Terri-L-Maurer
For the Chinese translation, Click Here

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

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 [...]

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

Sustainable Small Business Growth in 2016 – 7 ‘Must-Haves’

'Designing Strategies' Newsletter January - February, 2016                      Volume 13 -- Issue 69 In order for your small business to be wildly… or mildly… successful, it is important to grow the company. A company that grows at a steady pace increases its chance of success. For some small businesses, growth will be successful. For other small businesses, their growth plan may be a complete failure. You might ask: “Why shouldn’t all companies on a growth path be successful?” That does seem logical, doesn’t it? However, without well developed planning and attention to details, you cannot assume that your, or any other company, can achieve sustainable small business growth. It seems that if a company is growing [...]

By | January 19th, 2016|Growth, Newsletter, Strategy|0 Comments

Marketing: Most People Don’t Know You or Like You – Yet

Is there ever a tipping point when you’ve saturated the market and you no longer need marketing or advertising for your company, its products and services? According to Christopher Ramey, president of The Home Trust International, the answer is no. “The more you’re seen where you’re not expected to be seen, the more you indelibly imprint your brand on your best prospects’ minds.”   Think about some of the big corporate names that have made millions - even billions - selling their products:  Nike, Coca-Cola, Ford.  They certainly have not stopped marketing to put their names in front of consumers. At the most basic level, prospects must know you exist before they would even consider purchasing something from you.  Too many small business owners seem to think [...]

By | January 8th, 2016|Branding, Marketing, Strategy|0 Comments

Twitter Guidelines:  5 Reasons I Might Not Follow You

Like all social media sites, Twitter is set up to help small businesses make connections and build relationships.  Why individuals/companies choose to connect with Tweeple on Twitter can vary.  Some look for potential customers, some look for like-minded members on a wide variety of topics, and yet others look for someone with expertise they might need.  There are no rules about who, or how many, people you can connect to and build relationships with.  It can be helpful to use a Twitter Guideline or two to get you off on the right foot from the beginning. Twitter is a simple application to use.  You invite people of interest to you to 'Follow' you by ‘Following’ them first.  This is the Twitter form of an invitation [...]

By | December 28th, 2015|Strategic Planning|0 Comments

Are You Selling Stuff or Providing Solutions – Very Valuable Solutions?

'Designing Strategies' Newsletter July - August, 2015                     Volume 12 -- Issue 66 "Do you really know what business you are in?"  I ask this question of small business clients on a regular basis. Often I get that 'deer in the headlights' look as they try to decide why I would ask such a question. There I am, sitting in their office or studio where their company name and identity is clearly posted. I know what they are thinking: "Is this a trick question?" or maybe: "Have I hired the right person?" "This one seems to know nothing about me, so how can they help improve my business?" I'm sure that a few even think: "What an [...]

By | July 18th, 2015|Customer Experience, Newsletter, Sales, Strategy|0 Comments