Having witnessed this lack of positive plans or programs created, far too often, during my over three decades of identifying, qualifying, developing, training and consulting, to over a thousand individuals in positions of leadership, as well as facilitated Board and organizational strategic planning sessions, I feel a simplified process, with checks and balances, and quality reviews, is a needed understanding. Here is a some step process to improve the results of strategic plans.
- Historic/heritage review and consideration: This must not be done as a one-plan-fits-all, but rather must be based on the specific heritage, mission, and vision of the specific group. Begin by understanding the history, and the perceptions of existing members. Understand why the group may, or may not be, considered as relevant, as it once was. Review opportunities taken, as well as missed, and clearly see the ramifications of each action. While great organizations evolve, they know who and why they are, and tweak, as necessary, but focus on their vital vision and mission.
- Objective analysis-strengths and weaknesses, and ramifications: Every group has both strengths,
First, you need to make up a plan and then pick out a couple of things to accomplish each month. Second, you need to define your short term goals. Yes long term goals are important too, however, remember you want to do this in a years’ time so for now let’s break your goals down into things to do each week and by the end of each month. Also, when you accomplish your goals for the month, be sure to reward yourself with something you like to do. Shopping, movies, hiking, you name it, be sure to reward yourself. Remember, however, as we discussed when setting up our mock business, you must be sure that your goals are realistic. If you take on too many things to do each month, you will overwhelm yourself, which will eventually lead tofailure. A great analogy here is losing weight. So many people set themselves up for failure bysetting unrealistic weight goals, e.g. I want to lose 80 lbs in 4 months. Not going to happen. So be sure you don’t do the same with
Fear is that thing that stops us dead in our tracks from doing what needs to be done to grow and build a profitable business. In order to be profitable you have to put your big panties and drawls on and play the game the same way the big boys do, IF you want to have a sustainable business. Just scale the game to your size. Here are some other reasons why your business is not profitable.
This by all means is my favorite way to generate profit. How does this generate profit you ask? Well simply put, it gives you a point of reference as something to work towards to achieve. It’s setting the flag in the ground for the finish line. See once you set this flag on the ground as to where you are trying to go, it forces you to look at how you are going to get there. Charting this path puts you smack in front of the costs that it will take to get you there which then helps you determine the
Fortunately, there are a number of services and methods available that can make an employee search much simpler.
Of course, one of the most popular methods for recruiting employees is to use the traditional help wanted poster and classified listing. It should be noted; however that this method really only works well if you have a traditional storefront with a brick and mortar building. In addition, you should be aware that with this type of employee search you are generally only going to receive the most general and traditional recruits. While this is a reliable, and free, method for finding employees; you are much more likely to attract applicants who are unqualified and who may have questionable work ethics.
Public services can make the process of finding good employees a little easier without spending any money doing it. This is because each state has an employment service office that can help you with your employee search. These offices are often referred to as the ‘unemployment office’; a nickname most states would like to do away with. In reality, these offices are affiliated with the United States Employment Service and Department of Labor. They can help you
The strategy that is not a strategy
The strategies defined are often reminiscent of amorphous vision à la “to be the most respected and successful company“; goal setting exercises along the lines of “to increase market share by growing faster than the market through introducing new products“; and so called strategic objectives more akin to long to-dos list. Complex power point slides, full of buzz-words describing blue-sky objectives, usually skip over their impracticability or the fact that no one has a clue as to how to get there.
Instead, a strategy should figure out which purposes are worth pursuing and capable of being accomplished – in other words, it should be about choice and focus. To achieve higher performance, leaders must spot the relevant trends, identify the strategic issues that will have the greatest impact on future business performance and define the resulting critical challenges. They then develop a coherent approach to overcome those challenges.
A good strategy thus becomes a bridge between challenge and action. It is short on vision, long on tough-minded analysis, policies and actions identifying the 5 or 6 insightful and actionable things that the business needs to do, to deliver substantially higher performance.
- Problem #1 – The Gee Whiz Company sees profits slipping. The call goes out for innovative, creative solutions. Rather than pausing to realign and reaffirm the company’s vision, goals or mission, managers propose more steps, whiplash changes, or faster action.
Solution – Adding something in the name of improvement isn’t always the answer. Remember the KISS axiom, about keeping it simple? Sometimes removing a step, simplifying a process or dialing back the pressure results in greater workflow and greater buy in. Your workforce recognizes and values common sense and revels when they realize that the executive suite values it too.
- Problem #2 – The Do It Today organization was in a scramble to replace a valuable high level manager that was retiring. The group was stuck in the “How will we ever replace her?” mindset. They were quickly complicating the process by assuming they couldn’t find anyone to match up to the previous employee.
Solution – Instead of overloading the wish list for the new candidate, utilize tools and assessments to identify the skills and attributes of the outgoing manager, then look for those same attributes in potential hires. This helps remove the emotional aspect
Important Points when Buying a Business
Every day I receive emails from purchasers and business owners needing assistance in selling or buying. I use my many years of experience in business sales and running a chain of shops to assist them in the right decision for them. It’s a bit like a psychologist really. Its just not a sale for me, it’s a dedication.
The first thing to remember is you must get it right the first time because the business you buy you should be in for at least 4 to 7 years. I advise my vendors and purchasers to give yourself a 4 year plan. You may love the business so much you want to stay longer but the majority of people are burnt out after 4 years and are looking for a change, especially if it’s a café or restaurant, and if you feel it’s wearing you down the business will suffer if you don’t sell then and of course you won’t achieve a good price if the business is run down.
Finding a Business!
I find in my business newspaper advertising brings me very little sales. My statistics tell me
Ideally, the best policy in improving cash flow is the lethal combination of ratcheting up sales performance and chasing any account receivables that are overdue. But practical situations do not always permit this. Here are some practical tips that will help you arrest that dipping cash flow.
- If you are banking upon profit projection, a growth in profit need not mean cash on hand. Practically, what you can do to realize larger receivables is to break them up into small and convenient invoices which can be collected rather easily. Even your customers will not feel the pinch like they might as when they have to pay in one installment. This regularizes and helps steady your inward cash flow.
- You can subdivide some of your monthly payments into weekly payments, if applicable. You can explain your reasoning to your vendors, who might accept the arrangement depending on your relationship with them and your integrity. Additionally, your regular payments will keep their cash flow up, too.
- Market erosion is the last thing you want right now. This is the lifeline of your business. Identify ways that you could serve your market better. It could be on the
You may be in Internet business, traditional business, or you may be a local merchant with 150 employees; whichever, however or whatever–you’ve got to know how to keep your business alive during economic recessions. Anytime the cash flow in a business, large or small, starts to tighten up, the money management of that business has to be run as a “tight ship.”
Some of the things you can and should do include protecting yourself from expenditures made on sudden impulse. We’ve all bought merchandise or services we really didn’t need simply because we were in the mood, or perhaps in response to the flamboyancy of the advertising or the persuasiveness of the salesperson. Then we sort of “wake up” a couple of days later and find that we’ve committed hundreds of dollars of business funds for an item or service that’s not essential to the success of our own business, when really pressing items had been waiting for those dollars.
If you are incorporated, you can eliminate these “impulse purchases” by including in your by-laws a clause that states: “All purchasing decisions over (a certain amount) are contingent upon approval by the board of directors.” This
Choose a Topic
Before you can put together a list of good businesses to start you have to know what area it should be in. Many people believe that there are no longer businesses available to start because everyone has thought of everything. I must say that all you have to do is stay up late and watch infomercials. Many of the products may not interest you but it shows that there are plenty of ideas to capitalize on if you think thoroughly.
So how do you choose a topic? I always tell individuals to grab a notebook and spend a week brainstorming what interests them and what they like to do. You could start a business solely because it would be a money-maker but take it from me. When they say “money isn’t everything” they are not lying. I find that if you choose markets that you actually like it makes it a lot more pleasure than work. Again this is only a suggestion and you can choose how you feel but I would recommend choosing something that you interact with anyway like “golfing” for example.
Divide Your List in a Broad Column and