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How Do You Measure Success? With Key Strategic Indicators?

How Do You Measure Success? With Key Strategic Indicators?

Why do you need to think about key strategic indicators? Well, the short answer is, when you have a vision statement for your business, and you’ve been courageous enough to get started and invest in your dream, it makes sense that you’d want to track your results, right? Your emotions provide the impetus to keep going; yet, what you need as a small business owner is a quantifiable systematic way to track your progress and make sure what you are feeling inside about your business is in alignment with the world outside. Tracking your progress enables you to do what you love and ensure that you can line up the experience of your business with how it is actually. Moving You Forward Your Key Strategic Indicators involve the quantification of the ‘state of your business’ with an emphasis on elements spelled out in your company vision. It is also a regular inventory of the critical systems in your business with the aim of finding whether or not they are moving you toward your goal. Consider putting in writing what certain non-measurable indicators represent. Apply a numerical valuation so you understand what “inspirational workplace” or “exceptional client service” or “customer delight” actually means to you and your employees. There is value in noting how each of your employees experience your company’s progress toward excellence in each of those areas. Measurable and Non-Measurable Indicators It is common in business today to think of indicators as only those things you can objectively measure. Sales, profit margins, growth rates, assets, liabilities, net worth, market value, efficiency, units of production – they are measurable...
5 Ways to Build Value Not Work

5 Ways to Build Value Not Work

As the owner and leader of your business, your job is to build value in your organization. Taking the long view, the goal is to create a business that you can sell when you want to exit your business. Many business owners sell their businesses for significant money when they retire or move on.  Others close their doors and receive nothing for their business.  Here are 5 ways build value in your business. In order to build a business that has value when you are ready to exit, focus on these 5 areas now: Financial Performance: How is your business performing financially? Do you have good financial records? A budget? A cash plan? Key financial indicators? I am always surprised at how many of my clients do not have these in place when we start working together. Money is the blood of your business and you have to have knowledge of how money flows through your business. Growth Potential: Are you growing or are sales stagnant? Do you have potential to grow over time? Do you have a good product strategy? Do you have a marketing strategy? Differentiation: Your brand is what people say about you after they buy from you. It is more than your logo and colors. It is the feeling your customers have about your company. Is your brand strong? What is your brand? Are you sufficiently differentiated from competitors? What is your brand commitment? Do you live up to your brand commitment consistently? Customer satisfaction: Are your customers satisfied? Do you meet and exceed your customers’ expectations? Do you have a way of measuring customer...
Three Universal Personalities At Work In the Life of a Business Owner

Three Universal Personalities At Work In the Life of a Business Owner

Three universal personalities are typically at work in the life of a business owner: the Entrepreneur, the Man­ager and the Technician. It is important for you as a business owner to  understand how each personality works and the impact of each on your business. Understanding these three personalities is the beginning of the path to real transformation in yourself and your business. Each of the three universal personalities within you thinks differently about your business. The Technician performs work that is direct and hands-on, mostly making, selling and delivering. The Technician is focused on effort and how much can be accomplished or produced and by when. The Technician associates money with income and asks, “How can I produce more so I can earn more?” In other words, the Technician focuses on trading time for money. To the Technician, work is about what he or she can do person­ally. The Manager’s work is a mix of technical and strate­gic while focused on getting results through others. The Manager is concerned with developing systems that consistently produce great results, and trains employees to operate and innovate those systems by asking, “How can we be more productive?” The orienta­tion is on the results of the team, unlike the Technician who focuses on his or her own production. Overseeing efficient production and delivery of service are a Manager’s key areas of interest. For Managers, time and money are resources to be allocated carefully. The work of the Entrepreneur is visionary and strate­gic. It gives the business its shape. The Entrepreneur is a dreamer who focuses on the future, eager to achieve his or...
3 Steps to Creating a Written Vision Statement

3 Steps to Creating a Written Vision Statement

As an entrepreneur, sometimes you become bogged down with day to day activities and dreaming about the future of your company is not a priority.  However, when it comes to creating a vision, it is a priority – actually, dreaming is a must. As George Lucas said: “Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you can imagine it.”  So get ready for some imagining. Step 1 Find a Place to Dream In order to create your vision, you need to start with some quiet time to think about, imagine, and discuss your vision.  Maybe you have a favorite retreat spot or some other quiet place to go that will allow you to dream without interruption.  Do you have a place in mind? Step 2 Dream About What You Want To Create When you get there, you’ll want to dream about what you intend to create.  Don’t get bogged down in details and don’t worry about perfection.  Instead, focus on the big picture. Here are some things to dream about; the answers to these questions will become part of your vision statement: Your line of business – what products or services do you want to provide? Your company size and growth objectives – what level of sales, profits, number of employees do you want to have? Your markets served-what area of geography do you want to cover? Your timing– when will your vision be realized? How will you know when the business is fully developed? Your unique selling proposition– What will make your company unique?  How will you stand out in the marketplace? What are the distinctive elements...
Your Vision Provides the Path

Your Vision Provides the Path

As a coach, and entrepreneur myself, I realize that if you only think about strategy (the “how”) too early, it actually inhibits your vision (the “what”) and blocks you from thinking big, and I mean big, capital B I G. What’s needed is a vision that is so big that it’s compelling, not only to you, but to others. It’s what Jim Collins called a BEHAG, a Big Hairy Audacious Goal. Having a vision is essential.  When done right, your vision is a written blueprint of how your company will look and act when it’s fully developed.  It brings your values, passion, and purpose together to set a course of growth for your company. All successful leaders have a vision.  Everyone is much more likely to follow the lead of someone who knows where they are going, rather than someone who doesn’t, right? Here are three reasons you must have a vision: It provides a sense of direction and goals – it’s a target for the future. Really, to put it in the terms I like to use, your vision is the GPS for your business. It motivates you and your employees – it’s a dream to strive for. If your vision is not compelling, you won’t have the motivation to stay the course and you won’t be able to recruit others to help you. Employees want to feel that they’re part of something bigger and are making a significant contribution.  As you know, most employees leave, NOT because of money, but because of lack of meaning.  So give them a vision that’s compelling and exciting. It’s the basis for...
Creating a Culture of Ownership

Creating a Culture of Ownership

Your values, vision and brand commitment form the basis for your culture and your way of developing and managing your people.  The best form of management begins with hiring the right people – people who are aligned with your culture and brand. Then, as a leader and manager, you must successfully influence and mentor, so that the great people you hire become even greater ongoing partners in your business because they are so committed to the shared values of the company. Yes, think of your employees as partners – owners of their responsibilities. The employees you want in your organization are looking for meaning more than they’re looking for money.  A culture of ownership provides that for them. The company and their positions within it make their lives richer because they care as much as you do. It all begins with establishing a clear set of company values.  Having those in place allows your people (partners) to more easily “buy-in.”  Here is how you do that: Review your personal core values. Review your list of personal core values (if you’ve been following along with my videos and previous blog post, you have this list completed.  This list is more than just words, but includes the meaning of each word and an example of how it is applied. Describe your vision of a healthy business culture. Be as vivid and detailed as possible.  Don’t worry if there’s a gap between where your business is today and how you imagine it could be one day.  Creating this document is the beginning of closing that gap. Create a document describing your company...
Why Are Values Important to Your Company?

Why Are Values Important to Your Company?

The research about this is clear! Companies who invest in their respective cultures, who make a priority of clarifying their values and who help their associates grow, will achieve higher profits, steady growth, and sustainability. Let’s talk about how you can create this type of culture for your company. If you want to attract the best people, the people who actually care about their work and who’ll help you grow your business from where it is today, you have to create a culture that is a living and breathing expression of the wish for meaning and that comes back to values. The most important values come from the heart of the owner and cascade down through the entire organization.  Think about four different types of values: Foundational – where all the other values are rooted Functional – how people relate to their work Relational – how people relate to others in the work environment Embodied – how the overall culture performs in line with the Brand. Each is important in supporting a culture of ownership and providing clarity for your employees. People work for meaning more than they work for money. Creating a clear set of values allows your people to “buy-in” to your organization. They derive meaning from those values, thus take ownership to uphold those values. Once you really accept that your employees are motivated by meaning and less by money, you must consider what this truly means and how to become a values-driven company.  Here are two important first steps: You must be willing to hire people that share your values and say no when a...
The 7 Ingredients Success Wheel

The 7 Ingredients Success Wheel

In my latest two video episodes, as well as my most recent blog post, I’ve shared the recipe for success and described the 7 ingredients needed to create a business that also allows you to have a life.  It’s now time for you to assess your current condition in these seven areas. First, print out a copy of the Business Success Wheel.  Each section is labeled for one of the 7 ingredients. Now evaluate yourself on each of the 7 ingredients by choosing a rating on a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being you have mastered this ingredient and 1 being you have not incorporated this ingredient at all.  I’ll help you along by describing each ingredient to give you a basis for thinking about what your score should be. Let’s start with Leadership. Leadership is about finding the heart of your business and the essence of your unique product or service. It’s about understanding your values, discovering or refining why you do what you do (your purpose), setting the vision for your business and creating your culture.  How do you rate on a scale of 1 to 10? Branding is the “big picture” conversation you have with your customers, the thing you rarely say directly but they can feel. It’s the how you do it that’s different than anyone else’s. Your brand guides all your activities, including slogans and colors. Branding is where you make the connections between your personal values and your end product. How do you rate on a scale of 1 to 10? Finance is having a real time view into how money is...
Create a Business that You Work ON and Not IN

Create a Business that You Work ON and Not IN

Many entrepreneurs find themselves working long hours; they ultimately feel like their business has consumed their life.  Is that you? Are you significantly involved in all of the day to day pieces and parts of your business? Do you believe that no one can do what you do, as well as you can?  If you answered these questions with a YES, then, in effect, your business owns you, and you don’t own your business. You are working too much IN your business and effectively, you’ve bought yourself a job and are trading your time for money. So how can you shift this and take back your life? Start working ON your business! The first step towards working ON your business is to look at it as if it were a product you are creating.  Think of it like this – look at your business with the idea of selling it for a return on investment. If you are working IN your business, you might not have considered it an investment.  In order to shift your perspective, you must work ON your business to build the true product, the business itself: its vision, values, culture, brand, systems and customer experience. This takes work but is necessary if you want to avoid burnout or worse yet, business failure. A good approach to create a bridge from where you are now is to begin to think like a franchisor.  Imagine how differently you’d create your business if it were the model for 10,000 more just like it.  Now, this may not be your intention, but thinking this way means you have to...
30 Time Bandit Busters You Can Put Into Use TODAY!

30 Time Bandit Busters You Can Put Into Use TODAY!

In my recent video episode, 5 Steps to More Effective Time Management, on Indy BizTV Shows, I mentioned I would share 30 “Bandit Busters” to help you eliminate your Time Bandits.  A Time Bandit is anything that seems to steal your time, such as, a new employee, a talkative vendor, the telephone, the Internet, inefficient office equipment, or even yourself. Here’s the list of 30 “Bandit Busters:” Break down large projects, take “one bite at a time.” Prioritize and stay focused. Hold 5-minute daily priority meetings. Don’t overbook yourself. Delegate as much as you can. Set up a fixed daily routine for yourself. Share time-saving ideas with others. Avoid getting bogged down in “quicksand” issues. Set and meet deadlines for yourself and your employees. Divide large projects into tasks distributed to others. Don’t fragment your time. Finish what you start. Use natural interruptions of your work for break times. Institute a daily quiet time for yourself. Set “Do Not Disturb” times for uninterrupted work. Use “gatekeepers” to screen out Time Bandits. Consolidate telephone time. Plan phone calls. Set a “closed-door, open-calendar” policy. Don’t postpone unpleasant tasks. Use “idle” time productively (reading, listening to tapes). Eat lunch, but eat a light meal and no alcohol. Don’t work at home. Don’t be a perfectionist. Use your “prime” time for important tasks. Capture your great ideas and save them. Think, then act. Say “NO” Teach Time Management to your employees Audit your Time Management to improve it. Focus on results, not work. There you have it!  30 tips to more effectively use your time and minimize the effect of Time Bandits in...

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