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How closely is your strategy aligned with your values and beliefs?

28 Dec

Your values and beliefs are the foundation on which your insights, perceptions, and resulting decisions are based.

It has often been said that once you know “Why,”… “What,” and “How,”  become much easier to determine and decide.

At any point have you found yourself feeling that you need to violate your principles?

Some values and beliefs are learned and others may be inborn; in either case they do not change quickly or easily.  It is imperative that your strategy is congruent with your fundamental values and beliefs.

Strategy does not usually change quickly or easily.  Tactics however, can be changed with relative ease.  If your strategy is in poor alignment with your values and beliefs, your tactics won’t produce the results you desire.  You can always  modify your tactical activities but you shouldn’t be quick to alter your strategy (unless it needs to become better aligned with your values).

Do you proactively map your strategy and tactics against your values?

Begin with the end in mind, form your strategy, plan yourtactics, and allow yourself the opportunity to make sure that your strategy is in close alignment with your core values and beliefs.  Otherwise, everything is much harder than necessary and no matter how much you accomplish you will not feel satisfied or fulfilled.

What should you consider changing?  Where should you begin?  

Enthusiasm, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Planning

14 Apr


Enthusiasm- a strong excitement of feeling.

Education, skill, talent, creativity and experience will not yield successful outcomes without enthusiasm.

Most entrepreneurs have a high level of enthusiasm when they decide to start a business.  It is normal for anybody to be ignited by their passion for a new idea while it’s potential seems limitless and related challenges are unknown.  The “idea of a business,” is simply exciting when untested in practice; and unburdened by the rigors of actual growth.

Once growth occurs in their business, new skills, strategies, methods and systems are often required to maintain growth.  At this point

There are many who disagree with the prevailing “wisdom,” that all businesses require a comprehensive business plan to succeed.  What all businesses do need is a good design, and good execution.  Detailed planning can be a major distraction and a source of problems if you become too invested in a plan that is not actually working.  Simply put, beyond a certain point planning is guessing.  If there is no way to accurately determine what circumstances, resources, opportunities, and challenges are likely to be present past a certain point in time, then there is little gained by forecasting or documenting such guesswork.

Instead have clear and specific goals.  Arrange and review them weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually.  Take action and accomplish them or revise them but don’t analyze them unreasonably.  Time spent guessing is a not profitable endeavor.  Most of all passion for the endeavor must endure, even when the initial novelty and excitement of the infant enterprise have become memories.

“Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes rise to the stars.” – Henry Ford

Business plans vary in their research requirements and sophistication levels.  Different types of business plans vary based on their intended purpose or objective(s).  Entrepreneurs need as much relevant information as possible but no more than is actually necessary prior to taking action.

Most of our “pre-startup,” clients have created some type of plan to address the pre-launch and launch phases of their businesses.  Others have created more detailed plans to address post launch growth and operations prior to beginning actual operations or funding their venture.  The main ingredient in the recipe for success is action.  A major ingredient to successful action is enthusiasm.

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Most entrepreneurs have some combination of enthusiasm, skills, experience, education, and determination which help them to remain enthusiastic through the chaos of early growth in their business.  Many leaders actually experience an increase to their level of enthusiasm as they thrive on the excitement of this early growth phase.  Many of these same entrepreneurs often find that their passion fades once the skills and experience which made them so successful through the launch and early growth phases gave way to the need for a different approach and different skills that were required to succeed in continuing to grow their business in a controllable manner.

Recommended Reading:

Keys to The Vault

Rework

The Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths That Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By

2011: Opportunities to Increase Revenue and Profitability.

7 Feb

In 2010, we conducted an exhaustive survey and study of 400 businesses.  We asked questions aimed at recognizing trends that would help to identify the strongest opportunities for businesses to increase their revenue and profitability.

Respondents were Owners, Executives, and Management including client companies, prospective clients, and many others with whom we have no affiliation.  Participating businesses included 175 small businesses, 175 mid-size companies, and 50 Large/Enterprise Organizations.

With all data collected and analyzed we have concluded that there are significant opportunities in 2011 to increase both revenue and profitability.

Here are a few of our notable findings:

  • 94% of Small Businesses reported that they strongly feel the need to diversify their marketing methods to be competitive.  68% said they have not done so due to both budgetary AND  time constraints. An additional 26% cited either time OR budget alone as the reason they had not done anything in the past 12 months to change their marketing mix.
  • 68% of Mid-Size Companies reported that due to funding concerns they were forced to slash their marketing budgets in 2010.  100% of these companies reported that they needed to use Social Media to be more competitive because of their cutbacks on other marketing.
  • 82% of Large/Enterprise Companies had evaluated and/or implemented both mobile marketing and/or social media in conjunction with their existing marketing communications strategy for 2010.  78% of this group indicated that additional investment would be made in these channels during 2011.
  • 96% of restaurant and retail businesses reported that Mobile Marketing (SMS Couponing, and Geolocational Promotion), along with Group Buying (Groupon, Living Social) were of significant interest to them.  However 86% had not taken direct measures to leverage these methods in 2010.  50% indicated that they intended to reinvest some of their marketing budget to incorporate either or both of these methods in 2011.
  • 83% of Consumer Financial Services (Insurance, Banking, and Investment) companies indicated that they continue to address significant concerns, hesitancy, and reluctance in dealing with new prospective customers which they attribute to a marked shift in consumer sentiment due to negative publicity enveloping the entire industry.
  • 54% of companies participating in the study felt that despite intense pressure to reduce their costs during the past 36 months; there were still significant savings opportunities that could be realized in areas that they simply hadn’t justified investing time or resources to investigate properly.

In 2011, we are deploying a series of scalable services targeted by company size, industry, and geography.  Client companies implementing these strategies increase revenue and profitability while maximizing their resources.

If you are interested in learning more about this study please contact us:

Getting maximum value from your intellectual property?

4 Jan

What is intellectual property?

Technology, trade secrets, business processes, logos, patents, trademarks, and copyrights are some of the various types of intellectual property owned and used by companies in the course of doing business.

How can you determine if you are currently getting maximum value from your intellectual property?

Begin by creating an inventory or list of anything and everything that you believe may be an asset.  Once you have created this inventory, classify or segment the list by separating those items which you believe are proprietary to your organization.  Initially, this can be done by asking yourself and (if appropriate) other members of your team to identify others who may be using the same or similar type(s) of assets.

If you currently have patents, trademarks, or copyrights registered (or pending registration) then you have already begun this process whether you realize it or not.  If this is the case, then hopefully your attorney or legal advisor has conducted the appropriate research prior to filing for registration.  If not, the value and scope of your protected rights might be severely diminished.  Identifying and assessing potential IP assets more thoroughly allows many businesses to unlock significant value and in many cases can generate exponential increases in profitability without incurring significant costs associated with innovation, research and development, and marketing.

What about intellectual property that you haven’t identified or taken proper measures to protect?

This is something that many businesses (in all stages of growth and levels of maturity) routinely fail to prioritize because its potential impact on their bottom line isn’t properly considered or understood.

10 Questions to begin assessing your current IP portfolio and its potential benefits –

  1. Which designs, practices, formulas, instruments, processes, systems, recipes, patterns, ideas, technology, etc. create or add value to your business?
  2. Which of these assets have you properly identified and protected?
  3. Are other businesses or individuals using the same (or similar) assets in full or in part?
  4. Do you possess sufficient knowledge and skills to estimate the potential value of your IP assets, or should we seek outside advice?
  5. Do you have agreements in place which allow others to use our IP in exchange for appropriate compensation or other tangible benefit(s)?
  6. What are their alternatives to using our IP assets?
  7. Are you currently realizing appropriate benefit(s) from other’s use of our IP assets?
  8. Who else might benefit from using your IP assets in the same, similar or entirely different ways than we currently use them?
  9. What is the potential value to these other parties of using your IP assets?
  10. Now that you have answered some or all of these questions – How should you proceed?

For more information about identifying, evaluating, and leveraging intellectual property contact us: