Archive - 2015

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8 Pieces of “Best Advice” on Business Plans
How to Write a Goal
What To Do In a Financial Crisis
Beat Competition with a Niche!
The A C D B’s of Business

8 Pieces of “Best Advice” on Business Plans

I have often worked with clients and said something to which they have responded “that’s the best piece of advice about my business plan I have ever heard!”

Now, being of the modest kind (really!) I’ve never thought of what I give as “best advice” but rather things I have learned through experience over many years of making mistakes and learning from mistakes.

However, there are some things that seem to get a reaction every time so I thought I’d put down the 8 pieces of “advice” about business plans that seem to be well-received. Read More

How to Write a Goal

“How to write a goal.” Really? I should write a blog article on how to write a goal?

Unfortunately yes I think I do. I have touched on this in earlier articles and videos about how a list of actions is not a goal, and what a “proper” planning process should look like. However I see it so often that I feel compelled to call it out all the time.

Here are a three statements that I have seen listed as goals, which represent the three mistakes people make when they create goals:-

  • To provide excellent customer service
  • To provide our services in accordance with the legislation
  • To be the biggest

The first is a given. Of course you should provide excellent service, but why is it a goal? Are you saying that you may have a goal “to provide average customer service”? To be in business you must provide excellent service. It is not a goal.

The second is a given as well, but it is also a limitation. Firstly you cannot have a goal that you will provide services outside the law unless you come from certain parts of society I do not write for! Secondly why couch a goal in terms of limitations?

The third is a wish, not a goal. You can aim to be the biggest, but your goal should be about how you get there. Read More

What To Do In a Financial Crisis

Touch wood that you never experience a financial crisis in your business.

However, it happens, and it happens to the best of us. No matter how much you think you are on top of your game, sometimes you take your eye off the ball, and sometimes one thing you never watched out for jumps up and – Wham! A financial crisis hits your business – a major account receivable goes belly-up and with it, takes your profits and future cash flow. Or perhaps an employee walks out and takes your business, or maybe even commits fraud over some time and leaves you with a big cash hole. Perhaps you may even have been (or should have been!) aware of a trend that kept getting worse, business fading away?

If this ever happens to you the first thing is to work fast. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and work out a plan quickly.

Put yourself in the big picture.

When crisis happens, it is tempting to burrow down to find the “fault” and to try to fix it. However the “fault” is often a symptom and if you pour effort into it, this may be too little too late.

Better to take a brief step back and see the big picture – make sure you accurately assess your business’ and your own assets and liabilities, make sure you understand your overall income and expenditure. Looking at the big picture can give you a better idea of what happened and why – not just the end results. Understanding your assets and liabilities and income and expenditure should give you some ideas about what resources you have, what risks you need to take care of, and what you can do to stem the flow.

With a good understanding of what happened and how it happened, and knowing what your resources and capabilities are, set yourself some short-term and medium term financial goals. Read More

Beat Competition with a Niche!

It’s been bad before but it’s got worse!

What am I talking about? Competition, that’s what!

Once upon a time, all you had to do was hang up a sign, know what you were doing, smile, and start selling, right?

Yeah right! It’s NEVER been that easy because as soon as Cavewoman Jane started her pelt scraping business for all those people too busy hunting Woolly Mammoths to clean their own pelts, Caveman Joe next door started in competition. And once those two were showing signs of success every Tom, Dick and Hairy decided they would open their pelt-scraping businesses too!

However it has become increasingly difficult to get your business out there and differentiated in today’s social-media world. What is true is that once, you may have been able to develop brand leadership. The leather bags you made and sold may have competed with others, but you could distinguish yourself by better quality or the extra service, perhaps offering free leather renovation every 5 years. Today however it is hard to be heard above the noise that comes from increased competition, better trained entrepreneurs competing, cheap social media advertising and marketing – disruption is in the marketplace. Read More

The A C D B’s of Business

It came to me in a cone of light.

Business is as  easy as A C D B!

As you know I have spent my consulting career synthesising my learning and experience into procedures that you can use in your business. Why reinvent the wheel when you can use tried and tested practical experience backed up by academic study in proven processes?

Recently it struck me how all of these processes – marketing, customer service, brand development, business planning – followed a big-picture model. And this model is as simple as a mixed up alphabet – A C D B!

Once you work it out, every business moves along the same path.

You first have to Acquire leads. Then you have to Convert those leads into warm customers. Having customers you need to Deliver your product or service. Then as your customer makes their first purchases you need to Build relationships so that they keep buying.

The acquisition of leads is all about marketing. You need to know about your sales funnel and the difference between broadcasting to potential customers who may not yet be aware of you or your product and the act of screening and targeting those potential customers. Acquisition involves knowing your product as well as your customer.

What do I mean by that? Read More

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