|Strategic Planning Information|
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:
1. Have a dream. This sounds simple and obvious, but answering the questions: "Why am I doing this? What's the big picture?" can lead to profound changes in many organizations. Too often in the daily grind, we forget to think about where we want to go, or why we started the business or took the job in the first place.
2. Make the dream bigger. What if the whole world bought your products or loved your service? What would it mean if your profits, or your personal income were 10 times greater? How about 100, or 1000 times greater? What shifts in focus would that require? Would your daily routine change? Would you spend your time and energy on different problems, attend to different priorities? Why wait?
3. Make the dream clearer. Have a precise description of exactly what you want and hang it in your office, in the employee lunch room, in the restrooms, and on the dash of your car. Use key words, phrases, a photograph of your future office building or whatever symbol will crystallize the dream and make it real for you and for every member of your team
4. List 100 obstacles that will get in your way. Enlist staff, friends, competitors to help. Ask your customers to join with you in looking for the roadblocks, blindspots and bottlenecks that prevent you from growing. Make it a matter of personal pride to never have a problem pop up that you haven't already considered.
5. List 1000 solutions, 10 for each potential problem. The key here is creativity, flexibility, and responding instantly when the unexpected happens. Expect the unexpected, and have a file of alternative solutions at your finger tips. It's called contingency planning. Do it!
6. Get tons of advice. Have your accountant, your attorney, your insurance agent, your spouse and your cousin take a look at this. If you can't explain it to them, will you be able to explain it to your staff? If these people don't understand and support your plan, will you be able to maintain your own enthusiasm over the long haul?
7. Get GOOD advice. After explaining your dream and your plan to lots of people, sit down with a handful of those you trust the most, and pay them to give you their best feedback. Lots of people can give you technical advice, expert advice, and even friendly advice. Wisdom is more important, and harder to find.
8. Create the path of least resistance. Using the dream as your goal, and knowing the obstacles that could get in your way, begin mapping your way through the wilderness to your destination. What's the easiest, most direct, route? What's the safest route? Which combination of activities and priorities makes the most sense?
9. Take action. Once you know where you want to go and have a path to get there, start walking! Too many managers put their business plan into a nice file folder that is never looked at because they are too busy working "hard." Instead, use your efforts and your plan together so that your effort is focused, productive and smart!
10. Re-assess often. Just as someone hiking across barren territory needs to periodically stop and check their map and compass to avoid walking in circles, business owners and managers need to check their direction and their priorities. Conditions change. Opportunities pop up or disappear, new problems arrive or the nature of the dream changes. All of these things will happen. Plan for it! Regularly step outside your business to re-assess and redefine your most important tasks. You can't afford to spend 80% of your effort in busywork and unprofitable distractions. Re-assess and stay on course.
© Copyright 2003 by Philip E. Humbert. All Rights Reserved. This article may be copied and used in your own newsletter or on your website as long as you include the following information: "Written by Dr. Philip E. Humbert, writer, speaker and success coach. Dr. Humbert has over 300 free articles, tools and resources for your success, including a great newsletter! It's all on his website at: http://www.philiphumbert.com
Your Business: Will It Have A Happy Ending?
"Begin with the end in mind," says Stephen Covey in his book Seven Habits of Successful Living. Those who have created a successful business know it does not happen without planning, hard work, and a little luck. Yet most have no plans for leaving their business, ever.
TQM Total Quality Management, the book
Every decade we seem to come up with a buzz-word to describe the things we should be doing right all the time. Forever we have heard our parents or grandparents use little phrases to get our attention. "If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right? Or "Never enough time to do it right, but always making time to do it over." Quick quotes like these and there must be a hundreds of different ones which all lead to the same thing. In the 1980's and early 1990's it was TQM or Total Quality Management. Deming and Peters harped on this like there was no tomorrow. Then later on we had the Six Sigma by GE and the Jack Welsh crowd of executives and remember the ISO 9000 series of quality and perfection. Now then let's get back to; TQM Total Quality Management, the book. If you have not read it, then you should because you can buy it at any garage sale for $1.00 or at a used book store for $4-5 dollars. Amazon has tons of used ones for sale as well. Make sure you buy the right book, as there must be 100 or more books on that subject:
Mining Market Data
With a heightened awareness of opportunity, ideas can often be generated by market research. The National Women's Business Center (NWBC) defines market research as "a systematic, objective collection and analysis of data about your target market, competition, and/or environment with the goal being increased understanding. Through the market research process, you can take data?a variety of related or non-related facts?and create useful information to guide your business decisions.
Top Ten Traits of Strategic Thinkers
Want to become more strategic? Add these traits to your collection of skills and watch your success soar!
8 Ways to Earn More Without Working Harder
Conventional wisdom has it that there are only three ways to grow your business: find new customers, increase the amount of each sale to existing customers or get customers to buy more frequently. But I've seen business owners go blank when presented with those three options. So here is a more useful list of ways to increase your total revenues without in most cases having to put in more hours at the office.
Family and Friends Referrals Make the Best Franchisees
As a franchisor it is imperative that you seek, find and recruit the best franchisees to maintain a strong franchise system. Your current Franchisees are your very best sales people, sometimes without even knowing it. As a franchisee starts making more money, it will show. Soon they will be moving out of their apartment or home into a nicer area. They will be driving a nicer car. They will be frequenting nicer eating establishments. A female franchisee's husband will tell the guys at work in a bragging way how great his wife is doing and that he plans on quitting his job to help her. A male franchisee's wife will brag to her friends that she is planning a vacation of that they bought a new indoor four-person Jacuzzi. Her friends will entice their husbands and boyfriends to look into the franchise, franchise companies should encourage this scenario and spend more time and money on referrals than straight sales. Sure mass marketing works, but throwing spaghetti at the refrigerator until something sticks is not very becoming of a star rated franchise system. Many times people at the franchisee's old job will start talking, "Hey, did you hear about Skip?, He's really doing well with that new franchise thing he doing." "Yah! Have you seen his new Corvette."
Under Construction During the Storm ? A Hurricane Guide for Businesses that are Under Construction
As a business owner, you've likely created a hurricane plan for your business and your family, but did you overlook your construction project? Don't worry, you're not alone. Most people don't even think about preparing their construction site because it's not written into their "construction timeline." But when a hurricane threatens, general contractors usually get panicked phone calls asking about potential damage, delays and cost.
Becoming Wise - Wild & Free - Writing A Successful Business Plan - Part 2 - Do It In Steps
So you've decided to write your own business plan because you know the value that the experience will give you. With the books and software that are out there today you can probably sit down and complete the plan in a day or so, right? Plug in the numbers, add the notes, write the whole narrative (story), print it and get it out to the banks or investors.
Could You Be Setting Your Business Plan Up For Failure?
David E. Gumpert, author of Burn Your Business Plan, often tells the story about how he and his partner failed to raise money after sending their business plan around to venture capitalists and meeting with several others to make presentations. Disappointed by the fruits of their labor, they considered giving up on their venture in 1995. Fortunately, on the advice of their board of advisors, they chose to divert their time from massaging the business plan to making sales. The financing, they were told, would come later.
Will and Vision
Remember Chux? The disposable diaper that took the market by storm in 1932?
Business Plans Keep You On The Success Course
Where would your business be without a proper plan? A business plan sets the direction for the future of the business. It gives the business owner or manager a sense of guidance, listing the goals and objectives of the business from the start.
25 Ways To Find Companies To Buy
When you start your program to purchase your "ideal" company, you quickly realize that your ultimate success will depend on two primary skill sets: 1) Your ability to FIND viable companies that are for sale, and 2) Your ability to effectively qualify the potential acquisition investment once found.
GOT MEME? How to Attract Your Clients and Customers Attention
No "meme" isn't a typo and Got Milk, the more commonly know phrase, is actually a marketing meme. If you've opened up a magazine or watched TV in the last ten years you've seen the fun and memorable Got Milk ad campaign using celebrities with a milk mustache. Chances are it got your attention and you remember the phrase, "Got Milk".
A significant advantage of some business ideas is that the venture can break even at what seems to be an easily achievable volume. A technique for quantifying that volume, called break-even analysis, examines the interaction among fixed costs, variable costs, prices, and unit volume to determine that combination of elements in which revenues and total costs are equal.
For Business Owners Only - You Can?t Be Fired But Neither Can You Quit
The decision to sell, or not to sell your business is a difficult one. There are many questions that need to be answered before an informed decision can be made. Is selling your best alternative? Will one of the kids want to take over the business? Timing is everything. Is now the right time? You do not have to sell or decide right now. You are quite busy so maybe you will look into it after. . .
Microsoft Great Plains in Advertising & Publishing ? implementation highlights
Microsoft Great Plains, former Great Plains Dynamics is excellent fit for service oriented business and in this small article we'll give you magazine publisher and advertiser implementation and reporting scenarios. The system we describe is not real, we are putting together industry specifics, based on our consulting practice. In the case if you do not see some unique features of your publishing business ? this just means that publishing industry is diversified and say, regional newspaper publishing is quite different from magazine with narrow specialization.
The Magic Of Exponential Business Growth
Is there a 'magical' way to exponentially grow your business?
How to Grow Your Business by Clearing the Way to Growth
Is your business growing as fast and effectively as it could, or is it stuck at the same level it has been at for years? Research (Larry Greiner, 1972) has discovered 5 specific stages of business growth. Most business never grow beyond the second level. At this level, the business is characterised by a small group of owners (if not a sole owner), supported by a small team of people at an operational level. This describes the 90 plus percent of businesses, which have 10 or fewer staff.
Business Plan 101 How to Write a Table of Contents
No matter what business you plan to start in your next entrepreneurial endeavor you need to be thinking about writing a business plan. Even if you are not seeking funding for your new business or already have secured funds from family members, angel investor types, personal savings or partners. A business plan helps you start out on the right foot and makes you think about your future strategies. One important thing you need in a business plan is a table of contents that you can use as a guide, as you go thru the hectic and tedious steps to start your new business. There are a myriad of rules, regulations and inane paper work and you must stay focused at all times.
Business Problem Solving
Is there really anything as a problem? Does chaos or challenge mean you have a problem? I am under the belief that such things as other call problems are indeed the life-blood of opportunity and the louder it knocks the greater the gain. Embrace chaos. In my many years in business I loved a good challenge; let me recommend a good audio book incase you find yourself embattled with what you believe to be insurmountable problems:
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