Why Lego Could Be the Key to Productive Business Meetings

It’s 60 years since Lego patented their little plastic blocks and since then over 600 billion bricks have been produced. These bricks have been used to build cars, death stars and a multitude of creations born in the imagination of “legoists” all over the world. While some people think Lego is just for children – or that being grown up means leaving playfulness behind – my job often entails convincing fully grown adults, in sensible jobs, to play with Lego and build whatever comes to mind. As an accredited Lego serious play facilitator, I ask people to build their thoughts, ideas and feelings. I was introduced to the concept through an EU-funded project, where I came to see the power of Lego in creating an environment for open dialogue within diverse groups. The “serious play” aspect encourages participants to get creative through play. This allows people to put aside their …

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Assessing Business Risks

Business insurance and risk management programs are designed to help reduce and control costs. In assessing the risk exposures particular to your business, consider what can go wrong and how such events might affect your business. Risk exposures generally fall into three categories: direct and indirect property losses; loss of income attributable to property losses; and liability losses of a general, statutory, or contractual nature. Renewing policies without re-examining risk exposures may prove costly. For example, if a business has grown, coverage limits that were adequate at one time may not meet current requirements. Furthermore, changes in the nature of your business may mean that additional coverage is needed. Enlist both management and employee input when evaluating your business. Daily familiarity with specific areas of operation may make one person aware of potential risk exposures that may seem insignificant to someone with a different perspective. Also, examining past loss patterns …

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Becoming a Better Negotiator

Whether closing a sale, haggling over a price with a supplier, or discussing a raise with an employee, business owners negotiate nearly every day. While you may already be an effective negotiator, consider the following strategies to help maximize your negotiating skills. Negotiating does not have to be a zero-sum game. When two parties enter into negotiations, they are both looking to create something of value that did not exist before. Instead of taking an adversarial approach, think about how both parties can arrive at a mutually beneficial solution. Without abandoning your own interests and objectives, consider the interests of your negotiating partner. Reflect on what your priorities might be if you were in your partner’s shoes and how you can best accommodate those priorities. Do Your Homework Before approaching the bargaining table to negotiate an important deal, make sure you are fully prepared. If, for example, you are attempting …

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5 Ways to Retain Customers & Increase Sales

There are several reasons your existing customers are your business’ most valuable asset. Increased profits from sales Increased profits from reduced operating costs Increased profits from referrals Not only is it 3-5 times cheaper to keep a customer than to engage a new one, but studies show that repeat customers pay more for purchases and purchase more often. Satisfied customers also help your business to grow through referrals to friends and family. To look at it another way, if your business is gaining 10% new customers annually, but losing 10% of existing customers annually, your company is not growing. Imagine if your company reduced your customer defection rate by 5%; your business would be growing at a rate of 5% every year. Not only that but your sales and marketing expenditure would be reduced. How do you take care of your most valuable asset, your customers? Here are 5 proven …

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SEC Power to Recoup Illegal Profits Curbed by U.S. Supreme Court

SEC Power to Recoup Illegal Profits Curbed by U.S. Supreme Court

In early June, a unanimous Supreme Court handed down its ruling on whether “disgorgement,” or the repayment of ill-gotten gains, is subject to a statute of limitations. The court ruled that it is, and this has broad implications for any person or organization investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, experts say. “This will be more advantageous to all proposed SEC defendants, including Wall Street,” says Marc Powers, leader of BakerHostetler‘s securities litigation and regulatory enforcement practice and its hedge fund industry practice. “They will be able to sleep at night, not fearing the SEC and forever looking over their shoulders for their questionable conduct in the securities markets.” Here’s what you need to know about the ruling. The Case Charles Kokesh was found to have misappropriated funds from four investment companies. He was ordered to pay a civil penalty and disgorgement, dating back to 1995. Kokesh argued that the …

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