It’s that time of year again, where we have the opportunity (and we are well advised to take it) to reflect on our successes and short comings/failures of the past year.

It’s always good to be appreciative, respectful and happy for the success of others, but it’s also very sweet to achieve our goals and experience success ourselves!

Just like every destination worth the trip, it’s a great idea to have a “road map” to guide the way.  Today we’re accustomed to using technology such as GPS to tell us the “turn by turn” directions.  This is definitely a good thing, but in business, it’s well worth taking the time to do a good ‘ole fashioned business overview and plan.

We’ve all heard the clichés like “If you fail to plan, then plan to fail”, so we don’t really need to go there.  A good plan is just that, a good plan.  And like the old “A Team” (showing my age here on this one),  “I love it when a plan comes together!”

In this blog entry are a summary of the key components to a sound and viable “workable” business plan.  This can be (and I highly recommend that you start out this way) -a ONE PAGE BUSINESS PLAN!  Yep, I said it; a one pager.  This is the summary, you can always expand it later.  You really don’t need to get bogged down with a 50 page leather-bound plan that will serve as a bookend on your library shelf.

Before you begin the draft our your plan, ask yourself some key questions:  Remember, it’s your business and your plan, so go ahead, be totally honest with yourself!  Write what you want, but remember to write.  A business plan not written is only a wish (sorry, another cliché there).

The Best place to begin, … is at the beginning!

  • Why does my business exist?
  • What is my product or service?
  • Who, or where is my market?
  • How will I reach my market?
  • How will I tell my story?
  • What obstacles or challenges will I likely face?

When I started the business or purchased the business, what was I thinking? (seriously now)

WHAT IS MY VISION OF AND FOR THE BUSINESS?

Now you’re ready to put some meat on your plan!

Here are the key components to your ultimate GPS working business plan for achieving your desired goals and success in the coming year:

1.  DEFINE YOUR MISSION AND PURPOSE OF THE BUSINESS.
What is my mission, or purpose with this business?

2.  ESTABLISH YOUR BENCHMARK GOALS AND MILESTONE ACHIEVEMENTS:
What are my goals for this year, next year, 3 years, or 5 years from now.  Do I still see (envision) myself owning this business, selling, retiring, … or what?

WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME? (WIIFM)
Define clearly what you want from the business, how you will get it and when.  Look as far in the future as you can, then come back to the present for your strategy.

The key to a working business plan is for it to be real to you and for it to be what you believe in.  If not, then IT IS A WASTE OF TIME, INK AND PAPER!

3.  DEFINE YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE.  HOW AND TO WHOM YOU’LL DELIVER IT.

  • What is it you are selling?
  • Why do people buy it, and from you?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What are they doing that is better than you?
  • What do you do better than they?
  • How can you position yourself uniquely?

4.  OTHER KEY COMPONENTS TO CONSIDER:
You can be as brief or detailed as you want, but remember… start simple!

  • Market Analysis
  • Business Strategy Revenue Model
  • Product or Service Strategy
  • Competition
  • Internet Strategy
  • Communications systems and strategy
  • Risk management
  • Management team
  • Present situation
  • Financial Plan
  • Capital requirements
  • Strategic alliances
  • Exit/Payback Strategy

COMMIT TODAY TO GET STARTED!  After all, it is your plan for success!

Take 30 min.’s to an hour a day over the next 5 business days to draft your plan. (Preferably start in the morning before you get into the battle of the day and lose focus!)

Good luck and continued success!

The Scattered Entrepreneur… (who, me?) 

Q.  What is scattered?  ASK YOURSELF: Am I…

A.  Dispersed, distracted, disorganized.  In short: going in different directions

  • What does it look like?
  • How does it feel?
  • What effect does it have on your life and your business?
  • Are you scattered?
  • Why?

Q.  What is the opposite of scattered? (You know the answers…)

  • What does it look like?
  • How does it feel?
  • What effect will this have on your life and your business?

The obvious question:  Is it good to be scattered, or NOT?
Then what can be done about it?
Why do I do what I do, when I know what I know?

    Stuff happens, right?

We can only do 10,000 things in one day! (I know, you’ve told me a million
times not to  exaggerate!)

What are the most important things

   The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing!   ~Ty Boyd

So What’s to be done about it?

  • You’ve got people.  Make sure you connect, stay in touch and build quality relationships with your Top 5, Top 10, Top 100 (If you don’t have a “Top 100″ list, get started today. They’re the people you want and need to know to help you succeed.  You only need a “few good people”!

You have the advantage

  • You’ve got technology
  • You’ve got brain power
  • You’ve got focus (at least by now you should have, right?)
  • SO, …unclutter and de-stress your life.  You’ll enjoy it more and you’ll be more productive.  Hey, … you won’t be scattered!

What benefits will you gain by being more focused?

  • Less stress
  • Get more accomplished
  • Greater feeling of satisfaction
  • Higher quality of relationships
  • More productivity and profitability (more mon(ey), more fun!)  Now you’re a happy…

Persist
“That which we persist in doing becomes easier.  It’s not that the nature of the task itself has changed, but that our ability to do has increased!”

So what’s the moral of the story?
“Be good to yourself”   -Fabi W. Preslar

This week’s assignment:

  • Choose one area of your life or business that you’ll focus more on this week
  • Put one hour on your calendar to “unclutter”
  • Remember to breathe and drink more water! (your brain is 75% water; give yourself all the help you can get!)

Snapshots from “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.  This book  is one of the first bestselling self-help books ever published. Written by Dale Carnegie and first published in 1936, it has sold 15 million copies world-wide.

6 Ways to make people like you:

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile. (editors note: “It improves your face value!”)
  3. Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

STEP ONE

  • Define & redefine what it is that you do (be specific)-write it out.
  • What is the core of your business?
  • Simplify: Describe this in 5 words or less (it’s hard, but worth the effort!)
  • Ask someone else to tell you what they think you do!

STEP TWO

  • How do you make money?
  • What is it in your business that actually brings in the dough?
  • Simplify: List 5 things or less that are involved in getting the check to the bank
  • Ask your associates/collaboration partners to do the same!  Compare notes and make sure everyone is on the same page
  • Focus only on these things (don’t loose sight of the stuff like making connections, building relationships, follow up, keeping commitments, etc.  These are things that make you money!)

STEP THREE

  • Take Action!  (no time like the present!)
  • List 3 things that, if you do, you know will help your business.
  • Prioritize these 3 things.
  • START WORKING ON THEM WITHIN 24 HOURS!

STEP FOUR

  • Identify your U.M.P.H.!
  • UNIQUE
  • MARKETING
  • PROPOSITION
  • HOTPOINTS
  • Define this/these in detail and make it/them CORE to your action plan!
  • Ask others what they think your U.M.P.H. is (if they think it’s something different than you do, then you need to go back to Step One!)

Easy to do but hard to do.  The hardest thing is NOT to do these four steps.  Not staying focused on the core things in our business that make it profitable is very expensive in time and money!

      What does thinking big mean?

Envisioning your present and future success
Having a realistic and achievable plan & goals
Targeting the people who will help you
Taking the actionable steps, methodically toward accomplishing your goals
Enjoying the journey, not just the destination!

    

Begin with the end in mind.  Set your goals:

7 Characteristics of successful goals achievement:

  1. GOALS MUST BE PERSONAL
  2. GOALS MUST BE WRITTEN & SPECIFIC
  3. GOALS MUST BE TIME SENSITIVE
  4. GOALS MUST BE MEASURABLE!
  5. GOALS MUST BE REPORTABLE!
  6. GOALS MUST BE REALISTIC, BELIEVABLE & OBTAINABLE!
  7. GOALS REQUIRE DEDICATION & DETERMINATION!

Nothing gets done in a vacuum-You’ve got to have “PEOPLE”

Who are your “TOP 100″ people?

  • Start with a Top 10
  • Build to a Top 25, 50, then  100, then ask yourself…
  • How will this help me become focused?
  • What is my plan to meet these people and build relationships with them
  • What am I going to do for them first?

Action steps:

  • Outline 3 specific action steps you will begin next week
  • Who will you report to?
  • When will you report?
  • How dedicated are you to you?

Think BIG and GET IT DONE!   

Good luck!

It's easy to barter!

With a new year just weeks away it’s always good to “take inventory” of what really matters and envision the potential of good things happening personally and professionally.

Good news: Barter is smarter!

Barter is by definition, to trade by exchange of commodities rather than by use of money (cash). But it is much more, since many individuals and companies also trade their services for other services both directly and indirectly.

Q. How can we “create” some better days ahead in the new year for ourselves and our companies?

A. Well, of course, the answer is to always think BARTER FIRST instead of cash!

Here are some quick bullet items to consider as you embark on your adventure toward saving cash, building relationships and finding more customers through barter:

  • Take an inventory of personal and business items that you have that you did not use last year and probably won’t use next year (a good place to look is in your attic, your basement, your garage and… at the back of your closet!)
  • Make a list of these items and determine what you feel a “fair market value” is. In other words, if you wanted that item and someone was offering it to you for sale, what would you be willing to pay.
  • Shine ‘em up, take a digital photo and post ‘em on craigslist, ebay, etc. BUT, also post these items on your favorite online trade exchange (we most humbly recommend SynergyStreetTrade it’s free to join and try it out
  • List your stuff & see what happens. You may be surprised to find out that you can sell the items faster and for full retail (market value) on the trade exchange faster that for cash in other places.

Once you’ve joined a trade exchange and list your stuff (which you can do for FREE with a “Guest Membership” at SynergyStreetTrade, then you’ve got “trade dollars” that you can now spend on stuff you want. You only pay a cash fee of 10% when you spend your SST$ (SynergyStreetTRADE dollars) on something you want!  No risk whatsoever!

Hey, this is like having your own private EASY button, and it’s fun!

Don’t forget, you can do the same thing with services, i.e. you do web design, teach piano, pet sit, personal shop, etc. (the sky is the limit) and you offer your services for trade as well. Check out some of the millions of dollars of products and services already listed on SynergyStreetTRADE.

THERE IS SOMEONE OUT THERE WHO WANTS WHAT YOU HAVE & THERE IS SOMEONE WHO HAS WHAT YOU WANT! Use barter to find them and to get found!

Truly, with a little ingenuity (and a little time and effort) there can easily be BARTER DAYS AHEAD!

To learn more about how you can use barter to save cash and improve your lifestyle and business, send your questions to info@SynergyStreetTrade.com

We’d love to be of help!

Good trading!

Your opinion counts!

Posted: November 15, 2011 in Polls