Posts tagged "planning"

10 Tips for Your Business or Startup

September 5th, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Strategy 0 thoughts on “10 Tips for Your Business or Startup”

It’s not enough to formally plan your business. Strategically managing it can make the difference between wild success and running your business into the ground. But it all may seem overwhelming at first brush. Here are a few tips for tackling it in chunks.

How to Set Goals and Actually Achieve Them

March 22nd, 2017 Posted by Business is ART 0 thoughts on “How to Set Goals and Actually Achieve Them”

GoalWhen done right, setting goals is a great way to motivate you towards success and track progress. Done poorly, however, and goals become a burden. A list of dreams you’ll never achieve.

That’s why it’s not enough to blindly set goals. You must be strategic about it. You need to be intentional if you want to create goals you can actually achieve.

For starters, you should…

Write Them Down. Make Them Visual.

You probably have some vague idea of your goals in your head. But that’s not enough. You need to write down your goals. Even if you’re a solo operation. Writing them down will not only work as a reminder, but it will help you to analyze them differently.

Something that sounded great in your head might not make sense once you see it written out. Or it may inspire another idea. If it helps, you can try creating a visual to track your goals – perhaps display an image to serve as a reminder of a goal you’ve set.

Whatever it takes to keep your goals in mind.

Break Goals Up. Start Small.

When setting goals, you should write them down in their most basic forms. A sentence, no more. Goals are rarely accomplished in one fell-swoop. Instead, it takes many smaller actions and achievements that lead up to the big end-goals – these are measurable objectives.

Start with the small, simple action steps. If you can’t achieve those first, you’ll never achieve your larger goals.

Focus on What You Can Do and Control

Entrepreneurs sometimes get hung up on what they can’t control. If you sell a product, you can’t force someone to buy it. But you can make sure that product is perfected. You can create excellent marketing material for it. You can reach out to marketplaces and publications to see if they will feature it.

When planning your goals, don’t set action steps that you can’t actually do. Instead, focus on the areas over which you have control. Save those things outside of your control for developing a risk mitigation plan.

Establish Rewards

Everyone loves to be rewarded. It’s a simple fact. In sports, the players always have the trophy or medal to chase. While you’re obviously going after success, “success” is a very vague, shapeless word. You have to define what it means for you. Then to better motivate yourself to achieve success (as you define it), try implementing rewards into your goal setting.

They don’t have to be anything complex. You’ll be surprised by just how motivating a little reward can be, whether it’s for you or your employees.

Be Prepared for Change

Life changes. Market places change. Yet, some have this idea that goals should never change. Maybe the overarching plan stays the same, but the smaller goals need to change along the way sometimes.

Look at a company like Facebook. When they started, they allowed American college students to see each other’s pictures and leave funny comments. Now, they provide news, social-platforms, marketplaces, digital communities, and more to people of all ages around the world.

Their overarching goal of connecting people has remained the same, but you can bet the focus of their smaller goals has changed dramatically.

Don’t stick with the same, stagnant goals over and over again. Be flexible.

But Always Remember the Reason

Even as you change and strive towards success, don’t forget the reason you started on your path in the first place. That’s going to be different for everyone, but it’s equally important for all. One of the most fundamental basic business principles is to simply remember your purpose.

Your goals will help you fulfill that purpose. Set them accordingly.

Stay in touch

Never miss a podcast, blog post or newsletter by signing up here. I don’t spam and try very hard to bring you informative and entertaining content as well as useful tools to increase your odds of success.

Do Have Actionable Plans – Don’t Waste Your Time with Plans

March 16th, 2017 Posted by Business is ART 0 thoughts on “Do Have Actionable Plans – Don’t Waste Your Time with Plans”

Slide1I really wanted to simply call this “Don’t Waste Your Time with Plans” but was afraid you’d get the wrong idea.

I don’t mean “Don’t develop plans.” I mean, if you are going to develop and manage plans, do it in a productive manner.

You can do better…like by a lot

One of the reasons I think so many business owners and leaders don’t have business plans is that someone gave them some bad advice, or set a bad example, somewhere along the way…and now they just can’t see the value – even though the data supports the notion that business plans increase your odds of success – like by a lot.

But one sure way to waste your time with a plan is to fail to do the foundational work that becomes a litmus test for everything you do going forward.

Build a foundation

Before you spend any time developing a plan, first build the foundation for your business. What’s the foundation consist of? Simple. 3 key ingredients, including:

  1. Your Vision Statement. This is how you see things, ideally, out in to the future. See Amazon’s vision statement for a good example.
  2. Your Mission Statement. This states in simple terms what you do. A sentence. Two at most. What you do.
  3. Your Purpose Statement. This is why you do what you do. The emotional hook that gets you and your stakeholders excited.

Many people struggle with defining these three statements. At first, it sounds easy. But then you realize it really requires some deep, critical thinking and often requires a lot of inner reflection. It may also require a lot of discussion with your friends, family and advisors.

But a key to remember…these are yours. No one else’s. Don’t let anyone define them for you.

Frame It

Next, build the frame. The frame is made up of your long term goals and objectives. Goals support the vision, but in and of themselves are immeasurable. They are simply big lofty things you want to achieve.

Muhammad Ali famously declared “I am the greatest!”

That’s a perfect example of a goal. How do you know you are the greatest? Through measurable objectives like: winning the title a number of times, holding the title a number of years, scoring a number of knock-outs by a certain round in each fight (on average).

You have to do the same for your business. Define the measurable objectives that support your big lofty goals.

Now Get Busy

Once you have laid the foundation and the frame, you are ready to get down to some serious business planning and you are far less likely to waste your time.

One last bit of advice – make your plans actionable. That means, define actual initiatives and action steps you will take to tackle your plan. Track and update things as you go. Plan to manage, but manage the plan.

Don’t stop game planning when the game begins

I hate it when people say they only need to develop a plan once, then they get the loan or start the business and throw the plan away. That is a way to ensure you do not maximize the benefits of planning.

Think of it this way. A football coach walks in to a game with a game plan. With the first snap of the ball, the coaching staff makes adjustments to the game plan, and continues to do so throughout the game, until the last second ticks off the clock.

We wouldn’t think of coaching a game any other way. So why do we think it’s a good idea to start a business with a plan, then toss it aside on opening day – or ever?

As with sports, keep adjusting the plan until the day you shut the doors for good.

Stay in touch

Never miss a podcast, blog post or newsletter by signing up here. I don’t spam and try very hard to bring you informative and entertaining content as well as useful tools to increase your odds of success.

One Insane Business Practice

December 6th, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, Entrepreneur 0 thoughts on “One Insane Business Practice”
small business

BIA Podcast – You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

On last week’s episode of the Business is ART podcast on the TrueChat Network, my guest was Pat Newcomb of the Ohio SBDC at The Entrepreneurs Center in Dayton, Ohio (You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know). During the show we discussed a variety of topics that business owners may find helpful, including:

  • The importance of planning
  • Sources of inexpensive or free information and support
  • The difference between the SBDC and SCORE

(Listen to the podcast in its entirety by clicking here)

For the remainder of this post, let’s take a look at one of those topics: planning (no eye rolls and groaning, please).

With Respect to Startups Planning

If you wanted to cross the street and had a 50/50 chance of being struck by on-coming traffic, would you do it? You might if under no uncertain circumstances you’d rather give it a shot than stay where you are. That is exactly what start-up entrepreneurs face – a 50/50 shot at making it to the other side.

Now what if someone said, “Hey, I can improve your chances of getting to the other side by 50%.”

Would your response be:

  1. No thanks. 50/50 is good enough.
  2. Sweet! Tell me!

If you answered “A”, I’ll raise a glass in memory. If you answered “B”, keep reading.

With Respect to Existing Businesses Planning

If someone offered you the following choice, which would you take:

  1. $100,000
  2. $130,000

If you answered “A”, I admire your lack of greed…I guess. If you answered “B”, keep reading.

The Bottom Line

Startup businesses are twice as likely to succeed when they formally plan. Twice as likely! That’s a lot of “likelies.” Existing businesses grow on average 30% faster when they formally plan. That’s a lot of “Benjamins.” But here’s the thing. Less than 1/3 of businesses formally plan.

That’s the business equivalent of 2 out of every 3 people you meet saying “No thanks. A 50/50 shot at making it to the other side is good enough, and once I’m there, $100,000 is fine. I don’t need $130,000.”

Isn’t that a Bit Insane?

So why is this the case? Here are 3 reasons:

  1. Don’t know how plan.
  2. Planning is too complicated.
  3. Hubris.

I can’t do anything about number 3 but can help you with numbers 1 and 2. In my book Business is ART (click here) I lay out a process and templates that are devised in a simplified manner to the point anyone can do it. I then explain it even more simply in my online training entitled “Odds Makers” – 25 videos with a total runtime of 1 hour and 50 minutes where you’ll learn how to create your vision, strategy, and business plan (click here).

And this week I am please to announce that the Alpha Test version of Plan Canvas, the business planning software that will put it all together, will be complete December 15, 2016. If you would like to be part of our beta test group, please contact me.

This is one insane business practice you can afford to lose.

4 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Business

March 5th, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, Business Plan, Entrepreneur, Owner, Strategy 0 thoughts on “4 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Business”
Mistake

Photo courtesy gratisography.com

Achieving business success is not only about what you do, it’s what mistakes you avoid. Mistakes can be made by anyone, no matter how prepared you are to get started in your industry. These mistakes aren’t always so easy to identify, and some of them can actually be misconstrued as doing something positive. But therein lies the problem: sometimes you can do too much.

It’s not always what you put into your business that matters, but what you leave out. A complete list would be far too lengthy for a blog, so here are just 4 mistakes to avoid when starting your business.

Moving Forward Without a Plan

One of the biggest mistakes that business owners can make is pressing forward without any type of plan for the future. It’s good to have a sense of your industry, the market, the consumers and what you want your business goals to be.

Without a proper business plan, you put yourself at risk of being one of the many businesses that fail within the first five years. The Business is ART book explicitly lays out how you can form a plan. You can also find a template for a “One Page Strategic Plan” as well as a business plan template in the “Freebies” section of the website.

While it’s always a good idea to have a business plan, start with the strategic plan. It sets the stage for your business plan.

Over Planning

You have probably heard the term “analysis paralysis.” Simply put, it’s what happens when we over think things. This can easily happen when putting plans together. You start to think of all of the additional things you can put in to your plans, or talk about in great depth in your plans. Pretty soon, months or years go by without taking any real actions toward implementing your plans. You’ve been so busy planning that you forgot the “doing” part.

Another danger is what I call “exception handling.” That’s when instead of defining the forward path, you start worrying about and defining all of the detours and delays that may take you off of the defined path and down unmarked dirt roads.

To be sure, you should do some of this planning. It’s called risk mitigation planning. But do it AFTER you have defined the preferred, ideal path that you plan to take. If you try to define them simultaneously, you are likely to never completely define the path.

Being Inflexible

You should never become so set in your ways that you refute any and all criticism about your business or plan. Part of being a business leader is learning to listen to your stakeholders as well as others who have no “skin-in-the-game.” Most importantly, you should be listening to your customers.

By refusing to revise your business plan and strategy, you will find that your business will become either obsolete or forgotten about pretty quickly. Every market is constantly evolving; the trick is to evolve along with it.

Neglecting Your Marketing Budget

Developing a product or perfecting a service is integral to any business, but if you don’t spend any money on marketing your business, how will people know that it even exists? Don’t fall back on the saying: “if you build it, they will come.” You have to set aside some money for marketing in order to get your business off the ground.

What are some other mistakes to avoid?

Start with a Plan this New Year

January 3rd, 2016 Posted by Behavior, Business is ART, Business Plan, Entrepreneur, Inspiration, Leadership, Strategy, Vision 0 thoughts on “Start with a Plan this New Year”
Vision, strategy, plan, business plan

Don’t Lose Sight

Bloated, tired and resolute. That’s how many of us feel as we ring in the new year – determined that this time the resolutions will stick. I WILL lose the weight. I WILL exercise regularly. I WILL get that job. I WILL start that business.

The year usually starts off with us going hard and fast after our resolutions, but within a few weeks for most, it turns back in to business as usual.

For me personally, it will be awfully tough to top 2015. I married the woman I love, which would have made it a great year if nothing else happened.

But a lot more did happen. I published a book and produced a musical that I’d written. I launched a new web site for the book, defined a new consulting service and started an online, on-demand radio program named after the book.

I also got a new hip, and although major surgery like that is no fun and I am still improving from it, I am looking very forward to walking again without pain.

Yes, 2015 was a good year. What will 2016 be like? Who knows? But a couple of good things in the plans include the marriage of 2 of our kids this coming Fall.

And there is the magic word – “plans.”

Whatever your resolutions or goals and objectives this year, without a plan for getting there, you’ll be making the same resolutions net year. No matter what you want to accomplish, it all begins with a plan.

Here’s to making this New Year the year you begin with a plan.

Plan Canvas is a community and a powerful software for improving your odds of business success and personal fulfillment.

© SeaSeven LLC 2019.
Designed by FRW Studios, LLC.