Back to Business This Fall

Strategy Plan One

September 8, 2012

back to businessFall Business Period

A week has passed in September… families, communities and the education system are all adjusting to the “back to school” phase of the year.  For many students, young and old, back to school represents a period of renewal, of fresh starts, starting up again.

However, this positive energy can be easily transferred over to the business sector, for existing and budding entrepreneurs.

New entrepreneurs can take advantage of the fresh start approach, planning their initial strategies for the Fall, Winter and 2013 periods.  Some fiscal year periods start in the Fall for good reasons related or integrated into the government fiscal years, or corporate fiscal years.   Existing businesses should refresh their business plans to reflect any market or industry changes that have occurred on local, global and international scales.  Building on successes and results from the previous business cycles, businesses should tweak business and marketing plans accordingly.

Establishing Goals this Fall

Get serious about business and personal development this Fall.  Always as a first step, establish some aggressive, achievable goals and objectives.  Without goals and objectives you won’t be able to set some strategic directions for yourself and your business.  Ensure your goals are achievable, measurable, and that you apply flexibility to adapt and revise goals and strategies.

Business Ideas and Hints for the Fall

Here are some helpful hints and ideas to think about some positive steps to take in business and personal development this fall:

  • Planning – Always a great idea as part of your core activities to review, tweak your business and marketing plans
  • Scan your business environment and competitors – develop some products or services that will be a bit different or new to your market
  • Capacity and Skill development – naturally many classes are offered in the Fall schedule; good time to brush up on business skills
  • Product and Service Offerings – review your results to date and revise if necessary heading into the Fall, Winter and 2013 periods
  • Refresh, redesign – Whether you have a store front or website, take a look at your layout and seek feedback from customers for better designs and layout
  • Communications and Outreach – develop new communications to your customers; utilize social media for extended outreach and measure your effectiveness on social media
  • Generate Fall Buzz, Interest – generate new and continued interest in your company, your products and services; offer Fall free or trial offers

Check out these Fall Business Strategies:

More reading on business topics:

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Mobile User Business Challenges [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

June 14, 2012 

Mobile User – Business Challenges

Growing trends in the use of mobile devices for business has exposed many challenges faced by mobile users.  With revealing these issues, businesses (both on the development and supplier fronts) need to ensure mobile users can effectively and efficiently use their mobile devices to get the work done.   Businesses also need to ensure their own employees are geared up appropriately if the environment is flexible to allow and encourage work on the road and / or at home through mobile devices.

Here is an interesting infographic from harmon.ie  highlighting survey data on what challenges mobile users face.  Businesses should take note and adjust accordingly.

  • 84% of Mobile Users cannot work effectively on the road (platform? programs?)
  • Top places Mobile Users work: Restaurants, air travel, bed (56, 55, & 45% respectively)
  • 50% cite problems receiving timely responses and info from colleagues
  • 48% state issues with trying to connect or can’t connect to work web-based or conference calls
  • 54% express concern with lower personal productivity
  • 46% answered that mobile work caused project delays or missed deadlines
  • 43% experience missing document sections when viewing on a mobile device

mobile user - challenges

Mobile User – Other blogs and articles of interest:

Articles and information on mobile user market:

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Social Media Buttons for Targeting Your Business Audience [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

May 25, 2012 

Social Media Buttons

Many businesses need to consider what social media platform to use when messaging and targeting audiences, as each represents slightly differing markets. Some provide great referral traffic and significant volumes of traffic to your business.  Some social media platforms are dominated by male users, while others have a majority of female users.

Whether you are focused on Business to Business (B2B) or Business to Consumer (B2C), here are some of the highlights of the business perspectives from this infographic:

  • Largest volumes of uses:  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
  • Female audience majority: LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter
  • Male audience majority: Google+, Facebook
  • B2B: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook
  • B2C: Stumbleupon, Digg
  • Referral Traffic:  Facebook, Stumbleupon, Twitter, Pinterest
Here is another infographic on social media buttons for business from TheSearchAgents.

social media buttons for busines

Other Social Media blogs and infographics:

 

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Product Mix – Designing Products and Services for the Consumer

Strategy Plan One

May 17, 2012 

product mixProduct Mix

Determining what your business will offer for products and service to your markets is definitely a business and marketing art form.  Detailed business plans and marketing plans must be completed before entrepreneurs and companies launch their products and services.  An entrepreneur must design their suite of products and service with the overall goal of meeting the needs of the consumer base, and obviously to generate revenue for a successful, sustainable business.

 

Some of the questions you will need to answer include what products and services you will offer consumers, whether those products and services meet their needs, and at what price point is the customer comfortable with (buy-in).  How does one determine what is needed, the value of product or service, competition, price point, sales avenue, etc.?  Detailed marketing plans will help drawn out and plan the products and services mix.  Prior to the marketing plan development, you will need to develop some marketing research methods to extrapolate some information and data from your potential target markets.

Surveying your Markets to Determine Product Mix

Conducting your own due diligence in planning processes is critical to successful developing and implementing plans.  Surveying is one way to gauge the level of interest, the level of need, and economics and business aspects of your proposed products and services.  Whether you conduct the survey or engage with a professional marketing firm to complete those tasks, surveyed information can inform the decisions you need to make around your mix of products and services.

product mixProduct Mix – Marketing Plan

Armed with fresh, relevant data from your surveying efforts, you should be able to draft up a solid marketing plan that reflects your potential product mix, price points, competition concerns, and placement of products.  Your marketing plan should go into the depth required to explain revenue generated from such product and service mixes, and the Return on Investment in marketing activities to promote those products and service.  It will be extremely important to implement your marketing plan and to measure the results.  Reviewing the results will give you an opportunity to analyze whether your plan was working or not, and if you achieved the projected return and benefits from you marketing activities mix.  This also gives you the ability to revise and implement a better plan in the future.

Marketing Budget

Great marketing plans must be funded.  Ensure that as you plan, you also plan a marketing budget to cover marketing expenditures.  Only a few activities can be achieved at very low-cost, but some marketing activities are going to require you to plan and to provide part of your budget towards marketing.  As you fund marketing activities, you also need to determine your return on investment in those marketing activities.  For example, social media marketing is only one of many avenues that may generate a return.  Measure results and revise your marketing plan accordingly.  You may be surprised on the differential in returns between marketing activities and that may change your focus towards more support in one marketing activity category.

Designing Your Product Mix – Tips

  • Always start with the why – why are we conducting these business activities, why do we think these product and services meet the needs of consumers
  • Obtain solid, objective, external information from your markets, customers
  • Undertake surveying to obtain market data
  • Analyze your market data
  • Form business plans and marketing plans based on solid outside information
  • Call upon a marketing professional to strengthen your product and marketing mix (ask the professional)
  • Remember that a high level of due diligence is required and that effort will be reflected in the actual results achieved. 

You may find that hitting the right markets with the right mix of products and services, timed accurately may be achieved through trial and error.  Very few successful companies and marketing strategies hit the nail on the head from the start.  Through conducting due diligence, and your readiness to adapt to the changing environment, will provide you with much better results.

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

How do you like those Apps? App Sales [infographic]

Strategy Plan One                                                                                                                     

April 9, 2012 

App Sales

It is interesting to observe the app sales war play itself out across the top platforms, with the notable Blackberry, iPhone and Android companies and developers jockeying for customer revenue.  Even though Blackberry (BB) reports have not been favorable of late, take note of the impressive sales data around BB app sales.  Where BB lacks in volume of apps for its platform, it makes massive ground in the sales per app & return on investment per app.

This infographic from BlogBerry.de highlights data from the three most popular platforms:

  • BB: 70,000+ Apps; Over 6 Million downloads per day
  • iPhone: 500,000 Apps; 66.2% are paid apps; 4 times the Android app sales
  • Android: Over 400,000 Apps available; 79.3% of Apps have been downloaded less than 100 times

App sales - RIM, Apple, Android How they Compare

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Mommy Blogger Domination [Infographic]

Strategy Plan One

March 29, 2012 

The big business world of Mommy Blogging is illustrated brilliantly in this infographic below, courtesy of infographicsarchive.com.

Mommy blogger huge numbers:

  • 4.2 Million Mommy bloggers and growing  
  • 33% of bloggers are Moms
  • Social Media – 79% of Moms are active on social media
  • Over 81 Million women active in social media on a weekly basis
  • US Moms spend $2.1 Trillion per year

mommy blog

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Age Statistics and Breakdown on Social Media Sites (Infographic)

Strategy Plan One

March 17, 2012 

Social Media Statistics

Different social media sites are used by different age groups for differing purposes.  Whether you use social media sites for business or other social means, you may find after reviewing stats and infographics such as this, you may want to alter or focus attention on sites that cater to certain age groups.

Courtesy of Pingdom.com and data from Google Ad Planner, here is an interesting age distribution breakdown of users on different social media sites.

Social Media Statistics – Infographic

Age Distribution Across Social Networking Sites

 

From the above graphic, you can see that younger users dominate sites such as Bebo and MySpace and Xanga.  The more mature age groups, possible more engaged in using social media for career or business purposes, are the majority users on Twitter, Digg, Delicious, LinkedIn, and Classmates.

Targeting and the messaging around your products and services, or for other social means, is critically important.  Knowing statistics around age demographics on social media sites will help shape your marketing strategy and assist you to get the right message to the right target market.

 

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day – Another Pot of Gold for Businesses

Strategy Plan One

March 16, 2012 

St. Patrick's day - Pot of GoldSt. Patrick’s Day

On the other side of the rainbow, another calendar event brings another commercial opportunity for entrepreneurs.  For St. Patrick’s Day, this special period is no exception.  From a BigInsight survey for 2012 St. Patrick’s Day spending, businesses will reap an estimated $4.6 Billion pot of gold for this year’s event in the US.

St. Patrick’s Day Retail Statistics

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) the average spending per consumer is estimated to be $35 US, centered on the food & beverage industry, but also ties into the retail industry with festive merchandise purchasing.  Now that’s a lot of shamrocks!

St. Patrick’s Day Event – Business Planning

It is good business practice to plan out your operations and marketing well in advance.  As part of your normal business planning core activities, your business plan may be targeting calendar periods such as this one, promoting your own mix of good & services.  As a well prepared entrepreneur in industries such as retail, and if you rely on bigger calendar events to fuel your annual sales, ensure that you plan accordingly well in advance.  This includes shaping your marketing strategy and aligning your suppliers, months before the actual calendar event.

So, sit back enjoy your green alcoholic beverage and plan out your next commercial opportunity.  With some Irish luck, you will hit your pot of gold.

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Video Game Statistics and Industry Outlook for 2012

Strategy Plan One

March 10, 2012 

video game statisticsVideo Game Statistics Stand out in the Challenged Economy

With the recent challenges in the economy over the past few years, the video game industry continues to boom with staggering video game statistics and data… huge numbers.  Many articles and marketing research firms are predicting favorable statistics for the video game industry for 2012, with one Chicago Tribune article stating the global industry to hit $64 Billion this year.  Entrepreneurs, video game developers and tech firms out there should pay close attention to these important trends and opportunities in this industry.

Video Game Statistics – Mobile Gaming Market

The mobile gaming market is one experiencing exponential growth.  Leading the pack, the new iPad is about to be launched along new Android and other platforms.  ABI Research has estimated that 2.1 Billion mobile devices are expected to use HTML5 browsers by 2016.   One blog, imediaconnection, cites that the marketing research firm M2 Research is predicting that the mobile gaming market will blow past the $6 Billion mark in 2012.  Plenty of opportunity for those developing apps for the mobile market.   However, big players such as Zynga has to develop new strategies to keep its estimated 250 million users interested in its gaming platform.

video game statisticsVideo Game Statistics – iPad Gaming Market

iPad is closing in fast on consoles with an estimated 55 Million units sold, compared with 62 Million PS3 and 65 Million XBox consoles out there in the hands of gaming consumers.    Apple is stating that its future gaming will offer faster and sharper video games, making them more attractive than console games.   Plenty of opportunities for those Apple iPad app and game developers.

Not with out its challenges, the video game industry, especially the console gaming industry has its issues with attempting to keep its paid subscribers and competing the mobile gaming market, which is obviously exploding.  Keep watching the interesting video game statistics trends over the next few months.

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

How to Find Statistics and Data to Back Your Business Plan

Strategy Plan One

March 5, 2012 

 

Statistics and DataStatistics and Data for your Business Plan

 

As part of your due diligence as an entrepreneur starting or expanding your business, you will need to develop a detailed business plan.  As you draft up your business plan and the financial documents, you will need to obtain data and statistics that would form and back your financial statements.

 

If you use to much guess work and estimates, pulling figures out of the sky, your business plan will be weak and subjective.  To make your business plan more objective, you should obtain credible sources of data from multiple sources.

 

Here are some helpful tips for gathering statistics and data from multiple sources.

 

Statistics and Data from Experience

If you are going into your business in the same industry you have been working in, you have excellent intelligence on marketing, sales and expenditure data.  Through years of experience in operations and management you will gain the innate ability to draft up projected financial statements from this known data.  Be careful not to steal data or proprietary information, but use your gained skills knowing the industry.

 

Statistics and DataStatistics and Data from Mentors and Advisors

You should always drive and lead the business planning project, but should you need an advisor or mentor, these individuals can provide credible sources of information to you.  Based on their experience and their network of professionals they will help you form more realistic projections.  Once again, a wealth of experience usually reveals a wealth of good statistics and data.

 

Statistics and Data from Surveying

If you develop some objective methodologies in surveying your potential markets for your products and/or services, you may be able to obtain some useful data for your planning.  This should be done with caution and should not be the only source of data you would use.  Ensure you sample randomly and with large sample sizes to make the data more reliable and valuable.

 

Statistics and Data from Federal Government Statistics Branches

To support data obtain through your own sources, you can seek out sources of statistics and data from Federal Government sources.

     US Statistics and Data

  • The US Census Bureau (http://www.census.gov ) provides an enormous catalogue of statistics and data on the US population, markets and the economy.  General economic indicator information can be found within a few easy steps on their website (http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/briefroom/BriefRm ).  Information is also broken down by industry classification, based on 2007 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes.  USA.gov website provides additional, relevant business and economic linkages to statistics and data.  Please note that information is presented in general overall industry, summary form and you will need to drill down as far as you can get to what is applicable to you.

     Canada Statistics and Data

  • Statistics Canada (http://www.statcan.gc.ca ) is the place to go to obtain statistics and data on the Canadian people, markets and economy.  Statistics Canada promotes their federal responsibility to provide objective statistics and data, with methods and surveying every 5 years.  Statistics Canada also has information broken down into NAICS codes.  Once again, this source can be helpful in analyzing the overall industry statistics and data.

 

 

Statistics and Data from Paid Sources

To round off your basket of statistics and data for your business plan, you can pay for very specific data.  There are many marketing companies out there in the private sector that can provide relevant data for your specific industry and target markets.  Companies can also provide customized surveying for you to obtain the most reliable, objective data.

 

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One