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
I knew from setting up my own company about the various structures Canadian small businesses can use. I thought his choices would be limited to sole proprietorship, partnership and incorporation. There’s also a co-operative, but that doesn’t apply to my client. I guessed that the best way to help him out would be to define and give him the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Sole proprietorships are owned by one individual, and are legally considered an extension of yourself. That means that any liability or obligation your business incurs is also a personal liability or obligation. So, if your sole proprietorship fails, your personal assets can be seized to pay for that liability of obligation. I’d say that’s a pretty big disadvantage. On the plus side though, sole proprietorships are the easiest to set up and, and don’t even have to be registered if its name is exactly the same as your own.
A partnership is an agreement between two or more persons to carry on business together. Partnerships are a separate legal entity from you, and must have at least one general partner. All partners can be general, but there must be at least one
Preparation is Most of the Work
The preparation, research, and planning which leads up to the actual writing of the plan constitutes most of the time required to create a business plan. Planning and strategizing cannot simply be done in a day or even a few days. Not only is it important to get feedback from advisors or other trusted parties, which can take time, but the entrepreneur himself must let the plan ruminate a bit in order to uncover aspects he may have missed or thought about incorrectly previously.
Research for the business plan may be the most time intensive element of this preparation. Research should, ideally, be more than secondary sources such as articles, blogs, and industry reports. Primary sources, including interviews, surveys, or focus groups with customers, vendors, and competitors, are very important and more persuasive. Developing data from these types of sources takes a good deal of time. Even information in secondary sources must be pored through carefully to find the nuggets of interest for the business plan. Finally, research into the costs of the business can require calls and even negotiations with vendors to learn about rates and
In the case of government grants, the rules are even stricter. One of the first places that people often turn to is the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, which is where all listings of government grants approved by Congress are announced. The problem with this resource is that there are very few programs available for small businesses.
These grants are usually awarded to deserving individuals or nonprofit organizations having some community-based project in mind. Rarely will you find a government grant awarded to help set up a for profit business. That is why when searching for a small business grant you should not turn only to the government for funding resources.
A good source of grant money is the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). The AFP is considered the chief professional association for fundraisers. The association was formerly known as the National Society of Fund Raising Executives (NSFRE). Their website at AFPnet.org offers sections on ethics, public policy, publications (including AFP’s online bookstore), professional advancement, local chapters, jobs, and youth in philanthropy (along with a member gateway/dashboard).
Besides that, the AFP also provides a list of organizations (including their websites) that are among the top
Successful cash flow planning does not require a degree in accounting. What you need is real-time understanding of where the cash is originating, where it is going, and how much is left over (just like you do at home). Businesses need to operate with a cash flow model that looks ahead one year, month by month, and is updated with actual results every week.
Create a Worksheet
The formula for successful cash flow management is deceptively simple. Money in. Money out. Money left over. If there isn’t any money left over, then you need to do something differently.
Start with Sales. Sales is work performed that is documented by cash register receipts, guest checks or invoices. Project the amount of sales you anticipate month-by-month starting with the current month. Sales should fluctuate when you consider the seasonality of your business. Break the sales into categories and be conservative.
Project your collections month by month. Collections are the money you put into the bank in the form of cash, checks or charge card vouchers. If Sales do not equal Collections, you either have accounts receivable or a cash control problem.
Review your expenses. Define
Many personal and business lenders ask for a personal guarantee when it is the initial application for a loan or mortgage or when they have some doubts about the borrowers’ ability to repay the loan. It is very common for example for a bank to request a personal guarantee from a parent or guardian when a young person borrows for their first car and it also fairly common practice when it comes to the first business loan or credit request from a small business.
These types of loans are seen as a higher risk by the banks and therefore they want some added assurance that they will get their money back if the kid smashes up the car or the small business goes under. Neither would be an extremely unusual event and the banks have learned very well how to protect their interests along with collecting their interest rates.
In the case of business loans and lines of credit, the individual owner or operator is often asked by the bank or lending institution to put up their own personal guarantee to secure the required funds. That might mean assigning a portion of their property or assets
Like all businesses you experience growing pains. Cash Flow is sometimes tight, customers come in ebbs and flows but you continue to make progress.
You win a few major contracts and at the back of your mind you realise you need to make some important decisions for the future.
Your hours at work have been steadily increasing and the reason you went into business, lifestyle, more time with the children, sport, or whatever your passion is, these important parts of your life have been dropping off lately and you find yourself getting resentful. Take control!
So how do you make the jump from entrepreneur to employer?
Employing someone in your business for the first time brings with it obligations and responsibilities. It is exciting, has possibilities and can result in considerable reward! Do your planning and sums first before making the leap.
Some responsibilities you need to consider are;
- Cash Flow. The old adage that ‘cash is king’ is true.
- Work Flow. Do you have enough work in the pipeline to fund your business expansion and sufficient work and marketing processes to ensure the work flow continues.
- Business Plan, Mission
There’s a lot of anxiety out there this summer. I’ve observed a lot of worry among the talented folks I’ve coached, and often they’re frozen by it, unable to contribute the inspirational leadership they’ve always brought to their teams and organizations. In many cases they need to learn (and practice) a truth held dear by generations of great professional salespeople: If worry is the sickness, action is the cure.
Salespeople are sometimes frozen by worry. They worry that they’ll be rejected, that they’ll be left feeling bad. Like most coaches and sales managers, when I’m working with a salesperson in this mode, I always recommend action – bold, positive action, plenty of it, and right away. Make a service call to a happy customer… catch up on some paperwork… follow up with new information for someone who’s still contemplating your offer. Do something, and build some positive momentum. Suddenly the numbers game that is sales work starts to look less intimidating, and it only takes a little success to make you forget all about the worry.
I once worked for a leader who described worry as “negative goal setting.” When you set positive goals, you start
In the early nineteen eighties, one of the most popular things in Soviet Russia was American made blue jeans. Exporters made money hand over fist selling American made products to the East. Now, twenty years later, we have seen the fall of communism in many cold war countries. This has opened the door to the import export business companies to make handsome profits by moving goods from one continent to another.
Blue jeans in the former Soviet Union sell as good now as they did twenty years ago. But now it is not only blue jeans. American cars, computer and electronic devices, even beauty products are becoming a big business all over the eastern continents.
China has shown automobile sales in the last two years that rival the United States. Western culture, a mythical and mystical thing to many eastern countries, is being shipped in everyday. Trade embargoes are loosening and the profit margins are now being recognized all over the world.
Even the European nations are seeing an increase in their exports to the East. There are world economics at play now that were not even dreamed of twenty years ago. Imports and exports
Small Business Resources. If you are running a small business, then you will love the fact that the Internet affords you the unique opportunity to access a variety of small business services. In fact, the Internet can guide you to resources that can help your small business become successful. Moreover, you will find that managing your l business becomes a far easier task.
Small Business resources can provide you with information pertaining to business basics, banking basics, advertising hints and strategies, proper software applications for business management, business management strategies, marketing fundamentals and much more. In fact, when you research resources on the web you will be pleasantly surprised by all of the information available to you.
Articles are an excellent source of information and can help you learn how to manage your business successfully. Frequently articles pertaining to small business focus on the minute details of business management and you can read about anything from proper tax applications to how to motivate your employees. What’s more, such articles are frequently offered to you for free or at minimal charge and the information they contain is invaluable.
Alternatively, you can access forums where you can
Worried about customer satisfaction? Then a staff with improved communication skills will have an immediate effect in this area. Frustrated that you have to spend so much time in repeating requests; re-stating statements and fixing up the results of miscommunication? Just think how much more effective time you would have with improved personal communication skills.
There are three simple rules which, if followed, will improve your ability to communicate.
Learn to Listen. Communication is a two way process, but if you start with focusing on your listening skills you will have a much better understanding of what people actually say to you.
People do not listen very well. They are more concerned with what they are going to say as soon as they can get a word in edgeways, than actually giving attention and interest to what is being received. Change your focus and become a listener; and that means concentrating on what is being said without judgement or bias.
Listen with movement; which means encourage the speaker with gestures. Nod in agreement; use eye contact to maintain interest.
And finally if you do not understand something take the time to clarify it.