Few people really understand how important taking action is to success. We all know the old saying, Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda, when we see an opportunity slip away. I know I have said, I THOUGHT OF THAT YEARS AGO! about some new gadget I came across. I didn’t take action. I let small problems be excuses for not moving forward with the things I truly want.… Read the rest
I am often asked the same two questions. Do I need a business plan? What should I include in my business plan? I am going to answer these questions when writing this article. Do I require a business plan? For most businesses the answer to this question would be yes. For the majority of new businesses and ones which require investment by way of a loan or a business partner, a business plan is a must.… Read the rest
Many of us have spent countless hours thinking about and documenting plans for either our business or non-profit organization. There is a sense of satisfaction with the completion of the final draft that is shared by all involved. Far too often that document is filed or left in a desk drawer to be revised in a year’s time. Many have even reported that they gave up on the planning process because it just didn’t work. I often remember the president of a very well-managed company once stating that the team had become expert on writing business plans, but not real good on making them a reality.
If you are a small business owner, your role as a leader may be the least of your priorities. Most of your time is consumed by finding customers, supervising employees, watching your cash flow and delivering you services or products. You don’t want to consider leadership because that is what corporate executives and government leaders need to learn about. Not you. We would argue that you are a leader and understanding your leadership role is an important key to success. What are some of the lesson we can learn about leadership in business?… Read the rest
I recently read the book, Boys in the Boat. It was a true story of a sculling team from the University of Washington, who through hard work and discipline became national champs and went on to win the 1936 Olympics in Germany. It’s a great story, set against the dramatic background of the Berlin Olympics hosted by Adolf Hitler. It describes how a rowing team developed into the fastest in the world. Of course, the members of the team need to be strong and fit, but there comes a point when all come together in harmony to maximize their performance. It is said that the team is only as fast as its slowest rower, but once they reach that synchronized harmony, they outpace the rest of the competitors.… Read the rest
Getting good feedback from customers and employees is vital for any business that expects to grow. Without knowledge, business leaders can not make educated decisions. Uneducated decisions lead to a higher rate of failure, which can have detrimental impacts on a business. Without high quality information, a business owner is flying blind.… Read the rest
How Does it Drive Non-Profit Organizational Success?
Having worked with and been a part of a number of non-profit boards of directors, we have observed a range of involvement, producing a wide range of results. Some boards were highly organized and had very little involvement with the day-to-day activities of the organization. Others were more loosely organized but served functional roles, like fund raising, within the non-profit. To better understand the effect boards have on the success of organizations, we joined with Springboard Internationalto conduct interviews the CEOs and Board Chairs. These leaders represented local, regional and national organizations. The complete results of this work is available in a white paper entitled, A Conversation about Board Engagement on our website: http://plangoals.com/offer/.… Read the rest
You may be a member of a civic club or company which has operated in the same way over a long period of time. You may have observed that your club membership is not growing and maybe even shrinking. In the case of a business, sales are not what they once were. You may feel as though you are trapped and need to make some changes but you sense some resistance. To quote Mac Anderson and Tom Feltenstein, Change is Good… You Go First.
Creating change in any organization is difficult. As that organization grows and becomes more successful, the leadership which made it successful is replaced by management, who intend to maintain that success. That maintenance is the management of the status quo.… Read the rest
It’s no longer enough to be good, you must be exceptional. It is no longer enough to have satisfied customers, you must seek to develop a loyal and delighted customer base. It’s no longer enough to maintain. You must be aggressive, responsive, and quick. Your challenge is getting everyone on your team or in your department committed and focused on achieving organizational success. As an effective team leader, your role is to build the best, strongest, most productive team possible. Your team or department’s results, or lack thereof, will be in direct proportion to the cohesiveness of your team.… Read the rest
“The very essence of leadership is that you have a vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” – Fr. Theodore Heshurgh Former President of The University of Notre Dame
A powerful vision provides inspiration, challenge, and purpose. It gives meaning to your work and purpose to your business. Your business gives you a place where you can satisfy your need to achieve. Everyone’s life needs a purpose, something important to strive for. One way to add both meaning and context to your vision is to establish values. Clearly defined values simplify decision making. They also help ensure consistency as well as ethical and behavioral congruence… Read the rest
I have often been part of a civic group discussing how to assist the growth of small businesses in the community. The word entrepreneur is commonly used by members of the group, but it seems that the term means different things to different people. Some define an entrepreneur as anyone who goes into business for themselves. That could be anyone who decided to start a business cutting lawns or washing cars. These are all noble businesses and do provide income for their owners, but it seems that this type of entrepreneurship is not the type celebrated widely. There needs to be more to it than providing a service or several jobs.… Read the rest
While employment is a surefire way of securing your future, there are always those who believe that entrepreneurship should be a priority not only among those who are already established in life but also for students who have just finished their studies. Other people believe that getting involved with a profitable business is still the way to go if one wants to be financially successful in the future.
People who immediately go into business without any plan at all are the ones who end up with nothing at all, in terms of their capital or investment. This is because they have joined a war without carrying any weapon at all.… Read the rest
Setting goals is one of the most important keys to achieving success. Studies have shown that the most successful people are the ones who have specific, written goals.
Setting a goal is not like a New Year’s resolution. That is just a wish. Just wishing and hoping for something isn’t going to make it happen. Setting a goal is having a target to shoot for and a plan to get there.
When planning your goals, choose which categories you would like for your goals. Establish the time frame. They could be lifetime goals, 10 year, 5 year, 1 year, 6 month, 3 month, 1 month, or weekly goals. Also you can have ongoing goals, such as exercising 3 to 5 times a week.… Read the rest
Several weeks ago, we were invited to conduct a three-hour seminar for the IndependentGarage Owners of North Carolina (IGONC). The subject of the seminar was Business Model Generation, a topic which shows the participants a method to look at their current business operation and discover ways to bring it more in-line with their customer needs.
This Association is made up of the local auto shops that make repairs and service cars and trucks. One’s first impression when considering the group is that they are composed of very good technicians, who pay little attention to business development. In fact, those in the workshop represented a very skilled and savvy group of entrepreneurial business people.
Yes, it’s time to start thinking about plans for the coming year. Many of the most successful businesses in our area use this period of time to develop next year’s plan for growth and success. In fact, several travel to workshops as far away as Chicago for guidance on developing their plan.
A business planning session is an opportunity to spend time on your business not in your business. It is not just something that big companies use, but has been used across the county by small business including; non-profits, landscapers, retailers, restaurants, realtors, print shops, insurance brokers, churches, independent sales representatives, and HVAC Companies.
Questions for Evaluation and Improving Your Business
As we enter the new year of 2015 it is time to reflect on where your business is going and how are you going to achieve those objectives. A number of significant events have taken place in our environment that may be forcing you to look at your business much differently than you did a year ago. Take some time to reflect on the following questions and honestly evaluate where you are, where you are going, and how you plan to get there.… Read the rest
There are many important steps to consider when developing a Business Plan for your company, but the first step is to fully understand the main uses of a business plan. The four main uses of a business-plan are as follows:
• A Business Plan is a written document that you can use in your search for external financing.
• A Business Plan is a tactical planning and management tool for your business.
• A Business Plan is a document showing the capacity of your team to control and manage all the aspects of the company.
• A Business Plan brings you new ideas to refine your business.… Read the rest
A Worthy Goal for Small Businesses – Sustainability
Sustainability, from an organizational perspective, should include an increase in productivity, and/or reduction of consumed resources without compromising product or service quality, competitiveness, or profitability. It is a business strategy that all size companies will need to adapt if we want to improve our environment. “It just makes sense to pay attention to the environmental impact of our economic practices and try to ensure that our communities are healthy, pleasant places to live.” – Susan Ward… Read the rest
A recent survey published by Boston Consulting Group and MIT revealed that there is no single, established definition for sustainability. Some companies engaged in sustainability focus solely on environmental issues while others include economic, stakeholder, and governmental issues. The study also revealed that although companies differ in their definition,sustainability is a force to be reckoned with and is a concept that is here to stay. (The Business of Sustainability, 2009, Boston Consulting Group)… Read the rest
Whether you are a business, a charitable organization, or an association, the relationships you have with customers, donors, or members is critical to continued success. That relationship needs to be one which builds loyalty. At the root of success is the loyalty of those, in many cases employees, within the organization to the mission. A lack of employee loyalty may result in the inability to achieve goals and dysfunctional communication. Morale and culture issues may develop. On an overall basis, there is no alignment of systems, people, and strategy.