Planning

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Desert Mindset

Surviving in the desert requires awareness of changes in the environment, such as weather and seasonal changes, and ongoing preparedness to meet the challenges one faces.  During the cooler months, water and vegetation might be plentiful.  However, during the hot summer months, you’ve got to move to areas where water has pooled in order to ensure your survival when the local heat causes rivers and ponds to dry up.

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Productivity | Extraordinary Business

Digging Yourself into a non-productivity hole. Poor productivity is one of the biggest time-wasters small business leaders face.  Whether spending time on Social Media or other non-productive activities, all of these things take time and money out of our day.  While there are the normal “time wasters” that we might use as down time or to recharge, there are those things that we do to waste time that we don’t even pay attention to.

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Sweet Spot | Extraordinary Business

In baseball, the “sweet spot” is typically the spot on a baseball bat where a hitter will get a powerful, clean hit.  When hitting a ball with the bat, hitting it outside of the sweet spot will typically make the ball go up or down, and the bat twist.  The result is that the full force of the swing isn’t transferred to the ball.The Sweet Spot

When hitting the ball on the bat’s sweet spot, however, the bat doesn’t twist, and the full force of the swing is transferred to the ball, yielding a nice, clean hit.

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Starter or Sidelined? | Extraordinary Business

With Super Bowl XLV around the corner, the conversation these days is around who will win.  According to www.NFL.com, the Packers are the popular choice over the Pittsburg Steelers.  Everyone has their theories about why they’ve chosen one team over the other, using criteria such as injuries, experience, heart, coaching style, key people, etc.  I’ve submitted my vote for the Steelers.  Unfortunately, I, like many of us, will be a spectator, rather than a player, watching the game.

What about you?  What about your business?  Is your business in the game or are you on the sidelines?SuperBowl - Sideline or Starter

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Extraordinary Business | Does the Boat Float?

As business leaders, decision-making is our primary responsibility, and what our clients, employees and the marketplace expects us to do.  From purchases as simple as pens for everyday use (or delegation of someone to make those decisions) to developing short and long term plans for the entire organization, business leaders are positioned to “lead the way!”  We must always strive to move the business forward, focus on the vision, think outside of our emotional baggage and build a thriving, growing organization.

The challenge facing business leaders is that there are so many dynamics and echoes around each decision that making gut level decisions often gives us little control over the ripples that result from them.See if the boat floats!

But we do the best we can with what we have.  We throw the boat in the water to see if it will float. The question we have to ask ourselves is: “Is this good enough.”  Well – if you are into mediocrity, perhaps it is. [···]

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Have an Idea and a Plan

Extraordinary Business: Have an Idea and a Plan!

In a 2008 children’s movie, “Monsters versus Aliens,” General W. R. Monger reports to the President, “Mr. President, not only do I have an idea, but I have a plan!”  This is the mentality business leaders who wish to build extraordinary businesses must have.(L-R) Gen. W.R. Monger and the President in "Monsters vs. Aliens."

Building an extraordinary business doesn’t happen by accident.  It requires focus, consistency, extraordinary thinking and an extraordinary vision.  Look at the luxury car manufactures.  Their commercial constantly tout why they are better than the non-luxury models. They have better handling, go faster, smoother lines, more electronics, etc..  None of this happens by accident.

Your extraordinary business won’t be extraordinary by accident, either.  Simply throwing together a webinar series, sending out free white papers, launching a new website or blog or being a host on an internet radio station does not mean that you will automatically launch your business into the echelons of greatness. Planning to do these things, however, could make the difference.

Take, for example, a new product launch by a national company.  They have a product, they have consistent messaging, they know who their target market is and you see their launch everywhere for a specific amount of time.  They’ll typically build out something that looks like a business plan and ask the who, what, when, where, how and why this product will get on the market.  If they cannot justify the investment, they move on.2011 Planning Button

Extraordinary business leaders need to look at endeavors in the same light.  Every action must be measured –does it support the mission?  Will it help us reach the vision? Can I promote it to the right people?  How will I promote it?  How much will I sell it for?  How much will I make off of it?– to determine whether or not the time and energy that must be expended is worth it.

Planning is not a tool just for academics.  It is not simply a cliché, “failure to plan is planning to fail.”  It is the difference between shooting in the dark and building something extraordinary.  Build extraordinary.  Have a plan.

Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is an Operations Management and Business Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses. 

We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Specialty Consumer Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions. 

If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].


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*Picture – (L-R) Gen. W.R. Monger and the President in “Monsters vs. Aliens.” – © Dreamworks Animation, LLC

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Investing in Greatness

“If you plant apple seeds, you’ll get an apple tree.  If you plant weeds, you’ll get weeds.  Lots of them.”

These are very basic ideas that can apply to nearly any area of your life.  Think about seeds in terms of being things that you begin doing in some aspect of your life.  For example, habits: If you act a certain way, think a certain way, dress a certain way, etc., there will be “fruits” of those habits.  Image consultants such as Cathy Hankinson of 10 Second Impact has built her business around the fact that people will take the seed you’ve planted – their first impression of you – and create a mental map, mental picture or a set of beliefs about you and/or your business.Apple seeds grow Apple Trees

It seems like the need to purchase something for the business never goes away.  Many times, we operate from the belief that we can only purchase the minimum that LOOKS like it will get a particular job done.  We’ll purchase $10 parts from retailers that catch fire or stop working after a couple of week.  We’ll look for free services to use with our clients that work most of the time.  We undercut people to get the best “value,” just because the price is lower, without taking into consideration what the ramifications will be. 

Now this doesn’t mean that we over-purchase, we purchase without planning, or could without reservation.  It means that if we need a Heavy Duty truck, scraping the bottom of the barrel may get us a truck, but it may end of being a truck that may require extensive maintenance and repairs to keep going/  After a while, the thing looks like it costs us as much as it would have to purchase a newer model.  Not to mention, the black cloud of soot we leave at every customers’ homes or businesses is never appealing.

Think long-term with your purchases.

“You’ll always reap what you sow; more than you sow, later than you sow.” – Dr. Charles Stanley

Think about your purchases in terms of being investments in your company.  When you purchase a computer for your company, Investments you are expecting a certain amount of increased productivity out of it.  You aren’t expecting bottom-of-the-barrel productivity, and you certainly aren’t looking for something that is going to break down on you after running steadily for about a year.

Know, factually, that you cannot do it all yourself.  There are things your business needs that will actually cost you less to hire someone to do than to do it yourself.  Websites come to mind.  Not everyone in the world has the ability to create a compelling, dynamic website that will actually generate sales for them.  However, your website is often how people begin to gain perception of your business.  Your website needs to match your business and will be, at times, the difference between your getting the sale versus one of your competitors.

Business leader – yes there will be deals.  There will be once in a lifetime opportunities.  There will be miracles that simply fall into your lap.  Regardless, you still need to do your due diligence in order to make sure you are getting the best price without sacrificing quality, dependability and functionality.  You should feel confident that one day, you will be able to look back at the things that you’ve purchased and say, “this purchase enabled us to…and here are the fruits of the investment.”

If you want an extraordinary business, you’ve got to plant extraordinary seeds.  Grow extraordinary.

Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is an Operations Management and Business Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses. 

We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Specialty Consumer Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions. 

If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].


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Life and Business Change…Adapt or Get Out!

The changes we have seen across the country in the past few years have put Americans, as a whole, in a state of concern. The price of gas is skyrocketing and approaching a new high, the value of the dollar in plunging, mortgage foreclosure rates are defined as “crises” and on and on. On top of that, we have the media stirring up a frenzy of fear to ensure we run full-speed into a national recession and stay there! But that’s another story. Regardless, all of this results in increased risk and cost to do business.

You, as a business owner, need to be proactive and prepare yourself, your staff and your business for the changes that will affect the way you work. Some businesses that rely on helping people and businesses get through this type of economic challenge (yes, challenge…this, too, will pass), will be faced with the challenge of managing a larger number of clients. Their challenge is THRU-PUT, or being able to manage a larger number of clients while providing the same level of service and attention they normally give their clients. Others, who deal, primarily, in “discretionary” products and services are going to experience a slowdown in their business. In both cases, how do you planning to adapt? (consider…adapt or die)

Ideally, you have created a business plan for your business, complete with a business model (or financial model) that you can return to in order to help you see not only where you came from, but also where you are going. It should provide you with the BIG PICTURE perspective – what the business is about, what the goals are and what the purpose is. This should encompass your BRAND, or what people – customers, clients, the community, etc. – expect from you.

Your business plan is not only your map, but also tells what kind of car you are driving, who is going with you, why you are going on this journey and what you expect when you get there. On every journey, there are hills and valleys, some steeper than others, some lower, respectively. In order to reach the vision, you mush KEEP MOVING FORWARD. In order to keep moving forward, you have to make good decisions on how to protect the vehicle.

Now, if your vehicle is a hot air balloon, what do you do when you start plunging from 3,000 feet? Unfortunately, you may have to drop ballast. You are not going to throw out the engine…you will not throw out the map…you will not throw out the fuel reserves…you will get rid of the items that have the least amount of VALUE on the trip.

Well, what has the greatest value? Your BRAND. Your brand IS your vehicle. Your brand is a major influencer that encourages (or discourages) people to go with you. You need to avoid losing it (though it will cost you far more to re-establish a damaged brand than to start with a new one!)

What else has value? What fuels your business? What drives your business? What is it that is simply nice to have, but not helping you to move forward toward accomplishing your vision? Is it your office with the nice leather chairs? Is it your fleet of 2008 vehicles your sales team drives? Is it your $5 per month co-pay benefits plan?

Conversely, in what area or areas have you invested the most that are moving the business forward? Look at your staff…how much time have they spent thoroughly learning your business through countless meetings, OJT (On the Job Training), etc.? Will it be in your best interest to cut positions arbitrarily? Is your best option to gut your HR or training arm, completely?

Believe it when I say that there is NO HARD, FAST RULE FOR EVERY BUSINESS OR EVERY BUSINESS OWNER! However, looking at your brand, your mission, your vision, your path, your values and those of your business, it becomes apparent that you have to make smart decisions based on the bigger picture. Plan with the expectation for things to recover or reset. Could this mean looking at your exit strategy (a set of indicators that ‘light up’ letting you know that it is time to exit the business)? Well, is this part of your business model? It should be. Does this have to affect your personal mission, vision and values? YES, the business can be ballast that you have to let go. The business can absolutely STOP you from moving forward. Stopping the business is NOT the end of the world, but not knowing when to stop could definitely seem like it.

Planning is the key to knowing what to do as the world changes around your business. Planning is the key to moving forward. You cannot know the future. However, you CAN observe what is going on around you and look to contingencies as things occur.

Take the offensive. Do your homework and plan. Remember…He who fails to plan, plans to fail.

Aepiphanni is a Business Consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations. We are the trusted advisor to those seeking forward-thinking operational and strategic solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth.

If you are ready to discuss how Aepiphanni can help you with business strategy, overcoming challenges to growth or any number of business solutions for your business, whether a small, growing or established company, contact us directly or submit a request for a complimentary Coffee & a Consult to learn how we can help you CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD an Extraordinary company.

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