business construct

business construct

Small Business Development – Peanut Shells On The Floor

Posted on March 5, 2019 in Uncategorized

I hope by now everyone has had the opportunity to go to a pub, or bar where they encourage you to throw your peanut shells on the floor. If you haven’t yet been, then consider this a weekend challenge to talk to your friends, find the closest one, and go there by Monday.

I love that concept for three very important reasons:

It is:

Memorable: People talk about the bar that lets you throw your peanut shells on the floor. I have been to hundreds of bars, pubs, and restaurants in my life and I remember just a handful. Among the select few that I remember are the one’s that had peanut shells on the floor. I may not even remember the name of the pub, but I remember the experience, the people I was with, and that I had fun.

Consistent with Core Values: When a pub owner allows customers to throw peanut shells on the floor he/she is sending a clear message that they want customers to relax and have a good time; to have fun, and loosen up. It helps the patrons feel welcome, comfortable to be themselves, and wanted back tomorrow. What friendly neighborhood restaurant wouldn’t want to send that message?

Simple and Inexpensive: I would imagine it takes a little longer to sweep the floor at night, but you have to sweep the floor anyway. Compare that to the money you budget every year to let people know what it means to be your customer, client, or partner.

If your goal is to Build a Better Workforce: to make more money by working less, to create leverage for yourself through the success of your employees, and to transition from chasing dollars to chasing your dreams and experiencing wealth, then ask yourself this question.

Is Working for me memorable?

If the answer is no, then change something. Focus on your core values, and keep it simple. When you create an environment that is memorable, consistent to its core values, and simplistic in its execution you create an opportunity to increase employee and customer engagement like no other.

Other Benefits: By expressing your core values in a memorable way you are helping to set expectations to your customers, and future employees. If someone is in the mood for white glove service, elegant atmosphere, and expensive champagne they will know not to enter the pub with peanut shells on the floor.

When working for you is memorable, your employees will share their stories with everyone they know and meet. Every time someone asks them about their job they will share the cool things you do to be different and in the process reveal the core values that drive your business.

You will begin to attract new customers, business partners, and grow your talent pool from sources you never had the opportunity to explore or even think of.

Business Development Strategy for Managers

Posted on March 1, 2019 in Uncategorized

Senior Managers have different contacts and networks from the rest of the company. Their contacts are of a higher level. It is important that Senior Managers build their profile and have a planned strategy to work their network in order to get more business. Even Managers in Accounts and HR will have, or should have, a network of counterparts within other companies. Every Manager should see it as a part of their role to be proactive in working their network and contacts to build stronger relationships or gain market intelligence that could lead to new business.

This can not be delegated to someone in a lower level within the company as their contacts and network will be at a lower level of authority.

A strong network with regular contact within client or joint-venture companies, will ensure:

  • You learn market intelligence early
  • You learn about changes within the client company
  • You learn about new projects earlier
  • You learn about on-going problems which you may have solutions for
  • You are up to date with arrivals of new people or replacements
  • Your relationships will strengthen

When you have a planned strategy, you leave nothing to chance and do not have to rely on memory, skill or inclination. You will be in the right place at the right time to offer ongoing support and create added value to the client.

There should also be a budget allocated for Managers to take clients to functions, lunches or coffees. Plus there should be KPI’s to measure the networking activities and the annual results.

How Is this Done?

Each Manager makes a list of clients and segments them by priority such as Gold, Silver and Bronze. The goal is to strengthen the relationship and get more work from Gold.

Gold would be an existing active relationship and a significant amount of work. The goal with Silver is to move it to Gold, and move Bronze to Silver.

Occasionally, you will drop clients from your Bronze status and put new clients into this segment. Companies grow and change either through natural growth or through merger and acquisition.

Once a client has been allocated into a segment, each Manager must make a decision about the frequency of the contact, the type of contact and the manner that suits them. The company may set a Matrix with set frequency for each segment. If the contact is decided to be monthly, then within a quarter, you may have a coffee meeting one month, contact by email another month and invite them to be your guest at a business breakfast the next month.

Functions ideal for inviting clients

I recommend that you subscribe to a paper with a strong focus on business. They will promote breakfasts and functions that would make great opportunities to invite clients to attend as your guests. Other opportunities are charities which have business breakfasts or speakers and Chamber of Commerce functions.

Networking

The ultimate objective of networking is to meet new people with the intention of either converting them into potential clients or to establish ongoing relationship. So, simply meeting them is not enough, you have to know firstly how to meet them and how to start a new relationship and how to keep it going.

It is important that all Managers learn how to network effectively. Therefore, they either need training or operations manual modules that cover the following:

How to network effectively when you know no one in the room

How to work a room, how to approach a group of people you don’t know, what to say, how to move on and how to connect quickly and be remembered.

The business card system

How to follow-up by email or phone call.

What to do prior, during and after the function to create new relationships

Making Contact

How to make a call when you have nothing to say

How to make a ‘cold’ call where the person willingly agrees to meet

How To Build and Maximise your Profile

Strategies to build, maximise and extend your network

Shared Information

The final part of this strategy is the sharing of the information gained. This can be an informal process but this is often not shared with all the people who could take advantage of the information. Managers should share in their weekly Management meetings, any market intelligence or change in the companies they are in contact with. This would then be filtered down to other levels where they could use this information as a reason to make contact with their network. Again, this works best as a formalized process.

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Eight Steps To The Next Level – The Business Plan, “The Engine of Small Business Development”

Posted on February 26, 2019 in Uncategorized

This is the second of a series of articles describing how small business owners and managers can drive their business growth and profitable development through the creation and implementation of a business plan.

I know the prevailing view among many small business people is that “planning” is for the larger, more substantial business and “they are too busy running their business to have time for planning”. Indeed, many small business owners are “too busy” running the business, but they ignore, at their own peril and survival, that “failing to plan is planning to fail.”

I am convinced that the small business owner will benefit from engaging in this business planning process because of the nature of carefully examining and thinking through the way their business competes and operates; – and how that will align with their determination of “what business they want to be in”.

This business planning process yields a stronger, more profitable business which provides real value to its customers and the marketplace.

The business planning process described in this article is the most logical, pragmatic and practical examination possible of the small business. This process is far from arcane or mysterious, but totally focuses on the reality of the small business environments (the business, the economy, competition, customers’ needs, wants and desires) as well as the determination and allocation of the firm’s resources).

Business Planning Process – Eight Major steps

For the past thirty years, I have successfully used the following business and strategic marketing planning process. The following process consists of eight major steps which are sequential and continuous. I will describe the nature and function of each of these steps.

This process applies to all types of organizations; regardless of size, products, services, or industry…. I have even used this process with a national religious organization.

1. DEVELOP MISSION AND POSITIONING STATEMENT
2. SITUATION AUDIT
a. Internal
b. External
3. WOTSUP ANALYSIS
4. MAKING ASSUMPTIONS
5. DEVELOPING OBJECTIVES
6. STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT
7. SPECIFY TACTICS AND ACTIONS
8. PREPARE FORECASTS/BUDGETS/FINANCIALS

1. MISSION AND POSITIONING STATEMENT

With respect to the definition of your businesses’ purpose and mission, there is only one focus, one starting point; it is the customer or user of your products/services. The user defines the mission of any function or business. The question “what is our mission or purpose” “what business do we want to be in?”, can therefore be answered by only looking at your business from the outside, from the point of view of the customer or potential customer. What the user or customer sees, thinks, or believes at any given time must be accepted by your business management as an objective fact to be taken seriously.

By definition, the customer is purchasing the satisfaction of a need or want.

For example, here is a well-known and real example of a business mission which defined the way in which that company conducted its activities.

A drill bit manufacturer defined its mission as determining “what size holes customers need” their focus was directly on customer needs and not on their product specifications. They were customer-focused and very successful.

Once the mission statement has been completed develop the positioning statement for competitive advantage and prepare the USP – your unique selling proposition. “Why the business is able to provide more effective solutions and greater value than the competitors.”

2. THE SITUATION AUDIT- Internal and External

The situation audit is a description and analysis of past, present and future data (information) which provides the basis for pursuing the business planning process. It is an organized method for:

  • collecting pertinent information
  • interpreting its effect on the business’s environments (market conditions)
  • analyzing significant trends
  • projecting all pertinent factors, which could influence company activities.

3. WOTSUP ANALYSIS

The acronym WOTSUP stands for Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats and Strengths Underlying Planning. This step flows naturally from the fact base (Situation Audit). The Weaknesses and Strengths constitute an internal analysis, i.e. “what are we at good and bad at?”-

Opportunities and Threats, on the other hand, form an external analysis. From this analysis, objectives can be formulated with specific action plans designed to overcome weaknesses and threats by exploiting the business strengths and opportunities.

4. MAKING ASSUMPTIONS:

Assumptions make planning possible. Without the use of assumptions, planning would be almost impossible. Since planning deals with the “futurity of current decision-making” and events in the future are almost impossible to predict with unfailing accuracy; – assumptions make planning possible.

5. DEVELOPING OBJECTIVES

Overall objectives are the real crux of the Business and Marketing Planning Process. They deserve every last ounce of time and effort – often frustrating. The objectives form the umbrella under which the balance of the whole planning structure is built. Because of the key role they play they must be thought through and be expressed in the most specific and concrete fashion. In simplest terms an objective is… “what do you want to accomplish?” Objectives are prepared to overcome weaknesses and threats developed in the WOTSUP Analysis and to exploit the opportunities and strengths.

6. STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT:

Once the objectives have been developed, the preparation of strategies is the next step in the process. Strategies, must explain, in a broad sense, how the objectives will be achieved.

7. SPECIFY ACTION PROGRAMS:

After the objectives and strategies have been developed, describe the work to be performed. The actions must be very specific; what work is to be done, by whom, how and when.

8. FORECASTS/BUDGETS/FINANCIALS PREPARED:

The action programs when completed form the basis for budget preparation. The cost of each action and the revenues derived from the detailed actions generate the operating budget and cash flows for the Business Plan.

Many organizations confuse planning with budgeting. One important purpose of the budget is to ensure the business has adequate financial resources to function. Budgeting is about not failing, planning is about what is possible.

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