“The CFO has become the new Chief Operating Officer,” said Ross Woledge, CFO Practice Leader for Odgers Berndtson in Canada — a leading global executive search firm. “Traditionally, the finance role was about reporting the numbers. Now it’s about telling the story behind the numbers.” And while some of this competency can be chalked up to how leading CFOs look at the world, some of it can — and should — be learned.

A study of top Canadian financial executives, conducted by Odgers Berndtson, uncovered some interesting trends that defy popular stereotypes of financial leader traits. In examining the psychometric profiles of close to 300 top CFOs and finance executives in Canada, the United States, Asia and Europe, it became clear that the majority of today’s successful CFOs share the following four key leadership characteristics:

  1. Less process driven and rule oriented than other executives: While traditional CFOs might be perceived as set in their ways and detail-oriented to a fault, modern CFOs are much more willing to challenge the status quo and call for change among their executive cohort.
  2. Competitive and driven to achieve: Interestingly, the profile for these successful CFOs is more similar to that of business development executives or entrepreneurial CEOs than it is to that of budget- or control-oriented individuals. This high achievement orientation makes CFOs exceptionally well suited for executive roles — particularly if they’re gunning for future CEO positions.
  3. Resilient, hard-working and self-accepting, which allows them to deal with the pressures of high-profile roles where they’re accountable not only for protecting the financial integrity of their organizations but also, increasingly, for facilitating growth and capacity for innovation.
  4. Strong relationship-building skills, comfortable in the spotlight, which allows them to engage in meaningful interactions with co-workers as well as peers in the C-suite, on the board, and investors alike.

The study also revealed that diverse experience can make a difference. The most successful CFOs build both a depth and breadth of expertise that comes from seeking out as many varied experiences as possible. Among Mr. Woledge’s recommendations for executives looking to advance in financial leadership roles:

  1. Go beyond your accounting designation: Consider developing your capital market skills by pursuing a CFA. Or if you’ve got your sights set on being a CEO, an executive MBA can provide practical skills and know-how that can take your career to the next level.
  2. Take a “corkscrew” approach to your career: Take advantage of opportunities to move out from the comforts of the finance department, to work in different functions or industries altogether. The result is a CFO “who deeply understand[s] how the company really makes money, not just how to read what shows up on the income statement.”
  3. Hone your stakeholder skills: “You can be the smartest person in the room, but if you can’t bring people around to your perspective, you’re going to fail,” noted Mr. Woledge. If you lean towards the numbers-side of finance (vs. the people-side), then consider spending time with your Investor Relations team to hone your media and communications skills. Getting facetime with key stakeholders will enhance your ability to learn their pain points, speak their language, and ultimately, rouse support from among the C-suite ranks.
  4. Take risks and have an opinion: In ultra-competitive economies, CFOs are often called upon to be catalysts for change, to instill a financial approach that reduces costs while also helping other parts of the business perform better. Being an effective change-maker requires a degree of poise, flexibility, and above all else, an openness to dealing with ambiguity that comes from a combination of innate attitude plus the experience to know that taking calculated risks can often pay off with big rewards.

Advancement in any career requires taking on new challenges. You may also consider programs like the Business Leadership for Finance Executives (a partnership between Odgers Berndtson and the Rotman School of Management) that continue to develop the intellectual and emotional agility of finance leaders and critical leadership skills to accelerate their rise through the executive ranks.

And remember: Being a trusted advisor does not happen overnight. As with everything, it takes practice, and being close to the business (whether it’s the sales, marketing, operations or other teams) enables you to hone your approach to running a company.

 

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June 6, 2017, 1:39 pm

5 Reasons ERP is Essential for Manufacturers Trying to Scale

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business

One of the most commonly misunderstood features of growth is just how much support and infrastructure it takes to nurture and sustain. Growth is not its own energy source. And once you’ve managed to achieve it, it won’t continue and accelerate unless conditions are just right. That means whatever your situation was before the growth initiated, it needs to change now that your output is on the rise.

Obviously you will need to think about purchasing new machinery, adding new staff, or moving to a larger or newer facility. But you will also need to think about the way you manage operations, forecast orders, cultivate clients, and ensure consistency.

Many manufacturers turn to ERP to handle the data challenges faced by all modern enterprises. What they are pleased to discover is that ERP is an asset at all times, and truly invaluable during times of growth. Here are five reasons it is essential for manufacturers before, during, and after a period of scaling up:

Simplify Data Management

If data management is a challenge now, it does not get any easier once your enterprise has grown. Not only is your output higher, but you are likely relying on more data-driven processes. As a result, even modest growth can multiply the volume of data you currently deal with. ERP makes it easy to funnel all of this new data directly into a system that gives it instant form and function. You don’t need to worry about your administrators or IT managers getting overwhelmed. You also don’t need to worry about valuable data being lost or wasted.

Integrate New Vendors and Distributors

As you grow you will be forming important partnerships with businesses throughout your supply chain. But integrating those distributors and vendors into your workflows is not small feat. The best ERP for manufacturing will make creating and sustaining these partnerships a seamless process. You no longer need to worry about losing an opportunity simply because of administrative hurdles.

Alleviate the IT Burden

Manufacturing ERP should ideally be housed in the cloud for a number of reasons. One of the most significant is that cloud ERP takes away much of the burden of maintenance, monitoring, and security that currently falls to your IT team. If and when you grow, you don’t need to worry about your in-house IT team becoming overwhelmed. You also don’t need to hire more staff. Your technology is already equipped to scale to meet your exact needs and wants.

Eliminate Conflicts and Confusions

Growth brings with it both excitement and uncertainty. It also changes things more broadly and more deeply than anyone expects. When your manufacturing enterprise is undergoing a major period of transformation, you want everyone to work with the same information and insights without fail and without friction. Quality manufacturing ERP creates a common platform through which real-time information flows seamlessly. When everyone needs to be on the same page, ERP makes it easy.

Manage Costs and Seize Opportunities

When you’re adopting new approaches or gaining ground in new markets, it is easy for costs to spiral out of control. It is just as easy to be so focused on the day-to-day that you lose sight of strategic opportunities or vulnerabilities. ERP is an asset during these times because it allows you to see the forest through the trees. Stress and excitement can’t get in the way of your better judgment when you can easily and instantly generate reports and analytics.

Having ERP is a real asset. But not having ERP may be an even greater risk. Make sure your growth survives the short term and carries into the long term by putting the right tools in place today.

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August 12, 2016, 12:37 pm

The world’s most influential lawyers/attorneys and how they got there

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business

 

Broadly speaking, people from legal backgrounds hold some of the most powerful positions in the world – from presidents to highly respected journalists and executive directors, there seems to be something about those who have previously studied to be a lawyer or attorney that drives them to rise to the top.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the most influential lawyers and attorneys in the world today, and how they achieved their goals.

Samantha Power

With a distinguished career as a journalist, advocate, lawyer and UN ambassador, Samantha Power has it all. Samantha worked her way through the prestigious Harvard Law school to get to where she is today.

Elizabeth Warren

This Harvard Law professor comes from humble beginnings. Elizabeth Warren is of Native American origin and specialises in commercial law. Despite ruling herself out of the running for the Democratic Party leadership to leave room for Hilary Clinton, she is hotly tipped to enter the political arena in the future.

Bryan Stevenson

Another lawyer with multiple strings to his bow, when not dispensing legal advice Bryan Stevenson can be found working as director of the Equal Justice Initiative, as well as working as an NYU law professor. He is well known for his liberal stance that “forgiveness is a necessary means” of achieving equality.

Vladimir Putin

Believe it or not, Vladimir Putin received his degree in International Law as a student at Leningrad State University (now St. Petersburg State University), which is the oldest law school in Russia. It’s no surprise to learn that Putin’s experiences of university inform his pulls-no-punches leadership style, particularly when it comes to foreign policy.

Barack Obama

As his second and final term as President of the United States comes to an end, it’s easy to forget that Obama worked his way through Harvard Law School as a youngster. Barack must be a quick learner, as he believes law school should take no longer than two years.

Marine Le Pen

Le Pen is a right-wing politician who heads the National Front, the third-largest French political party. Prior to becoming a political figure, Le Pen gained a Master of Laws from Pantheon-Assas University in 1991, followed by a Master of Advanced Studies in criminal law a year later. Le Pen began practising law after this as a lawyer representing illegal immigrants who could not afford a lawyer – ironic, given her political stance on the current refugee crisis.

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