• Set SMART Goals, Grow your Business

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    You probably already know that without setting goals, you will accomplish far less than you would with them. We all need a clear destination to move toward. We all need an objective, a concentrated point, a flag in the sand…in order to stay focused on what we wish to accomplish.

    It’s also important to remember that the setting of your goals is just as important as the steps made toward achieving them. Not just any old goal will do. Learning how to set SMART goals is going to be necessary for the success of your business growth strategy. In fact, poor goal setting leading to wishy washy outcomes is yet another reason that business strategies fail.

    What is a SMART goal, anyway? If you don’t know, you’re definitely not alone. Goal setting is not taught in school (although it is, in my opinion, a fundamental life skill as important as reading and writing). Learning how to set SMART goals will help stretch and challenge you to grow personally, encourage you to develop new skills, inspire you to be more productive in getting things done…and move what’s important to you from being just a dream to being tangible reality.

    SMART stands for:

    Specific

    Measurable

    Attainable

    Relevant

    Time-Bound

    • Specific: Every goal should contain precise details about what is to be accomplished. There should be no grey area; no wondering if progress is actually being made or if the goal has been achieved. “Increase sales” is not a specific goal. “Increase sales by 10%” is a specific goal.
    • Measureable: An agreed-upon measurement of success needs to be decided, in order to know when the goal has been achieved.  A system must be in place to measure progress—so that everyone involved knows, for certain, how far the team is from reaching the goal. Be prepared to show, in real numbers, that your sales goal (for example) has been realised.
    • Attainable: Every goal should be reachable—but never within your comfort zone. Always sets goals that are outside that comfort zone, so that you will need to stretch and develop yourself whilst working toward achieving it. Your goals should not read as a to-do list. Every one of them should motivate, excite and scare
    • Relevant: All goals should align with your corporate [and personal] values. Any goal that conflicts with your value system will be difficult to achieve (And why would you want it anyway?). Your goals should complement the holistic view of your life. Never sacrifice the reaching of one [SMART] goal for another. Never strive for a goal that will not make a positive difference in your work or your life. To sum it up, ensure that all goals you set fit well into, and advance, what you’ve already achieved and what you’re passionate about.
    • Time-Bound: Every SMART goal needs a target date for realisation. This helps to create focus and urgency to getting it done.  It’s not a deadline (that sounds so terminal), but rather a lifeline—a time when you will feel more alive because you’ve achieved something that will improve your life. Set a time limit that is not impossible, but that will challenge you. Avoiding this step means that you may never achieve your goal, because you will always have the freedom of mind to put it off until tomorrow, next week or next year.

    And to take it two steps further, every goal should be a SMARTIE goal, meaning that every SMART goal should also:

    • Inspire: Your goals should be the blue print for how you want your life or business to be in the future.  If your goals don’t inspire you each day to want to achieve them, then get some new SMART goals!
    • Empower: Reaching your SMART goal should leave you feeling great and with a sense that your life or business is better in some way for having achieved it.

    Start by writing down your SMART goals. Confirm that they are SMARTIE goals, too. This will set a clear intention in your mind and will put your subconscious to work achieving them. Everything is always created twice—first in your head and then in reality. As you clarify your thoughts with writing, your hand is creating the words, your eyes are seeing those words and each goal becomes more real.

    Always remember that your goals must be compelling. Each one should be a stretch and take you out of your comfort zone; therefore if a goal is not inspiring, motivational, mentally challenging or emotionally energizing, you are likely to give up before you achieve it.

    If you have set New Year’s Resolutions in the past, but have rarely realised them, then this can be one of the reasons (i.e. they are “shoulds” and “ought-tos,” rather than SMART goals that inspire and empower you).

    Are you ready to set your own SMARTIE goals? Are you excited about what you can achieve when those goals are broken down to the objectives and actions that will lead you to positive change and success?

    If you already have goals, are they SMART and are you clear on how to take the next step for creating a plan to achieve them?  Contact me for a free 30-minute consultation, so we can figure out, together, where you are, where you’re going and how SMART goals can help to get you there.

     

     

  • Sat Nav for Business Growth Strategy

    Isabel Knich coaching

    Your business growth strategy is what you want and need to do to achieve the growth you desire.  Is it devised after thorough and extensive industry and market research to identify what is required to increase your access to more customers, more talent and more capital—the three things that most companies need to grow their business.

    As we have discussed in earlier blogs, in order for your business growth strategy to succeed you need to have some key elements in place:

    • You need to know WHY you’re in business…your desire.
    • You need to establish a clear VISION for where you’re going…your destination.
    • You need to identify your core VALUES that will show HOW you are going to deliver your vision…your drivers.

    After you have put these elements in place, it’s time to create your PLAN:  WHAT you’re going to do to move toward realising your vision.

    Your plan is the map showing the route you need to take to get you to your desired destination.  It sounds obvious to have a map or to use a sat nav to get to a place you have never been to before, but it is astounding the number of businesses who don’t have any sort of plan for getting to their desired destination. But then, many businesses also don’t know where they are heading. Remember that a having a vision in place is crucial.

    In many cases, stopping to take the time to create a plan isn’t a priority for management.  However, as you may have experienced in your car, finding your way when you are lost without a map is really very hard. You need that map; you need that sat nav—you need it to make the plan that will get you there.

    So what sort of plan do you need to create?  There are many different types of plans that you could use. The best ones, however, are those that are clear, short and easy to follow.  They should plainly state your destination, which can vary depending on the time frame, but the goals or outcomes that you want to achieve should be clearly stated as objectives.

    The specific strategic goals in your plan are then the places you know you need to get to on route to reach your final destination. They are your pit stops; the necessary stopovers that will contribute to the success of the arrival at your final destination (your vision).  For each goal, it is important that the objective is clearly stated with a timeframe (for more information about setting SMART goals, click here).  After all…

    A goal without a plan is just a dream.

    Do you want to turn your business’s dreams into reality? If so, then read on to learn how you can achieve your business growth goals with the help of a strategic plan…your Sat Nav for your business.

    Sat Nav for your Business

    As any good sat nav should, your plan will represent the fastest route by which you can get to your desired destination. It will help you to stay on track and, most importantly, get you back on track if you lose the right road along the way.

    To keep you focused on the right path, your plan should include the statement of your why, your vision and values. These help to keep the focus on the bigger picture and create a greater context for the actions that you and your team need to take to achieve your vision through your plan.

    Here are a few points to flesh out what I’m talking about:

    • Every strategic goal should have a champion—that is, someone who is committed publically to making it happen. The goal champion is accountable for the achievement of the goal (albeit not necessarily for all of the actions to ensure its delivery).
    • Every strategic objective or goal should be accompanied by specific milestones to achieve it over the months ahead. This helps create focus points along the way.
    • The entire business plan should be reviewed regularly with the team, (monthly at a minimum) to ascertain whether the work toward each objective is advancing and what obstacles need to be overcome to keep moving forward.
    • Progress on actions taken for each goal should be measured every month to continue progress in each area.
    • All employees, not just ‘the team,’ should be made aware of the business growth plan. If people know where they are heading and that there is a plan to follow to get there, everyone is much more likely to want to engage and support the champions for each goal so that the objectives are delivered.

    A business growth action plan is a well-defined and specific step-by-step set of actions for implementation. Whilst you may go off-course some of the time, your plan will help you to stay focussed on where you want to get to and help you get back on track and determine the next action. With the right plan, this creates the structure and discipline for efficiency (doing things well) and effectiveness (doing the right things) to achieve your goals and vision. Your plan—like a sat nav—will always be there to guide you and take you to where you have decided you need to go.

    Are you ready to design your plan for WHAT you need to do to realise your business growth strategy? Or are you ready to improve a plan that perhaps hasn’t been working so well for you? You may be wondering where to start, what road to take first, and how to strategise your route for the fastest and most effective way to get to your destination…your goals and vision. Please contact me via email or phone for a free 30-minute consultation. We’ll talk about how you can get clear on the plan for growing your business, with a sat-nav-type guidance system that will guide your business in the direction of unprecedented success.

     

     

  • Every Business Growth Strategy needs a Why

    What is your why?

    Does your organisation have a business growth strategy? Is it the guide for all your business activities and supported by clear intentions and purpose? Or is it the product of obligation?

    There are two types of business growth plans. Allow me to explain:

    1. The business growth strategy that is drafted to answer questions asked by lenders and investors and to tick the box “Yes we have a business plan”: This strategy is created solely for the purpose of satisfying the demands of people outside your organisation. It is usually very detailed, pages long and extremely dull. Once created, your 25-50 page business growth plan then languishes on a bookshelf forgotten and gathering dust.

    2. The alternative business growth strategy is one created for and by those within the organisation, to focus them on fulfilling strategic aims, as well as the purpose of the organisation: This business strategy is usually short (1-5 pages), and often visually centred and definitively designed to inspire. This business strategy is not sat lost on shelves or hard drives, but is ever-present, referred to regularly and used to guide and motivate staff to implement and deliver the strategic goals of the business.

    Is your Business Growth Strategy Destined for Failure?
    Sadly, most business strategies fall under category #1 – the business plan drafted simply to satisfy an obligation. This type of growth plan is generally a list of what you are going to do and how you plan to achieve certain targets. More often than not this type of business plan is lacking a clear purpose or a clear reason why your company is doing what it’s doing. Without a clear why this type of business growth strategy is likely to fail.

    Your why is the passion in your business. For a business to grow it not only needs structure (e.g. a typical business plan), it also needs passion to motivate staff to want to accomplish that growth.

    Your business growth strategy must be derived from your why. Without a clear purpose for coming to work, people are just turning up. With a strong sense of why, your staff members have a clear reason or purpose for coming to work and evidence proves that people who enjoy coming to work are more productive and creative.

    Once you have a clear why, your business growth strategy is then simply a description of the route (the how and what) your company intends to follow in order to create that future.

    Your Business Why:

    Why are you in business? Why do you believe what you’re doing is important? Why do you believe you are changing people’s lives?

    Why are you investing a large portion of your life in this business? And why is the thing you believe in driving it?

    The answers to these questions will help to form your why. Your why is shaped by the thing you love to do (your passion) and the thing that you wish to change. Making money is never a viable why. Search deeper for what having the money means to you.

    The why does not come from looking ahead at what you want to achieve and figuring out an appropriate strategy to get there. It is not born out of any market research and it does not come from extensive customer interviews. Your why comes from deep within yourself.

    “Great leaders are those who trust their gut. They are those who understand
    they must win hearts before minds. They are the ones who start with WHY.”
    Simon Sinek

    Why is the starting point for creating your business growth strategy. Once you are clear on your why, you will be able to identify what you will do to realise it and how you will do it.

    The outcomes (or what you will do) can be mapped out easily because when you know why you’re doing it, you’ll be clearer on how to achieve your vision and on how to differentiate your business from the competition. Your how will be based on your mission, your company values and the people in your organisation.

    It is crucial that you do some business soul-searching to identify your why before creating your business growth strategy. However, once you have done this, you may be surprised at how simple it is to draft that strategy (and to carry it out), because you have a clear path of intention.

    Do you have a business growth strategy? Are you concerned that it isn’t fit for purpose? There are steps you can take to inject the right elements into your existing business strategy, or you can rewrite it so that it better supports what you really want to achieve in your business.

    If you would like help with your business growth strategy or business plan, you can contact me by email or through our Contact Us page. I would be happy to spend 45 minutes with you on the phone discussing your business growth strategy—to see how it can be improved to help you grow your business to the next level.

    Failing to plan is planning to fail.

     

  • Social Enterprise and the Benefits for your Business

    Unsure how best to grow businessHave you ever felt conflicted between the need to grow your business and the desire to make a positive impact in the community you serve? If so, I have two pieces of good news for you:

    1. You are the perfect candidate to find out more about Social Enterprise, a new and rapidly developing business model—one that will help you differentiate and grow your enterprise.

    2. You can have it all—sustainable business growth, as well as a positive impact on your people, your community, and the environment.

    Contrary to popular belief, Social Enterprise is not about being a charity or a not-for-profit organisation. Though the definition has been up for some debate in recent years, I see the most comprehensive definition being the following:

    Social Enterprise: A profit making business with a social objective or purpose, where a significant part of the profit is reinvested into the business or local community to create further social impact. As the business profits grow so the benefits to society grow.

    Another way of clarifying the meaning of Social Enterprise would be to look at the principle of Tripe P Bottom Line Investment. This business theory places equal amounts of emphasis on People, Planet, and Profit…with the idea that all will benefit with a focus on each.

    • People: the business take steps to ensure that benefit is felt by all people involved…from employees to community members.

    • Planet: the business avoids making a negative impact on the environment, and goes as far as reducing energy consumption, waste, or emissions, for example.

    • Profit: the business focusses on earning (and increasing) profits in its trading activities and by being socially aware. These profits will benefit not just the shareholders but stakeholders and the wider community.

    The Advantages of Becoming a Social Enterprise
    Let’s face it: corporations are increasingly being held responsible for their actions (or inaction!), as well as for the actions of their sponsors, suppliers, the communities that accommodate them, and the people who patronise them.

    What does this mean for you, the small/medium sized business owner?
    1) Do nothing now and wait until society deems that your activities are identified as being Socially Unaware,
    2) Take the initiative now to alter your business model to become a “social enterprise” and bound ahead of the competition in terms of profitability and social impact.

    There is a broad spectrum on what and how social enterprise is classified, and different examples to model across all sectors and company sizes. There are many benefits to becoming a Social Enterprise. Here are some of the advantages you can expect:

    • Innovation: With new connections come new viewpoints; and with new viewpoints come fresh, new ways of doing things. This is how the seeds of innovation are planted.

    • Investment: When your business showcases itself as a Social Enterprise, investors’ attention is piqued. The astute ones know about the social enterprise movement, and are quick to align themselves with businesses who are embracing this new business model.

    • Engagement: The social impact you choose to make, through your Social Enterprise, says a lot about your corporate values. People who share those values will pick up on this and choose to associate and make conversation with your company. These are the people who hold the most potential for becoming loyal clients.

    • Problem-Solving: As a business your role is to serve your customers by identifying a problem and then solving that problem for them. A Social Enterprise solves customer problems and looks to solve social problem at the same time. Social enterprises are therefore seen to be more innovative and dynamic and are more likely to gain the attention of potential employees, customers and investors.

    • Publicity: The conventional profit-centred business model is under attack; however, there’s a counterculture going on, too. The Social Enterprise model is being promoted and highlighted in the many news and social media outlets. By raising your level of social awareness and incorporating social responsibility into your business model you will find many opportunities to raise your social profile – again making it easier to gain new customers, employees and investors.

    The advantages of operating as a Social Enterprise certainly do not end there…and neither does the good news. If you’re interested in exploring the possibility of running your very own Social Enterprise, you can learn how to accomplish that in my upcoming FREE event, Access to IMPACT. In this evening event, to be held at the British Library on 4th February, you will learn how…

    Business + Social Impact = Enterprise Growth.

    This event is for business leaders from all sectors and all size companies (start-ups, SMEs, and corporations), entrepreneurs, public institutions, and universities. Join me and two other Social Enterprise experts as we show you how to make the most of this new business model—for the good of your community, your environment, and of course, your business. Click here for your ticket.

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  • “Good Business” is Good for Business

    It seems like every business owner is in pursuit of sustainable growth; it appears that this desire is universal. What isn’t universal is the path toward achieving that growth. In recent years, a new type of entrepreneur has emerged. These new entrepreneurs are looking for ways to differentiate themselves—to innovate, to access better talent and customers, to improve their access to capital…and to grow their businesses by being socially responsible.

    If you are unfamiliar with social enterprise and haven’t yet explored what being a social entrepreneur means, then you’re most likely missing out on many of the advantages that come with this different way of thinking and new model for doing business.

    So let’s delve more deeply into what being socially responsible means, and investigate how becoming more socially aware could benefit your business.

    How can raising your level of social awareness benefit your business?
    Social Awareness within a business can be defined as understanding the impact you have on your staff, customers, community, and environment. Every business makes an impact. The pivotal question for every socially aware entrepreneur is this: How will you increase your business’s positive impact on every level?

    Human emotion drives consumer purchasing decisions. For this reason, your ideal clients are searching for a company they can believe in, relate to and feel emotionally drawn to. In this new age of connectivity, your customers want to establish relationships, find commonalities and feel “a part of something.”

    By raising the level of social awareness in your organisation you will find the following benefits:

    • the attraction and retention of talented staff members who believe in (and who will promote) your brand

    • the opportunity to differentiate your business from the competition

    • more ease in attaining financial support for your business

    • the opportunity to express your corporate values through social interaction—which will attract clients who share those values

    • the chance to get something done that you really believe in, whilst benefiting your business

    • access to more ideal clients, through marketing by social partners

    • an authentic spirit for innovation, cultivated by new personal/corporate connections and new attitudes surrounding collaboration and contribution

    Being socially aware can mean different things to different people. Aligning your company behind a compelling vision and clear values will immediately help to raise your level of social awareness and create greater staff engagement in your organisation. Raising your social awareness can also mean finding areas in your business where you can have a greater impact in your community.

    Whatever you choose to do, no matter how big or small, eg changing some of your procurement to socially responsible companies to donating 100% of your profit to solving a social problem, your efforts must be authentic and consistent. And it doesn’t mean taking on a social cause solely for the purpose of gaining publicity. When Starbucks planted recycling receptacles in their stores for their special “recyclable” cups, and then dumped them in landfills because they weren’t truly recyclable, the public’s perception of Starbucks as an environmentally friendly company was negatively affected. Don’t let this happen to your business.

    Choose socially aware business activities that you can get behind and believe in, wholeheartedly. If you want to have a bigger impact, choose a social problem that your target audience believes in, too. Connect with organisations that specialise in this cause. Market your intentions. Engage your staff in looking for innovative ways to make a greater difference. Let your customers know what you’re up to and give them opportunities to get involved. Publish case studies of the impact you’re having in your community to encourage more support.

    There are many different ways you can become more socially aware in your business and the benefits to your organisation of doing so will be varied, but will ultimately lead to greater staff and customer engagement and better business growth.

    To find out more about how to become a socially aware business and learn practical things you can do in your business now, register for the FREE upcoming event called Access to Impact, to be held at the British Library on the 4th February: 5.30-9pm

    Business + Social Impact = Enterprise Growth

    At the event I will be joining other Social Enterprise experts in teaching growth-focussed business owners how to become successful by being socially responsible businesses. Seats for this event are limited, and are filling fast, so reserve your place now by clicking the link here.

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