Small-Medium Business – 7 Tips For More Effective, Purposeful and Shorter Business Meetings

The Constant Complaints
People complain constantly that lots of the meetings they attend are inadequate in some way. No conclusions are reached. No decisions are made. Disagreements aren’t resolved. Other people waffle on. Note that it’s always “others” who waffle. The meetings drag on. They don’t get a good hearing and so on and so on.

These ideas may help alleviate the worst meeting excesses

1. Be Punctual.
Start on time regardless of how many of the expected people are present. If that means latecomers miss out on something they wanted to say, so be it. Over time they’ll learn to be punctual.

2. Finish On Time.
Set a finish time and stick to it. If you have unfinished business when the allotted time expires, schedule another meeting. It’s quite unreasonable to expect busy people to sit in seemingly endless meetings when they’ve already interrupted normal work to attend.

3. Restrict Participation.
Invite contributors only. No one should be asked to attend a meeting “for experience” or “as a presence”. If people have nothing to contribute or aren’t likely to be affected by what’s discussed at the meeting, there’s usually no need for them to be at the meeting.

4. Clear Objectives.
Specify the purpose of the meeting and stick to it. Stop participants from introducing other issues unless they are likely to have a major impact on the meeting purpose. Have a topic and a goal and stick with them.

5. Full Participation.
Encourage full participation at all times. Try to ensure that everyone feels that they’ve had the opportunity to “have their say”. Some participants may want to out talk or talk down others. Stop this sort of thing the moment it starts.

6. Encourage Small Meetings.
Where only a few participants are qualified to speak on a particular aspect or issue, encourage them to meet separately and report back to the whole group. This also ensures that your meeting isn’t bogged down in discussing technical matters where few participants have the expertise to participate fully.

7. Record Decisions.
Make notes of any conclusions or decisions reached. Record to whom responsibilities are allotted with deadlines. Circulate this information to attendees after the meeting. If another meeting is necessary, schedule it before people leave. If you need another meeting, it’s best to arrange it while everyone’s together.

Conclusion.
Meetings can be boring, tedious and even unpleasant. They can also be effective, purposeful and enjoyable. Every business meeting should enhance and improve business progress and success. If that’s not the case in your business, try these tips.

Online Business Meetings – Using Technology to Cut Business Travel Costs

If you have a small business, you obviously envision it becoming a big and well established enterprise. As the business grows beyond city, country and continental borders, communication modes need to be upgraded. This is why as you nurture your business you have to think of the best way to cut traveling costs while maintaining a high level of productivity during business meetings.

In conventional business setting, designated employees would ideally travel across the world to make business deals or to attend conferences that would market the business. These business trips entail booking a hotel for accommodation, booking a meeting room, having transport arrangements to various meeting points, setting aside traveling allowances as well as organizing for meals for the traveling persons. We all agree that employees are bound to make fraudulent claims after a trip.

Some people misuse these business trips and turn them into their personal expeditions at the expense of their companies. Other employees turn the trips into a shopping spree. Monitoring the steps of your employees while they are away requires a lot of time and money thus many organizations would not think of spending funds to check on their employees whom they have sent away on business.

The best way to curb problems arising from traveling far to have meetings is to invest in a good online meeting room, with a powerful computer which can transmit multimedia. Have a web-cam, headsets if needed and install necessary software to support communication as the meeting goes on. It is also important to have a standby generator that ensures the meeting is not affected by power blackouts. With technology, you can link to your customers, suppliers and business partners at the comfort of your office.

In the long run, if you compare the money used to set up an online business meeting and that used to send staff to a physical meeting point, you will definitely settle for online meetings.

Commercial Broker Fee Agreement – Exclusive Or Non Exclusive?

Commercial mortgage brokers are constantly asking themselves if they should ask their clients for an exclusive relationship or go the “easier route” and secure a non exclusive fee agreement. What’s the difference? What’s the pros and con’s of both? That’s the point of this brief article.

An exclusive relationship within the commercial mortgage field can be thought of as a listing agreement within the real estate brokerage side of the business. Or more specifically the exclusive agreement should be thought of as a tenant representation agreement for those that are familiar with that agreement.

Essentially the exclusive agreement states that the borrower agrees to work with the mortgage broker on an exclusive basis with shopping for lenders, negotiating term sheets and coordinating the processing and closing of the loan (among other legal issues I’m not qualified to discuss). The commercial mortgage broker is handling the whole transaction on behalf of the borrower and typically is looking out for the borrower interests. A non exclusive agreement still covers a lot of the same issues but gives the borrower the right to work with other lenders/ brokers. So there’s no guarantee that you’ll win the deal and or get paid.

The main advantage for the commercial mortgage broker to get an exclusive is that the borrower has committed to working with the broker, and at the end of the deal the broker will get paid. For those reading this article that have worked on deals for months with borrowers and to find out they lost it because of 10 basis points or slightly lower fees know how bad this can sting.

Most exclusive fee agreements cover a lot more than the exclusivity issue; retainers, expenses covered, minimum fees are some of the more important issues. For example having a borrower send you a thousand dollar retainer and a signed exclusive agreement says a lot; that he’s on board and going to work with you.

There are disadvantages though of going for an exclusive agreement. The obvious is that many borrowers simply will not want to sign off on this. It can be a hard sell. They’ll want you to “get them quotes” or “see what you can offer” first. Basically the borrower will want to keep total control and will only want to work with you if you can produce the best deal. So you stand to lose working on the deal if they don’t agree. You may know that perfect bank for the deal and or just want to work on it with the hopes of building a solid relationship along the way.

Also, YOU may not want to work on the deal on an exclusive basis. Believe me when I tell you that if your borrower agrees to a 5 page agreement and sends you a $1000 retainer, that they will want to get their money’s worth and are not going away. If they deal is weak and you find you can’t get it done, you’ll have to invest a lot more time into the deal than wanted and or break off the relationship and risk tarnishing your reputation.

So, unfortunately there’s no simple answer if you should go for an exclusive commercial mortgage broker fee agreement or not. But you should get you borrower to sign something that says you’re working with him and that you’ll get paid at close.

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