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Category Archives: Business

Guide to Create Business Plan For Online Business

The business summary should give a brief description of the entire business and is an integral part of the overall business plan. After you have completed the business summary you should begin to list the objectives or the goals that you want to accomplish through the business. Next and perhaps most importantly, you should develop your marketing plan. The marketing plan will address all the specifics of the business. When developing the marketing strategy you should consider the following:

The target market. The target market is the customers that you expect to see visiting your site. For example will your product be more appealing to college students or those who are in retirement?

Consider the competition for your product when determining the marketing strategy. Choose a product that will be seen as unique and useful. Visit sites that are offering the same or similar products. Find out the cost, and how they are marketing their product. Find out the pros and cons of their business and try to improve your product based on their flaws.

Research the various methods for advertising online. You should become educated about search engines and how they work since each one is different. Also be sure that you know how to submit your site to search engines. You should be prepared to spend a small amount of money on advertising, but the profits that you will gain from the advertisements will prove to be money well spent.

Think about pricing. Again, look at the competition and see what similar products are selling for. Pricing can play a big role in the success of your product since selling a product well below the average price may lead customer to think that there is a problem with the product or that it is not of the best quality. However, pricing items too high could also detour customers.

Determine the shipping method. Be sure that you know how products will be shipped so that you can have shipping details clearly posted on your site. If you are shipping things of great value, you should consider providing shipping insurance. Also think about shipping outside the country that you live in.

Think about the different methods of payment that you will accept. If your business does not accept credit cards, you should be ready to give up half if not more of your sales. If you decide to accept credit cards will you use a merchant account or will you use a third party credit card processing center? Both will help you get started and the third party processing center will handle all of the business so you don’t have to. You should decide which you will use and also if you will accept checks or money orders. It is essential to have a secure server when taking credit cards.

These few things will help your online business to become a great success and also provide you with peace of mind knowing that you have thoroughly thought about and planned for the opening of your online business.

 

Effective Action Plan

# First, get a blank piece of paper and a pen.

# Decide where you are. Pick an area that you want to focus on (for example, monthly income or number of clicks to get one sale). Be sure to identify a specific area of your business and then identify a specific number you want to work on. For example, if your current monthly income is $3000, write that at the top of your page.

# Decide where you want to be. Using the same area of business and the same measurement (dollars or clicks or whatever you chose in step 1), write out where you want to be. If you want your monthly income in six months to be $6000 per month, write that at the bottom of the page.

# Now connect the dots! On the space on your page between where you are and where you want to be, create steps with real, practical ideas that help move you toward your dream. If it’s a simple matter of only two or three steps, that’s all you need. However, more than likely, you need to fill your page with ideas to help you move from “now” to “soon.” Some ideas for the example we’ve been looking at might include: increase prices by 10%, try upselling customers into a higher priced product, do half an hour of cold calling each morning, etc. These items should be specific action steps that you need to take, not general ideas you have. Be sure to assign due dates for each one so you have a timeframe to work in.

# Now, take those action items, and implement them into your weekly
planner.

# Then simply execute! Do one step at a time, each day, every day, until you’ve reached your time limit listed at the bottom of the page. Did you achieve your goal? Did you miss the mark? If so, how close did you come?

 

Tips to Creating and Following a Successful Plan

# Start with the end in mind. Set a deadline for your goal. Write the completion of your goal on the deadline date in your calendar. Then, work backward by putting tasks in your calendar each day or each week. For example, if you want to send out a mailing this spring, choose the date that you want the mailing to go out. Then, work backward to create a to-do list each week. If you wanted to send your mailing out on April 1, you would write, “edit mailing” on March 31, and “finish creating mailing” on March 30 and so on. Do this for each goal that you have. Before you know it, you’ll have weekly, and even daily plans laid out.

# Spend time each day planning. Take 15 minutes every day to create a plan. If you follow the example above, you’ll have a broad plan to follow. However, life is full of opportunities, and you don’t want to miss out on anything. Life is also full of things you don’t plan on – like having to get the hot water heater fixed. You’ll need to spend some time planning to include unexpected things into your day. It’s ok to change your plan, move things around, and re-arrange your schedule. It happens, and it’s ok to shift your plan to make room for the unexpected things.

# Put strong activities on your to-do list. There are actually certain things that you don’t need to include in your to-do list. The little things. The things that will get done no matter what. For example, don’t put “mail the bills” on your to-do list. Keep your priorities on your to-do list. Put incidentals or non-essential tasks on sticky notes. Once they’re done, throw the note away. Also, don’t put little things on your to-do list just for the satisfaction of having something to cross off.

Planning to succeed doesn’t have to be intimidating or overwhelming. Simply set your goals and follow these three tips. Before you know it, the road to success will be laid out right in front of you.

Remember – any good plan needs to be put into action. It’s not enough to simply write words on paper. You must go forward and create your results.

 

Steps of Strategic Planning

While there are several different approaches to implementing Strategic Planning Steps , most models use the following definitions:

* Mission definition : The mission definition stage of Strategic Planning encourages an organization to develop a brief description of purpose to Inform potential stockholders, employees and customers what they can expect from the company. From the mission definition, a mission statement can be developed that serves as a company’s calling card and core focus description.

* Vision/Trend Analysis : The next facet of Strategic Planning Steps directs a company to analyze current market trends and make committed decisions about where the business is heading. Defining long term goals and visualizing the future of the organization can help to focus current activities and important financial decisions.

* Strategic Objectives : Once long term goals have been set, the strategic objectives phase consists of formulating actual business plans to achieve the visualized goals. One acronym used frequently in this stage of Strategic Planning Steps is SMART. SMART stands for the type of objectives to be developed to fully realize the company’s long term goals. These objectives include:

o S – Specific objectives

o M – Measurable objectives

o A – Achievable objectives

o R – Resource-based, realistic objectives

o T – Time-frame assessed objectives

* Critical Success Factors : Important milestones and achievements key to goal realization should be identified at the critical success factor stage of Strategic Planning. Singling out these factors provides an easy means for measuring the ongoing success of the business plan.

* Actions to be Implemented : After critical success factors have been identified, the next phase involves the development of action plans need to realize success. Specific tasks and organizations management strategies are designed to effectively implement the business plan. Task management is often defined by the core competencies required for each position in the company.

* Performance Analysis and Progress Measurement : The last of the most common steps is comprised of formulating methods by which to measure the organization’s progress. Comprehensive performance analysis tools and measurement criteria are developed to effectively monitor the success of the current system. These tools can be used to report both internally and externally on the progress and growth of the company.

 

Why Teams Don’t Work?

1. Backstabbing. If you are the team leader and backstabbing is an issue, suggest that the team come up with a rule. Example: if there is any backstabbing among team members and they can’t resolve it on their own, it goes before the team leader.

2. Interrupting. This is a common challenge in meetings. Have the team come up with a rule such as, “No one is allowed to speak until the other person finishes and you raise your hand.” Remember, it starts with the team leader.

3. “Tangents.” A team is going off on tangents in meetings. If you are the team leader, tactfully ask the rest of the group if they want to hear any more about the issue being discussed. If not, let that person know they can talk with you privately after the meeting. Remember tact and diplomacy.

4. Whining. Have an unwritten rule that team members must come up with a solution whenever they complain. One team actually held up cue cards with a sad face whenever someone whined excessively. It added humor to the meetings but got the point across.

5. Not sharing job knowledge, communication. This is so important it should be in every employee’s job description. Sharing of job knowledge, skills and ideas is central to a team’s success. No matter how many team building exercises you engage in, your team won’t be productive without this simple rule.

6. Tardiness. Is there an employee who is consistently late? What is the impact on the morale of the team? Have a personal standard in writing for what is considered “late.” This helps, too, with accountability.

7. Too many breaks (or too long). Put the number of breaks allowed, along with time frame, in job descriptions. An alternative is to have the team come up with how many breaks a team member can have in one day. Include the number of minutes. Be specific.

8. Disorganization of shared workspace. 2 common problems: 1) Shared workspace is so small it affects productivity. 2) If messy “Oscar” and clean “Felix” are sharing workspace, have them define the rules on what’s considered neat and organized. Have them ask themselves, “Is this problem affecting productivity?” I love it when I go into a company’s break room and above the sink it reads, “Please clean up after yourself. Your mother doesn’t work here!”

9. Excessive personal use of the internet or telephone. In my seminars around the world, I frequently hear complaints from people receiving too many joke emails. Another common challenge is someone in the office talking loudly while on a personal call. Have the team define the rules. While everyone likes to socialize, what is considered to be adversely affecting the performance of the team?

10. Leaking confidential information. What is considered confidential? Be specific and put it in writing. Hold everyone accountable.

Effective communication is the key to the success of any team. Gather your team together for a team building meeting. Have everyone list and discuss any potentially unacceptable team behaviors. Are there any issues or activities adversely affecting the team? What issues could impact the team in the future?

Write everything down. Print it out and give everyone a copy. There will be more “buy in” because they were involved in the solutions. Hold everyone accountable. Without accountability there’s no incentive to change behavior. And your team members want to see you as a team leader who takes action.

Lastly, how are you performing as a role model? In thinking about how to be an effective team leader, remember your people are going to watch what you say, and more importantly, what you do.

 

Teamwork for Business Success

There was a time when my business first began I thought I was supposed to do it alone. In fact, for the first year or two I was under the strange impression that if I asked for help I was weak and I was supposed to have all of the answers. WOW, what an eye opener the day I realized how much I was depriving myself and my business of substance, wisdom, fun and new evolving ideas. Then another big awareness hit. I began looking at my strengths — how I best interacted with people — what truly energized me. TEAMS!! Multiples of business people that needed and wanted the same end result — Building their Business. I began seeking teams that were forming; business classes with small groups; forming my own team, and now facilitating Success Teams. I will never be without a team. It would rob me of the stimulation I need and the giving I so enjoy.

The bottom line is we are all human beings; we need a pat on the back, a supportive environment, new ideas and sometimes a kick in the pants. Teams may be set up for all types of needs — mine happens to be for my business. I would not be where I am today without my team. We are moving into our 3rd year together. We chose to meet once a week for 2 hours. Every week I count on that meeting because I know I am going to be able to give support, lend an ear and assist my teammates with whatever they need for that time period. I will also be receiving the same. Whether I need to obtain valuable information, set goals to move forward with my week or want a cheering squad for a success achieved.

What are your thoughts for a Success Team? Are you the type of person that needs accountability to keep you focused? Do you have the desire to be part of a bigger picture and stay individual? If so, build it into your request of what a Success Team means to you. Maybe you don’t work well with accountability and simply like to have the freedom through the week to create and bring it back to the table. One of my team members has a particular approach that works for him when he has a lot to get done. He commits to buying the team breakfast if he does not complete his assignment. I believe he has only had to do that once — he has achieved the commitments he puts on the table.

A Success Team can be like the ‘All for One and One for All approach’. You are there to help each other succeed. I have as much investment in my teammates’ success as I do my own and I will do whatever it takes to help them get there. I also know they have the same commitment to me. Many times we are on the phone together during the week and periodically helping each other out with big projects. The level of commitment is in your hands.

Here are some tips to assist you in creating the foundation of your team:

– Find team members who are at the same commitment level you are to succeed in your business.

– Find team members who have a different business than you. If your team members are in the same business that’s OK, but I suggest those members have different previous backgrounds — it brings more variety and knowledge to your group.

– Choose a consistent time period, i.e. weekly, bi-weekly, etc. This lets you know you have some help and camaraderie to count on.

– Choose an environment for your meetings that is energizing to you. It could be your favorite latte hangout, a park or an office.

– Schedule a preliminary meeting to set ground rules and establish a trial period. With a trial period it gives each of your members time to decide if this is right for them and if you’re right for each other. A suggested trial period can be 3-months.

If you find yourself floundering, unfocused, or simply wanting human interaction do yourself and your business a favor. Form a team NOW. What are you waiting for? Give yourself and your business the boost and richness it deserves. Don’t wait another second — do it NOW!

 

Make A Dynamic And Successful Work Environment

For instance, one such team building activity is called the Artesian Well. In this game each team must maneuver a virus out of a certain area and into a new one, within set boundaries. Teams must plan ahead, communicate clearly and cooperate to be successful.

Team building events can be organized to span a few days or can take place on one scheduled date. Team building activities can also be integrated into other corporate events, such as meetings, training sessions and conferences, workshops and seminars, as a way to warm things up and get the ball rolling. Even at serious project meetings certain types of team building activities can be used to help the team begin the problem-solving process and incorporate new thinking styles into the meeting.

Team building activities that make use of games and quizzes will help spark new ideas and jumpstart any decision-making that needs to occur in order to get the job done, and get it done well.

When choosing a team building activity, select a game or event that will be fun for all involved, help your employees learn new skills or sharpen established ones, and most importantly, improve results.

There are other kinds of team building exercises as well, which differ from the usual choices but should be considered as options, especially if your team requires more than just a team building experience, but more of a team healing experience, so to speak. Sometimes a group of employees are just not working well together, and it may be due to other life stresses. In these cases, activities that a person would normally do after work might be appropriate, such as yoga, scheduled lunchtime relaxation classes, or a group bowling session.

In the end, as long as you examine your company’s particular needs and choose a team building activity that will work well with your employees you will achieve the results you desire.

 

Why a Team Chartering Process Will be of Great Benefit when Forming any Team?

# Shows support and commitment. One of the key components to an effective team charter is the identification of a team sponsor or a person outside of the team that can provide support and direction to the team. Many teams flounder because they don’t have a “go to” person they can rely on when they get stuck or encounter obstacles. The team charter is one way for those sponsors to communicate their interest and support. The charter also provides the team with the assurance that such a person exists.

# Sets team direction. A good team charter will provide a team with the rationale and goals for the team. Often teams are formed without these ideas having been clearly defined. This is a problem not only for the creation of the team, but makes the work of the team exceedingly difficult. How do you know what to do when you don’t know the specific goals and objectives you are supposed to achieve? If I could have only one component to any team charter it would be a clear definition of the direction, goals to be reached, and problems to be solved by the team.

# Provides agreements and clarity. Charters provide more than just overall direction and alignment to the organization’s overall purpose. The best charters also provide a chance for the team itself to build agreements about how they will operate, make decisions, how often they will meet, and many other logistical issues.

# Structures and ensures and effective planning process. Too often in our fast-paced world, teams move too quickly to building a solution because they think that immediate action is required. With this perspective they spend too little time in planning for successful action. A team chartering process, form, or checklist helps make sure a team plans successfully before moving forward. The time spent in planning initially will be repaid many times over during the life of the team – both in time saved and frustration avoided.

# Identifies roles. Will the same person facilitate each meeting? Who is the team leader? Are there specific expectations of the team members? What roles will each individual will play? Does every team member understand why they’re there and what expertise they can provide? A team chartering process can help answer all of these questions, and thereby help any team be more successful more quickly.

# Outlines boundaries and scope. Often teams wonder what’s inside of their control and what is actually expected of them. A good chartering process should help a team understand what their boundaries are what their limitations are what parts of the problem they are responsible for etc.

# Sets resources. Teams often wonder what about their level of authority. Can they hire consultants? Can they bring in outside experts? What is their budget? Can they bring in additional resources within the organization? A good chartering document will help set both the resource requirements and levels of authority the team has to acquire more resources when needed.

# Improves productivity, and the likelihood of successful outcome. Okay, so there are more than seven. All of the first seven benefits lead to this one – the ultimate benefit of all. Successfully chartering will improve the likelihood that the team will be less frustrated take less time and create greater results.

What is a Team Charter?

A charter is a document that describes the purpose, boundaries and agreements of the team (the details are below). It is co-created by whoever is sponsoring or forming the team and by those who will be on the team. The power of this document comes from the conversation and agreements that are recorded on it.

Because the power comes from the agreements that are reached, the format of the document itself is less important than the conversation. Whatever the format, the components in the next section should be considered.

What is Included?

Team charters should address the following areas and answer the related questions.

– Purpose and Alignment. Why is this team being formed? What purpose will it serve? What challenge, problem, issue or opportunity will it address? How is the work of this team in alignment with the larger goals and strategies of the organization?

– Goals and Expectations. What are the specific goals for this team? When will we know we have completed their work? Who are Customers and Stakeholders of the team’s work? What are their needs and expectations? What are the obstacles or challenges that can be seen at the start? Make sure to state the goals clearly with measurable outcomes and timelines.

– Roles. Who is the team leader? What is their role? Who is responsible for facilitation, logistics, and information management? Who will be responsible for communication to stakeholders and the team sponsor? How will each person be involved in decision making?

– Approach. How and when will the team meet? What are the norms or ground rules that the team will agree to? How we make decisions? How will we hold each other accountable for these things and for task completion? Who will communicate team progress and to whom? Your charter should also include a high level look at the major phases or milestones in the life of the team and outline those.

– Skills and expertise required. Make a listing of the skills and expertise that will be required for team success. Identify the individual on the team that can provide those skills and perspectives. Identify any gaps in skills and determine a way to attach those skills to the team through other resources. Adding these skills doesn’t mean you have to add people to the team. It means that subject matter experts can best be identified and invited to participate in the beginning and a charter helps make that happen.

– Resources needed. What budget of time and money will be needed for this project? What other resources will be required?

– Authority. What level of authority on spending does the team have? What authority do they have for other resources? What approvals will be required and by who?

– Agreement. Once all of these questions and items have been documented, your charter should be signed by the team sponsor and each team member. This will cement the agreement and make it easier to hold people accountable. It also ensures that every team member understands and is on board with the complete charter.

How do I Implement a Team Charter?

Because there is some structure required, typically a leader who is forming or sponsoring a team would initiate the process. If this doesn’t happen in your organization don’t use that as an excuse! Whatever your role you can gain support for having a conversation that leads you to the clarity and agreements that a charter will provide.

Get the team together along with the leader who formed and/or is sponsoring your team. Have a conversation about the eight items above, documenting your agreements. You may be able to finalize a charter in one meeting, or it might require people to gather more information before finishing – do what makes sense given the size, complexity and importance of the team’s output. Remember all time invested here will be repaid many times. Resist the urge and tendency to “get this done and get on with the work.”

Once the document is created, have all parties sign it as a way to signify commitment to each other. Then keep the document fresh by referring to it in team meetings and making sure that you stay on-track with the boundaries and guidance it provides. Recognize too that as time moves forward you may need to make adjustments, clarifications or changes to the charter. This is perfectly fine as long as all team members and the leader and sponsor are in agreement and “sign on” to the changes.

Be Forewarned

Will creating a team charter take time?

Absolutely.

Will some people want to stop talking and get started?

For sure.

Recognize these facts but remember an even bigger one – time spent collaboratively building a charter will be repaid in reduced frustration, improved productivity and better results.

 

Competitive vs Collaborative in Team Building

Most team building events are run as competitions. Teams are usually given identical goals and are awarded points as they move towards them. Points mean prizes and the winning team members get to take them away. Why?

There are a few answers to that one:

* Competitive events are relatively straightforward to run.

* Put a group of people into teams and it is easier to justify using the training budget.

* Competition generates a buzz.

* Many conferences are for sales people, who are naturally competitive.

If all of these factors are relevant to your conference, then a competitive event is probably a good decision for you. However, two factors might make it a less good decision. Organisations are increasingly looking to arrange events for non-sales functions and many of these see competition as a bad thing. Secondly, senior managers often prefer to stress the “one big team” approach as important to a large department or the organisation as a whole. If either or both of these are relevant to your group, then a competitive event is not the best choice.

The opposite of a competitive event is a collaborative one. The whole group is given a common goal to work on together rather than multiple, identical ones to work on in isolation. They may still be organised into teams or not, but the key characteristic is that everyone is collaborating with everyone else to achieve something as a whole group.

Options designed to be collaborative not only exist – they are among the most enjoyable conference or away day events for the participants themselves. They can deliver a superb mix of camaraderie, corporate message, learning and fun.

Isn’t that combination a great outcome from a team building event? Indeed, isn’t that an outcome that you want from your teams at work – day in, day out? Sure, you want your individual teams to aim to be the best – but not at the expense of the corporate goal or goals. You want the natural motivation that the best teams feel to be productive for the organisation – not detrimental to other teams and, thereby, detrimental to the organisation.

So what does a collaborative team building activity look like? I have written a number of other articles that describe the characteristics that you can expect to find in good options generally. Rather than duplicate them here, I shall concentrate on those elements that can focus on the collaborative aspect specifically. They are:

* There is a single, common goal that all individuals and / or teams have to work towards.

* There is a genuine possibility – indeed probability – of the group achieving it.

* Not all individuals and teams are doing the same thing – multiple, different functions is a feature of the workplace and needs to be a feature of a team activity if the learning is to be relevant.

* As at work, the participants need to exert some form of overall co-ordination to maintain the focus on the common goal.

So at your next team building event, don’t send your people away bragging about how they managed to outdo their colleagues – send them away thinking at least in part how well they worked with them. Then maybe back at work something might just rub off.