Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Entrepreneurs' Live Business Plan 4

Today's To Do List 

If you have not already done a SWOT analysis for your new or existing business now is a good time to do it. SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.To help you on your way, I have included some content on the links below. I recommend working in threes and not having more than twelve points in each section.  There are thousands of factors that could influence your business, however we will focus on those items that have a high probability of happening and a potentially high impact on your particular business.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Enough, funny old word!

Enough- funny old word!

I was recently asked the question “What is enough”? I’ve been thinking about this over the last few days and realised, like so many other adjectives, it varies from person to person and continent to continent. The definition in the dictionary is “in or to a degree or quantity that meets one’s requirements”.  So what is your “enough”?  As I had been working on a benchmarking exercise two days earlier it made me think about whether enough would be good enough for any of us.  We all seem to aspire to so much more – but so much more of what. 
Then I thought about what enough means to homeless people - to be warm, to be fed – so they don’t end up dead.  What it means to people in drought ravaged areas – half a glass of water-  to them would always be a “half full” glass – not theirs the flippancy of discussion – only the urgency to wet their blistered lips – you see their life is saved by just enough sips.  What does enough mean to the unloved baby, left in a cot, just a touch they say – babies die if they don’t experience human touch – so for them just a touch is enough.  What about our staff, our family our friends, very often “thank you”, is enough.   

The sad thing is that most of us don’t realise that we have more than enough until it’s too late.  Right now I know many people, who, for the first time in their lives could quantify what enough means to them.  A couple of years ago, everything was not enough, much wanted more and more and more.  I hope this gives you food for thought and my wish for you is that you shall always have more than enough!


Entrepreneurs' Live Business Plan 3

Today's To Do List
  1. Write down your personal motto for living
  2. Familiarise yourself with Google Calendar
  3. Set up Internet Banking 
  4. Set up a PayPal (or other internet payment system)
  5. Start researching your business - I use Google Alerts

"Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right". (Henry Ford)  How true this is. However, we can all do with a helping hand.  When running a business/department there are so many things to take into consideration and it is difficult to prioritise.  Throughout this tutorial we will work through a combination of practical solutions, tasks, theory and free resource, to support you.  Henry Ford had his philosophy, what is yours? I define this as the principle by which I live my life. Mine is "Unto thine self be true". Our personal belief system is a very strong force in our lives.  Life is much more difficult when we live, work or play with others if we don't share a similar value or belief system. When defining a "brand", selecting partners and suppliers do a weighting to ascertain if you share a mindset or attitude towards how you will conduct business. Write down your guiding force - the motto by which you live your life. Revisit it over the next few days and identify which aspects of your life reflect it and start fixing "what's broke". It is much easier to attain harmony and balance when you love what you are doing.

So, now that we have benchmarked where you are at, where you want to go and the mindset by which you  want to live your life, let's get started.  Setting up an internet banking facility will save you time and allows you to monitor your bank account on a daily basis. I believe that having a secure Internet payment option is necessary -PayPal or whchever one you are comfortable with. It's crucial to carry out research whether for a start up business or an existing business.  Google provides a wonderful free resource for this. Track what's happening in your type of business, your business association, in your area, with your competitors and any other subject that has an influence on your business.  Each day Google will email you the alerts which you can read through very quickly. You can set up as many as you want. It's very important to select a "personal secretary", I recommend Google Calendar. There is a link below to a UTube training session on it. The links are set up on the below tasks.  So just a click does the trick!  I hope you find this helpful - if you do please pass it on to somebody who might need it.  Happy planning.  
PS: If you missed the previous articles you can catch up as they are archived - details to the right of ths article.


    Monday, September 27, 2010

    Entrepreneurs' Live Business Plan 2

    Today's To Do List

    Initially, I called this tutorial "The Poor Man's Business/Life Plan", because most of the people I talk to at the moment are very short of time, money, energy and options. That is why this tutorial will be done on a free basis, recommending free resource or resource that offers free trials without any kind of commitment.  I have spent the last year researching what is on offer and there is some great free stuff out there. So let's get started.

    On yesterday's blog I asked the question - "What is it you want?" The answer of course is "to be happy". Others may describe it as being fulfilled, joyful, or valued, but the general consensus is that we all aspire to happiness. Different things make each one of us happy - this is where we are all unique. So there is a simple solution to our problems - do less of what makes you unhappy and more of what makes you happy. If you reflect on your day today, you will have experienced a range of emotions. There is a lot to be said for acknowledging the good in our lives, whether in the form of prayer, talking to our angels, sharing it with friends or family.  

    Very often we don't realise how lucky we are because we get caught up in "stuff". Most of us are finding it very difficult to maintain balance in our lives.  When we are out of balance we become ill. We can drastically improve the balance in our lives by making some very small adjustments. This is a good time, to measure your current status.  Complete the Wheel of Life exercise to benchmark where you are now. You can copy the image and give yourself a rating on the actual wheel. The "10" on the external of the circle is the maximum number of points that you can allocate. Then we can focus on getting you to where you would like to be. For those of you who are 100% happy with every aspect of your lives right now, well done!  If you would like some inspiration towards achieving better balance I recommend embracing the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, S. Covey  

    Tomorrow, we can start on the "how" of getting there, once we have ascertained the starting and finishing points. Like I said before it's as easy as 1,2,3!   

    Sunday, September 26, 2010

    Entrepreneurs' Live Business Plan 1

    The last year has been a terrifying time for many people. I don't need to list the reasons. People of all ages and disciplines are finding themselves on the unemployment heap.  People don't know which way to turn and morale has never been so low. In many struggling countries these issues are compounded by lack lustre politicians and so called leaders.

    So what's a guy or gal to do? At no time, has the concept of taking charge of our own destiny been more important. This is really a time for the survival of the fittest. Make a plan - either a personal or work plan, or both. Where to start - well the first step is to decide to do it, the second step is to do it and the third step is to commit to evaluating it and updating it on an ongoing basis.  It's as simple as one, two, three. I hear you all muttering..."not the dreaded business plan". Well not quite, you are of course referring to the "business plan" that you did and last saw a year ago, or more! Or that "business plan", you did to get your loan! Or the one you did for your boss, who did one for his boss, who looks at it just before salary review time! No, that's not what I am talking about.  I refer to what is known as the live or living personal/business plan.  One that evolves with you and supports you towards achieving your goals, dreams, success and eventual happiness and personal satisfaction.

    Over the course of the next weeks and months I will be guiding you through a format that is easy to use and relevant to you.  Even though the format is the same for everyone, the content is your own content which makes it your personal plan.  What's the catch?  There is none.  This is a completely free tutorial.  My income is derived from training sessions that I do, Affiliate Marketing and Tender applications. My decision to do this - is purely to give back - I have been lucky in my life and this is something that I know so many people in need, need!  So if you don't think it's for you, pass it on please to somebody you know could do with some support at a time when things are maybe not going so "swimmingly" for them.

    Come on, get with the programme, make the commitment to put your dreams on paper and together we can make them a reality.  Remember, it's as easy as 1,2,3. Check out the website IntegratedBzStrategies to decide if we are on the same wavelength.I will leave you with one question to ponder - What is it you want?  Tomorrow, I will answer this question, because I know what you want!



    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    Love Me Tender

    “Love me Tender”


     Subscribe to the Government Tender Site  -It's free

    Check out Denis Thornton's 20 Insider Secrets  –  It's free   

    Consider the Evince System.   

     Compile a file for the documents frequently required – tax clearance, public liability, etc

    Bord Gais recently announced the awarding of a contract for BGE Online Shop to Luzern, Dublin. They received 2 bids. The Commission for Energy Regulation awarded the contract for the development of training courses to the Gas Industry to Magnos Consulting, Co Meath. There were 3 bids in all. St James Hospital, Dublin awarded a contract for The Supply and Delivery of Maxillo-Facial Loan Instrumentation Sets and Surgical Implants to Tekno Surgical in Dublin. Again, there were just 3 bids. Bord Gais Eireann, Cork, awarded the contract for contract sales people to Dublin based Contract People Ltd. There were 4 bids submitted.  The National Transport Authority awarded Deloitte it’s contract for change management financial services. There were 2 bids entered.

    This is scary stuff when you take into consideration our current economic climate. Towards the end of last year I contacted 9 companies to co-partner on a bid - most of them said they weren’t interested, some had a printed a copy of the tender on their desks, but had run out of time. Why is it that Irish companies are so tender shy? Have we just had it so easy for so long that we are unable to rise to the challenge.  Is it possible that we don’t need the business? Whatever the reasons are, I suggest that those who want to stay in business review their company’s approach to the tender process.  It is the way of the future, not just for governmental agencies but also for private business.

    I would like to make some suggestions.
    • Find it hard to understand the tender document? Direct as many questions as needed for clarification, to the procuring company.  Contact person, email and telephone number supplied for this reason.
    •  Ascertain the value and payment terms of the contract. Can your business work with these terms? Sometimes the initial financial outlay is not viable for smaller companies or the payment terms put too much of a financial burden on you.
    •   Is the lead in time to deliver the bid feasible for you? Very often companies leave too much until the last few days, rush through it, submit a sub-standard bid and are then upset because they don’t win it.
    •  Read through the full list of requirements of the tender document. There is nothing worse than working on a bid and realising half way through that you do not meet one of the criteria. If you do not submit every requested item you will automatically be eliminated.  Very often I have clients who want to submit a bid with one or more of the elements missing. Waste of time.
    •  Pre-planning is crucial to successful bid execution. Take that time at the initial stage and make a plan, adhering to the SMART principles. Tasks that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed. Let there be no grey areas.  Constantly review progress and make documents available to all of the team, so that writing, language and information are all consistent.
    •  Are you considering using an external consultant? Some people make this choice, thinking it will save them time. Understand that you will still have to commit the time and other resources to support the bid writer.
    • It is always easier if you can put an internal team together to work on the bid. This will then need to be managed by a team leader, like any other project.
    •  Good practice would be to ask a bid specialist to read your document when you have the initial draft ready. Then when the final document is ready, get them to read it again.  You, too will learn from this process
    •  Remember each bid is individual to the procurement company.  While much of the same information will be presented on the services you provide, each type of business has a “language” of it’s own.  It is very important to communicate in their language.  This gives the impression and confidence that you are on their wavelength.
    •  Understand that for the procuring company this is a serious decision.  That person’s choice of the best tender has many implications for them.
    •   Once you have submitted your bid.  Follow up to ensure that it has been received by the person responsible for it.
    •  If you are not successful do a competitor analysis on the successful bid company to better understand why they won the bid.
    •  Contact the person responsible for the tender and ask for some feedback on your proposal.  It would be great to do this on a face to face basis, but that may not be an option. Remember that in most cases, tenders are not awarded on price alone.      
    •  Do a swot analysis on your bid.  Have a brainstorming session with your team so that you all learn from the process, it is not wasted effort and that you improve your chances each time you bid.

    Happy Tendering!


    Monday, September 13, 2010

    Gearing up for 2011

    Mid September is a good time to start planning for 2011, if you have not already done so.  By the end of this month you will have a pretty accurate picture of where your business is at. I am a great believer in working in 3's

    • Identify the top 3 positive actions you took year to date - how can they be duplicated for 2011
    • Identify the 3 most negative actions you took year to date - ensure they are not repeated in 2011
    • Select 3 mentors for aspects of your business where you need to improve/learn and follow them
    • Select your 3 top competitors and analyse 3 things they do better and 3 things they do worse than you
    • Incorporate your competitors' 9 strengths into your business
    • Leverage your competitors' 9 weaknesses 
    • Define your Goals/Objectives for 2011- Financial, Branding, Social Responsibility
    Key Objective 1 - To create a Financial Turnover of €......... by 31.12.2011                              
    Key Objective 2 - To Position (company name) as the............... by 31.12.2011                        
    Key Objective 3 - To Create a Socially Aware, Environmentally Friendly business by 2011       

    Next Week we will work through a SWOT analysis for your business 


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