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Strategic Business Planning Articles

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Word count: 165

Aligning your strategic business plan with your financial plan

Did you know that the average budget contains about 230 line items and takes close to six months to complete? While that may sound scary, the fact that most budgets aren't linked to their strategic business plans is even scarier. Without a direct connection between...

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Word Count: 766

The Top 10 Ways to Create a Business Plan
for People Who Hate Business Plans!

One of the key challenges for any business is to remain focused and invest resources for maximum pay-off.  It’s said that 80% of a business’s activity accounts for only 20% of total profits.  In plain language, most of the work we do is unfocused, poorly designed, and ineffective.  In today’s competitive world, no business, whether it’s an individual, professional, or a large manufacturing operation, can survive with that much lost time and wasted effort.  A business plan can help, but most small business owners (and some managers/supervisors) hate doing them!  In the spirit that any map is better than no map, here are my top ten keys to creating your own map to success:

1. Have a dream.  This sounds simple and obvious, but...

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Word Count: 258

Business planning is conducted for three complementary purposes.

  As a tool to conduct strategic planning.

Strategic planning within the context of a business plan is an effective way of organizing the many facets of strategic planning. Because of the holistic nature of business plans individual components of strategic planning are ...

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Word Count: 1087

Developing a good business plan is a complex, time-consuming undertaking.

It's far too easy to make common errors during the plan writing process. Watch for these common errors when preparing your plan:

1. Belief that the plan has no flaws.

Review the plan carefully to ensure that major errors in thinking do not exist. This entails a careful analysis of risk factors, business strategy, the target market, and marketing and sales strategy. Subtle flaws such as...

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Word Count: 596

A Picture of Results

When an artist sets out to create a painting, a sculpture or any type of art form, they start by having a vision of what the masterpiece will ultimately look like.  They take the time to focus on the feeling the piece will call upon from those that gaze at the final results.  They consider the tools, the colors, the materials necessary to bring their art to life and deliver meaning to the admirer.  Their original thought of the piece might have to come to them in many ways.  They transform these ideas and thoughts to the art piece via a vision on what the end product will look like.

This same process of a vision of what the end result looks like applies not only to the artist but also to businesses and people that make up the business.  At some point in time every business started with its owner having an idea and then putting together a vision and a plan to realize the objective.  As the business market changed, the owner adjusted the plan to remain current and provide new ideas and products to the customer.

The current business conditions are ever changing. Customer requirements are changing.  Employee requirements are changing. 

Technology is changing.  We are in the midst of an ever evolving ...

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Word Count: 127


One of the most important steps in building a successful business is to have a well thought out business plan. A business plan provides a set of instructions that explain how to build your business and what the structure of the business is going to be. It also allows you to make important decisions based on your financial speculations before you have invested too much time or money to turn back.

A business plan is also a means for you to...

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Word Count: 554

12 tips to polishing your business plan.

1.        If you are using the plan to secure external financing, ensure that the market, management and product sections are strong. Most importantly, the market must be large enough to produce a strong three-five year growth rate in sales. Sales must be explosive (e.g. go from $1 million to $10 million in three-five years)

2.        Be succinct and to the point if plan has an external audience. A caveat here: this largely depends on your audience. Investors who evaluate many business plans over the course of a year will prefer short (15-20 page), concise plans. Private equity investors or lenders may prefer longer plans with which to evaluate the business.

3.        Be positive whenever possible, but avoid unsubstantiated statements.  Use action-oriented words. Do not weaken your plan by using qualifiers such as: may, might, probably, maybe, perhaps, should, could.

4.        Proceed Slowly; Gain Momentum. Many of the problems...

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Word Count: 282

Strategic Planning and Leadership.

Are you focused on a successful future?

Well-managed, competitive companies have accepted the leadership challenge of creating an effective strategic plan for their business and sharing it with everyone in the organization. In doing so, they position themselves to respond to opportunities, rather than react to market conditions and competitive pressures.

Too many business people view weak market conditions or a poor economy as the reason for...

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Word Count: 196


A good business plan can make a crucial difference between failure and success for any business.

Here are some general rules to follow, pitfalls to avoid, and guidelines on structuring the business plan:

·         Do not exceed 30-40 pages of single-spaced text.

·         Make sure they are free of typos or grammatical errors.

·         The plan should identify the business's most profitable markets and promote the management team's knowledge and expertise.

·         The business should be looked at from a “bird’s eye” view.

Among the mistakes to avoid are: 

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Word Count: 76

Keeping on Track

Every month or so you should step out of the day to day of doing business and evaluate the course of your company's actions.

Ask yourself these questions:

 Are we working towards our most important goals?

 Are we getting closer to or further away from our...

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Word Count: 938

Writing A Business Plan
Structuring your plan

A comprehensive business plan should include a Title Page and the following 10 sections:

1.  Executive Summary:

This is the first section the reader will see. It's important to capture his or her attention or the rest of the plan may be ignored. Logically, it's best to write this section last, after you've thought through the remaining sections.

  • Provide a brief summary of the plan and explain how it is organized.

  • Describe the business — your product or service, your purpose for borrowing, and investment opportunities.

2.  Company Description:

This section tells the reader in more detail what your business is all about — its location, function, history, size, etc.



Word Count: 192

“Life In The Fast Lane”

A fast company

Competes on ideas. Netscape, for example, releases products on the Web before completion, thereby being first to market and engaging early users as co-creators.

Competes on teamwork. The whole company must be built around it.

Competes on knowledge and learning. Learning should be an everyday occurrence—part of how business is done.

Competes on values-based leadership. Retired head of Perot Systems in Dallas, Mort Meyerson, defines leadership as “making sure the company knows and embodies what it stands for; recruiting, hiring, and developing the best talent; creating an environment where employees can do their best work; and being accessible to the whole organization for both business and personal issues.”

Implements like crazy. An organization has to be relentless in...

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Word Count: 240

Strategic Planning Is Back


hen Jack Welch purged GE of strategic planners in 1983, it marked the passing from favor of a business practice that had once fascinated company leaders and made countless consultants rich.

At that point, companies turned their attention to improving internal operations, and embraced new concepts such as TQM and reengineering.  Companies shrank and shriveled as processes were streamlined.

Ten years later, along comes C.K. Prahalad (co-author of Competing for the Future) who says that without continuous growth, companies can’t have continuous improvement.  And, voila, an old idea-growth-is new again, and an old tool for accomplishing that growth-strategic planning-is suddenly hot again.

However, as...

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Word Count: 391

10 Ways to Have Your Best Year Ever!

We often think of New Year’s as the time to start fresh and make those famous resolutions.  But anytime is the right time to take control of our lives, to choose how we will live.  Real success in life is about balance, about choosing priorities, and then following a plan to focus on the things that are most important to us.  The following suggestions can help.

1.   Take time to decide what you really want this year.  What would make it a great year, a fantastic year for you?  Dream and scheme, and then dream bigger!  And write it down, just for the fun of it.

2.   Mark one day each month, just for you.  Use ink, not pencil, and schedule an appointment with ...

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SP121 & MRKTG109

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Managing Your Change For A Better Investment


our Company goes to great lengths to create an image and product that is marketable within the business community. Once you have identified and perfected whatever product or service you are motivated by, the natural progression is to hire a team of professionals to assist in the distribution or application of your professional purpose. With the very best of intentions, you establish a deliberate and conceptual interview process filled with hurdles to minimize your risk and cast your spotlight on only the very best of applicants. Those lucky few, the anointed, are brought into the organization and unleashed for all that they bring to the table.

Companies today are looking for brilliant ideas on how to grow their market share. Many think of market share in the same terms as profitability. Your people, the people that you or someone within your organization hired, can provide that "great idea". You hired them for a reason and they are the most important asset your company possesses. The challenge is, depending on which behavioral scientists you put the most trust in; individuals typically only contribute up to 25% of their mental capacity on an ongoing basis. Imagine the impact, both personally and professionally, should they produce even 55 or 60% in a given day. Would that not be a major enhancement for all involved!

Given the pace of today's competitive ...

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Word Count: 222

Benefits Of Planning

The Benefits of planning are many. Planning helps to prioritize your activities. You already know that you will be wearing several “hats” and that the functions you’ll perform under each are different. It is easy to get bogged down in the seemingly urgent activities and overlook important, even critical ones. Planning helps you to see beyond the immediate issues and focus on the desired outcome. This will help to ensure that the day to day activities are in line with the long-range objectives and vision. It will help you to avoid getting involved in seemingly endless crises, and even prevent crisis-stimulated activities that seem to be important and necessary, but in fact many not be either. With this understanding, you are better able to focus your energies on getting where you want to go. A comprehensive plan is the most important tool you can utilize to build a successful business.

s         Do you have your plan ready for next year?

s         Does everyone in ...

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L158 / TM116 / SP123

Word Count: 1184

Developing A High-Performance Culture?

In the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy stated that he wanted to send a man to the moon and bring him back safely by the end of the decade; a pretty lofty goal.  Senator George Smathers from Florida agreed with the “lofty goal” part.  So, before voting to secure funds for the initiative, he wanted to make sure he made the right decision.  He visited Cape Canaveral to do a bit of detective work on his own.  After much time, observation, questioning and exploration he still had not made a decision. 

At the end of the day he saw a worker cleaning up and asked what her job was.  Her reply was simple, “I’m part of a team that’s going to send a man to the moon and bring him back safely by the end of the decade.”  Decision made! 

This is an example of strategic alignment at its best.  Everyone knows the organization’s charge, and all of the stars are in alignment (strategic intention: systems, processes, leadership, management, expectations, authority, responsibility, individual empowerment and supportive behavior).  But what happens when the stars are misaligned; when the systems and departments are out of sync?  What happens when a department exists for the good of itself and individuals behave selfishly rather than for the greater customer and organizational good?

The simple fact is that the more an organization’s systems and processes are aligned with its strategic intention—and all of the employees support this alignment behaviorally—the greater the opportunity for success.

In fact, if the plan is sound, it’s almost impossible to fail no matter how ambitious the organization or that plan is—even if that includes sending a man to the moon.

Organizations are complex entities.  Effective leadership calls for ...

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Word Count: 362


Is Your Business On Shaky Ground?
It will take more than financial restructuring to save it.

Let me be nosy, how did your business end up on shaky ground in the first place? Did you fail to plan? Did you fail to keep your plan up to date, drown the company in it and not live by it? Maybe you failed to spend the money you had wisely. Face it, somewhere along the line you made some bad decisions and now you have to live with the consequences. More money or different ways of paying it back is not the total answer. So why is it the first thing people think of is financial restructuring?

Even if the guys with the green eyeshades think there’s something to be gained by keeping the company around they’re not going to keep you. Even if you get “kicked upstairs” for a while no one will be able to jack up the logo and slide in a new a company and therein lays the reason that just financial restructuring won’t work.

A company grows in the path established by its leaders. If the leaders have brought the company to the brink of ruin, what do you think the people, policies and procedures look like? In order to survive,...

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L160 & SP125

Word Count: 411

Fueling Personal Accountability

Maximize Results through Motivated People

A major responsibility of leaders in organizations has always been to develop plans and lead their people in successful execution. Today’s business environment presents additional challenges to leaders in that change happens faster and more continuously than ever before! This means an increased need for effective and frequent planning, and a smaller margin of error for plans that fail to produce results. We all realize this is a given in today’s business environment.

In addition, have you noticed that the people who make your plans work have also changed? For example, their interpretation of “following the leader” has taken a new direction. In our workplace today, ...

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SP126 & B188

Word Count: 781

Sharpen Your Vision to Create a Competitive Edge

If you can keep your head when all about you,
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you.
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too.           
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting...
... Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it…!

Excerpt from “IF”, by Rudyard Kipling. 

Whether you are an entrepreneur, company executive, or employee, economic uncertainty may have you tied in knots.  The remedy, TAKE CONTROL.  When we feel powerless, we become victims.  And if you’re reading this, you probably don’t care to play that role!  Operating from positions of fear or scarcity takes a heavy toll on people and organizations. 

The media keeps the economy on everyone’s minds.  Not only do we watch the Dow and S&P, we now keep tabs on markets around the world.  There is uncertainty and volatility. Global markets are becoming more and more complex and ambiguity abounds.  What are we to do?  The answer:  strategically determine how to outperform the competition.

Throughout history there have always been winners, even in the direst of times.  There is no better time than the present to

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L163 & SP127

Word Count: 796

Align Your Organization for SUCCESS

Successful organizations and leaders continually look for ways and areas to improve in order to create a competitive edge.  Competing in today’s ever-changing, increasingly global marketplace, challenges organizations to make the best use of their resources.  To meet this challenge, savvy leaders invest in developing the strategy, people and processes to most effectively meet their goals. 

Contrary to popular belief, organizations do not exist to make a profit.  Organizations exist to develop loyal customers by providing valuable solutions and positive experiences.  Money and profit is the reward for doing this well.  The organizations expending the least amount of resources to achieve their goals have a distinct advantage.  That advantage translates to increased revenues, customer loyalty and profit.  What do these successful organizations have in common?  Their leaders relentlessly pursue the maximum degree of organizational alignment.

What Is Organizational Alignment?

Your car wouldn’t get far if all the wheels pointed in different directions!  Yet that’s how many organizations operate—the wheels (resources including time, employees, activities, etc.) aren’t aligned, so the vision is an unattainable destination.  Experience shows that the interrelationships between processes and departments are key predictors of overall success. Alignment is when all ...

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SP128 CS129 B191

Word Count: 807

Align Structure With Goals For Higher Performance

Customer focus combined with proper alignment of vision with strategy, structure, people and processes is the best way to outperform and outlast your competition. When these critical components are in harmony, results are astounding. To sharpen your competitive edge, look at what keeps you from getting results you deserve.

Whether you are a group of one or many, the way you structure your organization can make the critical difference between simply satisfied and overwhelmingly loyal customers. That significantly impacts revenue and profit.

The best organizations deliberately make the most of their resources…in this case people. Winning companies define clear roles and responsibilities and their customers (internal and external) find them easy to work with. How about you? Does your structure make it easy, or difficult, to create loyal customers and get great results?

You can have outstanding people and motivate them toward action, but if structure restricts innovation and higher levels of productivity, improvements are temporary at best. Structure can either help or hinder your ability to react to the changing needs of the customers you serve. You cannot change the world in which you do business, but you can create a structure to best respond to your own market.


Structure is different than culture and different than process.

Structure is about roles and reporting relationships; process is about rules and procedures; and, culture is about attitudes and behavior. Culture influenced how your current structure evolved and will affect your ability to successfully implement structural changes.

A great tool for evaluating and improving your structure is a ...

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Word Count: 695

The Faster YOU Grow, The Faster YOUR BUSINESS Will Grow

What do you want for your business during the next twelve to twenty-four months?  Increased Revenues…Greater Customer Retention…Better Margins????  Common objectives, but where do you start?  Savvy business owners develop highly effective strategy, people and processes.  The savviest also recognize the impact their own personal and professional achievement has on business results.

Why?  It’s been said that the only sustainable competitive advantage is the ability to learn faster than your competition.  It’s also true that the leader sets the tone for the team.  That means it’s critical to stay at the top of your game.  Successful leaders regularly take a high level look at their business.  A similar personal assessment is also good business practice. 

Think of it as a holistic approach to great results.  Evaluate, develop and balance organizational, professional, and personal capabilities to get the competitive edge you need.

Leading others and your business is only part of the picture.  As a leader, the most important person you lead is YOU.  Mastering SELF LEADERSHIP enables you to most effectively lead others.

How much of your personal wealth is tied up in your business?  If the answer is much, most or all, it’s even more critical to incorporate personal development into your strategy. YOU are the most critical ingredient in your personal and business success formula and you can’t afford to skimp on your own development.   

How to Begin—How do you become a better ...

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Word Count: 337+202

Business Process Improvement For Better Results

Business Process Improvement (BPI) is a structure which allows companies to know the process to getting better and more efficient results to make money. This is a business dream to always know the best method to increase your bottom line. When a business wants to increase revenue, a business process improvement strategy is very important to research. There are many companies who have tried this in the past and have succeeded. The basic elements in the business process improvement plan are:

1. Understand your company’s business current process- This is what you need to know before even thinking to change or modify any business process improvement plan that has already been implemented. Knowing what the current situation of your business is right now is very important for the success of the plan. If you don’t have an idea of what they are, then your planning will not succeed. Always know this before by looking into your company’s archives. This could be achieved very easily if you know where to look.

2. Road map- Having a plan of action, or “road map” to ...

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Word Count: 175

Strategic Planning Success

Strategic Planning is a process that determines the future of the business and what resources will be needed to ensure success. The process involves determining what business opportunities exist, and what resources are available to capitalize on those opportunities. Below are the critical elements of a successful strategic plan and how they all fit together.


Vision Statement -

Broad statement of end results
A mental picture of your future

Core Values -

Guidelines for decisions and behaviors.
How do we see our relationships with:

s         Employees

s         Customers

s         Suppliers

s         Community

s         Any ...

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H178 & M151

Word Count: 510

The Two Main Keys to Hiring (and Managing) Success

All manner of strategies and theories are bantered about regarding the best ways in which to hire top talent, as well as the best ways to manage that talent once it’s on your team.  However, if you were to boil all of those strategies down, you’d discover that there are two elements at the core of each one.  (If they’re successful strategies, that is.  There are plenty that are not.)

Those two elements are engaging in effective communication and the setting of clear expectations.

Actually, when you think about it, these elements are integral to success in just about any and every endeavor that includes human interaction . . . from the workplace to marriage.  The fact that they cross such situational barriers is an indication of the importance that must be placed upon them when hiring and managing the best employees available.

Hiring candidates

Let’s address the hiring process first, since it’s ...

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Word Count: 690

Succession Planning Means Success Planning

Before you read any further, I would like you to find a sheet of paper and something to write with.

Are you ready? Now here is what I would like you to do. Read each of the three scenarios below and, on your sheet of paper, write down what you would do.

Scenario One: It’s a Tuesday morning and you, the Vice President of Human Resources, just received a call that, on their way to an important industry conference, your company’s President and its Vice President of Operations have just been killed in a plane crash. Who is now in charge? What do you do?

Scenario Two: As your company’s I.T. manager, you have taken great pride in hiring “the best of the best” and combined with an outstanding training program, have a staff that’s the envy of your industry. Your top project manager has just told you she is leaving the company. She has personally designed and managed the last three major I.T. projects by herself. Now what is going to happen?

Scenario Three: As Plant Manager, you just had a call from your key foreman who has gone to ...

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Word Count: 53

Strategic Planning Process

The Four (4) stages of planning the future of your business

1) Understanding the current conditions inside as well as outside the company

2) Visualizing and identifying the ...

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Word Count: 85

Things To Remember About Planning:

Provides direction - a broad statement of end results

Determine rightness of the direction for…

Decision making
Clearly defined values simplify decision making.

The foundation for business today is provided through ...

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SP134-Are You And Your Company Prepared To Handle A Crisis

Word Count: 649

Gary Sorrell, Sorrell Associates Customized Marketing Service,

Are You And Your Company Prepared To Handle A Crisis?

If you are in a management position or are the CEO of a company then you know that you have to be prepared for any event that may happen. Crisis management is one of the duties that go along with your corporate job. Are you good under pressure? Are you ready to manage a crisis? How strong is your bench? This article will discuss ways to control the risks involved with crisis management and strengthening your bench.

If you want to be sure that your company is able to withstand a crisis then you must see if your bench is strong enough. Amazingly there is a lack of executive talent out there and there is even less being seen for the future.  Many CEO’s are worried that their corporation does not have the talent to see them into the next twenty plus years. Many baby boomers are reaching the retirement age and the new hires just do not seem to be up for the challenge. In fact, 11,500 people will turn 65 each day starting January 2011. How are you handling the lost of experience?

If a company is to succeed in this global world where crisis seems to be the norm rather than the exception, all ...

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SP135-H192-0411-Three Essential Steps To Take When Attempting To Blend Generations

Word Count: 632

Three Essential Steps To Take When Attempting To Blend Generations.Gary Sorrell, Sorrell Associates Customized Marketing Service,

Every generation has a place in the workplace. All are able to get the job done, only in different ways. Each generation comes equipped with their own styles of work and though different, all styles are proven to be effective. So what does this mean when generations come together in the workplace? Where do they fit in? Can they fit together?

Established Generations

  • Vets born 1922-1943
  • Baby boomers born 1944-1960/65
  • Gen X born 1960/65-1980
  • Gen Y born 1980 +

3 Steps to a Successful Combination of Generations

A common problem in the workplace is the inability generations have to understand and adapt to one another. Blending generations in the workplace

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SP136-H191-0411-Identifying the Best Talent for Your Company

Word Count: 421

Identifying the Best Talent for Your Company

CEO’s are aware of the importance that an organization’s top talent holds in the overall success of their organizations. Given the current state of the economy, companies are becoming more and more reliant on procuring the types of leaders that will give them the edge over their competitors. It is prudent, therefore, to have a full understanding of what characteristics these employees or potential employees possess.

In order to identify the best talent for your company, seek individuals who have not yet developed their full potential. It is best to choose intelligent employees who still have room to grow. They should be confident, self-starters whom you foresee being able to progress through the ranks of the company hierarchy at least two positions higher than their entry position with the company. Look for characteristics that are indicative of their abilities to take on broad, complex roles and to solve broad and complex problems, should they arise.

It is important to be thorough in the screening process. View their track records with previous employers. Pay particular attention to the speed with which they achieved promotions and merit awards and ascertain what results they ...

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SP137-B223-0411-Are you optimistic about business growth

Word Count: 271

Are you optimistic about business growth?Gary Sorrell, Sorrell Associates Customized Marketing Service,

According to a recent business outlook survey conducted by CFOs, nearly 50% of CFO’s are more optimistic about the US economy than they were just last quarter. Many have plans to hire new workers, and develop new revenue streams. They are willing to spend more on capital expenditures, technology, & research-and-development and increase marketing and advertising spending.

On average, CFOs project a 2% increase in full-time domestic employment over the next 12 months, the largest rise since 2006.

That increase would represent 3 million jobs, and should bring U.S. unemployment below ...

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SP138-32912-How To Write An Action Plan

Word Count: 286

How To Write An Action Plan

When writing an action plan to achieve a particular goal or outcome, you can get much help from the following steps.

·        Clarify your goal. Can you get a visual picture of the expected outcome? How can you see if you have reached your destination? What does make your goal measurable? What constraints do you have, like the limits on time, money, or other resources?

·        Write a list of actions. Write down all actions you may need to take to achieve your goal. At this step focus on generating and writing as many different options and ideas as possible. Take a sheet of paper and write more and more ideas, just as they come to your mind. While you are doing this, try not to judge or analyze.

·        Analyze, prioritize, and ...

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SP139-72412-Financial Planning – How To Get Started Today

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Financial Planning – How To Get Started Today!

Financial planning refers to the creation of a budget or a plan for allocating savings to investments or assets that are projected to provide income in the future (e.g., new business).

Financial status

The initial step is to know the current state of your finances. This can be done by accurately recording all your income, expenses and savings. It is better to have a positive cash flow, meaning you spend less than you earn. However, if your expenses are greater than your income or if you want to increase your savings, identify items in your list that you can change and implement it.

Assets and liabilities

Assets are the things you truly own (e.g. house, car, computer) while liabilities are your obligations to others (e.g. loans). Net worth is determined by deducting assets from liabilities. In general, it is desirable to have a positive net worth that increases over time. Since the decreases in net worth are attributable to debts, then a step in building net worth should involve paying off debts. Another step is to gain more assets. Assets include stocks, annuities and insurance. You can invest your savings into these financial entities to build your net worth.


Where do you want to be and when do you want to be there? This ...

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SP140-122712-Elements Of A Successful Strategic Plan

Word Count: 429


Elements Of A Successful Strategic Plan.


Businesses succeed or fail for a variety of reasons.  But one thing's for sure, successful companies have created their successes.  One of the most effective ways to create your successes is to plan it.


Planning helps to get you there faster and more effectively than by just hoping to become successful.


For example, if you were to build a house, would you do it without a plan?  Certainly you could probably make that happen, but is it the most effective and efficient way?  By having a plan, you save time and money and get what you envisioned.


Planning makes all the difference.  Planning the future of your business entails four stages:


1) understanding your industry inside your company and outside your company


2) to visualize ...

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B241-122712-Could Misalignment Exist In Your Company?

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Could Misalignment Exist In Your Company?


Alignment is the delicate balance between an organizations' people, processes, resources, and departments.  It is a matter of aligning your vision with people, strategy, structure, and processes with a focus on the customer and a foundation of core values.  Because they are interdependent, they must be aligned for success. Misalignment is when one or more of these components are not working towards the same goals or strategy. The longer the misalignment goes on the more destructive it can be. Sales, profits, turnover, & additional waste are just some of the outcomes from any one part being misaligned.


Often, misalignment slowly creeps into an organization under the radar. When left unattended it starts to undermine the success & outcomes of a company and its people. There are numerous reasons for this to happen but it cannot be left out of sync.


If misalignment did exist within your company, would it have a negative impact on the accomplishment of your overall strategy and goals? The answer is most likely YES!


Look at these questions to see if misalignment may exist in your company:

·       Are employees recognized for accomplishing the goal?
Yes____ No____ Sometimes____ Don’t know____


·       Has growth stalled?
Yes____ No____ Sometimes____ Don’t know____


·       Does the ...

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B242-122712-The Power of Brainstorming

Word Count: 355

The Power of Brainstorming

Brainstorming is useful and effective when you have a challenge, problem, or stale patterns of thinking. It helps you overcome issues and will get buy in from the team, especially since they are a part of the solution. Having many people involved in solving an issue brings incredible richness and better solutions. Brainstorming sessions can be used for any issue from increasing sales, cutting down employee turnover and reducing waste, to improving morale & attitudes.

I worked with one company that had a goal of reducing errors & waste at a manufacturing company. In one two-hour session we came up with a plan, and within six months reduced the errors and decreased waste by 22%. That savings went right to the bottom line and everyone was excited because it was their idea. It also made it easier to give raises during performance appraisals.

Seven quick brainstorming rules:

1.           Have as many people from multiple areas of the company in the session. You never know where the next great idea will come from.

2.           No ego’s in the room. Everyone is equally important.

3.           Clearly define the ...

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B243-11413-Senior Executives Top Challenge

Word Count: 580

Senior Executives Top Challenge
this year

Employee Engagement!


What is employee engagement? Engaged employees really care about the company. They are willing to “give whatever it takes” to make the company the best it can be. Engaged employees have an emotional bond to the company, which results in higher levels of productivity, increased customer satisfaction, and decreased absenteeism & turnover.


However, a recent study by MSW Research, Gallup, & Dale Carnegie Training shows that only 29% of employees around the world are fully engaged. Now you can see why this is a top challenge for senior executives!


This is not just an HR situation. This is a critical business issue. The entire company, including the “top brass”, needs to be involved, responsible, and encouraged to make engagement the top priority in the company.


The ability to engage and retain talent has an incredible affect to the company’s bottom line. According to the Bureau of National Affairs, turnover costs approximately 1.5 times the annual salary and costs US businesses around $11 billion annually. In addition to increased turnover costs, disengaged employees are unproductive and drag morale down. What is this costing you?


What to do… what to do?


If you want to increase employee engagement within your company, concentrate on these areas: ...

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B244-11413-How To Have A Great Brainstorming Meeting

Word Count: 160

How To Have A Great Brainstorming Meeting

In our previous article on brainstorming, we explained the power of brainstorming. This issue explains how to conduct a brainstorming meeting. (If you missed that issue, please contact us and we will send it right away)

  1. Put a large place card or flip chart on the wall with the four brainstorming principles on it:

Criticism & judgment is ruled out

Freewheeling is welcomed

Quantity is wanted

Combination and improvement is sought

  1. The leader has a bell and explains to the group that he or she will ...

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SP141-031313-Planning, Planning, Planning

Word Count: 186

Planning, Planning, Planning! 


If you don’t know where you are going, than any road will get you there! You must plan, execute, and measure.


Who’s going to do the planning?


Weather the plan is for your entire company or just one department; you must make sure to get input from multiple levels.


Get your entire team involved in developing plans for the team, project, department, or company. As the leader you should be the most integral part of the process. Assign aspects ...

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SP142-031313-Planning Worksheet

Word Count:

Cut out and plan!

Planning Worksheet

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H204-061413-Creating A Corporate Culture To Attract Top Talent

Word Count: 413


Creating A Corporate Culture To Attract Top Talent


Creating a corporate culture that attracts top talent is an investment in your company’s future. It is very important to recognize that becoming an employer of choice is not luck; it is a strategy. A strategy that starts at the top and is lived and articulated by everyone. A companywide endeavor that is communicated consistently in words and actions. Everyone within your organization needs to know that it is the goal of the company to become the employer of choice.


Your message must be congruent in all aspects of marketing too. Your website, social media accounts, marketing brochures, etc… must all show the company values in its communications.


What are employees looking for?

Employees want to know a company respects and values them and their position. They want challenging, exciting work with the ability to learn and grow. They want to know what is expected of them and how they can help the company achieve its vision & goals. An honest wage for an honest day’s work is highly valued. Money is not the #1 motivator. In fact, it is often a short-term motivator. Employees want good leadership and a great relationship with the supervisors. They need the open communication, encouragement, training, and the necessary tools to do their job.


What are the ...

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L201-061413-Developing The Next Generation Of Leaders

Word Count: 657

Developing The Next Generation Of Leaders


One of the most important roles of senior executives is to develop the company’s future leadership. The groups of leaders that can help take the company to the next level.


Even with the uncertain economy, there is a surge of “baby boomers” retiring (8,000 per day) and it is resulting in a shortage of leaders. This shortage of leadership comes at a time of rapid change. With globalization, the volatile economy, technology changes, and the increased demands of stakeholders, leadership is vital to not only succeed but also, in some cases, just to survive.


Most often it is less expensive to reach within the company’s workforce for this future leadership than it is to hire from the outside. Developing the leadership skills necessary for leading your company into the future needs to be a part of the company culture.

In house ongoing training programs to develop these skills for your high potential employees should include; assessments, communication training, leadership skills development programs, mentoring, management training, coaching, and goal setting.


Assessments: Use assessments and profiles to identify behaviors, motivators, competencies, emotional intelligences, and acumen. Once identified via assessments, we can better understand the how, why, will, and potential of your employees. Assessments are great tools for selection, retention, development, and putting people in the correct positions within your company.


Communication training: Open communication helps create trust and allows ...

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B277-011915-Shaping Organizational Culture

Word Count: 512

Shaping Organizational Culture

There are many challenges that face executives and the leaders of a business. Guiding and directing the way employees handle the business, transactions, relations with one another, and overall functions of the company are key parts of being in leadership. Establishing a well-defined organizational culture is vital to being successful in business development.


What is Organizational Culture?


All businesses and organizations create a way in which the employees relate to one another and the outside world. There is a set of expectations that are passed around by the environment of the business. This can include the way employees handle transactions, conflicts, customer service issues, policies, and many other aspects of the business. These expectations encompass everything that is written in the form of a policy, to the unwritten rules that have been established over the course of time.


Who is in Charge of Shaping the Organizational Culture of a Business?


It is best that these cultures are ...

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SP144-082615-Four Critical Tasks Of Strategic Execution

Word Count: 445

Four Critical Tasks Of Strategic Execution


Business owners and CEO’s have a difficult job all the way around. The success of the company relies upon a combination of things. If Celebrity Apprentice has taught us anything, it’s that the one in charge is usually to blame for the loss of the team.


As the one in charge, it is your job to make certain that your company has a strategic plan in place. It isn’t enough just to have a plan. You have to make it happen.


Create a Vision and Make it Known


Before you can really delve into putting together a plan, you must identify your company’s goals. What is your vision? Once you have a vision and an idea in place of what you want to do, it will make developing a plan a more productive task.


Once you have the vision together, you should make ...

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B297-011216-Do You Know The Numbers?

Word Count: 312

Do You Know The Numbers?


Crunching the numbers in your business is a vital part of determining the health of your company. CEO’s know these numbers all too well as they keep a watch on the figures. Here are the numbers you need to know in your business.


Inadequate Profit Margin


Without enough profit, owning a business is a financial drain. When profit margins are low, a company is not able to grow.


Here are some things to consider in regards to your profits.


Do you understand where your business makes the most money?

Do you have a profit plan?

Do you have a profit design set up?

Do you have competitive prices or an effective price structure?


Once you have ...

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SP145-022017-Strategy Smategy

Word Count: 457

“Strategy Smategy”

We hear a lot about strategic planning these days….but does it work?

Often we hear; my business is doing fineI got here without a strategic planwhy bother?

The answer; because your competitors are…and they are looking for ways to grow their business…which means taking business away from yours.

Strategic planning is the process of creating a vision of the future, aligning your people, processes, and systems, and creating the necessary steps/goals towards that future. It is like looking at your company and industry from a helicopter to see where it is going, what has changed, and to see if there are other opportunities. Then coming down and setting the direction for your business based on the information.

After you create the vision for your company, you operate under a mission statement which is the short term objectives (1-3 years) to help you achieve your vision.

Strategic planning answers these questions:

·       Where are we today?

·       Where do we want to be in the future?

·       How are we going to get there?

·       What is standing in our way?

·       Who are our competitors; are they better, why are they better, are we better? etc…

·       What helps govern our decisions?

Once ...

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