Strategic Planning has always been a key leadership tool in the development of successful for-profit organizations. Its format and time scope may vary, but it serves as an important function in business success. It has helped many businesses focus their priorities on future growth and profitability.… Read the rest
When a business owner or manager is asked to describe their greatest challenge, the response is, too often, an obvious symptom. My competitors’ undercut my prices. I need to find a better location, but this is all I can afford. I can’t find good employees who will provide good customer service. These are the stated obvious issues, but they will not help us get past the obvious and lead to developing a plan for business success.… Read the rest
We were recently asked by an Agent in Charge of a real estate office to make a presentation to a number of new realtors. He explained to me that although they had extensive sales and legal training, they had little understanding of how to build a successful business. Real Estate Agents are, in fact, independent contractors and although the agency provides much support, success is the result of their own plans and efforts. The agent explained to me that many had never been in business for themselves before and find this a new experience. In fact, 80 percent don’t make it to the second year.… Read the rest
One of the key ingredients in building a successful business is financial control. As we work with clients, we often find that they are managing their business through their checkbook. If there’s cash in their checking account at the end of the week, they can make their payroll and pay their bills. That’s the extent of their control. Real financial control comes when the manager knows that the operation is profitable and can build it successfully. The first step in increasing this level of financial control is the development of a budget associated with one business plan and reviewed on a regular basis. Let’s consider three areas of budgeting; building the budget, reviewing the budget, and cash versus accrual accounting.… Read the rest
Over the last few years, we have had the opportunity to work with a wide range of family businesses. As students of formal business education, we have had to learn to adapt to the family business environment because it differs from that which is associated with Corporate America. From that experience,there are a number of ideas which we would like to share:… Read the rest
In his book, Traction-Getting a Grip on Your Business, Gino Wickman tells a story which needs to be consider by both businesses and nonprofits. Picture a small plane flying across the Atlantic Ocean. Halfway across the captain announces.” I’ve got bad news and I’ve got good news. The bad news is that the gauges aren’t working. We are hopelessly lost. I have no idea how fast we are flying or in what direction and I don’t know how much fuel we have left. The good news is that we’re making great time. Management meetings often center on solving the crisis of the day or celebrating the lasts success, but metrics, the airplane’s gauges, are not often reviewed.… Read the rest
Over the last 13 years we have had the opportunity to work with a number of small businesses, all owned by an individual, with some degree of family involvement. It has been truly a unique learning experience because the majority of my business background was either with larger corporations or in the academic community. In that environment, great importance was placed on growing revenue and profit. While most of these smaller businesses are motivated to grow and be more profitable, several are more interested in sustainability. Maintaining a family-centered life style can often be a chief motivator.
Our focus has not been on brand new businesses that might be classified as start-up. Our clients tend to be already well established businesses who may be in need of making changes required achieve higher levels of success.… Read the rest
We recently conducted a workshop at the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives in Savannah GA. There were approximately 120 chamber leaders, from across the nation, and the question was asked, how many have a formal strategic planning process? There was an overwhelmingly positive show of hands. The response from these participants reflects our experience with all nonprofits, that most have a strategic planning process. It may vary in timing or method, but it is essential to the success of the group. Without it, there can be a loss of faith from those who invest their time, trust and resources to an organization.… Read the rest
Warren Buffet is quoted as saying, “Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing.” Mr. Buffet is considered one of the smartest investors in the modern era. One might say that he is a very knowledgeable investor. What makes him a knowledgeable investor? I would suggest that he works hard to become knowledgeable in the companies in which he invests. He learns to know their management, their product/services, their people, their plans, their competitors, their markets, their technologies and their people. He never assumes anything or works on a tip. He is in a constant search for knowledge.… Read the rest
We are often in a social situation where we meet people, who will eventually ask us, what we do. When we reply that part of our practice is business coaching they often reply, “OH that’s nice.” They say that in a way which indicates that they are unsure of what that means and are fearful of finding out more about the subject. They assume that they are well equipped to handle their business issues or that this is a “touchy feely” subject that makes them uncomfortable.… Read the rest
Every entrepreneur I have ever talked to has had to come face to face with his/her fears. I have had to as well. I want to share with you some of the techniques I have used to face them.
The first step is not to be in denial. You have fears even if you don’t readily acknowledge them. They sometimes take the form of chatter in the back of your head that says you can’t do it.… Read the rest
As any business or organization begins to grow, there comes a point where the leadership begins to realize that they cannot do or control everything themselves. They must begin to delegate tasks and responsibilities to others; but of equal importance, is to empower those individual. Empowerment in the simplest terms means to treat people not as employees, but as partners.… Read the rest
One of the skills necessary for success in any business or nonprofit organization is the ability to chart a course. To properly chart a course, it is important to understand first where you are, than where you want to go, and finally the plan on how to get there. If you have ever been in a new town and wanted to go out to dinner, you might have first looked for a restaurant in a magazine. You then call to find out where they were located. The first question you were asked by the person in the restaurant is where are you now? In fact, you have just taken the first step in charting a course to dinner.… Read the rest
Are you looking to be more successful? Here are ten ways to grow your small business.
Know yourself. Do a SLOT analysis. What are your strengths, your limitations, opportunities, and threats? Examine and understand each. In every strength, there is a limitation and in every limitation there is a strength (e.g. you are small so lack financial clout; the advantage is by necessity you will be more creative). The better you know yourself the more successful you will be. By knowing yourself you not only know your areas of opportunity, you know what areas to avoid.
Peter Drucker tells us that, “Napoleon said there were three things needed to fight a war. The first is money. The second is money. And the third is money. That may be true for war, but it’s not true for non-profit organizations. There you need four things. You need a plan. You need marketing. You need people. Any then you need money.” Let’s start by considering marketing. If your non-profit is funded by an endowment or a wealth donor, this may not be of much interest. For most of us it is an issue which must be addressed in order to sustain our activities.
So many think that they don’t need marketing. In fact, they consider the term unsavory.… Read the rest
In his book, The E-Myth RevisitedMichael Gerber describes the roles played by different personalities within a business. The first is the technician, who actually does the work or delivers the service in the business. The second is the manager, who organizes and controls the business on a daily basis. The third is the entrepreneur who best understand the business environment and leads it though changes necessary for continued success. One might conclude that knowledge of actual working in the business or managing the operation of the business does not always lead to success. What leads to success is knowledge of how a business needs to operate within its competitive market place.… Read the rest
Charles Kettering, famous inventor and founder of Delco, once said, “We should be all concerned about the future because we will spend the rest of our lives there.” The ability to have a vision of what you personally perceive as success is a key element in your business venture and your personal life. Where are you going and what will in look like when you get there? A meaningful vision not only provides direction, but it helps people find meaning in their work and a reason to excel.… Read the rest