Too many business owners do not know where to start.

Often, owners have a lot of ideas floating around in their heads, but they are stuck in a rut because they do not have a clear place to start making changes; uncertainty prevents them from doing anything. One day merges with the next, weeks become months, and the longer the inertia builds, the more difficult it becomes to break out of the rut.

Conflicting voices, contradictory advice
It's easy to find people who are willing to teach you their way to achieve a successful business. But when you study them, you find lots of conflicting information. Who is right? How can you know?

Earl Nightingale said, "If you have no successful example to follow in whatever endeavor you choose, you may simply look at what everyone else around you is doing and do the opposite, because — The Majority is Always Wrong."

Think about that for a minute. The majority is always wrong. And then ask yourself, "Who are you following?" If you are like most business owners, you're following some other businessman — some other owner that is probably not doing well. If you follow him, what can you expect?

While most books, courses and workshops are good, what you take away from them is probably just a few techniques and tactics. Those help, but they do not separate you from the majority. You might be a little better, but you will not have made a fundamental shift.

You need to go from opportunistic thinking to strategic thinking.
Opportunistic thinking is chasing dreams — looking for the Holy Grail that will magically transform your business. Stop dreaming. We will help you identify strategic paths that will fuel your growth. Get clear on all segments of your business and stick with a strategic growth plan, and your business will join that elite number.

We employ a simple seven step process to get you from where you are to where you want to be.

Step 1: Get to know you and your business

We start our process by learning about you and about your business. The length of time involved will vary with the complexity of the business and the openness of the business owner. Most owners have habits, preconceived ideas, fears, or emotional attachments that sabotage efforts to reach the company's full potential. These blocks are often not apparent, even to the owner. However, to be successful, we must uncover them.

An additional part of Step 1 is to do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. We want to understand the internal factors affecting the business — the company's advantages and its problems — as well as the possibilities and risk factors that exist externally.

Step 2: Clarify the goals

What are the true goals of the business and the owner? These goals must be stated in very specific terms; unless we know exactly where we are going, it is difficult to chart a course of action to take us there. So clarity is key. Without clarity of purpose, our course will wander in a zigzag manner and we will never reach the goal.

Step 3: Identify opportunities for leverage

In this step, we will identify areas and ways to bring leverage to the business. This might be a change of the delivery method of the product or service, or a change in the market area served, from local to national. We will also explore spin-off products or add-on products and repackaging or re-purposing of existing products to enhance their revenue. Leverage is the key to expanding profits faster than expenses.

Step 4: Develop a strategic plan

Far too many entrepreneurs are opportunistic in their thinking. They get a new idea or see a new opportunity and off they go, chasing a new way to make money. This rarely works. The usual result is an awful lot of activity focused on too many different projects. A much better approach is to develop a strategic plan and then stick with that plan.

We work with you to develop a strategic plan that will bring you the results you want. Fortunes are not made by generating lots of new ideas. Fortunes are made by developing a good strategic plan and then implementing the plan. The money is not in the idea; it is in successfully implementing the idea.

Step 5: Identify the resources needed

In this step, we identify the resources needed to carry out your plan. Often, the most difficult resource to obtain is special talent. Entrepreneurs frequently underestimate the value of high quality personnel and contractors, but you must have the services of skilled individuals to achieve your goals.

Your business will never be better than the team you assemble to help you. It does not matter if you are a sole entrepreneur or employ hundreds. You must understand and appreciate the importance of hiring the best possible talent — even if you just hire them on a sub-contract, as needed basis. You must learn to leverage your time, and you do this by building a first class team. We will help you identify and obtain this talent.

At times, capital will be a concern. However, if your plan and talent are in place, obtaining the capital is easy. Without a sound plan and top-notch talent, capital can be scarce.

Under this step, we will also work closely to ensure that your time is spent on tasks most suited to your strengths, while other duties are delegated or outsourced. Do you know where you spend your time? Are you spending too much time on tasks that are of very little value — ones that can't further the goals of your business? You must learn to spend your time on your highest and most profitable activity. As the owner, this should be strategic planning: making sure that your business has a vision and the tools in place to reach that vision.

Step 6: Develop a step by step plan

You can have all the ingredients necessary to cook a dish. But unless you add the right ingredients at the right time, the dish will not come out like it should. So Strategic Growth Mentors will help you develop a step by step process for taking the right action at the proper time.

Step 7: Institute accountability

Emerson said, "Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can."

While all the other steps are important, without this step, the whole process can fall apart. Very few people are capable of holding themselves accountable. But being held accountable by an outsider has been responsible for more significant growth than any other single factor.

Some people are not willing to being held accountable. They want to be able to make excuses to themselves. But if you truly want to significantly grow your business, you need to have a detailed plan for going forward and you need to be accountable for your progress or lack thereof. Setting up appropriate benchmarks and then measuring progress against them will greatly improve your performance.

The steps are simple and straightforward, but they are very powerful. If followed properly, these steps will deliver impressive results.


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Site design copyright © 2007 Cheryl Chancellor. Site content copyright © 2007 John Chancellor.