Monday, January 28, 2008

Doing Your Business Plan Review

I received this article recently and it agrees with the strategies I promote and encourage my clients to do so I will utilize Kevin Sinclair's expertise and article to share with my reading audience. I believe you will benefit from his suggestions if initiated.

Doing Your Business Plan Review
by Kevin Sinclair

When owning your own business, it is essential for your business, that you possess a route map which signifies exactly how you will achieve your business goals. Without such a plan in place, your business could be jeopardy and may well fail.

The development of a plan is greatly important for your business. It is essential that it is a living document,which is checked and updated on a regular basis. If the plan is not checked on a regular basis, then there is no point in generating one to begin with. It is vitally important that you are aware of the fact that the plan is being achieved. If this is not the case and the plan is not being achieved, then adjustments will need to be made to the plan in order to accommodate any revisions thatoccur. This is only common knowledge and good business practice.

In order to create a good business plan, the basics are to detail the tasks and systems that will assist the plan in progressing. Your plan should be reviewed, initially, on a monthly basis in order to ensure that progress in being achieved as planned. It is at a later stage, when the initial creases have been ironed out and planned progress is being achieved, that you can change the frequency of the views to every two or three months.

The goals in a business plan are initially small in terms of financial profits. However, it is just as important that they are in actual fact achieved on schedule, just as those larger goals are at a later date. Proving that your business plan is actually working effectively in the early stages of business, is essential in demonstrating that theoverall business plan is achievable. Therefore, it is important that every detail of your plan is checked thoroughly, in order to see that your plan is being achieved.

Not all business plans work out as expected. Therefore there are certain questions that need to be answered, such as:
  1. Were your financial goals for the period within the allocated timeframe achieved? Maybe some were achieved, but not all of them.
  2. Did the systems that you selected to use in order to complete the tasks work well? It is possible that some were successful, but others were not. You should now take an analysis of the answers that you have obtained.

You should continue to use the successful systems for future tasks. It is also important that you evaluate those systems that did not work for you effectively. Discover what went wrong. Was there a flaw in the system? What was required to complete the task? The same types of tasks will need to be adjusted in the future to accommodate the revised procedure that you have adopted.

It is essential that you undertake continuous improvement in a good business plan. By adjusting the elements of the plan in the future based on your experience, you can only make improvements to the effectiveness of the plan and generate confidence that it will be achieved. You will be well on the way to achieving your goals if you plan your work and work your plan.

Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of Be Successful News, a site that provides information and articles on howto succeed in your own home or small business.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Is This the Job for You?

This is not normally the type of material I share with my readers since this is a business blog but I thought it was an excellent job description and wanted to share. My niece recently sent over this job description. She added that if she had read it she may have reconsidered about fulfilling the role.

POSITION : Mom, Mommy, Mama, MaDad, Daddy, Dada, Pa, Pop
JOB DESCRIPTION: Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings, weekends, and frequent 24-hour-shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities! Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.
RESPONSIBILITIES : The rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets, and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars, and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half-million cheap, plastic toys, and battery-operated devices. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.
POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT & PROMOTION: None. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.
PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: None required unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.
WAGES AND COMPENSATION: Get this! You pay them offering frequent raises and bonuses! A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.
BENEFITS: While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays, and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth, unconditional love, and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.

If you are fortunate enough you will become grandparents!

I have to admit that I am a mother and now both of my sons have reached adulthood in age. Just yesterday one of them told me something they missed from their childhood. It is never-ending. I have enjoyed the job and look forward to continuing and fulfilling the role.

Carole DeJarnatt
Alliance Advisors, Inc.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ideas for success in hiring an independent sales representative

In an earlier post I mentioned the fact that I have started a mastermind group. In our first session we had one of our CEO's bring forward a situation. He is in search of an independent representative who is not local and would be commissioned base. During our session we came up with several ideas for him to try.

This past Tuesday, Jan. 22nd, we had our second meeting. He came back and reported that he was working with a client of his trying to successfully locate someone to fit his needs. He had been given the idea of working with others in the same industry with him but not the same type of work. Instead he turned it around and went to a client that had become a friend. He was very excited about the potential.

This past meeting we brainstormed another business problem. How to effectively market a service that was geared towards owners of the business. Several suggestions were given and now the task is upon the person to follow through on one or two. I will be holding them accountable for their initiatives by following up next week.

Before the accountant had asked me to facilitate this group, I had never thought about a mastermind group. Now I am facilitating one but also joining two. The ideas of getting help from many is very appealing to me.

Again, I urge you the reader, if you are stuck in a rut and need someone to help you to meet the goals you are planning, find a group. Check out their goals and the rules for the group to ensure it fits your needs. It could be one of the best things you will ever commit to for success in your goals.

Until the next time,

Carole DeJarnatt
Alliance Success Group,

Friday, January 18, 2008

How do you define Integrity?

I am a member of LinkedIn and one of the questions asked was, "How do you define integrity?" Is it knowing right from wrong and choosing to do right instead of wrong. (my definition).

Wikipedia says it is--Integrity is the basing of one's actions on an internally consistent framework of principles.

So essentially we are taught or learned principles from our raising and we develop integrity from it. Do you agree?

Carole DeJarnatt
Alliance Advisors, Inc.

Now facilitating Alliance Success Group, a mastermind group.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

New Design for your Cards?

Is your business card ready for a makeover? Perhaps you are designing your first card and need some suggestions. Below is an article that outlines some of the areas to work on when designing your card.

Business Card Tips

Networking is an invaluable opportunity, and one that should not be wasted. In order to maximize networking, it is strongly suggested that all business professionals carry business cards. The business cards can be exchanged during introductions, both as a convenience and as a memory aid. In other words, business cards allow networkers to further the relationship through future contact.

Business cards may include one or more aspects of striking visual design, but should also contain important contact information. Use this guide to make the most of your business cards:

1. What to Include
All of this information should be included on a professional business card:

Name - This does not have to be your given name, but should be what you expect people in business to refer to you as.
Position - This is really optional; many small business owners find themselves wearing many hats, and may find it beneficial and/or less confusing to leave their official title off the cards.
Address - Physical office location and/or mailing address.
Website - Adding a website address to business cards is now very common and expected.
Email - Email is also now a very common and popular communication channel.
Phone - Include your business phone number.
Instant Messaging/ICQ Address - Internet chat address.

2. Double Sided Cards
If your company is global, or your sales territory focus is in a region where your spoken language is not the predominant language, you might wish to consider using the backside of your business card to include your information in an alternate language. You can also use the back of the card to provide more extensive information and details about your products and services. Or, if you do a lot of local business, you might want to include a small street map to your office on the back of your card. There are lots of things you might be able to do with all that blank space on the back of your cards.

3. Conversation Starters
Savvy sales people often use their business cards as a conversation starter. Of course, the card needs to be unique or unusual in order to generate a dialogue. Some of the more interesting cards I've seen recently were printed on micro-CDs, on magnets, on translucent plastic, etc.

4. Standard Size
Even if you are aiming for something unique, you should still not diverge from the "standard" business card size. For managing their contacts, many people will create a business card rolodex, or may have a hand scanner specifically sized for business cards. So stick with the standard size -- otherwise you may be excluded from their contact databases simply because your card didn't fit!

5. Order Quantity
Quantity discounts apply to business cards. When pricing printed business cards, check to see where the price breaks occur; sometimes you can significantly increase the quantity of business cards for very little additional cost.

6. Quality Matters
Flimsy cards that are paper thin, and cards with ragged perforated edges, just scream "amateur". If you are going to print cards yourself, be sure to use heavy business card stock, and use stock that has "clean-edge" micro-perforations. And "glossy" finished stock can also help boost the quality perception of self-printed cards, especially if lots of color is used in the card design.

7. Brand Cards
Your business cards should be similar to all of your other printed promotional material. Business cards should contain your business or product logo. Double-check the colors with the printer to make sure the correct pantone colors are used. This will ensure that the logo is printed using the correct and matching color scheme.

8. Keep Current
Information contained on the business card should always be kept current. Business cards with obsolete information crossed out are very unprofessional. If any information on the card changes or becomes obsolete, have new cards printed to reflect the change, and throw the old ones away.

9. Change It Up
Textured business cards, or cards with scalloped edges, stand out. Consider a wide variety of ways to make your card jump out of the pack. The texture or color of the card can also be utilized to ensure your card stands out.

10. Legible
Use a legible font that makes the text on the business card easy to read. Avoid making the fonts too small. Use contrasting colors, and avoid using porous paper that will allow the ink to bleed and the text to blend into the card.

11. Spelling
There is little more embarrassing than business cards that contain typographical errors. Proofread the cards multiple times. Let me say that again -- proofread your business cards! And have other people proofread them too, as they will often be able to spot mistakes that you've overlooked.

Maximize the power of your business cards. Whether you are networking, or just being personable, business cards are a must in the professional world, and crucial to business marketing.

Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll audio recording and editing software.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Goal number one--start a mastermind group

I just marked off my list one of the first goals I have for this year. I was working on it for the past month but it was a goal to launch in 2008 and today was the day.

For those who do not know, a mastermind group is defined by Napoleon Hill, author of the must-read book Think and Grow Rich, said “A mastermind is the harmonious alliance of two or more minds that create a friendly environment to gather, classify and organize new information for fast and effective implementation.”

A mastermind is one of the most powerful tools you'll ever experience, because when you connect with even just one other entrepreneur who is focused on marketing and success, your ideas don't just double -- they tenfold! This groups agenda is to focus on business successes and issues. Today since it was all first time visitors, after introductions we had a volunteer share a problem he was having in his business. Since we had six people in the room, including me, and most not familiar with a mastermind group it was a learning process on what we were doing. As we moved forward though, most everyone got involved in the brainstorming session. At the end of the meeting all felt it was very beneficial.

I am still in search of more people with different strengths to bring to the table. I believe most people that come and are prepared for the commitment will recognize the benefit of gaining and sharing knowledge with their peers.

How about you? Have you started on your goals yet? Some people call them new years resolutions but they are really goals. I have daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. I just met one of my monthly goals.

Good luck to you as you strive to reach your goals for 2008!