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Succession and Retirement Planning: Neither Should Be Ignored

How are you doing planning for your own retirement? Do you plan to keep your business alive even after you go away?  Stop putting things off.  Now is the time to address succession and retirement planning for your small business.  Give yourself the time necessary to accumulate a significant cache to fund your golden years.  You should probably started much sooner, but there is no time like the present to catch up. We read all the time about the need to create generous compensation and benefit packages to attract top talent for our small businesses.  Health care, paid holidays, paid personal days, retirement plans.  The menu for benefits has grown and expanded over the years.  It can be tough to compete with big companies with [...]

Does Your Firm Accept Credit Cards? Maybe You Should.

This week, we contracted with an award winning local landscape firm to do some stone and brick work on our property.  We met with the owner to sign the contract so work could begin.  When I asked if they would accept credit card payment for our deposit, we were told their company doesn't accept credit cards.  Interesting.  I thought most every small business today accepts credit cards for payment. Credit and debit cards have taken over the world.  Those, myself included, who still write the occasional check are looked at strangely.  Change takes time for most people.  Yes, I do pay bills and make purchases online, but I have become more and more cautious about who gets my credit card information.  Far too many hackers [...]

By | August 3rd, 2017|Customer Experience, Strategic Management|0 Comments

Strategies for Change: Be Alert, Be Aware, Be Strategic

The world as we know it is coming to an end!  Sounds an awful lot like the childhood story, Chicken Little, doesn’t it?  Remember that story about Henny-Penny running around the barn yard telling everyone the sky is falling after some innocent thing fell on her head?  Definitely not a good strategy for dealing with change.  Unlike every other day, something new and different happened - something changed.  Strategies for change should be top of mind for every small business owner who is passionate about the success of their firm. Notice the key words in that first sentence are "...as we know it..."  The statement can sound scary, some may react with fear and frustration, but in reality, “…as we know it…” really only means [...]

By | June 20th, 2017|Strategic Management, Strategy, Trends|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 [...]

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 [...]

About Strategy and Strategic Planning

Most successful small businesses owe their growth and success in large part to use of strategy and strategic planning.  This is accomplished through a combination of strategic thinking, planning and management.  Adopting a strategic approach to business operations clearly defines the direction a firm needs to take to achieve leadership's vision of success. So, exactly what is this concept called Strategic Planning?  It is an organized system that begins with envisioning the firm as it will be when it is all grown up. That Vision of your company in its long-term ideal state is further defined in terms of its Mission.  In a few sentences, a mission statement clearly addresses every facet of your business:  the products and services you offer, pricing, quality, service, marketplace position, growth [...]

By | January 28th, 2016|Strategic Management, Strategic Planning, Strategy|0 Comments

Small Business Systems and Processes: Improve Yours Now

'Designing Strategies' Newsletter September – October 2013                                                Volume 10 – Issue 55 I’m not a huge fan of what is marketed today as 'reality' television.  That said, there is a lot to be learned from some of the business‐themed reality shows on cable television channels.  Over the years, as this genre of entertainment has grown in popularity, we've learned there is not a lot of reality involved in most of these shows. Like all entertainment venues, drama, surprise, emotion, scripting and editing are all pulled together to produce a product that will attract viewers and paid advertisers. The premise of these shows [...]

By | September 18th, 2013|Employees, Leadership, Newsletter, Strategic Management|0 Comments

Embrace Opportunities for Change to Grow Your Company

Did you ever think about just using change to grow and move your business forward or to a new level? There is no doubt that businesses have faced a lot of change over the past several years. There is no way that all of the change we have experienced will correct itself and return to what we considered normal or business as usual. Change is just that: change - the act of becoming different. Rather than waiting hopelessly for normal, or whatever you were used to, to come back, a wiser strategy would be to use seize change to grow and to move your small business forward. As the saying goes, the only constant in life is change. You can either deal with change, using [...]

By | August 8th, 2013|Growth, Strategic Management|0 Comments