Professional Business Coaches

Professional Business Coaches

Strategic Planning

4 Strategic Steps You Can Take to Strengthen Your Business

From thinking strategically to making sure you have a plan of action, learn how to make your business better.

So I often hear my clients say, “I want to have the best year ever.”

My name is Bernie Heine, and I want to talk today about four ways to make your business even stronger.

Begin with the End in Mind

So number one, as the late Dr. Stephen Covey said, “begin with the end in mind.” So start with your vision. Where do we want to go with our business? I always recommend that my clients take time out. Do a strategic planning timeout. Get away from the office with your main team and talk about “where do we want to go with this business?” Craft a really solid vision, mission, and value statement. “What’s really important to us? and “where we want to go and how to get there?” are the beginning points for any successful business.

Conduct a SWOTT Analysis with Your Staff

The second idea is conduct a SWOTT analysis with your staff. So get the team together. This is also a great off-site activity. Get out of the office and go somewhere you can really encourage some more creative thinking and put together a SWOTT analysis. Now what does SWOTT mean? Well it’s just a simple acronym for strengths, (what are all the things we’re really good at, weaknesses, (what do we need to get better at?) opportunities, (where do we see in the marketplace as other areas we can grow into?) threats, (what do we see as pending threats? Maybe technology trends, competitive threats might impact us in the future,) and the fifth letter is another ‘t’ for trends (so what are the big trends that we’re seeing in the marketplace?)

So by pulling all this together, we can create really good strategies about where we want to take the business.

Strategic Planning

The next step is strategic planning. The first thing’s first, what are the most important initiatives that we have to get focused on right now to get moving? And what are the more longer-term things that we need to be focused on? Having the vision, mission, and value statement and having the SWOTT analysis work sets us up to be able to create those strategic priorities. Those main things we need to get done are then further broken down into the strategies that can implement and prioritize so that we’re working on the most important things right now.

Who? What? When?

Now the fourth idea is who’s going to do what by when? Let’s make sure that we have a clear plan of action where the entire team is involved in knowing who’s working on what initiative, when it’s due, what the goals are so that this whole activity is a coordinated effort from the whole company moving towards that vision you’ve established for yourselves.

Call us at PBC for a free consultation and learn strategic ways to make your business even stronger,

 

Connect with us on social media and be part of the dialog.
Find us on Facebook View our LinkedIn Profile Follow us on Twitter Find us on Google+ View our latest RSS feeds Find us on YouTube Our Vimeo Channel Join our MeetUp
Sign up for our Business Tips Newsletter

 

This is one of the episodes of The Thinking CEO with Bernie Heine at BusinessTown.com.
 
 
 

3 Rules for Exceptional Business Performance

Learn why growing revenue is more important than cutting costs and discover other secrets to boost business performance.

So do you know what the top three rules are for exceptional business performance?

My name is Bernie Heine, and today I want to talk about a very interesting book: ‘The Three Rules for Exceptional Business Performance’ by Raynor and Ahmed. So they studied over 25,000 businesses over 45 years and came up with a list of 344 companies which really proved to have exceptional performance.

Better Before Cheaper

So the first rule is better before cheaper. So this is answering the question what value do we provide our customers? These exceptional companies focused on things that weren’t necessarily included in the invoices they sent to their customers, so these are things about exceptional customer service and going the extra mile to help customer out. They focused on “what are the things we can do in our strategy to be better, add more value to the equation, and be better for our clients rather than looking for ways to be cheaper. This strategy allows them consistently be competing on non-price activities.

Revenue Before Costs

So the second rule is revenue before costs. So this means internally their strategy, the strategy that is of the really successful companies, was to focus on building revenue as a principal way of achieving higher levels of return than it was cutting costs. Because there are basically three ways to improve the return on assets, or the overall profitability of a business, you can grow the revenue or you can cut costs or you can cut the amount of assets you have. Companies that consistently prioritize growing revenue over cutting costs or slashing assets proved to be really successful in the long term. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t have to go through cost-cutting or didn’t have to cut assets, especially in terms of downturns in the market or restructuring businesses, but they always prioritized growing revenues above those other opportunities.

So in summary, it’s better before cheaper, so focus on what are the things the customer really values, not just the things that are on the invoice. What additional values do they get? And two, it’s revenue before cost, focusing on growing the top line is the number one priority, and cost-cutting those other things second.

And number three, there are no other rules.

Call us at PBC for a free consultation and learn how to cut costs, grow your revenue, and discover other secrets to boost your business performance.

 

Connect with us on social media and be part of the dialog.
Find us on Facebook View our LinkedIn Profile Follow us on Twitter Find us on Google+ View our latest RSS feeds Find us on YouTube Our Vimeo Channel Join our MeetUp
Sign up for our Business Tips Newsletter

 

This is one of the episodes of The Thinking CEO with Bernie Heine at BusinessTown.com.
 
 
 

The 4 Lenses of Innovation

From challenging the status quo to taking advantage of every resource at your disposal, learn how you can ride the wave of innovation.

So are you staying stuck in the comfort zone or are you sort of riding the waves of innovation?

Hi, my name is Bernie Heine, and today I want to talk about the four lenses of innovation as described in their book by Roman Gibson.

Daring to Challenge the Orthodoxies

The first lens is daring to challenge the orthodoxy. Going against the way we normally do business. Now this feels uncomfortable for a lot of people. We like to stay in our comfort zone. That’s why it’s called the comfort zone. We feel good there, but do we take the time to challenge those, to revisit those, to say “well is there a better way to do this?” So I encourage you to all think about in every part of everything you’re working on, “how can we do this better?” “How can we make better?”

Don’t get stuck in mediocrity. don’t get stuck in business as usual because the rest of the world is moving on. The more we stay in the same place with our processes with our tools using, the more we’re falling behind the rest of the world.

Seek Out Trends Early

The second lens to consider is seeking out trends early. Do you have enough information that you’re gathering? Are your people out there scanning the world to find out “what are the big trends that are happening, and are we getting on top of those early enough to be able to adapt our systems/our processes/our products the way we go to market? Are we following along on these trends? Do we see where they’re headed, and the implications that they have for our business?

‎‎And we can use those trends if we chart them out correctly to do some scenario planning to look at “what if this trend takes off?” “What if this trend actually goes away?” Doing these “what ifs” around all the trends that are happening can put us in a much better position as a company to ride that next wave of innovation and be there when those trends actually materialize.

Take Advantage of Every Resource

The third lens is to really get our resources into high gear. Are really taking advantage all the different resources that are available to us? Do we know what all the strengths are of our employees? Can we take advantage of those strengths? What are these people thinking and doing? Maybe we have special knowledge and expertise that we’re not even using on a daily basis. Could some of those capabilities help us move forward?

‎‎Also think about our physical assets. How are we utilizing our plants and our buildings? Are there more opportunities to take advantage of those assets and leverage those to really take our business in a different direction?

Understanding Our Customer’s Latent Needs

The fourth lens of innovation is really understanding our customers needs. Customers don’t often tell us exactly what the next product is or the innovation is that they want us to give them. Henry Ford once famously said if he had asked his customers, he would have built a faster horse.

‎‎So we have to analyze what the customers are actually doing with our products, how they’re using, how they’re engaging with them, so that we can see an opportunity to jump ahead. We have the knowledge of what’s going on in our industries, and know where the technology might be headed. But we have to interact with customers constantly understand how those things can better their lives and make their businesses better.

Call us at PBC for a free consultation and learn how you can ride the wave of innovation.

 

Connect with us on social media and be part of the dialog.
Find us on Facebook View our LinkedIn Profile Follow us on Twitter Find us on Google+ View our latest RSS feeds Find us on YouTube Our Vimeo Channel Join our MeetUp
Sign up for our Business Tips Newsletter

 

This is one of the episodes of The Thinking CEO with Bernie Heine at BusinessTown.com.
 
 
 

Stop Failing: How To Set and Realize Your Business Goals

Bernie explains how to set smart, specific, and realistic goals in order to drive your business forward.

Hi, my name is Bernie Heine, and I want to talk about some of the tools of change, and how these work in our brains to make sure we actually accomplish the things we're looking to do.

First, if we decide we want to go in a different direction, we're going to change the way we're running our business; the way we're running our lives. The first thing we need to do is establish some goals. But too often people will have a very vague goal – I want to lose weight; I want to grow my business – but how much? By when? We need to use smart goals to define that, so that we're able to really measure and track it, so that we know we are making progress. The S.M.A.R.T. acronym can help us create measurable goals:

S is for Specific

The first letter is S, for specific. It's not just a general thing, it's very specific. Like adding a hundred thousand dollars of revenue to the top line.

M is for Measurable

And then it needs to be something that's measurable. In this case, if it's money, that's very measurable.

A is for Achievable

We also have to know that it's achievable. Setting very unrealistic goals can be demotivating! So is it an achievable goal? Is a hundred thousand dollars the right number? Is $10,000? What's the number that is an achievable goal?

R is for Results-oriented

The next one is the R, for results-oriented. Is it something that’s going to give a result to my business? Certainly growing the revenue by a hundred thousand dollars would be a good result.

T is for Time Bound

The final one is the T, for time bound. Do I know when I'm going to achieve that goal? By the end of the first quarter? By the end of the second quarter? By the end of the year? What's the timing? Just so that I have a very crisp goal. For example, "this year I'm going to increase the revenue of the company by a hundred thousand dollars by the end of the year." That would be a smart goal for my revenue.

Setting Goals

Another tool that we have available is setting goals. Not only short-term goals, but also long-term goals. Have I thought about what my overall objective is? Where do I want to be five years from now? What do I want to be doing in 10 years, versus what do I want to be doing next week? So this means separating the smart goals out into longer-term goals, but also very short-term goals that are actionable right now.

Affirmations

One of the other things that often holds people back is that we don't believe in ourselves. We don't believe we can do things. A tool that we can use for this is called affirmations. Affirmations are listing out, let's say, 20 things that you really love about yourself. You like that you're smart, you like that you are well-educated, you like that you are able to speak to people, or you like that you're able to do detailed calculations. What is it that you like about yourself? You like that you're a great family person, or you're a great husband or wife, or you're a great father or mother. What is it that you really love about yourself? Remind yourself about those things. Write those down, put together a list, and then review that list either on a daily basis, one item a day, or the whole list every day. But keep that list front and center, because that reminds you of how amazing you are as a person.

Visualizations

Another tool that we have is visualizations, or thinking about what's possible in the future. How often do you take the time to sit back and really think about the future for yourself? Taking a little bit of time each day, and visualizing what's going to happen next month, next year, 10 years from now, is not only inspirational, but it helps set the direction. It points you in the way that you want to be going, so that you know when you're there; you know when you're on the path; you're seeing the signs that are bringing you in that direction.

Action Plans

And then we also need to have action plans. Once you have those smart goals and you're visualizing where you want to go, what are you doing now? So often I see people that have hundred point lists and there's no priorities in there, just kind of bouncing around being pushed around from one deadline to the other. What's your list? Do you have a list – an action item list that helps you prioritize what are the most important things that need to get done today, this week, this month? Lay it out with the priorities.

Focus on the Good

Now, once we have all these tools in hand, how do they work for us? Well, there's a very interesting filter in our brain that helps us achieve these goals, and it's called the RAS: the reticular activating system. This filter is what keeps us sane, in a way. Our brains are receiving about a hundred million impulses constantly. Right now, you're paying attention to my voice, but you're also seeing the lights, or the color of my shirt, or you're hearing some other noise in the background. There's all these things going on around us, but the filter in our brain, the RAS, is tuned in to the things we pay attention to. For example, how many times have you been at a noisy cocktail party, and somebody way on the other side of the room calls out your name and you hear it? You hear that because your filter is turned on to hear specific things all the time. Or let's say you buy a new car, and all of a sudden you notice everybody has that car. You see that car 10 times a day, you never noticed it before. But now you that you own one, your brain is filtered to look for it. When you set goals, when you write down your affirmations and pay attention to them, and when you have your action plans, you're training your reticular activating system to pay attention to the things that matter to you most. And the more you focus on the good things in your life, the more they grow. A famous Harvard professor once said, "When you appreciate the good, the good appreciates." So appreciate all that's good in your life. Focus on those good things, your brain will help you do it, and you'll be the success that you really want to be.

 

For more on setting and realizing your business goals, you may consider the following PBC resources: 

Read the blog - Realistic Goals = Business Success

 

Download the 3-Step Goal Settng Worksheet

 

 

 

 

 

Call us at PBC for a free consultation and learn more about the very high correlation between business success and having clearly articulated goals for what you want to accomplish.

 

Connect with us on social media and be part of the dialog. 

 FacebookLinkedInTwitter RSS-NewsletterYouTubeSouth Shore Professional Roundtable

Signup for our Business Tips Newsletter

 

This is one of the episodes of The Thinking CEO with Bernie Heine at BusinessTown.com.
 
 
 

7 Strategies to Double Your Profits

Don't forget what running a business is about! Bernie Heine explains 7 strategies that can double your profits.

So often, business people forget the basic equation of how to run a business.

Hi, my name is Bernie Heine and today I'd like to talk little bit about the seven strategies that work together to double your business profits. Now that sounds a little bit unbelievable, how are we going to double our profits? But by making just 10% improvements in each of the seven areas I'm about to talk about, if you do the math you'll see it actually can double the profits, or even more, increase the profits of your business. So often, people forget about this basic relationship: we have to sell to more people, we have to sell them more stuff, we have to sell it at a higher margin, we have to reduce our costs, and if we just go to that very simple calculation you have profits at the end. If we work on each one of the seven elements and just make even a 10% improvement, you'll see how that drops right to the bottom line and can double the profits of the company.

Find New Customers

So what's the first one? The first thing is we have to get out and meet new people. One of the strategies is that we have to have our marketing focused on benefits. What are we doing for the customer? Remember, they only listen to that one radio station, WIIFM (what's in it for me). So we need to have benefits-focused marketing, so that we can attract the most new people to the business.

Remember Your Existing Customers

The second one is about our existing customers. I have a client who had a database of 600 past customers. What did he do? He marketed to new people all the time. He had zero strategies, no money at all spent marketing to 600 people, and spent all his money, about $10,000 a year looking for new customers. So what are we doing to stay in communication with our current customers? Are we involving them in some kind of a communication, whether it's a newsletter or we're having direct outreach, but keeping in close contact with existing customers?

Learn Why Customers Leave

The third one is what about past customers? Why did they leave, do we even know? Most businesses don't spend any time at all analyzing why people are going out the back door, because we're so busy focusing on the fun stuff bringing them in the front door, all the fun marketing ideas. But what about why they're going out the back? So doing a bit of an analysis on why they left, and then if we fix that we can get them to come back, give them a special offer.

Convert Prospects into Consistent Buyers

So now we have to convert more of them. How are we going to get more of these people to move from being a prospect, somebody that might have responded to an ad, to becoming a paid customer? This is about having a sales process. How do you bring them through the funnel? How do you move them through the process? Do you do it in a systematic way that you can improve on time and time again? This means having a sales process and detailing it out with flowcharts. Even if you're a one person company, you can still assign yourself the tasks of moving through the sales process, knowing where you are with each individual.

Increase Sales Volume with Upsells and Add-Ons

Once we have them, now we want to sell them as much as we can. So how do we increase the percentage that they're buying from us? With this, a key strategy is upsells and add-ons. So what else can we do for them? Sure, they're interested in this part of our services or this product that we sell, but what else can we do for them? If we've done a great job in the sales process of analyzing their needs, we might know of some other ways we can help them to go beyond just the basic product that we have.

Raise Prices to Increase Gross Margins

The next step is to increase our gross margin. So how can we cut costs and raise prices so that we have better margins on our products? I mention raising prices and most people think yeah right we can't do that, but what I find is that most entrepreneurs undervalue their own services – they just don't believe enough in their own products to raise prices, and they just need to take that step because so often if you do the calculations, you'll show that by raising prices you make a dramatic increase in your profitability, and often times you only lose a little bit of your business. In fact, you can afford to lose more business in that direction than if you say the opposite, which is why we're going to cut prices. Often times if your business is a 30% margin business, if you cut prices by 10% you have to add like 50% more business in order to get back to where you started from. So it's a lot easier to raise profitability by raising prices, and the likelihood of losing business is much lower than hoping that we're going to gain more sales by lowering our prices.

Reduce Fixed Costs

The next step is to cut our fixed costs. How often do you do an audit of all your fixed costs? Are you really getting the full value for everything that you're paying for in your business? Often times we just pay bills without thinking about if we're really getting what we should be getting for those things. So negotiate those prices and work on reducing your fixed costs so that the bottom line is the profits will come out. So if you go through the all the steps, just making a 10% improvement on each one of those areas, you'll be happily surprised to see a doubling of your income.

 

Call us at PBC for a free consultation and learn more about these 7 strategies to make small incremental improvements in your business and see an increase in profits.

 

Connect with us on social media and be part of the dialog. 

 FacebookLinkedInTwitter RSS-NewsletterYouTubeSouth Shore Professional Roundtable

Signup for our Business Tips Newsletter

 

This is one of the episodes of The Thinking CEO with Bernie Heine at BusinessTown.com.
 
 
 

Join Our Meetup

Join My Meetup
South Shore Professional Roundtable

Sign up for our Email Newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Network With Us

Find us on Facebook View my LinkedIn Profile Follow me on Twitter Find us on YouTube  Our Vimeo Channel

Start your own Constant Contact Email Campaign here:

Sign up for Constant Contact