Fine Tuning Your Business – Part 1

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Who’s got time to develop a business plan?!? 

 

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you can certainly support the idea…but, when push comes to shove, you’re focusing on the day-to-day activities more than planning where your business should be going.

 

When we tackle the need for Fine Tuning Your Business – show #58 we are sensitive to that reality. At the same time, we know there are so many conventional resources available for developing business plans that it is often very hard to get excited about pulling a plan together – one that you’ll want to update during critical stages of your business such as expansions, increased competitiveness and/or calamities.

 

Rather than suggesting you adopt a traditional business plan, we recommend you create a “Passion Plan” – a plan that tells the inspiring and unique story about your business – within a business plan structure.

 

Why? Because, only plans that effectively capture your energy and enthusiasm will really take root in the hearts and minds of those who have to live the plan each and everyday – i.e. your employees, your investors and of course…you!

 

Listen to Fine Tuning Your Business – show #58 and you’ll get other real-life practical suggestions that will help your business plan – and therefore your business – achieve new heights!

 

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

 

Building Your Public Profile — Heads-Up!

 

For many entrepreneurs – across industries and regardless of years of experience and type of business – Public Relations remains a riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma!

 

While there is both an art and a science to cost-effective PR, entrepreneurs can do several things to enhance their public profile without needing to make huge investments.

 

So, here’s a heads-up: This coming weekend, Robert and I are going to tackle one of the fundamental tools of PR. Specifically, we’re going to take on the “media kit” head-on!

 

That means, we’ll be providing practical and actionable advice to answer entrepreneurs’ most commonly asked questions, including:

  • Do we really need a media kit?
  • What should we have in place before developing a media kit?
  • What goes in our media kit?
  • What should stay out of our media kit?
  • How do we know our media kit is really working?
  • What other tools support our media kit?
  • Should our media kit be online or offline?
  • Who should write and/or contribute to our media kit?
  • How are we going to distribute our media kit?
  • What does having a media kit say about our business?
  • When should we update our media kit?

After listening to the show, you’ll know if, when and how a media kit can help your business. Stay tuned – the show will be posted soon!

 

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

 

Get New Employees Up and Running – Part 3 – Secrets for Your Success

In BusinessCast podcast show #59 Get New Employees Up and Running, we tackle employee orientation. Why should you care? If you want to achieve any of the following objectives, listen to the show:

  • Give the impression that your company is a good place to work
  • Give an accurate sense of what it is like to work at your company
  • Reduce new employees’ ‘ramp up’ time for getting familiar with your company’s culture, required skills and technologies
  • Reduce employee turnover rates – and associated costs
  • Inspire new employees to become ambassadors for your company

Chances are that you want to achieve several of these objectives. So, here are some of the key secrets you need to include in your employee orientation initiatives:

  • Identify those meetings that new employees need to attend, or participate in, so that they feel as if they’re part of the culture. 
  • Keep in mind that how a new employee thinks about your company begins prior to the first day on-the-job (i.e. during your recruitment and interviews).
  • Make sure that employees feel like they are part of the team. A great way of doing this is by assigning a ‘buddy’ during the first six-to-eight weeks of a new employee starting work.
  • Spend some time with your new employee to learn about their skills and career aspirations.
  • Think of your potential new employees as your most important prospect. So, make sure that every interaction your company has with them is professional, respectful and reinforces your company’s core values.
  • Ask your current employees to provide input in developing, monitoring and updating your employee orientation program.

Developing a successful employee orientation will save you time, energy and money. And, now, you’ve got some of the essentials tools to get underway! Remember, let us know about the innovative ways you orient your new employees.

 

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

 

Get New Employees Up and Running – Part 2

 

You’re a busy entrepreneur. So, you know how difficult it is to retain an enthusiastic, skilled and productive employee. And, since employee retention is directly linked to the quality of your employee orientation program, here’s a question for you:

 

 

In BusinessCast podcast #59, Get New Employees Up and Running, Robert and I outline all of the critical phases of an effective employee orientation program – from pre-employee interview straight through to post probation period.

 

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

 

Get New Employees Up and Running – Part 1

 

You’re always perfecting the processes for getting your newly acquired customers comfortable. It’s one of your keys to success. And, its an area you would never think about neglecting.

 

But, what about doing the same thing for an audience that is just as important as your customers – probably even more important – your employees!

 

A good employee orientation is so much more than just making sure that key forms are filled out or that new employees know where to find the nearest Tim Hortons. The truth of the matter is that if you have a well-developed employee orientation you are going to have much better employee retention. And, all entrepreneurs know the importance of retaining good employees.

 

In BusinessCast podcast #59 – Get New Employees Up and Running – we provide answers for questions that entrepreneurs are always struggling with, including:

  • How important is a good employee orientation?
  • What should a good employee orientation look like?
  • What are the key components of an effective employee orientation program?
  • Who should design, participate, lead and measure your employee orientation program?
  • When does orientation truly begin?
  • How do you know that your employee orientation is successful?
  • How can you/when should you review and improve your employee orientation?

If you’ve ever wondered about how best to orient your new employees, now’s the time to get a quick primer: Listen to BusinessCast podcast #59 and you will truly Get New Employees Up and Running.

 

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

 

Trade Your Business – Part 3 – Resource Round-Up

 

There’s something compelling about bartering – potentially saving costs, quickly acquiring new customers and eliminating unwanted inventory.

 

But, as we’ve explored in “Trade Your Business” (show # 60), each entrepreneur needs to consider several items before they begin bartering, such as: 

  • Establishing a barter-specific rate card
  • How to report barter activity in your annual taxes
  • Implications that bartering can have on your brand
  • Managing expectations

As a business owners/manager, you also need to determine how much you are prepared to trade and accept in barter. As Robert quite rightly pointed out, “you can’t pay your mortgage with barter!”

 

If you find that bartering does work for you, here are a few barter networks that you may want to explore:

Finally, review the New York Times article on online bartering networks.

 

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

 

Trade Your Business – Part 2 – Getting In Agreement

 

In “Trade Your Business” (show # 60) we “unbundle” bartering. One of the tools we identify that can help ensure that bartering helps your business – as well as prevents time-consuming and potentially expensive misunderstandings – is a bartering agreement.

 

Here are some of the key components that you should include in such an agreement: 

  • Description of the product/service being exchanged
  • The dollar value of the items/services being exchanged
  • Acceptable substitutes (if any)
  • Start date (if a service is being provided)
  • Key milestones (if a service is being provided)
  • Delivery date (or end date – if a service is being provided)
  • A measure of quality
  • Acceptable form of remuneration – if the bartering is not completed in the specified time period (e.g. returning a percentage or withholding work)
  • Indication of whether the bartering contract can be transferred to someone else or held over to another date
  • Sign-off by those entering into the agreement
  • A signature by a trusted third-party who has read the agreement and has witnessed its signing

Going through this process is invaluable because it clarifies expectations and helps you identify those people with whom you do/do not want to barter. Of course, it may also highlight the fact that you may need further legal advice or that bartering isn’t right under certain circumstances.

 

Before your consider bartering as a good business tool to control costs, enter into new networks or dispose of unwanted inventory, make sure you listen to “Trade Your Business” (show # 60).

 

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes