The One Page Marketing Plan

I’m so excited about this new One Page Marketing Plan I want to share the first part with you now. If you begin to see what it can do for you, I hope you’ll get it for yourself.

The purpose of the One Page Marketing Plan is to simplify the steps of creating a practical plan you can put to use immediately. It can be used to support a marketing campaign or to carry out your overall business plan.

We start by gathering pertinent information and answering specific questions. We give you explanations and examples to direct your thinking plus simple tools that provide a structure you can use over and over again. You are both learning and doing at the same time.

When you actually put the Plan to use, you’ll not only see positive Results, you’ll have started a new habit that will prepare you to reach the next level in your business. [Read more…]

A Small Business Community’s Success Story

I’m still high from the energy and positive feedback we’ve had from the Third Annual Small Business Summit 2008. Support and enthusiasm about making it happen was apparent from last year’s Summit, but we didn’t know we’d have a sell-out and fill the house. Last year we had 360 attendees and this year it was 450.

As a small business community in one of the nation’s major business centers, it’s clear that we are a vocal and expanding group. The Summit concept and community now has a life of its own. People tell us they look forward to attending each year and many ask what else we’re doing. Here’s a quick glimpse at how it happens and why it’s a success.

It all started in the Spring of 2005. I had read articles and posts by Ramon Ray, http://smallbiztechnology.com, for several months and finally decided to attend an event where he was speaking. I was impressed by his presentation and the fact that he focused on small business technology. It’s a critical element of any small business, but not really my strong suit. I wanted to know more about his work, so we decided to meet for coffee. [Read more…]

Are You Operating From: IF or WHEN?

“The more clear and definite you make your picture, and the more you dwell upon it, bringing out all its delightful details, the stronger your desire will be. And the stronger your desire, the easier it will be to hold your mind fixed upon the picture of what you want.”
Wallace D. Wattles, The Science of Getting Rich (first published in 1910)

IF or WHEN? Two little words that mean so much. IF implies an uncertainty as to whether or not something will happen. WHEN implies it will definitely happen, it’s just a matter of timing.

When we’re operating in IF, we’re not committed. We’re still questioning, “can I reach my goal?” There’s no forward movement and it may actually feel like we’re going around in circles.

When we’re operating in WHEN we’ve made the decision to reach our goal. It’s just a matter of WHEN. We may not know exactly how we’ll get what we want, but the fact of having made the decision removes any doubt that it will happen. The “how” will come much easier because all future decisions will be taking us in the direction of our goal. [Read more…]

Business Reinvention: A Surprising Case Study

Business reinvention can happen for economic reasons, or to take advantage of new technology, or to reposition the business in the market. It can also happen organically, from life changes, as it did for Genece Hamby, a former packaging and branding specialist who reinvented her business as a digital artist and poet with a branded line of art and gift products.

I share Genece’s story with you because I think you’ll be inspired and encouraged as you consider the reinvention of your own business. Her story is a prime example of how life circumstances, when seeming to be negative, can actually help us to find and use inherent strengths and passions we can apply to our business.

Genece began her career in sales and technology, which later evolved into package and conceptual design. Using what she had learned about “branding” in her 30 year career, she became one of three initiators in the world of the “personal branding” concept in 2001.

Personal Branding DNA (what is Distinct, Notable and Authentic about you) was a 12 week intensive personal branding program focused on building a solid individual brand from the inside out. Genece enjoyed contributing to the development and success of her clients and individuals certified in her methodology throughout the world (Australia still remains a leader in Personal Branding DNA). Although her business seemed a success, her personal life was undergoing some critical changes that would cause her to reinvent her business in a surprising way. [Read more…]

Critical Success Factors

For the December 1999 issue of Small Business Leader I wrote an article called “Critical Success Factors for 2000”. In reading it over this week I realized the same success factors are true for 2008, so I decided to share it with you again. I’ve made minor updates, but the essence and factors are the same.

Each business has its own unique combination of critical success factors, but some are important for all businesses. Here’s my list for the year 2008.

1 – Identify and implement the technology needed to support your business and its growth.

Technology has evolved dramatically since 2000, and it’s needed even more today. You can’t afford to ignore technology. It can reduce manpower needs, increase efficiency, reduce overall costs and create the means to reach new markets, add new products and significantly improve your bottom line. The key is to know the technology that makes a difference for your business. Be careful not to take on technology for its own sake.

2 – Use the skills and resources of others to open growth opportunities and provide support outside the core mission of your business.

The virtual nature of today’s business means that you can tap into resources that previously would have to be purchased through capital expenditure, employee commitments or long-term arrangements. What you can’t provide through core capabilities can probably be better and more efficiently provided through strategic alliances where each alliance partner realizes a benefit from working together. [Read more…]

4 Ways to Boost Your Accountability and Productivity

Many clients come to me with the story of how they are struggling because they can’t get it all done, even though many of them have staff or subcontracted services in place. Not only isn’t the business moving forward as desired, but they are feeling overwhelmed, out of control and frustrated because their business isn’t performing; and neither are they. They feel stuck; up against a brick wall.

Sound familiar? Then listen up. There are actions you can take that will greatly improve your accountability and productivity, and consequently, that of your business. More importantly, there are simple tools you can use to help you provide structure and focus to your actions, so your efforts produce more of what you want.

Here are four ways you can boost your accountability and productivity.

1 – Have a Plan
If you have a plan in your head, it’s much too abstract to be of help when decisions need to be made. [Read more…]

Business Credit: How to Get It Now

Using credit to defer payment on consumer spending is a way of life for most of us. Yet we may not have taken advantage of the same option for our business. Obviously, use of credit in any circumstance must be done judiciously. For many businesses, however, use of credit can be a lifeline to even out ca$h flow as well as a way to build a credit history for future needs.

Such is the case for a new business that must purchase core product or service-related items for which ca$h is required on delivery, but the sale of those items will not take place immediately. In many cases, once the $ale is made, payment could take as long as another 60 to 90 days, depending on industry practice. Meanwhile operating expenses continue. Ouch!

For any business with a delay between expense and income or one that carries accounts receivable, a credit line can act like a bridge loan to cover expenses pending receipt of payment. It can also be used to cover any unexpected operating expenses. [Read more…]

The 3 R’s of Business Leadership

Are you a leader? If you’re the owner of a business, by default the buck stops with you. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re functioning as a leader.

When you don’t step up to the plate, take charge, make a decision on a timely basis and see that it’s carried out, you’re creating a potential problem. Your job as leader is to make decisions and take action. When decisions are put off because you’re not sure what decision to make, or you take action without really making a decision, problems can start to pile up. That’s when your business can get into trouble.

Yes, it’s true, every business decision involves risk. As the leader you bear the responsibility to make the right decision in order to reach your reward. These are what I call the 3 R’s of Leadership: Risk, Responsibility, Reward.

Risk

Let’s face it, with any decision there is the risk of making the wrong choice. What do you need in order to make the right choice? One of the first places to check is the Plan you have for your business. Consider which choice will most likely lead to your goals? Also assess if the marketplace and economy will support the decision and are your internal operations able to support it? [Read more…]

Two Steps to a Winning Strategy

Janelle located her executive recruiter office on the second floor of a small commercial building with the window facing the commuter train station platform. She hopes to attract the attention of commuting executives ready for a move or those seeking executive level help. That’s Strategy!

Carlos opened his restaurant on a low rent block at the fringe of an area being actively redeveloped . His low rent allows him to offer good quality, well- prepared food at great prices. He figures people are always attracted to a bargain. That’s Strategy!

Catherine is a real estate developer who decided to identify all properties in an upscale area which has an appraised value lower than tax valuation. She believes there will be several properties among these that are ripe for development. She’ll approach the owners to see if they are open to selling. That’s Strategy!

Strategy is thinking through logical options and asking the question: if I do X (Action) how close will I come to getting Y (Goal). The Strategy you choose [Read more…]

The Prime Strategies to Build Any Business in Any Economy

When I first start working with a client I ask, “What is your most critical business concern right now?”

I hear things like:

Cash flow is a real problem. I have trouble meeting my expenses.
The market has dried up. Sales just aren’t happening.
The market is out there, but I’m not ready to handle the business.
I don’t have my systems in place and I have trouble following through.
I often feel overwhelmed. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all.
I want to grow my business. I just don’t know how.
These are symptoms of a common problem experienced by many people with business decision- making responsibilities. It usually boils down to [Read more…]