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Archive for September, 2007

Good Morning!
I Have Been Thinking

Leadership and Management Profiles

Why do you suppose this is such an important part of your business plan? Who is in charge and are they successful in their own right?

Have you worked out the management competencies

A comprehensive needs assessment, conducted may reveal a set of “core competencies” which are essential for effective leadership. The core competencies provide a focus for learning and development, as well as performance management. They serve as a framework and are integrated into all levels of management according to the knowledge, skills and abilities required for each level of management.

The core competencies establish clear performance standards and accountabilities. They can outline required competence levels, focus activities on organizational priorities and develop consistent principals and practices. Additionally, core competencies align leaders with the business vision and link their individual job performance to specific business goals.

There are ten core competencies:
Customer Service
Change Management
Conflict Resolution
Performance Management
Principled Leadership
Communication
Continuous Improvement
Planning and Organizing
Organizational Performance
Administrative Excellence (Functional Job Knowledge)

Using this list as a basis for a checklist for your management team you can develop standards and thus place your team in the best light.

Opportunity is never lost
It goes To Those Ready to Accept It!

Carolyn

Ice Breakers
Giggles

Crystal, our 5-year-old daughter, recently met an Amish girl her age. Within a few minutes they were off, hand-in-hand, to play.

I caught glimpses of them chattering and giggling. Even though Sylvia, the Amish girl, spoke only a Pennsylvania Dutch dialect, she and Crystal got along well.

Later I asked Crystal, “Could you understand anything Sylvia said to you?”

“No,” she replied.

“But you played so nicely together. How?”

“Oh, Mommy, we understood each other’s giggles.”

Thought for Today:

”Risk! Risk anything! …Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth”. -Katherine Marshall

Tips and Techniques

Squeeze pages, or lead capture pages, have been around for a long time, but they are just catching on with new webmasters. Why make a squeeze page now? A squeeze page is a one-paged advertisement that encourages subscribers to join an email list, or clicks on links leading to your products and services. Notice that subtle different between a squeeze page and a buy-now page.

The idea of a squeeze page is to make a quick and eye catching way to grab visitor’s attention within the first few seconds.

Happy designing!

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Good Morning!
I Have Been Thinking

The Executive Summary

The purpose of the executive summary of the business plan is to provide your readers with an overview of the business plan. Think of it as an introduction to your business. Your business plan’s executive summary will include a brief summary of: the entire plan

To write the executive summary of the business plan, start by following the list I gave you in yesterday’s newsletter and writing one to three sentences about each topic. Remember in the executive summary less is more.

If you have trouble writing these summary sentences from scratch, review your business plan to get you going. In fact, one approach to writing the executive summary is to write the entire business plan first then take a summary sentence or two from each of the business plan sections you’ve already written.

Then finish your business plan’s executive summary with a clinching closing sentence or two that answers the reader’s question “Why is this a winning business?” Think from the reader’s viewpoint – not from yours. If you have done your homework well you will be able to see from your reader’s eyes.

Opportunity is never lost
It goes To Those Ready to Accept It!

Carolyn

Ice Breakers
Keep in Step

Billy Bob’s parents were thrilled and excited when
he joined the Army; he was going to serve his country.
After Billy Bob had completed basic training, he
invited his parents to come to the base and spend the
day there.

He said that special programs had been set up for all
the parents, so that they could see the results of the training. His parents showed up, eager to see what Billy Bob had learned.

After all the parents had visited with their sons, the Drill Sergeant announced that the group would do an exhibition of marching, to show off the skills their sons had learned.

The troops lined up in formation and marched by the group of parents. As they went by, Billy Bob’s mother said to his father, “I’m so proud of Billy Bob. Look at him. He’s out there marching, and do you notice, he’s the only one in step?”

Thought for Today:

”Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop”. -Ovid

Tips and Techniques

One advantage of a business videoblog (vlog) is that you can show parts of your business that no one else would normally have access to. You can show the world what your work process is like, or how you take an idea from its bare concept into full implementation.

Happy designing!

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Collecting Information

Good Morning!
I Have Been Thinking

Collecting the information for all the sections is time consuming and sometimes difficult. The business section of your local library is always a good place to start research. Ask your friendly librarian about how to look up market research reports,and how to investigate competitors. There are a number of good resources online to collect information. Rule #1 Google is your friend.

If you are not familiar with spreadsheet software, constructing the necessary financial forecasts represents a significant hurdle. You have 2 choices: Pay someone to put part or all of the plan together for you, or a small investment in some business planning software. I am investigating business plan software and will post the results in the studyhall.

Obviously, the advantage of using a professional is you will receive the benefits of their experience, combined with a professional looking plan.

The disadvantage is that it won’t be easy to make changes, and more importantly, because you will not have been as involved in its preparation, you won’t be as familiar with its contents as you should be.

One final tip just like the mirror it’s the quality of the content you put in that determines what you see.

Opportunity is never lost
It goes To Those Ready to Accept It!

Carolyn

Ice Breakers
TOY DISCLAIMERS

Warning: This fad will disappear in 6 weeks.

Caution: Care Bears do not actually care very much.

No beanies or babies harmed in the manufacture of this product. Some dismemberment may occur. In case of breakage, scream until Dad buys a replacement.

Not to be taken internally, literally or seriously.

Use as an actual terrorist device not recommended.

Do not attempt to combine your Ultra Mega Warrior with your cat to make Ultra Mega Cat Warrior.

Some assimilation required. Resistance is futile. \

Thought for Today:

Nothing lowers the level on conversation more than raising the voice.”

-Stanley Horowitz

Tips and Techniques

Were your favorite photos planned, or were they captured during an unexpected moment? You probably answered “yes” to both, but if you don’t always have your camera, you may miss out on those once-in-a-lifetime shots. The best shots for your website too will come right out of your camera.

Happy designing!

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Business Plan Structure

Good Morning!
I Have Been Thinking

Your business plan should always accompany requests for Small Business Loans , and lenders or any kind of angel investor will simply refuse to consider your business proposal without one.

Lenders and investors want to see your plan with the aim of satisfying key questions before they make their decision to grant funding or not.

How will your plan measure up? Will your plan be steak or hamburger? How is it going to appeal to those who would help you grow your business? I can tell you one thing for sure iIt will help you take corrective action as necessary.

Sample Business Plan Structure

All plans should include at least the elements listed below,
and perhaps additional sections depending on the type of
industry.

Executive Summary
Company Background
Products or Service Overview
Unique Selling Proposition and competitive advantages
The Marketplace
Operations
Leadership and management profiles including professional competencies
Professional Support
Risks and Threats assessment
Financial forecasts including key assumptions
Relevant appendices

As we continue this week, we will take a look at definitions of each of thes inclusions.

Opportunity is never lost
It goes To Those Ready to Accept It!

Carolyn

Ice Breakers
Exhausted Businessman

The businessman dragged himself home and barely made it to his chair before he dropped exhausted.

His sympathetic wife was right there with a tall cool drink
and a comforting word. “My, you look tired,” she said. “You must have had a hard day today. What happened to make you so exhausted?”

“It was terrible,” her husband said. “The computer broke
down and all of us had to do our own thinking.”

Thought for Today:

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. -Herm Albright

Tips and Techniques

What Does it Mean to “Get Real?”

What does it mean to “get real” you ask? I think you know what I mean. We all have an innate sense when something needs to be said or done. However, far too often we put on a happy face and take a “politically correct” stance. In other words, we lie or we withhold the truth
because we’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings or fear being on the receiving end of repercussions.

Happy designing!

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Writing A Business Plan

Good Morning!
I Have Been Thinking

Starting or running your business without a business plan is like attempting to run a car without an engine. You could do it if you get behind and push.

The importance of your business plan as a motivational tool in running or starting your business cannot be underestimated. You will find that your commitment continues to build as you collect information, research and write each section.

So how to you go about writing a business plan if you have never tried to write on before? Using sample business plans and their structure, along with studying as many business plan examples as you can, will provide you with the necessary framework to consider your business from every possible angle.

Not only will using a sample structure highlight any areas you haven’t fully thought through, but it will also provide you
with a good idea of what makes a good business plan, and what doesn’t.

Over the course of this week, we will cover the basics in writing and using a business plan.

Opportunity is never lost
It goes To Those Ready to Accept It!

Carolyn

Ice Breakers
Church Cats

A mother looked out a window and saw Johnny playing church with their three kittens.He had them lined up and was preaching to them. The mother turned around to do some work.

A while later she heard meowing and scratching on the door. She went to the window and saw Johnny baptizing the kittens.

She opened the window and said, “Johnny, stop that! You’ll drown those kittens.”

Johnny looked at her and said with much conviction in his voice:

“They should had thought of that before they joined my church.”

Thought for Today:

Two little words that can make the difference: START NOW.

Tips and Techniques

Source Forge has a great forms generator. If you have difficulties with cgi then this simple script can be your answer. Take a look at http://phpformgen.sourceforge.net

Happy designing!

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Good Morning!
I Have Been Thinking

Have I ever got a good deal that you just must go take a look at: http://www.dirkscrazyweek.com/cgi-b in/dcw397/go.cgi/cwins_ad

I don’t tell you to look at anything unless I have first purchased it, used it and like it. All I can say is you owe it to yourself to see Dirks Crazy deal this week.

Opportunity is never lost
It goes To Those Ready to Accept It!

Carolyn

Ice Breakers
Convincing Mr. Ford

It was a sweltering August day when the Cohen brothers entered the posh Dearborn, Michigan offices of Henry Ford, the car maker.”Mr.Ford,” announced Norman Cohen, the eldest of the three. “We have a remarkable invention that will revolutionize the automobile industry.”

Ford looked skeptical, but their threat to offer it to the competition kept his interest piqued. “We would like to demonstrate it to you in person.” After a little cajoling, they brought Mr. Ford outside and asked him to enter a black automobile parked in front of the building. Hyman Cohen, the middle brother, opened the door of the car. “Please step inside, Mr. Ford.”

“What.” shouted the tycoon, “Are you crazy? It must be two hundred degrees in that car.” “It is,” smiled the youngest brother, Maxwell, “but sit down Mr. Ford, and push the white button.”Intrigued, Ford pushed the button. All of a sudden a whoosh of freezing air started blowing from vents all around the car, and within seconds the automobile was not only comfortable, it was quite cool.

“This is amazing,” exclaimed Ford. “How much do you want for the patent?” Norman spoke up, “The price is one million dollars.” Then he paused. There is something else. The name ‘Cohen Brothers Air-conditioning’ must be stamped right next to the Ford logo.”

“Money is no problem,” retorted Ford, “but no way will I have another last name next to my logo on my cars.”

They haggled back and forth for a while and finally they settled. Five million dollars, but the Cohens’ last name would be left off. However, the first names of the Cohen brothers would be forever emblazoned upon the console of every Ford air conditioning system.

And that is why, even today, whenever you enter a Ford vehicle, you will see those three names clearly printed on the air conditioning control panel: Norm, Hi and Max.

Thought for Today:

”Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” -Nelson Mandela

Tips and Techniques

I know I didn’t say much but go look at the link in the top of this post. For less than a cost of dinner you can get some tools that I was very impressed with and I am sure you will be too once you see what it there.

Happy designing!

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Good Morning!
I Have Been Thinking

One way of getting the information that you need is to simply conduct a survey on your mailing list. Hot tip! Make it easy for your subscribers to fill up the survey and give them an incentive to do so!

The same pareto principle should apply to your online business the 80/20 rule. The principle just means that 80% of your sales are generated by 20% of your customers.

If this is the the case, instead of spending huge sums on
customer acquisition, it may be a more prudent measure to spend resources on knowing and understanding more of this 20% segment. Cultivate good relationships with this 20% segment and reward the customers here for staying true to you. (Again, this knowledge is only possible if you have surveyed or kept track of your entire customer base.)

All in, having happy, loyal and satisfied customers will result in a business that prospers. And you can achieve this through direct marketing and knowing what, where and how to please your customers!

Opportunity is never lost
It goes To Those Ready to Accept It!

Carolyn

Ice Breakers
Watches

Three tourists climbed up the tower to the top of London’s Big Ben and decided to throw their watches off the top, run down the stairs and try to catch them before they hit the ground.

The first tourist threw his watch but heard it crash before the had taken three steps.

The second threw his watch and made only two steps before hearing his watch shatter.

The third tourist threw his watch off the tower, went down the stairs, bought a snack at a shop up the street and walked slowly back to Big Ben in time to catch the watch

” How did you do that?” asked one of his friends.

“My watch is 30 minutes slow.”

Thought for Today:

”Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them”.
-Lady Bird Johnson

Tips and Techniques

Test different ads. Keep track of how many inquiries each ad pulls. Then run only those ads that pull the best.

Look for a sales appeal, key benefit, or theme that may be common to all of your best-pulling ads. Highlight that theme in subsequent ads.

Happy designing!

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