Category Archives: Business planning process

Top 10 Tips to Make Next Year Better than This One

Every year, about this time, I clear off my calendar and get out of working in my business so I can work on my business.

I took some time last Friday and a bit over the weekend to contemplate the Dream Destination for my business and assess the various vehicles I’m ‘driving’ to achieve my goals.

2008 was my best year ever allowing me to create and enjoy a thriving 6-figure business! That felt really good!

This year has been a challenge for my clients and consequently for me as well.  I don’t know about you, but it’s felt like I had to work so much harder this year.  At the same time, some amazing doors and  windows of opportunity opened up.  So I used this time to evaluate the opportunities and challenges and devise ways to leverage the opportunities and overcome the challenges.

I poured over my financials and realized that the bulk of my revenue now comes from speaking and training.  I also realized, thankfully, that this is what I most enjoy doing.

I learned a lot during this strategic review using the Strategic Planning Toolkit and fashioned them into 10 simple tips that you can benefit from.

10.  Revenue Creation

Identify the services or products that generate the most revenue for you that you enjoy providing to your clients.

9.   Profit Creation

Identify the services or products that create the most profit for you  (this might surprise you).   Again make sure that you enjoy providing these products and services). Package them into various size bundles for the price-conscious and luxury-oriented consumer.

8. Time Utilization

Evaluate where you spend the bulk of your time. (Hint: if it’s not creating more of #10 and #9, you’re leaving some serious money on the table.) Make a commitment to re-prioritize your time investment.

7.  Team Evaluation

Make a rigorous review of your team.  Make sure each person is well-suited to the role they play and that you’re not tolerating poor performance from anyone.

6.  Systems

Document repetitive processes.  Automate where possible.  Use your website or other technology to handle appointment scheduling and automate your sales process.

5.  Delegation

Once your team and systems are in place, turn over as many of your current ‘duties’ to your team or the  system.  Free up your time for creation of more #10 & #9.

4.  Client Definition

Narrow your marketing and product/service creation to focus the clients you are best equipped to serve.

3.  Client Problem Definition

Get crystal clear about the problems your target clients suffer from that you can help them solve.

2.  Capability Statement

Write down specific skills, resources, tools, and experiences you have in solving the client problems you just named. Make sure you would be happy using these capabilities to deliver the products or services.  If the thought of spending your time on these activities puts a know in your stomach, start this process over.

1.  Client Acquisition

You won’t make money if you don’t have paying clients!  Figure out where they hang out.  Understand which marketing strategies are most effective in reaching them.  Gather testimonials from happy clients to validate your assertions. Put them on your website and in your marketing materials.  Get on the phone and talk with people.  Direct contact is THE best way to land new clients.

Implement these top 10 tips and you will have a better year next year!

Focus on the Next Best Thing & Rise Above the ‘Bad’ Times

I heard recently that one of the keys to surviving a downturn in the economy is to focus on the “next best thing”. You may be experiencing a slow down in your sales efforts and, consequently, your service delivery, so take advantage of the break from the mania of the past.

How do you know what that next hot thing will be?

1. You do research.
Read industry magazines. Surf the internet.  Create ‘Google alerts for topics you’re interested in and you’ll be notified any time an article appears on the internet about that topic.  Attend conferences, interview thought leaders. Follow them on Twitter. Scan the horizon for themes.  Study trends.  Then use your imagination.

2.  Train your staff
Once you’ve filtered through the noise and have focused on some up-and-coming ideas, train your staff on them.  (See last week’s article on Maximizing Training’s ROI.)  The more your employees know about the next best thing and the more you encourage innovation, the more likely you are to be able to take advantage of the rising tide by tailoring your existing products and services to meet the new opportunities being created.  You might even be able to create new products and services in the emerging field.

3.  Refine your sales & marketing efforts

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, ‘The early bird catches the worm’.  Use your insight into the new trends to re-brand and re-position your company in the industry.  Tailor your messages, update your language to demonstrate that you and your company are learning and moving forward.  Position yourself as living on the cutting-edge.  Your prospects and clients will notice, will see you as the expert and a thought leader and want to learn (and buy) more from you.

What ever you do, don’t waste this opportunity.  Study, learn, create and implement.  Those are the keys to rising above the circumstances; creating and living your dreams.

3 Tips to Make It All Work & Grow Your Business with Grace & Ease

If you’re anything like me (which I’ve noticed many entrepreneurs are), you’re full of ideas, projects and opportunities to pursue.  There is more to do than can be done in a day, week, month…heck, it seems, often more than can be done in even a year!

I was talking with one of my assistants the other day about a conversation she’d had with another team member about the never-ending to-do list we live with. She asked if it bothered me to always have such a long list.

“Not at all!”, I expressed.  It makes me feel quite alive.  I think it adds to the sense of purpose for my life.  Clearly, my life isn’t entirely about completing projects, but being a person who values accomplishment, crossing things off my list brings me great joy!

I must admit though, last week, it did begin to feel like I didn’t really have my arms wrapped around all of my compelling ideas.  You see, they come to me in the middle of the night, first thing in the morning, while driving and while working.

In addition, there are all the great ideas I get exposed to in my coaching sessions and the seminars, mastermind groups and retreats I attend.

So they often end up on separate pieces of paper (kept by the bed for the middle-of-the-night epiphanies) or in notebooks and on handouts from the meetings & seminars.  So this weekend, I reread all my notes and lists and even listened to some audio CDs  had purcased.

So what process did I use to get focused and fired up?

Let me explain with these three simple tips…

1. List and organize your ‘intellectual capital’ – that expertise that sets you apart

This process alone will make your marketing efforts so much more simple.  It’s critical that you understand your expertise because without that, you’re message will be muddy and people won’t know how or why they should use you.

Even if you have many areas of expertise, create 3 – 5 big categories and ‘bucket’ everything in those categories.  You’ll be able to describe what you do with clarity and confidence.   Your prospective clients will understand more clearly what you have to offer.  And you’ll be able to target and package your offers in more compelling ways.

2.  Decide on the specific revenue streams you want to fuel

This is critical on a few levels.  Once you decide where and how you want revenue to come to you, you can more easily design activities that will generate that revenue.   State how much revenue you want from each stream.  This will guide the strategies you use and help you uncover and recognize opportunities to pursue and distinguish those you will leave alone.

Just to give you an example, my  revenue streams include coaching, speaking, products and consulting.  Once you know yours, set targets for each category and list specific ways intend to reach your goals.

3.  Identify the strategies and actions that will allow you to fulfill on your desired revenue streams

Now that you know how you want money to flow your way and from which venues, make a list of the actions you need to take to make those things happen.  They might include things like identifying joint venture partners, speaking venues or ways you’ll sell your wares.

Then get to work!

As I mentioned in my Fox10 interview last month, ‘calendarize’ your plans.  Decide products and offers what you’ll roll out and when.  identify the specific steps you need to execute to reach your revenue goals.