It’s Never Too Early to Start Planning for 2019!

You’ve probably heard the line from a famous Chinese proverb, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of creating a strategic plan for your business, take heart – and take that first step – by answering some important questions. Begin your journey to creating a comprehensive strategic plan that will set you up for a successful 2019. Rather than labor over your answers, I invite you instead to focus on answering the questions honestly. Remember, this is just a launching point. You can explore these questions more in-depth down the road!

  • Where is my business currently at?

This isn’t the same as “Where do I wish my business was at?” Optimism aside, what does your bottom line tell you? Are you getting the ROI you want? How do outsiders view your business? What kind of feedback do you receive from your clients? Give an accurate assessment.

  • What are my goals for the coming year? For the future?

There are no right or wrong answers here. Just make sure these are goals that you’re excited about working towards. Consider both short-term and long-term goals.

  • Who are my key players?

These are the people who can help you achieve the goals you stated above. They might be your investors, management team, employees or clients.

Or perhaps bringing a few new employees on board is the best next step towards achieving these goals.

  • What worked well for my business this past year?

This includes clients that were great to work with, products or services that were a hit, successful marketing strategies and anything else that helped propel the success of your business.

  • What efforts this past year didn’t pan out the way I hoped?

Face it. Some ideas sound great initially and you dedicate a substantial amount of your resources to nurturing these ideas only for them to fall flat. Often disastrously so. It happens. Start by acknowledging your business failures and get back on the horse!

  • How am I going to do things differently this next year?

Make lemonade out of lemons by taking the lessons you learned this past year and applying them to your business practices this coming year. This may mean implementing new policies, firing unreasonable clients, exploring new marketing channels or shifting your target market altogether.

  • How committed am I to making necessary changes to propel my business forward?

You might have the best strategic plan in the world. However, if you’re not excited about it or motivated by it, you won’t have the moxie to see it through. Start small – even a few little changes can shift the trajectory of your business and create the momentum you need.

Need help with your business plan for 2019? Schedule a call with us to find out how we can help you get ready to rock 2019 and have your best year yet!

 

The Queen With Blinders On

I recently watched “The Queen” a movie starring Helen Miren as Queen Elizabeth and Michael Sheen as Prime Minister Tony Blair during the eight days following the death of Princes Diana on August 31st in 1997.

What really fascinated me about this movie was the way the in which the Queen seemed to be at the effect of protocol “the way things are done around here” and the power her environment had on her thinking, decision making and timeliness in dealing with the reality of the circumstances surrounding and following Diana’s death.

You may recall that the monarchy was severely criticized for a perceived lack of sympathy regarding Princess Diana’s death and seeming insensitivity to the outpouring of love by a nation deep in mourning along with people from around the world heartbroken for the loss of “Peoples’ Princess.”

There were several causes for their upset, other than Prince Charles flying to Paris to pick up Diana’s body, the flag at Buckingham Palace wasn’t flown at half-mast, until the funeral and then only as a response to public outrage. There was an earie silence from the Queen as the papers beseeched her to “show us you care” lasting for six days till just before Diana’s funeral, and for staying holed up in her vacation home in Balmoral in an aloof and business as usual way.

In the film, subsequent articles and interviews the “rules” of “how things are done around here” began clashing with the moment by moment worsening public relations nightmare due to the overwhelming mourning pouring out from around the world. In the seven days between the People’s Princess’s death and her burial the reality of what was happening on the streets and in the news eventually dissolved the rigid rules that had guided the monarchy for centuries.

However, it was only when Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened that Queen Elizabeth came back to London and acknowledged the grieving that had been so extravagantly displayed by the British people and her fans from around the world by visiting the sea of flowers placed at Buckingham Palace and to make a public address.

There are some interesting parallels in business from this great little film and the stories from that week. Most notably in my opinion recoiling from the people into a private sheltering of her grandchildren and while that is understandable, on one level a simple statement at the time of Princess Diana’s death would have honored both her grandchildren, the British people and those fans from around the world. Declining to do that created a PR nightmare for the Monarchy.

Regardless of the way things have been done for centuries and the opinions of those around her, she remained disconnected albeit understandably, from the impact of her lack of response until it was almost entirely too late.

In business when we ‘ve got our heads buried in the plans we’ve made, or in the grind of what has to get done in the moment we sometimes lack the foresight and the vision to be who and what is needed in the moment. Especially in times of crisis. And while we’re all human beings there are certain responsibilities that go with leadership that include being able to see circumstances for what they are, like it or not, to respond quickly and effectively and for the consequential impact of our choices on ourselves, the business, our team members, and everyone associated with our business.

As business leaders we must respond quickly to the reality of the situation we’re in and look, listen and feel our way to a wise and appropriate response to crisis we find ourselves in. While it’s important to listen to others it’s also important to recognize opinions as opinions and rules as guidelines, may very well cost us an opportunity to be effective and to make a difference. The role Prime Minster Tony Blair played with just a couple months in office, in advising the Queen and addressing the public’s grief cannot be underestimated. This is the role a great mentor, advisor and coach has during times when there is so much at stake.

I watched the public address the Queen eventually made and in the end was satisfied with her statement, clear appropriate and respectful, everything you’d expect from a leader of her stature.

While we’ll never know the thoughts that were going through the Queen’s mind at the time, I’m clear it was a difficult at best situation to find oneself in and I do wish she’d been willing to be who was needed and wanted not just with her grandchildren, but also with her nation and those people from around the world who related to Diana as the People’s Princess.

How prepared are you for a crisis taking place in your business?

 

Why Is Business Planning So Important?

Transcript:
Have you ever wondered why is it that people are always talking about doing a plan. What good is it. How does this really help me in my business. It’s just time away. In this video I’m going to show you how to make successful plans. How to have your plan actually be something that takes you and your business to the next level.

So the concept that I want to talk to you about today is really taking a step wise approach to planning and it all begins with dreaming.

What?!? Dreaming?!? Are you sure?

Yes! Dreaming. Dreaming is being out there looking at what does your ideal life look like ten plus years from now. What would your ideal life be like. What is it that you want. What is your ideal business. How would you be spending your days. This is key to knowing and key to being able to create a plan that truly has you doing what you want to do. This is one of the biggest keys, if you don’t know what it is that you want to do – where you’re going – then any road will get to there. But, it’s probably not what you really wanted. Right?

For example, if I wanted to go on a trip but I didn’t know where I wanted to end up and I just got in the car and drove… Where am I going to go.

I need a map. I need a destination. I need to know where is it that I’m trying to get to. And this is the dreams.

I personally say start with dreams for your life and only after you have dreams for your life. Then look at what the business I would need. What do I need to be doing. Where do I need to be getting my income, my revenue, my resources from so that I can have that life.

The next most important thing that we have to look at is looking at our goals.

And when I talk about goals here I’m talking about 5 3 1 year goals. These are the goals that we have out there that we want to get to near term. Remember a dream is a goal without a plan.

Goals start to have a plan.

So now we’re starting to get a little bit more close where we’re starting to really look at what is it that I want in more the near term. However there is a bit of an issue with goals when we talk about 5 3 and 1 year goals. You need to have them and I keep saying 5 3 and 1 year goals because it’s critical that you actually do it that way. You start out at 5 years out then you bring it back to three years out standing in that 5 years out. This is what I have. You look back and say this is where I was at three years that made it a done deal that I was going to be able to get here. Then you stand there at three years look back at one year and say this is where I had to be. This is where I was that made it a done deal that I was going to get here.

Why do it that way? Because human beings regularly – this is part of who we are – overestimate what we can do in the short term and underestimate what we can do in the long term. This is one of the key reasons why most people have trouble with planning because they try to just look right here right close to me and go. This is what I need to do. But they’ve overestimated what they can get done. Just think about your daily schedule. How often do you fill your daily schedule with more than you can get done in a day. Because we overestimate what we can do in the long term in the short term by going out as far as we can really consciously create.

Five years three years and create that as big as we possibly can really just explode it. Then work our way back.

Typically what’s going to happen is when you get back to 1 year you’re going to look at that you’re going to go.

I can do that in six months. Awesome! Go back out ten years. Five years. Make it bigger.
And go through the process again until you have goals that are really you look at that one year goal and go “Yeah. That’s a little scary.”

Now we’re good.

Now, we have to take into account learning. And, this is another one of those huge keys that gets missed in planning. We don’t plan for what we need to learn.

We don’t plan for what are the key things that we have to be able to get to know. We have to learn because we don’t know everything that there is for us to do. We have no clue.

All of the things that we have to do to be able to make sure that we accomplish our plan.

Unless you’re only planning for things you already know how to do that that’s kind of boring isn’t it.
Why would you create a plan for something you already know how to do. Put it on your to do list Get it done.

Or as someone I know is says “Get’er Done!” A goal is something we don’t know how to do. Or at least we’re not quite sure.

So we have to put in the plan learning. Then we take that plan and we pull it back down to one quarter. And a great way to do this is take your year and again work it backwards.

Stand in one year out and say Where did I need to be three months prior to that. Where was I three months prior to that, that made it a done deal that I was going to get here. Then stand there and look back say OK two months out I mean six months out. Where was what did I do.

Where did I accomplish. Then down to nine months prior to that year.

Do the same thing again.

Now you have a very nice goal for 90 days. And, we like to work with 90 days. Two reasons. One is it works very well with business quarters. Right. That’s typically what we do is work on a quarter.
So it works very well with our business quarter’s.

However, it’s also one of the keys to making sure that you can get it done because our brains, we have a hard time focusing on something for more than 90 days. And physically it’s hard to get things done in less than 90 days. So 90 days works out to be a very nice range.

All right so now we have our dreams our goals the learning that we need to do.

We have a 90 day goal and now we have to take it down to weekly actions. What are you going to do each week to accomplish that goal.

Follow this and you will have a plan that not only will you follow but you will want to do it because it addresses the things that are most important to you.

I’m Doug Barra and I thank you for joining me.

If you enjoyed this video and you got value from it please like us please go on Facebook like us on Facebook like us on Youtube. Subscribe to our e-mail list. Enjoy this. Thank you.

 

A 5 Point Checklist to Generating Leads Online

Business Marketing Training - MarketRICH

Small business experts will tell you that generating leads online is critical for success in today’s business world. People are doing more and more business online. If you are ignoring that potential source of leads, your business is not going to grow and thrive.

Checklist for generating leads online

You can use this five-point checklist to get started or to refine your current process.

  1. Give great value. Almost everyone on the planet loves to get value for their money. Value is getting something more than a low price. Value can come in the form of useful information and tips, additional features, faster delivery, reduced fees, free customization, etc. Your prospects must see that the value you are providing them that makes you superior to the competition.
  2. Focus on what your prospective customer wants. You may have a billion ideas for new products or services. But, if your ideal customer doesn’t want any of them, they are all useless. Know your ideal customer intimately. Get to know their pain points, their desires, their commitments. Use those for ideas on what products and services your leads want.
  3. Be the expert your prospects can rely on. People want to buy from people they can trust. Positioning yourself as an expert in your field helps build the trust of people looking for your product or service. You can gain the expert position by offering helpful tips, knowledgeable advice, and key industry information that would be of interest to your ideal customer.
  4. Provide multiple levels of involvement. Do you interact with the people in your life in only one way? You probably see them face-to-face, talk on the phone, exchange emails, and follow them on social media. Your customers want this multi-level form of involvement from you as a business. It helps build trust and makes it easier for them to become a customer.
  5. Interact with your prospects. Remember communication is a two-way street. Your potential customers want to interact with you, even online. This can take a ton of forms, including interacting on social media, personal email communication, personalized marketing material, and webinars. Interaction builds trust and gets people to become leads.

If you implement each item on this list, you will start seeing well-qualified leads coming from your online efforts. And small business experts will tell you that you have a great start on taking your company to the next level.

How do you go about generating leads online?

 

3 Creative Ways to Generate New Leads

Are you looking for new and creative ways to generate leads for your business? Sometimes you need to get creative to jumpstart your lead generation process. Adding just a bit of creativity can expand your audience and attract plenty of attention to what your company has to offer.

Let’s Get Creative

Here are three creative ways you can generate new leads:

  1. Host a special event. This can be as simple as an after work wine and cheese party. It can be as complicated as a full-blown formal black-tie event, complete with orchestral trio and a sit-down dinner. You invite your existing customers and ask them to bring a friend who might be interested in what your company has to offer. It is a nice way to reward your existing customers while introducing yourself to some new prospects.
  2. Develop strategic alliances. What products or services mesh well with your business? These are companies who are not in competition with you, and complement your offerings. Think about creating alliances where you cross-promote each other’s business. For example, bankers might refer business clients to the accounting firm down the street. An accountant might refer clients to a personal financial adviser. A real estate agent might refer a general contractor or home builder.
  3. Join (or create) a networking group. Local networking groups are great places to get your company known. You can meet people face-to-face and let them learn a bit about what your company does. You may not get direct business from those you meet in the networking group. However, if you educate the people you meet about what you do, they will start referring people to you. You should reciprocate and do the same for them.

Each of these will help you generate high-quality leads. It all begins with knowing what you do well and finding a creative way to showcase it to prospective clients and those who may refer you.

What is the most creative way you have for generating new leads?

 

 

What Is Strategic Planning?

Transcript:
What is strategic planning? I think you’ll agree that most people are confused about what strategic planning is, but what if I told you there’s no such thing as strategic planning?

In this video I’m going to share with you what Peter Drucker, the famous management consultant, and Sun Tzu, the author of Thirty-Six Stratagems, have to say about planning and strategy. Stay tuned.

Hi, my name is Jody Ann Johnson from ActionCOACH Team Sage, where we help small business owners grow their company, make more money, free up their time and to have choice of the opportunities they want to take advantage of.

Let me start off with uncollapsing strategic planning. From strategy, which is thinking, and planning, which is implementing and executing. I’m going to share with some of the research that I found as I was preparing for this video, from Peter Drucker on strategic planning. It says here: “it’s remarkable how the same lessons need to be rediscovered again and again.” Sun Tzu dealt with the confusion between a warrior’s adaptive strategy and dealing with competing people, and long term planning in dealing with objects; we’re still dealing with it today. In Peter Drucker’s Management Tasks and Responsibilities, he found the same problem and confusion around management, that they had for planning of objects and planning for people. He listed four misconceptions arising from this term strategic planning. Strategic planning is not a tool box of tactics or tricks. It’s not a bundle of techniques. Strategic planning is not forecasting. Strategic planning is not dealing with future decisions. And strategic planning is not an attempt to eliminate risk.

I think that last one is really important because as a society with things changing as fast as they are, people tend to get smaller, to constrain, to try to avoid risk, when what’s really being asked for today is an opening up, an expansion and a wider berth of awareness about our position and what’s going on around us. So we look to mitigate risk, and where we can, we probably want to do that, but not as an overall strategy for business growth.

Drucker describes strategy from a warrior’s perspective as the analytical thinking and commitment of resources to action. He describes attempts at predicting the future as foolish, because it’s of little use to people who seek to innovate and change the way people live and work. He sees strategy in terms of the decisions we make today about a future that is inherently uncertain. This is the realm of unpredictable people, not predictable objects. As I studied this, I was really fascinated because the way we were raised in school and in most of our environments was in a linear way, very much consistent with the Industrial Revolution, where there were assembly lines, and whatever happened over here was necessary for what happened here and what it was going to happen over there, but it was linear and predictable. So over here you knew what these people or this machine was doing on that side, and what to expect when it got to you. In today’s world we’re less dealing with objects, unless you’re involved in manufacturing where you’re going to take a material and turn it into something else, and more in the realm of people, and people are inherently unpredictable.

As a matter of fact we may think that we know our own selves and what motivates us, and how we’re going to react to the situation, and what that reaction is going to produce over there with others. And the truth of the matter is: not only do we not know how they’re going to respond, we don’t even know how we’re going to respond. So it’s going to take a different way of thinking about strategy and planning.

When you’re looking at strategy as it relates to people, we want to look for what are the natural inherent ways that people respond. You’ve heard of fight and flight; this is common. Yet, I can’t tell you how many times when somebody has come across aggressively with their employees or with a client or in the marketplace with a competitor and expecting them not to resist not to either shut down or run away. And of course that’s what people do. They shut down or they are gone even if they’re physically still there, they’re not mentally still there. And if it’s with a competitor, many times they’re going to come back and it’s going to launch a full on attack. So getting clear if we are dealing with people here, or are we dealing with an inanimate object, in which case planning for the production of something makes perfect sense.

The purpose of strategy is not to eliminate risk, but in Drucker’s words is to take the right risks. “Innovation at its core is an act of discovery, in which we embrace the uncertainty of the environment and explore it for opportunities.” I don’t think I can say this any better than he did, which is why I’m quoting it for you.

I’m listening to the audiobook of whiplash right now, and I’m on my second listen of it and bought the book, because it actually is challenging, the long held belief systems and what I think is possible and what is going on out in the world, on so many levels that it’s almost impossible to take in. So I’m on my second listen, because I have to turn it on, listen for a few moments, stop it and think – how does this apply to me? How does this apply to my business? How does this apply to my clients? And it’s staggering in its scope, so I highly recommend this book. And yet at the same time, Peter Drucker back in the 70s was quoting Sun Tzu in his Art of War in the Thirty-Six Stratagems, which are ancient; 2,000 and 3,000 year old stratagems about how to be competitive when it comes to the people side, and not necessarily the planning where we do productive planning, that linear logical process, which is important in its place, but less uncollapsed from planning necessarily when it comes to people, because people are inherently unpredictable, including us.

“The strategic planning is the continuous process of making present entrepreneurial (risk-taking) decisions systematically and with the greatest knowledge of their future, organizing systematically the efforts needed to carry out these decisions; and measuring the results of these decisions against the expectations through organized systematic feedback.” In other words, it’s the science of making good decisions about the future. Drucker was somebody who didn’t believe that we can plan for the future. He said: we have to plan our actions for the now, consistent with the direction that we’re heading. Which is why he always started off with: what is your businesses mission and vision? What’s the purpose of your business, where are you headed? Because that is the guiding navigating tool that you use. If it’s thinking and planning about a future decision, then it’s not really relevant, and it’s more like a dream. What we’re looking at is what are the actions that need to happen right here, right now, in order to take us in the direction in which we’re committed to going.

Sun Sir talked about knowing your position and awareness of your position in the marketplace. Competition is necessary in business because whenever you’re putting forth your products or your services, people have to compare you against somebody else, that is the nature of competition. Your ability to understand how to differentiate yourself in that way, from your competition, can be the strategy related to your marketing, or to your pricing, or to your product innovation and so on. That’s the world of strategy. The planning part is: this is what we want to get done. How are we going to do it? What are the feasible opportunities for making that happen? What are the resources that are going to be required? And then allocating those resources to the path that you’ve chosen. I think it’s very important that we’re aware that we’re going back and rediscovering again and again the foundational pieces of what works, rooted in ancient theory, about how we can be ever more effective with our strategic thinking and with our implementation and execution planning.

In your business and in your life you’re always adapting to dynamic situations. So I want to refrain from planning out, prescribe this and this, and actually looking at the direction that we’re headed, and making the planning process. It’s important to be organized and to coordinate efforts between people in shorter periods of time, like your quarterly planning, or even your monthly planning, so that it can be nimble and agile. And we should be able and free to adapt to opportunities that come our way, because many times we are in a conversation with somebody and all of a sudden a new opportunity arises that wasn’t in your plan at the beginning of the year, but that may be very consistent with his strategic direction you want to take your company, and that we’re able to respond to that rather than just prescribe: we’re going to do this and then we’re going to do this – sometimes that’s how people can get about their planning.

So the direction that you’re taking the business and where you’re headed, the fundamentals that must be in place, the clarity around who’s doing what by when, the clarity around what resources are available to us, and the nimbleness to be able to pivot when an opportunity comes our way, that we’re able and free to seize it.

To wrap up: the world is outside of our control. In our constantly changing environments, our most valuable resource is the ability to take quick and decisive action. The world is constantly creating unique situations, which require responses. Many of those situations are opportunities that look like problems because we didn’t plan for them. So in your planning, make sure that you have this world of the direction that you’re heading and the actions that are going to be consistent with that, and the flexibility of being able to take advantage of opportunities as they come your way.

Thank you for watching this video. If you got value from it, please like it and subscribe to my channel.

 

How To Develop A Business Continuity Plan

Transcript:
How to develop a business continuity plan? I think we’ll all agree that it’s better to have a plan when disaster strikes than not have a plan. Yet, what if I told you that the majority of business owners won’t take the time to do that kind of planning? In this video I’m going to share with you an easy way to integrate business continuity planning into your annual and semi annual business planning, so that in the event that some untoward thing happens, the company is able to weather that and survive.

Hi, my name is Jody Ann Johnson with ActionCOACH Team Sage, where we help small business owners to grow their business, free up their time, make more money and to have choice of the opportunities they want to seize. Before we start, please subscribe to my channel.

First, let’s talk about what constitutes an untoward or disastrous event in your business. Obviously, in South Florida hurricanes are something that we have to deal with every year and people will sometimes think about planning for hurricanes, although most businesses, in all honesty, really don’t. But there’s more than just the climate, the weather and hurricanes that can impact or be a disaster in your business. Let me give you some examples. You could lose a key team member in your business; that can be disastrous. You can lose a key client in your business; there’s a gentleman that I know who just lost a client that represented 60 percent of his business, and let me tell you, he’s scrambling. Disaster in his business untoward event. The death of someone in the owner’s family or in the business; a team member who dies unexpectedly or even expectedly, that was a key team player. It could be an infrastructure failure: a machine that broke down that’s a costly repair. Maybe it’s a twenty five thousand dollar repair on that machine and you hadn’t planned for it. Or maybe the equipment is old and that part is no longer available, and you’ve got to buy a new piece of equipment. It could be either an unintended or malicious data breach that caused a huge breakdown in your business, and it relates to your customer data and information. I have a client that thought that their computer was being backed up, and it was being backed up, but it was in a closet that wasn’t cold and none of that data was backed up – it actually was a disaster for them, all of their former information was gone and it took six months to put that back together. Talk about a disrupt to your business. It could be somebody who has a new competitor that’s come into the marketplace and has an innovation that you haven’t invested in yet. I have another client that owns machinery that’s available today and is purchased at a lower actual acquisition cost, and is better and faster than the machinery that he bought five or seven years ago, that he’s still using. But this guys come in with new equipment and can do it for less money, also a huge disruption in the business.

So as I go through this list of different ways that the business can be adversely affected, it either may have happened to you, as it’s happened to me, or it could be someone that you know that it’s happened to. Yet, have we taken the actions necessary to protect the business from the effects of these kinds of things? More than likely not. So what I’m suggesting is that we weave this kind of thinking into our annual and semiannual and quarterly planning. When you’re sitting down and looking at the business where it stands, what’s working, what’s not working, add an item to your agenda, about where is our business vulnerable. So that you can begin to take a step in each of those areas that you’ve identified toward shoring up the vulnerability of the business.

It could be that you need to be out there continually recruiting, particularly now with such a low unemployment, and looking for talent that may become available to you. It may be that you need to be socking away that profit rather than taking it as distribution, so in the event that equipment malfunctions, you have the ability to go out and purchase that. It may be that rather than having everything on your laptop or your employee’s laptop, that you actually have things stored up in the cloud so that you could have access to them in the event of a hurricane or in the event of that person leaving the business. So look for yourself where are the vulnerabilities in the business, and begin to put together a business continuity plan that’s going to make sense. Woven into your annual planning, your semiannual and your quarterly planning, this becomes a much easier task to delegate out to different team members and to also get resolved, so that when something does happen, the inevitable rare event that is uncommon yet commonly happens in businesses, you’re prepared for that.

While the thought of this may be formidable and you feel like: I don’t have the time, I don’t have the money, I don’t have the team members, I don’t see how in the world I can get this done… I leave you with this: if you don’t have time to implement this kind of planning, are you going to have time to clean up the mess when the inevitable happens?

Thank you for watching this video. If you got value from that, please like it and share it with anybody that you believe would also get value from watching it. Thank you.

 

How To Manage Business Growth: 6 Steps Strategy

Transcript:

People ask me all the time what are the steps to growing the business effectively. Well, what if I told you that here with our clients in ActionCOACH we have six clearly defined steps that when you implement them, will actually allow your business to grow and flourish all the way from that early beginning stages of chaos through to a business that you can sell, duplicate or have as a passive income. And it’s not hard to do. In this video, I’m going to take you through each of those six steps are and the advancement criteria to go from one level to the next. Stay tuned!

Hi, this is Jody Ann Johnson with ActionCOACH business coaching, where we help small business owners to grow their business, free up their time, make more money and have choice about what opportunities they want to pursue. First, I’m going to take you through an overview of the six steps: at the base level we call mastery. What gets covered is what is the direction you want to take your business. What is your five year objective or plan, your purpose and what is it that you want to achieve in your life. Then we go and we look at the money, because we need to know what is breakeven. What is your acquisition costs. What are the things that you need to know about the finances of your business. Then we look at your team, what are the basics of the team. Do they have job descriptions that are clearly spelled out, tasks that they’re accountable for. And how are you going to measure them in terms of their effectiveness at that role. And then we look at time – we look at what are the places where time in terms of productivity leak out of your company then we look at the distribution and delivery of your products and services. At that basic mastery level, those are the four areas that get covered.

Now here’s an interesting fact: it can take a business anywhere from six months to two years to cover that when you’re working with us, and most businesses will never make it out of that level of clarity or lack of clarity in their business to advance to the to the next level. As a matter of fact, the statistics are only about 8 percent of businesses will make it out of that level. To advance to the next level that we call niche, you must have an annual operating plan and budget forecast. The next step is niche. Niche in our world is that you have no price competition and that you can actually plan predictably what your cashflow is going to be. And you do that through what many of you have seen is the five ways: having clarity around, what are the number of leads that I need, what’s the conversion rate in order to get a new customer, how many transactions can I do with that customer or that referral source and what is my average dollar sale that gives me the revenues of my business. And from there looking at the margins, which ultimately leads to your bottom line net profit. When there’s clarity around that, then you can make predictable cash flow pattern for growth and scaling.

Now when I go into see prospects, many times they’ll say I want more customers or I want more sales. They almost never say I want more profits, and only once in 13 years have I heard somebody say I want more cash, which is really why we’re all in business: we can actually make the cash to be at choice, right? So the magic of the formula is not what happened. Because my background was in emergency nursing, I call that what happened the autopsy of your business. That’s what happened in the past. The magic of that formula is actually looking at if this is the cash I want, this is what my profit needs to be. This is what my margins need to be. This is what my sales need to be. This is what my average dollar sale needs to be. This is how many transactions I need to get. How many new customers at that conversion rate, how many people do I need to talk to every single week in order to reach my goals and objectives.

With that level of clarity, you can build scalability into your business. To advance from niche to the next level of leverage, requires having an annual marketing plan and budget. And at the leverage stage we’re looking at systems. Now, of course you’re going to put some systems in at the mastery level, you’re going to put in the systems of your financial reporting, and having job descriptions and such, but at the level of leverage what we’re looking at is that we’ve systemized this business, so that when you bring in new team members, they can come in as an asset.

When I was working in the emergency department and managing the night shift, we had policy and procedure manuals. Now, this might make you laugh, but what I would do is I would go in, particularly when I was brand new, and I would take every single one of those manuals – and they were big, there were like 7 of them – and I would lay them out on the counter at the nursing station desk, and I’d have them open to the things that we were typically dealing with in the E.R. And anytime something came up that I didn’t know exactly how to do, or my team didn’t know exactly what to do, I would go and I would flip through that manual of policies and procedures and follow that step by step pathway. And that allowed me to do ninety nine point ninety nine percent of what was needed in order to be able to have a successful outcome. If my team came to me rather than me going and doing it for them, I would say: hey, have you looked at the policy and procedure manual and worked through how to get it done for yourself? And if they had, then I would go help them if they were unclear. But if they hadn’t, I’d always send them to the policy and procedure manual, so that they learned how to be independent. People are only an asset when they can think independently, and that requires that you’ve systemized your business. To go from niche into leverage, only about 5 percent of business actually really have their company set up in such a way that they can have people come in and be an asset.

The next-level of the six steps is having the team. And this is making sure that you have the right people in the right seats, doing the right thing at the right time, for the right reason. Unfortunately, in business many times as the company grows we can outgrow our team members, particularly if they’re not learning the way we’re learning and the way that the industry and the marketplace is changing. So it could be that even though we have someone on the team that has been with us for a while, I often see people substitute loyalty for performance. So invest in your team if you want to keep those key team members, or you really have a lot of respect because they’re a good culture fit, but just make sure that they’re out there doing the learning they need to do, so they grow with you. Bill Gates is quoted as saying the most painful thing in business is outgrowing your team, because we want to reward the people that have been with us along the way, but only if they’re going to continue to be an asset in the business.

The next level up is synergy, and synergy is where we turn up the volume and we scale the business. Unfortunately, I often see people go and open a second location or expand their business before they put these pieces in place. And then the infrastructure falls, because they don’t have the systems or they don’t have clarity about how they’re going to scale the business, or the marketing hasn’t been worked out. Then they’re there when the volume goes up high, and it’s like, boom! The worst thing about it is that you lose your reputation in the process, so people don’t want to come and try you again because for whatever reason they weren’t taken care of the way that you would’ve been committed to taking care of them, if you had those infrastructure, people, resources in place. So when you turn up the volume, get to see where the cracks are, and we turn the volume up slowly, so that you can see where the cracks are and then go back and fix the base that you’re operating from.

And then the final sixth step is what we call results – and this is where you’re free to sell your business. Everybody is talking these days about I want to sell my business in three years, I want to sell my business in five years, and I want to sell it for a billion dollars. All fine and well and good, but what I’m really looking for is for people to be at choice – if you want to sell your business, that is set up and structured for you to get the best multiple, because you’re taking care of these steps along the way. Or duplicate the business or have a passive income stream. In our business what we’re looking to do is create an employee owned company that allows them to have a stake and a say in how things are going to go. That’s our plan for the future.

So here you have the six steps. If you would like a copy of our six steps, I know that most people will not be able to do that on their own, but if you’re one of the very few people who could take this checklist and go through them and make it happen, God bless you, you’re welcome to have it. And if you need help with it, then please reach out to us at actioncoachteamsage.com or call me on 305-984-2414 and I’ll be happy to talk with you.

Thank you for watching. If you got value from this video, please like it and share it with anybody that you believe would get benefit from watching it as well. Thank you.

 

What Is The Business Planning Cycle

Transcript:
What is the business planning cycle? I think we can all agree that people get very confused about where to start in their business planning. But what if I told you that there is an easy model to follow?

In this video I’m going to share with you the four areas of decision making and planning that will allow you to have a pathway for being able to do your planning and do it well. Stay tuned!

Hi, this is Jody Ann Johnson with ActionCOACH Business Coaching, where we help small business owners to grow their companies, free up their time, make more money and be at choice.

The four areas that I mentioned to you at the onset of this video actually come from Vern Harnish’s work, in his book Scaling Up. The first one, if you think of it as the 12 o’clock position, is people. At the 3 o’clock position on the clock, is strategy. At the six o’clock position is execution, and at the nine o’clock position is cash flow. All of these four are areas that every business has to make decisions in and plan around. And there’s no right place to start.

Actually, depending on the season of your business, the season of the economy, what’s going on in the macro and the micro in your community, can lead to where you should start. But wherever it is that you’re experiencing challenges in the business, you’ll probably want to start at the one just before that. So let me give you an example: strategy. People are often saying: well, my strategy: I don’t know why we’re not able to move forward. It can be one of two things. It can be that the strategy is either unclear or it hasn’t been communicated effectively to the team, so they can’t execute on it. The other reason the strategy might not be fulfilling in the company right now is: do you have the right people to fulfill on the strategy that you’ve designed? I had a client who had an air conditioning franchise and he was saying: we have a strategy, it’s very clear, it’s all laid out. I said: I’m a client of yours and I can tell you that it’s not the strategy itself, but the people who came to perform the work at my home. They were not capable of fulfilling on that strategy, they were not a match for the vision, mission, culture and strategy of your franchise. So it could be that it’s not clearly articulated or communicated, defined and given to your team, or it could be that the team is not the right team to fulfill on the strategy that you have. If we go down to execution, is it clearly articulated? And do they have the tools, the means, the resources to execute on that strategy? Sometimes it’s the resources of people. Right now (particularly right now) – do we have the right people to actually execute on this strategy, with challenges in unemployment being as low as it is? You may not have the right people or the right tools.

Sometimes it’s a matter of actually having a more efficient way of accessing data. Do you have a contact management system that allows people to go in, cloud based from anywhere, and execute on things or project, or do they need to be waiting for somebody to hand them that piece of paper in order to make it happen? I know it sounds like people don’t really work that way anymore, but I promise you – they do. I go into businesses all the time where very outdated processes for communicating in the organization are still in place. If they execute well, it should lead to cash flow and financial results. If they’re not executing well, you’re going to have challenges in cash flow. If we can’t get the right people, sometimes it’s a matter of we don’t have sufficient money to hire top talent. So we have to settle for less than what we would want to hire because we just don’t have the financial means of doing that.

So when you look at your planning, these are the four key areas to be considering: the people strategy, strategy of your business model and how you actually go about growing in the marketplace, how well you can implement and execute on the strategy that you have, and do you have the financial resources and results in order to be able to have it all work.

Look in your business and see: which one of these do I need to shore up in the next quarter, or in the next six months, or in the next year in order to get to my strategic objective, or my purpose, or my goals for this company and start working there. I know from my own self this year I said: in the next five years we’ll have an employee owned company. So what do I need to do first? Who do I need to bring in first? And for us, it was to bring in a financial person who could manage all of the spreadsheets, free up my time for marketing to collaborate with our marketing person, and then ultimately at the end of the year to bring in another coach. So the idea of what needs to happen first for us started with not just our own financial position, but making sure that we can get our clients to a financial position that was strong for them, so that they could get the right people, so that we could fill on the strategy and execute on it. And you see how that goes.

So those are the four key areas and they’re from Vern Harnish’s work in Scaling Up. I was certified as a Gazelles coach and this idea of a model of looking at the business is a very good way of approaching your business planning. So the four areas, one more time: people, strategy, execution and cash. As you go through the planning, keep in mind the next economic cycle that we’re in, those seven to 10 year periods of time (where are we?) when you’re looking at your own planning in that economic cycle. Also keeping in mind that we’re disrupting every industry across the board, that we’re going to be, as business owners and leaders, required to keep agile, nimble and learning. Successful people are always learning, and practicing, and paying attention to what’s going on around them. So what got you here won’t get you there, and definitely won’t get you there as we continue in this exponential growth of technology that’s transforming our world like second by second.

So the learning that you need to do and the attention that you need to pay: my recommendation is that you follow some of those futurists that are out there, like Peter d’un Monte’s, Verne Harnish and Roger Hamilton, that are sharing what’s ahead. So as you do your planning in those four areas, you can be focused on the one that’s going to make the biggest difference for you going forward.

Thank you for watching, and if you got value from this video, please like and subscribe to my channel.

 

How Important Is Business Planning?

Transcript:

People often ask me how important is business planning. I think we can all agree that it takes time away from the day in and day out of your business operations. However, what if I told you that when done properly it can make the difference in how well you can fulfill on your business and financial objectives for the year and that it’s worth that time investment?

In this video I’m going to share with you how to plan and prepare for your meeting, what to cover during the meeting, including some key questions to ask yourself and your team, and how to capture the promises and requests that are made with a by when, so that you can keep tracking your progress against your goals.

Hi, this is Jody Ann Johnson with ActionCOACH Team Sage, where we help small business owners to grow their companies, free up their time, make more money and get to a place of choice where they can take advantage of the opportunities that come their way.

In this first section I want to talk with you about preparing for your planning. It may seem like when you sit down that’s when you do the prep for the planning, but actually when you come into the planning meeting already prepared with the information and resources that are going to be needed to be effective, you actually allow for the planning to happen as opposed to devolving into conversations and going searching for this site and the other thing to get the information that’s needed to plan. So I’m going to share with you a couple of questions that I’d like for you to be considering and then we’ll go through items that you clearly would need, like your profit and loss compared to last year, last quarter or last month, whatever is relevant in your business. Here’s a couple of questions. What are the workplace challenges that you’re currently facing today? It might be a productivity issue, it might be a team issue. What are the challenges that you’re currently facing in the workplace today? The next one is: what are some of the objectives that you had either from the beginning of the year (if you’re in midcourse correction) or from last year, that actually didn’t get fulfilled? Why they didn’t get fulfilled? And then, what is your most successful initiative? How do you know that it’s the most successful initiative?

The next one is in the area of client acquisition business development. How many new accounts got brought in? What were the value of those accounts? How many additional transactions have you done with existing clients? Have you lost any clients? Are there any clients that you haven’t heard from or done business with in the last six months? And if so, what can be done about that? That might be a brainstorming session, but you want to bring the information about the number of clients, new clients, existing clients, the work that they’ve done with you and anybody who hasn’t interacted with you in the last six months. Who are your raving fans and how can you actually build on those raving fans and get additional referrals, which as everyone knows is the easiest way to build your business with the least amount of dollar investment? What’s made the greatest impact in your business? Either somebody who came in, like a who event, or what event that has had the greatest impact in your business, what can you do to build on that? What are some of the areas where you’ve looked at what’s working, not working or not working as well as you like, and seen something that’s actually failed? What criteria are you going to use to determine is this something that needs more time, or is this something that no matter how much time, is only going to have limited success? Or is this just a dismal failure and we need to stop it right now, and stop investing good time and money after bad? What are some of the aspects of the business that can be simplified? Where can you bring process improvement into the business, so that you can gain efficiencies in the business? Last but not least, what are some of the tired, worn out, old time strategies that you’ve been clinging to because they were right in the past, but may be totally and completely insufficient for the disruption that’s happening in every industry today that need to be retired? What are the things that we need to stop doing in our business so that we can reallocate resources to things that will actually move the business forward? Sometimes we just really hang onto what worked in the past. For instance, clinging to a program that was written 10 years ago that may not be relevant in the workplace today, or in your market today, or in the economy today. We keep trying to promote something that is actually outdated because we invested so much time in the development of that program. It’s a very good example. Or taking a look at where perhaps you put in, something like a relationship with your insurance broker, but you haven’t done an insurance audit in the last five or six years. Things have changed enormously in the industry of insurance and it’s probably time to go in and take a look at – is my insurance relevant for where my business is today? These are things that people tend to put in place and then totally forget. So there are strategies or programs that we’ve clung to because either they’re easy or we’ve invested a lot of time, but they may not be relevant anymore. Those are some of the questions that you can be asking yourself. Of course if you’re looking at your client list and what are new accounts and how much more business you’ve done with existing accounts and such, you’ll be looking at your contact management system, your database, your profit and loss, your balance sheet. And because we’re committed that people get to the place of choice in their business, meaning that within the next five to seven years they could sell their business or open another location, or be a passive income for them, we’ll want to know what is the value of this business at least on an annual basis and semi-annual basis. So we’re looking at that balance sheet, the statement of cash flows, our cash position and our profit and loss to see how well we’re doing, and all of that should be handy, so that when you sit down to do your planning you’re totally prepared for the kinds of questions that will come up.

The second area is actually in the planning meeting. It’s critical that you have an agenda that has been sent out to the people who are going to be involved in that planning in advance. That way, everybody knows what the agenda is, everybody has the resources they need to have intelligent conversations and you’ve got a way of tracking how much time is going to be invested in each one of these things. The recommendations, believe it or not, is that you save money for the end rather than the beginning of the conversation, unless you’re doing really well and you have a surplus of sales and cash – it can sometimes squash the strategic planning process. So having an agenda, making sure that everyone is clear and has all of the resources that they need. If you need certain people to be leading aspects of that conversation, then you’ll want to let them know in advance so that they can prepare. It’s my opinion that you involve people from every level of the organization in your planning process.

The latest research has shown that with the Internet and with connectivity, the things that want to emerge in your industry and emerge in your company come from the bottom up as opposed to the top down hierarchy way that we’ve seen in the past. So people that are actually doing the doing in your business can sometimes have the very best ideas of innovation. These are frontline with your clients and customers, with the products and services that you offer, and your best ideas could very well come from those people, through each level of the organization that they’re all involved in that. And that you bring people in that will not only agree with you and your position about the business, but will also challenge that from their perspective.

The last area is capturing requests, promises and by whens. By when is probably my favorite question. Well, maybe not my favorite, but close to one of my favorites, only because it moves things forward. When people have a by when, they know that this is the time that I have in order to be able to get this thing done. So what’s great about quarterly planning is that people know – ok, I’ve got 90 days, 13 weeks in which I have to produce X Y and Z. Or if there’s a timeline involved, they know that they’ve got to do this in order for things to move forward in somebody else’s department. So the requests, the who are there made by (because that person is responsible for managing the requests that they’ve made) and the promises that are made by people and by when those things can be expected. So all of that gets captured in a document that is shared with the rest of the company so that people know these were the discussions that happened, these were the outcomes that we’ve come up with, the promises requests and by when.

And once all of that is in place and the next planning session is established, then we can keep referencing the planning that we’ve done to make sure that we’re on track, stay focused and are able to allocate and reallocate resources of time, team and money as needed to reach your business and financial objectives, and ultimately have a happy thriving business.

Thank you for watching my video, and if you got value from it please like and subscribe to my channel.

 
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