Business Plan

The big 3 auto makers were in Washington yesterday.  Flew in on their private jets asking for money.  Now personally I think it makes sense that if they have a jet – and they probably need it – that they would use them to get to Washington – practical – logical – from a business standpoint.

But from a marketing standpoint when you have to look at what the everyday person will think of you, and especially when you are trying to persuade politicians who worry enormously about public perception think – well then flying in on a private jet to ask for a government handout – Big Mistake!

That was only one small mistake.  The other mistake was to not have a business plan – or any plan – about what they wanted or how this bail-out would help the industry, help the government, or help the people.  They just wanted the money.

Now a business plan is only the culmination of the business planning process that takes an idea or concept through a systematized process of implementation and ultimately to profit (if done correctly).

The business plan steps through the following phases:

Evaluate the idea

Conceptualize or envsion the business format and structure

Systematize the process

Implementation of the system

Monitor and improve on the system

Growth strategies

Transition

Unfortunately the CEO’s of Ford, GM and Chrysler were still in that Evaluate / Conceptualize stage.  They had no system or plan formulated as to how they would go about getting the auto industry back on track.

And if you fail to plan – you plan to fail!

Wealth equals Business plus Time

Wealth . . .True Wealth.

Is that not what we all wish for.

Freedom, Opportunity, Dreams, Happiness – things we strive to achieve.

That is what personal and business wealth planning is all about.  No matter what you have done in the past, who you are, what you do, how old you are, where you live – you can realize your dreams.

Your personal future can be a success – and the key to that future is your own business.  The challenge is to learn how to balance personal and business and how they are intertwined to create your own dynamic wealth creation machine.  Striking that balance by learning the correct way to manage both your money and your business will make your dreams and hopes for the future a reality.

The first step is the realization that you can succeed – that it can come true for you.  You have to have a vision that is clear as the hand in front of your face.  You must want it with all your heart and soul.  Only then will you have true success.

The second step is to begin to learn and plan.  Learn what it takes to succeed.  Evaluate what you know and what you do not know.  Put a plan in place to gather the wisdom that will take you where you want to go.

The third step is to put in place the structure that will allow you to succeed.  In my humble opinion that is a business structure.  To not use all the tools that being in business allows is like tying one hand behind your back.  You may have some success, but not all the success you could have earned.

And finally the last step is ACTION.  You must implement your strategies.  And you must have the solemn conviction to stay the course.  To make it work through the tough times and the good times.  You must be committed to life-long learning, as the world is in a state of constant change, so keeping up is a must.  But you must never stop taking action.

Through it all you have to keep that vision crystal clear.  You must stand steadfast knowing you are on the right track, making course adjustments as necessary, but never faltering in your conviction.

And that truly is the path to True Wealth!

Branding

A company’s brand is much more than just a name, or fancy logo or graphics.

A brand represents what a company stands for – it’s market positioning.  It signifies what consumers percieve of that company as well as deeper feelings, emotions and beliefs about that company.

Brands do have value – Brand Equity – which is a measure of how much more the consumer would be willing to pay vs. the competition or an un-branded version.  A very hard figure to calculate, so we often talk in relative terms.

I recently found an article that indirectly demonstrated the power of brands – in regards to celebrities.  Top Earnings of Dead Celebrities –  by Forbes – discusses how much certain celebrities that have passed away are still making.

By continueing earning after your dead, your brand must contain value.  Another interesting point is how some celebrities have extended their brand to other items.  Elvis to an amusement park (as well as tons of other memorabilia) and Paul Neuman to his salad dressing and other food products.  It goes to the strength of the brand to be able to extend into a totally new market and still be successful.

Branding itself is a huge subject that cannot always be easily understood, nor quantified.  Nonetheless it is a significant part of marketing.

First Impression

A Classy and stylish Logo – is that what it takes to make a good first impression?

Yes . . . but not only that.

It is true, you need high quality graphics in your  signage, displays, advertising and any other marketing materials.  You need these marketing items created professionally and looking their best.

But that VERY IMPORTANT first impression goes way beyond graphics, style and marketing items.

It includes things like your location, your cleanliness, good maintenance (no squeaky doors).

As well your product will be a huge part of the first impression – you must have the right quality, quantity and product attributes that your target customer desires.

And finally, of utmost importance is the people in your business.  Not just yourself, or your salesman, but everyone, from the receptionist to the janitor.  The service people are especially important, as they help to bring a level of trust to the customer, and they are often forgotten when it comes to sales and communication training.

So be sure to look at all aspects of your business – when making that very important first impression.