January 11, 2012
Your business is growing which means that you are going to have to implement changes; this can be a real challenge for your business skills.
HOW DO WE IMPLEMENT CHANGE
Our last blog looked at planning to move your business to the next stage of development this will mean a number of changes, which will affect everyone in your team and we all know everyone’s reaction to change, it takes people out of their comfort zone and they fear the worst. Therefore the process has to be carefully managed so not to disrupt existing business.
In order for the process to succeed one of the key things is to have total buy in from your management team as they are going to have to focus their team during the restructuring The key processes to follow are:
Dependant on the change that you are proposing you may want to appoint a project team to oversee the process. Appointing a project team can ensure that the process receives the correct level of focus with the appropriate skills applied.
Good project management should:
- Prevent the project/process failing
- Ensure a minimum level of quality and that results deliver requirements and expectations
- Reduce the burden on other team members allowing them to go about their normal work and increase efficiency both on the project and within the business
- Improve the communication process with a single point of contact running the overall project
- Ensure consistent of the message to the team, suppliers and customers
- Ensure focus on costs, timeframes and resources to budget
- Ensure smooth and efficient integration into the business
All projects need to have a detailed proposal for achieving all aspects of the objectives and goals of the plan. The project plan will detail the what, when, how and by whom and this template will enable the process to be successfully managed. Also a SWOT analysis is a great strategic tool to evaluate the project.
The project team will need a project manager who will be the focal point of the process and will drive progress and mange the process. A good project manager will be:
- A confident individual able to communicate with and build relationships both internally and externally
- Flexible with the ability to balance and prioritise conflicting project constraints such as time, quality and cost
- Highly organised, self motivated and diligent when it comes to time management and paperwork
I hope that this information has been useful, but if you require assistance in helping your business grow please contact us, we can assist with:
- Business Strategy
- Financial and Systems Monitoring
- SWOT Analysis
- Industry Trend Analysis
- Evaluation of Options
January 9, 2012
We need to be constantly reflecting on how our business is performing and review our strategy and business plan and measure the success of our marketing. Are we making the most of market opportunities, are we moving in a different direction to we originally planned, is the business under control, all questions we need to be constantly asking of our business as an executive team. We might decide the business is ready to move to the next stage of development, if so what resources do we need to progress:-
- Do we need people with different skills
- Do we need to invest in more assets
- Do we have sufficient finances to develop
- Are the facilities the right ones for developing
- Do we need to look to professional advisers to assess if we are ready
Let’s evaluate our business and ask ourselves some key questions such as what makes our products/services successful, how could they improve, and should we look at new/complementary products and services.
We should start by asking ourselves some key questions.
- Are we providing/delivering products and services that match our customer’s needs
- Which products/services are successful, delivering high percentage of sales and high profit margins
- If products are not delivering, why? Is it price, marketing, service
- Do you frequently review your key areas of costs, overheads and assets
- Is there a better way of doing something
- Have we negotiated the best deal with our suppliers
As a senior team in finding the answers to the above will give you the basis to improve sales and profitability.
When reviewing the finances of the business, consideration should be given to the following:
- The cashflow, the in and out of money through the business needs to be reviewed regularly and updated.
- Working capital has the business situation changed, you may need to resource additional funds and for this the business plan need to be up to date.
- Have you reviewed your cost base recently to ensure that you are selling at the correct price?
- Have you looked at borrowings and explored cheaper finance offers
- If you are planning growth for your business do you need to adjust finances to enable this to happen?
Having conducted these business reviews you have a clear understanding where the Company is now. In today’s dynamic age it is essential that you thoroughly revisit and challenge the whole business process and it may be necessary to bring in outside assistance from a consultant, which can prove more economical than developing internal talent, they can help you identify how to change your management structure and an experienced non executive director can provide essential impartial advice.
I hope that this information has been useful, but if you require assistance in helping your business grow please contact us.
January 4, 2012
WRITING A MARKETING PLAN
As we have discussed in a number of previous monthly business tips marketing is a vital part of business and we have identified various methods of marketing, so let’s look at the basis of the marketing plan for your business.
It needs to set out clear objectives and list actions you need to take to achieve them and ensure your plan becomes a reality.
The marketing plan should begin with an executive summary that gives you a quick overview of the main points of the plan, although this is at the beginning of your plan it is completed last and is an aid to ensure your plan makes sense.
The main part of your plan should start with the business strategy and include:-
- Your business mission
- Your key objectives
- Your strategy for achieving objectives.
Understanding the environment your business operates in is a key part of the plan and we have discussed this in the last two monthly business tips, we have looked at completing a SWOT analysis for your business. To help you understand the opportunities and threats in your market place you should complete a PEST analysis:
- Political and legal changes such as new regulations
- Economic factors such as interest rates, exchange rates and consumer confidence
- Social factors such as changing attitudes and lifestyles, and the ageing population
- Technological factors such as new materials and growing use of the internet
Your marketing objectives should be based around your strengths and weaknesses and linked to your overall business strategy and they should always be SMART:
- Specific – for example, you might set an objective of getting ten new customers.
- Measurable – whatever your objective is, you need to be able to check whether you have reached it or not when you review your plan.
- Achievable – you must have the resources you need to achieve the objective. The key resources are usually people and money.
- Realistic – targets should stretch you, not demotivate you because they are unreasonable and seem to be out of reach.
- Time-bound – you should set a deadline for achieving the objective. For example, you might aim to get ten new customers within the next 12 months.
Once you have decided what your marketing objectives are, and your strategy for meeting them, you need to plan how to make the strategy work.
A number of businesses adopt the seven Ps approach:
- Product – what your product offers that your customers value, and whether/how you should change your product to meet customer needs.
- Pricing – for example, you might aim simply to match the competition, or charge a premium price for a quality product and service. You might have to choose either to make relatively few high margin sales, or sell more but with lower unit profits. Remember that some customers may seek a low price to meet their budgets, while others may view a low price as an indication of quality levels.
- Processes – the right processes will ensure that you offer a consistent service that suits your customers.
- Physical evidence – the appearance of your employees and premises can affect how customers see your business. Even the quality of paperwork, such as invoices, makes a difference.
- Place – how and where you sell. This may include using different distribution channels. For example, you might sell over the internet or sell through retailers.
- Promotion – how you reach your customers and potential customers. For example, you might use advertising, PR, direct mail and personal selling.
- People – for example, you need to ensure that your employees have the right training.
The information achieved from all of the above will enable you to write your marketing plan. I hope that this information has been useful, but if you require assistance in writing your marketing plan please contact us.