|Strategic Planning Information
How Copying the HBO Schedule Can Boost Your Business
I'm not talking about posting the HBO schedule on your website or sending a Xeroxed copy around to all your customers. When HBO came onto the scene they were innovative, fresh, and willing to do things other people were not.
Before HBO ("Home Box Office") came out in 1985, about the only to way to see a movie was to go to the theater, pray that one of the major networks would be showing one you wanted to see, or watch one you already had. With cable television technology blooming, and American access to the cable networks growing, this new, edgy cable movie company became an instant success.
What about the HBO schedule made them different? They realized that people were willing to pay for television if it carried what they were interested in, and HBO gave them exactly what they wanted. The fact that no one at that time was offering commercial-free movies on cable did not deter them from doing it and doing it well. Because of their proven track record as successful innovators, we can look to HBO for successful business principles that can help our own home business grow and succeed. If you are considering starting a home business but have not done so yet, carefully consider the principles in this article before you make your next move.
To succeed in business you have to do at least one of three things:
1) Offer consumers something that no one else has to offer
A Unique Product
We have already discussed the fact that HBO wrote the book on paid subscription movie channels. What does your home business offer? Is it different from what other people are selling? If not, keep reading the article. If you do have something unique to offer, how well are you currently accentuating the differences your product has from other similar products? If your baseball hat design is revolutionary, tell me why ? or I might just assume it's a baseball hat like all the rest.
Many businesses are formed after an expert on a given product or from a service industry takes what she knows and builds on that. They improve the quality of what is already being offered and build a successful business around that. The HBO schedule has constantly added new movies, original programming, and sports events in order to maintain their stance as the highest quality subscription cable channel available. If your business is built around an improvement on another product, don't get comfortable! Invest some time and money into constantly improving your product or process to make sure your competitors don't catch up with you.
Finally, selling a product for less than the price at which your competitor is offering it does not have to mean you have to cut into your profit margin. The key to succeeding in price wars is to minimize your costs, thereby maximizing your profits. Online banks are able to offer substantially higher interest rates on saving accounts and CDs because they do not have to employ as large a staff as does a traditional bank. They cut overhead costs and pass the savings on to us, the consumers. Look closely at the way you buy and move the products you sell. Is there somewhere you could save? Is there something you could downsize or shift in order to streamline your business and lower your overhead costs? Sometimes a website with a thoroughly written FAQ page can save you from having to answer hours of customers' questions over the phone.
Are all your eggs in one basket?
A successful business usually tries to build their business model around a blend of two or all of these options. You may have a superior product and do OK selling it at a much higher price than your competitors, but you will truly excel if you are able to cut costs and expand your profit margin. Do the research and figure out what the best price/quality levels are for your business. The HBO schedule has evolved over the years as the tastes and desires of their consumers have changed. Constantly evaluate who your target audience is and adjust your business plan to compensate for any changes.
Water Conservation and Water Issues for Mobile Car Washers and Auto Detailers
Obviously, there will never be an actual water shortage since two-thirds of our earth's surface is water. The problem is distribution. One problem is getting water to the desert before it evaporates. And why do people plant lawns in Las Vegas? Another problem is that people and plants and animals need fresh water not salt water. Fresh water comes from rain and salt water comes from our oceans. So how do we separate out the salt from the ocean water? The method called desalinization works best. But this isn't free. It costs an average of $3.33 per unit of water. Almost double what you pay from your tap at home. As Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Riverside, etc. expand, we will get into a supply and demand situation. When the price per unit of water reaches $3.00 plus, we will then be able to afford to build adequate infrastructure to handle our water needs through desalinization. The cost of the new infrastructure can be amortized and paid for by us on a unit of water level.
Strategic Acquisition Strategies for Small Businesses
Growth through acquisition should not be considered an option reserved solely for large or Public Companies. Small and mid-size businesses that opt to grow by acquiring other companies, rather than growing one new customer at a time, can gain benefits in addition to increased sales and profits.
Urban Flight in Ohio
Many of Ohio's downtown areas are in need of upgrading as folks pack up and move to the suburbs. Many downtown revitalization projects are currently going on there. Competition for sales tax, real estate, middle-income housing and quality of life is a power struggle, urban flight has been growing in Cincinnati and we do not see that stopping, but the expansion in the suburbs is very strong indeed.
Business Plan: The Simplest Business Plan Ever
If you're a solo professional like I am, you know how tough it is to find any time at all to do any business planning. Doing a full business plan is a must if you're planning to seek financing or investors, but most solo professionals don't need anything that complicated.
Defining Go for It Business Goals
Many business start-up kits or consultants will tell you one of the first steps to starting a business is to define your business goals. Your goals may differ from the goals of another individual, for example; some people want freedom to do what they want to do, whenever they want, and without having to report to someone else. For others, the goal might be financial security. For another, flexibility or creativity might be their goal.
Own Your Niche by Building a Niche Community
In 1997, David Steele was making the transition from a professional therapist to relationship coach. Part of his strategy was to become a center of influence and THE Relationship Coach for his community.
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.
Business Planning and the ?Bozo? Factor
"Bozo" ? A clown with a forlorn look, always finding negative implications in every activity or event. A person who tries to find a way to prevent you from moving ahead, giving excuses such as "we've always done it this way, or this is not our culture" when presented a new opportunity or challenge. Normally associated with people who are uncomfortable with learning new techniques, processes, or relationships.
Sales Planning and Business Plans
Writing a business plan can be tricky when all the books on the subject fail to keep updating their editions. One significant factor is the sales planning in business plans, yet few books show examples of how to explain online sales which will contribute to your over all stores sales in your retail outlet. Additionally many service companies take orders online and dispatch their units from there. Even Dominoes Pizza often takes credit cards over the phone, many companies now allow online ordering.
6 Steps To Laying Out Your Competitive Strategy
Why do so many companies languish and watch as their business turns into a zero profit zone, while others seem to thrive?
The Accountability/Alignment Process: Three Steps to an Accountable Organization
The Accountability/Alignment Process: Three Steps to an Accountable Organization
Seasonality: Whats the Big Deal?
Do you work in or own a business that's affected by seasonal cycles? Do you live in a community whose population changes significantly during the year (e.g., tourist influx, students returning to college)? Do you ever feel stressed out or frustrated by the seemingly constant changes or the extreme highs and lows of your life or your business?
How to Start A Business Plan
A business plan precisely defines your business, identifies your goals, and serves as your firm's resume. The basic components include a current and pro forma balance sheet, an income statement, and a cash flow analysis. It helps you allocate resources properly, handle unforeseen complications, and make good business decisions. Because it provides specific and organized information about your company and how you will repay borrowed money, a good business plan is a crucial part of any loan application. Additionally, it informs sales personnel, suppliers, and others about your operations and goals.
Business Plan: Planning the Operations
Writing a business plan is no easy task, sure you can whip something together in a day or so, but without proper planning you are setting yourself up to fail. Many first time entrepreneurs have a bit of trouble writing a business plan, which will be acceptable to bankers and investors. One easy place to fall down on is the understanding of the daily operations of your chosen business model.
Secrets Of Effective Brainstorming
Have you been in a "brainstorming" session where each person just defended their own ideas? Worse is when people don't suggest ideas at all, for fear they'll be attacked. That's no way to brainstorm. Brainstorming is using the power of many minds, and ideas should flow freely and trigger other ideas. How do you make that happen?
The Chasm of Change---- Restructuring ----- The Goliath
Richard L. Daft one of the country's recognized academic leadership experts raises the question, "What kind of people can lead an organization through major change?" A Turn-A-Round restructuring qualifies as major change and requires transformational leadership. Daft points out that this type of leader is characterized by the ability to bring about change through innovation and creativity. This type of leader motivates people to not only follow their lead but to believe in the vision of corporate transformation, the need for revitalization, to sign on for the new vision and to help institutionalize a new organizational process." Daft points to four principles in discussions about leading an organization through major change. These four principles are the foundation of the restructuring Turn-A-Round process.
Bounced Checks in Your Business Location Outlets
The new check cashing instant clearing will take some time to get use to. If checks clear immediately and deposits take a few days then franchise outlets may find more bounced checks in their establishment.
Corporate Venturing For Emerging Growth Companies
The boom of the dot-com era in 1999 brought the emergence of corporate venture capital as a major source of funding to the private equity markets. Corporate venture investments peaked in the third quarter of 2000 with 608 deals totaling a combined $4.9 billion. A few of the top corporate venture capital investors of 2000 included Nokia Corporate ($500 million), Oracle Corporation ($400 million), Intel Corporation ($300 million), Sun Microsystems, Inc. ($300 million) and Daimler Chrysler ($100 million).
The Magic Of Exponential Business Growth
Is there a 'magical' way to exponentially grow your business?
Do You Have A Customer Identity Crisis?
The trick is to determine what uniquely identifies your best customers. Fortunately, deriving this information is not difficult, and in many cases can be obtained from innocuous questions. Consider a manufacturer of baby goods and the fact that families with new babies often purchase multi-passenger vehicles. This manufacturer could build an effective mailing list by surveying recent car purchasers and noting which respondents had traded in sports cars for SUVs. Your information gathering technique of course will vary, but the identifying information always comprises the same three pieces -- demographic information, geographic location, and purchasing history. Demographic Information
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