Roy's Blog: September 2015
September 28, 2015
Strategy is just as much about what you’re NOT going to do as it is about what you ARE going to do, but less attention is paid to the CRAP elimination activity.
CRAP is the enemy of progress. It’s the stuff that may have been a priority at one point, but is now no longer relevant to achieving our strategic goals.
If it isn’t expunged from your organization the ‘old’ will continue to have a significant role and the ‘new’ will be hampered. The major source of bandwidth for taking on new activities is the time currently being spent on thinks that really don’t matter.
CRAP will keep you stuck and prevent you from moving forward.
How to eliminate the CRAP?
1. Assign a Cut the CRAP Champion to be responsible for inventorying ALL projects going on in your organization.
2. From this inventory, create a KEEP Category. Make it short. Bear down on the projects to make sure each one of them is 100% aligned with your new direction.
3. Create a CUT Category. Make it long. Gather all questionable projects. These will be the eventual source of bandwidth for new activity.
4. For each CUT project, note the person who is currently working on it. The Project Prime. At the end of the day, people will have to be re-assigned to the ‘new’.
5. Have a CRAP Critical Assessment Meeting. Involve the senior team responsible for the execution of your new strategy. Trot each CUT Project Prime into the room and have them explain in detail how their project relates 100% to the new strategy. Side benefit: you will see how well they really understand your new strategy.
6. Decide THEN which CUT Projects will be terminated and the resource savings that will result.
7. Develop a Resource Re-assignment Plan. Be prepared to exit people who either don’t have the skills to take on a KEEP Project or who don’t want to support your new direction.
8. COMMUNICATE the results of your work. KEEP Projects and CUT Projects and why certain projects were terminated. A great opportunity to talk about your new strategy. Involve the team accountable for executing your new course.
CUT projects have momentum. They need to give way for the KEEPERS. Tough work. Critical to your success. Get on it. TODAY!
- Posted 9.28.15 at 05:27 am by Roy Osing
September 21, 2015
Here’s the reality. As a small business you know you are limited terms in terms of resources; undisciplined pursuit of growth will squander your time and money with little to show for your efforts.
Don’t go there.
Here is my 8-step BE DiFFERENT process to grow your business…
1. Set the context for growth by renewing your business strategy. Growth should be a function of what overall direction you want to follow; it should never be pursued by tactics or by chasing possibilities. Chasing will keep you busy but will not feed disciplined growth.
2. Look to organically grow your business as opposed to pursuing more risky strategies such as acquisitions and strategic partnerships. Earn the right to take on more risk by doing your business fundamentals well.
3. Have a specific growth target and make it about top line revenue. Forget about trend line analysis to set your targets. Declare your intent and be ok with not knowing how to get there. Use “I don’t know” to drive innovation and creativity.
4. Establish a short term planning horizon of not more than 24 months. Sustained growth requires an intense focus on execution; consider your plan to be 24 periods of 30 days to be able to successfully respond to unforeseen market events.
5. Be clear on WHO you intend to target to achieve your growth goal. The customers you intend to serve must have the latent potential to deliver your revenue goal. Organic growth is best achieved through the loyal customers you currently serve. Focus on THEM. Trust that with the right value proposition they will do more business with you and “sneeze” you to others.
Beware of “new customer acquisition” strategies. They are expensive in terms of marketing effort and don’t guarantee more loyal customers.
6. Choose a few critical objectives that will give you an 80% chance of hitting your revenue target. Avoid brainstorming as the way of setting priorities; if an action cannot be directly aligned with generating revenue from your loyal customer base, don’t chase it!
7. Eliminate the CRAP that isn’t directly related to achieving your growth strategy. Projects and activities that may have been relevant in some other scenario but not now need to be abandoned in order to make room for the new things that must be done. Stand-out leaders are effective at not only taking on new stuff, but also at stopping the activity no longer needed to fuel revenue growth.
8. Measure progress every month. Set revenue objectives for each month of your 24-month plan and monitor your success rate. Take action on any shortfalls you experience. Tweak your strategy as you learn from execution success and failure.
Business growth doesn’t happen by serendipity; rather it’s the result of discipline and perseverance.
And it doesn’t happen overnight; it is the cumulative result of effort applied over time.
There is no easy way to grow. It’s hard and often painful.
Are you up for it?
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- Posted 9.21.15 at 04:54 am by Roy Osing
September 14, 2015
“Change happens in the awareness”
Yogis use this expression all the time. It’s a promise that if you are aware of, and are open to what is going on around you, you are able to change and adapt.
Here are 5 HUGE lessons that organizations can learn from this philosophy.
1. Don’t set your direction and mindlessly stick to it in spite of what is going on around you. Beware of 5-year plans. Adopt a 24 month view of the world. Focus on execution and learn from it as you go.
2. Don’t expect what made you successful in the past to work for you in a future that resembles something quite different than you’ve ever experienced. Take on new capabilities and competencies required to thrive in a different world.
3. Develop a learning system to be constantly in touch with environmental dynamics. When change starts, you need to be able to spot it in order to make the appropriate moves to respond.
4. Create a new box to play in. Turmoil demands radical approaches. Be guided by divergence as the way to deal with chaos and unpredictability. Same old same old doesn’t work when your world is turned on its head.
5. Recruit people who are weird, contrarian and who march to a different drummer. People who question everything that is currently being done; who have contempt for the status quo.
Caution: awareness leads to change ONLY if you are willing to act on what you observe.
- Posted 9.14.15 at 04:53 am by Roy Osing
September 7, 2015
Every small business leader is busy working IN their business; they don’t necessarily spend enough time working ON their business.
They are consumed by day-to-day priorities and crises and have little time and energy left to develop a strategy for their business.
In addition, developing a strategic plan is often viewed as an expensive, complicated and time consuming activity that is an interruption to the “normal” flow of business.
It is critical that your small business has a business plan; a strategy declaring the direction you intend to take and the results you expect to achieve.
To not have a plan is to aimlessly bump and grind along, accepting whatever performance you can deliver.
My strategic game plan (SGP) process makes it easy for you to plot your future.
An SGP can be created in less than 2 days with your small business leadership team in an informal and fun setting.
It’s called a “game plan” because the focus is to build a just about right direction that can be executed rather than waste time trying to create the perfect plan which looks good on paper but no more.
Your SGP is created by answering three questions:
1. HOW BIG do you want to be? This task is to declare a top line revenue goal you want to achieve in 24 months.
Do you want to double revenues or increase them by 25%? The answer to this question determines the “character” and risk profile of your strategy.
2. WHO do you choose to SERVE? Where will you get the revenue?Which customers have the latent potential to deliver the HOW BIG?
The WHO work involves identifying as few customer groups as possible to generate the revenue you seek. You don’t have the resources and bandwidth to target big markets so focusing your efforts is critical.
The criteria I use for selecting the WHO is “fast and easy”: pick customer groups that you can easily penetrate and quickly grow revenue. Customers difficult to get at with long sales cycles will prevent you from reaching your 24-month goal.
The most critical piece of SGP work is to determine how you will stand-out from your competition; the reason the WHO should buy from you and no one else.
Most businesses don’t differentiate themselves well. You need to be specific and talk about value; aspirations won’t do the job.
Try my ONLY statement as the tool: “We are the ONLY ones who…”.
And don’t look for perfection when you start. Build your ONLY Statement that is 70% right and refine it as you go.
Here’s an example of what your SGP could look like:
“We will grow revenues from $2 million in 2014 to $5 million by Dec 31, 2016. We will focus our scarce resources on the “celebration” segment of the Vancouver market. We will compete and win by being the ONLY team that provides personalized party experiences.”
There you go. A strategy built to execute!
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- Posted 9.7.15 at 05:05 am by Roy Osing