Bite-Size Chunks of Wisdom

November 2013

Recent Posts

Operational system development is vital for the small business entrepreneur yet it seems to be the least discussed aspect of a successful enterprise. With limited resources, such as time, money, and staff, to assist with day-to-day operations, running your business as efficiently and effectively as possible is important. Unfortunately, any business not operating efficiently will soon find themselves out of business.

The operational system that works best for your business depends upon several factors including your business model, the products and/or services offered, and your personal operational style. Regardless of your individual situation, there are a number of systems to address to keep your business running smoothly.

Financial Management. Although this may be considered the most “painful” part of your business, it actually keeps you in business when it’s well managed. Establish a system that allows for effective inventory control, cash management, and accounting information. Add a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to help you understand financial statements and you have a winning combination. (For more information, ask me about the Accounting and Financial Growth Assessment.)

Legal Management. You likely will not need an in-house attorney for your growing business; however, its important to have a trustworthy business attorney on retainer to make sure your business has the proper legal protection. This includes business license and/or permits, legal agreements with clients, subcontractors and/or suppliers, and trade secret protection through copyrights, trademarks, and/or patents.

Business Management. Who keeps the business functioning day-to-day and plans for its future? Why, you do, of course! Keeping one eye on today and the other focused on the future is a tall order given your many responsibilities yet it’s vital to your success. Analyzing critical data, measuring it against your projected goals, and tweaking your strategic plan keeps you focused and on track.

Marketing Management. Consistently getting the message out to your target audience can be challenging for the small business entrepreneur. Like many entrepreneurs, the day ends before your “to do” list. By systematizing your marketing efforts, you’ll be assured your business is at the forefront of your market place without fail.

Office Management. Who would imagine that office operations could be transformed into a competitive advantage? The proper equipment, software, and supplies significantly reduces costs and increases performance (fewer errors, faster service delivery, etc.) so you can function as a first-class operation.

Resources invested in developing your operational systems pays dividends in saving time, reducing your stress, making it easier to manage the many aspects of your business, trimming unnecessary cost and waste, and ensuring your time is spent where you gain the greatest payoff – in front of your clients.

Our friends recently went through an extensive process as they designed their dream home.  They spent countless hours pouring over drafts, drawings, pictures, and concepts to ensure their new home reflected their vision and aspirations.  There were meetings with designers, contractors, city planners, and neighbors.  It was a grueling process, as you know if you’ve traveled down that road.  However, the result of a home that reflected their true essence was well worth the journey!

Creating your dream business is much like the process used to realize a dream home.  You pour over plans, research, and concepts. You meet with your attorney, accountant, and strategic coach.  Likewise, it’s a grueling process.  As one of our clients so aptly describes it, “This is hard work!”  Yet it’s common for many entrepreneurs to print business cards, attend a few meetings, declare themselves “in business”, and be sorely disappointed at the end of the day when revenues fail to match envisioned expectations.

Much like creating your dream house, your dream business requires thoughtful planning and preparation It’s important to invest time in plans, goals, and strategies to understand where you are now and where you want to be in the future— and what’s most important to you along the way. Failing to do so might require a do-over, or worse yet, a trip to the employment line when your business fails to deliver what you anticipated.

Here are ten fundamental components to consider as you create your “dream” business:

1.  I know exactly what business I’m in. 

Trick question? Not really. Your answer could determine your company’s future. Apple’s decision to be in the “consumer electronics” business really paid off.  By contrast, Blockbuster didn’t ask that question until it was too late.  They went by the wayside of “selling VHS/DVD” business when overtaken by Netflix who was in the “delivering entertainment” business.

2.  I have a clear understanding of my present and future clients, their needs, and how they acquire their products and services.

The crucial key is to truly know your clients— and their needs— better than they do!  How do you achieve such a feat?  Continual communication and collaboration with your target audience is necessary.

3.  My mission statement fully reflects my values. 

Creating a mission statement for your business is the first, and the most important step, in the strategic planning process.  If you’re ready for “mission possible”, ask us for the Craft Your Mission Statement worksheet to create a mission that fully reflects your business.

4.  My vision is clear, concise, and a daily source of inspiration.

To live without a clear image of your own vision is to live someone else’s vision. Illuminate your vision by requesting and completing the Clarify Your Vision worksheet.

5.  I know the strengths and limitations of my competitors and have properly positioned my company.

Two questions to consider include “what key advantages and vulnerabilities do your competitors posses in the area of marketing, service, reputation, and business operation” and “how will/can your business compete?” Uncovering the answers to these questions will help identify your sweet spot in the marketplace.

6.  I have identified my company’s strengths, limitations, and competitive advantage.

Your company’s strengths can improve your position in the marketplace. On the other hand, identifying internal weaknesses can spur initiatives to address those shortcomings.

7.  My company’s primary aim provides direction and focus, and is used as a standard for measuring my progress.

Understanding your company’s primary aim gives you the ability to actively shape your business rather than accept whatever pleasure—and pain—comes your way. It provides purpose and satisfaction and compels you to create a remarkable business.

8.  My business goals and objectives are in alignment with my personal goals and objectives.

Business and personal goals intertwine for many entrepreneurs. Considering both provides better focus, less distraction, greater efficiency, and puts you on the road to better results.

9.  I assess and upgrade my business plan regularly.

I’m a big fan of “strategic tinkering”—aka updating your plan as things change.  Change is an everyday occurrence so minor adjustments in planning should occur with regularity to keep you on track.  You can address more extensive upgrades to your plan monthly and annually.

10. I have identified four key strategies that produce a competitive advantage and direct my decisions.

Strategies guide decisions, save valuable resources, prevent squandering time and money on the wrong projects or pursuing the wrong market, sort out conflicting priorities, and clarify activities. What more can you ask for?  Perhaps a worksheet to identify Strategies to Growth and Manage Your Business. (Click to Ask.)

As you can see, addressing all the different aspects designed to grow your dream business is no small deed!  However, along the way, the time invested provides a road map and practical how-to information for creating worthwhile work that makes a difference.

And, remember the wisdom of a sage man who said, “If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, how much time do you have to do it over?”

Related Blog Posts:

Growing Pains of Stage One Business Growth

The Entrepreneurs Naughty and Nice List for Growing Your Business

4 Actions to Make Business Growth Your Top Priority

Do You Know Your Small Business Growth Rate?

5 Advisers Every Small Business Needs to Grow

Traditionally, business owners and entrepreneurs attempt to accelerate their business growth through time-honored methods like marketing, planning, strategizing, budgeting, etc. While these external means are critical to the success of your business, they don’t ensure its growth or sustainability. Yet, in spite of the facts, these approaches are those of conventional wisdom.

What if conventional wisdom is wrong?

As business owners frantically search for the magic elixir that will provide continuous growth, evidence of the source of that growth mounts. Research, experience, and common sense increasingly point to a direct correlation between a businesses’ growth and its commitment to the internal growth and development of its owner.

Still, in the light of mounting evidence, most business owners fail to implement the very ideas that will ensure significant and sustainable growth. Why? Is it because these growth principles fly in the face of conventional wisdom and are not part of the industry norm? Rarely is exceptional success achieved by being average, normal, or following the crowd. (Click to Tweet.)

For an unorthodox challenge that includes growing your business from the inside out, consider applying these well-honed components:

1. I am guided daily by goal management rather than time management. In so doing, I make the most of my time.

Unfortunately, time management is a strategy that went out with the industrial age. The information age, on the other hand, compels us to upgrade our skills – and approach – to performance.

2. There is nothing that I tolerate at work.

Tolerations (i.e., putting up with things, people, and under-performance) place a tremendous drain on valuable resources like energy and creativity. Eradicating tolerations provides a quick burst of energy to invest in moving forward.

3.  I have an intriguing and satisfying life away from the office.

As an entrepreneur, there was a time I didn’t have much of a personal life. I strained to identify even one activity to do for fun. Sad, isn’t it, although I know I’m not alone. A fun and fulfilling after-work life adds volumes to entrepreneurial performance.

4.  I move (walk/run/jog/bike/hike) a minimum of three days each week.

Who knew that physical fitness was good for business? Studies indicate entrepreneurs who run, walk, or bike enjoy greater sales! (Click to Tweet.How about adding this “endorphin effect” to your sales system?

5.  I am achievement (to grow) focused rather than accomplishment (to do) oriented.

Getting things done doesn’t mean you’re moving forward. (Click to Tweet.) Achievement, rather than accomplishment, will take you were you want to go with your business.

6.  Effectiveness takes a priority over efficiency.

Although similar in sound, they have very different meanings. Efficiency is about doing things in the right manner whereas effectiveness focuses on doing the right things. Efficiency concerns itself with the “status quo” while effectiveness focuses on the end result.  (Click to Tweet.)

7.  I continually under promise and over deliver.

If you can deliver a project by Monday, promise Wednesday. Not only does it allow for unplanned emergencies within your company, it positions you as a company dedicated to delivering on their promises. What could be more compelling?

8.  I am committed to providing BIG results for myself and others.

Big results don’t have to equate with big numbers. Small businesses – like yours – are creating big results every day. Think exceptionally – and don’t shrink from your talents!

9.  I am aware of my four primary personal needs and have a plan outside of the business to get my needs met.

Unmet personal needs encourage unflattering behavior in business. It costs you dearly in lost business. Getting your needs fulfilled outside of business makes you – and your business –  more attractive.

10. I have confidence in my strengths, my abilities, and myself. I am guided by a healthy dose of optimism. 

Incorporating strengths into your daily activity makes for a happy, self-confident entrepreneur. Take the FREE strengths test at Authentic Happiness to determine your strengths.

The quality of your performance and the success of your business is dependent upon your emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. It’s essential for growing your business.

If you’re ready for a breakthrough, contact us today to discuss how to energize your growth.

Technology has redefined the marketplace, altered business strategies, and allowed small business to compete on a global scale. The information revolution has definitely transformed the business environment. In order to compete and flourish, small business entrepreneurs need strategies to gain new skills.

Here are a few we recommend:

Commit to a culture of life-long learning. When enthusiasm for learning begins with the entrepreneur or small business owner, it has a cascading influence on everyone. The most innovative, forward-moving companies are those whose owners have a thirst for learning. It’s contagious and attracts others–employees, clients, and suppliers–committed to growth. No matter your age or the stage of your business, embracing lifelong learning transforms you, your business, and your future.

Invest in learning. Did you know that the cost of lack of knowledge is higher than the cost of professional development? It’s a known fact: businesses that commit a percentage of their budget to skill development enjoy greater success. (Click to Tweet)

Develop a solid understanding of all business functions including strategic planning, market research, brand positioning, budgeting, sales, etc. The ideal situation is to focus on growing your core gifts and talents and hire the additional skills your business needs. Budget constraints, however, don’t always make that possible. Nonetheless, even if your budget allows you to hire the talent you need, basic understanding and knowledge of all the business functions makes you a much smarter consumer.

Create a reserve of time, money, space, and opportunities. The leading cause of fear is scarcity-based worry. (Click to Tweet.) That’s no surprise – especially in this crazy economy. Having enough to get by is simply not good enough anymore. Being well-supplied means you’ll respond better to the needs of your clients and you’ll be able to afford the risks – perceived and real – your business needs to innovate.

Don’t grow alone.  Tap into a business coach, mastermind group, or set up your own informal advisory board to expand your knowledge. Business does not grow in a vacuum. (Click to Tweet.) Creativity is a collaborative process – even when you’re alone. Time spent in association is the trigger for those “aha” moments.

Become a “creative creator”.  Coined by Harvard University’s Lawrence Katz and MIT’s David Autor (labor economists) and Andy Kessler (author and former hedge fund manager), “creative creators” are those who do nonroutine jobs in a distinctive nonroutine way. The “creative creator” will lead business innovation, economic growth, and their industries into the future. Invent something new in your field.  Create a better way for clients to use your product or service. Raise the standards in your industry.

Do you have one year of experience repeated ten times? Or, do you celebrate ten distinctly different years of experience and ongoing growth that you continue to build upon?  The days of business skill stalemate are long gone. Your future success and business growth lies in your ability to strengthen and expand your business skills. Life-long learning is the key.

Related Blog Posts:

8 Assumptions Squashing Your Business Growth

Are “Flies” Gumming Up Your Business Growth?

Do You Know Your Small Business Growth Rate?

Betting on Business Growth? Don’t Snub the Importance of Planning

4 Actions to Make Business Growth Your Top Priority

The shifting economic landscape has affected everyone’s business. Yet, the economy isn’t the only factor contributing to changes in and around business – especially when it comes to marketing. Although much has changed within the past several years, there are core-marketing concepts that remain the same.  Even so, you need to be willing to rethink marketing tools, tactics, techniques, and temperament on the road to growing your business.

What’s New

The digital age is having a dramatic impact on buyers and sellers.  Innovative tools, like social media, are changing the way consumers discover and purchase their products.  In fact, a recent marketing study established that 92% of all business-to-business purchases were bought – not sold.

What’s Not

Tools and technology may have changed how customers and business interact. However, the basic marketing model remains unchanged – consumers still want relevant products and services that meet their needs and wants. Modern marketing remains focused on successfully developing and managing the relationship with the client.

What to Do

To fortify your marketing results, here are a few items to consider:

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing efforts to determine which methods provide the greatest rate of return for your investment.
  • Strengthen your brand with experience, delivery, value, and communication.
  • Design a value proposition that sets your business apart from your competition and compels your target audience to act.
  • Develop a customer relationship system that builds long-term trust and rapport with your client.
  • Implement marketing tactics that support your offerings and are easy to implement.

And, don’t forget to follow us on FacebookLinkedin, and Twitter as we support your marketing and branding efforts with information on a variety of topics including the nine steps to building trust on your way to client acquisition, how to make the most of each “moment of truth”, and what to do if your marketing is in need of a makeover.

Shhhhhhh! Come closer.  I want to share a secret with you – a simple secret about how you can achieve with less stress and difficulty. Are you ready? Here goes….goals aligned with your personal values create a vacuum that pulls you forward, puts you “in the flow”, and allows you to perform at your highest level.

Tell you more? I’m so glad you asked. Let’s face it…we likely all grew up learning traditional goal setting. Traditional goal setting, based on needs and wants and driven by time-frames, has worked effectively for years given the long-established industrial age. With the dawn of the information age, goals set in the conventional manner are no longer an effective way to achieve. In fact, it’s very much like using DOS in a Mac world – it’s ineffective, flawed, time-consuming, and energy intense. In the fast-paced information age of today, a more advanced goal-setting system is needed.

Barbie* (not her real name) discovered the ineffectiveness of traditional goal setting the hard way. In business since 1997, Barbie has always been a high-achieving entrepreneur – until recently. It was becoming much more difficult for her to achieve. What came easily and effortlessly years earlier was now a chore. She worked harder, pushing herself to achieve her goals. Even at full speed, she was getting less done and missing her targets. More importantly, it was taking a toll on her health. It was at this time Barbie reached out for business coaching to maximize efficiency and income.

With her desired outcomes identified, Barbie was introduced to the concept of values-based goals as a way to achieve her goals effortlessly. As an innovator, she was open and willing to try new and different ways to succeed. Thank goodness!

What are Value-Based Goals?

Defining value-based goals begins with defining values. Personal values represent the behaviors and activities to which you are naturally drawn. Values are really about who you are. They provide a clear sense of what’s most important to you. Personal values are NOT shoulds, have to’s, or moral/ethical ideals.

Value-based goals, then, are those wrapped in your personal values. They tap into your core beliefs and talents to energize your success. Value-based goal achievement brings excitement, authenticity, and effortlessness to those ready to succeed in a different way – like Barbie.

Do Value-Based Goals Enhance Success? 

Any time we turn away from the known (even when it’s not working) and venture into the unfamiliar, it’s a bit disconcerting. Barbie is the first to admit it “felt wrong not to follow traditional goal setting”. Conventional business wisdom led her to believe she needed to check her personality at the door and follow traditional techniques even when they didn’t fit her personality or style.

After identifying her personal values, Barbie reframed her goals around her four key values of triumph, experiment, exhilaration, and imagination. The result?  Barbie now achieves her outcomes more easily. Her results improved, as did her income!

Following unconventional wisdom, Barbie is learning to achieve differently with value-based goals. She’s given herself permission to honor her true self again. And, she encourages others to show consideration for their authentic selves.

Values-based goals aren’t just for the chosen few – rather it is for the few that choose to achieve in a way that respects who they are, energizes their success, speeds their learning, and enriches their efforts. Don’t you deserve to experience the fulfillment of values-based goals? It is, after all, the ultimate gift to give yourself.

What Does Barbie Want You to Know?

By the way, Barbie wants you to know that it was really FUN to go through the process of finding her core values and setting goals around them. Her work is more fun now, too. She hadn’t had fun in a long time and the process set off a real fun-fest. Aside from the continually increasing income (even when she took time off), she started to really enjoy parts of work again.

Do you want to achieve like Barbie? Click here to schedule your complimentary strategic business consultation and discover how strategic business coaching helps you achieve more with less effort.

If you’ve flown on a commercial airline, you’ve heard the flight attendants provide the safety instructions. Although most airline passengers zone out during this time, the airlines have it right when they tell you to “put your own mask on first before assisting others”.

The first several times I heard the instruction, I thought it was incredibly selfish. It didn’t seem right that I would help myself before those around me. Perhaps it was the 8 years of parochial school or watching my mom sacrifice her needs where I learned to circumvent my own needs. The airlines have the right idea. They know you’re not going to be of any benefit to others, if you don’t take care of yourself first.  

Growing your business is akin to that safety instruction. In order to provide the excellent service your clients deserve, it’s important to put your own mask on and attend to your business needs first. 

Prioritizing business growth is a common problem for entrepreneurs. You’re busy. You’re helping clients solve problems, responding to requests for information, networking with your colleagues, keeping up with email….the list goes on and on. Even though you start your day with the best intentions of making business growth a priority, it quickly gets derailed with what seems to be the more pressing needs of others. Growing your business gets delayed.

First Things First

If you could make business growth a priority, it would spell the difference between growth and success or struggle and stagnation.

Activities that directly influence the growth of your business include:

  • Strategic planning and ‘tinkering’ weekly, monthly, and annually
  • Goal setting including implementation of activities related to your goals that move your business forward
  • Vital meetings with advisors including your strategic business coach
  • Metric tracking monthly, quarterly, and annually in order for you to make informed decisions (Unfortunately, the numbers don’t lie.)

The activities to reprioritize to follow those related to business growth are:

  • Client meetings or work
  • Email communication
  • Bookkeeping
  • Desk paperwork

Prioritizing activities in such a way may seem a bitcounterintuitive – especially when client meetings are secondary to business growth. However, just like putting on your own mask first, you’ll provide better quality service once your business needs are addressed.

Prioritize, Schedule, Act, and Grow

Here are four steps to make growing your business a priority: 

1. Shift from managing to growing your business.  Did you know that when primarily focused on activities not related to business growth, you are running your business, not growing it?  Although successfully running your business is important, if business growth is not your priority you won’t have much of a business to run.

2. Schedule time to focus on business growth. Devote time at the beginning of your day to grow your business. Make it the first appointment of your day – not the last.  Putting business growth off until the end of the day likely means it will get put off until a more convenient time….as if a convenient time really exists

3. Honor your time commitment.  Just like you keep promises made to your clients for meetings and deliverables, demonstrate the same respect for yourself and the future of your business. This is critical! If you’re serious about moving your business forward, do not reschedule or cancel the promise you’ve made to yourself.

4. Show up prepared. Don’t just make an appearance, show up prepared and ready to move your business forward with a plan for what you intend to accomplish during that time.  If you’re not sure, refer to your strategic plan or your strategic business coach to coach you through the development of a focused plan.  (If you’re uncertain about the topics to chat about with your coach, you can learn more at What to Discuss with Your Strategic Coach)

Don’t let your business struggle with inconsistent growth patterns that lack sustainability. Put your business growth first and reap the rewards of a more productive, fruitful business.

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

Search The Blog