Monthly Archives: June 2017

Dirty Word in Your Business

As a business owner, are you focused on how much money everyone is spending in your business? Or do you focus instead on how much profit you‘re going to make? Unfortunately too many small business owners focus too much time and effort on how much money is being spent and not nearly enough time figuring out how to make more money (i.e. Profit). It‘s more of a poverty vs. abundance mindset. Why not be a little different and focus on abundance vs. poverty as a small business owner?

There is a dirty word that surfaces for small business owners from time-to-time, which typically causes them to feel ill and break into cold sweats. BUDGETS. Nobody really wants one or frankly ever asks for one. It has a punitive, I‘ve just got called down to the Principal‘s office, feel to it. Budgets are constraining and inhibiting to growth and sustainability. A more energizing and productive path to take is developing a Profit Plan. This way you‘ll be able to focus on achieving profits vs. not spending yourself out of business.

Focus on Your Profit Plan, Not Your Budget

I used to be a pretty decent golfer with a low single digit handicap. There are lots of great analogies between golf and business. One of the main ones we focus on as business coaches is that both business and golf can get unnecessarily complicated. Anyone who has taken a few golf lessons can tell you that. You can get so focused on the proper mechanics of your swing that you forget how to hit the ball. And it stops being fun and starts feeling like work! I learned early on that the best thing to do with my golf swing was to keep things simple. Boil it down to one or two swing thoughts as I was addressing the ball and then forget everything else.

It helps to have the same kind of focus in business so things don‘t get overly complicated and it stops being fun. For small business owners, developing and executing a successful Profit Plan is essential to set the stage for making money on purpose. Start simple by asking yourself:

  1. What do I want my company’s sales to be for the coming year?
  2. How much do I want in profit/net income/the bottom line?

Those two numbers should be the key focus (i.e. swing thought) for you and your team. That way, everyone is focused on how you are going to make those sales and profit goals a reality. No confusion, no complexity.

Too many folks are directed to focus on a budget instead of a Profit Plan and what happens is they often lose sight of sales and profit goals and focus solely on the spending and expenses. Remember that the “score card“ in business is not how little you spend, but how much profit you‘re able to make. So be sure to focus on profit and not simply spending.

Some Parts to a Winning Business Plan

Starting a business is an exciting venture. To make it an absolute success, getting all the details right from the very beginning is absolutely crucial. This is where a business plan becomes relevant.

A business plan is a formal statement that comprises the goals of a business, reasons why they are attainable and the ways in which these can be accomplished. In short, a business plan is a road-map to success.

It is important to understand that while a business plan may not make success inevitable for a business, it can definitely help you identify viable ways to avoid failure. It helps you get a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your business and devise ways to capitalize on the strength and minimize the risks.

Parts of a Business Plan

Regardless of whether you are starting a business or planning to grow your existing one, a business plan is an absolutely crucial element. Let’s take a look at what to include while craft a winning business plan.

Executive Summary

An executive summary briefly outlines the goals and objectives of the business. It summarizes a description of the business, the products and/or services provided, growth potential, funding requirements, a proper plan on how you will repay loans, if any, etc.

Sometimes, you might require to show the business plan you formulate to investors and financiers. Therefore, you should ensure that you get to the to-the-point in the summary.

Description of the Business

This is where you introduce readers to the business. Describe the products and services that your business plans to provide and where and how you plan on providing these to your potential customers. By now, you would need to have a clear idea about which industry corresponds to your business and who your target customers are going to be.



Also include, an industry analysis and how your business fits in. It should also comprise an outlook for the future. Include how further developments in your industry may affect your business and add facts supporting your inferences.

Analysis of Market Opportunities and Competition

A thorough market research is crucial for your business. This research should analyze the buying habits of customers, purchasing cycle, their willingness to accept new products and services etc. In short, you would need to determine whether there is a viable market for the products and/or services your business will offer.

Also, it is important to have an idea about your competitors and what works for them. These findings will help you determine how to differentiate your product or service from the existing ones. The strategies you devise for this purpose should be included in your business plan.

Marketing and Sales

This section should comprise a layout of your marketing plan. One of the primary purposes of this section is to find ways to spread awareness of the products and services among your target customers. Marketing involves advertising and promoting your products while maintaining proper public relations.

Your plan should include the techniques that you will implement to generate leads, increase conversion and retain customers. These should be actionable and based on facts.

Business Operations and Management

This section is dedicated to how you plan on running the business. This may include requirements related to staffing, logistics and development of the business. Also, the tasks assigned to every division, responsibilities of the management team etc. are included. Some other aspects that you need to consider are infrastructure, working equipment, WiFi requirements and so on.

You should keep in mind that the operations will change as the company grows. Therefore, your business plan should have provisions for these changes.

Finances

The success or failure of a business boils down to its profits and this section will help in planning how to keep it steady. The major aspects include:

•    An income statement comprising the sources of the business’s cash generation
•    The cash flow statement determining how you plan on meeting financial obligations

Additionally, the business plan should be inclusive of proper funding options for expansion and growth.

Contingency Plan

Even with a full-fledged plan, there can still be certain areas that can go wrong. Your business plan should include strategies that you will implement in case things don’t go as anticipated. This could include a shift in marketing strategies in case the desired results are not obtained within a specific time, change in product focus etc.

While this is a basic structure of a business plan, you can include variations depending on the type of business. The benefits of a business plan are endless. A well-drafted plan is crucial in driving your business towards success

Learn More About The Treachery Of Goals

Goals are good. We should all have someplace we are heading. In small business, sharing our goals is critical to their success. We need everyone around us to know and understand what we are trying to achieve. We also need to be careful what goal we telegraph to others.

Once again, the US Federal Government gives us a great example of how treacherous goals can be. For the past eight years, the Republicans have shared their goal of repealing and replacing the ACA. Somewhere in there is probably the goal of improving the cost of and access to health care in the United States. And that’s probably a good goal. Even the Democrats will say that there are things that need to be fixed with the current system.

However, based on what is being done and said, it appears the real goal is to undo one of President Obama’s programs. Those are different goals. When the language and focus is on dismantling a current program, there is no energy around fixing the problem. They are struggling to realize the goal of improving the cost of and access to health care. You know why? Because that’s not the goal they are really working toward. All of the energy and conversation is around repeal and replace, not solve. So, that’s what people are working on — the wrong goal.



People follow where you lead them. And if they find the place you are going either doesn’t resonate with their values, or is not possible to achieve, they tune out. Their effort is less than enthusiastic.

I am not here to agree or disagree with their desire to repeal and replace. I am positing that when this is truly the goal, what’s best for the organization, or in this case, the citizens, will not necessarily be realized.

What is the true goal? Is it a better health care system? Or undoing a program? From everything the leaders are talking about and acting upon, I believe it is undoing.

This happens all the time in business. A leader will say the goal is one thing but their focus will be on something else. For example, the sales manager can say the goal is to increase revenue. However, if that same sales manager insists the sales staff behave in a specific way to reach that goal, she has effectively changed the goal. Now the actual goal is doing things her way. If the actual goal is to increase revenue, that should be the focus. How the sales staff achieves that goal is up to them.

The Importance of Clear Goals

It’s important that we make sure we are really focusing on the core goal. That’s the only way others can follow us and help us achieve that goal. The first step is to ask yourself what outcome you want. What does success look like? In business, the answer should be something that equates to the business being successful; a better bottom line.

Once you know the outcome you are hoping to achieve, every decision should point there. The leader doesn’t have to be the person with all the answers. His responsibility is to convene conversation and exploration. When the leader pulls a team together and they work to identify the best way to accomplish the core goal, decisions are made with the best interest of the company in mind.

Goals are bigger than egos. They are bigger than individuals. They are bigger than acclaim. Goals are also treacherous. They can easily be displaced by artificial, personal goals that only get in the way of the success of the business. Keeping an eye on what really matters, and where you really want to go, can keep your goals in check. And this will help you grow your business — which is the ultimate goal.