Monday, October 29, 2012

Keys to Success

Keys to Business Success

Too many business owners focus solely on their profit-and-loss statements. "It's critical to focus more on the business assets, what's going to allow you to expand your reach and grow your company?" You should find ways to grow your client base, new employees, systems, and partnerships. Planning and execution is what will grow your client base, thus your company.

Mission Statement: Most businesses either don't have a mission statement or it so general that it has no meaning. Think about what you're trying to achieve and include that big vision in your mission statement.

SWOT Analysis: a comprehensive SWOT analysis (assessing company strengths, weaknesses, market opportunities and market threats) is critical to assess your opportunities, generate ideas and create a focused approach.

Marketing Strategies: Take a good look at your current marketing strategies. Spread out your marketing dollars and try new channels; by the end of the year you will have another valuable business asset: proven knowledge of which marketing tactics work and those that don't.

Company Goals" Set goals for a five-year target point. What income level do you plan on achieving in that time? Will you sell the company, remain at the helm, or go public? Plot your course, and then break down your goals and strategies into a one-year plan. Which opportunities are best to execute this year in order to achieve your five year goals?

Competitive Analysis: It is important to be prepared for the inevitable—competitive challenges. Take a good look at your competition and define what steps they could take that would really frighten you and ask yourself if you could deal with it or if your business would be massively hampered. The next step is to determine what you could do under your current circumstances to pre-empt the worst case scenario.
If your competition acquires another company as a part of their growth strategy, for instance, what can you do now to control the impact of such a move?

Define your team: "Even solopreneurs should have a team. Don't try to do it all on your own. Consider your virtual assistants and other outside contractors, or employees if you need to have them. Where do you want to be one year from now? What skills will you have to acquire? Who do need to grow your company? How can you get those resources in place?

Operations Plan: Finally, consider the importance of an operations plan. Looking at your five-year plan and what you want to accomplish, define your marketing strategies, any additional services or products to offer, and all of your key initiatives for the year. You may need chart so that you have a visual for each project.


Those are some thoughts on keys to Business Success. What do you think?



Sunday, October 21, 2012

Key Growth Strategies

Key Growth Strategies


Turning a small business into a big one is never easy. The statistics are grim. In other words, most businesses start small and stay there.

But if that's not good enough for you—or if you recognize that staying small doesn't necessarily guarantee your business's survival what follows are some options that can help you create a growth strategy of your own.

v Internal Growth

·       Market Penetration. This is the least risky option of selling more products to current customers. Find new ways for customers to use your products.

·       Market Development. Develop ways to sell product to an adjacent market by expanding to another city or province.

·       New Distribution Channel. You may expand by offering product on line.

·       Product Development. The classic growth strategy offers new products to existing and new customers.

v Integration

·       Horizontal. This strategy would involve buying a competitor. This not only adds to growth of your business but eliminates a competitor.

·       Backward. This involves buying a supplier and in addition to growth provides increased control of the supply chain.

·       Forward. If appropriate you could buy a component of your supply or distribution chain. This provides increased overall margin through profits at each level of product sales.

v Diversification

·       This involves growing the company by buying another company in a sector unrelated to your business. This can be risky and certainly requires an understanding of the new market place.


Growth strategies are never pursued in a vacuum, and a company needs to be willing to change course in response to feedback from the market. Too often, companies take a year to develop a strategy and, by the time they're ready to implement it, the market has changed on them.

The marketplace generally rewards those with agility, decisiveness and ability to capitalize when opportunities are presented.




Monday, October 15, 2012

Business Management

 Why not Hire the Best?


In many businesses the most important asset is the employees going through the doors every day. These individuals impact your business in many ways with their actions and decisions. As leader the owner controls one of the most important decisions for the organization and the hiring process can be critical to the overall success achieved.

Here are a few pointers to consider when hiring:

Ø  Develop a precise plan

Identify the key skills a candidate must have to succeed. Also define the important attitudes that enable the candidate to excel at the job. Stick to the plan.

Ø  Be diligent in selecting a candidate

A thorough interview process is important in choosing top candidates. This is particularly important with senior management positions. Take the time to test for qualifications; a vague, wandering conversation of informal questioning will at best be a hit and miss approach. Results will be equally inconsistent.

Ø  Share the Process

To improve results, involve others to gain a different perspective. Choose peers that the candidate would work with and perhaps even involve key customers if you enjoy their confidence. These contacts will bring additional insights into the personality and style of the candidate and add a point of view of the person’s ability to integrate into the organization.



The more perspectives you bring to the process the greater the chance of success in hiring great people in the organization.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Business Management

Guest blog

This week’s article is from Lora Crestan, Business Strategist + Coach for her own company – Lora Crestan who has kindly offered to provide some timely thoughts on refreshing your business.
Lora may be reached at: or 519.735.6820
Endings Need to Happen

I remember when I wrote my first business plan.  I had dreams of where I would be in 5 years, 10 years and even beyond.  I knew exactly what I was going to do, how I was going to do it, and who my client base would be.  Guess what?  Business plans are for flushing out ideas and rebuilding as your business develops.  BIG LESSON.

EVEN BIGGER LESSON, letting go of the ideas, projects and processes that really were going nowhere except to drain energy, resources and sometimes finances.  How do you, as a business leader, get to make these decisions?  These are the really tough ones.  In many organizations, this can apply to people as well as projects and processes.  Everything gets tougher when people are involved, either as the owners of the project or the ones that need to change.
What to do?
Here are a few things to start to build into your business:
  1. Review your business plan quarterly and actively change what needs to be changed.  For example, if you are planning to launch a new product and the proto-types have not exceeded quality expectations, that date will have to change.
  2. Plan and have open discussions about what or who needs to end.  In determining this, you will need to have frank and open conversations that look at the benefits to the company and people involved.  Be realistic about how many resources you are prepared to invest before you pull the plug – that includes time, people and money.
  3. Learn to understand the life cycle of your business, it’s products and it’s people.  When you are developing plans to grow, what is the exit strategy or succession/evolution plan for each stream.

These may start you on your way to developing a more open understanding of endings that need to happen so that your business can continue to flourish.  Take your time and try them out.  Give us your feedback and thoughts....or if you stuck along the way, we are here to help!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Business Management

Benefits of Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning provides a number of benefits to an organization including:

Ø  An opportunity to clearly define the purpose of the organization

Ø  Establish achievable goals consistent with the mission and within a timeframe the organization can achieve.

Ø  A vehicle for communicating goals among employees and key customers

Ø  Provide a forum for employees to establish ownership of the plan and facilitate accountability.

Ø  Ensure the most effective use of the company’s resources.

Ø  Provide a vehicle to focus on key priorities.

Ø  Set a roadmap for future changes that will be needed.


The key to effective Strategic Planning is to implement the process and continue planning as the organization and external market environment changes. Certainly the plan will need annual reviews at a minimum to be an effective tool.

A Business Plan is used to define the “HOW” of implementation.