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Case studies from design industry professionals, from the smallest of firms to large, global organizations. Click on image - order your copy today!

Customers Deserve Our Thanks and Appreciation – It’s Thanksgiving

Designing Strategies  eNewsletter Volume 14                          Issue 80   Happy Thanksgiving  and the Coming Holiday Season Everyone! It's hard to believe that we are half way through Fall and that Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  Somehow these holidays have a habit of sneaking up on us.  Lots of cleaning to do.  Long grocery lists with ingredients for traditional family recipes are on refrigerator doors or in our digital To Do list.  Run the good china and silverware through the dish washer.  Pull out that special table cloth.  Time to celebrate and be thankful.  Thankful for our families, friends, health and home, of course.  But, should remember those less fortunate than we are at this [...]

Get Your Small Business Growing: Off the Treadmill and Onto a Conveyor

'Designing Strategies' eNewsletter September - October, 2017                                         Volume 14  --  Issue 79   Do you find yourself doing the same things in your business that you did last week, last month or even last year?  Not good.  You have reached a plateau where  you are comfortable and decided to stay put?  Really not good.  You know what happens when something sits still in the same place don't you?  If you've ever watched 'American Pickers' on the History channel, you'll understand that when people 'collect' things, but leave them sitting around for a long time, they start to deteriorate.  A car or bicycle left outside for years [...]

By | September 22nd, 2017|Growth, Newsletter, Systems and Processes|0 Comments

Exceptional Customer Experiences:  7 Infallible Rules Not To Be Ignored

Every small business claims to have excellent customer service.  I’m not kidding.  Go out and do an informal survey of your own.  At your next association meeting, ask ten or twelve colleagues – read:  competitors – how they rate their own customer service.   I’d be willing to bet that 9 out of 10 will tell you they are just ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ when it comes to customer service and exceptional customer experiences. For those of you who prefer to speak in simpler terms, that very, very long word from Mary Poppins just means “exceptionally good”.  By claiming to have exceptionally good customer service, they claim their customer service is uncommon or unusual, at a uniquely higher level than anyone else provides.  The truth is: if that question was [...]

Your Unique Definition of Success – The Foundation of Your Small Business

'Designing Strategies' e-Newsletter Volume 14               Issue 77   Success – what does it mean?  From a quick Google search, Success is defined as either:  the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, or the attainment of popularity or profit.  Ask any small business owner or entrepreneur what they want to get from their start-up enterprise and odds are, they will respond with:  "Success.” or "I want to be successful."  Sounds about right, doesn't it? In reality, those answers are simply not enough.  What does success mean to you, as an individual, small business owner?  This isn’t a trick question.  There is no right or wrong answer to this.  It's time to think about your unique definition of success.  What [...]

By | June 2nd, 2017|Newsletter, Strategy, Strategy|0 Comments

8 Important Management Factors That Affect Small Businesses

'Designing Strategies' newsletter March - April, 2017            Volume 14  -  Issue 76   There are eight important management factors identified by Neil C. Churchill and Virginia L. Lewis in the Harvard Business Review.  They apply equally to any small business start up.  Four of the factors apply to the business owner.  The other four apply to the small business itself.  Their research noted factors that affect both the small business owner and the business entity itself.  Those factors are as follows: Important Management Factors for the Business Owner Personal and Business Goals Without specific, clear cut goals, a small business owner is aligned with failure.  With nothing specific to aim for, strategies and tactics can be pointed in too many [...]

Grow Your Small Business By Adding and Empowering Employees

'Designing Strategies' eNewsletter Volume 14                     Issue 75   If a typical day at your small business involves staff waiting for you to come into the office so they can get your approval of progress on a project, it's not a good thing. If employees are standing in line to get access to you to answer questions, that's not good either. Odds are your firm is in Stagnant Stalemate mode. Your firm is not growing. It is not expanding. Staff can't accomplish anything because you have a death grip on control over every little minute detail of operations. Give it up! You have become the bottleneck blocking our firm’s progress. It's time to give up some [...]

By | January 28th, 2017|Employees, Growth, Newsletter, Strategy|0 Comments

Trend Hunter’s Megatrends for 2017

'Designing Strategies' Newsletter November – December 2016                      Volume 13 – Issue 74   2016 is coming to its end and 2017 is emerging on the horizon just behind. Out with the old, in with whatever will be new. Baby New Year is trying on his sash for final alterations as Father Time shuffles to his finish line. I started off the day with an exclamation of “Egads, it’s almost December!” Thanksgiving is already behind us and a plethora of year end events and holidays are ahead. On the business side, we rush to get year-end expense reports turned in, collect – or delay – outstanding accounts receivables, put on holiday and year-end sales and get our financial books in order. In what [...]

By | November 28th, 2016|Newsletter, Strategy, Trends|0 Comments

Create a Small Business Bucket List to Get What You Want

'Designing Strategies' Newsletter September - October 2016                      Volume 13 -- Issue 73 Have any of you written a personal bucket list? A bucket list is pretty simple, it is just a list of things you want to do and places you want to see during your lifetime. It’s a matter of putting down in written form those hopes and dreams you don’t want to miss out on. Writing them down improves the likelihood they will actually become a part of your reality. Wait! How about creating a Small Business Bucket List for your firm? Interesting concept, no? Back in 2007, 'The Bucket List' movie came out. Jack Nicholson's character, Edward Cole, was filthy rich, a [...]

Small Business Growth: 5 Important Stages

'Designing Strategies' Newsletter July - Aug 2016                      Volume 13 -- Issue 72 Do you ever think about the stage, or phase, your small business enterprise is in, or has passed through? We are all aware of when our family members and friends birthdays are. We celebrate anniversaries, graduations and other of life's watershed moments. We celebrate in a big way with parties, gifts and major events to celebrate these great moments as we move through different stages of our lives. Small business growth stages aren't much different. It seems that our small businesses, into which we have poured our hearts, souls, time, energy and money, deserve at least the same milestone recognition. After all, it [...]

Strategic Planning According to Dilbert – Dilbert Asks: “Why Bother?”

'Designing Strategies' Newsletter May - June, 2016                      Volume 13 - Issue 71 One of my favorite comic strips is 'Dilbert' by Scott Adams. Day to day, Dilbert represents corporate America in a way that has never been done before in a syndicated comic strip. My take on the strip is Dilbert represents Generation X, dealing with management in a corporate world run by Baby Boomers.  He has all kinds of opinions, most of which are ignored by his supervisors.  Of course he would have an opinion on strategic planning and how effective it is - or isn't. He is frustrated on a daily basis by his superior, Pointy-haired Boss, and coworkers. Dilbert is often drawn [...]