Tag Archives: small business strategy

Strategic Planning, Small Business Planner-Style!

We’re six weeks into 2020 and everyone is doing strategic planning for their small business! Which is a great thing…because, as we all known, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail…but as we were preparing to do this year’s strategic planning for Small Business Solver, we noticed that there were no good resources or tools out there to help small business owners through this process.

White 3D figure with a black necktie examines the word "Plan" in large,  red, 3D block letters with a magnifying glass. Keyword: strategic planning
Time for Strategic Planning!

So we created a strategic planning process of our own! We used it to do our own planning, and have since used it with 50 small businesses, non-profits, and large associations! We’ve been so excited by the results that we’ve made it a training module on the Small Business Solver Website! It was also the subject of a recent webinar:

In this webinar, you’ll learn about:

  1. The importance of defining your vision
  2. What makes an effective mission statement
  3. How to do a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Weaknesses) Analysis
  4. SMART goals
  5. Strategic Activities and getting them done with a Workplan

Defining Your Vision

Your vision tells you and the people involved with your business where your business is headed – it is your Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal! For strategic planning purposes, this goal is set for 5 years, although you’ll define goals for the 1, 3, and 5 year marks. Keep your mind open, because you’ll be setting Impossible Goals as well as Possible Goals! (As the webinar explains…)

An Effective Mission Statement

You’ll want to write a strong mission statement as part of your strategic planning. The webinar gives you a formula for writing a mission statement that is:

  1. Memorable
  2. Personal and inclusive
  3. A description of your daily activities
  4. Focused on your target market
  5. A description of the ideal result of your actions for your target market.

Your mission statement should motivate you and your staff!

Strategic Planning and SWOT!

A SWOT analysis forces you to take both internal and external inventory of factors that will affect the success of your business:

  1. Strengths – What do you have going for you?
  2. Weaknesses – What perceived gaps are holding you back?
  3. Opportunities – What are the possibilities or opportunities you can leverage
  4. Threats – What do you need to watch out for?

Your strategic planning will be much more effective when you have a clear idea of what you have to work with!

Strategic Planning Includes Strategic Goals

At this stage of strategic planning, you must define 3 – 5 critical areas for your business that are related to your Unique Selling Proposition. You’ll learn in the webinar that most small businesses list Revenue and Communications or Marketing as critical areas, and you’ll also see examples of other areas. Once you’ve defined your ctitical areas, you’ll write a strategic goal for each of them.

Your strategic plan really starts to take form once you’ve set these goals.

Strategic Activities and Workplan

You now need to list the activities required to make your strategic goals a reality create a workplan so that the work gets done! Ask yourself:

  1. What tasks need to be done so that the goals you’ve set are achieved?
  2. In what order should these tasks be done?
  3. Who is responsible for each task?
  4. What is the deadline for each task?

Keep your workplan and the strategic tasks in view so that they stay on the radar of everyone involved! See the webinar for some suggestions on how to do this.

Strategic Planning – Bottom Line!

Strategic planning lets you take a large amount of data about your business and the areas within it and reduce the overwhelm around what to do next. You’ll end the process with a manageable number of goal, a plan for getting them done, and (hopefully!) a commitment to repeat the process the next year!

Check out the webinar…and then check out our new Strategic Planning Training Module and get your strategic planning done for 2020! And be sure to let us know what you think (here, or on Facebook, or on Twitter, or by email at [email protected])…because we love to hear from you!

Small Business Marketing Tools to Boost your Likeability

People buy from people they like, so remember to congratulate yourself once you’ve made the sale! You connected with the customer and appealed to them on the emotional level at which people ultimately decide to buy. You now need to make this transactional customer who’s made one purchase a lifetime customer. Using small business marketing tools that boost your likeability can help with that. In this webinar you’ll learn about:

  1. The Value of a Customer
  2. Likeability as one of the 3 Tenets of a Sale
  3. How Brand affects Likeability
  4. Marketing Tools that Boost Likeability

The Value of a Customer

Getting existing customers to spend more money on your products is less expensive than spending money on the marketing and onboarding required to continually bring on new customers. You’ll also generate more revenue over a customer’s lifetime. Build personal relationships with your customers, increasing your likeability, and revenue from a given customer will increase as:

  1. Average size and frequency of a sale increases
  2. Purchases become more routine
  3. You become the business that the customer always shops with
  4. The customer not only does business exclusively with you, but refers you to other people.

The sales cycle for a referral is much shorter than for a customer you bring in fresh off the street!

Likeability as One of the 3 Tenets of a Sale

Need a reminder about the 3 Tenets of a Sale? Here they are:

  1. People Must Know You (Visibility)
  2. People Must Trust You (Credibility)
  3. People Must Like You (Likeability)

We are (obviously) examining Likeability’s role in the 3 Tenets of Sale today, and how boosting it through small business marketing and building personal relationships wih customers increases your sales. We’ve examined previously how boosting credibility boosts your sales and also how boosting visibility boosts your sales, so be sure to check out those webinars as well! Small business marketing works!

How Brand Affects Likeability

Your Brand Promise lets customers know who you are and what they can expect from you. Branding choices give your customers information about your business that they use to evaluate your Brand Promise, and all ties into likeability.

Consider how these aspects of your branding will be perceived by your target market:

  1. Your business’ name
  2. Your business’ voice
  3. Visuals
  4. Values
  5. Personality
  6. Characteristics that make it unique from other companies will be perceived by your target market.

Remember that in small business your personal brand as the business owner is part of the business brand. Be both authentic in both!

Small Business Marketing Tools That Boost Likeability

You can use Small Business Solver’s Marketing Solver Tool to learn about a whole bunch of marketing tools that help with the “Like You” part of the 3 Tenets of a Sale. Here are a few the webinar talks about:

  1. Volunteering –> You and/or a staff team
  2. Sponsorships –> Community events or local sports teams
  3. Rebates and Coupons —> For existing customers, not just new ones
  4. Lunch & Learns –> For potential and existing customers
  5. Online Service Tie-In –> Use an online platform to provide value to your offering (such as access to an information website or web community)
  6. Pick Up the Phone –> Call customers instead of emailing them
  7. Employees –> Stay engaged, let them express their personality
  8. Mentors —> Leverage the power of your champions!
  9. Food –> Face-to-face over food can build powerful relationships
  10. Be Helpful –> Share articles, news, events
  11. Birthday Cards –> Note customer details that are potential touchpoints in your CRM
  12. Online Portfolio –> Showcase your business and your brand promise
  13. Networking –> Really listen to peoples’ stories and offer help without expectation of return
  14. Smile! —> People can tell, even if they can’t see you.

The numbers show that you really only need one hundred loyal customers to flourish, bottom line. They will keep coming back to you, over and over. They will refer new customers to you. One hundred loyal customers changes the nature of your business.

Something to think about, right?

Was this useful? Watch our other webinars on our YouTube Channel!

Alternative Revenue Streams for Your Small Business

Why would you want to develop some alternative revenue streams for your small business? For lots of reasons! Diversification and customer retention, for a start – customers who have a wide range of sevices and products from which to choose are happy customers!

Alternative Revenue Streams: Things to Consider

You can’t provide everything, so choose your alterative revenue streams wisely. You need to consider:

  1. Your core competencies
  2. Adjacencies to those competencies
  3. Your existing customers
  4. New customers
  5. Standard types of alternative revenue streams

Core Competency

How to decide what your core competency is? This is your bread & butter! A core compentecy is your competitive advantage, what you are known for! You should be better at your core competency than everyone else is. It’s probably the reason why you went into business.

Logical Adjacencies

Logical adjancenies are potential alternative revenue streams that are strategically aligned to your core competency. They steer what you offer in a defined direction. Some different ways to pivot when you do adjacencies is if they are a new product or service for your existing customers or if you are doing the same product or service for a new target market. Both are a natural step in growing your alternative revenue streams strategically.

Existing Customers

Strategies to develop alternative revenue streams that focus on the existing customer include:

  1. Increasing the average sale from a customer
  2. Increasing the frequency with which customers use your business
  3. Offering something new that customers also need
  4. Developing more effective retention strategies.

Keeping a customer is worth even more (and is much less expensive) than finding a new one!

New Customers

Strategies to develop alternative revenue streams that focus on new customers include:

  1. Targeting new markets
  2. Testing new offerings

Standard Alternative Revenue Streams

Standard alternative revenue streams include:

  1. New products, services, intellectual property, programs
  2. Events
  3. Memberships
  4. Intermediaries
  5. Residual income
  6. Sharing economy
  7. Government contracts
  8. Crowdfunding

Learn More About Alternative Revenue Streams

When it comes to alternative streams, the limit is really only the resources that you have available to implement them and oversee them. The general rule is that, regardless of how many revenue streams you have, 20% of your revenue streams should be producing 80% of your income, so focus on that 20%…but make them what you want! You can do one or more of them, blend them…have fun!

Watch the video to hear more about all of this.

Was this useful? Watch more webinars on our YouTube channel!

Business Clarity Questions for Small Business

The New Year is a great time to plan to ramp up your business.

Getting ready for 2015 involves getting your business ready with a solid foundation to move forward. Your foundation is based on answering these 7 critical questions.

In 20 minutes, walk through the business clarity questions and answer them for your business. Make your 2015 more impactful!

Contact the Expert

Charles McFarland
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.charlesmcfarland.ca
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/coachingbusinessandartsleaders
Twitter: https://twitter.com/charlesmcf

SBS Clarity 14 Jan 2015

Guaranteed Better Than The Rest

Differentiating your small business and continuing to improve your business are two key pieces of being better than the rest.

But how do you get this in motion? Where do you start?

In 15 minutes we walk through two key objectives;
1. Ensuring that you are making time to work on your business rather than in it
2. Outlining 5 key ways to differentiate your business and how to do this

Contact the Expert

Eloise Pasianotto
www.effectiveprofessionalconsulting.com

Small Business Finance 101

What you don’t know when it comes to finance, can hurt you!
 
Understanding some basic finance models can help you make more objective decisions. This helps you avoid emotional decisions that often are the wrong decisions for your business.
 
The concepts that are walked through in this 30 minute video are;
 
1. Break Even Analysis
2. Basic Financial Ratios
3. Weighted Averages
4. Decision Making Trees
5. Net Present Value
 
By understanding the basics of these tools and when to consider using them, you have more tools in your toolbox as a small business owner.
 

 
Contact The Expert
[email protected]

Need more help on finance? Let us know what else you’d like to see at [email protected]

Revenue Generation

Increasing our small business revenue generation is something that most entrepreneurs are concerned with. In this video we learn why all entrepreneurs need to make it the top priority and we walk through the 4 main things that we need to focus on to help our revenue grow.
 
1. Number of leads
2. Improve conversion rates
3. Increase the price of the average sale
4. Increase the number of sales per period
 
Plus we walk through all of the tools we have at our fingertips to help improve these 4 areas. Watch it now!
 

 
Contact the Expert
 
Gary Brown
FocalPoint Coaching
[email protected]
 
 

How To Do A Quarterly Review?

How do we know if we are on track for our yearly goal? How can we ensure that our strategy is working?
 
Small business owners need to do a quarterly review!
 
Without a quarterly review we are falling into the trap of working in our business and not on it. All of our activities become tasks rather than things that will help our business grow.
 
This video walks through:
1. Why is a review so critical? What are the reasons why our quarterly review might be higher or lower than we expected? What are the reasons why we might have to tweak the rest of our annual plan?
2. Super quick overview of strategic planning
3. How to do a quarterly review. What to be analyzing and what to be considering for the future.
4. Best practices and the top things to avoid when executing a strategic plan.
 

 
Contact The Expert
 
The Small Business Solver Team
[email protected]
 
Additional Resources
 
Like the PowerPoint? how do to a quarterly review
Want a template to use for your quarterly review? Quarterly-Review-MODEL
 

Action Planning

Get Started. Keep Going! This is the life of the small business owner and entrepreneur in 2014 trying to get their business ramped up or growing.
 
The number one reason why a small business owner is successful in the short term is based on how much they are moving forward.  Every time that you say the words ‘I will’, are you?  Not that you necessarily have to be on time, but you need to do it if you said you would.  Being action oriented and getting things done is critical to success.
 
The Action Planning Process includes the following steps;
1. Goal Setting
2. Action Planning
3. Implementation
4. Measure the Results
5. Assess/Reassess
 

 
Contact Information
 
Gary Brown
[email protected]
 
Like the Slides? SBS-action planning webinar

What’s Your Business Worth?

Business valuation is critical for all small business owners as there is a high probability that you will be needing to evaluate how much your business is worth due to needing a loan, going through a divorce, or selling your business either voluntarily or involuntarily.

 

When it comes down to it, the value of your business is the price that someone is actually willing to pay you for it. But if you are trying to put a dollar value on your business without this step or before this step, there are some things to consider;

 

1. Net tangible assets
2. Identifiable intangibles
3. Goodwill (transitioned and non transitioned)
4. Redundant assets

 

If you are selling your business, there are some great ways to increase the value of your small business. And there are some specific value drivers to be aware of.

 

If you are buying a business, there are some specific details you should be looking for and specific circumstances where you may buy a small business for a lesser amount.

 

Watch this video for all of the details.

 

 

Contact The Expert

 

Fabyelle Chevalier, CPA, CA
Manager – Financial Advisory Services
BDO Canada LLP
Direct: 705 726 6331 ext. 8523
[email protected]

 

Like the Presentation? Valuation Presentation