Many companies, who cannot employee full time salesman to cover a market segment or demographic region, utilize sales agents. Webster defines a sales agent as: one who is authorized or appointed by a manufacturer to sell or distribute his products within a given territory but who is self-employed, may or may not take title to the goods, and does not act as an agent for a principal. These agents can be a very valuable part of the sales effort but are often drastically underutilized. Let’s consider some of the misconceptions about agents and how to optimize their value in your sales effort.… 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
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
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
Start Your Year Off Right / Goals for a Successful 2016
This program, originally announced in the Quill last month is also available to organizations and groups. It is ideally suited for groups of six to eight people from one company or organization. It would provide the organizational leadership, such as department heads, an organized forum during which they could review their 2015 accomplishment and set their goals for 2016. Our program for the Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce will include representative from a number of diversified business and is described in the last month’s article.… 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.
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 project by checking and estimating the induced hypothesis.
“Success is … the continual achievement of your own predetermined goals, stabilized by balance, and purified by belief.” – Resource Associates Corporation
In real life many people get stuck in a professional or personal position where goals are defined for them. The result is frustration where no one feels fulfilled and the goals often are never reached.… 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
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
It is quite common that an association will have an annual retreat with their Board of Director. One of the primary workshop subjects for that retreat is the review and revision of the association’s Strategic Plan. Another might be a review of board governance. Let us consider a third, Business Model Generation.… 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.
Peter Drucker was quoted as saying, “The function of business is to attract and maintain customers.”One should add in order to make a profit or to be financially viable. Let’s suggest that within these combined statements there are three concepts to be explored:
There is a distinct difference between customer loyalty and customer satisfaction.
Customer loyalty depends on providing the customer with perceived value and a positive emotional experience at every point of connection.
Within any profitable marketing plan there are more than the four P’s (price, promotion, product/services, and place) to be considered. Customers need to get what they want and come back for more for a business to achieve long term success.
One of the greatest lessons in time management is to realize the difference between spending time and investing time. The dictionary defines spend as “to use up, exhaust, consume.” If you spend, you have no return. On the other hand, when we invest we “spend with expectation of some satisfaction, of obtaining an income or profit.”