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HR | FINANCE S U P P L E M E N T S Pages 9 - 12

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Better business planning – Do your homework Mark Zweig offers six pointers on what information to obtain before you sit down to develop a plan.

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See Mark Zweig, page 2 T he year is closing and now is the time to get your business plan updated or pulled together for 2012. In many firms, business planning ends up being a laborious process that takes up many resources and leaves many participants dissatisfied. I don’t think it has to be that way. That said, you do need to do some homework if you want to have a good plan. Here’s some of what you need: 1)Client study. Have someone interview past, present and potential clients to find out what they think is good about your firm, not so good about your firm, and more. Find out which other firms they work with and why. Find out what their plans are for the coming year and what they need help with. This is crucial information you need for proper business planning. 2)Employee study. Poll your employees on what they like and don’t like about working for the company, what tools they need, what demotivates them, what the company does well or poorly, and more. You need the input from your people – especially those doing the work. 3)Firm financial study. You need a complete recast of the current year and past years’ financial performance compared to industry metrics. This information keeps you from making bad assumptions about what is working and what isn’t, and how you stack up compared to other firms in this business. Poll your employees on what they like and don’t like about working for the company, what tools they need, what demotivates them, what the company does well or poorly, and more. You

Fixed or matching contributions Discretionary contributions

F I R M I N D E X Bracken Engineering, Inc................................. 5, 11 Comprehensive Environmental Inc........................ 5 Crabtree Rohrbaugh & Associates........................ 5 Dade Moeller & Associates.................................. 3 Delsaer – Project Managers Inc.......................... 12 Douglas Wood Associates, Inc.............................. 9 exp....................................................................... 12 FPM Group Ltd....................................................... 6 H&A Architects & Engineers............................... 11 Kinzelman Kline Gossman Ltd............................. 12 Lord, Aeck & Sargent. ......................................... 12 MSI Design.......................................................... 12 TWC Architects. .................................................. 12 While the majority of A/E firms contribute to their employees’ 401(k) plans, they are more likely to make fixed or matching than discretionary contributions to 401(k) plans, according to the 2011 Policies, Procedures, & Benefits Survey. Moreover, the report finds that, after reaching a five-year low of 65 percent in 2010, the percentage of firms making matching contributions to 401(k) plans increased slightly to 72 percent. – Margot Suydam, Survey Manager

Mark Zweig

need the input from your people – especially those doing the work.

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Strategies to make projects happen

I N S I D E

xz top player: There are no shortcuts to success. Page 3 xz finance: Tactics to solve cash flow problems. Page 11

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