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Monthly Archives: August 2010

The One Page Plan

The One Page Plan covers the key elements of a Business Improvement Plan by summarising the NOW, WHERE and HOW. In the NOW Summary, you need to pull out the key points of your current position, remembering that you only have room for about 10 short points (3 to 4 words per point). In the WHERE Summary, you need to include a short summary of your Vision, your Business Statement, your Sustainable Competitive Advantage and your Objectives. In the HOW, we need a summary of each of your key strategies and your action plans. To keep the plan to one page, you can always print on both sides of an A4 sheet. In this way you can have the Plan on one side with the budget (financial projections) or detailed action plans on the other side of the sheet. It is suggested that elements of...

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Why Plans Fail

There are several other reasons why business managers don’t plan: Traditional business plans are too complex Traditional business planning fails to address many of the current issues in our business They often only focus on the future Traditional business planning assumes that management will develop and implement the plan Traditional business plans are too inflexible to be of any use (How can a 100 page document be reworked quickly to meet changing market conditions?) Traditionally business plan usually doesn't provide a mechanism to prioritise the key issues how do you can determine which issues are to be dealt with firts Are these some of the reasons why you haven't developed a plan for the future of your business? For a Business Improvement Plan to be useful, I believe it must: Be simple and easy to adjust Be flexible Maximise our change potential Be based on...

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Getting the Right People

Like so many other areas of good business management getting the right plan in place for management of your human resources can increase profits dramatically if implemented correctly. Getting the right equipment for the job is accepted as essential if consistent quality production is to be maintained and it is with this same philosophy recruiting the right people into your organisation should be viewed. This applies particularly to business sectors where we often hire fewer permanent employees but seem to have an endless parade of casual employees. Can we improve this situation by having a better plan? Yes! The Mindshop recruitment process has been tested over many years, in a variety of industries and companies. It provides a simple yet comprehensive system for farm businesses to get the right people the first time. Consider the following: - Person Specification What type of person are you...

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Reducing Waste in your Business

Waste in most organisations accounts for between 15% and 30% of the total operating cost of the business and is often higher than this in service industries. Therefore if your business has costs of $1.0 million per annum then you could expect to find between $150,000 and $300,000 of waste and inefficiency in even the best run businesses.  What are your total annual costs? ______________ Multiply your total costs by 0.2 (20%). ____________  This is an estimate of the cost of inefficiency and waste in your business.  Can you afford to leave this waste in your business? But where does it come from? In most businesses there is an element of waste that has been designed into the business from the start. It was introduced by the original owners who started up the business and is usually part of the way you do business. This...

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Getting the Structure Right!

People: Some people want to change, others resist it. Its sometimes necessary to admit that some team members have become a liability. If such people form the major part of a team, the team is doomed for failure. For this process to work the teams must be formed by the people who want change. In a family owned or small business selecting the right people can often be very difficult. Products: The Pareto Rule is relevant here. "Twenty" percent of your products provide "eighty" percent of your sales. Twenty percent of our products provide eighty percent of your profit. Removing non performing products is essential if you want the right structure. Flexibility in production systems and an ability to diversify are critical to success in agriculture. Customers: Again the Pareto Rule applies. Which twenty percent of your customers provide your sales, profit and repeat business?...

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3 Stages of Improving your Business

The 3 Stages are illustrated in the diagram below. Stage 1: Structure Most people are aware the first stage in a business improvement process is to get the business structure right. The right structure means the right customers, the right products, the right prices, the right processes and the right people. The Structure involves dealing with the "visible" elements of the business. We dont usually look for the hidden wastes, costs and drivers at the structural level. involves dealing with the "visible" elements of the business. We don't usually look for the hidden wastes, costs and drivers at the structural level. involves dealing with the "visible" elements of the business. We don't usually look for the hidden wastes, costs and drivers at the structural level. involves dealing with the "visible" elements of the business. We don't usually look for the hidden wastes, costs and drivers at the...

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The Neat Analysis

NEAT Analysis We have developed a simple methodology for looking at our marketing and business development options and have called it NEAT, which stands for: Number of Customers Efficiency % Average Sale $ Transaction frequency Now, N x E x A x T = Profit You can look at NEAT from a whole business perspective or on a business unit basis, if required. It is usually done on an annual basis. Number of Customers simply stands for the number of Active Customers in your business. In most businesses active customers will be those that have purchased off you in the last year or two. In high turnover businesses , eg. NewsAgents, active customers could be those that have purchased off you in the last 3 months. In the building industry, it could be people that have purchased off you in the last 5 to 10 years. In...

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Marketing for Tough Times

What is Marketing? Marketing is a term used to define a whole range of functions within a business and is expressed in a whole range of contexts. So exactly what is marketing? If we pare back the rhetoric, marketing is simply the strategies we employ to move our products/services from us to the client profitably. Marketing is the process of converting prospects to customers. It is much more than just advertising and promotion. Marketing also includes: understanding who is your target market; what is your competitive advantage; what are your product, pricing and distribution strategies as well as promotion & advertising. It is the combination of these factors that determines the effectiveness of your marketing programs. If we think in these terms it becomes obvious we need to review and expand effort into these strategies during tough times. The Sales Conveyor Belt In order to...

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Lifting Sales Performance

For many businesses, the period of strong growth that has preceded the downturn, meant that sales skills and management did not get the attention that they deserved. As the economy slows, competition for scarce resources increases and sales are no back on the agenda - the shoe is now firmly on the other foot! Selling in difficult times It is worth noting some key points raised by Neil Rackham (of SPIN Selling fame) in his article: "Selling tactics for difficult times" There are several other reasons why business managers don’t plan: Only 50% of sales people have sold in difficult times - if you have a young sales force then this proportion will be much higher; In an economic downturn, sales cycles (from start to close) are typically 40% longer; Many people believe that in tough times, customers buy on price - this is a...

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What Makes a Great Leader?

The first list is from Warren Bennis, a professor of Business Administration at the University of Southern California and the best selling author of "On Becoming a Leader" and many other books on leadership. Warren Bennis's Ingredients for Leadership Concept What it means Guiding Vision You have a clear concept of what you want to do -- professionally and personally Passion You love what you do Integrity You know your strengths and weaknesses and are true to your principles Trust You have earned people's trust Daring You are willing to take risks Curiosity You want to keep learning Our experience is that the strongest attribute that a leader can have is a clearly defined vision and the ability to communicate that vision and get your staff and community to be willing followers and allies to you in achieving that vision. Source: Warren Bennis, On Becoming...

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