One of the major challenges with some entrepreneurs is, they get bored easily and want to move on to the next thing, that is also a red flag that you might not be the entrepreneur you think you might be. Why? One of the primary characteristics of an entrepreneur, is that they are persistent, and see things through, until it’s time to hand of the project / business to those who manage the day-to-day details or a CEO.
If you change your mind too often, it’s crazy making for those who work directly with you, and make’s it more difficult to actually complete projects. Also, moving to fast or being to far ahead of the team doing the work means you must have great communication channels. If you’re too far forward, and the team can’t see what you see, they’ll never be able to catch your vision, or get the work done the way you see it.
Don’t be a fickle leader, be predictable, and have good communication, fickle will only leave you by yourself, which means….your probably not leading anyone.
If you must write a business plan, you just can’t move forward without one, keep it simple. Don’t think in traditional terms, just do a simple business plan, something you can refer to as a guide. Here are 8 points to consider if you MUST write a business plan:
- Executive Summary – I would write it after you’ve done the next 7 points. Keep it short, one page.
- Company Description – Legal establishment, history, start-up strategy, etc.
- Product or Service – Describe what you’re selling. Focus on customer benefits.
- Market Analysis – You should know your market, customer needs, is there a need, where they are, and how to reach them.
- Strategy & Implementation – Be specific. Include management responsibilities with dates and budgets. Make sure you track results.
- Internet Strategy – For E-Commerce, include development costs, operations, and sales & marketing plans.
- Management Team – Describe the organization, and the key management personnel.
- Financial Analysis – Include your projected profit and loss, and cash flow tables.
You could have someone review this plan to ensure it’s a viable business, be sure this person or firm is capable of doing so. Be careful here, you could get stuck trying to make it perfect, don’t, just write as briefly as you can, unless you’re applying for funding, they want all the details.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. We’ve all heard it before, and we’ve all said it, and yet we expect different results. That’s the definition of insanity right? Doing the same things over & over again expecting different results. We know it’s true, we tell people this all the time, and yet we don’t change our habits, worse yet, we don’t change our thinking.
If technology is changing the world, and changing the way we move products & services, why do we practice the same connecting exercises? Why do we still hold on to old ways of thinking? We hold networking events, we hand out business cards, we shake hands, eat lunch and then never really stay connected. Many attend networking events because they truly believe this is the way to build a business. For small tiny businesses and MLM’s, this will be the normal way of building business, the rest of us have to start paying attention to the way business really is, and how it’s changing.
The problem is business, it’s you. Most of us claim we like change, but when the metal meets the meat, we’re not totally honest with ourselves and those around us. It’s easy to spot, you say it, and then 5 years later, nothing changed. You might be thinking, Owen sure is being hard on me, you’d be right. This blog and my work is about you, to help you see business differently, to make you think, and most of all, help you change how you view business, how you think about your business. Clearly, I’m failing on a massive scale, I apologize for that, I’ll keep trying harder to find ways to reach the very depths of your hearts and brains.
If the problem wasn’t you, things would be different, right? The innovators would never innovate the same thing twice, you would never practice the same bad business practices twice, it would all be different. You’ll notice I didn’t say better.
I challenge you to sift through this blog, read much of the content, and then….make notes on how you see your business, I’ll bet it’s different. I’ll bet you find yourself a little uncomfortable, and wanting to stay in the comfort zone you’re in, that would be a mistake in my humble opinion. You should embrace the change, you should be excited about the future of business and how it will be different than the way you were taught. The problem will always be you, you can never point the finger at someone else.
If you keep using old networking practices, you will continue to reap the same results, and you will notice, you will be shaking the same hands at every networking event. Change your scene, move up a level, start networking with people you don’t know….better yet, start networking with people that have money. If you have to network, doesn’t it make sense to be with people with money, people with influence, people who don’t think or do the same thing twice. This alone will scare the daylights out of most of you, but I challenge you to try it, just once. You might feel energized by it.
You don’t have to be the problem, it’s better if you get out of the way, your business will thrive if you step out of it’s path.
The good news is, you have the power, you can get out of your businesses way, you can meet new people, people with money, people who see opportunity. The very people that fired you, are the very people you can make money from. It’s a matter of perspective, it’s changing the way you see and do business. Sounds uncomfortable doesn’t it, it’s not personal, it just feels that way, it’s business, get out of the way and build a business that makes the world a better place. You have the power, you just have to decide to do it.
The more you analyze your fear, the more you discover you are the problem….shed the fear, and stop being the problem.
By the way, I’m no different than you, I have to do the same things, I’m not so special that I don’t have to constantly change, at 55 it get’s harder and harder, but I must change, or my work and business will be forgotten : )
Every organization has politics that shapes the culture of an office, this culture also determines whether you’re satisfied with the role you fill and or find the work you do is meaningful. Now I’m generalizing of course, there are many organizations that have healthy environments, they allow those they hire to do what they do best. They foster creativity and the opportunity to improve and actually keep the organization inline with business objectives. There’s also many that don’t, and there are many good and very smart people trying to shine there too.
One thing an I.T. Strategic Plan can’t solve is the politics of an organization. Great strategies never see the light of day due to the political climate of an organization, right or wrong it happens everyday. Some of the brightest minds in an organization won’t be fully utilized, or worse yet, a business could go out of business if the political culture doesn’t change. I don’t have the answer for this and there is no silver bullet, but each office has it’s dynamics to deal with.
Don’t give up, there is hope. As head of I.T. you have a way to ensure your strategy get’s a fighting chance, start with developing a departmental Vision / Mission statement that aligns with the organizations business plan. Pull your team together, brainstorm and start building your purpose statement that makes the political field in your firm take notice. A solid I.T. Strategic Plan germinates from a great Vision / Mission statement, you and your team is the one that has to get it done. Deliver a message that shows everyone how you are committed to the organizations overall vision and then tell them how you are going to help them achieve the goals laid before each department. Every person on the team has to be committed, has to read it, memorize it, learn it and above all believe it or you won’t be able to sell it.
Once you have a strong Vision and Mission you must deliver the message by doing exactly what you said you would do in your strategy. It’s the first step in your I.T. Strategy, taking inventory and paying attention to what the organization is trying to accomplish at a high level. Fly at 50,000 Feet and look for the patterns no one else sees. Look for ways to tie technology to business objectives and you will be golden when you deliver.
Once you have a purpose, you can then focus on the services your team will deliver, these services will be tied to the objectives and Key Result Areas (KRA’s) in your plan. Those are the next two steps and I’ll touch on those another time, for now, sit down and get familiar with your organizations business plan, fly at 50,000 ft. and look for the patterns, then pull the team together to build a MANTRA, a war cry and then get to work. This is just one way to manage the politics in your office, but it’s just one way to proceed. There are many ways to skin a cat my Father used to say but at least do something positive to help the organization win, you and your team will be viewed as a solution provider.
After talking to many business owners and I.T. Execs here in my area, I’m convinced most don’t understand or see the change that is taking place and think Social Media is a waste of time, a fad. Most are bottom-line thinkers and there must be a result for ever action taken, an immediate return on investment. They say I don’t have time for that sh*t! It puzzles me how those who think in these terms consider themselves Revolutionary thinkers, Visionaries in their respective fields. It would seem to me that this is the ultimate oxymoron. These individuals understand bricks & mortar better than most but they struggle with the soft side of what’s happening with Social Media and refuse to believe that it has any influence on the bottom-line.
How could it be that these brilliant minds are missing the shift, unwilling to accept that their roles will be obsolete as they know them. The argument is valid, someone must do the work, and, someone must be in charge, well, sort of. The Executive(s) that understand we the people are going to tell him what and how things will go will win, he must listen and listen hard before making a final decision. I’m not saying dismantle your hierarchy right this minute, I’m saying prepare to allow for a flattening of management and an empowerment of your staff unlike anything you’ve planned for in the past. Open yourselves up to bringing strategic I.T. and Social Media consultants (thinkers) in to help guide and wade through this new environment, this new era of Social Media and what it will mean to you and your business. How 50 Billion Dollar Marketing Dollars will go to firms that are smaller and can move faster than the bloated organizations we know today.
There will still be a need for large ERP systems and the like but they too are changing, as we move towards Virtual Reality and Nanotechnology, these environments are being built via the Cloud today rather than in big rooms with SANS and mainframe like servers. In the future we all will be wireless device’s, we will integrate with technology, in some ways we already have, manual processes will disappear in such a way we won’t see it coming. This isn’t fear mongering, this is asking you to look outside of your four walls and take notice of what’s really going on with technology, spend time looking ahead and consult with those who can help you see what you can’t see now.
I.T. Exec’s – The Time Is Now! You may even be too late in some circles, much needs to be done and you need to get started if you haven’t already. Don’t do things in a vacuum or you will stay inside your four walls and try to use old thinking to get you of your Executive Box. I know most of it seems logical but trying to put an ROI to conversation(s) is confusing at best when you try to get there using traditional equations. There are some sharp people who can help you and you must be willing to allow them to lead you through the maze, if you are looking for someone in your area let me know and I’ll get you connected.
I could go on and on but I think you’re getting the picture, get outside the box and ride the wave rather than be whipped out by it!