Over the last couple of years, I have been doing part-time consultancy with Mansmith & Fielders and have handled a great variety of clients. Clients in the broadcast and restaurant businesses, pharmaceutical, direct selling, gaming, and banking industries.  My focus has been business development and strategic planning.  Often I’m asked by clients, prior to the awarding of a project, ‘How transferrable are your skill and experience to our business?’  Often, I feel I’m typecast as a ‘direct selling expert’. There is a belief that direct selling is so unique that experience gained in this industry is not applicable to others.  
What do I believe?  I believe that the fundamentals of good business management are universal.  This is what has allowed me to develop and facilitate strategic planning over a great variety of industries.
What do I mean by the fundamentals of good business practices? 
Strategy Development.  Every business requires a road map.  As I am fond of saying, ‘if you don’t know where you’re going, you will never get there.’  A business that is successful without a road map is either very small, has deep pockets (and therefore can afford to make expensive mistakes), or is led by a charismatic, entrepreneurial leader who knows instinctively what direction to take the organization.  However, once the business ceases to be small, runs out of cash, or loses the charismatic leader, the business begins to spin its wheels.  Growth is no longer sustainable.
Executional Excellence.  Another phrase I am fond of is ‘Strategy is execution, execution, execution.’  It is not enough to have well-thought strategies. It is far more important to have a well-thought-out plan for the execution of these strategies. The larger and more complex a business is, the more detailed the plans for the execution of strategies must be. As they say ‘the devil is in the detail’.
People Management.  In my experience, there are two sides to people management. There is the technical, structural sidewhere an organization must have processes in place to ensure that the organization is adequately staffed (numbers) and competent (quality). People management must be proactive. By this I mean, you don’t recruit when there is a vacancy.  You protect critical and high potential employees. You recruit, train, and develop for future needs. The other side is the softer, yet equally important area of culture and corporate values.  Employees must understand what is and what is not acceptable in the company they work for. 
Leadership. Corporate culture and values are largely driven by the leader of an organization.There are formal leaders (by virtue of position) and informal leaders (those who influence).  Leadership is important particularly during times of turbulence and uncertainty. In times of crisis, it is not enough to manage a business, you have to lead.  There is an immense difference between managing and leading. We are all aware of how the leadership of Steve Jobs shaped Apple through good times and bad.  It will be interesting to see how the organization will develop post Steve Jobs.
Financial Management.  Even if you are a non-profit organization, a good, sound financial management is critical.  Goals must be achieved.  Controls must be in place.  Cash must flow.
Of course, there are ‘hot buttons’ that are unique to each industry or business.  They drive the business you are in.  Employees who possess the skill to execute them should be protected and nurtured. If a business is not built on the fundamentals of good business management, even those ‘hot buttons’ will not be enough to sustain growth.

Malu Dy Buncio is the Chief Business Development Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc., (www.mansmith.net). For inquiries on our programs, please call (63-2) 584-5858/412-0034, text 0918-81-168-88 or email info@mansmith.net.