For Sole Proprietors and Small Business Owners
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It may be easiest to approach the subject of running a successful small business by breaking it into pieces. To be successful in both the short and long term, you need to be able to wear three hats well. You need to be able to think like a company President/Chief Strategist, a Vice President of Sales and Marketing, and a Chief Technician/Implementor.
Within the realm of a company President you need to have strategic thinking skills in order to view the "big picture", tactical and practical thinking skills in order to assess the "as is" situation , and a profit-oriented mindset so you invest your time and money wisely. Strategic planning can help you determine the future of your firm and what resources will be needed to ensure your success. An effective process clarifies what business opportunities exist, what resources are/could be available to jump on those opportunities, and helps figure out how it can be done while still running our business. Let's face reality, while developing a strategy, a vision, and a plan creates higher levels of motivation and excitement for you, the effective implementation of the plan is the true determining factor as to whether or not your business succeeds. We help people make things happen and get things done. To get a look and feel for our approach click on Entrepreneurial Leadership and Strategic Thinking
While wearing the hat of a Vice President of Sales and Marketing, you have to be paying attention to what is happening in your marketplace and be confident that you or your people have enough prospecting abilities and selling skills in place to develop loyal customers in a changing business climate. You must be able to manage the "steps of the selling process" while matching the "buying processes" of your prospects and customers. To see potential solutions to your current challenges, click on Business Development and Sales Training or Developing Customer Loyalty
When wearing the Chief Technician/Implementor hat, you must have the ability to be seen as a knowledgeable resource who consistently brings technical knowledge, practical application, and general business knowledge together to solve problems for your clients and customers.
As a company President, owner or partner, your strategic thinking and planning skills must balance the needs of the present, the immediate future and the long-term future. All those periods will bring opportunities and challenges. While It is certainly more fun and exciting to think about and plan for opportunities, as an owner you recognize that the buck stops at your desk. This means unpleasant decisions and tasks also find their way to your desk. One of those tasks that is viewed by some as an opportunity and by others as drudgery will be exit and/or succession planning.
A well-grounded exit and succession plan assesses the potential risks and threats that could damage: your company; your ability to exit from the company on your desired timeline; and the quality of your lifestyle after leaving. It considers other possible events, both internally and externally generated, that would precipitate a crisis within the company from which it might not recover.
Once threats and risks have been identified and analyzed, contingency plans, exit plans and succession plans are created to help ensure you achieve your key goals. The most common concerns expressed by owners are: ensure retirement and personal financial security; monetize and reward a lifetime of hard work; ensure the future stability and success of the company for the people still working there; plan for and prepare the next generation of leadership; and achieve a smooth transition of leadership.
We recognize that it might also be desirable and/or necessary to develop contingency plans and exit or succession plans for other key individuals in a firm. For example, the loss of a managing partner or a rainmaker could be very challenging for a firm. This is especially true if there is no succession or exit plan for these key functions in the company.
Finally, we believe a well-crafted plan should also include contingency planning that enables a firm to emerge from a number of possible emergencies or events. These might include serious illness of a key leader of the business or even a natural disaster. It lays out how the business would need to operate in order to survive and quickly recover from events such as these.
Overall, our experience since 1985 has shown that far more business owners set goals than achieve them. Most owner's goals often get lost when they're struggling with the day-to-day challenges of running a business, where distractions abound, everything is a crisis, and the urgent runs rough shod over the important.
Because of their inability to execute, too many owners are leaving a tremendous amount of money on the table and a tremendous amount of wishes and dreams remain just that---unfulfilled wishes and dreams. The most effective way to become successful and live your life the way you want to is through consistently setting and achieving goals. If you are serious about sustaining your business, we believe it is critically important that this issue be addressed as well.