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Posts Tagged "strategic planning"

Start with a Goal

on October 2 in Coaching--Our Way | 0 comments

“Start with a goal.” It sounds so simple. And it’s a message that’s so pervasive. Yet putting goal-setting into action can range from being an exercise that begins with positive momentum but becomes difficult to maintain to virtually non-existent due to day-to-day demands.  Nevermind full-on strategic planning, which can be too daunting, misguided, or cumbersome for some business leaders! So, what can you do?  Especially if you aren’t prepared to start setting goals by yourself today? The first step: Eliminate the barriers. I’ve noticed a lot of the resistance is really just lack of motivation. I’ll bet if we asked small business leaders, entrepreneurs, executives, practice directors, and managers the majority would say that they want to set goals.  The trouble is . . . it’s not a necessity because it’s not urgent, it’s not (yet) associated to a tangible desired outcome, and perhaps there is greater fear associated with doing the mental work.  Fears such as:  What if I don’t know what I need to do?  What if I find out what I need to do but can’t afford it?  What if it’s a waste of time and energy?  What if I miss opportunities because I’ve neglected my “regular” tasks? One way to eliminate the barriers is to actually talk to a creative partner (surprise, surprise!).  You can’t know what to focus on–in terms of marketing activity or anything else–without strategic goals, and these often escape even the most intelligent business leaders because they are simply lacking outside perspective. We believe outside perspective (plus creative and analytical thinking) help you eliminate the barriers and start building momentum for a strategic, holistic approach to goal setting–and ultimately...

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Re-Thinking the Business Plan

on May 20 in Coaching--Our Way | 0 comments

Bob Reiss’ article, “Write Your Business Plan in Pencil” from,  has some good points about when and how small businesses might approach business plan development.  Reiss advocates constructing a plan that will be flexible (hence the “in pencil” directive) but explains that “a detailed plan is only required if you want to raise money from a bank or venture capitalist. . . So your energies are wasted writing those long and thick plans.”   I couldn’t agree more. But for me, the issue is that the definition of a business plan is too restrictive.  It does require certain elements.  It can be too overwhelming to take on.  Small business needs new ways of talking about the end result of planning–as well as new pathways to get there.  I like the suggestion that “For most sole proprietors, that business plan can reside . . . on a napkin,” although it seems to me an altogether different thing.  I am interested in defining that thing, in bringing about a tangible result that is called something other than a business plan but that is just as effective in helping entrepreneurs and start-ups achieve their visions.  (Maybe that’s the marketer in me, pushing for a product name, something to build a brand around.) I currently have a methodology that I use to help small businesses with their strategic planning. The result is a set of marketing and sales goals with the related tasks and deadlines specific to achieving them.  It’s not the mammoth of a business plan nor the lightness of a napkin, but it is a quick, well-thought-out deliverable that helps small businesses define clear goals and pave the way to achieving them.  While there’s no snazzy name for it yet, this type of strategic planning allows for the flexibility and agility needed without the lengthy time frames usually associated with planning exercises. I think perhaps regardless of the name of the end reult, the process, which I call strategic planning is important.  And unlike Reiss I would argue that any result of planning should not be only in your head, if for no other reason that managing your time and progress against your goals in a systematic way can’t be achieved. What do you think?  Do we need new categories?  Does the business plan need to be...

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