Man and woman are shaking hands in office. Collaborative teamwork. Business professionals

5 Signs Your Business Partner Is A Green Flag

Launching a business is an adventure, but let’s be honest, navigating the entrepreneurial journey alone can feel like scaling a mountain with one arm tied behind your back. That’s where the power of a rock-solid business partnership comes in. A good partner complements your strengths, shares your vision and becomes your co-pilot on the road to success.

But how do you identify a potential partner who’s not just a warm body, but a true green flag – a positive indicator of a thriving and prosperous partnership? To shed light on this crucial aspect of building a business, we turn to FatRank founder James Dooley who dives into the key signs that your business partner is a green flag.

1. Transparent Communication

Open and honest communication is the bedrock of any strong relationship, business included.  Your partner should be comfortable discussing challenges, ideas, and concerns freely. As James puts it, “Trust is the foundation of collaboration. When communication flows freely, decisions can be made quickly and efficiently, fostering an environment of trust and mutual respect.”

2. Shared Values and Goals

Imagine trying to drive a car with one person wanting to go north and the other south. It would be a headache! A successful partnership thrives on shared values and goals. James says, “This doesn’t mean you need to be identical, but you should have a common vision for the future of the business and core values that guide your decision-making.”

3. Complementary Skills

Just like puzzle pieces, the best business partners complement each other’s skill sets. Maybe you’re a marketing whiz, while your partner excels at finance. Perhaps you’re the visionary, and your partner is the detail-oriented executor. By bringing different strengths to the table, you create a well-rounded team that can tackle any challenge.

4. Mutual Respect

Respect is a two-way street. A good business partner values your ideas, expertise, and opinions. They are open to constructive criticism and willing to compromise when necessary.  “This mutual respect fosters a collaborative environment where both partners feel heard and valued, leading to a more fulfilling and productive partnership,” James tells us.

5. Track Record of Reliability and Accountability

Knowing you can count on your partner is crucial. Look for someone with a proven track record of reliability and accountability. “They meet deadlines, follow through on commitments, and take ownership of their responsibilities,” James advises. This builds trust and ensures a smooth workflow, allowing you to focus on strategic growth.

By recognizing these green flags, you can build a strong foundation for a successful business partnership. Partners who communicate openly, share values, possess complementary skills, respect each other, and hold themselves accountable are more likely to navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and propel your business towards long-term success. 

“So, the next time you consider a business partnership, keep your eye out for these green flags,” James concludes. “They might just be the key to unlocking your company’s full potential.” 

Close up of african american customer writing reviews, hand pressing on a smartphone screen with a golden five star rating feedback icon

The Importance of Personal Connection: Why Being the Face of Your Brand Matters

By Amy Knight, Co-Founder and Director of Must Have Ideas

In the aggressively competitive world of online retail, filled with drop shipping, untrustworthy brands and seemingly endless options for consumers, it’s never been more important to be the face of your brand. Consumers crave a personal connection with the company they are buying from – this personal connection increases trust and brand recognition. It’s what turns browsers into first time buyers and ultimately into returning customers. As co-founder and director of Must Have Ideas, cementing myself as the face of our company has massively improved the building of trust, bringing us more returning customers each year.

The Power of Personal Connection

Personal connection in business is important for several reasons, particularly in the world of modern e-commerce. Consumers enjoy more choice than ever but as retailers compete on the lowest prices, the best products and the fastest deliveries – many forget one crucial competitive element – the power of personal connection and – specifically, putting a face to their brand. There are many ways you can be the face of your brand, from personally advertising your products online to simply tailoring your emails with a personalised signature.

By adding this personal touch, customer satisfaction, trust and brand recognition will be hugely enhanced. This concept is backed up by a survey carried out by Sprout Social, who found that 70% of consumers feel more connected to brands with CEOs who are active on social media. It also found that “when customers feel connected to brands, more than half of them (57%) will increase their spend with that brand with 76% opting to buy from them over a competitor”. Such high percentages really drive home the importance of maintaining a personal connection and makes customers much more likely to recommend you to friends and family.

Enhanced Customer Satisfaction

However, creating customer satisfaction goes beyond being the face of your brand as customers’ picture a clear, friendly face who they can trust throughout their purchase journey. If there are issues with their purchase, they’ll feel more able to approach a brand offering that personal touch. At Must Have Ideas, our customer service lines are open seven days a week, from 8am and 8pm. We can be contacted by phone, email, text and even by post. Our customer service team is located at our main offices in the UK, which for us is a key element of our business strategy. We believe that there is still a place for traditional customer service as it develops trust and ultimately keeps customers returning. Our customer service team are trained simply to treat every single customer as they themselves would want to be treated.

Personal touches help strengthen the relationship between us and the customer, it enables us to grow as a respected brand while fostering transparency and authenticity. This can be developed further by engaging with customers on social media, email and even at in-person events. Many well-known and successful brands have built trust with a visible leader, with Richard Branson at Virgin, Mark Zuckerberg at Meta and Elon Musk at Tesla being notable examples.

Making your Brand Memorable

Having a face to your brand creates a memorable person for customers to recall, by including your presence across your website and social media. Having a well-defined brand identity made up of consistent logos, colours, slogans and images alongside a recognisable face reinforces uniqueness and memorability while remaining consistent and relatable to customers. Many of the elements of well-known brands have even become part of the public consciousness such as Nike’s iconic “Swoosh” and McDonald’s “Golden Arches” logos, along with their respective slogans “Just Do It” and “I’m Lovin’ It”.

Recognise Your Niche

It’s important to recognise your niche, whether this is for being a female-founded company or family-run, you should include these specific elements into your branding. Remind your customers about what you’re proud to represent to continue to build and maintain that connection.

Havas Group’s Meaningful Brands Study in 2021 found that 66% of consumers want more meaningful experiences from brands. This shows the value of representing what’s important to your company and by giving your customers a meaningful experience in some way, you can promote loyalty and ultimately achieve long-term success.

Woman reading book at evening at home close up

New Book Dares Leaders to Relate & Lead With a Fierce Heart

By Merilee Kern, MBA

In the much-anticipated new book, “Dare to Relate: Leading with a Fierce Heart,” trailblazing former federal agency CEO, TEDx speaker and renowned relational leadership expert Cheryl L. Mason, J.D. unveils an unconventional yet highly effective approach to leadership, In it, she challenges the status quo, encouraging leaders to take personal responsibility for their team’s engagement and development.

Having been the fourth Presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed—and first woman—to serve as the CEO/Chairman of the VA Board of Veterans’ Appeals before founding her Catalyst Leadership Management consultancy for which she serves as CEO, in “Dare to Relate,” Mason provides a refreshing perspective to revolutionize workplace culture and leadership practices to foster a more dynamic, cohesive, productive and effective team environment.

Mason is a visionary who has transformed workplace culture and achieved unprecedented results. Thus, unlike conventional leadership training, “Dare to Relate” is written to forge a new path for cultivating strong workforce relationships. It addresses the fundamental principle that employees are people and a company’s most valuable resource.

Contemporary leaders often lack the preparedness and essential tools needed to effectively lead today’s workforce. All too often, leaders rely on human resources or personnel management to manage their employees. “Dare to Relate” challenges the status quo, empowering CEOs and other leaders—both established and aspiring—to take personal responsibility for engaging and investing in the people who comprise their workforce. With this book Mason provides a compass for visionary leaders who dare to create an impact.

“Being a catalyst leader involves facing challenges, overcoming obstacles and genuinely caring for and supporting your employees,” says Mason. “In ‘Dare to Relate,’ I share my journey and guide readers through essential principles of the relational management style. The book outlines the kind of skills needed to lead with authenticity and empathy. The kind that bolster staff morale, trust and bottom line results in kind.”

From her own journey as a military spouse to her groundbreaking role as the first woman CEO of a federal agency, Mason extraordinary journey detailed in the book is inspirational and empowering. So too are her actionable insights intended to embolden readers to break free from limitations and forge their own path of self-development to realize unparalleled success.

A Peek Inside:

Geese in V Formation:

Mason draws an insightful parallel between the flight patterns of geese and leadership. Have you ever watched geese fly in their distinctive V formation? Mason encourages us to pay close attention, for there’s a lesson in true leadership to be learned.

Leadership in Action:

In their flight formation, the leader occasionally drops back to let another take the lead. This selfless act optimizes flying time, showcasing the importance of shared leadership responsibilities.

Efficiency and Communication:

The geese position themselves just above the bird in front, reducing wind resistance and conserving energy. This fosters efficient communication and allows them to track each other, highlighting the power of teamwork.

Purpose, Impact, and Value:

Mason underlines that each member of the flock serves a purpose, impacts others, and brings value to the team. This analogy beautifully illustrates the interconnectedness of leadership and teamwork, emphasizing the importance of caring for the team.

If you or someone you know is keen on a dynamic, inspirational and high-impact book that can ignite the spark of leadership within, look no further than “Dare to Relate” as a powerful source of motivation and key learning for building powerful, meaningful and authentic workplace connections.

Fashionable businessman exuding style and sophistication

Why Relational Leadership Trumps Other Management Styles

By Cheryl L. Mason, J.D.

What do you do when you walk into an organization as the new leader and the organization is struggling with trust and morale issues from both employees and customers, recruitment and retention challenges, and reduced productivity?

That was what faced me as the new chief executive of my organization.

My solution was different than many leaders and considered risky and ill-advised by all but a few.

I focused on encouraging and supporting the employees of the organization – as people. This meant getting to know something about them – their jobs, their concerns, and their lives as people beyond work. The employees’ trust had been broken many times over.

How does a leader build trust and create credibility? To do this, I called on my experiences as an employee, I remembered all too well the feeling I had as employee – like I didn’t matter, I was just a cog in the wheel.

I knew that my words and actions had to match, but even more than that – my intentions had to match too.

I began to walk around the offices and schedule open office time – in person and virtually. I listened and learned. I fielded concerns, new ideas, and general complaints. Now, before you say that is not the job of the chief executive, pause a moment and consider the following.

Where does the responsibility for the entire organization reside? According to a sign on the desk of President Harry S. Truman, “the buck stops here.” So, while CEOs might delegate the gathering of the issues to others, I believe that the responsibility for addressing them sits with the CEO. If you as the CEO do not know what these issues are, how can you fix them?

Employees who do not believe the CEO cares about their problems will not raise them, instead, they fester and grow. In fact, when employees believe they do not matter at work shows in their output. The magnitude of a leader’s impact often extends far beyond what you may comprehend, often affect people’s lives beyond work. Recent studies from Deloitte, StudyFinds, and The Workforce Institute among many others, indicate that a person’s boss or job often negatively impacts their mental and physical health.

I knew that treating employees as people and valuing them also impacts the entire in the organization from hiring to operations to results.

As a new CEO, I needed to hear what the problems and concerns of the employees were, and I wanted to learn more about the employees who worked for me.

I discovered that the employees needed technological tools to help with their work, but more importantly, they needed and wanted a leader who believed in and championed them. They found this in me.

As a legal organization, there was a long-held belief that lawyers were always the answer. If there was a logistics issue, put a lawyer on it. Technology needs, sure, detail one of the lawyers. Public relations, sure a lawyer can handle that! Although the organization had a team of lawyers detailed to all these operational areas which pulled them off the primary work, the issues continued to grow. Lawyers are trained to research and advise, implementing usually requires subject matter experts. I found we had few of those.

As luck would have it, we did have a subject matter technology expert who was also a lawyer! He suggested some technological enhancements that improved workflow for his colleagues and increased output. He also was instrumental in advising me on hiring the right subject matter experts to further develop our technological innovations.

This led to more suggestions and solution-based ideas from the employees, some of which I implemented and gave the employees the credit. I fought for an increase in the budget to bring in more technology and hire additional people who could provide the support and assistance the employees and the organization needed.

I also championed and acknowledged them by thanking and rewarding them for their hard work and celebrating milestones for them and the organization.

What happened? I did not crash and burn – as some expected or wanted.
This ill-advised leadership approach – relating to and engaging with employees as people – succeeded.

Interestingly, results were where we saw the first success, increasing outcomes by 50 percent in year one of my leadership. Retention, morale, and recruitment followed in quick succession, supported by data and surveys. New technological tools combined with increased morale and retention led to results never thought possible – a 100 percent increase which held steady during my entire leadership tenure even during a pandemic.

The reputation of the organization increased as employees recruited new employees. Customers and stakeholders were pleased.

Other organizations began to ask how this happened, what was the secret?
The secret ingredient is caring for, relating to, and investing in your most valuable resource – your employees. By dedicating time and effort to fostering authentic connections with your employees, you nurture and strengthen your most valuable assets AND demonstrate genuine respect and concern for those important to them. All of these people matter.

Here are my take aways:

  1. Show your employees that you care for them as people by putting them first – in every aspect of your organization – technology, processes, and communications.
  2. Listen! Be seen and make yourself available to your employees and talk about life outside work – this was extremely important during the pandemic.
  3. Invest your time in and on your most valuable resource – the people of your workforce – from office hours to walkabouts & publicly acknowledge the work and ideas of the employees.

And KEEP DOING IT over and over again.

What I found is the people who work for you want to know that you, their leader, is a human being – a person. And they want to know that you care about them as another human being – not just a part of the organizational machine.

Happy Asian woman using the computer at home.

Nine in 10 CEOs Say They Have Now Personally Adopted Hybrid Working

CEOs are leading by example when it comes to hybrid working, with nine in 10 (93%) saying they have personally adopted flexible working patterns according to new research.

A study among more than 500 CEOs by International Workplace Group found that the vast majority now split their working time between locations and a growing number of CEOs are working closer to home to avoid long, time-consuming commutes. Just 7% said they spend five days a week working from a central office.

Three in five (62%) business leaders said they are now splitting their time between a central office, local flexible workspace or office, and home, marking a notable rise in the use of workspaces outside of city centres and closer to where they live. Only 2% spend most of their time working from home.

The findings come from International Workplace Group’s latest research among business leaders which looks at the attitudes and experiences of C-Suite leaders on hybrid working policies.

Improved employee engagement and staff retention

The research highlights the range of benefits business leaders are experiencing due to hybrid working, particularly around company culture – which three quarters agreed had improved since its adoption. They also noted widespread improvement in employee engagement (77%) and more efficient collaboration between teams and colleagues (75%).

These results support the findings from research undertaken earlier this year by The Bank of England, Stanford University, King’s College London and Nottingham University, led by renowned economist and academic Professor Nick Bloom. The study found that for every day a firm’s employee worked in a hybrid model, that firm’s productivity is around $19,000 higher than those that don’t.

Attracting a wider pool of talent

As CEOs continue to see the upside of this approach, and hybrid becomes a non-negotiable for many employees, offering flexibility in working patterns is now a crucial tool for organisations in attracting and keeping top talent.

The study revealed that over seven in 10 CEOs (73%) agreed that hybrid work has enabled them to attract and hire the best talent. Furthermore, being able to offer employees greater autonomy over when and where they work has also allowed businesses to access a much broader pool of talent, with 71% of CEOs saying they have been able to consider and subsequently offer roles to a more diverse range of candidates.

Investing in hybrid work for the future

Whilst a handful of companies are mandating employee presence in the office five days a week, this study revealed that most leaders (74%) say returning to the office full time is not a priority for their business moving forward, recognising that staff retention could be impacted by such policies, and that hybrid working positively impacts their productivity. In fact, nearly two thirds (65%) believe they would lose talented people if they insisted on their employees being present in a central office every day.

So, rather than focusing on asking their people to endure unnecessary long and expensive commutes to central offices, most business leaders are choosing to invest in the future by enhancing and improving hybrid working equipment and facilities. A unanimous 94% had invested in new technology to improve their hybrid experience in the past year, with 43% saying this had been their top investment in the last 12 months.

As the ongoing investment in hybrid working accelerates, the potential for further growth is exponential – with an estimated 1.2 billion white collar workers globally and a total addressable market of more than $2 trillion.

Co-working spaces continue to support company culture and employee satisfaction, according to leaders of companies across industries. Separate International Workplace Groupresearch found that CEOs of hybrid businesses have seen increased employee happiness, improved employee productivity and higher employee retention and attraction since implementing hybrid work. Almost three quarters (74%) of surveyed also reported their companies are expected to be operating in a hybrid model in five years’ time.

Mark Dixon, Chief Executive Officer, International Workplace Group commented: “The uptake of hybrid working is continuing to increase as companies of all sizes understand its importance in creating an optimal environment for both the productivity of the business and the happiness of its employees to thrive.

Furthermore, this latest research convincingly demonstrates that CEOs appreciate the critical role that hybrid working has in not only attracting, but retaining the highest quality talent.”

International Workplace Group, the world’s largest provider of hybrid working solutions with brands including Spaces and Regus, added 867 new locations globally last year to meet growing demand for hybrid working.

Group of business people sitting at desk and talking about new project

Meet the CEO Helping Women Take Back Control of Their Finances

By Dionne Lee

My interest in money and financial independence was sparked by playing a board game when I was 12 years old! What caught my attention was how I could create more income passively than by working a job and trading my time for dollars.

Then, when I finished high school, I fell into a financial services traineeship working for a credit union. I quickly learned about different products such as term deposit investments, how home and investment property loans were approved, and the basics of money management from my manager at the time — and I was only 17 years old!

By the age of 20, I took a significant step forward in my financial journey by acquiring my first investment property, and then quickly expanded my portfolio with the acquisition of a second and then a third property within the following two years. This is really what marked the commencement of my endeavour into the realm of real estate-driven passive income, and the purchase of many properties over the coming years.

Fast forward to my late 30’s – three children, many properties and two successful businesses in mortgage broking and financial coaching. Like a lot of people, at that time I went through a divorce, gave up most of the assets to keep life amicable for my children, and ended up back at stage one starting again trying to get back into the property market. Having gone through this experience myself, I was then realising how many other women were at that same starting point (including girl friends of mine), but a large proportion of them didn’t have the financial experience I had acquired over the previous two decades, and they had no idea where to start of what they should do first. This was where A Woman Inspired began.

Although I had been coaching my existing clients (male and female) to help them build investment property portfolios with the smarter lending structures and passive income, I had never tailored it to women as such. This is where my passion kicked in, and full financial literacy and coaching began.

Today, I help ordinary everyday women learn for themselves the tools I have learned since I began my financial career and personal financial journey at 17 years of age.

I encourage, and allow women the space to dream and think much bigger about how they want their life to be. Once I know their desired lifestyle and financial destination, I can then work from their end goal backwards, to where they are beginning from today. I start with educating my clients on the basics of budgeting, money management, money mindset, passive income, property types and investment types, to then calculating the numbers on each of these to understand if each particular investment they will consider will give them the highest and best use of their time and money – before they jump in. From there I build their income producing assets to give them enough passive income, and become debt free, to then set themselves up for a financially stress-free life. It is all about arming women with financial knowledge and financial literacy to ensure they understand exactly what they are investing in and not just believing what the different professionals tell them.

Part of that literacy is not just in terms of thinking bigger and calculating numbers, but understanding what questions to ask and what stipulations they need to give the professionals assisting them. Remember – a professional may have the qualification to advise, but not necessarily the personal experience to really give that crucial part that makes all of the difference sometimes.

For example, everyone should have their lender structure their lending the smarter way that benefits the consumer. The loan product, the interest rate type, and how the lender ties the client to them when there are multiple properties involved is all so important to understand when borrowing money. Unfortunately for the consumer, the banks are there to make money for their shareholders, and don’t necessarily train their staff to help a client structure their lending in the best way for each individual client. The banks may be very helpful in approving the clients’ loans application, but unless the client knows to state how they want their lending structured, the loan may be structured in the best interest of the lender, and the client would be none the wiser. Structuring your lending the smarter way, can save a client thousands of dollars of interest without paying any extra off the loan itself.
When borrowing money, it is not all about the interest rate and fees, although the majority of the population only compare these two aspects of the loan!

Just imagine having your own home but paying out that mortgage in half the time or sooner just by having that financial literacy. The savings in interest alone could be the equivalent of buying another property. We are talking about potentially some really large numbers here for the normal single woman. It is just understanding that you don’t know what you don’t know and being prepared to learn!

Most of my female clients come to me because they need someone they can trust, and have been referred by another one of my clients who is already fully or part way through the financial literacy process.  They need someone who is walking the walk and talking the talk from their own personal experience. Someone that is out there doing it themselves and being completely transparent telling and showing them exactly what they do themselves and why.

Money and a person’s financial position is not one widely spoken about because it is a private and sometimes an uncomfortable topic to talk about. It doesn’t need to be an uncomfortable topic – it is just one that many people don’t have enough knowledge, literacy and understanding about. Money is simple to understand when you think about it logically; and with the correct guidance and education around it, your understanding and confidence can exceed well past your own expectations.

I know my job is done when I see my clients understand what I am teaching them. I see the excitement in them when they start to reap the rewards, achieve their goals and begin teaching and educating their own children and friends to have the life we all deserve.

Queensland Broker of The Year Dionne Lee, Financial Coach and CEO of A Woman Inspired  

Dionne Lee

Strategies for the CEO of a Car Showroom to Boost Sales

As the CEO of a car showroom, your primary objective is to maximize sales and enhance customer satisfaction. Achieving these goals requires a multifaceted approach that involves not only improving the physical aspects of the showroom but also investing in the development of your workforce and enhancing the customer experience. Here are several key strategies to consider:

Protecting Outdoor Cars

One often overlooked aspect of maintaining a car showroom is the proper care of outdoor cars. Ensuring that these vehicles remain in pristine condition can significantly influence potential buyers’ perceptions and increase sales.

Utilizing Car Covers

Investing in high-quality car covers is a practical solution for protecting outdoor cars from adverse weather conditions. This not only preserves the vehicles’ appearance but also extends their lifespan. During periods of inclement weather, such as heavy rain, snow, or extreme heat, car covers can prevent damage to the paint and interiors. Additionally, when cars are not in use, covering them helps maintain their new-like condition, making them more appealing to prospective buyers.

Dressing for Success and Workforce Training

The appearance and professionalism of your staff can greatly impact customer perceptions and sales outcomes. Ensuring that your team is well-dressed and adequately trained can make a significant difference.

Professional Attire and Training

Encouraging employees to dress professionally creates a positive first impression on customers. A study found that people make a judgment about a person within 7 seconds of meeting them. Therefore, having your staff dressed in sharp, professional attire can build trust and confidence with customers. Additionally, investing in ongoing training programs ensures that your employees are knowledgeable about the products they are selling and can effectively communicate the benefits to potential buyers. According to a survey, companies that invest in employee training see a 24% higher profit margin compared to those that don’t.

Leveraging Technology to Enhance Sales

In today’s digital age, leveraging technology can play a pivotal role in boosting car showroom sales. Implementing advanced tools and systems can streamline operations, enhance customer engagement, and provide valuable insights into consumer behavior.

Utilizing CRM Systems

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems can be a game-changer for car showrooms. These systems help manage customer interactions, track sales leads, and analyze customer data to provide personalized experiences. By understanding customer preferences and purchase history, sales teams can tailor their approach, making interactions more relevant and effective. According to research, companies using CRM systems see a sales increase of up to 29%. Integrating CRM with digital marketing strategies, such as targeted email campaigns and social media advertising, can further amplify outreach and conversion rates.

Offering Flexible Financing Options

Providing flexible financing options can significantly influence a customer’s decision to purchase a car. Understanding the financial constraints and preferences of your customers and offering tailored financing solutions can make your showroom more attractive.

Custom Financing Solutions

Offering a range of financing options, including low-interest loans, lease-to-own plans, and deferred payment schemes, can cater to diverse customer needs. Partnering with financial institutions to provide competitive rates and flexible terms can make purchasing more accessible to a broader audience. Additionally, educating your sales team on these options ensures they can confidently discuss and recommend the best solutions to potential buyers. A study showed that 75% of car buyers finance their vehicle purchase, highlighting the importance of offering attractive financing options to close more sales.

By integrating these additional strategies, the CEO of a car showroom can further enhance the sales process, making it more efficient, customer-centric, and ultimately more successful. Leveraging technology and providing flexible financing options not only address the practical needs of customers but also demonstrate a commitment to meeting their financial and technological expectations, fostering trust and driving sales growth.

Enhancing Marketing Materials

Providing customers with comprehensive and visually appealing marketing materials can greatly influence their purchasing decisions. One effective strategy is to improve the quality of car brochures available in your showroom.

Compiling Superior Car Brochures

High-quality brochures serve as a tangible reminder of your vehicles and can significantly impact a customer’s decision-making process. Consider using photo books to create detailed and visually appealing brochures. These should include high-resolution images, detailed specifications, and unique selling points of each car model. A well-designed brochure not only provides valuable information but also leaves a lasting impression, increasing the likelihood of a sale.

Creating a Positive Customer Experience

Beyond these individual strategies, creating a cohesive and positive customer experience is essential for securing more sales. This involves understanding customer needs, providing exceptional service, and building long-term relationships.

Customer Experience Table

To illustrate the impact of various customer experience strategies, consider the following table:

Strategy Impact on Sales Description
Personalized Service High Tailoring interactions to meet individual customer needs
Follow-Up Communications Moderate Maintaining contact with potential buyers after their visit
In-Store Events and Promotions High Hosting events to attract and engage potential customers
Feedback Mechanisms Moderate Collecting and acting on customer feedback to improve service


By implementing these strategies, the CEO of a car showroom can significantly enhance the overall customer experience and drive more sales. Protecting outdoor cars, ensuring employees dress professionally and receive ongoing training, and providing high-quality marketing materials are all critical components of a successful sales strategy. Additionally, focusing on creating a positive and personalized customer experience can set your showroom apart from competitors and foster long-term customer loyalty. Embracing these approaches will not only boost sales but also enhance the reputation and success of your car showroom.


  1. Forbes: First Impressions Matter
  2. HR Magazine: Training Leads to Profit
  3. Salesforce: CRM Statistics
  4. Experian: State of the Automotive Finance Market

Understanding Lessor vs. Lessee: Key Differences and Accounting Treatment

The roles of the lessor and the lessee are distinct and critical to understand for accurate financial reporting. The lessor is the owner of the asset who grants the right to use the asset to the lessee, the party who acquires the right to use the asset for a specified period. Properly distinguishing between these roles and applying the appropriate accounting treatments is essential for maintaining financial clarity and compliance.

Role and Responsibilities of the Lessor

When looking at lessor vs lessee the lessor retains ownership of the asset and is responsible for ensuring its usability. From an accounting perspective, the lessor’s primary concern is to recognize the rental income and account for the asset on their balance sheet. The lessor must classify leases as either operating or finance leases based on the transfer of risks and rewards of ownership.

Accounting for Operating Leases

For operating leases, the lessor continues to recognize the asset on their balance sheet and depreciates it over its useful life. Lease payments received from the lessee are recorded as rental income on a straight-line basis over the lease term.

Accounting for Finance Leases

In a finance lease, the lessor transfers substantially all the risks and rewards of ownership to the lessee. The lessor records a lease receivable at the present value of lease payments and derecognizes the leased asset from the balance sheet. The interest income from the lease receivable is recognized over the lease term.

Role and Responsibilities of the Lessee

The lessee, on the other hand, gains the right to use the asset for the lease term and is responsible for making lease payments. The primary accounting challenge for lessees is to accurately reflect their lease obligations and the right-of-use assets on their balance sheets.

Accounting for Operating Leases

Under current accounting standards, lessees recognize a right-of-use asset and a corresponding lease liability for all leases, except for short-term leases and low-value assets. The lease liability is measured at the present value of lease payments, and the right-of-use asset is measured at the lease liability amount, adjusted for lease incentives received, initial direct costs, and lease payments made at or before the commencement date.

Accounting for Finance Leases

For finance leases, the lessee recognizes both an asset and a liability, similar to the lessor’s treatment. The asset is depreciated over the shorter of the lease term or the asset’s useful life, and the liability is reduced as payments are made, with interest expense recognized on the liability.

Accounting Treatments

To better illustrate the differences in accounting treatments for lessors and lessees, consider the following table:

Aspect Lessor (Operating Lease) Lessor (Finance Lease) Lessee (Operating Lease) Lessee (Finance Lease)
Asset Ownership Retained by lessor Transferred to lessee Right-of-use asset recognized Right-of-use asset recognized
Income Recognition Rental income on straight-line Interest income on lease receivable Lease expense on straight-line Depreciation and interest expense
Balance Sheet Impact Asset and depreciation Lease receivable Right-of-use asset and liability Right-of-use asset and liability

Practical Implications for Businesses

Understanding the differences between lessor and lessee accounting is crucial for businesses to ensure compliance with accounting standards such as IFRS 16 and ASC 842. These standards have significantly altered the landscape of lease accounting, with a notable statistic showing that nearly 85% of companies reported substantial increases in their balance sheet assets and liabilities after adopting IFRS 16. Additionally, a survey indicated that over 60% of businesses experienced challenges in implementing the new lease accounting standards, highlighting the complexity and importance of accurate lease accounting.

The Impact of Lease Modifications and Renewals

Lease modifications and renewals add another layer of complexity to lease accounting for both lessors and lessees. When a lease modification occurs, it can affect the classification and measurement of the lease. Lessors must reassess the classification of the lease to determine if it should be accounted for as an operating or finance lease. If the modification results in a substantial change to the terms, the lessor may need to derecognize the existing lease and recognize a new lease. For lessees, modifications may require remeasurement of the lease liability and corresponding right-of-use asset. This involves adjusting the lease liability to reflect the present value of the revised lease payments, discounted at the original or modified discount rate, depending on the nature of the modification. Understanding and accurately accounting for these changes is crucial as they can significantly impact financial statements. Businesses must implement robust processes to track and evaluate lease modifications and renewals, ensuring compliance with accounting standards and maintaining the integrity of their financial reporting.


Differentiating between lessor and lessee roles and applying the appropriate accounting treatments is essential for accurate financial reporting. Lessors focus on income recognition and asset management, while lessees must account for right-of-use assets and lease liabilities. By adhering to the relevant accounting standards and understanding these distinctions, businesses can maintain financial clarity and ensure compliance.

Proper lease accounting not only reflects the true financial position of the company but also provides transparency to stakeholders, aiding in better decision-making and financial planning. As the leasing landscape continues to evolve, staying informed and adapting to new standards will remain a critical aspect of effective financial management.

From Idea to Influence: Tips for Building a Powerful Thought Leadership Platform

Building an influential and credible thought leadership platform in today’s digital environment is paramount to establishing influence and credibility within an industry. Thought leadership involves providing insightful analyses, expertise, and innovative concepts that shape opinions and drive conversations – not only as part of personal branding efforts but also to increase professional or business reputations.

This article offers helpful tips for turning ideas into compelling thought leadership platforms through understanding key components of thought leadership while using digital tools effectively so you can establish yourself as a go-to authority within your field.

The Importance of Selecting Effective Domain Names for Successful Online Presence

Domain names are an indispensable asset when building an effective thought leadership platform in today’s digital environment. Your online address, known as your domain name, should be memorable, appropriate, and reflective of your brand or area of expertise. Choosing appropriate domain names helps establish credibility by making content easier for people to locate or remember while projecting authority and trustworthiness among your audience. During platform creation ensure that its design mirrors both brand identity and the message you wish to deliver.

Crafting High-Quality Content

To build a thought leadership platform, you must first have good content. This means making and spreading useful information that is thoughtful, well-studied, and valuable to your target audience. Content comes in many shapes such as blog posts, articles, whitepapers, videos podcasts, and webinars. The key is to make it compelling by offering unique insights or perspectives on topics that interest your audience.

You should also aim for consistency in producing new content regularly to keep your platform active and engaging. After creating the content for your thought leadership platform, you need to plan how it will be shared with others. A good strategy includes thinking about the channels or platforms where you can distribute this content effectively. For example, aiming for regularity of posting new material helps in keeping the platform lively and interesting.

Leveraging Social Media

Social media provides you with strong instruments for making your thought leadership content more notable and connecting with a broader group. Every platform gives its own special possibilities to express your thoughts and interact with people from the industry, important figures as well as possible followers.

For professional networking and sharing content related to industries, LinkedIn can be very useful; numbers state there are 67 million businesses present on LinkedIn. Meanwhile, X (formerly Twitter) is good for chatting in real time or having interesting discussions. On the other hand, Facebook and Instagram are better for visual and interactive content. Select the platforms that suit your target audience and style of content, as it will help you make a more notable impact. Regularly posting, responding to comments, or taking part in related talks can greatly enhance your appearance and effect.

Building Relationships and Networks

Thought leadership is not only about sharing your thoughts; it’s also related to establishing connections and networks in the field you are part of. Interacting with other thought leaders, going to industry gatherings, and joining online forums or communities can assist you in acquiring understanding, spreading information, and enhancing visibility.

Networking offers chances for collaboration like writing articles together, holding joint webinars, or taking part in panel talks. These joint efforts could improve your trustworthiness and introduce you to different groups of people. Establishing a robust network also includes welcoming opinions from others and constantly gaining knowledge. Through creating significant relationships, you can widen your impact and maintain importance within your area of expertise.

Measuring and Refining Your Strategy

For your thought leadership platform to be effective, you must measure and enhance your strategy regularly. By keeping track of important statistics like website visits, social media participation, content sharing, and follower increase, you can gain an understanding of what works well with the people who follow you and which parts need improvement. When you modify your method from responses and performance measurements, it guarantees that the site stays lively and influential.

The Final Say

To make a strong thought leadership platform, you must have a planned method and keep working on it. It’s about selecting good domain names, making top-quality content, using social media effectively, and creating relationships with other people who are important in your field of work. Utilizing these strategies, you can transform your ideas into compelling thought leadership platforms that resonate with your target audience and enhance your professional reputation. As you embark upon this journey, measure and refine your strategy so you remain relevant and impactful – with dedication and the right approach, you could become one of the industry’s trusted voices.

What Is a Prop Firm?

A proprietary trading firm, commonly known as a prop firm, is a financial entity that engages in trading activities using its own capital rather than managing client funds. This distinct approach allows prop firms to retain all profits from their trading activities, setting them apart from traditional investment firms.

How Prop Firms Operate

Prop firms employ skilled traders who utilize the firm’s capital to trade in various financial markets, including stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities, and cryptocurrencies.

The primary objective is to generate high returns through the application of sophisticated trading strategies and advanced technologies.

By leveraging market inefficiencies and deploying complex trading algorithms, prop firms aim to capitalize on opportunities that might not be accessible to individual traders or traditional investment firms.

Flexibility and Autonomy

The flexibility and autonomy provided by prop firms are significant advantages. Since they use their own funds, traders can take on larger positions and employ more aggressive strategies.

This flexibility is supported by access to cutting-edge trading platforms and tools, essential for executing high-frequency and algorithmic trading strategies effectively.

Such tools enable traders to make informed and timely decisions, which are crucial in the fast-paced world of financial markets.

Performance-Driven Environment

The relationship between a prop firm and its traders is performance-driven. Traders are incentivized through profit-sharing arrangements, where the profits from successful trades are shared between the trader and the firm.

This setup fosters a competitive and results-oriented environment, where both the trader and the firm benefit from high performance. Successful traders can achieve substantial financial rewards, aligning their interests with those of the firm.

Emphasis on Training and Development

Prop firms also emphasize training and development to enhance their traders’ skills. Continuous learning is vital in trading, as market conditions and strategies evolve rapidly. Many prop firms offer comprehensive training programs and mentorship opportunities, helping traders stay ahead of market trends and refine their techniques.

Risk Management

However, the prop trading model comes with inherent risks. Using the firm’s capital means that any losses directly impact the firm’s financial health. To mitigate these risks, prop firms implement robust risk management practices.

These include setting strict limits on position sizes, employing stop-loss orders, and continuously monitoring trading performance. Effective risk management ensures that potential losses are kept within acceptable limits, safeguarding the firm’s capital.

Regulatory Influence

Regulatory changes have also shaped the landscape of proprietary trading. For instance, the Volcker Rule, introduced after the 2008 financial crisis, placed restrictions on proprietary trading activities by banks.

This regulation led to the separation of proprietary trading desks from traditional banking operations, resulting in the emergence of independent prop firms.

These firms operate without the regulatory constraints imposed on banks, allowing them to pursue aggressive trading strategies with greater freedom.

Role in Financial Markets

Prop firms play a crucial role in financial markets by providing liquidity and facilitating price discovery. Their trading activities help maintain market efficiency by ensuring that buy and sell orders are matched effectively, especially during periods of high volatility. This function is essential for the stability and smooth operation of financial markets.

To Sum Up A Prop Firm

A proprietary trading firm is a specialized financial institution that uses its own capital to engage in trading activities, aiming to generate substantial profits.

By leveraging advanced technologies, sophisticated strategies, and the expertise of skilled traders, prop firms seek high returns while managing inherent risks.

The performance-driven nature of prop trading creates a dynamic and competitive environment, making it an attractive career option for talented traders.

woman Hand holding Light bulb

The Importance of Enlisting a Transformation Specialist to Enhance Business Change

By Amna Zaidi, FCA, CMgr, MCMI, Leading Transformation Consultant

In today’s corporate and business environment standing still is no longer an option. Whether you’re a seasoned industry leader or a startup, stagnant growth or market disruptions are clear warnings that means for many businesses it’s time to act. However, it’s much harder as a business to respond effectively if you’re not ready or ill-prepared, with little or no warning.

Examples include the arrival of new technologies, competitors, or social or market trends which can all be a huge threat and have serious implications on a business model. With the cost of taking no action being far greater, a consideration should be to enlist a transformation specialist. Equally, if a company’s growth has plateaued or is in decline for any reason, a transformation consultant could help. Here, Transformation Consultant, Amna Zaidi discusses why being prepared isn’t just a strategic choice and how it’s imperative to business survival.

The uncertain journey

Imagine you’re embarking on a business journey; you know where you intend on going and your vision for the company is clear. However, the way you’re getting there is less so. It’s imperative that you set strategic goals for direction, as for many businesses it’s here when challenges arise, whether that’s during strategic planning, innovation initiatives or process improvements. It’s when as a business you’re aware of the goal, but the optimal path remains elusive.

In such a fast-paced world priorities shift like sand dunes which also means that customer demands, market trends, and external factors are constantly reshaping the landscape so business agility is vital. Doing this will enable leaders and managers to recognise when priorities shift, when unforeseen obstacles arise, and how the landscape evolves. Instead of rigidly adhering to a plan, businesses should adjust direction according to the changing business needs and a transformation expert is your ideal partner in driving this, alongside business as usual.


Leaders with longstanding business experience will know that complexity is a constant companion. When embarking on transformative journeys, there can be many business changes spanning technology, processes, culture, and strategy. Touching on every corner of an organisation, ‘transformation’ is likely to impact on areas including upgrades to legacy systems, streamlining workflows, fostering a growth mindset and encompassing people and organisational change. A good transformation consultant will manager such complexities and rather than seeing the negatives, will turn the chaos into a business opportunity, preventing paralysis from these complexities when they arise.

Accelerating change and navigating resistance

Helping to accelerate the transformation process, external support is crucial for those businesses operating in rapidly changing industries, when fear and uncertainty can present as a barrier to moving forward. With proven methodologies, ‘transformation’ involves reducing disruptions and devising strategies to overcome resistance, ensuring for much smoother processes. Aligning the company culture with a new direction is also critical, and consultants will facilitate this. Whether it’s communication gaps, fear of job loss, or attachment to the status quo, they will tailor strategies, communication campaigns and pilot programs, while engaging stakeholders at every stage of change.

Ensuring sustainability

Creating a sustainability strategy that ensures long-term success beyond the initial transformation is key, as is focusing on building internal capabilities to manage changes independently in the future. A transformation expert will be your ‘architect of resilience,’ and empower your team, enabling your business to adapt and thrive.

Improve financial return

Engaging a transformation expert not only enhances the financial returns created from business improvement projects but it also ensures efficient project execution, through monitoring performance rigorously and implementing cost-saving measures. According to Project Management Institute (PMI), organisations with project management practices spend twenty-eight times less money than those without such practices​ (​.

What’s more, according to surveys, around 70% of business improvement projects fail to deliver the expected benefits or outcomes, all largely due to inadequate project management practices, poor planning, and lack of stakeholder engagement.

Enhancing leadership and governance

If your competitors are a step-ahead, an important way to counter this to adopt the perspective that only an external consultant can offer. In doing so, they will identify how to address any underlying issues by taking a holistic view, looking at solutions and insights from within the industry and by acting as a business ‘interior designer’ for projects to ensure the best outcome. 

So when every second counts and traditional strategies are no longer working during critical situations, time is of the essence. Transformation experts will identify problems, discover the root cause and re-establish a new direction for the business.

Finally, always remember as with any personal journey, it is the same for that of a business -and it’s the journey that matters as much as the destination.

Amna Zaidi
Businesswoman Stands To Address Meeting Around Board Table

Leading With Kindness Is Better For Business

Nice guys always finish last. Not true, says Joanna Knight OBE, Group CEO of Moneypenny, the UK’s leading provider of outsourced communications, a company consistently recognized as a Great Place to Work.

This statement applies to business, love, life, sport, so many things. Just because it is a well-known saying; does it actually mean that it is true? For me, it isn’t, especially in the business world.

Some would say that as a leader, you can’t always be nice, sometimes you have tough decisions to make and sometimes you are not going to be liked. They don’t have to like you; they have to respect you. Rubbish. Nice leaders do exist. And nice leaders can finish first.

Sometimes you need to be the good guy and sometimes you need to be the bad guy. However, you can always lead with kindness. In a short-term, Wolf of Wall Street world those who are not concerned with anyone else will win. They will get there quicker through cheating, manipulation and using people because they won’t need them again. And, because people are generally nice themselves, they will probably get away with it. In the short-term.

In the long-term, however, you need reputation, relationships and trust. And if you want people to trust you, you need to treat them well. It’s not a short-term strategy but it is an extremely powerful one and it is a sustainable one.

Leadership takes on many forms and definitions but there is always room for the nice guy. It doesn’t mean that you are a pushover, and it is not a weakness. Here are some traits a kind leader express:


Nice guys think about how their people want to work, what motivates them and what inspires them. They focus on who the individual is and how they can help them to become the best that they can be. They acknowledge that people have a life outside of the office, other responsibilities and embrace them as a whole. They create a safe environment for their people to excel. And when they see that you care for them, they will go the extra mile for you.

Happy people make the world go round. And in focusing on people, you are showing that you understand them, that you empathise with them and that you value them. Compassion is a key trait for any leader. Productivity will fluctuate and things will go wrong. (Sometimes the best lessons are learned from mistakes.) But instead of pointing the finger of blame, find out why and ask how you can help. It is about empowering your people and taking a step back, creating a sense of responsibility and trust. It is about looking after your people physically and mentally, making work a place people actually want to go.

Open and authentic

No one is perfect. Holding your hands up and owning a mistake is just as important as the communicating and congratulating your people for their successes. In doing so you are being authentic and open, you are demonstrating strength, courage, and respect.

Nice guys lead with openness and authenticity. They do not know everything. That is why they employ awesome people. They understand, listen, and hear. They praise a good job and give credit where credit is due. And in doing so they show that they value their people and give them more confidence and connection to the role that they own.

Being open and honest in any organisation is important.  As a leader you should be able to share how you are feeling and how things are going clearly and without fear. It is about being clear about what you know, what you are planning and what it means for people, in a way that your audience will understand.

Walk the talk

Do what you say you are going to do. Don’t say one thing and do another. Or have one rule for one and another one for everyone else. Nice guys lead with purpose, they live and breathe the talk and in doing so, their people respect them, and trust them more. There is always room to be kind. It does not have to replace anything in your leadership toolbox, simply add value to what you already have there.

Nice guys don’t finish last. By leading with kindness, they elevate their team, establishing a robust and sustainable business model ready to tackle the challenges of a constantly changing business environment.

Joanna Knight