Why Entrepreneurs Should Be Prepared to Survive a Contagious Zombie Outbreak

My first question to entrepreneurs is what makes their company different and I cannot tell you the number of times I hear: “We are an easy-to-use software with all the tools you need.” “We are a one-stop shop.” Nobody cares! That’s just the honest truth. It just means that compared to competitors you’ve put things together. Why is that important to your customers? The human brain is built to minimize effort. We rely heavily on what we know, on how we are used to do things and on what we expect them to be. Unfortunately, this means that other people (customers, employees, partners, etc.) aren’t making much of an effort to understand you, your product or your company. As leaders, it is your job to ensure that the company’s purpose is really being heard, so you can have the impact you deserve. That’s what strategy does: It determines what the company’s identity will be, why it will matter, and to whom. Stop thinking about it as a dusty plan sitting on a shelf. Strategy is the beating heart of your company. Most entrepreneurs go through their day in a zombie-like trance, lacking purpose and ultimately causing the contagion of apathy on everyone around them. As a result, many businesses fail due to the consequences of their unintentional actions. Entrepreneurs can learn a great deal from taking preemptive measures to avoid the spread of this infectious self-sabotage. Here are my tips on surviving a contagious zombie outbreak.   Assume everyone is contaminated It is totally acceptable to be paranoid! In today’s connected world, our daily media consumption is such that it has turned...

Small Business: 3 Signs You Need a New Strategy

Uncertainty of the Future Whether you own an established business or a startup, the day-to-day hustle of running a business can send your intentions to oblivion. With fires to put out in every corner, you are drawn into a reactive state of mind that you carry with you into the next day, week and year. With a coherent strategy, your company will have identifiable business objectives and a specific set of tasks to fulfill them, putting control back into your hands. Objectives are used to develop short to long-term growth and productivity plans, essential for the sustained success of your organization.   Lack of Accountability Every single problem is dumped onto your desk. From front line employees to middle management, they identify the problems and expect you to come up with the solutions. Yet they argue about why your solutions will not work. Business strategy creates an environment and culture where people are empowered to think for themselves, develop their own solutions and work together to implement them, owning and accepting accountability for their implementation. Also, leaders invested in a strategic planning have greater internal focus and are less likely to let outside factors and influences negatively weigh them down. With their strong belief that outcomes are not outside their control, leaders take responsibility for their actions and people are more willing to support and follow.   Lack of Time How many times a day do you say, “I don’t have time” or “I don’t have enough time”? Lack of time is a common problem that plagues small business owners. A business plan and strategy will allow you to...

Great Advisory Boards: Harnessing Their Power

Great Advisory Boards: Harnessing Their Power Over the past few weeks, I have talked about the demonstrable, high ROI of strategic planning for companies of all types and sizes, along with suggested processes and tactics to complete that plan on time and under budget. As important as the creation of the plan is its ongoing review and...
3 Strategies to Make a Financial Difference in Your Business

3 Strategies to Make a Financial Difference in Your Business

Business owners and executives have long sought ways to improve their bottom line. Usually their energy is focused on how they can attract more customers to generate additional sales. However, working strategically is the key to immediately boosting the bottom line. Business strategy is not only about how to be more profitable tomorrow but also how to immediately march more dollars into your business and onto your balance sheet! These tactics will help your business grow in any kind of economic climate, recessionary or otherwise. Here are 3 Strategies to improve your bottom line today: Implement or Upgrade Your Systems and Processes. Systems and procedures are put in place to keep companies on course toward their profitability goals and to minimize surprises along the way. They provide a clear and consistent blueprint for how business is done on a daily basis and how decisions are made. Inefficient systems and processes are costly in terms of dollars, waste, rework, delays, resource utilization, whereas ineffective ones are pricey as well because they are not reliable. They don’t do what they are supposed to do. The first step is to go back to the fundamentals: ‘why’, ‘what’, ‘who’, ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘how’ questions. The first question about any process/action is, why do it at all? Often many steps exist simply because of the status quo: ‘We have always done it that way’. The second question might be, why do we do it this way? Then, what is being done? What should be done? What can be done? When should it happen? And so forth. The second step is to not only look...