Small Business success


Vasilieff Consulting Tips from the Pros2.1 – COMMON MESSAGE – COMMON GOAL

A simple yet highly effective action that every company can take to improve their business development is to create a common message. It sounds simple, but you would be amazed at how many companies do not do this. Most companies start out with a common message, but many simply lose track of that message over time. It wanders off like a loose puppy, heading in many different directions.

Usually that message is encapsulated in a tag-line or slogan. “It’s the Real Thing,” “ Just Do It!,” “A Diamond is Forever,” “Born to Perform,” “Drivers Wanted,” and so on. Each of these slogans represents their products image, and their companies message; and they stick with that message no matter what.

Smaller companies tend to be innovative and creative. That creativity is what gets them started, but it can also get them in trouble. Creativity often leaks into their marketing and can lead to creating different messages for every campaign. The result is mixed messages, and mixed results.

If you want consistent results over a long time, define what your product and company message is and how you will present it to the world. Then stick with it in everything you create.

Also remember that a slogan is just a small slice of your overall message. Everything you write should be an extrapolation of that slogan’s message. So, get with it. Define your message; review your materials; and standardize your communication to the world. What the heck, just do it!


New Small Business Tips on Market Analysis and Strategic Planning Success

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2.1    7 – REASONS TO PLAN and LEAD THE RECOVERY

As you may know, our primary focus with small and mid-sized companies is analysis and planning. It’s not the only areas in which we provide services, but we firmly believe that without good Critical Analysis and Strategic Planning you won’t understand your market well enough to make educated decisions. If you don’t thoroughly know your market, any marketing or business development activity you initiate will be based on partial knowledge at best, and guesses at worst. With today’s economy, now is not the time to trust your marketing investment to chance.

This newsletter will focus on helping you understand your market better, and making better decisions about marketing and business development. I will dedicate the next few issues to discussing the importance of analysis and planning and giving you some gems on how to accomplish each of them. I will begin with: Why Plan?

Why Critical Analysis and Strategic Planning

In my Analysis and Planning workshop I highlight the term, “Fail to Plan – Plan to Fail.” I know it’s a cliché, but it aptly describes what many of us have experienced when starting and running a business. Maybe a better description is, “If you don’t now where you’re going, you’ll never get there.” Any way you want to say it, without a plan, you’re lost.

It is much better to have hard data on which to build your goals, and future activities. Gathering that data doesn’t have to take weeks or months, it merely requires a concise process in which you analyze your organization, products and market, then build your goals based on that knowledge base, and ultimately build your marketing and business development plans based on those goals.

So who has time to plan? You’re consumed just running a business!

I understand. I’ve run enough companies to know that while you may sit in the executive chair, you may also be doing payroll or databases at night. Small business requires you wear a multitude of hats and consider yourself lucky if you’re only working ten hours a day, six or seven days a week. Planning isn’t at the top of your to-do list, but let me give you a few good reasons why you should make time to plan.

With a good plan you will:

1) Build your goals and plans based on real market data (your market)

2) Know your goals and your entire organization will stay focused on them

3) Have all your activities pushing in the same direction

4) Have a common knowledge base for everyone to reference and discuss

5) Have a baseline for measuring your success

6) Increase the effectiveness of your marketing and business development activities by 20% to 200% or more

If that’s not enough, let me give you one more major benefit to Critical Analysis and Strategic Planning – number 7: You will become more efficient.

Yes, more efficient – get more work done – get home earlier – get home for dinner a few more nights each week, have more time for the kids, golf, or whatever. Simply put:

Planning = Freedom.

The best part? It can be done in days, not months.

Creativity and Control

The late Steven Jobs demonstrated that creativity can be an amazing tool. A single creative mind can motivate creativity in others and change the world. At the same time, used in the wrong way, it can also create chaos. Nothing is more disruptive than when individual departments create their own marketing activities without a  common guideline. The usual result is many different activities pushing in many different directions. The solution is a common knowledge-base that is your roadmap to business development and marketing success. In it you define your market, outline your objectives, and define the steps your organization will take to get there. I like to call it knowing:

Where You Are – Where You Want to Go – Exactly How to Get There

Detailed Plan of Action

What is often overlooked is that before you can create the plan, you must first analyze your company, your market, and establish achievable goals based on both. Once you have completed a Critical Analysis and Strategic Planning process you will then have the tools you need to create the plan and a written document that allows everyone in your organization, including you, to stop ‘reinventing the wheel’ and focus on the task at hand. No more rethinking every step, or redesigning every activity every time you and your associates implement a new activity or campaign.

This document, which is the result of your Critical Analysis and Strategic Planning process, is your control factor. It provides the knowledge-base needed for each individual to make decisions and take actions that will always support the organization’s goals and collectively move the organization forward.

20% to 200% More Effective

I mentioned earlier a 20% to 200% increase in effectiveness from your marketing and business development activities for this reason. If all your activities are based on accurate knowledge of your market; if all your company activities are pushing your organization towards the same goals; and if everyone always knows exactly the next step for their activity; imagine how effective your organization’s marketing and business development would become.

Market Change Means New Opportunities

If you’ve been putting off Analyzing your company and market and Planning your business development activities, or if you haven’t reviewed your Marketing Plans for more than one year, now is the time to take a new look. The current economic turmoil has changed market demographics, closed some doors and opened others. A careful analysis of your markets will allow you to plan your future growth in this new business environment.

In future newsletters I’ll discuss the basic steps to Critical Analysis and Strategic Planning, and how to implement such a plan almost immediately.

For more information on Analysis and Planning contact us at info@vasilieffconsulting.com

 

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