StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business Article

The Big Picture of Business – How Business Advice Turns Into Company Strategy

StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business ArticleWithin every corporate and organizational structure, there is a stair-step ladder. One enters the ladder at some level and is considered valuable for the category of services for which they have expertise. This ladder holds true for managers and employees within the organization, as well as outside consultants brought in.

Each rung on the ladder is important. At whatever level one enters the ladder, he-she is trained, measured for performance and fits into the organization’s overall Big Picture. One rarely advances more than one rung on the ladder during the course of service to the organization in question.

  1. Resource: equipment, tools, materials, schedules.
  2. Skills and Tasks: duties, activities, tasks, behaviors, attitudes, contracting, project fulfillment.
  3. Role and Job: assignments, responsibilities, functions, relationships, follow-through, accountability.
  4. Systems and Processes: structure, hiring, control, work design, supervision, decisions
  5. Strategy: planning, tactics, organizational development.
  6. Culture and Mission: values, customs, beliefs, goals, objectives, benchmarking.
  7. Philosophy: purpose, vision, quality of life, ethics, long-term growth.

7 Levels of Authority Figure

  1. Self Appointed. Flash in the Pan. What they were doing five years ago has no relationship to what they’re now marketing. They reap temporary rewards from momentary trends. They’re here today, weren’t an authority figure yesterday and likely won’t be tomorrow. Yet, today, they’re demanding your complete trust, respect and allegiance.
  2. Temporary Caretakers of an Office. Public officials. Appointed agency heads in a government bureaucracy. Respect is shown to the temporary trust they hold.
  3. Those Who We Think Control Our Destiny… for the Time Being. Caretakers of corporate bureaucracies, departmental supervisors, short-term clients, referral sources for business development and those who dangle carrots under people’s noses.
  4. Those Who Remain Through the Peter Principle. Supervisors and public servants who made fiefdoms by outlasting up-and-comers. Longevity is due to keeping their heads down and noses clean, rather than excelling via special talents-achievements. Still living on past laurels.
  5. Those Who Really Empower People. These are a rare breed… the backbone of well-run organizations. Some do what they do very well in poorly-run organizations. They may not be department heads, but they set exemplary standards and inspire others toward positive accomplishments. Category 2, 3 and 4 authority figures either resent them and try to claim credit for what they do… or are smart enough to place them in effective, visible roles. Some advance into management and encounter similar situations there too.
  6. Have Truly Earned Their Position-Respect. Also a rare breed. Those who excelled at every assignment given and each stage of their career. Never were too busy to set good examples, share ideas with others and help build the teams on which they played.
  7. Never Stop Paying Dues, Learning, Sharing Knowledge. The rarest breed of all. Distance runners who created knowledge, rather than conveyed that of other people. Though they could coast on past laurels, for them, the best is yet to come.

7 Levels of Advice Given

  1. Answers to Questions. There are 7 levels of answers which may be given, depending upon how extensive one wants: Easy and Obvious Ones, Knee-Jerk Reactions, Politically Correct, What People Want to Hear, Factual and Complete Explanations, Answers That Get Them Thinking Further and Deep Wisdom.
  2. Observations on Situations. These take the forms of “When this happened to me, I did X,” or “If this occurred with me, I would Y.” It’s often good to see things through someone else’s perspective.
  3. Subjective Viewpoint. Friends want what is best for you. This level of advice is usually pro-active and is influenced by the advisor’s experiences with comparable situations.
  4. Informed Opinion. Experts have core-business backgrounds upon which to draw. Advisors bring facts, analysis and methodologies of applying their solutions to your case. Niche consultants provide quality viewpoints… as it relates to their talents and skills. Carefully consider the sources.
  5. Researched Options. Investments in research (formal, informal, attitudinal, demographic, sociological) will avert unnecessary band aid surgery expenses later. Research leads to planning, which is the best way to accomplish tasks and benchmark success.
  6. Discussion of Outcomes-Consequences. Most actions and decisions in an organization affect many others. At this level, advisors recommend that sufficient planning be conducted… please take their advice. The more strategic and Big Picture in scope, then planning reaps long-term rewards.
  7. Inspiring Directions. This gets into Visioning. Planning and going to new heights are stimulating. The mannerisms and substance by which any organization achieves its Vision requires sophisticated advice, deep insights and creative ideas.

7 Levels-Tiers of Qualifying Consultants

  1. Wanna-be consultants. Vendors selling services. Subcontractors. Out-of-work people who hang out “consulting” shingles in between jobs. Freelancers and moonlighters, whose consultancy may or may not relate to their day jobs. (26%)
  2. Entry-level consultants. Those who were downsized, out-placed, retired or changed careers, launching a consulting practice. Prior experience in company environment. (19.5%)
  3. Grinders. Those who do the bulk of project work. Conduct programs designed by others. 1-10 years’ consulting experience. (35.49%)
  4. Minders. Mid-level consultants. Those with specific niche or industry expertise, starting to build a track record. 10-20 years’ consulting experience. (13.5%)
  5. Finders. Firms which package and market services. Most claim they have all expertise in-house. The more sophisticated ones are skilled at building and utilizing collaborations of outside experts and joint ventures. (3.5%)
  6. Senior level. Veteran consultants (20 years+) who were trained for and have a track record in consulting. That’s what they have done for most of their careers. (2%)
  7. Beyond the strata of consultant. Senior advisor, routinely producing original knowledge. Strategic overview, vision expeditor. Creativity-insight not available elsewhere.

About the Author

Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Every Strategy Is Different

Just like no two fingerprints are the same, no two businesses will be identical. There may only be minor differences, but these can make a big difference when it comes to planning a marketing strategy. What is right for one company can be totally the wrong thing for another, but sometimes you just have to try various things and monitor them to see which is working best for you.

Using An Agency Or Do It Yourself?

You may think that using an agency is outside of your budget although, to be honest, they are usually very good at putting strategies together. Doing it yourself might not be too bad if you have some knowledge about the different areas of marketing and know something about programming your website to do exactly what you want. You may find the website at Javabeat.Net very useful in this respect, as it has a lot of information and tutorials to help you.

There will be some aspects you will find easier than others in any marketing campaign, social media being one of the simplest for you to handle.

Let Social Media Help You

Social media is a brilliant marketing tool and should be part of any strategy to help your business. It can be time-consuming, which is why some people employ others to manage it for them, but nothing else will give you such a large reach or as much interaction with your customers. There are analytical tools to help you monitor which of the social media platforms are working for you as well, and that can be extremely useful information to have.

Emails Could Be The Answer

Sending regular emails is something else that you could do yourself. You need to make sure they are engaging and interesting for anyone to read, which is why many companies use a newsletter format. There are programs such as MailChimp, which enables you to send the same email to thousands of people at the push of a button.

Both emails and social media are strategies that could help your business and that you could do yourself if you wanted.

An Effective Website

Just as Javabeat.Net can help you with many aspects of your website, there are tools on the market that will help you to initially set up a website yourself in about an hour. It is not as difficult as some people think, and although it might not look quite so professional until you have made enough money to pay an agency, it can be a good way to start.

Your website can be the first impression a potential customer has of your brand, so keep it simple in its looks and precise in its content if you want them to stay for more than a few seconds.

The problem that many new businesses have is cash flow, and until the sales start to happen that does not improve. The strategy you use to market your business will not be the same as anyone else’s but should make your brand stand out from all your competitors.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Three Important Points to Include in Your Business Plan

Business plans are a prelude to success, and failing to create one is a mistake that too many small businesses make. Not only can a great business plan help you achieve success by driving your efforts in a more calculated manner, but it can also help you gain the funding that you need from either banks or investors. Of course, there are as many business plans as there are individuals, and as such many business plans fail to capture all of the key elements they need to help their business succeed. To help you achieve a good business plan that will help you succeed, ensure you include these three points:

Market Analysis

If you do not conduct any market analysis, you are failing yourself as a start-up. You need to know not only who your competitors are, but who your local competitors are, and more importantly what the local consumers are like. If you open up your business in an area that has very few members of your demographic you are doomed to fail from the start. There are two kinds of market analysis you need to conduct as a result. The first is into the industry itself; who are the main players, what technologies do they use, where can you fit into that market, and so on. The second market you must analyze is your customers. Know who they are and what they want so that you can market to them more effectively.

Ensure Your Practice Adheres to Applicable Laws

Every business is subject to laws and regulations, from how they work to how they manage their data. It is important that you include how your company is not only going to excel, but also how it is going to excel within the parameters of the law. With law firms, for instance, Redbrick Solutions offers consultancy to ensure your firm complies with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) if you work with or within the EU. This, in turn, will allow you to offer more security and assurance to your clients as a result.

To ensure your company does comply with the laws that regulate it, you must first ensure you know what those laws are. Contacting a consultancy law firm or hiring a specialist in your industry can help you know the laws that apply to you and teach you how to adhere to them.

Budget

When it comes to creating a business plan, budget should always make an appearance. Without accurately understanding where the money will be coming from and where it is going, you cannot make any guarantees for the success of your business. You need to do cost analysis and prove to either investors or to yourself that you can survive until you get your first few clients in through the door. Either through savings or through money-saving activities like managing the entire business by yourself until you have enough income or notoriety to hire someone else, you need to know how you will pay for your business.

Never underestimate the power of a good business plan. It can help you circumvent easily avoidable challenges and see your business succeed.

Tips For Making Your Business Strategy A Reality

Creating a business plan takes a lot of time and hard work. Don’t let your efforts go to waste by failing to come up with an approach for executing on your strategy. It’s an entire process that takes careful monitoring and a willingess to recognize when what you’re doing isn’t working.

As the leader of the company, you have to stay patient and understand the best way to go about making your plan a reality. While it’s a lot of pressure on you, how you handle the implementation process of your strategy will depend on if it’s successful or not. Get excited about it because once you figure out how to elevate your company, you’ll have a lot to celebrate.

Get Input as you Create it

It’s too little too late to ask your other colleagues and leadership team what they think of your business strategy after it’s already done. Get their advice and buy in early, before you try to execute on the plan. You not only want to make sure you’ve covered all of the necessary points, but you want high-level people in your company to have your back and offer their support. They’re going to be instrumental in helping you make your business strategy a reality.

Set Realistic Goals & Include Details

Set achievable goals you know are within reach with extra work on your team’s part. For example, if you want to improve business communications with your customers, then find a unique means of communicating with them. While emails are okay for some businesses, moving into business texting can prove more effective and efficient. Not only do customers nowadays prefer texts over phone calls, but it’s also a quick means of booking appointments, canceling meetings or sending a complaint or positive review. For more information on business texting, contact Text Better.

Select Priorities

Your business strategy is going to be long and in depth. Don’t let that stop you from taking control and understanding what this means for you and your team. There’s going to be a lot of work to get done and not enough resources or time to do it. Be smart and prioritize your goals and projects, so you’re focusing on completing what’s most important first. It’s not a good idea to throw your entire plan at your leadership team and expect it all to get done when it’s not humanly possible. Approach it from an organized standpoint, and explain exactly where you want everyone to be focused initially. Put some of the other objectives on the backburner or save them for next year.

Assign Leaders to Specific Objectives

Your business plan isn’t going to go very far if it’s all on your shoulders. You need people to help you out and take ownership of the goals you’ve documented. Play to people’s strengths and assign the responsibilities based on who’s good at particular tasks. Make sure each goal has a leader matched with it and that they’re aware of what’s expected of them. Delegating the work will free up some of your time and allow your business strategy to take off in the right direction.

Track Progress

Don’t propose your business strategy, assign leaders and then forget about it. You need to have consistent follow up and tracking of progress if you want it to be successful. Have regular meetings with your leadership team, document comments, questions and the current status for each goal. Use your discussions as a time to draw your attention to any red flags or see where you may be excelling and will need another goal to replace the current one. This part of the process is all about open dialogue and holding each person accountable for their role.

Be Open to Changes

Your plan isn’t going to work if all you wrote is set in stone. You have to be willing to flex and open to changes others are proposing along the way. It’s nothing personal; it’s business, and if you don’t want to hear it, you risk the proposed strategy falling apart. Remain levelheaded and remind yourself that when you’re writing the business strategy that it could change in the future. Of course, you’ll want reasons why a particular aspect isn’t working or needs to be changed. Always look for the evidence before you perform corrections or make additions.

Communicate to the Entire Company

Although there may be details only appropriate for your eyes, you should plan on sharing the gist of the business strategy with the entire company. This will help your employees better understand how their efforts contribute to the bigger picture. They won’t be agitated when they receive what feels like a random assignment because they’ll know it has to do with the direction the company’s heading. Hold a meeting to dive into the strategy and answer any questions your staff members have.

Listen & Observe

If you want to experience success and make your vision a reality then you have to always be listening and observing. Hear what other people have to say, use their feedback to improve what you’re already doing and monitor progress closely. Your job is never done; it’s continuous and requires your involvement and leadership on a regular basis. Instead of always doing the talking, sit back and take in what ideas are being tossed at you and if you think you can use them. Read between the lines and pick up on what would have been missed opportunities without your attention to detail.

Believe you can bring your goals to life and you’re halfway there. Focus on the details and executing on what needs to get done first. It’s important to have the support of the other leaders in your company if you want to see your strategy become a reality. Continue to work hard and piggyback off of what goes right so that you can do more of that in the future. Remember that it takes a team effort and solid leader if you want to achieve success.

How to make a business plan and actually stick to it

Whether you are a long-term small business owner or just starting in a complex market, then there’s no time like the present to start penning your latest business plan. However, writing a plan and sticking to it are two very different elements. No matter the size or nature of your business, it’s always good to get something down on paper to help drive your business decisions and check that you have all bases covered. From generating more sales, to getting those ideas off the ground, read on to find out why you should be making a business plan, and more importantly, how simple it is to stick to it.

Check out the competition

Whether you are opening a coffee shop, a new bookstore or even a consultancy, be sure to undertake a full and in-depth market analysis. Now, this doesn’t have to cost you too much – you can do the groundwork yourself if you know what you are looking for. Café owners will want to scope out competitors’ prices, unique selling points and even range of snacks and goodies on offer. Whereas if you are offering higher-end services or products, then you will want to make sure that your range has a serious wow factor. Be sure to include this step in your business plan to ensure that you are fully aware of how you want to direct the future of your company and roll with it – remember, it’s best to do your homework rather than blindly entering an established market.

Get your finances in order

Drawing up a business plan, no matter the size of your business, and actually sticking to it, is going to require having a solid financial base. Getting your application papers in order and lengthy approval times can spell disaster in today’s fast-paced market. However, times are changing. Companies such as Betterfunds offer a range of loans to meet your business requirements. Not to mention, you could be the happy recipient of some much-needed funding in a matter of hours. Having a solid cash income is key to getting your business plan off the ground – don’t cut any corners.

Marketing and sales

Be sure to include marketing and sales as key priorities for your business plan – after all, generating new leads and acquiring new clients is essential to you, and your business, to succeed. If you haven’t already considered it, then make sure to explore how digital marketing can help propel your company into the future. Social media is increasingly becoming essential to the success of companies worldwide, so don’t get left behind and do go digital. Secondly, you will want to check that your marketing and sales teams are working effectively together – just like two spokes in a wheel, these departments are key to helping you gain and keep new business opportunities. Finally, have another look at your business plan. If you’ve stuck to it – congratulations! You are well on the way to business success.