Vision

Value in Strategic Planning | Extraordinary Business

Strategic Planning
So you have had your business for a number of years and you are successful for all intents and purposes. You have an excellent product, you have an active client base that purchases from you regularly. You know how and where to get new clients and how to keep the ones that you have.  Your team is pretty stable; you have a low turnover rate.
Question is: what is next?
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Value in Strategic Planning | Extraordinary Business

So you have had your business for a number of years and you are successful for all intents and purposes. You have an excellent product, you have an active client base that purchases from you regularly. You know how and where to get new clients and how to keep the ones that you have.  Your team is pretty stable; you have a low turnover rate.

Question is: what is next?

 [···]

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Grow From Here to Success

How to make sure your business has everything it needs to grow

business futureWhen I was a younger guy, whenever I would get a gadget, while I might have enjoyed it, I always thought about what the toy will be like in the future, perhaps with the same anticipation as many people have about the next generation of mobile technology. One of the things that always bothered me was the question of why things weren’t designed to be used with the next generation of products.

For example, with a computer, you might be able to upgrade the amount of memory, how fast it runs, and swap out different components, but yesterday’s computer probably may not be able to run tomorrow’s software as effectively as tomorrow’s computer will. Yesterday’s computer lacks true forward compatibility.

From a producer perspective, a producer could probably get consumers to believe that there are huge changes in the same old product in a different box and sell it again – every year in some cases. This, of course, is what drives revenue. But I digress…

The Problem

As a business owner, the question begs to be asked: how have you designed your company for the future? I don’t mean – how have you thought about it, or what kind of planning have you done, but rather, what are the actual activities or tactical decisions you have made that will prepare the company as it grows toward the future.

For example, with your accounting system: do you have a formal accounting or financial management process that goes beyond collecting all of your receipts, dumping them in a shoe box along with bank statements and handing them to your bookkeeper each month/quarter/year/whenever you think about it? Do you think that there might be better ways to manage your finances so that you can see how your company is performing at any given time? In doing so, don’t you think it would be easier to hand off financial management as your company grows?

Of course. At the end of the day, it will probably cost you a lot less to keep things organized, help you understand where your cash is going and where you might need to cut back or invest. Poor management is one of the top reasons small businesses fail.

The Solution

  1. Start with your company vision – where you want your company to go. Is it a single location with 100 employees, or multiple locations with offices both domestically and internationally?
  2. Develop a mission – why you do what you do. Your mission will help to dictate how you get to the vision and will keep you and your decision-making on track
  3. Develop a plan to get there – use stages and start very high level, then
  4. Look at the components of your business – sales, marketing, finance, products and services, Human Resources, management and IT – and determine what these will look like at each stage.
  5. Determine what resources will be required to support each function at each level.

Look, for example, at business management – how to manage the business. One of the things that has plagued small businesses is the idea that not all software solutions play well together. So we would end up with an email service that doesn’t communicate with the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, which doesn’t talk to the bookkeeping system, none of which interact well with the marketing system. Ideally, they should all play nicely together so that those using the system don’t have to update five systems manually in order to get an idea of what the big picture looks like!

So in planning for the future, we would want to have a system that either has native integration between the systems (they are all built into one solution), have a tool custom built that will enable all of the systems to work together or use an online service that will do the same.

In any case, when a business is young and has very few contacts and things can be done manually, it doesn’t seem to be a top priority for the business. However, when the business is in a growth stage, it can sometimes be too late or very expensive to make the necessary changes…which can be the case with each component of the business.

So if you are planning on building a business that is extraordinary, think in terms of where your business is going, versus staying completely focused on where it is. Sure – you will need to take one step at a time and not tie up all of your resources in assets that you cannot use. Rather think strategically –  in terms of how the business will operate the most efficiently at each stage and plan for it as you invest and grow.

Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results.  We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.

We would love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts and comments below. If you are seeking advice on how to grow your business, streamline systems and processes, implement software or overcoming challenges to growth, please 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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Fearless | Extraordinary Business

Noting your greatest fears and moving forward anyway.

image
 
Starting a new company is not for the faint of heart. As a matter of fact, many entrepreneurs including myself could probably tell you many stories that might shake you to your core if you are unfamiliar with the landscape. The risks are high, there are many unknowns, the demands can be crushing and the work endless. But people do it every day…and many do it again.
 
An interesting quote by Malcolm McLaren, below, speaks of being fearless of failure.

 
What matters is this: Being fearless of failure arms you to break the rules. In doing so, you may change the culture and just possibly, for a moment, change life itself.

-Malcolm McLaren

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Fearless | Extraordinary Business

Noting your greatest fears and moving forward anyway.

image

 

Starting a new company is not for the faint of heart. As a matter of fact, many entrepreneurs including myself could probably tell you many stories that might shake you to your core if you are unfamiliar with the landscape. The risks are high, there are many unknowns, the demands can be crushing and the work endless. But people do it every day…and many do it again.

 

An interesting quote by Malcolm McLaren, below, speaks of being fearless of failure.

 

What matters is this: Being fearless of failure arms you to break the rules. In doing so, you may change the culture and just possibly, for a moment, change life itself.

-Malcolm McLaren

 [···]

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Stone Faced | Extraordinary Business

How to make sure that you are doing the things it takes to grow your company

Still fishing the same old way?Growing your company – or any business, requires change. But that change has to enable the company to move toward a specific goal. Beyond creating a strategic plan, doing more marketing, advertising, hiring great people, here are seven things that you have to do:

“But this is what we have always done!” is a comment that probably resonates with a lot of people. Especially those who have created processes and systems and invested a lot of time and energy into certain activities. Some might call it the “comfortable spot” while others might harbor on “what if change is wrong?”

Here’s the thing: there may be some things that do get you, as a business leader, the results you are looking for every time. Every day, your results are hit out of the ballpark and you couldn’t be more thrilled. But that doesn’t mean a) you shouldn’t evaluate it to see if it could be done better. or b) there aren’t other ways to accomplish the same thing faster, better and at a lower cost!

 [···]

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Stone Faced | Extraordinary Business

How to make sure that you are doing the things it takes to grow your company

Still fishing the same old way?Growing your company – or any business, requires change. But that change has to enable the company to move toward a specific goal. Beyond creating a strategic plan, doing more marketing, advertising, hiring great people, here are seven things that you have to do:

“But this is what we have always done!” is a comment that probably resonates with a lot of people. Especially those who have created processes and systems and invested a lot of time and energy into certain activities. Some might call it the “comfortable spot” while others might harbor on “what if change is wrong?”

Here’s the thing: there may be some things that do get you, as a business leader, the results you are looking for every time. Every day, your results are hit out of the ballpark and you couldn’t be more thrilled. But that doesn’t mean a) you shouldn’t evaluate it to see if it could be done better. or b) there aren’t other ways to accomplish the same thing faster, better and at a lower cost!

 [···]

Read More

Two for Tea? | Extraordinary Business

Considerations for successful strategic partnerships

imageHave you ever noticed or read about companies such as Google, HP and Facebook and their ability to simply consumer smaller companies, seemingly for their technology or other resources? These acquisitions are often in the millions, if not billions of dollars. Oddly, in some cases, it doesn’t seem as though the parent company is much better off – which, unfortunately, is often the case.

The truth is, just like starting a business, most of the time when two companies merge, under whatever circumstances, neither company is better off as a result. Inc. Magazine reports in an article that a third of Google’s acquisitions have failed. Forbes reports about the failure of HP’s recent acquisition of Autonomy; one would think that a company of this size, achieving its status through acquisitions, would have expertise with the process, as Cisco Systems has demonstrated.

As a business leader, you probably realize that there are two ways to expand your capabilities in the marketplace – grow it at home or go fishing for it. While growing it at home will ensure that the product conforms to the way that your company operates, a company that is already delivering the solution may be appealing because they typically have expertise in delivery and a market that they are selling to.

A strategic partnership – in its true sense – allows your company and your strategic partner to benefit from a shared vision to deliver a product (service) to the marketplace that combines both of your expertise. It would be like a private school working with an internet broadcasting company to offer online home school. Both companies would benefit s a result of the partnership. [···]

Read More

Two for Tea? | Extraordinary Business

Considerations for successful strategic partnerships

imageHave you ever noticed or read about companies such as Google, HP and Facebook and their ability to simply consumer smaller companies, seemingly for their technology or other resources? These acquisitions are often in the millions, if not billions of dollars. Oddly, in some cases, it doesn’t seem as though the parent company is much better off – which, unfortunately, is often the case.
The truth is, just like starting a business, most of the time when two companies merge, under whatever circumstances, neither company is better off as a result. Inc. Magazine reports in an article that a third of Google’s acquisitions have failed. Forbes reports about the failure of HP’s recent acquisition of Autonomy; one would think that a company of this size, achieving its status through acquisitions, would have expertise with the process, as Cisco Systems has demonstrated.
As a business leader, you probably realize that there are two ways to expand your capabilities in the marketplace – grow it at home or go fishing for it. While growing it at home will ensure that the product conforms to the way that your company operates, a company that is already delivering the solution may be appealing because they typically have expertise in delivery and a market that they are selling to.
A strategic partnership – in its true sense – allows your company and your strategic partner to benefit from a shared vision to deliver a product (service) to the marketplace that combines both of your expertise. It would be like a private school working with an internet broadcasting company to offer online home school. Both companies would benefit s a result of the partnership. [···]

Read More