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Resource Maturity Requires Innovation

Resource Maturity Requires Innovation

Having an Innovation plan when you move into the Resource Maturity stage is critical. Any resource maturity plan will help define your resource management strategy, analyze the core elements of operational stages, and highlight the actions that need to be prioritized. However, specifically addressing innovation will be the key to your sustainability as an organization.

Effective resource maturity plans are not white paper commodities. The concept is not rigid, and the product is not purely academic. Strategic planning is required to advance any organization, regardless of its size. To do so, you’ll need to develop a dynamic system that allows for quick innovation.

What is the Resource Maturity Stage?

Identifying your business’ relativity to the resource maturity stage is the first step. The fastest way to start is to recognize the 5 crucial stages of development: Existence, survival, success, take-off, and resource maturity, and assess where you are in your business. Too many businesses overlook the latter stage or fail to implement an effective strategy to grow beyond the first few stages. This results in an inability to expand effectively and innovate which leads to the business becoming stagnant and losing market value. 

Key Elements of the Resource Maturity Stage

At the resource maturity stage, your business faces several potential challenges: 

  • Adapting to rapid expansion
  • Anticipating and accounting for progress limitations
  • Acknowledging responsibilities to clients and shareholders 
  • Allocating resources to work, in line with these fundamentals

If your business is at this stage, it’s likely that you have good controls in place to address most of the challenges. At this point, you’ll want to review which of these needs improvement or can provide economies of scale. When you do this, you’ll end up with systems that are efficient and productive, and you’ll continue to mature organically.

The Importance of Innovation for Growth

A company or business irrespective of size can’t expect to develop, remain profitable or hold market share if it is not constantly innovating and improving. Competitors of every business in the world are watching to see what has been successful, what is trending and what is yet to be done. They learn from examining your products and services and can sometimes employ strategies with a significantly reduced investment.

If you don’t constantly analyze your processes, workforce, products and services, you’ll lose your market share and potentially your business. Innovation is imperative for growth, for development, and for business in general.

Ultimately, a successful business is built on strong planning, analysis, comprehension, and execution. As the business evolves so must its ability to refine its role and clarify its objectives. Market trends, economic changes, and development potential are all fluctuating elements in an operational business life-cycle. Innovation and proper resource allocation is key to the success of any business enterprise.

If you’ve reached the Resource Maturity Stage within your business and need assistance with improving your financial systems so that you can focus on innovation, give me a call. I’d be happy to help.

Expand or Maintain? Navigating the Success Stage of Small Business

Expand or Maintain? Navigating the Success Stage of Small Business

Small businesses have always had it rough, mostly because it takes a lot of time, resources, and effort to build a successful one. As a small business grows, investors come into the mix and the influx of cash can rapidly propel the business into the next stage.  However, some small businesses decide that they don’t want to grow. Instead, they want to maintain the status quo. Herein lies the decision to move into the Success Stage of small business.

What is the Success Stage?

The third stage in the five stages of small business growth is called the Success stage. When your business is at this stage, you’ve accomplished huge goals and stabilized cash flow. You’re less involved in the daily operations and take a more strategic role. You’ll begin to make solid plans for the future of your business, your role moving forward, and you’ll make the decision to either use your business as a means of support or as a base for further growth.

Going All-In on Success

If you decide to maintain the status quo, your goal is to get the right people in place so that you can free your time up for your next adventure or phase of life. The first steps revolve around hiring the right people for the right positions. A team of forward thinking managers will put the right financial, marketing and production systems in place. The staff hired for these positions are usually a controller and a production scheduler or operations manager.

The planning of operational budgets will support a functional delegation and overall, everybody involved in the business, including the owner and the manager, should focus on devising a strategy for the purpose of maintaining the current situation. That doesn’t mean that you don’t keep up with technology and improve efficiencies. It just means that you’re not putting much effort into research and development.

If on the other hand you’ve chosen to expand, you’ll play a significant role, but mostly on the planning and new product launch side. While the team of managers are focusing on the strategies that will maintain the day-to-day operations and keep the business profitable, you’ll be off with another team working on the next phase. You can use the cash and borrowing power of your successful business to invest in new product lines.

Moving into the Take Off Stage

As you go beyond the Success stage of small business growth, you’ll need to generate enough revenue to handle that growth. In the next article, I’ll help you navigate the Take Off stage of small business growth. If you’re anxious to get started today, contact me here.

Growing Your Business Beyond Existence

Growing Your Business Beyond Existence

Existence is the first step towards operation, and gradually, success. In the early startup phase of your business, it’s up to you to manage and consider every single aspect of operations. This is the period where you need to work the hardest and be the most creative to attract customers and provide the best product or service that you’re capable of.

What is the Existence Stage?

The existence stage is the very beginning of any business. The biggest challenge in this stage is generating demand for your product or service. This is a period of first-hand learning and experiences, where you’ll tackle problems like product and service viability and cash flow.

In this stage, you as the owner perform most of the tasks.  Your goal for the business is existence and function. Often, you’ll use your own money or a small business loan to help stay afloat.

Some of the questions to consider as you validate your business’s existence include:

  • Who are your customers and what do they want?
  • Who are your competitors and what are they doing?
  • What do you want to achieve and what is your plan?

Surpassing Existence

The key to surpassing existence and becoming a viable business requires that you focus on your core and provide value all while managing everyday aspects of day-to-day operations. To do so, consider these six areas of focus.

Focus on Your Core Business

Always remain true to your business purpose, values and mission.  This helps drive your business in the straight direction towards achieving your goals rather than getting mixed up in other schemes and ventures that aren’t in alignment. If you remain steadfast and concentrate your energies on your core business, success will follow.

Define a Market Niche

Your product or service must attract and appeal to your target market in order to generate demand. Uniqueness and distinction will set you apart in the industry, and will attract the customers you’re looking for.

Understand your strengths and weaknesses, create your value proposition and define your market niche. Then, narrow your focus on serving that niche with excellence before expanding.

Articulate your Competitive Advantage

Before you are ready to plan all your marketing and pricing strategies, it is essential to examine what techniques and promotions are being deployed by the competition. This will help you stay competitive and maintain an edge in the market.

Your aim is to be unique, and counter your competitors with a greater, more attractive value proposition. Your customers need to know why they should pick you over the countless other businesses who provide similar services or products.

Manage Cash Flow

Liquidity and solvency are the biggest problems during the earliest stage of business. Be sure to manage your cash flow, avoid waste, and keep a check on each and every dollar that is spent. If you are bad at managing finances, hire a professional accountant to do it for you.

Acquire Customers

Acquiring customers is always cited as the most challenging aspect of running a business at every stage of small business growth. The key to acquiring customers is creativity, effective promotion and value. When you provide value to customers, they want to reciprocate in the form of a purchase or referral.

Deliver Value

Provide your customers superior quality, value-added services and products, so that they keep coming back for more, and refer you to their friends. Being a resource and solving customer’s problems are the best thing you can do to grow your business.

As you begin the journey of starting up your business, you’ll need people that can come along side of you. Our Bridge Starter package can help set your business on the right path at the very beginning. Contact us to learn more.

In Survival Mode? Here’s How to Grow.

In Survival Mode? Here’s How to Grow.

Once you have established your business, defined your market niche and generated a steady demand, your business has landed in the survival stage. Now, your business is a successful and efficient entity that earns revenue and hopefully profit.

What is the Survival Stage?

The survival stage is the second stage in the growth of a small business. Here, your business has started to generate profit, and your biggest challenge is to make sure these profits keep coming in and are utilized efficiently. You do not only need to attract and entice your customers with effective marketing and promotions, but you also need to examine and analyze your ROI and engage in serious strategic planning.

Being open for business is no longer the primary concern. Now you have more important challenges to overcome, such as developing procedures, systems and plans to make sure your profits keep pouring in.

As you grow beyond survival stage, consider these three questions:

  • Are you ready to delegate minor activities and organize operational systems?
  • How can you improve internal and external communications?
  • What does your business need to improve and expand on?

The Key to Growing Beyond the Survival Stage

There are five keys to growing beyond survival, and your ability to master them will ensure your business thrives.

Focus on Expansion

You cannot expand unless you delegate everyday tasks to your employees, and concentrate your energies on more strategic matters. You need to be willing, emotionally and mentally, to let go of these tasks and trust others to take care of them by defining job requirements and tasks.

Expansion should not only be your goal and target, but your policies, strategies and plans should also adequately address all the needs of expansion. As you expand, you’ll have to hire employees and learn employment law and best HR practices. You’ll also increase your inventory and offerings, so you’ll need efficient processes and procedures to ensure that all tasks are completed on time and as promised.

Acquire Necessary Resources

Innovation and advancement are the key to success. Unless your business is adequately equipped with all the necessary financial, technical, human and intellectual resources, it cannot function, operate, innovate and succeed.  Make the right investment decisions and acquire the necessary resources you need to grow while maintaining adequate cash flow.

 Formalize Operational Systems and Procedures

Formalizing operational systems and procedures helps day-to-day activities run without a hitch.  Have employees document best practices and keep these documents up to date.

Improve Communications

You need to improve communication within your business so that your employees and contractors know the goals and can work towards them. Likewise, ensuring external communication with your customers, bookkeeper, accountant and legal team helps keep your machine running smoothly.

Spend Time Strategically Planning

Strategic planning is the secret to expansion and growth. When everything is organized and running smoothly, you can allocate time to concentrate on strategic planning.

Concentrate on all the changes and innovations you need to pursue in order to make sure your business continues to flourish and expand. Then, create and document the plan so that you can work towards achieving them.

We’re here for you when you’re ready to expand. Our Build Your Bridge package can help you go beyond survival and into the Success Stage of the small business growth.  Contact us today.

Do You Want Your Business to Grow

Do You Want Your Business to Grow?

In my previous article, I shared the five stages of small business growth. One of the biggest decisions business owners face is whether to try to expand their businesses. Some business owners don’t want to grow. They want to maintain their clients and eventually pass them on to someone else as they head toward retirement. Others want to grow but haven’t learned what they need to know to progress. Both choices are ok; you just need to determine which direction you want to go in.

If you’re confident that you don’t want to grow, then start working on succession planning. Respect the clients that have given you their business for years by making sure you have the right people in place. Then create a plan to transfer the business and start working the plan.

On the other hand, if you want to expand your business, but feel stuck, it may be due to one of the following.

You Don’t Have a Solid Business Plan in Place

No business can succeed without a solid business plan in place, one that involves continually monitoring all the aspects of your business, ensuring that you’re prepared to deal with problems as they arise. An effective business plan will help you to concentrate on your vision and goals and establish firm plans in order to accomplish them.

Poor Cash Flow

As a startup, money is usually tight and it can take a year or two in some cases to generate a stable income. Even if you’ve been in business for years, you may need to consider whether or not your cash flow is working for you. It’s important to come up with and adhere to a realistic budget, and avoid draining the business income on unnecessary spending. Smart businesses also keep tight financial records and review their revenue and expense reports every month.

Ineffective Sales and Marketing Strategies

If you are ineffective with your sales and marketing efforts, you’ll throw money at the wind. You need to know your target audience, how to best market to them and how to close the deal. If you don’t have these very necessary skills, you’ll need to hire someone who does. This expert can focus all their time and energy on getting to know your competition, attracting potential clients and closing the deals.

If you feel you can’t afford to hire professionals, then start to learn sales and marketing skills yourself. It will take a lot of time and effort, but you’ll see better results.

Substandard Customer Service

Once you’ve attracted the attention of potential clients and converted them into customers, you need to do whatever it takes to retain them. Continue to monitor their wants and needs, make it easy for them to communicate with you, and make an effort to be pleasant and responsive.

Are You Suffering from Burn Out?

Owning a business demands a massive investment of money, time and energy. Let’s face it, it can be emotionally draining. All of the above leads to burnout. It’s important to take time, even if it’s mini-breaks throughout the day, to unwind. Whether it’s a brisk walk outside, reading a good book, dinner with the family or taking a short weekend “stay-cation,” the breaks will help you recharge and refocus.

If you’re unsure about what it takes to grow, start working with a coach or a mentor. He or she can help you identify resources and steps to take to get you to the next level. Schedule a free consultation today.

Five Stages of Small Business Growth

Understanding the Five Stages of Small Business Growth

As you grow your business, it goes through a life cycle, of sorts, encountering different challenges in each stage that requires a unique approach. Marketing, sales, business development, and preserving market share are all different now than they were when you opened the doors. Your priorities and business operations have changed and so have your finances. Understanding the stages of small business growth will help prepare you to deal with the obstacles that most small businesses face as they continue to grow.

There are five stages of small business growth that you’ll encounter as you grow and scale your business.

Existence

In the existence stage, businesses are typically small organizations in which the owners do most of the work and guides the actions of their employees. At this point, the company’s main concerns are getting clients and providing services or products that will earn their new client’s loyalty.

Survival

In the second stage of business growth, the company has managed to establish itself, has managed to generate a good client base and the quality products or services that those customers require. Revenues at this point aren’t capable of funding exponential growth, leaving survival as the major goal. Owners continue to be heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of the business.

Success

At this stage, the business has accomplished goals and stabilized cash flow making it possible for the owners to make the decision to either use their business as a means of support or as a base for further growth.  The owners will be less involved in day-to-day operations as this stage.

Take off 

At this stage, the business has grown considerably, has achieved a sustainable amount of financial resources and attracted key managerial talent. Primary concerns at this stage are not only to accelerate growth but also to learn how to generate enough revenue to handle that growth.

Resource Maturity

Businesses that arrive at this stage are generally preoccupied with consolidating and managing the financial gains that were brought on by the accelerated growth. To continue being successful, they also will need to focus on retaining the benefits associated with their small size. That is their ability to be agile, efficient and think out of the box.

Being Prepared

The five stages of growth must play a part in your business plan and the processes from stage one to stage five. If you plan for what needs to be done next and take immediate action, your business will have the best chances of achieving the next stage of growth.

If you don’t know what stage you’re currently in, take a look at your major risk factors. Are you just starting out or do you have a thriving machine that’s operating on all cylinders?

Once you know where you are, you can begin making plans for your next stage. You’ll also become more aware of your business, identify the problems, possible pitfalls, and opportunities at any given point. If you can do this, you’ll be able to navigate the five stages of business growth and thrive beyond your imagination.

If you’re struggling with any stage, I can help identify areas of improvement and scalability. Schedule a free consultation with me today.

Simple Steps To Recruit Finance Professionals

Simple Steps To Recruit Finance Professionals to Work for You

Hiring the right professionals is crucial for the success of any business. From telecommunications to manufacturing, to retail products and banking, businesses across all market sectors need exceptional financial talent to increase revenues, reduce costs, efficiently navigate through investments and merger and acquisition activity, and intelligently deal with increased government regulation. Even though recruiting exceptional financial talent is difficult, the following simple steps will help.

Step 1: Create a Success Profile

Along with developing job descriptions, it is important to create a “success profile” of what you consider to be the ideal finance professional. You probably have a basic idea of the responsibilities and job skills you want the potential employee to handle, but you’ll have a much better chance of recruiting the right candidates (and avoiding the wrong ones) if you have a success profile laid out in advance. Make sure you specify the attributes you’re looking for including knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors.

Step 2: Understand What Motivates Possible Candidates

Once you have a good idea of who you’re looking for, it’s time to consider what the ideal candidate will want in return. A positive, motivating work environment is as important to most employees as compensation. Does your workplace offer perks, benefits and work-life balance that will attract and motivate top-notch finance professionals?

Step 3: Seek Employee Referrals

Your employees can be a very reliable and valuable recruiting source. A lot of companies have an employee referral program in place that rewards employees who recommend someone that the company ends up hiring with a reward like cash bonuses or extra vacation days.

People like to work with people they know, like and trust. Not only will you get a good referral, but you increase the likelihood of keeping both employees longer.

Step 4: Tap into Social Media

If you’re not utilizing social media to its fullest, it’s time to put up a company LinkedIn profile, especially if you’re trying to recruit a finance professional. When it comes to job searches, the active job seekers spend a lot of their time networking on sites like these.

Step 5: Network

By joining business associations, going to networking events and consistently contributing to public discussions regarding your industry, you’ll be able to get the word out about your company and your recruiting needs. It’s also a good idea to take part in career fairs and maintain a presence on college campuses. These types of venues give businesses the opportunity to offer job placement, mentorships and scholarships to college students.

Step 6: Hire a Recruiting Firm

A lack of time, inexperience or inadequate professional network can all result in recruitment challenges. If you’re facing any of these challenges, it’s time to contact a recruitment agency. Reputable professional recruiters have access to a substantial pool of applicants and they also handle the key administrative details, including placing ads, reviewing resumes as well as carrying out preliminary interviews. On top of that, you only pay the recruiter’s fee once they find someone you end up hiring.

I can help you find the right financial professional for your team. Contact me today to learn more about my process.

Why Is Professional Judgment Important In Accounting?

Why Is Professional Judgment Important In Accounting?

With the progressively complex nature of today’s global business practices, it’s important to have reliable financial information for your business. Accountants are professionals and due to the nature of their industry, are expected to apply professional judgment. Having the ability to make a professional judgment is essential for accountants, but it can be challenging,

Professional judgment is a required skill for principles-based accounting strategies, including auditors, preparers and regulators of financial statements. That said, making professional judgment calls can be difficult, and there isn’t necessarily one right answer in most cases. There is a learning curve, but it’s possible to recognize and take the logical steps necessary to better navigate through judgment calls, including asking common sense “what and why” questions.

What is Professional Judgment in Accounting?

Professional judgment is the process of drawing a conclusion or arriving at a decision when there are several possible alternatives to choose from. It is a process that is unbiased, logical, consistent and objective.

Accountants make use of pertinent information and balance intuition, knowledge and experience to make the best call. Unfortunately, many accountants don’t have a thorough process in place and fall into common judgment traps. Many of these judgments end up being shortcuts that can help simplify complex accounting tasks but may lead to less than optimal judgments and can cost your business in the long run.

It’s important that you have a good relationship with your accountant so that you can express your concerns and support for professional judgment with your business tax records. Make sure that every item in question is assessed according to the law. If professional judgment is needed, you should work with your accountant to understand the impact that the decision will have on your business.

Following a Sound Professional Judgment Process

Peace of mind comes when you hire the right people for the right job. Accounting is not easy. Your accountant is responsible for providing regulators, directors, managers, investors and others with reliable, up-to-date, comparable financial and accounting reporting information. It’s important that he or she stays on top of the law, receives the training required to make good business calls and follows a consistent process.

By persistently following a good judgment process, understanding risks and vulnerabilities, and having the right competent accountant on your team, you’ll be able to monitor your company’s risks (including fraud) and strategies. Be consistent in your judgment process. If you chose path A for one item, use the same process for the next one in question. Following an expert judgment process equates to improved risk management and business outcomes.

If you need help creating a consistent, repeatable and efficient judgment process for your business, call me today. I can help you implement the right systems and people to take your business to the next level.

What You Don’t Know Will Hurt You

Most entrepreneurs don’t start a business because they have a passion for running a business or are an expert on operations. They do it because they’re passionate about their idea and feel that what they have to offer is sure to attract their target audience. Unfortunately, the entrepreneur’s journey is never an easy one.

It’s true that what you don’t know will hurt you. The world is constantly changing, and savvy business owners understand that they need to make time to work on their business instead of in it. To be successful, they must constantly learn and stay current in their field, on employment, in marketing and so much more.

Here are a few tips to keep yourself in the know:

Hire Good Staff With Excellent Communication Skills

Besides having the skills to expertly perform the tasks of the position they are given, having excellent communication skills are a necessity and will also be a reflection of the company. Also, being able to clearly communicate helps keep employees, management and clients in tune with the business.

Hire a Good Business Coach

Business coaches often stay on top of the trends. They’ll be able to help you pinpoint what you’re missing, identify possible roadblocks, help you come up with strategies to address them and help you remain accountable when it comes to following through.

Be Flexible and Responsive

Research your industry and be ready for changes. If you’re not the kind of business owner who can be responsive and flexible to the needs of your business, entrepreneurship might not be for you.

Never Stop Learning

Today there are plenty of ways to maintain the learning process, and you should continually expand your knowledge base. Consider the following easy ways to keep up to date:

Attend Conferences

Conferences and networking events are the perfect opportunity to learn from people in your industry (including your competitors), listen to the speakers and meet people, including potential clients. Even if the presentation is about something you’re familiar with, it will reaffirm what you already know or provide inspiration.

Take an Online Course

There are online courses covering every topic these days, so the possibilities of furthering your education without leaving home are endless. Online courses are also a great way to achieve added business designations that can help improve your credibility.

Read

Read anything that applies to you and your business, whether it’s about improving your sales skills, wealth, communications, cold calling skills or making the most out or email or social media marketing. Even if the topic seems a bit dry, the usefulness may become relevant down the road.

Listen to Podcasts

Today’s podcast technology provides the convenient ability to listen to and take in different content topics during your down time. You can listen to podcasts in the car, on a plane or at the gym. Where ever you desire.

Always spend time learning and continuing to improve your business because what you don’t know will hurt you. But what you do know will set you apart from the competition.

Have you ever had a situation where what you didn’t know, hurt you? What did you learn from that event? I’d love to read your advice in the comments below.

Do You Have an Entrepreneurial Mindset or Are You Self-Employed?

I talk to many business owners who start businesses, but don’t necessarily have the entrepreneurial mindset. They started their businesses because they wanted to be self-employed, make their own decisions and have the freedom to
choose their schedule, assignments and customers. Unfortunately, they’ve found themselves focusing on the work, managing multiple bosses, uncertain about the future and struggling to pay the bills. If this sounds like you, it’s time to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset.

What Is an Entrepreneurial Mindset?

The entrepreneurial mindset takes self-employment out of the equation and shifts your focus towards value creation and innovation. To transition from the self-employment mindset to the entrepreneurial mindset, you need to start with your vision before you streamline your processes and systems.

Start with Vision

Everything you do starts with your vision, which includes your purpose, values and mission. Even if you’re a solopreneur, you still need to define it and write it down. Having this in front of you will help you through the tough times. More importantly, it will allow you to find the right people, create the right processes and incorporate the right technology to scale your business in the direction you want to grow.

Success Mindset

Once you have your vision in place, you’ll need to assess your business and determine if you’ve set it up for self-employment or growth. Streamlined processes coupled with systems that can reduce manual tasks help you create space to focus on your business instead of in it.

Having an entrepreneurial mindset doesn’t mean you don’t get to do the work that you’re passionate about. You can still enjoy the work. But, to get out of the chaos, you’ll need to spend time above the weeds.

Business needs are different for every industry and stage of business. I can create customized solutions that reflect your company’s current stage. The first step is to get your entrepreneurial assessment by calling me today.