Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Summer, a great time to plan your Fall Business Strategies

When the long days of summer begin and your business starts to be affected by clients’ holidays, it’s a great opportunity to develop your fall marketing plan.
There are two great times of the year to do planning and the one that is most often overlooked is summer.
In July and August, conduct a review of the first part of the year and set forth a plan for the fall to finish the year with a bang.
Develop a top 10 list of things to accomplish in July and August that will help you through the summer doldrums and accelerate your business through the fall. If you wait till September to start you won’t be ready until Thanksgiving.
Start now with 10 summer business development ideas
1. Deepen your relationships. Catch up with that client or business associate and ask “how ya doin’? It will pay off in the fall when you need to leverage the relationship to assist you with your project or new venture.
2. Build your sales team. Think about the ideal person to help you with your business and spend the summer interviewing people for the busy fall months. Use the summer to train part-time staff for the fall.
3. Time-line for your fall marketing strategy. You can think about things like the dates that you will host your major event or the dates for your press release.
4. New product launch. Put the final touches on you new product launch. By September 15th the kids are back in school and most people are back into full business mode and more receptive to your call or product push.
5. Work on your video strategy. Plan and shoot the videos you’ll need for your September marketing launch. It’s perfect weather to capture the video (or line up the testimonies) that will enable you to recruit new clients to your business.
6. Clean up your database. Whether you’re using Outlook, Act or any number of contact management software, review that pile of business cards you’ve collected and add them to your data base and then import them to your newsletter database.
7. Update your website. This is something we have done for the last 5 years in a row. In fact the new Floodlight site will be launched shortly. A new or updated website will ensure that all of your information is current.
8. Create your blog. It always amazes me how many people have not added this simple technique to their marketing arsenal. A blog enables you to speak directly to all of your clients past, present and future, providing them with relevant information and ideas.
9. Develop your Social Media strategy. The big 3, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Learn to use these tools and add their Icons to your website which will encourage your followers to share your content with their personal networks
10. Plan some Rest and Relaxation. We get so wrapped up in the daily running of our business that we often forget to take time off for ourselves to recharge our batteries.
Summer means renewing old friendships, meeting with long time business associates, taking care of you and preparing to Build Your Business in the fall.

Have a great summer, from the team at Floodlight Business Solutions Group

Donald Robichaud
FloodLight – Build Your Business
Kelowna / Ottawa / Toronto Kingston

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Business Vision, Mission and Values

In the last few years I have written many articles for my monthly newsletter, blog and for Castanet.
Of all the articles I have written this week’s article on defining Company Business Values is the most read article on my Floodlight website.

This week we focus on your Company Values.
Company Values: Strong values will be those which actually operate in practice. Your company values underpin the Vision and the Mission of your company. No business is value-free and it is important to be explicit about those values that are essential to the business achieving its vision.

If values are not made explicit, then the values of the most dominant people are likely to be those which actually operate in practice. If you do not define your company values, the company will be adrift without proper direction.

Four key questions to define your Company Values:
1.     What are the values that are important to you as the business owner?
2.     What are the values that will be important to your team members?
3.     What are the values that will be important to your customers?
4.     What are the values that will be important to the success of the business?

Example of Values for a construction company:
Our core values form the bricks and mortar of our business, which operates and grows as a company and proud community member.
TRUST: All long-term relationships are grounded in trust and we take great pride in representing ourselves with honesty and humility in all our affairs. Our win-win philosophy also enables us to develop lasting partnerships with our clients.
VALUE: Our clients expect us to earn our fee – not just collect it. We work hard on all our projects to find value through design efficiencies and creative execution in our work.
TEAMWORK: We are easy to work with (clients find that refreshing).
INNOVATION: We are committed to always improving how we deliver our services. From continuing education in the field, to investment in industry-leading management and estimating tools, we strive constantly to be the leader in our field.
COMMUNITY: We feel blessed to be involved in literally building our communities, and we are committed to making a lasting difference in the ones which we build. Five percent of the company’s earnings are donated back to charities every year.

Now go and “Build Your Business”.

Donald Robichaud
FloodLight – Build Your Business
Kelowna / Ottawa / Toronto Kingston

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Build Your Business with a Solid Business Plan

A business plan is an essential roadmap for business success.
This living, breathing document generally projects 1 to 3 years ahead and outlines the SalesMarketing and Financial Strategies that the company intends to undertake to maintain sales and grow revenues and profits.
Many people believe that a business plan is just for start- ups.
This is not true.
A business plan is for any business owner who is serious about taking their business to the next level. For the established business it’s an evaluation of where you are and where you want to be.
A well thought out business plan also helps you to look down on your business from 10,000 feet and to think about the key elements of your business. A business plan will help you to obtain financing for expansion, arrange strategic alliances, attract key employees, and boost your confidence. A business plan sells your company to the world and gives you direction as the world answers back.
It also helps you solidify your thoughts on your specific Products and Services and will clarify your thinking before you sit down with your bank or investors.
I am often amazed when I ask people about their business and they are unable to answer simple questions about their business.
I ask questions like:
  1. What is your mission Statement?
  2. Who is your target market?
  3. How much will your product cost?
  4. How many units do you need to sell to make a profit?
  5. How will you market your product?
I am usually answered with I don’t know!!!
Yikes!!!! This is a recipe for disaster.
The real value of doing a business plan is not having the finished product, but the process of research and thinking about your business in a systematic way.
The act of planning helps you to think things through thoroughly, study and research when you are not sure of the facts, and look at your ideas critically.
A business plan will help you clarify your goals and focus on defining every detail of your business opportunity.  It takes time now, but avoids costly mistakes later.
It typically takes several weeks to complete a good plan.  Most of that time is spent in research and re-thinking your ideas and assumptions.
But then, that is the value of the process.  So make time to do the job properly.  Those who do, never regret the effort.
A good business plan should include:
  • a description of your business,
  • the business and owner’s background information,
  • the proposed resources to be used,
  • the business strategy
  • present trends on your business and the industry it will operate within,
  • how your business will operate,
  • who will manage and work within it,
  • what other businesses operate in the same market/industry,
  • how you will market/ sell your product or service,
  • the results expected and finally
  • a summary of its feasibility.  (Executive Summary)
There are 9 key components to any business plan:
  • Executive Summary
  • Vision
  • Market analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • Strategy
  • Products/services
  • Marketing and sales
  • Operations
  • Financials

Once you have covered all the areas of the business plan then you are ready to get serious about moving your business to the next stage.
Now it can be broken down into smaller pieces by achieving targeted goals in 90 day increments.

When was the last time you revised your business plan to help you Build Your Business?

Donald Robichaud
FloodLight - Build Your Business
250-768-9415 or 1-888-768-9415
Kelowna - Ottawa - Kingston - Toronto


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