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Why Do You Need A Business Plan?
2
The 5 Stages Of Business Planning
3
Make Sure Your Sales Prospects “Hear” You
4
Business Performance Measures
5
7 Key Skills of Business Leadership

Why Do You Need A Business Plan?

In my 35 year career, I have only known a handful of small business owners who have prepared a business plan.

I find this astounding.

You would not leave the house to go shopping without some sort of plan – even if only in your head – about where you are going, where you would look to park the car, what you will wear with one eye on the weather, what you will buy, and how you will pay for it. Without this, how would you know whether to turn right or left at the end of your driveway?

Yet people start their businesses and run them for several years without thinking the journey through! Even worse, some people would read my example of the shopping trip and say “I’m just like that – I have it all in my head, that’s good enough.” Really? You are going to invest thousands and years into your business and you think it’s enough to have a thought kept in your head?

If you own an emerging business, relatively new, maybe 5 or 6 years old or so, and you are finding that you work hard every day but not seeming to get anywhere – if you find that for the last few years you have tried one idea before thinking of another and switching but not getting any co-ordinated growth forwards, how’s that undocumented “thought” working for you?

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The 5 Stages Of Business Planning

I have been working with small business owners for over 35 years and I am still amazed every day that the large majority of small businesses don’t have a business plan!

Let me run through these familiar statistics again – 80% of small business startups fail within the first 5 years; statistically, the main reason these failed small business owners cite as the reason for their failure is that they did not foresee their best path forward. That’s code for “did not have a plan.”

If you are an emerging small business owner with a relatively new business, and you do not have a business plan that you are working to, every day must be an adventure!

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Make Sure Your Sales Prospects “Hear” You

I was recently reminded that people take in information in different ways.

This has a critical impact on sales conversations you are having with sales prospects.

Have you ever been in a position where you have been trying to explain to a sales prospect how your service or product could really help them, laying out all the benefits in the way you should – and their eyes glaze over? If you have, you will know that sinking feeling that you are losing them, no matter how well you prepared your pitch, nor how well you got on with them and how you warmed them up at the beginning.

The fact that people have different preferences on how they receive information is crucial to whether or not they “hear” what you are telling them, so what can you do to make sure you give them information in the way they want it? Read More

Business Performance Measures

Businesses need measurements. People need measurements.

Without appropriate measurements, how do you know if your business, or your employees, are effective, successful and doing what is supposed to be done?

Determining what to measure can take a lot of consideration, and yet it will probably be only a fraction of the time required to implement the measurement system. However, this investment in time, energy and money will reward you when you can actually see if improvements in sales are caused by new strategies or changes to operations; when you receive early warning about problems from warnings in measurement reports; from understanding what drives the business and what levers to pull to get desired results.

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7 Key Skills of Business Leadership

Let’s get down to brass tacks – as a small business owner, you are not a “manager” who organises work. You have to be a business leader, who inspires, sets agendas, and creates opportunities.

What you need to successfully grow a business today are leadership skills. You probably started your business as a subject-matter expert with those specialist skills that made you produce your product or services.

But as your business grew, and you took on employees, the role of the small business owner has to shift from “do-er” to “leader,” from specialist subject-matter expert to generalist, and from problem solver to agenda setter. You need to create strategies that find opportunities, and the transition is not easy for people who became specialists and subject-matter experts by working for someone else.

So, what are the key skills you need to be a business leader?

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