Archive - March 2015

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20 Year Vision, 5 Year Plan, 1 Year Action
How to Implement Change in your Business
What is the difference between Strategic Planning and Business Planning?
3 Ways to Increase Your Sales
What would I do to your business if I took over?

20 Year Vision, 5 Year Plan, 1 Year Action



In an earlier article I wrote about the difference between a strategic plan and a business plan, and I discussed the different timeframes for each.

Kath wrote to me and asked how far ahead she should look in her strategic plan.
I have seen strategic plans as short as 5 years, I have also seen others that encompass 20 years’ strategic direction. The most practical is probably a timeframe over 10 years.
Firstly let’s remember what a strategic plan is for. It is a document that provides the overall (hence strategic) direction for an organisation, that is based on working towards that organisation’s vision. As such it is necessarily short on detail, generally because it takes a number of years to achieve a vision, particularly if it is intently aspirational and a bit of a reach. If the real timeframe for the achievement of the vision is 10 to 20 years, you cannot possibly predict any detail of what the world and therefore your response will be over that time. The strategic plan provides strategy, not detailed operational action plans, which come from implementing the strategy over a shorter period.

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How to Implement Change in your Business

teik-oh-contactWhat do they say about only two things being constant – death and taxes? Well I have news for you – in today’s world horrible people find new ways to cause death, and governments change taxes all the time! There’s only one thing that’s constant – change is constant!


The problem is people hate change. Whether you want to introduce a small change such as your price list, or something bigger like a new process for doing something in your business, or something really stressful like a merger or opening a new branch, people will hate it and voice the question “why?”

Whenever you want to introduce change, you need to bring people with you. Implementing change is all about leadership, leadership that puts in front of people a desirable and inspirational future picture of the company. Leadership is required in communicating the desirability of that future and therefore why people need to embrace the change that is necessary. Leaders need to explain the why’s, what’s, who’s and how’s of change.

This video discusses what you need to do:-

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What is the difference between Strategic Planning and Business Planning?



I get a lot of calls and email from people asking me questions about strategic planning. After the first few minutes of conversation or reading the email it becomes clear that many people are talking about a business plan when they refer to a strategic plan. So, I thought I would discuss the difference between the two.

Planning is planning, but a strategic plan has a quite different purpose to a business plan.
Usually a strategic plan is an internal document that provides an overall direction for a business that looks out over a longer timeframe than a business plan. I explain it by calling it a “helicopter view”, that is, you provide a view of the topography your business operates in, you identify your current position and you identify where you want to go, and you provide a broad “strategic” direction of your desired path to get there. There are very few details for a number of reasons.
Firstly because of the longer timeframe many details that you require to make detailed plans are unavailable. Then the purpose of a strategic plan, to set strategy, does not require detail but rather needs to identify key strategic issues that the company will face over 5 to 10 to 20 years, and the strategies it will use to get there. In my helicopter analogy, you know you want to go east – you do not at this stage need to know which of 5 available roads you will take.
A business plan on the other hand should be prepared to cover a shorter timeframe, from 1 to 5 years. Since it is expected to contain some more detail about the actual steps you will need to take to implement your strategy, the inputs that will affect your decisions need to be more predictable, hence the shorter timeframe. Logically then, you may formulate a 10 year strategic plan, then follow up with two sequential 5 year business plans.

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3 Ways to Increase Your Sales

teik-oh-standing-wall-left-mediuTell me if this sounds familiar:-

For some reason, perhaps you want to increase profits or you just want to grow your business, you sat down and decided you needed to increase your sales by setting a new sales target. Having worked out what sales you need to increase your profits or grow your business, you look at your new sales target – at how much you need to increase your current sales by – and you went “Oh crap!”

The increase in sales is scary! Oh my goodness, increasing my sales by 30% sound alright but that’s an extra $600,000! How the heck am I going to do that???

This video tells you exactly how to do it in three different ways that leverage up to a substantial increase in sales.

Remember all sales are made up of three components:-

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What would I do to your business if I took over?



In response to an article I published earlier, I received an interesting query. Jim, who is the owner-manager of a wholefoods distribution business based in Denver, Colorado, and who employs 20 people across two states, asks what changes I might make to his business if I took it over, sight unseen.

Before I thought “sight unseen” was a bit unfair, Jim explained that he felt his business performance was starting to plateau and wondered if there were any common changes he could put into place in order to shake it up.
This question raised issues about business growth as well as about efficiency, so it made me think of the key aspects of a business that any business should think about changing today. So, sight unseen, here is what I might do.
First, I would spend some time every day seeing customers, suppliers, staff and other key stakeholders, either one on one or in groups, or at least talk to them on the telephone. I believe business today needs to maintain good relationships with key stakeholders, especially customers, staff and suppliers. If you do business with friends, it is hard for friends to stop doing business with you. As well, you can get great feedback to your face – that’s always a catalyst for change especially if the feedback is (constructive) criticism! The topics for discussion would be how we are doing business together, could I help them more, and how we might be supportive of each other if times got bad. Added to that would be more personal topics if you feel this is appropriate, such as how their businesses were syncing with their personal goals. This type of personal information can help you both in designing different business models.

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