Posted tagged ‘business strategy’

The Ability to Change Is Good Business

June 21, 2018
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Photo by Vojtech Okenka on Pexels.com

You’ve owned your successful business for some time, but have you made any changes recently? Or have you resisted change, failed to come up with new ideas, even looked at your competition’s latest innovation as a passing fad? The ability to change is good for your business success. On the other hand, failure to make changes can lead to eventual failure of the business. 

It is imperative that business owners remain alert for the emergence of new competitors that are in similar businesses or create innovations to make their products more appealing to customers. There are many examples of businesses that failed to respond to new competition or failed to institute changes.

For instance, the social network, Myspace was here before Facebook. However, Myspace faltered and Facebook took off. It is imperative for businesses to keep abreast of and act on new opportunities, technological or otherwise, that could add more value to your business and deliver more service to your customers.

Changes can be fast and explosive, generally a reaction to an external event, for example, a new competitor emerges, or an existing competitor changes focus. What would be your  response if technology is introduced that has the potential to bring about major changes within the business? Is your response negative or positive? Blackberry is an example of a company that failed to react to the emergence of a competitor with better technology within their product. The iPhone came in and virtually wiped out Blackberry’s appeal. All but those ultra-loyal Blackberry users switched and became loyal fans of the iPhone when Blackberry failed to introduce a phone of their own until much later. It was a slow and costly reaction to changes.

Changes can also be gradual. These changes are generally a part of the strategic plan ,  and anticipated as part of capacity building and growth. A strategic plan is the best attempt at forecasting what may be coming and also in setting up the company as a leader, introducing cutting edge innovations.

Let’s look at the demise of Borders Bookstores. Their strategic plan was to increase the growth of bricks and mortar stores. They resisted, even ignored, the obvious: books were selling online and people just weren’t going to physical stores, not as they had to in the past and certainly not in enough numbers to justify the growth of bricks and mortar facilities. Digital books were the hot item – convenient to read and carry. After all, the device you were reading on was probably literally in hand already. To top it off, digital versions of books were usually less expensive, making consumer choice even easier. Borders closed its doors.

Admittedly, if the business owner is embracing change, it is the employee that will often resist that change. Change can be perceived as a threat if it is not handled correctly. Smart businesses will be proactive and create a culture in which the perception of change is not a crisis, but is structured as an opportunity. This will reduce the stress and possible resistance of staff. Change can be instituted that much faster and certainly smoother.

There are many ways to introduce change. New employees is one way. Using the strategic plan is another. Further, staff should be urged to become change agents, using their imaginations, looking at the business from the prism of “what if?” This fosters acknowledging the inevitability of change as a positive. It is very important to build in processes to promote change and growth. Employees are better able to adapt. In short, adapting to change is the goal. Without it a business fails to change and the business is headed for eventual failure and, unfortunately, in this fast paced business world today, that failure will come sooner rather than later.

Toys R Us is an example of a business that failed to respond quickly enough to technological changes, i.e. Amazon and the Internet. While children may have loved the experience of shopping at Toys R Us, it was the parents who took them to the physical building and consequently made the purchases. Parents opted for convenience.

Charles Darwin was correct when he said, “It is not the strongest of the species that will survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one that is most responsive to change.” Failure to adapt in an increasingly fluid and unpredictable environment leads to a failed business. Remember, the dinosaurs were the strongest animals on the planet at one time. 

Running a business means change happens. To  insure you are flexible enough to survive, make change a part of your business strategy. When that happens, change is good because change means success.

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Review (or Create) Your Business Strategy in Spring

April 16, 2018

pexels-photo-936127.jpegYou take a hard look at your business at the New Year (or at least you should) and formulate your strategic, but do you review your progress at springtime? Or, if you did not developed your plan at the New Year, have you considered that the spring is an excellent time to evaluate where you are and strategically plan where your business is headed? 

A change of seasons, particularly spring, is an excellent time to examine the goals you set in January. The first quarter is at an end and, because it is spring, your mindset is probably on rejuvenation. Three months into the year is also a good marker to determine whether the goals you set at the beginning of the year are reasonable, doable, and attainable and your methodology is sound. Will your actions result in attaining your goals?

A good guideline to follow when evaluating your goals (or creating new goals) is to think SMART. Yes, I know. You are already nodding your head and saying this is not exactly new to you. But sometimes we are aware of what to do but fail to act on it simply because of its familiarity. So, again, think SMART. Make goals that are simple/specific, measurable, attainable, realistic/relevant, and timely.

Here are a few simple suggestions for fine-tuning and accomplishing your goals:

Declutter – the Chinese method of feng shui or The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo are not only great guidelines to follow for getting rid of clutter in your home but those techniques can be applied to your business, as well. Clutter can actually be detrimental to growth and progress in your business. It has been proven to be a source of stress and chaos.

Organize – once you have decluttered it is easier to organize your office and it makes it easier to apply clear and creative thinking as approaches to your business. Let your organization expand to your computer, as well. Archive or bookmark what you want to keep; delete what you don’t. With a little research you can find many tools to help you. 

Marketing/Networking – pay particular attention to energizing your marketing plan with attention to strategic and consistent networking. Referral business can be one of the most useful tools to a business, especially small businesses. Without networking it is difficult to obtain referral business.

Mindset – embrace the new: new technology, new products or services, new marketing techniques that could fit your business.

Education – include continued education in your plan. This insures that your products and services are always fresh and relevant to your customers. Take classes, attend conferences, and read. What better way to discover the new that could be applied to your business? And conferences and classes are excellent opportunities to network.

Use the spring as your time of rejuvenating, re-energizing and reconnecting with your business and customers.

Don’t forget that Exceptional Transcriptions and Business Solutions is here to help you achieve your goals.

Important Resources for the Small Business

August 29, 2017

business team ID-10066165Do you have everything you need to succeed as a small business? In this complex world there are many resources available to the small business owner. The trick is to fully use these tools in order to realize the greatest success for your business. After all, most small businesses can have access to a global market providing an even greater opportunity to reach your goals.

Listed is a sample of some of the resources you can tap into  for your business:

  1. Your local Chamber of Commerce – contacts and networking opportunities in the area you live in.
  2. The US Chamber of Commerce – national networking and information site.
  3. SCORE – a cadre of mentors waiting to assist you as you grow your business.
  4. SBA – Small Business Administration – access to knowledge and funding resources.
  5. Social Media – schedule regular posing to maximize the benefits of this marketing tool; don’t forget your regular email marketing campaigns.
  6. The Internet – with a little research you can find content in the form of blogs, podcasts, webinars.
  7. National Federation of Independent businesses – NFIB.com
  8. Online social networking sites – there are numerous sites, some are paid memberships, others are free.success written in sand pexels-photo-261630
  9. Books and conferences- new books are released and conferences scheduled every day. The point is that you continue to educate yourself and keep abreast of any new information that could help your business grow.
  10. Smart Outsourcing – determine the parts of business that you can relinquish to another expert that will consequently help you manage your business more efficiently and effectively.
  11. Lead Generation Software – leads are your potential customers, you should always be alert to finding new customers and lead generation software could augment your search.

Growing your business is your most important task if you want to be successful. But you can’t grow without the right tools and resources. Some resources directly impact your business, like lead generating software. Others offer indirect, less immediate results like social media activities.

Don’t leave money on the table! This is a list to stir your thinking and provide possible resources for you to take advantage of.

When you are looking for ways to add more time to your day, consider contacting the Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions team.

 

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Should You Consider Creating a Side Hustle or Becoming an Entrepreneur?

April 26, 2017

computer, glasses picThere are hundreds if not thousands of new businesses created by bold entrepreneurs daily. Some are created as full-time entrepreneurship and others are entered just as a way to earn additional revenue in the form of a  side hustles. Some of of these opportunities readily come to mind, while others may not be as quickly thought of or they may not even exist, yet. After all, who knows when and where the next big thing will emerge?

I’ve taken a moment to compile a list of businesses or side hustles you can consider as an entrepreneur either as a part-time side hustle/venture or as a full-time business. Why not explore some of the ventures I’ve listed here?

  • Business plan services
  • Copy Writer
  • Mystery Shopper
  • Business Presentation Developer
  • Business Support Services (I turned this into a full-time business)
  • Business Form template Creator
  • Career and Personal Coach
  • Freelance Sales Consultant or Coach
  • Headhunter Service
  • Home Offie Planner
  • Web Designer
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Airbnb
  • Brand Ambassadorship
  • Write a Book (I did, you can, too!)
  • Teach English as a Second Language
  • Freelance Photographer
  • Artist
  • Pet sitter or groomer (Pets are a billion dollar business)
  • Personal Trainer
  • Yoga Teacher

This list is just the tip of the proverbial iceburg. You can explore these and the many more that exist. What I wanted to accomplish was to get you thinking of what you could do to change your current budget for the better. In today’s world, both virtual and real, there are so many more avenues that can be explored, many from home.

Yes, the economy is certainly improving for many. Unfortunately, others have given up on their dreams. It’s not too late to look into developing something new or something that will augment your current finances. You can tackle that entrepreneurial venture you have always thought of pursuing. Many who partner with me have business ventures of their own.

If you are still on the fringes of unemployment or you are underemployment (and many are), there are other avenues available to you which require little to no money to start. Side hustles are valuable; new businesses are possible. It does, however, take research and tenacity to get your new venture moving. Being an entrepreneur does not have to be risky business if you have a plan and you diligently work at the plan. The same goes for having a side hustle.

Give a new venture some thought. Either way, Exceptional can assist you with that new venture. We can help with your strategic plan, accounting needs, even with your social media. It goes without saying, if you have transcription needs, we are the company to turn to.

Leave a comment if you have thoughts on starting a new business or venturing into a side hustle.

Why You Need a Business Checkup

March 25, 2014

file000600920260Business checkups are an essential part of any business, whether you are a solo entrepreneur or a  small, medium or large business owner. A business checkup is similar to a health checkup because it takes the temperature and pulse of your business; it let’s you know whether you are doing well or if there is some problem that is looming and needs attention now rather than later.

If you prepared your strategic plan for the year in January, or even if you are just getting to it now, including timelines for doing a thorough check of the important aspects of your business is crucial. It is good business practice. As a business owner, and as someone who offers solutions to businesses, I suggest that quarterly is the opportune time to take a look at the goals you have set for your business and for looking at any obstacles that may be in the way of success. You do not want to reach the end of the year and find that you have not even come close to what you expected to accomplish.

I have provided a checklist to make it easy for you to perform that business checkup. The checklist is not in any particular order. If not all applies to your business each quarter, that’s ok, but I suggest you look at what does apply and schedule your checkup on a regular basis, starting now:

  1. Examine the number of customers and orders. Do you show an increase or decrease in the request for your product or services? What is your conversion rate of prospects who become customers purchasing your services or product?
  2. What is the sales trend? Is there a lot of activity in one particular aspect of your business over another? Can you tell why that is?
  3. Analyze your prices compared to that the prices of your competitors. Are you still in line with industry standards?
  4. Are your quarterly goals in line with expectations?
  5. Have you aggressively implemented your marketing  goals? Have your correctly identified your target market and are you reaching them?
  6. Have you conducted or scheduled a client satisfaction survey?
  7. Take a look at the health of your website. Search engines love relevance and activity. Schedule that activity quarterly, if not more often.
  8. Take a hard look at cash flow and your projections.
  9. Inventory your marketing materials. Replace and update as needed.
  10. Consult your tax accountant to be sure you are taking advantage of being a business owner.

The bottom line is that your business must be profitable and growing. You can not know this if you are not keeping your eyes on the health of your business. Don’t wait to conduct that business checkup at the end of the year. By then, it is too late to make any adjustments to your business strategy.

Here’s to the health of your business!

Be Exceptional!

Audrey

CEO, Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions

Year’s End

December 30, 2013

FireworksAudreyIMG_20130703_213335_159The end of the year is always such a busy time. It is a  time for connections, reflections and evaluations. In a short span of time, holidays are celebrated, one after the other. As we celebrate with close family and friends, we act on the urge to connect with friends and associates that we may not have contacted  all year long.

If you own a business, this is also the time of the year you are closing out your books and evaluating your progress. You are probably analyzing the successes and the challenges.

Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions had its share of triumphs, but we had unexpected challenges, as well, and we  had to find  new ways to cope with them.

One of the most difficult challenges was dealing with the death of a long time client.  No one ever mentioned how to deal with such a challenge in the business context.  The news of the client’s death came as a blow. It was an impact I never anticipated.

The relationship was built on business and this special customer was a part of the team.   At ETBS, we were definitely a part of his team, a part of his business growth and success. That requirement is included in the mission.

As CEO, I was so stunned by his death that my day was spent in personal and business evaluation. Loss will often affect you like that. You examine your own footprint and your own path.

ETBS is still small enough that we are touched intimately by the ups and downs of our customers. But even if we were much larger, because we are providing a needed service, our customers’ challenges and triumphs will always touch us personally, no matter the size we reach.

I have nurtured my business, watching it grow, celebrating the milestones and tackling the challenges.

In the coming months, Exceptional will reach another milestone, address another challenge, as we continue to explore better ways to serve our customers.

For right now, the reflection continues as I set my goals for the New Year and beyond. Underneath it  all, I will remember with appreciation and fondness one of my first customers. He will always be special.

Be Exceptional,

Audrey

CEO & Founder Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions