Tag Archives: small business education

Small Business Leadership Academy

Small Business Leadership Academy: Negotiating Skills Build Relationships (Part II)

This week’s Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) negotiating module continued where last week’s left off, with participants using the tenets of the Harvard Negotiation Project (HNP).

HNP combines both theory and practice to develop ideas that are useful and successful in everyday application. These standards of practice involve focusing on interests rather than positions. Using independent standards of fairness, all parties involved can come to mutually beneficial agreements (win-win) rather than cannibalizing the relationship for the sake of more favorable terms for one party (win-lose).

W. P. Carey professor Dr. Alan Goldman guided the Small Business Leadership Academy participants through the use of HNP tenets to establish a framework for a current negotiation within their organizations. One of the small business leaders determined that, despite reservations about a deal she had been offered, she was truly getting a fair deal and should consider accepting it because she had undervalued one particular aspect of the offered deal. For another, the tactic to move forward was to try to rebuild a broken relationship. The main difference between the two negotiations was that for the former person, once she accepts her deal, the relationship would be over; there was no need to protect an on-going relationship. The latter, on the other hand, has a long-term contract with the other entity and needed to protect his interests.

Another exercise the class participated in was a brainstorming session. No suggestions were too far outside the box. More than one participant saw an immediate application for that exercise.

“The brainstorming that we did in today’s session was great,” said Alex Zuran, president and CEO of Phoenix National Laboratories. “The whole process of learning how to brainstorm I can see taking straight into my business.”

A term that came up often in the evening’s discussion was “BATNA” or “best alternative to a negotiated agreement.” When determining whether the deal that is on the table is worth accepting, knowing your fall-back plan enables you to make a more educated decision. Is your BATNA better than the deal that is being negotiated? Then it’s time to walk away.

As one of the HNP videos elaborated: “Preparation, know your walk-away alternative.” Another important step is estimating what the other parties BATNA is. Is it a strong option for them or a weak one? Thinking about these aspects ahead of time prepares you for many of the twists and turns that the negotiation can take.

The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit the Small Business Leadership Academy’s website.

 

Small Business Leadership Academy

Small Business Leadership Academy: Understanding Corp Procurement Practices (Part I)

Small Business Leadership Academy: Understanding Corporate Procurement Practices (Part I)

If you are the owner of a small or medium-size business interacting with a big corporation, you need to know how that company thinks about procurement. That’s what students in the 2011 Small Business Leadership Academy are learning from Joseph Carter, the Avnet Professor of Supply Chain Management at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

Typically, suppliers concentrate on the internal operations of their companies, Carter says, but if that’s their predominant focus, they will miss out on the advantages of optimizing their relationships with the companies that are their customers. Jeffrey Campbell of Western Truck Equipment Company, Inc. had the right idea when he asked, “What can I learn to better service the companies that we work with?”

“Today, the creation of value often requires careful coordination of activities across the boundaries between functions, business units and firms,” Carter explains. “In short, organizations that learn how to leverage procurement collaboration can obtain speed, innovation, dependability, flexibility, cost and/or quality benefits that go far beyond those potentially realized from solely optimizing a single firm’s internal operations.”

Carter is one of the top scholars worldwide in the field of supply management. He has published 60 articles about sourcing and supply management issues, and he has shared his expertise with firms all over the world.

Students are learning to understand strategic sourcing and their role as suppliers. To begin, they need to understand the importance of developing a collaborative relationship with a customer and how to manage it efficiently. Carter is taking the students “inside” their client companies by explaining the various roles and functions of a procurement department.

“Business owners need to understand the primary importance of sourcing when developing their strategy,” Carter says. “We’ll be talking about what they need to know in order to drive success for the buyer’s company as well as their own.”

Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.

[stextbox id="grey"]The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank. [/stextbox]

Small Business Leadership Academy, W.P. Carey School of Business, ASU

Small Business Leadership Academy: Competing Through Services (Part II)

Small Business Leadership Academy: Competing Through Services (Part II)

Last week, Small Business Leadership Academy students learned how to blueprint processes within their organization that affect customer satisfaction. Their application assignment was to pick an aspect of their organization to blueprint. By detailing the process, including both what happens behind the scenes and in plain sight of the customers, students were able to identify areas that are ripe for innovation and improvement.

Several students identified the phenomenon about how readily positive information gets passed up through the organization, while it is harder to get honest information about what is going wrong. Blueprinting your service can find pain points where the customer is not receiving optimal service or when the backroom systems aren’t running optimally.

“By going through this process, we were able to identify double handling inefficiencies,” says Rebecca Koury from Prudential Cleanroom Services. “Now I have a blueprint that I can use to write thorough work instructions. I think that will definitely benefit the customer, us, and our employees. Employees will be able to provide better service to the customer because they’ll now know where our inefficiencies are, and we can do a better job of keeping the customer happy.”

One of the factors mentioned in multiple students’ presentations was how a customer’s expectations of the service can have an influence on how they view the service. If front-line employees don’t communicate with their managers about the quality of their interactions with customers, or if there are too many layers between front-line employees and those managers that can affect change, then there will continue to be a gap between the customer’s expectations of the service and their actual experience with it.

“Another factor that can affect a customer’s perception of a service is how the front-line employee is evaluated,” says Professor Doug Olsen. If a customer wants fast service, but the employee is rated on whether they get the proper approvals, there will be a disconnect. If a customer wants resolution for their problem, but the employee is rated on how quickly they get the customer off the phone, there will be a disconnect. The desires of the customer need to be aligned with the evaluation system for the front-line employee to maximize service satisfaction.

By making those sometimes incremental improvements to their service offerings, small business owners can ensure that a customer will not walk away due to disappointment with a customer service interaction with their organization.

The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit the Small Business Leadership Academy’s website.

 

SBLA: Building High Performance Teams

Small Business Leadership Academy: Competing Through Services (Part I)

The second module in the 2011 Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) includes an examination of factors necessary for innovation and competitive success. One of the key mechanisms for companies to distinguish themselves in the marketplace, retain loyal customers and grow profits is through the design and execution of service.

Many small business leaders fall into the trap of saying “yes” to any and all potential customers.

“It is easy for small business leaders to get myopic,” says Douglas Olsen, associate professor at the W. P. Carey School of Business. Many owners try to be all things to all potential customers, and in the process, do not satisfy any of them. “Business owners should step back and ask what do people want, how am I segmenting the market, and how can I target segments differently?”

Instead of focusing on features, the focus should be put on benefits. This will help a potential customer determine whether your product/service can satisfy a need for them. Segmenting the marketplace and serving a specific target segment can lead to a clearer expression of your organization’s value proposition. Then, recognize that maximizing the service experience that these customers receive may provide a very strong competitive advantage. Learn how to diagram the process so that improvements may be identified.

Over the course of the next week, SBLA students will pick an aspect of their organization to blueprint. By detailing the process, both behind the scenes and in plain sight of the customers, students will be able to identify areas that are ripe for innovation and improvement.

“A lot of our business is customer service, asking questions about the product, placing orders,” commented Brandon Taylor, president of CPR Savers. “I haven’t really thought about the process from start to finish, of how many times a customer has interacted with our staff. This will be a good assignment for us to apply to our business and learn where we can improve on some aspects.”

The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.

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Missed any parts of this series?

Read Small Business Leadership Academy: Strategy for Competitive Advantage (Part I)

Read Small Business Leadership Academy: Strategy for Competitive Advantage (Part II)

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