|Strategic Planning Information|
Be Like Bill - Think!
Twice a year, Bill Gates goes to a remote island hide-a-way for a week at a time. No, he's not going for a fishing vacation; instead of rods, reels, and lures he takes market analyses, position reports, engineering reports, and opportunity papers. In solitude he reads and thinks and reads some more, writing notes in the margins then composing questions, thoughts, and his own positions that will impact the future of Microsoft and the entire technology industry for years to come.
Getting away from the daily pressures for an extended period of careful thought and consideration in his "Think Weeks" are the way Bill Gates works on the vision of the company, determines what new projects to pursue, and plans for the future. It is the same rigorous work and thought process that CEO's of every business should pursue. Do you?
Now, I'm not suggesting that you should take a "Think Week" twice a year. Your business is much less complex than Microsoft. But, if your business is to remain competitive in this business environment and grow, you must take some think time. Maybe you need to take a "Think Hour", a "Think Afternoon", a "Think Day", or even a "Think Weekend" with no telephones, no people, and no distractions. Go off onto that remote island (even if it is just behind your closed door with a "do not disturb" sign and a disconnected phone) to put the interruptions of the day-to-day far away. Have an agenda. Ask yourself some hard questions:
"Is the business on track to fulfilling my vision?"
"Is the growth rate or profit rate on target"
"If not ? what can we do to improve it?"
"Where is my industry headed in the next five years and how do I position my business to take advantage of the changes?"
"What changes in our company culture, policies, strategies, and tactics are necessary and how do we implement them?"
If Bill Gates can get away from his multi-billion dollar business for two "Think Weeks" a year, you should be able to do it for two "Think Afternoons." It will make a difference.
Larry Galler, a Coach and Consultant, works with Owners and Managers of small and mid-size businesses to substantially increase sales volume and profitability through creative marketing strategies and streamlining or eliminating "administrivia."
To learn about ways Larry helps businesses acheive their goals visit http://www.larrygaller.com
SWOT Analysis Is No Magic 8 Ball
Q: A key investor in my business has suggested that I hire a consultant to do a SWOT Analysis to help plan for the future. I try not to argue with my investors, but I'm not so sure I need to have this done. What do you think? -- Laurie B.
Going Self-Employed ? A Few Handy Hints
The day you decide to take the plunge and work for yourself will be one of the most life-changing choices you ever make, whether starting a company large or small or as a freelance; from the very first moment of being self-employed, you and you alone will stand or fall by your decisions and actions. You will be responsible for steering your business through all its ups and downs, good times and bad times with no guarantee that everything will turn out right in the end.
Mastermind Your Way to Success
What do Mark Victor Hansen, Robert Allen, Anthony Robbins, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Ben Franklin have in common?
A Unique Joint Venture Twist: Make Huge Profits Even If You Have No Money, No Products, and No List
Would you like to jumpstart your online or offline business without spending a ton of money?
If you've ever listened to Warren Buffett talk about investing, you've heard him mention the idea of a company's moat. The moat is a simple way of describing a company's competitive advantage. A strong competitive advantage, or a wide moat, gives a company sustainability, which, as investors, we're highly interested in.
What is a Shared Vision?
So what makes a vision successful? Everyday companies try to create a vision that will lead them into the future but seldom does that vision ever impact the organization. The reason for this is that the vision is created by a few and never becomes a 'shared vision' of the entire organization.
5 Strategies That Will Boost Your Business Productivity Today! - Part 2
Growing your own small business can be one of the most exciting journeys you could ever embark upon!
Writing a Business Plan for Success in Business and for Funding
Writing a business plan to help you direct and manage your company is a key part of starting you new company that will help lead you and your company to success. Creating a "living and breathing" business plan makes that success even easier to reach. Many people feel that the sole purpose of a business plan is to get funding, and write a plan that is targeted to that audience. This plan should be considered a piece of you Fund quest documentation, but should not necessarily be edited to meet each funding source.
Business Plan Descriptions of Computer System
Entrepreneurs often give little if any consideration to their computer system needs in their original business plans. It is a necessity to have mention of your computer system as bankers and/or investors will want to know how you will keep track of your future endeavor. You need to carefully spell out your needs and their costs to insure you are asking for the right amount of money for your new project and to insure that you know what you need in advance. All too often entrepreneurs are not completely sure of what is needed and then when they see what is available they want it, this adds costs. Then comes the customization and feature creep as high paid programmers design the modifications.
Call in the SWOT Team: Produce More Opportunities to Expand Your Business
Have you ever done a SWOT analysis? No, it's not some dangerous military maneuver. It's actually a fun and incredibly helpful business development exercise that will give your company focused direction and great marketing ideas -- whether your business is brand new or has been around for years. This SWOT exercise will show you where your business is flourishing and where it needs to grow to gain clients and produce more sales. I recommend getting someone else (such as a friend, family member, or trusted business advisor) to brainstorm with you. You'll be determining your strengths and weaknesses, which are *internal* influences on your company. These factors are under your control. Opportunities and threats are *external* influences, things you cannot control, but you can respond to. After you read a short description of each of the four categories, take time to list as many of yours as possible.
Legal Strategies in Business Plans
Writing a Business Plan these days is tough, venture capitalists are busy and there are so many ideas to choose from. Bankers want a tight, sweet and to the point business plan. Family Members who may lend you money are generally worrisome due to lawsuits and liability. This is why you need to pay particular attention to the Legal Section of your Business Plan.
The Power of Strategic Thinking: Creating Meaningful Success
Too much goal setting and strategic planning can leave you feeling like you're working against the forces of nature; too little and you end up where you never intended to be-with a life or business that is bigger, smaller, or different than what you genuinely desire. Though getting you and your organization where you most want them to be at any given time can be hard work it can also be exhilarating. Is there a better way? Is it possible to minimize the stress and maximize the exhilaration while still accomplishing those things that are most important to you?
Writing Your Business Plan is Actually Storytelling
Storytelling and writing a business plan actually go hand in hand. The same ingredients used in telling a story are also used in writing a business plan. Let's use the Executive Summary as an example.
The Magic Of Exponential Business Growth
Is there a 'magical' way to exponentially grow your business?
Benefiting from Strategic Thinking
I recently took an organizational behavior class where my professor conducted a strategic thinking exercise in which groups of students were to be a part of a scholarship committee. The purpose of our committee was to use strategic thinking on allocating a scholarship budget to reward several incoming freshmen to our university. I, along with some classmates represented freshmen candidates who would receive the scholarship.
Top 10 Tips to Create A Business Plan! (For People Who Hate Business Plans)
One of the key challenges for any business is to remain focused and invest resources for maximum pay-off. It's said that 80% of a business's activity accounts for only 20% of total profits. In plain language, most of the work we do is unfocused, poorly designed and ineffective. In today's competitive world, no business, whether it's an individual professional or a large manufacturing operation, can survive with that much lost time and wasted effort. A business plan can help, but most small business owners (and some managers/supervisors) hate doing them! In the spirit that any map is better than no map, here are my top ten keys to creating your own map to success:
Don?t Just Talk About the Weather, Use It to Advantage
A well known, national chain of restaurants discovered that certain weather patterns substantially impacts their business. They have studied it and found that more people go out to eat dinner when there is a series of beautiful days. So they measure the weather quality at their stores across the country. Managers report the weather quality daily. A weather predicting system is then employed to determine the quality of subsequent days. When the model predicts a higher customer count they reduce or eliminate sale items and include higher priced or higher margin specials on the changing daily menu. While they can't control the weather, they know that their customers respond to it. Knowing that, they work to take advantage of factors that can predict changes in business activity.
Microsoft Great Plains in Agriculture ? implementation highlights
In this small article we'll concentrate on farmers associations and non-profit state-sponsored organizations, dealing with subsidized state and federal programs distribution and management ? loans to farmers and rural communities. As we realized this is relatively narrow market niche and it is almost ignored by software developers. In the typical case you should take generic ERP application, such as Microsoft Great Plains and integrate it with legacy systems or create custom piece in Great Plains to serve your association needs.
The Impact of Price Popularity on Profits
The goal of almost every business owner is to generate a profit either for themselves or their shareholders. This can be challenging at best. So much thought and effort go into running a business, accounts payable, accounts receivable, dealing with vendors, customers, etc. Because of this people sometimes do not focus on one of the most important factors- pricing. Knowing how much you can charge for your product or service is invaluable information. Businesses typically want to increase volume and prices at the same time. In a perfect world that would be easy to accomplish, yet we do not live in a perfect world. So just how do businesses go about deciding how much to charge for a product or service?
Communication Strategy During A Time Of Strategic Planning
"Rubbish!" shouted the large, aggressive man in the red-striped shirt (we had to pay attention to him because he owned the company).
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