Employee Satisfaction and Links to Success

Strategy Plan One

August 18, 2012

Employee Satisfaction

Oh no, we could all see the coming.  We could all feel the tensions in the office.  Everyone, every worker has been on edge.  With poor global economic conditions how could anyone feel great about their workplace and about their future employment.

The past few years, businesses have experienced troubling times, and that is an understatement.  At the very core of every operation is the workers.  A business cannot function without its’ valued workforce, and keeping them happy in these times is challenging.

However, there are significant signs that employees who are engaged and happy lead to greater success, productivity and profitability.  When efforts are made by management, productivity improvements can occur even in these tough economic times.

This infographic from Social Cast highlights this linkage of employee satisfaction with success.

Employee Satisfaction – Top 5 Factors

  • Job security (63%)
  • Benefits (60%)
  • Compensation and pay (57%)
  • Opportunity to use skills (55%)
  • Feeling safe in the workplace (54%)

Engagement:

  • 86% of engaged employees express happiness in the workplace
  • Highly engaged organizations experienced 87% less turnover and 20% productivity improvement

Check out more interesting facts and statistics in this infographic.

Employee Satisfaction

Source: Social Cast

More on Management, Employees, and HR:

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Social Media – Getting Organized With a Task List

Strategy Plan One

August 11, 2012

Social Media – Task List

Do you have a new or existing business and feeling overwhelmed with trying to keep up with all the activities you feel you need to accomplish, on the multitude of social media platforms?  You may not be alone as there are endless activities you could complete, in a swirling universe of social media, all for different reasons and objectives.

Here in this infographic is an example of what The Whole Brain Group classifies as a “Sensible Social Media Checklist” of activities.

social media - task list

 

Source:  The Whole Brain Group 

Social Media Marketing

So what’s in your social media strategy?  What do you plan to tackle on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.  The above infographic gives us a glimpse of something that may work for one company.  Ensure you plan out your social media strategy and activities.  Test out and measure your efforts.  Constantly be looking to improve and revise your strategy and activities for better results.  Make it applicable to your business and to the way you engage and communicate with your customers.

In developing your social media plan:

  1. Establish your objectives
  2. Investigate methods to communicate and engage your customers
  3. Develop some options for marketing activities
  4. Determine social media platforms that would be applicable 
  5. Develop a plan of social media activities  (social media task list)
  6. Estimate the marketing budget
  7. Implement, test, measure, analyze
  8. Revision and continuous improvement for better results

 

Here are some additional Social Media articles, blogs and infographics:

More business blogs of interest:

 

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Social Media Impacts on Small Business [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

August 4, 2012

Social Media and Small Business

Small businesses face a significant uphill battle in these economic times to engage and communicate with consumers.  Marketing and communications have vastly changed over the past few years, and with the add-on of social media as a tool, measurable benefits and trends are occurring with the small business sector.

This informative graphic from Bolt Insurance highlights the following small business and social media statistics and trends:

  • 81% of small business use social media to get their message out and engage with customers
  • 95% use email marketing
  • 98% of small business engage in website marketing
  • 62% of businesses not using social media will plan to in the next year
  • 81% that currently use social media will step up efforts in the next year

Top challenges small businesses face according to this survey:

  • 80% claim attracting new customers are the biggest challenge
  • 52% state obtaining referrals as the greatest issue
  • 41% of small business would like to squeeze and maximize results with marketing dollars 

Social media effectiveness:

  • 82% state Facebook as the most effective social media platform
  • 73% of respondents say YouTube most effective
  • 47%  LinkedIn 
  • 47% claim Twitter is the most effective social media site

View some more interesting statistics in the infographic below.

small business marketing

 

Courtesy: Bolt Insurance

As an entrepreneur / small business, it is advantageous to stay on track with developing trends and to design products and services that not only meets current customer demand, but also future consumer needs.  Review and analyze marketing conditions and trends, and plan accordingly.

Here are some additional Social Media articles, blogs and infographics:

More business blogs of interest:

 

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Business Plan – The Next Steps

Strategy Plan One

July 7, 2012

business plan - commercial loan criteriaBusiness Plan

You have taken the time and effort to develop a draft business plan, and now you are looking to move to the next steps.

Depending on how you developed your plan, whether you completed the draft independently or not, you may want to strengthen your plan before approaching necessary funding agencies, investors, or partners.  You may just want to take steps to ensure you are implementing a stronger, more objective business plan that will have the higher probability of working for you.  Here are some tips you may find valuable.

Business Plan Review

As much as you would like to state, that you have put in the greatest efforts to create the best plan, you need to be open to constructive feedback.  Be willing to adapt and be flexible to adjust the business plan accordingly.  When your draft is ready, provide it to friends, family, mentors, consultants and or specialists in your business field.  Give the party the task of critically analyzing the business plan, but also to provide you with constructive feedback to make it stronger.  With external feedback and recommendations, you will be developing a better business plan in a more objective manner.  Ensure that you try to acquire the services of professionals (paid or unpaid) to assist in the process, as there are aspects of the business plan these professionals will target and provide recommendations on.

Don’t forget that if financials are your weak point, have an accountant or bookkeeper review those necessary financial projection documents, such as the projected income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement.  Some financial analysis should be completed and included within your business plan on those projections.  Stronger financial statements and interpretation of those numbers will signal investors and lenders that you are serious and have done your homework.

business plan - commercial loan - presentationAs you may approach lending agencies or business grant and contribution programs, it is always a good idea to try to arrange a preliminary meeting to understand the requirements and criteria of these agencies and programs.  To acquire a commercial loan for your business, you will need to know the specific commercial loan criteria.  With a better understanding of what you need to meet, you can adjust that business plan and financial documents accordingly.

Revising to Make the Business Plan Stronger

Following feedback, be keen to adjust the business plan.  With that open mindset, take in that constructive feedback and turn the draft into a more polished document.  Here are some common tips and feedback for business plan revision:

  • Write a spectacular Executive Summary to catch the reader’s immediate attention
  • Remove non-essential descriptions and sections
  • Write clearly, with concise and “to the point” sections of the business plan
  • Ensure that the narrative part of the document is error free
  • Financial statements should be clearly laid out and error free
  • Cite sources to support points and data references in the business plan
  • Add appendices for accompanying documents
  • Make versions of the business plan specific to agency or external party requirements
  • Ensure you demonstrate meeting lending or program criteria
As a valuable additional step, have what you consider to be your final revised business plan reviewed again externally.  This will help in catching any of those little errors and help you finalize the document.

Final Business Plan Ready for Submission and Presentation

With a complete business plan now on hand, you should understand your business front to back thoroughly.  Be ready to make brilliant summary presentations on this business plan, as now you will be approaching lenders, partners and programs to seek financial or business support.  You will want to make an impressive impact.  Depending how you and the other party want to proceed on a presentation, be prepared to highlight the business case, through a visual PowerPoint presentation, or just through a powerful personal presentation with appropriate handouts.  Whatever the case, always be prepared.

With a few added steps, you will achieve your goal of developing a stronger, more objective business plan to present to appropriate parties.  Always remember that your business plan is your blueprint to implement your own successful project or business.  The plan is a living, breathing document, and needs to be revisited, reviewed and revised frequently as markets and business environments consistently change.

More Reading on Business Plans:

More business blogs of interest:

More on Marketing:

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Construction Industry – April 2012 Economic Statistics Continue to Climb

Strategy Plan One

June 5, 2012 

Construction Industry – April 2012

US Census Bureau Statistics from the construction industry continue on a favorable trend, now estimated to be $820.7 Billion (seasonally adjusted annual rate) for April 2012.  This is significant up from the month of April 2011 with an increase of 7.3% over that month.  It also represents an increase of 0.3% over the March 2012 figure of the $818 Billion seasonally adjusted annual rate.

These are good economic indicator signs, with the construction industry steadily improving for three consecutive months, and follows favorable statistics released on residential construction and residential sales.

construction industry  - april 2012

The biggest gains occurred in the residential construction sector, growing at 2.6%.  However, non-residential construction represents the majority of construction.

Articles and blogs on economic indicators:

Construction Industry News

 

Strategy Plan One

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Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Travel Industry – Statistics and Impacts on the US Economy

Strategy Plan One

June 3, 2012 

Travel Industry

When it comes to industries in the US, every sector generates massive economic benefits.  The US travel industry is no exception, approaching $2 Trillion in economic benefits generated from this industry.  The US Travel Association has developed great fact sheets illustrating the huge impact this industry has on the US economy.

Interesting to note on the travel industry:

  • $759 Billion in travel expenditures 
  • An estimated $118 Billion in taxes generated from travel industry
  • Over 14 Million jobs are supported; two-thirds of jobs in leisure travel sector

Travel industry - statistics

For those entrepreneurs in tourism and travel interested in the top sources of travel spending:

  • Food Services:  $189 Billion
  • Public Transportation: $140 Billion
  • Accommodations: $136 Billion

Travel industry - leisure travelTravel Industry – Leisure Travel

US statistics from 2010, showed domestic and international travelers spent $526 Billion, generating a tax base of $82 Billion.  Targeting the domestic travelers, the majority of trips (77%) are for leisure purposes.  From the US Travel Association surveys, top leisure travel itineraries include visiting family and friends, travel for shopping and hitting recreational spots.

 

Tourism and travel businesses may develop and craft their business and marketing plans around such important survey information.

Travel Industry – Business Travel

Travel industry - business travel

Business travel represents a significant share of the overall travel industry, at approximately $233 Billion and over 2 Million in jobs in 2010.  It’s staggering to see the 448 Million trips logged by US residents for business.  Another statistic of interest is the fact business travel acts as a catalyst for other business revenue, with an estimated $12.50 in additional revenue to businesses with every dollar spent on business travel.

Additional Blogs and articles:

Travel:

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Contract Proposal Can Lead to More Clients, More Revenue [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

May 26, 2012 

Contract Proposal

For many businesses in the services field and other industries, a fair amount of work needs to be completed prior to landing a contract providing services and/or products to clients.  This may include writing up an estimate or a contract proposal.

In this infographic from BidSketch, the benefits of providing a contract proposal rather than an estimate are highlighted.

Key points of this infographic on using a contract proposal:

  • 57:43 Win:lose ratio landing contracts, work and clients with a Contract Proposal
  • 35:65 Win:lose ratio when writing up an estimate
  • A contract proposal is persuasive (persuasive marketing), identified the issues, benefits of services and provides recommendations
  • Contract proposal include a call to action, which can lead more deal closing, more revenues

 Key tips from the infographic:

  • Go online – online contracts are accepted 60% faster
  • Keep them short – Contract proposal under 5 pages have a 51% success rate
  • Be speedy – sending a contract proposal sooner results in a higher success rate

contract proposal

Other Strategic Business Blogs you may be interested in:

Other information sources on contracts:

Strategy Plan One

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Economic Indicators – Residential Construction and Sales Showing Positive Signs

Strategy Plan One

May 23, 2012 

Economic Indicators – Residential Construction, Residential Sales

The positive one-two punch of residential construction and residential sales economic indicators are more signs of potential longer term economic recovery.  Recently released from the Census Bureau, both indicators are showing positive growth for April 2012.

Residential Sales

For April 2012, sales of new single family houses were at an annual rate of 343,000 (seasonally adjusted), representing a 3.3% increase over March 2012 and a good 9.9% jump over the April 2011 figures.

economic indicators - residential sales

Image Courtesy: Economic Publicist, FRED

The above graph illustrates some favorable trends in the US in sales growth occurring over the past year, but should be cautiously analyzed as fluctuations are occurring on a monthly basis.

Residential Construction

On another positive front, the US Census Bureau is reporting a 2.6% increase in privately owned housing starts in April 2012 over the previous month, and an impressive 29.9% increase over the April 2011 rate.

economic indicators - residential construction

Image courtesy: calculatedriskblog.com

The housing construction indicator graph closely mimics the housing sales graph above, as the indicators are closely tied together.

 

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Business News – 5 News Sites to Keep You Informed

Strategy Plan One

May 21, 2012 

Business News

Looking for great daily business news clips and resources?  Many business news sites exist on the Internet that it is sometime confusing where to turn for latest business news updates.  Here is a solid list of 5 business news websites (in no particular order) and their features you can zone in on for the latest business news.

business newsReuters Business News

Daily news is posted on Reuters, one of the world leaders in information for business and professionals.

Entrepreneurs and business owners may find it valuable to focus on the specific business, tech and money pages.  Articles highlighting entrepreneurs and business opportunities in growing industries fill the pages in the small business section.  “Management Tip of the Day” gives you some applicable management insights through inserts from Harvard Business Review.  For investors, the current stock ticker runs across the top of the page.  Social Media follow, like, post and RSS buttons are readily available.

business newsCNN Money

CNN Money, backed by the CNN Network, provides you with relevant pages and current topics on:

Along with top stories, pages are dedicated to the “Buzz” around companies and the markets, and clips on Fortune 500 companies.  The tech page is chalked full of articles and blogs, with much focus these days on social media companies like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and zoning in on the mammoth tech companies like Apple, Google and Yahoo.

Contributors on CNN Money write on relevant leadership topics, with focused articles on the leaders of top Fortune 500 companies, and some of the newer entrepreneurs making a splash.  Staying connected is easy, with buttons on the home page, right side at the bottom.

business newsForbes Business News

Forbes‘ simple business site format gives you easy access to 7 main topics at the top of the main page.  Of possible interest to entrepreneurs includes the business, investing, tech, entrepreneurs, business opinion, and leadership pages.  On the entertainment side, Forbes is widely known for their plentiful offering of lists.

Forbes’ staff and contributors compose topics on financing, management and micro-business.   Small business profiles and interviews are provided on the right hand side of pages in their video viewer.  Recently, Forbes posted brilliant topics and information for entrepreneurs on a special Small Business Toolkit page.

business newsCNBC

According to the CNBC website, CNBC is the recognized world leader in business news, providing real-time financial market coverage and business information to more than 340 million homes worldwide, including more than 95 million households in the United States and Canada.

The real-time stock ticker on the left side of the home page and symbol look-up at the top are of great benefits to the investors who view their pages seeking updates.  As a global TV force, CNBC offers plentiful videos on business, economic, and technology topics.  There is a page dedicated to small business videos alone.

business newsBloomberg Business News

Between the tandem Bloomberg and Bloomberg Businessweek sites, current topics on business, technology, small biz, and investing are covered well.

In value-added coverage, Businessweek also provides information and topics on business schools, providing information on grad school programs, institute rankings, and financial aid.

 

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Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Young Entrepreneurs – Funding Sources and Programs

Strategy Plan One

May 20, 2012 

young entrepreneursYoung Entrepreneurs

Young, aggressive and at a competitive advantage, young entrepreneurs can get off to a great start early on in life if well prepared for self-employment.  Governments and the private sector realize the value entrepreneurs bring to the economy and business environment, and have tailored programs and services accordingly to meet the needs of young entrepreneurs.

Business Planning for Young Entrepreneurs

Prior to approaching lending agencies, partners or investors for sources of funds, you will need to complete detailed business planning.  With the help of mentors and other professionals, you must undertake a high level of due diligence behind your business venture.  Ensure that you complete the research necessary as you develop you business plan, and that includes everything from market research to sourcing out human and financial resources.

The US Small Business Administration (SBA) has plentiful resources for you in developing your concepts to planning.  There is also a page dedicated to young entrepreneurs, with articles on essentials of starting a business and self-assessments.

Financing, Funding and Support Sources

Keep in mind you must consider a mix of financing and funding sources for your business financing.  Along with your own cash equity, you will need to secure funds from other sources such as grants and low-interest loans from government programs, commercial loans from financial institutions, and other sources of cash equity from private investors or your partners.

young entrepreneurs SBA has a search tool to locate funding and grant programs in your area and possibly specific to your business industry.  The tool takes through a series of questions on your proposed business, industry, and area you are located in, and then generates possible programs that may assist.

Loan and Funding Assessment Criteria

In addition to digging into your personal credit history, lending agencies, government programs, and others will be analyzing your business plan and projected financial statements.  Those agencies may focus on the following criteria:

  • Revenue, expenditures and net profit trends
  • Ability to repay (based on revenue levels)
  • Level of financial need (must cite the financial deficiencies)
  • How credible the business plan is (backed with supporting documentation)
  • Security / collateral to support the loan or funding source
  • Government programs may assess other information to ensure it meets program criteria, such as employment, targeting youth, meeting equity targets, etc

Check out some other valuable resources on loan criteria:

Other Resources for Young Entrepreneurs:

Resources for Canadian Young Entrepreneurs:

 

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One