Warning: Sell Wine? Ignore Cash? Adios!

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Why is this so hard? We find ourselves entrenched in the quagmire of a lingering and painful recession … more companies than ever need stronger financial management … and yet so many of them remain painfully slow to recognize it. Sure, many have trimmed costs and are paying closer attention to nickels and dimes, but few of them have a comprehensive financial strategy.

Business Finance? Meet the Wine Industry!

So, in some misguided way, I guess it feels good to have some company … because the need for financial discipline was a common refrain among wine industry cognoscenti at this year’s Symposium, Competing in a Rapidly Changing Global Wine Market. The economic shock waves of the last 24 months have rocked the wine industry, dragging many of its members, in some cases kicking and screaming … into an era where professional management and greater financial discipline are demanding front row seats alongside the entrepreneurs and artisans that have reigned over the California wine industry
[pullquote]Stronger financial management is overdue in the California wine industry.[/pullquote]

Building a bridge between the financial community and the wine industry is one of the founding precepts of the Wine Industry Financial Symposium formed in 1992. Last Monday, I was privileged to lead a 90 minute workshop devoted to Practical Strategies to Improve Cash Flow, in which I shared a few “diamonds in the rough” about how to get more juice into your bank account … and how the California wine businesses can integrate Strategic Finance into their everyday business decision making.

Wine, Wisdom and Stronger Finance. Drink up!

During the preceding From Survival to Prosperity – Strategies for Transition session, (more…)

Continue ReadingWarning: Sell Wine? Ignore Cash? Adios!

Do we need a Federal Escrow Fund?

I’m sure this will be a popular post … but set aside your emotions for a moment about the BP disaster… and consider the insistence by the federal government that an independent agency take over the claims resulting from the oil spill,  purportedly overriding BP’s authority, and that of the other 12 entities on board the oil platform, in those matters. The suggested prototype is the independent examiner appointed to handle claims resulting from the events of 9/11 … but recognize that those events were NOT directly caused by a legal entity with rights and responsibilities and shareholders, or that was subject to a myriad of legitimate national and international governing bodies.

Who should decide how much to pay whom for oil spill claims?

What I wonder is whether BP … in most cases, any corporation … shouldn’t have some rights and control over the claims paid from funds ultimately belonging to their shareholders? Take special note that in BPs case, a powerful example of the global economy in which we live, 18 million British citizens own stock in BP, many of them retirees.

Emotions are running high and many people would prefer to see BP hanging from the nearest rafter. At the same time, shouldn’t a company be allowed to settle claims in a fair and reasonable manner? There are plenty of ways in which individuals and organizations can seek redress if they disagree on the results, either through appeal or in claims or civil courts if a reasonable settlement cannot be made.

What paperwork? (more…)

Continue ReadingDo we need a Federal Escrow Fund?

Any control freaks out there?

Those of you who are willing to admit …  or deserving … of wearing this crown have probably stumbled down the staircase more than once trying to exert your control over every fiber of the carpet beneath your feet.

Researchers have found that when test subjects are even subliminally exposed to the name of a person they believe is “controlling”, they unconsciously do the OPPOSITE of hard work. It seems that people value their freedom “so much so that even an unconscious memory of a controlling person stimulates a behavioral reaction.”

Combine this with The Productivity Paradox and the work done at Sony Pictures to focus more on employee energy management rather than time management, (more…)

Continue ReadingAny control freaks out there?