Category Archives: Plan

New Years’ Resolutions and Business

It has become very popular to make New Year’s Resolutions every year.  Whether or not we managed to keep our commitments and to reach the goals that we’ve set, most of us are still very open to make new resolutions for the upcoming year with the hope that we will be able to stay focused and accomplish them.

Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions that people make can be visualized below with the help of Mindomo mind mapping software:

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Our actions are very much related to the type of decisions that we make and the resolutions that we choose to define as guidelines for our choices.  Depending on the areas we focus on, our resolutions may be structured according to our personal, family or business interests and focus.  Since our lives are often defined by the choices we make, we have to be ready to live with the consequences of our choices, be they positive or negative.  Each day represents another chance for us to practice our decision-making skills and to define or redefine our resolutions.  Nevertheless, the end of one year and the beginning of another is a great opportunity for us to evaluate at a larger scale and from a yearly perspective our commitment level regarding the resolutions we’ve made and the areas which need improvement to keep a better focus.

Just as people have their own personality, mindset and decision-making styles, companies and organizations also have their uniqueness when it comes to making decisions and identifying New Year’s Resolutions.  In most cases though, yearly priorities can be made clear especially when most companies or business leaders involved in a specific economic sector have similar interests and pursuits.

In a recent global survey conducted by SLI Systems the findings showed that approximately 500 retailers who participated in the survey defined their priorities and New Year’s Resolutions for 2013 to be focused on the enhancement of website search, SEO strategies and mobile commerce.

What are the actions or strategies undertaken by your company?

Here are some suggestions you may want to consider in order to sketch out New Year’s Resolutions for your team, projects or organization:

 

1. Improve your Brainstorming Sessions

Start using a mind mapping app during your meetings where you can keep all your notes, comments and resources in one place.

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2. Increase your Team Productivity

Engage team members in real-time collaboration and have them experience the efficiency of building on each other’s ideas as they develop business strategies on a mind map.

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3. Expand your Collaborations

As you plan out different projects, invite external collaborators or business partners to work together with you on the same mind map, to share their ideas and contribute with valuable feedback.

 

4. Make your Products Stand Out

You can create outstanding presentations starting from the information you’ve laid out on a mind map.

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5.  Provide and Get Instant Feedback

Your comments are very valuable for your collaborators and team members and if you want to have maximum efficiency they can be instantly accessed by them if you are working together on the same project using a mind mapping app program.

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6.  Stay Faithful to your Deadlines

A realistic deadline can be gold for your business success, especially if you know how to time your activities and pace your activities.

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Naomi Mihut BloggerNaomi Mihut

Copywriter and Client Relations Manager at Mindomo

“Creativity is the gift that doesn’t have to be wrapped up in luxurious paper but has to be shared with others to make it valuable.”

Why Should You Bother With A Business Plan?

Starting up your own business can be a very exciting and rewarding experience, but without extensive planning, research and preparation before setting up your business it can quickly turn into a stressful and risk-laden exercise.

It’s amazing how many people go into self-employment without a coherent, well-researched business plan, and then wonder why their business ends up struggling in the long-term. So why should you bother with a business plan? What does it offer you that you can’t gain without one?

A business plan is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a detailed, strategic plan for your business over both the long-term and the short-term. A business plan includes what your business will sell (whether that be a product or a service), how much it will charge, where it well get new business, the target market, how it will compete with other businesses in the same industry and what overheads the business will have to pay (including rent, wages, computers, stationary, etc). A business plan not only gives you a strategy to follow, but helps you gauge the viability of your business idea.

In addition to helping you keep on track while you’re running your business, a detailed and well thought-out business plan can prove invaluable when you’re trying to gain funding for your company. If you want an investor or a loan from a bank, they will expect you to produce a viable, detailed and well-researched business plan that demonstrates a good strategy and a strong business model. Without a business plan to prove that your business stands a good chance of making a profit, you will stand next to no chance of gaining funding from either a bank or a private investor.

It should also be noted that a business plan has to contain detailed research in order for you to utilise it to prove viability. If you include rough numbers or guesswork, or you make statements without backing them up then your business plan is essentially useless. If you state that you’re going to make £30,000 profit in a specified year, then you need to be able to back this up with strong numbers. It’s fair to suggest that you’ll need to speculate somewhat in your business plan (after all it’s impossible to predict exactly how much you’re going to sell or exactly how much you’ll be spending), but you should still be able to back up your speculations as much as you possibly can. If you’re planning on renting an office, then look at other offices in the same area and see how much they cost, try to get in touch with an estate agent to get an idea of how much your bills and business rates will be. Things like this will make your assertions on profits and overheads much more believable, giving you a far stronger chance of gaining investment and making a success of your business.

Looking for help putting together your business plan? Check out the free business plan samples at Teneric.co.uk

Keeping It Simple

A business is all about its product, whether tangible or intangible. One thing that some business owners forget is to keep their product simple. What do I mean by this, and why is it so important? It is sometimes hard to remember that the product you have spent so long developing may by the time of its introduction seem simple to you, but may be complicated to the unfamiliar buyer. The level of complexity or the amount of time it takes for your intended customers to become familiar with your product is a must-know before you put it on the shelves.

Know Your Target Customer

If you are designing a product for a specific audience who is familiar with that product and its features, then you may not have to worry as much about how simple it is for your potential customers to figure out your product. However, for many entrepreneurs, designing and introducing a product that has immediate appeal and is very user-friendly is of utmost importance. If your potential customer is turned off by a product that seems overly-complicated from the get go, then it is unlikely they will buy.

Most consumers want a product that they can put their hands on, figure out, and become comfortable using in a short amount of time. One great way to determine if your product idea or design is user-friendly is to simply ask people about your idea. Will they think it sounds too complex to even consider purchasing it? Do the functions and features of the product appeal to them on a basis where they could buy it from the internet? After a first glance, will they be attracted to it?

If you have followed business news in the past couple of years, you will have read about how companies are downsizing their physical stores and the employees that work there because an increasing number of people are shopping online, whether through that store’s own website or through a site such as Amazon. One article I read within the past few weeks described how many consumers are entering stores to test a product, then going online to order.

How this relates to this post’s topic is that you want to keep your product simple enough that the average consumer could walk into a store, test it out and like it immediately, and then either purchase it there or online. If a consumer is shopping online, the immediate appearance of the product makes a big difference. Does the product look overly-complicated, especially as compared to its competition? Does the product have too many buttons on the front or too many features that make it seem from the future? Again, the average consumer want to feel comfortable and not have to rely on someone else teaching them how to use their product.

Achieving a Balance

As with so many other things in life, balance is necessary to success. While this post focuses on keeping your product simple, you still want to be on the cutting-edge and offer certain functions of the product that will make you stand apart. Design a product that gets the job done without making it hard to do so because of its complexity. It doesn’t need to have all the bells and whistles, but it needs to get the job done. Think of your average consumer, or the target consumer, and put yourself in his shoes. Consider yourself buying an unfamiliar product and what you would want from it.

 

Opening a Shop and Keeping it Profitable-

Opening a Shop and Keeping it Profitable

Starting your own business is hugely exciting, but it is not something to be entered into lightly. It is frequently the case that an entrepreneur will rack up a string of failures before hitting upon a winning formula. Even then, the market may change, forcing them to react. Retail never stands still and even the most popular shop can become a tarred brand almost overnight.

The failures are all part of the learning experience. It is inconceivable that you’ll step into the unknown and be perfectly prepared for everything you could ever face. You’ll stumble and get things wrong, but hopefully you’ll learn from the experience. If your first business folds, it won’t have been a waste of time. Hopefully you’ll be in a far better position to succeed with a second attempt.

Nevertheless, you can be prepared. Every decision you make will have an impact on the likelihood that your business will thrive, so ensure you are well-informed and get the basics right.

Premises

There are two sides to this: choosing the right location and identifying premises which are the right size and layout. Both elements will have an impact on your expenses and will therefore affect your profits. Any savings you can make here will be a great help, but don’t compromise to the point where you cannot succeed.

If you are planning on opening a fairly specialist shop, you can perhaps settle for a slightly less optimal location as you will be less reliant on passing trade. Instead, your aim will be to build up a strong reputation and have your customers come to you.

Conversely, if your products appeal to a wide range of people, you might be better off with a good location and less than ideal premises. You don’t want anywhere too small for your needs, but sacrificing a bit of space for a better location can prove productive for certain businesses.

Stock

Offering the right products is, of course, key. This is something you will constantly have to evaluate. If one item is selling particularly well, stock more of it. React to the market and try to predict trends wherever possible.

Accurate stock keeping will also help your business thrive. Thankfully, automated systems mean that this can now be done quickly and accurately without extra manpower. If you use a barcode system, the labels will include all the information you need. By scanning items when they arrive and when they are sold, you can know precisely how much you have in stock and also see what items are proving most popular.

As well as ensuring accuracy, a bar code system is also a massive time-saver. Stock keeping takes no time, sales themselves are so much quicker and if you implement a price chance, all you need to do is amend the database – you don’t need to go round re-labeling every single product.

GUEST AUTHOR PROFILE:

Louie Carter is an experienced business writer, writing articles on behalf of Colour Data UK Ltd (T/A Tollgate Labels)

Top Tips for Planning a Meeting-

by torres21

Planning meetings with your staff or with other companies is an important part of developing your business and defining strategy however what is the best way of improving the process for your meetings? Below, are five handy tips for successfully planning a meeting.

Objectives

It might sound odd defining objectives so early on in the process of organising a meeting however without clear goals you will find it difficult to really see the benefit in any meeting. By setting specific objectives for your meeting you provide every attendant with reasonable information about what to expect and what is expected of them in the meeting. Making a list of points you want to discuss during the meeting is helpful, both for yourself and for everyone else present especially when distributed ahead of time.

Evaluation

Reviewing the previous meeting is also a crucial step to identifying any road blocks or issues that you want to avoid in the future. To ensure that future meetings will go smoothly, it is wise to ask the attendants of your meeting for an evaluation. They can tell you exactly what they thought of the way the meeting was organised, and how they felt about the different aspects of it, like the speakers, the food and their accommodation. There is always room for improvement, so don’t be afraid of constructive criticism – you can only learn from it! Apply your previous learnings to your current meeting space and you will be assured to having the perfect meeting set up.

Budget

You might have an idea in your mind about the perfect meeting environment however make sure you keep an eye on the costs if you are hosting the event externally. Keeping track of your finances is essential, especially for starting companies. While it may be tempting to impress your guests by renting a luxury location for your meeting, it is better to make sure you have covered every aspect of the organisation using a little less money. Points of attention for setting your budget are the amount of people who will be attending the meeting and how long your meeting will take. These things will partly determine the expenses of hiring an external meeting room (if you need to hire one at all..!).

Location

Location might not be a consideration for small to medium-sized companies who have their own meeting space. However, the benefits of holding an external meeting might outweigh the cost requirements. Considering your audience is an important element of your planning: are you just presenting your company to others or are you creating a networking platform? Are you pitching a new piece of work or updating internal team members? External meeting rooms are extremely beneficial for larger scale presentations such as pitch environments however they can also be useful for providing a central location. For example meeting rooms in London are particularly popular for businesses located outside of the UK capital mainly due to the ease of transport for delegates and the business credence associated with the area.

Another very important factor in deciding where to meet is whether you want your meeting to be formal or informal. Formal meetings can be held in rooms that are rented exclusively for meetings, for instance via executive meeting space companies. Informal meetings are best held in a cosy, friendly environment where everybody feels at home, such as a hotel or restaurant – these usually have special business meeting facilities as well.

Details

To make your meeting a success, it is important to pay attention to all the details. You might want to invite a number of speakers, for instance. Both the speakers and the guests attending your meeting will need a place to stay, especially if they travelled far. Then there is also the need for food and drinks to be served during the meeting, corresponding to the time and duration of the meeting. All these things have to be organised well before your meeting takes place!

In short, to organise a successful meeting, it is of the utmost importance to mind all the details, and to make sure everyone knows what they are supposed to do. Additionally, evaluations can help you organise even better meetings in the future.

GUEST AUTHOR PROFILE:

This article has been written on behalf of conference venue experts De Vere Venues.

You Need AMAZING Metrics

Creating the metrics that work for you:

One of the major issues that separates successful individuals from less successful individuals is the ability to create and adapt a workable plan.  There are many resources for planning and goal setting for businesses.  I would like to outline three things that I have seen help in creating an effective plan: 1) creating metrics that work for you, 2) work the plan, and 3) adapt the plan.

 

CREATING METRICS THAT WORK FOR YOU

There first key element to establishing an efficient plan for your business is to establish proper metrics.  Metrics are the figures that are used to measure how well you are working toward your goals.  Good metrics are your stepping-stones to achieve the goals that you have set.  They also allow you to track how achievable your goals are.  For example, if you want to achieve 5% growth in 2011, you metrics need to include the specific things that you will accomplish during the year to achieve that growth and the specific timeframe for accomplishment (i.e. marketing plans, improved efficiencies in pre-existing products/services, cross-selling, etc.).  The more specific the scope and time of your metrics, the easier it is to evaluate your goals.

WORK THE PLAN

Now that you have laid out your metrics for the coming year in order to successfully achieve the goals that you have made for yourself, the next critical element is to actually work your plan.  Do the things that you have decided that you need to do in order to achieve the goals that you have set for your business.  All to often, business owners lay out a business plan that will benefit, adapt and streamline their business.  Things they know that will help them to succeed, but when the time to implement comes, the owners/managers end up doing the same things that they have done in the past and end up getting the same results.  When we set goals to make changes, we must make a consistent, focused effort to achieve the metrics that we have laid out for ourselves.  This means that we must keep the goals and metrics in our minds.  Three good ways to do this: create accountability, set time to follow-up, and keep the goals and metrics in a place in your office where you will have a consistent view of them.

ADAPT THE PLAN

Given both positive and negative advances over the past several years, our domestic and global economy has significantly changed.  In order to succeed going forward, our businesses need to be adaptable and flexible.  As you are working you plan and evaluating your metrics, you need to determine how effective that plan really is.  As you properly evaluate the things that you are doing, you may need to make changes to the plan and metrics that you have created to fit the realities of your business.  By remaining fluid and adaptable, you can better succeed in your business.

Now is a great opportunity for you to create a plan for success either personally or professionally.  If you want feedback on what you are planning or how to implement your metrics, feel free to call me and we can discuss it.

I Love Metrics… And You Should Too

Creating the metrics that work for you:

One of the major issues that separates successful individuals from less successful individuals is the ability to create and adapt a workable plan.  Because 2009 is coming to a close, now is an excellent time to establish your goals for 2010.  There are many resources for planning and goal setting for businesses.  I would like to outline three things that I have seen help in creating an effective plan: 1) creating metrics that work for you, 2) work the plan, and 3) adapt the plan.

CREATING METRICS THAT WORK FOR YOU

There first key element to establishing an efficient plan for your business is to establish proper metrics.  Metrics are the figures that are used to measure how well you are working toward your goals.  Good metrics are your stepping-stones to achieve the goals that you have set.  They also allow you to track how achievable your goals are.  For example, if you want to achieve 5% growth in 2010, you metrics need to include the specific things that you will accomplish during the year to achieve that growth and the specific timeframe for accomplishment (i.e. marketing plans, improved efficiencies in pre-existing products/services, cross-selling, etc.).  The more specific the scope and time of your metrics, the easier it is to evaluate your goals.

WORK THE PLAN

Now that you have laid out your metrics for the coming year in order to successfully achieve the goals that you have made for yourself, the next critical element is to actually work your plan.  Do the things that you have decided that you need to do in order to achieve the goals that you have set for your business.  All to often, business owners lay out a business plan that will benefit, adapt and streamline their business.  Things they know that will help them to succeed, but when the time to implement comes, the owners/managers end up doing the same things that they have done in the past and end up getting the same results.  When we set goals to make changes, we must make a consistent, focused effort to achieve the metrics that we have laid out for ourselves.  This means that we must keep the goals and metrics in our minds.  Three good ways to do this: create accountability, set time to follow-up, and keep the goals and metrics in a place in your office where you will have a consistent view of them.

ADAPT THE PLAN

Given both positive and negative advances over the past several years, our domestic and global economy has significantly changed.  In order to succeed going forward, our businesses need to be adaptable and flexible.  As you are working you plan and evaluating your metrics, you need to determine how effective that plan really is.  As you properly evaluate the things that you are doing, you may need to make changes to the plan and metrics that you have created to fit the realities of your business.  By remaining fluid and adaptable, you can better succeed in your business.

Now is a great opportunity for you to create a plan for success either personally or professionally.  If you want feedback on what you are planning or how to implement your metrics, feel free to call me and we can discuss it.