Small Business Development – Election Time! What Are You Voting For?

There is a lot of talk today about the Presidential Primary elections and the November elections. However, whether you know it or not, today is your voting day. It is the day you must make a decision about your future leadership and the direction your life and business will take going into the future. I encourage each and every one of you to go and cast your vote and make your choice count.

However, I am not talking about the Presidential Primary, I am talking about your life and your business.

You see, every morning you have the opportunity to make a choice. There are many options to choose from. You can choose success; failure, growth, status quo; risk, security, comfort, challenge, opportunity, problem, or countless other options.

The problem is most if us don’t cast our vote. Today, I choose success.

Here is the simple truth. Now is the only moment that matters, and you can only live one day at a time. Every morning we have the opportunity to vote on how we want our day to go. We can choose what kind of attitude we are going to “take to the marketplace” as Jim Rohn would say. We can choose how much time we want to put into preparation; self-development; physical and mental fitness; building our businesses; and parenting our children.

The problem is, most of us don’t take the time to vote. Today, I choose risk.

Eben Pagan, in his Wake Up Productive Program talks about designing daily rituals for the first 90 minutes of each day that allow you to “make yourself strong first.” By designing a daily ritual that allows you to start each day strong, you are choosing success. You are casting your ballot each and every day.

What rituals can you develop that will remind you that you have a choice. You can choose success today. What you will discover is that success is not the cars, and the money, and the clients. Those things are the result of you being successful. Today, I choose growth.

“Success is not something you achieve, rather it is something you attract by the person you become” Jim Rohn

I encourage you to follow the advice of Eben Pagan and develop those early morning rituals that lead you towards becoming a successful person.

Steve Chandler, author of one of my all-time favorite books, Time Warrior, talks about the distinction between reacting and creating. When you cast your vote each morning you are involved in the creative process. You are actively participating in the creation of your day.

When you don’t cast your vote, you end up living your life in reaction to what happens to you and around you. Today, I choose success!

Did You Vote Today! It’s Not Too Late.

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

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.

Opportunities Are Endless With Business Development Careers

Careers in the business development area require a good sense of business management. It also requires the ability to think outside of the box and create areas of opportunity for the business that you are managing. If you have the drive to make big changes that will result in much higher revenue then this field may be the right one for you.

The business development jobs require someone that can juggle. They need to be able to juggle a large variety of responsibilities and maintain above average results for a long period of time. Business development is just what it sounds, finding ways to advance the company into higher revenue. This can be done but it does take a strong attention to detail.

To advance a company to this level, the Manager will have to make sometimes aggressive moves in order to be successful. They must be able to manage and motivate the staff to get to the necessary levels of quality and output. This may require making drastic policy and procedure changes and getting the changes in place with no negative impact on quality or quantity of output.

Careers in this field require a person that has extremely strong personal skills and business foresight. Dealing with the employees is a primary function in this position. Jobs like this cannot be filled by someone who is not willing to interact and motivate the employees. Growing a company requires a complete by in by the employees as they will be the ones doing the work.

Tracking progress and steps in the wrong direction is another big part of jobs in this field. Because you are implementing new ideas there may be times that the approaches that you take are not successful. You must have the insight and communication levels with the employees so you can shift directions with the plan quickly if things begin to fail.

Careers in business development are only successful if the person in the position can make quick adjustments. Putting experimental changes in place may require that things are altered. You also must understand the field you are in so you can put realistic changes in place. If the change would devastate the results of the company due to market regulations then you should have enough knowledge to know that the change is not feasible.

Sometimes business development managers are hired by a company with the specific purpose of saving a company. The existing company may be reporting losses quarterly and must being to gain a profit or they will find themselves closing their doors and going under. When they hire someone with this goal in mind they will have high expectations for the position.

In order to meet these expectations, the person that they hire must be aggressive. They must be able to look at the financial information for the company or department and decide quickly which areas are not doing well and what changes need to be made. Sometimes restructuring the departments can lead to a gain in profits. Sometimes it takes more than this, like cutting staff and combining responsibilities.

Either way, to be successful in careers like this you must be comfortable with being the bad guy. People at the business that hires you may resent the fact that you are making changes. Change is a very hard thing to deal with for most people. If there are some very opinionated employees you may find that you have a fight on your hands.

Being familiar with fair disciplinary steps and the policies and procedures of the company that you are hired by is crucial. You do not want to break any policies or procedures in your quest to improve the company. You must work within the guidelines set by the company and find ways to manipulate the business into a very successful position.

If you are considering careers and jobs in business development and feel that you can make a difference in the performance of a company then give it a try. It can be a very challenging position to be in but someone with the right personality and drive to succeed can do a great job and be very successful. While this type of work is not for everyone, having the right abilities and qualities can lead to a very satisfying job and maybe even exciting careers. Many people that are employed in this field decide to do this until they hit retirement age. It feels good to look back at the accomplishments and the successes in a business that were driven by you.

Business Development Consultant Author/Speaker, Thom Singer, Energizes Audiences

Thom Singer is an expert in social networking and developing a personal brand. He has worked in sales and marketing capacities at several Fortune 100 companies and regularly speaks to corporate audiences, law firms and professional organizations.

According to Thom Singer, a renowned professional public speaker and author of seven books, “set the tone when I speak to audiences about the power of business relationships.” Thom Singer has a program for multi-day industry conferences called “The Conference Networking Catalyst”.

Mr. Singer understands that one of the main reasons people attend industry events is for the “networking opportunities”, but once they arrive they fail to make meaningful connections. They sit with co-workers or spend too much time on their iPhones. They avoid talking to others, and yet the other people in attendance are exactly the people who could bring them opportunities down the road. In addition to the keynote, Thom Singer states that, “I also stay involved at the conference giving small vignettes of advice before breaks and meals…. encouraging people to really pay attention to each other.”

“The Conference Networking Catalyst” is becoming a “meeting planners favorite” because when attendees make better connections with other people, they enjoy the conference more…. and are thus more likely to come back the next year. This is one reason “The Conference Networking Catalyst” concept is effective.

As a true professional, Singer understands that “Audiences matter. They are the reason for the meeting, not the speakers.” Singer acknowledges that “I like to inspire and help encourage people.”

Thom Singer’s “Integrated Visibility” program (which combines Marketing, Sales, Business Development, Advertising, PR, Networking, Social Media, and Personal Branding) is successful for any group or individual that does not want to ignore the power of business relationships.

Singer also is co-founder of New Year Publishing, a fast growing company that assists senior executives, entrepreneurs, and professional speakers to expand their audience and present their messaging to even larger number of potential customers through books and other products.

Thom Singer knows that a trait of a good orator is not only to inform the listeners but also change their emotions in the process of discourse. How Singer differs from most speakers is how he categorizes various components which may involve mass communication, customer service, business, large group communication, personal development, leadership and motivational speaking. Singer does all of them.

Public speaking is the mode whereby we speak to a group of people in a structured way. The manner is aimed at informing, entertaining or influencing the listeners. There are five essential elements in any communication of public speaking (who, what, whom, medium and effects). Mr. Singer simply tells a story to the people to motivate them to act by simply transmitting information. As an orator Thom Singer enthralls the audience with the delivered speech.

The public speaking exercise essentially includes the art of oratory, connecting with the audience, inducting gestures and humor, perfect vocabulary and controlling and modulating the voice. Spanning the years of experience, Thom Singer has accomplished great things in this arena and touched has the lives of many around the world.

Mr. Singer understands to achieve greater success you need to put the pieces together. Networking, Marketing, PR, Sales, Advertising, Business Development, Presentation Skills, and Social Media all fit together to create your personal and professional brand.

Thom Singer’s unique and engaging style is tailored to the specific dynamics of each audience and his sense of continuity keeps the event flowing smoothly