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What’s Your Leadership Style?

Being the Leader of Your Business

It’s been said that there is a difference between being a boss and being a leader. A boss merely implements directions and waits for results from employees. A leader builds a strong team through guidance, motivation and education. Leadership encompasses a variety of approaches and methods that will take a team from ordinary to extraordinary. In order to be the best leader you can be, here is an outline of six leadership styles and how you can implement these approaches into your company:

 

 

The Pacesetter

This leader is direct and expects excellence from team members. The pacesetter knows exactly what he/she wants done. This style is most effective when the team is motivated and the leader wants quick results. The downside of this style is that it can overwhelm the team quickly.

 

The Affiliate

The affiliative leader seeks to build a sense of community and belonging in the workplace. Bonding between management and employees are encouraged. This style works best in times of trauma or stress. The downfall of this style is that if it is used exclusively, it can incite mediocre performance and lack of direction on the management’s part.

 

The Authoritative 

The authoritative leader will ignite change and vision into the team. This leader mobilizes the team towards a common vision and is goal-driven, leaving the means up to each team member. This style requires a vibrant spirit and works best when the team needs direction for a project or needs to be educated on a particular subject.

 

The Coercive

The coercive leader expects immediate compliance. This style controls a problem when all other methods have failed. The coercive style is most effective in times of dire crisis or emergency like a natural disaster or during a company turnaround. But be careful; this style can cause alienation amongst the company.

 

 

 

 

The Coach

The coaching leader wants to develop team members for the future. This style is great when the leader wants to help employees develop lasting personal strengths. This leader must be proficient and employees must let go of defiance if they seek to be better.

 

The Democrat

The democratic leader lives by the motto, “What do you think?” This leader wants feedback and participation from the group. This style works best when the leader wants the team to buy into an idea or vision, or feels uncertain about a subject and seeks ideas from competent team members.

 

Through the combination of these various styles according to events within the company, you will develop leadership traits that will guide your company down the path to success!

 

 

If you’re still unsure of how utilize these leadership styles into your company, or want to develop your leadership skills further, contact Build the Plan at 1800-383-1183.

Branding a New Brand

For the brand owner a brand may begin with an idea. For the consumer, however, a brand is truly born when you deliver it to them. Branding delivery is a perpetual process that occurs every time a consumer comes in contact with your brand.

 

 

The Importance of Branding and Advertising

Although advertising has the crucial purpose of setting up products and services, brand delivery is the moment of truth, advertising is one big “I can…” speech that influences brand delivery and for a successful brand delivery it is imperative that advertising is in harmony with the brand potential.

While embellishment is advertising’s nature and as a brand marketer you can’t do without it, what you need to understand here is that the wider the gap between your brand’s promise and its ability to fulfill it, the harder it is your brand to land on the other side where eager consumers await. Make sure they’re waiting for something that you can ultimately provide.

First Position; Verb, NOT Noun

Brand positioning is important for your brand to connect with the maximum number of the relevant people. Being at the wrong place at the wrong time can kill you. The same is true for your brand. Faulty brand positioning can waste a perfectly good brand.

When launching your brand you have to position it properly. The position of your brand is clear in your mind as “Number 1”. However your brand’s ‘position’ in the eyes of the consumer is a different concept.

As far as your products and services are concerned, consumers view the world looking for things that will fulfill their needs & wants and solve their problems. Good brand positioning practices are all based on a simple premise: You have to be very clear how your product/service will fulfill each need/want or solve what problem, for which types of people.

The procedures involved in product positioning cover market defining, mindshare determining, defining product space, determining product’s location in product space and determining the ideal vector (the target market’s preferred combination of attributes/dimensions). All of them are based on the above mentioned objective that can also be explained as: Examining the fit between a) The position of your product and b) The position of the ideal vector.

The Obvious, the Interesting and the Sad

It’s obvious that every brand owner/marketer craves brand loyalty.

The interesting thing is that consumers crave brand loyalty too! People have a desire (albeit subconscious) to be associated with a good brand, even if it means as consumers.

The sad part is that only a few brand owners are able to appreciate the consumers’ desires and achieve brand loyalty.

Expectation Satisfaction VS Customer Satisfaction

Everyone knows what customer satisfaction is and how it’s important for good branding. The problem is that when launching a brand, its owners usually fail to comprehend the ‘customer’ part of customer satisfaction. A new brand HAS no customers! So how can you ‘satisfy’ them? What they should be doing is focus on satisfying ‘EXPECTATIONS’ of PROSPECTIVE customers.

Customers in general have expectations from a brand before it is launched. Your advertising and marketing efforts are (or at least should be) the primary factors that shape that expectation. For brand owners looking to launch a new brand, or launching themselves at launching brands (newbies) the words ‘Expectation Satisfaction’ should mean more than the words ‘Customer Satisfaction’. Because if your brand doesn’t satisfy people’s expectations with it, the people won’t become your customers and this will kill your new born brand in its crib.

(Consumers’) Eyes Only

As a brand owner it’s understandable that you love your brand and hope that good branding will enable consumers to see how good your brand really is. The thing is that the difference between good branding and good brands is…NOTHING – not in the eyes of the consumers and the eyes of the consumers are the only ones that matter! If you appreciate this basic branding lesson, you have started in the right direction to launching a successful brand.

 

If you need help growing your brand and building a business plan, contact our consultants at Build the Plan at 1-800-383-1148 or visit www.buildtheplan.com!

Beware! These Personal Habits Can Ruin Your Business

If things are not falling into place for your business then it’s time to stop and analyze! There may be a flaw in you which might be the bigger reason for the setback or failure.

Read on to know about habits which if not mended can affect your business.

Lack of Proper Rest Decreases Efficiency:

Many entrepreneurs feel that staying up late will increase their efficiency and finish up the tasks early. But in fact, efficiency decreases when the mind gets tired and sleep is the only antidote to rest and not coffee or a short break.

Lack of Proper Rest

Remember: A good night’s sleep makes you more productive, creative and efficient at work and thus helps to take your business to the next level. 

Poor Personal Finances can Lead to Crisis:

If you don’t plan your finances on timely basis then it can only put your business in a crisis. Lack of personal finances will reduce your creativity and productivity at work. So, it’s better to plan your finances before you start implementing plans.

Poor Personal Finances

Remember: Hiring a reputed financial advisor can save your business from a bankruptcy or crisis. This is the reason many start-ups fail within first five years of their launch. 

Relational Problems Take Away Your Work Energy:

If your personal life is screwed up, you cannot do wonders at your business life. Problems with relationships can affect your energy levels at business and also affect you emotionally, mentally and physically.

Worries In Business

Remember: Take out some time from your busy schedule to fix screwed up relationships. This will improve your professional life as well. 

Poor People Skills can Affect your Employees:

Managing people effectively is also a crucial quality which every good business owner should possess. You should remember that you work with people and not with robots.

Poor Communication Skills

Remember: Wear a smile on your face whenever you talk to a employee instead of pressuring them with a bossy look. 

Ignoring Reviews can Affect Quality of Work:

Reviews reveal true information about you, your company and the quality of the services you provide. This is like a reality check which helps you to know whether your customers are happy with you. This can help you to work over your weak areas and build a better reputation.

Ignoring Business Reviews

Remember: Conduct surveys on timely basis to get the real picture of your company. 

Confused About Selling Your Product or Business Idea? A Marketing Plan Can Help!

A good marketing plan helps you identify and reach potential customers and convert them into paying customers. A good marketing strategy is like a true guide which gives your business the right direction to work in. That’s why many businesses also hire marketing planning consultants to get a good marketing strategy for their business.

The following points will describe why a marketing plan is good for your business.

1. A Guide to Move Forward:

Marketing planning acts like a guide for businesses on the ways to promote its products and services and reach to target customers. If done in time, marketing planning can cause drastic increase in the sales of a business.

Marketing Plans

2. Overall Integration of the Business:

Marketing planning is not just limited to reaching out people but also to plan the pricing of products and services to create an upper edge over the competitors. Thus, marketing planning integrates  management, heads of the department and marketing team of the organization.

3. Predict Future Sales:

With an efficient marketing planning a business owner can get an estimate of future sales and create work plans accordingly. This helps the finance department to create budgets and the human resources department to plan for employees accordingly.

Predict Future Sales

4. Improve the Company Product or Service:

An effective marketing plan involves consideration of even minute details of the company. It also involves comparison of quality of products and services with other businesses in the market (competitors). This helps to take a reality check of the company in terms of quality, customer interest, customer response and accordingly take measures to improve to it.

Grow your Business  Sales

Keeping all these factors in consideration helps the company grow and pursue its goals.

Things You Must Know to Raise Capital for Your Business

The following are 5 important things you should consider before you plan to raise capital for your business.

Analysis- The Capital You Need:

The first question you need to ask yourself is how much capital you will need for your new business venture. The answer to this question is a strong business planning. A complete and comprehensive business plan makes you think about your business critically, and identify the capital required for your business to operate at each stage of growth.

Analysis- The Capital You Need

Having a realistic picture about the current and future capital needs of your business can save you from chances of failure and debts. After all, even a freelancer needs to eat before his work is accepted, published and marketed.

Strategy- How to Raise Capital?

The next step after knowing the amount of capital you need is to look for the source from where you can raise the capital. This depends on your aim to raise the capital. The primary source of raising capital for startups is generally oneself in the form of home equity loans, credit card advances, loans from family, etc.

How to Raise Capital?

But in case you are thinking of taking your business to next level then you will have to look for private investors such as investment banks, accredited investors, and venture capital funds for capital. They usually propose an investment in the form of debt, equity, or a combination of both.

If you are confused about your options about the capital raising sources you can even consult a reputed business consultant or financial advisors. These people are expert and experienced enough to show you the right direction.

Explore- People Interested in Investing in your Business:

Raising large capital for your business can be challenging. Therefore, you will need to find out sophisticated investors seeking maximum return for assuming the risk of a new business venture.

Exploring People for Investments

The first option that strikes everyone’s mind is family and friends because they are less discriminating than professional investors. Other investor options are Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors, Institutional Marketplaces, or Crowdfunding Sites and Platforms.

Documentation- Know Your Legal Responsibilities to Potential Investors:

If you are seeking funds from individual investors, a legal responsibility towards them is necessary. These legal obligations and offerings are regulated through the US Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

A great business consultant will guide you through the procedures, making it simple for you to access the equity markets and compliance with the required regulations. This can help avoid future legal problems.

Negotiate- A Win-Win Agreement:

A funding event involves two parties- the investor and the company. In some cases there may be a single investor while multiple in some others. Some situations even reach to a take-it-or-leave-it while in others, there is intense negotiation. In some cases, parties strive to conclude at a point or an agreement that is beneficial for both.

Negotiation is a skill that comes through learning and practice. It is recommended to seek advice and assistance from a professional in order to make the wisest decisions.

5 Important Reasons – Why Small Businesses Fail?

The following are the reasons that lead to failure of most small businesses.

1. Insufficient Capital:

Most business owners don’t make an accurate estimate about the capital needed to meet various financial requirements of the business in the beginning. Some of them have unrealistic expectations of incoming revenues from sales and don’t raise an adequate amount of capital for their start-up business.

Insufficient Capital

 

How to Manage your Finances Efficiently?

Since every business needs time to grow and get into full swing, it is advisable to gather enough funds to cover all costs and avoid situations that may force you to shut down your business.

There is professional accounting software that can help you keep a record of all financial transactions (expenditures and revenues) and also generate profit and loss statements. You can even consult professional financial planning advisors for good financial management.

 

2. Lack of Business Planning:

A solid, clear-cut and realistic business plan is must for a business to turn into success. A good business plan not only helps to figure out short-term or long-term goals, but also helps create a fine balance between the two.

Lack of Business Planning

Planning gives direction to your enthusiasm and channelizes your energy in the direction that would bring success to your business.

How to Get the Perfect B-plan for your Start-Up Business?

The best thing you can do is to hire a business planning consultant to design a roadmap for your business. A good business plan should include description of the business, vision, goals, work force requirements, problems with solutions and keys to ultimate success of the business.

 

3. Not Understanding The Customer:

Your business is likely to experience a setback if you don’t understand your customers’ wants and needs. For this you need to stay in direct touch with the customers and also ask for their feedback.

Understanding The Customers

 

Feedback from your customers is a valuable advice that will help you to know whether your product is still capturing the market or requires modifications.

How to get Feedbacks from Customers?

The best thing you can do is to do timely surveys to know what their interests are and figure out changes required in your present products and policies. You can use customer relationship management (CRM) tools to maintain touch with your customers.

 

4. Not Understanding the Market:

If you want to open a real estate agency, but you ignore the fact that you are in area which is already flooded with agencies, this is like inviting failure on your own.

Market Reasearch

This is a mistake many start-ups    do. They fail to figure out whether there is a scope to grow in the present market scenario. They are simply blinded by their passion which leads to quick failure of their business.

How to Investigate the Market?

If you are planning to setup a business, you will have to find an unmet need within a market and then work to fill it instead of forcing your services. As a startup, you should work to satisfy a need instead of creating a new one.

 

5. Over-expansion:

Most business owners think a business is successful only if it expands quickly. And here they fail. The aim of the business should be slow and consistent growth instead of fast and inconsistent results. Overexpansion will only lead to bankruptcy.

 

How to Avoid Problems with Growth and Expansion?

Even big commercial franchises such as fast-food restaurants study and analyze before they plan to target a new location. So, every startup should also research about local and regional demographics, latest trends, and future scope before you take a step towards the expansion.

 

5 Best Quotes on Building a Successful Startup

There was a time when riding a bicycle was the toughest job in the world. But after a series of trials and a few bruises, you finally learned how to balance properly.

The same is true with your business start-up. Many people give up after making a few mistakes in the beginning. But it’s not the end. If you truly believe in your passion and spirit, trials and obstacles seem less daunting.

The following post is a collection of quotes that can set you on the right path and re-focus on your goals, and help you leave fear and negativity behind.

Check out these inspiring quotes before you launch your startup.

1)   “The last 10% it takes to launch something takes as much energy as the first 90%.”
–Rob Kalin, co-founder of Etsy

Motivational Quotes

 

 This one is especially for startups. As they say well begun is half done and it takes a great deal to simply start. A great business plan can help you make a powerful start.

2)   Make your team feel respected, empowered and genuinely excited about the company’s mission.” – Tim Westergren, co-founder of Pandora

Motivational Quotes

The best way to create a sense of community among your team is by involving them in your mission. Now, what if your business lacks a mission? How will you inculcate coordination in your employees? A clear-cut business plan is the answer.

3)   “Unless you are a fortune-teller, long-term business planning is a fantasy.”
–Jason Fried, founder of 37signals

Motivational Quotes

What does this mean for you? We know you cannot stop thinking about your business turning into a multi-million dollar company. But as a start-up, it’s best to focus on short-term goals. The long term plans will fall into place.

4)   The strategy is to first know what you don’t know, the tactic is to grind, and the value is to remember: there are plenty of places to innovate.” –David Friedberg, founder of Weatherbill

Motivational Quotes

 Best places to innovate? The market.

You need to clearly understand what’s selling in the market, what is not and then plan accordingly. A good marketing plan can benefit your start-up.

5)   “Even if you don’t have the perfect idea to begin with, you can likely adapt.” –Victoria Ransom, co-founder of Wildfire Interactive

Motivational Quotes

It’s okay if you’re unsure of taking the first step towards starting your business. Get in touch with a business consulting firm, create a business plan and start your journey.  

Boo!! It’s Halloween Time – Is your business Celebrating this Year?

Halloween is exciting in the same way as Christmas and that’s why most people including kids and adults prepare for this creepy festive with full enthusiasm.

Halloween 2015

But the one’s at work face the real challenge of finding the right costume and the right way to be a part of it without interrupting their office routine. Celebration is important but you cannot let it affect your professional life. If you are a business owner then its best to take some time out of your business hours and throw a small Halloween party instead that you force your employees to work and spoil the festivity of the hour.

So, here are few rules to engage your employees in Halloween 2015 without letting it ruin your business.

Mummy Invitation Cards:

To add fun to the daily routine of your employees, you can send them invites by creating simple mummy invitation cards for the Halloween party. You can create these simple cards with the help of glue gauze, googly eyes, and a cardboard that you can cut into square sized cards.

Mummy Cards For Halloween

You can simply place the card on each employee’s desk a day before the party. This will create excitement and a feeling of being welcomed at the party.

Halloween Costumes:

The best way to create the Halloween ambiance is asking everyone to be dressed up in the ghostly costumes. You can ask to be original and not too ghoulish like wearing a black outfit with a makeup that looks scary but not horrible. Make sure they don’t spend too many bucks in buying a costume and put together stuff available at their home.

Halloween Costumes

Decorate Your Office:

There are endless options to set your office in the Halloween theme. You can use candy, pumpkin, spider web, boo bottles to decorate your office in Halloween theme. You can even gather all the materials and involve your employees to decorate the entire office or simply their desks.

How To Decorate Office This Halloween

For example: You can ask them to create anything with cheap and budget friendly items (such as creating lanterns with empty boo-bottles or milk cans and placing white light inside them) as a part of an activity and give reward for best three or two. This will set out a spirit of healthy competition amongst them and also increase their coordination at work.

Make It an Open Festival:

If your business deals with customers directly and you can easily afford it then you can declare it as an open celebration for city dwellers or anybody who wants to join in. This will let more and more people know of your business and would be fruitful for your business in long term.

To make it more fun, you can collect ideas from your employees and ask them to host the event. You can plan this for 2-3 hours after your office hours or cutting short sometime from the office hours only. Anyways, your profits will double up later.

Enjoy Halloween!

 

How Swot Analysis is Important for Business Marketing Plan?

The first job of a marketer before designing a business plan is to closely analyze the environment in which the business is to work in. If the marketer knows the target audience then he can design the ways to accomplish the task.

SWOT which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats is a simple yet excellent tool to achieve a better understanding of the business environment. With a good SWOT analysis, a business can easily make a place in the market and create opportunities for growth and expansion.

Read further to find how SWOT analysis can prove beneficial for a good business marketing planning.  

1. Finding Strengths of the Business:

The ‘S’ of SWOT analysis stands for strengths which means recognizing what keeps your business ahead of other competitors of the market. Identifying strengths can help in doing a better groundwork for targeting the right audience, improving sales and providing quality services.

Strengths of the Business

It is very necessary to find out strengths as it will help differentiate the business from other competitors and also strengthen those areas of expertise.

2. Working on Weak Areas:

The “W” in the SWOT analysis represents the weaknesses of any business model. Since no organization can be flawless, figuring out weaknesses is also important for consistent growth of the business.

Analysing Weakness Of Business

If a business is lacking good marketing or providing good quality services then figuring out such weaknesses can help to improve upon these areas. This can help marketers to design strategies accordingly.

Gaps in a business, unnecessary expenses and other fixes can be recognized by finding weaknesses.

3. Finding Opportunities for Increasing Profits:

After recognizing the business’ strengths and weaknesses, next thing is to work on maximizing profits. Strengths and weaknesses give a real picture about where the business stands and opportunities are about external openings for growth. Opportunities include many things, like identifying the needs of the client which no other business is working for.

Finding Oppurtunities For Business

A good marketer will discover new opportunities and correlate them with strengths of the business to generate more revenue.

4. External Challenges:

The last thing about SWOT analysis is recognizing the challenges or threats to a business. Although it is not possible to eliminate the threats completely but if we are aware of the challenges we can adopt counter measures to tackle them.

This can also help in avoiding mistakes common to new businesses such as selling a product in a crowded marketplace.

 

5 Reasons You Need A Business Plan

The basic purpose of a business plan is to have clear information about the business concept, marketplace, financial conditions, marketing strategies, competition analysis, design and development, operations and management etc.

The following points summarize the importance of the business plan for a business.

 

1. Clarify the Purpose of Business:

The primary reason a business plan is created is to state the actual purpose of the business and the direction in that it will follow. Clarification includes description of the services you offer along with the ideal customers beneficial for your business.

If you have a clear purpose about your business then you can design strategies accordingly to achieve it. 

Importance Of Business Plan

2. For Accomplishing the Future Goals:

A good business will describe the future scenarios of the business and policies to achieve those goals. It not only includes the present course of action and marketing techniques but it will also describe ways to maintain a fine balance between short term and long term goals.

Future Goals of Business

If your business plan is designed as per the changing market trends, it is definitely going to be successful in long terms as well. 

3. For Growth and Funding:

It is practically inevitable for a business to encounter financial issues due to losses or the ever changing market. Such situations demand external funding but it is easy to find suitable funds because of high competition in the market. To seek help from the investors your business plan should clearly answer the following questions.

Why they should invest in your business than in any other business?

Why would people spend to buy from your business?

Growth & Funding in Business

If your business plan answers these questions then it can convince investors to invest in your business.

The most significant role of business plan here will be to make investors believe in the credibility of your business whether it will be able to generate sufficient cash flows to meet debt obligations and also operate effectively

4. To Manage Cash Flow:

Managing the cash flow is a fundamental requirement for every business because it is important not just to cut costs but also to generate profits.

Cash flow management is also important to pursue investment opportunities where there are considerable cash out flows, in advance of the incoming cash flows.  Such prospects should be evaluated against any seasonal variations in the business and the timing of the flows. If a business is “cash-only” then it can bank the income straight away but if it is credit based then you need to pay some expenses before the money comes to your account.

Cash Flow In Business

 

Such situations are strenuous for a company and the only way to escape can be a well structured business plan. 

5. To Bear a Strategic Exit:

This is the hard fact: At some point in time, the owners of the business will have to pass on their responsibility to partners, family members. So, keeping this in mind, the present day decisions can be molded accordingly. The basic purpose behind this is to liquidate the investment, so that the current investor or the owner has the option of cashing out whenever they wish to.

Strategic Business Exit

Common exit strategies:

  • Initial Public Offering of stock (IPO’s)
  • Overtake by competitors
  • Mergers
  • Family succession

A good business plan cannot just take care of the present investors but also create opportunities for future incoming investors.

 


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