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Posted by on May 29, 2020 in Management, Marketing, Small Business |

Strategic Plans Drive Small Business Success

Strategic Plans Drive Small Business Success

Over 85% of small businesses do not have a strategic business plan (strategic plan). By operating without a strategic/business plan, many small businesses are missing out on a powerful tool to help them define and reach their goals. Many small business owners believe that only large companies need such plans, but the reality is that small businesses can reap tremendous rewards by creating a strategic plan.

A strategic plan is like a roadmap for your company. It needs to identify where you are and what you stand for, where you are going, how to measure progress and estimate when you will arrive, and what resources are available for the journey. The plan helps the company maintain focus, recognize progress, and take corrective action when needed.

While each company will have a unique document, the elements of the plan are remarkably similar across the board. Common elements and their purpose are listed below:

  • Vision, Mission, and Commitments: what do you stand for, what are your high-level goals, and to what are you committed?
  • Executive Summary: a quick synopsis of the document Company Background, Products, and Services: what does the company do to produce value for its clients?
  • Marketing Plan: How will the company attract new clients, keep current clients, how much is budgeted for marketing, and how is success measured?
  • Operational Plan: How will the company execute operations?
  • Organizational Structure: How is the company structured and what are the roles and responsibilities to identify accountability?
  • Financial Report: what is the long-term financial projection?
  • Strategies: what is the company going to do to accomplish its goals? Challenges and Solutions: what obstacles are anticipated and what solutions are identified in advance? Budgets: how much will be allocated to each functional area?

Taking the time to put a guiding document together requires thinking through what the business objectives are, how they will be reached, the role individuals will play, etc. It is also a “living” document. It is of minimal value if it is put on a shelf and only referenced quarterly. It becomes a part of the operation of the business and is updated and referenced frequently. It can and should be used at meetings to measure progress and to help the company’s employees stay focused on the strategic goals and progress towards those goals.

What are some of the benefits of having a strategic plan? The effort required to create the plan necessitates the contemplation of long-term goals and a manner to achieve those goals. The strategic plan helps orient the organization towards a common target and is a useful tool to create an environment of accountability. By constantly measuring progress against the identified goals, the workforce maintains focus and understand where their efforts fit into the grand scheme. A well thought out plan helps accurate budgeting and enables quick adjustments to be made if needed.

Elements can also be a useful tool to engage employees, focus productivity, and reduce turnover. We live in a different economic and workplace environment compared to a few decades ago. Gone are the job-for-life and benefits into retirement contracts that used to be common. Because of the turbulence now inherent in our business economy, people feel totally free to change jobs frequently and without concern for the loss of accrued benefits. A strategic plan enables workers to see the long-term plan for the small business and helps create buy-in into the future they helped define. Reduced turnover and employee buy-in are valuable to any small business.

In summary, while the perception may be that strategic plans are not needed for small businesses, the reality is that a small business with a strategic plan is more aligned, has better employee engagement, and can quickly and accurately measure its progress towards well-defined goals.

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Posted by on Apr 10, 2020 in Management, Marketing |

5 Tips to Create the Business Olympian Within

5 Tips to Create the Business Olympian Within

It’s been another incredible and exciting Winter Olympics as our athletes brought home 37 medals (9 Gold/15 Silver/13 Bronze). It was also bittersweet for in 2002 I took my Dad to the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and we had some wonderful father-son bonding. Dad passed away from Alzheimer’s this past November so I pictured the two of us at many events I watched on TV over the past two weeks.

As a former amateur athlete and successful business executive, I can really appreciate the training, preparation, and commitment it takes to be successful as an Olympian athlete. How you could not walk away with a feeling of what it takes to be an Olympic athlete…” the best of the best” is beyond me. Imagine working on one goal, one dream, every day for four years, and having it come down to an event in most cases that lasts only precious seconds. All that blood, sweat, and tears as you strive for either the glory is yours or you go home without the prize. Incredible isn’t it?

While watching the Olympics, it’s apparent each participant possesses the necessary qualities of intense discipline, focus, world-class training, the will to succeed, and a passion for life. These are the same qualities that successful business professionals need to possess to succeed especially in a down economy. Yes, the Olympians have coaches helping them to focus, but as the Olympic athlete, to be successful today, you need to incorporate the same use of discipline, focus, training, will, and passion. The ability to practice your “art”, grow and execute your action plans will deliver the desired results and peak performance you strive for.

Let’s look at these qualities and see how to incorporate these into your life:

  1. Discipline is the key “attribute” for you to possess to be successful. You need discipline in your work habits, in performing your “genius” work and in what you want and where you want to be. Discipline brings about focus.
  2. Focus: What are your goals? What are your company goals? Are they compatible with each other? Are they attainable? Define your goals and action steps necessary for you to achieve your success. Remember… a goal is a dream with a deadline in dream away.
  3. World-Class Training: The Olympian athletes train, train, and then train some more. They go over the same techniques; again and are called developing mental muscle. You’ve heard “we need to get back to the basics” before, there’s a reason why. Train the mind and it will perform any task day in and day out without having to be reminded. Are those on your team trained to perform like this? What are you doing to train and grow your “mental muscle”? As I always say “when you’re green you grow and when you’re ripe you’re rotten”. Learn something new every day!
  4. The Will to Succeed: also known as perseverance. Never give up, fight on! If you get knocked back up! Keep focused on your goals.
  5. Find Your Passion: We spend more time at work than we do at home so make sure you love what you do or at least make your work environment a fun place to be. It’s not hard to ‘s all about attitude and altitude!

Tip: Being an Olympic athlete is not much different than being an “Olympic” business athlete. Take the test! Write down these five principles and score yourself to see if you’re incorporating these key qualities into your life to succeed. If not, create an action plan to help you stay focused as you implement these qualities to be successful and watch your career for the Gold! Good luck.

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