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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 Expert Contributor Hank Moore

Where Do They Go To Get Business Advice?

StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business ArticleBusinesses operate at a pace such that they grab for help wherever it is available. More often than not, they reach toward the wrong resources, the untied advisors and sources that send them down rabbit holes.

It is lonely at the top. There are many demands upon entrepreneurs and senior management of companies. Each organization is confronted with challenges and opportunities, both real and perceived. It is tough to tackle all the obstacles and feel that substantial progress is being made.

Businesses spend so much time on momentary pieces of their puzzles that they neglect long-term Strategic Planning and miss potential successes. Costs of band aid surgery and make-good work cost six times that of planning for business on the front end.

The need exists for comprehensive business ideas and growth strategies. The need is ever-present for interfacing with senior executives and updating management skills, to avoid burnout and stimulate the seasoned professionals toward new heights. Top management regularly needs the creative inspiration to take the company to new heights. Cutting-edge executives (the very top and those about to take the mantle) need seasoned advice and inspiration.

Here is where they go to get ideas, strategies and help, in the order where they commonly go. The lower numbers represent introductory resources. The highest numbers are where they should be reaching.

1. Hearsay and third hand

  • Comments heard at parties and networking functions
  • Uninformed sources
  • Friends of friends
  • High participation networkers
  • Research and surveys

2. Special Interests

  • Websites containing educational material as a way to sell services
  • Surveys and their feedback

3. People Selling Stuff

  • Vendors who distract you, using expressions like “funding to grow your business.”
  • Online marketing firms
  • Internet solicitors and sellers
  • Website consulting

4. Internal Management

  • People you work with
  • Mid-managers and supervisors
  • Corporate leadership

5. Niche Experts and Consultants

  • Trainers
  • Freelance consultants, per industry niche
  • Banking, insurance benefits, human resources, etc.
  • Technology consulting firms
  • Researchers

6. Educational Programs

  • Speakers
  • Seminars
  • Panels at forums
  • Workshops
  • Conferences
  • Webinars
  • Material published or broadcast in the media

7. Books

  • Articles excerpted for meetings
  • Blog material posted online
  • Thin self-published books by people seeking to establish a platform
  • Online articles and blogs
  • Serious books in libraries
  • Cutting-edge books with original material

8. Advocacy Groups

  • Business clubs
  • Chambers of commerce
  • People with whom you work in community and charity leadership roles
  • Boards of directors
  • The Better Business Bureau
  • SCORE
  • Small Business Development Center
  • Trade industry groups
  • Associations
  • Political action committees
  • Community alliances
  • Professional alliances
  • Consortiums of business
  • Cross-industry cooperative initiatives

9. Mentors

  • Pier advisory groups such as Vistage, Silver Fox Advisors
  • One-on-one coaching
  • CEO roundtables
  • Corporate heir apparent training
  • Programs such as Shark Tank, Fox Den, Ted Talks
  • Leadership programs

10. Senior Business Advisors

  • Professional service firms, including lawyers, accountants, marketing, public relations, quality management

11. Major Business Gurus

  • Track record experts with many years in advising strategically

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.

Starting Your New Business on a Budget

While many business owners would love to have enough money to start their business the way they want, the reality is that most companies struggle for capital when they first start. That doesn’t mean that you cannot start your business, it just means you will need to be prudent and cautious when it comes to spending. There are many ways that you can get your company up and running, even on a budget.

Don’t Borrow Unless You Must

While there is a big urge just to borrow the money you need and get the things you want; you need to be careful. You want your business to start earning you money, not generating the money to pay another debt. You must also be aware of the fact that your company might not survive. If that’s the case, then you will be saddled with the repayments for your business loan. If you do have to borrow money, only borrow the smallest amount that you need to get started, that way if your company takes off, you will still get some profit.

Start in a Modest Way

Although you might have the dream of a nice shop or a large office, you should avoid such things until you are on the more stable ground. The best thing to do at first is to start from home to keep costs down, or perhaps share office space with another company. If you need to be out there to sell products, start small by going to fairs and markets and going from there. Once your company is making money, you can rent a small store to sell your products.

Think About Refurbished Items

Buying a new printer, computers and other office equipment can become expensive in a short space of time. To cut down on those costs while still getting the equipment you need, why not consider buying refurbished or used items. Many companies offer used office copiers and other electronics that have been refurbished, so they are working perfectly. You can get desks, chairs and other furniture from used office suppliers. They are usually in good condition, just taken from offices that have been refurbished.

Be Smart with Your Services

To run your business effectively, you will need a phone line with the internet, though getting these set up especially with a business rate can be expensive. Do plenty of research into the best deals you can get for your business, and see if there are deals that offer extras such as a business mobile or free web space for a website. To cut costs further, try to develop your website yourself using the many website building sites that are on the internet. It might not be as polished as you want, but it will be free, and it will be a good start until your business takes off.

By trying to plan your spending and by using used or refurbished goods, you can start your new business with minimum capital.

Freedom Financial Gives Five Financial Management Tips Every Successful Entrepreneur Follows

To achieve and sustain success, entrepreneurs must be skilled in a variety of areas. One of the most important of these is financial management. The lack of proper financial management is one of the primary causes of early failure for entrepreneurs. Freedom Financial provides five key areas of finance that are critical for entrepreneurs to have a greater chance at success.

Proper preparation for lean months.

Entrepreneurial income typically fluctuates from month to month and even from year to year. Income can swing from high to low in a matter of weeks, without warning. It’s important for entrepreneurs to prepare for the lean months by setting aside money during higher earning months, according to Freedom Financial. While, it’s tempting to spend money to reap the benefits of your hard work, it’s wiser to put money away while it’s plentiful. Without a reserve of cash set aside, some business cannot survive.

Keep business and personal finances separate.

Many entrepreneurs fund their startups using money from personal savings or a personal credit card to get the business going. In the early stages of entrepreneurship, it’s often simpler to conduct all your transactions from a single account. Once your business starts growing, Freedom Financial recommends separating business and personal finances, is essential. Keeping funds separate funds simplifies accounting and gives your business credibility. Keep business funds in a business account and pay yourself as though you were an employee of the company.

Diversify your assets and your efforts.

Entrepreneurs have to maintain a delicate balance between focusing on their entrepreneurship efforts and diversifying their income and time. Statistically speaking, entrepreneurship has a high risk of failing. Freedom Financial recommends entrepreneurs to hedge against that risk by putting time into other ventures, putting money into other investments, or sometimes even maintaining full-time employment.

Get professional financial advice.

You may be able to do many things on your own, but you cannot do everything on your own. When it comes to matters of finance, it’s better to seek professional council. Getting professional advice from an accountant and tax professional can ensure your business is both operating legally and taking advantage of the possible tax deductions. It’s wise to shop around for the best fit for your business, but this isn’t an area where you should cut costs.

Minimize business expenses.

As your business begins to generate more revenue, owners may increase their business spending, justifying these expenses as necessary for business growth. Remember that the more you spend, the less profit your business makes. Always aim to minimize business expenses by negotiating lower prices, seeking lower-cost alternatives, and forgoing unnecessary expenses. Freedom Financial suggests having another person who has to sign off on business spending, to help keep the owner’s spending impulses in check.

To achieve and maintain success, entrepreneurs must always plan for the financial future and be careful not to take the present circumstances for granted. Spending time reviewing the business finances and constantly seeking ways to improve are two steps entrepreneurs can take for better financial management.

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor Hank Moore

Mentoring and Lifelong Learning

StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business ArticleProfessionals who succeed the most are the products of mentoring. I heartily endorse that find a great mentor. I have had many excellent ones in my long career and have in turn mentored hundreds of others.

The mentor is a resource for business trends, societal issues and opportunities. The mentor becomes a role model, offering insights about their own life-career. The mentor is an advocate for progress and change. Such work empowers the mentee to hear, accept, believe and get results. The sharing of trust and ideas leads to developing business philosophies.

The mentor endorses the mentee, messages ways to approach issues, helps draw distinctions and paints pictures of success. The mentor opens doors for the mentee. The mentor requests pro-active changes of mentee, evaluates realism of goals and offers truths about path to success and shortcomings of mentee’s approaches. This is a bonded collaboration toward each other’s success. The mentor stands for mentees throughout their careers and celebrates their successes. This is a lifelong dedication toward mentorship… in all aspects of one’s life.

The most significant lessons that I learned in my business life from mentors, verified with experience, are shared here:

  1. You cannot go through life as a carbon copy of someone else.
  2. You must establish your own identity, which is a long, exacting process.
  3. As you establish a unique identity, others will criticize. Being different, you become a moving target.
  4. People criticize you because of what you represent, not who you are. It is rarely personal against you. Your success may bring out insecurities within others. You might be what they cannot or are not willing to become.
  5. If you cannot take the dirtiest job in any company and do it yourself, then you will never become “management.”
  6. Approach your career as a body of work. This requires planning, purpose and commitment. It’s a career, not just a series of jobs.
  7. The person who is only identified with one career accomplishment or by the identity of one company for whom he-she formerly worked is a one-hit wonder and, thus, has no body of work.
  8. The management that takes steps to “fix themselves” rather than always projecting problems upon other people will have a successful organization.
  9. It’s not when you learn. It’s that you learn.
  10. Many people do without the substantive insights into business because they have not really developed critical thinking skills.
  11. Analytical and reasoning skills are extensions of critical thinking skills.
  12. You perform your best work for free. How you fulfill commitments and pro-bono work speaks to the kind of professional that you are.
  13. People worry so much what others think about them. If they knew how little others thought, they wouldn’t worry so much. This too is your challenge to frame how they see you and your company.
  14. Fame is fleeting and artificial. The public is fickle and quick to jump on the newest flavor, without showing loyalty to the old ones, especially those who are truly original. Working in radio, I was taught, “They only care about you when you’re behind the microphone.”
  15. The pioneer and “one of a kind” professional has a tough lot in life. It is tough to be first or so far ahead of the curve that others cannot see it. Few will understand you. Others will attain success with portions of what you did. None will do it as well.
  16. Consumers are under-educated and don’t know the substance of a pioneer. Our society takes more to the copycats and latest fads. Only the pioneer knows and appreciates what he-she really accomplished. That reassurance will have to be enough.
  17. Life and careers include peaks and valleys. It’s how one copes during the “down times” that is the true measure of success.
  18. Long-term success must be earned. It is not automatic and is worthless if ill-gotten. The more dues one pays, the more you must continue paying.
  19. The next best achievement is the one you’re working on now, inspired by your body of knowledge to date.
  20. The person who never has aggressively pursued a dream or mounted a series of achievements cannot understand the quest of one with a deeply committed dream.
  21. A great percentage of the population does not achieve huge goals but still admires and learns from those who do persevere and succeed. The achiever thus becomes a lifelong mentor to others.
  22. Achievement is a continuum, but it must be benchmarked and enjoyed along the way.

These are my concluding pieces of leadership advice. Know where you are going. Develop, update and maintain a career growth document. Keep a diary of lessons learned but not soon forgotten. Learn the reasons for success and, more importantly, from failure.

Good bosses were good employees. They have keen understanding for both roles. Bad bosses likely were not ideal employees. They too are consistent in career history. Being your own boss is yet another lesson. People who were downsized from a corporate environment suddenly enter the entrepreneurial world and find the transition to be tough.

Poor people skills cloud any job performance and overshadow good technical skills. The worst bosses do not sustain long careers at the top. Their track record catches up with them, whether they choose to acknowledge it or not.

Good workers don’t automatically become good bosses. Just because someone is technically proficient or is an exemplary producer does not mean that he-she will transition to being a boss. The best school teachers do not want to become principals, for that reason. Good job performers are better left doing what they do best. Administrators, at all levels, need to be properly trained as such, not bumped up from the field to do something for which they have no inclination.

Truth and ethics must be woven into how you conduct business. If you do not “walk the talk,” who will? Realize that very little of what happens to you in business is personal. Find common meeting grounds with colleagues. The only workable solution is a win-win.

Leadership and executive development skills are steadily learned and continually sharpened. One course or a quick-read book will not instill them. The best leaders are prepared to go the distance. Professional enrichment must be life-long. Early formal education is but a starting point. Study trends in business, in your industry and in the industries of your customers.

People skills mastery applies to every profession. There is no organization that does not have to communicate to others about what it does. The process of open company dialogs must be developed to address conflicts, facilitate win-win solutions and further organizational goals.


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.