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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

Business Relationship Status: “It’s Complicated?”

22 Mar

Good relationships require mutual trust and good communication.  The described “status,” of a relationship is a direct reflection of it’s quality in the view of the person describing it.

Great relationships can happen online and the parties involved can regularly communicate this way, but it is nearly impossible to actually cultivate and maintain a “great,” relationship exclusively online.  Relationships usually require some offline, personal interaction and face to face engagement to become or remain “great.”

Imagine spouses communicating with each other exclusively via email, text message, or on their social network profiles… It is hard to imagine a healthy relationship surviving exclusively in this sphere.  Most business relationships aren’t any different.  If you communicate with someone exclusively via email, text message, instant messenger, etc., what type of quality do you really have in the relationship?

In an increasingly hectic and demanding professional world, we can all benefit from using online means of interaction to improve our ability to communicate more frequently with our relationships.  However, we must also be careful not to forsake the value of offline interaction.

Quality in our customer, employee, and vendor relationships benefits from personal conversation, periodic face to face meetings, or a social activity where goodwill and trust are built and maintained.

Facebook users are given the option of describing and openly displaying their “relationship status,” to provide an outward indication of their:

1) Availability

2) Happiness/Satisfaction

3) Commitment/Loyalty

4) Intent

What if our customers, vendors, and employees had their business relationship status with us openly displayed for review?  What would it say?

What if we relied so heavily on online communication that this became our best chance of really understanding their perspective on the quality of our relationship?

Depending on your business or industry there may be some discrepancy, but the table below is an approximation of the business equivalents of  some common Facebook “Relationship Statuses.”

Business Relationship Status Equivalents

Don’t be so busy that you let the quality of your relationships suffer.

Pick up the phone and tell someone that you appreciate them or that they are doing a great job.  Better yet go see them in person and tell them face to face.  Invite someone you care about to do something fun or interesting with you.  Take some time to get to know somebody better and begin a great relationship.

These actions create memories for both of you.

View this as a communication strategy, or just consider it as “a way of doing business.”

For assistance with evaluating, managing or improving business relationships contact us:

Will you pay for content in the future?

15 Jan

The media industry has distributed paid content to audiences since it’s beginning.  Very large media companies have been built around a model which relies on paid subscribers and advertising revenue to generate profit.  Simply put, through history those who have invested in publishing or producing content have almost always done so with a simple focus on seeing a direct (and large) financial return on that investment.

Media moguls made fortunes and acquired significant power and influence as they controlled the distribution of  information to the masses.  They were in a unique position as they shaped the beliefs on which people formed their opinions, and made their decisions .  Print, radio, and television all followed the same general business model and for these businesses all was well (very well).

Then the internet changed things…by providing businesses and consumers with an alternative means of finding the information they wanted.  Within a few short years, a nearly complete directional shift occurred (from push to pull) in the way that people found information they wanted prior to making decisions.  We were no longer confined to just seeing or hearing an editorial, or advertisement and then making our decisions based on very limited and media biased information.  With this shift, businesses flocked to invest much more of their marketing dollars online.  Why not?  They could now reach much more targeted audiences.  Not to mention, for the first time they could measure their advertising results in almost real time.  This however was just the beginning of a tremendous devaluation of  TV, Radio, and Print media.  Media enterprises moved their existing business models onto the web and began to earn even more profits.

Then Web 2.0 changed everything…blogs, podcasts, user generated video, internet radio, article directories, and social networking sites allow anyone and everyone to publish content.  An industry dominated by large companies who were comfortable with relatively little competition is a completely different landscape.  But once again many media enterprises have taken their same old business model and attempted to move it into this vastly different environment.  They are beginning to find that something different is happening.

A recent article by MarketingVox reports,  “After a splashy debut in the publishing world, magazines retooled for the iPad – such as Vanity Fair, Glamour and GQ – are not selling so well.  Digital sales of these pubs dropped toward the end of this year, Women’s Wear Daily reports, based on figures made available to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.”

“The internet is about to swallow the television. Soon hundreds of thousands, and eventually hundreds of millions of viewers around the world will be on a path back from being passive couch potatoes into actively engaged citizens again, the way we were before mass media radio and then television arrived in our homes in the 1920’s, nearly a century ago. Here in the early days of YouTube, BitTorrent, Boxee, Mac Mini media centers, Hulu, Google TV, and the iPad, we are on the edge of moving from Web 2.0, the Read/Write and Social Web, to Web 3.0, ” says futurist John Smart.

Companies who sell paid content are seeing profit declines amidst massive pressure from exponential increases in the quantity and quality of  free content available to viewers and readers.  Beyond that, social media has dramatically changed the way people are spending large amounts of their time.  Instead of simply “consuming,” content many people are now creating it.  Even more people are sharing it and discussing it.

Media companies are currently facing unprecedented challenges in retaining their audiences which is having a devastating effect on their advertising rates, and thereby their profits.  In effort to save themselves many of the old guard have turned to extreme cost cutting measures in a desperate attempt to keep their balance sheets in order. Layoffs, cancelled programs, eliminating print editions of newspapers and magazines are but a few of the signs that clearly point to the fact that a larger and more significant change is required.

Business models must be adapted to this completely new environment, failure to do so will prove costly or fatal.


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7 Apr

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