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Category Archives: Planning

The Benefits of Family Business

The term "Family business " usually refers to a small or mid-sized company that has a local focus and is plagued with a familiar set of dilemmas such as succession. In spite of that very simple description, family businesses have played a powerful role in the world economy and have included, through the years, big businesses worldwide. Some examples in Australia of successful family businesses are linFox, smorgon group, cooper's brewery and there are plenty of others. Most of the time, the key to success of a family business lies in its unique ownership structure that allows them to plan and thrive in the long-term. But other researchers believe that it is also this structure that causes many of them to fall. So what’s really the case? In a recent article from Harvard Business Review, What You Can Learn from Family Business by Kachaner, Stalk and Bloch, presented...

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Business Failure

The flipside of "success” is "failure” and it’s the latter that every business owner and manager strive hard to avoid. By definition, the term "business failure” refers to the cessation of a company’s operations following its inability to generate enough revenue to cover expenses without adequate reserves. In the recent times, there are many examples of strong businesses that have failed to adjust to the changing markets and economic times or to take advantage of opportunities – and this has ultimately led to their downfall. Based on my 26 years experience working closely with business owners, here are my 9 key tips to avoiding business failure: 1. always ensure that you target your marketing. Too many businesses have an undifferentiated product/service offering and fail to understand who their target customer is and what they require. Don’t be undifferentiated, make sure you’re speaking the right language and...

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10 New Year’s Resolutions for Business Owners

In my latest blog, Planning for Success in 2012, I shared a simple process that can help you think about the importance of taking time to prepare and make a start for the New Year. If you’ve read that, I bet you’ve already planned and set new goals and objectives for your business. But if you haven’t started and are having trouble getting ideas, I should tell you that one of the best ways to start is by setting New Year’s resolutions. Why New Year's Resolution? As everyone may already know, New Year’s resolutions are commitments made at the beginning of the year to reach certain goals or projects in life. Usually, a resolution is geared towards a personal objective such as reforming a habit, but it can certainly be used in a business point of view because of the enormous amount of effort and...

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Planning for Success in 2012

There’s no better way to start the year than by thinking about your plans for your business in 2012. With that said, I want to take you through a simple planning process that will help you make a start, and to help you get it going with a rush. The model we’re going to talk about most importantly is the Now, Where and How. This is one of the most basic models in planning and problem solving. When creating a plan, it is really important that we have a look at where we are now, where we need to be (which is probably the most important component of all), and then finally, how are we going to get there? Where are we NOW? Talking about the NOW means looking at where your business right now. It's time to sit back and take stock of your...

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Getting Some Balance in your Life!

One of the key issues that impacts on most business owners and managers is the issue of Life Balance. This issue is relevant at all times in our lives and if the area has not been reviewed recently, is an invaluable exercise to undertake when life-changing events such as retirement are contemplated. One of the tools that can be used to assist us to answer the question "How do I know if I am successful?" is to undertake a review of Life Balance. There is no definitive answer as to what constitutes success and each person needs to define the key elements for themselves however the model that we use contains 6 key areas: Family Health Social Life Money Mental Personal Philosophy Success in each of these area is important however is more important that success be balanced between all areas. If these are considered...

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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 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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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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