The Keys To Small Business Success – Planning And Prioritizing

Planning And Prioritizing

As a small business owner, you know that you have to wear a lot of hats. Of course, time is limited as well as your own skills. So, when you want to grow your business, the only way to be successful is to start planning and prioritizing.

The Keys To Small Business Success

 

Get Your Strategic Plan in Writing

Even though it may be hard to find the time for planning and prioritization, you need to understand that it is crucial. After all, when you decided to launch your small business, you did it with a purpose. So, you need to ensure that you put this purpose and your business goals in writing. Large corporations and companies do this on a regular basis. Most of them do their planning on a quarterly basis as well as on a yearly basis. This gives them the control to achieve each and every goal they define.

Set Your Priorities For Your Business

In addition to planning, it is also important to prioritize. Just like you do on a daily basis with your tasks, you need to know what is more important to meet the goals that you define for your business.

While it may seem a bit confusing and you don’t know where to start with your planning and prioritizing tasks, here are the main 4 elements that you need to focus your attention on:

#1: Write Down Your Goals In A Clear Way:

This is the time to think about what you want for your business. Where do you see yourself and your business in a year from now? Five years from now?

Since you will also need to prioritize in a later step, it is important that you classify each one of the goals that you define in this step as short-term (quarterly), medium-term (1 year), and long-term (two to five years).

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#2: Create A Detailed List Of Tasks For Your Team:

Each one of the goals that you defined in the previous step involves a wide range of tasks. The truth is that if you only write down your goals but skip this step, you won’t ever reach them. Unless you think about everything that you need to do to accomplish the goal and then do it, you’ll never reach it. So, be as detailed as you can. You want to involve your employees in this process.

In this tasks list, you will also need to include the resources that you need. While you can have some of the resources you need already, you may need to acquire or allocate others.

 

#3: Prioritize Your Tasks in Your Business:

Up until now, you defined your goals in a clear way and you determined everything you need to reach them. Now, it’s time to decide what is more important.

When you are prioritizing your tasks, you should make sure that you place the tasks that have a higher impact on your goals on top of the list.

 

#4: Be Flexible With Your Business Plan:

One of the things that you need to always keep in mind is that planning and prioritizing are on-going tasks. They are never completed, they are never done. In addition, sometimes, an urgent task comes along and you may not meet a deadline or two. However, it is not the end of the world. Just keep it calm and re-adjust the next tasks that you have to do.

While planning and prioritizing may seem intimidating and time-consuming, having everything on paper makes it a lot easier. The truth is that when you fail to plan and to prioritize, you will never reach the goals you have, you will never see your business grow in a consistent way. So, make sure that you take some time and truly dedicate yourself to this task.

Summary

As we mentioned earlier, you should definitely involve your employees to help you define the tasks for every goal that you set. However, you need to have a proactive attitude, and you need to stand out and commit to your short-, mid, and long-term goals.small business coach

Top Ten Strategies to Retain Your Employees

Top Ten Strategies to Retain Your Employees

With our robust economy, unemployment levels are at record lows. To find and retain your employees is one of the biggest challenges facing small businesses. And costly! Experts estimate that it costs between $10,000 to 1.5 times their annual salary to bring on a new hire. Here are the Top Ten Strategies to Retain Your Employees and grow your business.

Top Ten Retention Strategies to Retain Employees

What can business owners do to keep their employees? Here is a top ten list.

1. Keep Your Vision, Values, and Mission in Front of Your Team

There is a saying that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Once you have clarity of where you want your business to be in five years, what your company does for customers, and how you want your employees to treat each other and your customers then make sure you reinforce your VVM at least weekly in your meetings and other communication. Having a compelling vision keeps employees excited, and more importantly, keeps YOU excited!

2. Encourage Your Employees To Grow Within and Outside Your Business

Offering promotion from within is a powerful motivator to your employees. To demonstrate that you are preparing them for promotion, find ways to train them.  Some examples of this can be implementing a training program or using outside resources and tools (such as workshops, books, online courses, etc.). Doing this can create a powerful incentive for your team members to stay over the long haul. Something as simple as creating a book of the month club can work wonders.

3. Involve Your Employees in Your Strategic Planning

Once you have developed your plan, bring your employees in and share your vision, values, and mission with them. Enlist their ideas and input in brainstorming sessions to create actions for the plan and then assign the employees with the ideas to carry out the task. This creates buy-in from your team.

4. Encourage Employees to Be Creative

Many companies say they value creativity but they don’t have any initiatives to support creativity. Below are some possibilities:

Offer rewards for creativity. Recognize and reward employees that contribute ideas that you implement.

Provide a private and public way of sharing ideas. Some employees don’t want attention and others do. This can be as simple as a suggestion box for private comments and a meeting forum for public comments.

Develop a fun working environment. Foster a caring and fun working environment to encourage spontaneity.

5. Deploy and Reinforce Your Values In The Workplace

The Golden Rule in the workplace when fully deployed can create a great sense of belonging and loyalty. A culture of respect can be fostered by implementing many of the following strategies: feedback, recognition, encouraging creativity, collaboration, and so on.

It is essential to empower your team members with kindness and thoughtfulness and to reinforce those values when practiced(and confront team members when not practiced).

6. Catch Your Employees Doing Something Right

Leaders tend to focus on problems and sometimes employees can get burned in the process. Stephen Covey wrote about making “Emotional Deposits” with people. If you build up their “Emotional Bank Account” then you position them to make a withdrawal when you need to provide constructive criticism.

Make it a point to look for positive acts from your team members and build up their accounts. Tell others about what you “caught” your employees doing.

7. Offer Competitive Compensation

Many business owners are stuck in the past with wages and are losing their employees to their competitors.

Your team members need to be able to cover their cost of living, and to feel like they are doing good, rewarding work. Research what a competitive salary would be for your employees and start paying them what they’re worth. If necessary, raise your prices to give you room for pay increases.

8. Resist Changing Things Too Quickly

Changes are constant can also be very stressful. New initiatives and system changes in your company should occur, but forcing too much change too soon can cause good people to leave.

When changes are necessary, involve your employees in the process. In the same way that you involve employees in planning, get their input and ideas on how to make the changes.

A thought to remember with leadership: leaders determine “the what” and employees determine “the how.”

9. Maintain a Clean and Safe Environment

Your employees spend 1/3 of their day in your facility; you want that time to be positive. You want to maintain a safe and comfortable working environment. Conduct a walkthrough of your facility and write down issues that need to be improved. Ask your employees for input with this. Or bring in a friend to give you a “fresh set of eyes.”

Cleaning house should not be limited to clutter. That can also include dismissing employees that are harassing, causing distractions, or not cooperating.

10. Provide Your Employees With Technologies and Tools That Set Them Up for Success

Sometimes it’s easy to overlook new technologies and tools that can make your employees and your business successful. Check with your industry association to learn about the latest offerings.

Conclusion

In summary, let your employees know that you care about them. Listen to them, pay them well, promote them and involve them in your success. Now that you have read and implemented these top ten strategies to retain your employees. Which of these work the best for you?

Questions about our small business coaching services?

Call us at 1-888-504-0777,

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Adding Value to Your Business

value of your business

How to Increasing the Value of Your Business

If you’re looking to sell a business, it’s helpful if you are constantly adding to the value of your business. In this articles we’ll explore some ways to do that.

A typical business really has two values. The “academic” value is the one determined by a professional business valuation. The other is the “true market” value. The academic value is arrived at with a formula based on the firms’ hard assets, cash flow, industry averages and multiples. The fair market value also takes those items into consideration, but then considers what buyers are really willing to pay.

value of your business

For many small and mid-sized businesses hard assets like equipment, vehicles, land, buildings, and inventory may be limited. For some small businesses there may be no hard assets at all. Instead, their value is based on intangibles like employees, business processes, customer lists, location and business relationships.

Adding value to your business requires focused efforts. To maximize the fair market value of your business, it’s vital that you capitalize on those intangible assets.

• Develop key employees. Buyers generally aren’t interested in paying a premium if the business relies on you for its success. Remember to delegate responsibility to key employees and involve your key staff members in the decision making process. Demonstrating that your company’s success is reliant on your capable, well-trained employees – not just you – will pay off at the time of sale.

• Document what you do. Be sure that job descriptions, operation processes, and strategic plans are documented. Documented records and plans give a buyer greater comfort that he or she will be able to emulate your successful growth and will help your buyer obtain financing. Also, be sure to keep business records like sales and expense reports, internal profit and loss statements/balance sheet, and tax returns clean and well-organized.

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• Build relationships. Name recognition, customer awareness and your reputation are all part of your business value. Even if your company doesn’t have many hard assets, your relationships are key. Consider diversifying both supplier and customer accounts.

• Improve cash flows. A potential buyer wants to see the “true cash flow.” And, of course, in the business world cash is king. Be sure you are driving all income to the bottom line.

• Review your assets. Sell off or dispose of unproductive assets or unsalable inventory. Remove or buy off any assets that are primarily for your personal use.

• Find and build your niche. You don’t have to be everything to everyone. Buyers will pay a premium for a niche that has barriers to competitive entry.

• Remodel, clean, and organize. What’s the first thing anyone does when they put their home on the market? They spruce things up and make sure everything is in its right place. Yet, in business, that’s rarely considered. A well-maintained facility will get the best price. Even businesses that lease space can benefit from a thorough cleaning and organization to convey a feeling of quality and efficiency.

value of your business

Keep these important intangible assets in mind if you’re looking to sell your business. They convey a value that financial statements alone do not. If you are looking to sell, make a plan. Start working on the intangibles well in advance of putting your business on the market. For many business owners, they reach a point where they burn out and psychologically retire early, before a sale is made. It’s important to work to keep your focus right until the sale is complete. Make sure that focus is on adding value to your business.

Finally, when the time to put your business on the market arrives, consider lining up key specialists who will help you make the most of the sale – an attorney, an accountant, a small business coach and a business intermediary to name a few. Remember, you only have one chance to sell your business, so you want to do it right.

Questions about our small business coaching services?

Call us at 1-888-504-0777,

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What is the One Missing Key to Your Business Success?

you business success

Just like humans, every business has weaknesses. In some cases business owners simply need to work on one or two areas to propel their business to amazing growth and profits. What is the one missing key to your business success?

One of my business ventures was a small service company with 130 employees. Our largest customer was a Ritz Carlton hotel, and the hotel chain was involved with the Malcolm Baldrige Process, a way for organizations to achieve outstanding results. Our leadership team decided to get involved with this process at a state level, and we hired a business coach to help us identify areas of improvement. We grew our profits by more than one thousand percent!

What is the Missing Key to Business Success

There are seven keys to business success according to the Baldrige criteria. Over the next few blog articles, I will be writing about these seven keys. How is your business doing in these areas? Growth normally requires things like small business loans and access to business credit lines but without these 7 keys you will not be managing that growth as effectively and efficiently as you could.

1. Leadership.

Most small businesses are strong in the area of leadership. It takes strong leaders to start and run business. However once your business is going, how do you keep the momentum going? Do you communicate a clear vision, strong values and a compelling mission? Is your team growing, learning and adjusting to the business environment?

2. Strategic Planning.

In my work with small business owners, many do not have a current business plan. That is a huge mistake, especially in this volatile business environment. For example, you would be surprised how many businesses are fortunate enough to get a small business loan but then they don’t use the funds for revenue-generating initiatives and the end result is just more debt and no new clients or business. Every business owner should have short and long term goals, and every employee should understand the goals. Consider all your stakeholders during your planning.

3. Customer Focus.

This area is also a strength for many small business owners. But as a business grows it is easy to lose touch with customers, and without customers your business is dead! Do you have ways of measuring customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction? Are you improving?

4. Measurement.

Speaking of measurement, do you know your business “stats?” In the same way that sports teams know statistics about players, coaches and their offense and defense, you need to track important information. Nearly everyone tracks sale and profits, but do you know the value of your business? What are your key business success factors? Do know how your numbers compared to competitors? You should.

5. Workforce Focus.

Many business owners struggle with finding good employees. Your employees are critical to your business success. Cutting edge leaders believe that their employees are more important than their customers. How do you attract and retain good people?

6. Operations Focus.

The way you deliver your product or service can make you or break you. If you can provide excellent products and services consistently every time, your customers will likely stay with you. Otherwise, you are “rolling the dice.” Wise business owners develop measurable processes that ensure a great customer experience with few exceptions.

7. Results.

This, of course, is the bottom line of all your efforts in business. Once you have determined what is important to measure and have established measures, how are you doing? Are your “stats” improving? How do they compare with your competition or industry? Are your sales and profits growing, or are you struggling like many small businesses? Is your business value growing?

Conclusion

After reviewing these seven keys, what are the top one or two areas that could use some attention in your business? Focus your efforts on the area where your business needs to improve. If you need help, don’t be afraid to seek it out.

Questions about our small business coaching services?

Call us at 1-888-504-0777,

or 

Enter your information below to start growing your revenues and profits today…

small business coach

What is the One Missing Key to Your Business Success?

business success

Just like humans, every business has weaknesses.  In some cases, business owners simply need to work on one or two areas to propel their business to amazing growth and profits. Entrepreneurs can benefit from the services of small business coaches, who can assist them in identifying areas that require improvement while also guiding them toward business success.

One of my business ventures was a small service company with 130 employees. Our largest customer was a Ritz Carlton hotel, and the hotel chain was involved with the Malcolm Baldrige Process, a way for organizations to achieve outstanding results. Our leadership team decided to get involved with this process at a state level, and we hired a small business marketing coach to help us identify areas of improvement. We grew our profits by more than one thousand percent!

Seven Keys to Success in Business

There are seven keys to business success according to the Baldrige criteria. Over the next few blog articles, I will be writing about these seven keys. How is your business doing in these areas?  Growth normally requires things like small business loans and access to business credit lines but without these 7 keys, you will not be managing that growth as effectively and efficiently as you could.

1.  Leadership in Business.

Most small businesses are strong in the area of leadership. It takes strong leaders to start and run business. However, once your business is going, how do you keep the momentum going? Do you communicate a clear vision, strong values, and a compelling mission? Is your team growing, learning and adjusting to the business environment?

2.  Strategic Planning in Your Business.

In my work with small business owners, many do not have a current business plan.  That is a huge mistake, especially in this volatile business environment. For example, you would be surprised how many businesses are fortunate enough to get a small business loan but then they don’t use the funds for revenue-generating initiatives and the end result is just more debt and no new clients or business.  Every business owner should have short and long term goals, and every employee should understand the goals. Consider all your stakeholders during your planning.

3.  Customer Focus in Your Business.

This area is also a strength for many small business owners. But as a business grows it is easy to lose touch with customers, and without customers your business is dead! Do you have ways of measuring customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction? Are you improving?

4.  Measurement in Your Business.

Speaking of measurement, do you know your business “stats?” In the same way that sports teams know statistics about coaches, players and their offense and defense, you need to track important information. Nearly everyone tracks sale and profits, but do you know the value of your business? What are your key business success factors? Do know how your numbers compared to competitors? You should.

5.  Workforce Focus in Your Business.

Many business owners struggle with finding good employees. Your employees are critical to your business success. Cutting edge leaders believe that their employees are more important than their customers.  How do you attract and retain good people?

6.  Operations Focus in Your Business. 

The way you deliver your product or service can make you or break you. If you can provide excellent products and services consistently every time, your customers will likely stay with you. Otherwise, you are “rolling the dice.”  Wise business owners develop measurable processes that ensure a great customer experience with few exceptions.

7.  Results in Your Business.

This, of course, is the bottom line of all your efforts in business. Once you have determined what is important to measure and have established measures, how are you doing? Are your “stats” improving? How do they compare with your competition or industry? Are your sales and profits growing, or are you struggling like many small businesses? Is your business value growing?

Conclusion

After reviewing these seven keys, what are the top one or two areas that could use some attention in your business? Focus your efforts on the area where your business needs to improve. If you need help, don’t be afraid to seek it out.

Questions about our small business coaching services?

Call us at 1-888-504-0777,

or 

Enter your information below to start growing your revenues and profits today…

small business coach