Business Tips – Maximize Performance and Business Development Results

Strategy Plan One

August 1, 2012

business tips Business Tips for the Entrepreneur

As you are midstream through harsh economic times, take the time to reflect on your current business operations.  Think about the small things that could be tweaked that can have the maximum positive impact on your business.  Here are some helpful business tips to maximum the output in your organization and in your business development.

Business Tips – Maximize the Use of Your Time

Time is definitely considered an asset when you are a busy, mult-taking entrepreneur.  Delegate operational tasks to staff and area specialists as much as you possible can.  Free up your time for business management functions, business development, planning and implementation.  Institute shorter, more concise meetings and communications as much needed time savers for all.  Cut the slack time and concentrate efforts in a condensed shorter period.  Incorporate that into individual and team goals.

Establish Priorities

Clutter can occur in many ways from physical bunched up clutter to the mental clutter of massive workloads of relevant and non-relevant tasks.  Take the time to sort this out.  Getting organized on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis should be a standard part of your business and of the action plans across all employees.  Encourage organizing and priority setting as part of the valued added side of your corporate culture.

Business Tips – Create a Constructive Environment

Feedback is necessary on all aspects of your business.  Ensure that you develop a culture of encouraging and valuing input from all levels in the organization.  Constructiveness is essential … when everyone puts on their constructive gear and behavior, everyone is “building” towards a common goal.  Feedback can be critical nature, but as team members put on the constructive hats, criticism turns to positive alternative idea and solution generation.  Problems and issues are better solved when the collective can feed into the solution.

business tips - social Be Social

This business tip is not necessarily focused on spending massive amounts of time on social media.  Being social in business means networking, partnering, collaboration, team work.   Every business, every entrepreneur venture is vastly stronger when you and your team get out there and communicate and network with everyone.  Not all deals, partnerships and customers will automatically fall into your lap … you need to get aggressive and make the moves to communicate and network with others.  Remember that social media is only one form of communication and engagement with other businesses and customers.   Communications, marketing and business development occur in many ways outside of normal office functions and social media.

Business Tips – Be Helpful

As a leader, entrepreneur and community member be helpful to all and it will eventually return to you in spades.  Being a business leader is not a one-way street…. you need to not only receive but to give.  Your valued staff give their efforts and their time to helping you achieve your success.  You need to help your staff become successful through employee development, encouragement, recognition and in your acceptance of their needs professionally and in their personal lives.

When developing products and services for customers, remember this two-way street.  It’s not about just gaining revenue from clients.  You should be developing your business around how your products and services can first help the intended market, and meeting the needs of the consumer.   Revenue then potentially follows after successfully meeting the needs of the customer.

Plan well for maximum benefits and results!

Relevant personal and business development blogs and articles

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Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Productivity – 6 Small Steps For a More Productive Day

Strategy Plan One

June 25, 2012 

productivity - photostock Productivity Improvements

Business owners and staff all around encounter busy agendas daily, with most wanting to achieve more productive days.  However, in the complex business world with volumes of work to do, many struggle with getting things done.  It is sometimes common at the end of the day for some to state and ask, “Wow, what a brutal day…Did I get anything done?”

Entrepreneurs, staff, specialists and others feel buried under mountains of tasks and may feel during periods that nothing gets done.



But through a simple few tweaks, the work force, and you as an entrepreneur, can improve and show marked, increased productivity.

1.  Productive Days – Getting Organized

Individuals and businesses can get through the mountains with careful planning and organization.  Part of getting organized in the volumes of tasks is documenting it out, listing tasks, jobs and projects and to prioritize them.  Many tasks and essential duties fall through the cracks when businesses and individuals are not organized.  To keep focused, a list of prioritized action items can be developed and tracked to be more organized.

productivity - renjith krishnan 2.  Project Management Tools to Improve Productivity 

In developing lists, prioritizing and tracking action items, project management tools, such as Microsoft Project can assist.  These tools make it easier to develop a timeline from first tasks to completion of projects, step by step, milestone by milestone.  In using tools such as Project, a manager can establish tasks, attach time frames and track persons responsible.  With delegating tasks down to operational specialists, you lighten the load for others that are overwhelmed.

3.  Productivity Improvements Through Automation

How much manual labor or duties is your team performing that take up significant amounts of time?  Can any of these duties be automated?  Although you need to be careful around adding a personal touch to communications through email, you may find through evaluation that some of your email broadcasts to client bases or internal staff can be automated.  An example is establishing frequent reminders utilizing tools within email platforms.

In other productivity improvement examples, payment and shipping processes can be automated easily with such platforms as Paypal and others.  In most business operational cases, there may not be a justifiable need for a full-time payment processing clerk.  E-payments could lessen the work load of administrative staff by implementing e-payment systems.   In another valuable example of automation, the Kiva Robot system is revolutionizing the way warehouses work, as automated robots can run around the clock, helping pick orders and move goods.

4.  Behavior and your leadership actions

As an entrepreneur, the way you act and provide leadership can have a dramatic effect on staff.  Leading and managing in a genuine manner, with strength and passion can have an immediate impact on staff productivity.  Leaders that can motivate staff, illustrating the vision and use of positive tones can lead to positive impacts on the floor and higher productivity.

5.  Partnering

Productivity can be improved by bringing on a synergistic partner to the business.  Partnership building can lead to the sharing of projects and duties, but also sharing of the risks and benefits.  You may find that partners and or contracting out will lead to higher productivity and resolution of complex projects in a more timely manner.

6.  Recharging and Health to be Productive

For most, it is not humanly possible to plug through mountains of tasks hour after hour.  Long hours of complicated, tenuous or repetitive tasks can lead to overload of mistakes and burnout.  People’s performance will improve if the body and brain are given a chance to break and recharge.  Ensure you and staff take appropriate breaks frequently as scheduled.  Certain Labor laws and regulations were put into place for a reason … bodies can’t handle longer hours, with very little breaks.  Even though there are laws and regulations regarding this, show adaptability as a leader and allow better working conditions with flexible work-life balance programs.

The health of employees and your own health should be main priorities.  Without healthy individuals, there would be no employees on the floor and no business.  Take the time to promote healthy living, from good rest to eating right to great exercise.  A healthy work force will be a more productive workforce, with less medical issues.  Integrate your programs around healthy living .. you obviously care about your employees.

With a few changes in your organization and the way your lead as a responsible entrepreneur, can lead to higher productivity all around.  Start with practices and actions that will lead to higher productivity with yourself, and then lead by example.  You will note that in small steps productivity will improve across your business.

Relevant blogs and articles:


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Goal Setting – Keeping You Going in the Right Direction

Strategy Plan One

June 7, 2012 

goal settingGoal Setting

In our everyday business and personal lives we need definition.  We need to define what our purpose is, what we will be doing short-term and long-term.  We all live in extremely complex environments, and we need to organized in what we do.

Establishing goals and objectives in our lives provides that direction and definition that drives us forward in achievement.

Many run scattered, unorganized day after day, feeling as they have not accomplished much.  An analysis of their daily lives reveals this lack of organization and establishing and setting priorities.  It all starts with establishing SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) goals and objectives to get you on the right track and right direction.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s personal, family or business goals, all follow a similar pattern in identifying goals, finding a method to achieve them and to measure progress.

goal settingHere are some of the benefits of Goal Setting:

  • Sets a direction and pathway for you
  • Can be used to help you get organized
  • Helps improve your performance
  • Makes you and your team more effective and efficient
  • Gets you on the right track within your own defining purpose
  • Establishes a starting point and an end point
  • Defines your daily, weekly and annual work plan

Goal Setting Exercises

There are many tools and resources to help you establish your goals and objectives.  Goal setting exercises are one tool to identify and track your progress against your milestone steps and overall goals.  An example of goal setting exercise :

Mentoring in Goal Setting

Mentoring with professionals, colleagues, friends and family can help you set you goals and objectives in a more objective manner.  Those external sources can provide some valuable feedback on their views of whether the goals are SMART.

Goal Setting Tips

  1. Set relevant, realistic goals
  2. Make sure the goals can be achieved in part or whole; too ambitious of a goal project and you will soon find yourself unmotivated to complete the overall goal
  3. Set up the goals to be measurable so that you can track your progress against milestone and overall goals
  4. Attach a time frame so that the goal can be accomplished by a certain time; don’t leave the goal open ended as it may never get completed
  5. Review you goals and objectives frequently
  6. Have outside parties, mentors, family and friends review you goals and seek honest feedback
  7. Be prepared to revise a goal if circumstances arise or the environment changes
  8. Set new goals once current goals and objectives have been reached

Goal Setting Examples

1.  Personal Weight Loss

In one year I aim to lose 15 lbs by May 31, 2013,  with milestones of 4 lbs off by July 31,  9 lb off by Oct 31, 12 lbs off by Jan 31 and finally 15 lbs off by May 31.  

In this example you will note that the goal is realistic (assumption that there is a track record and advice this can be achieved), measurable with weight loss goals, time factored in for milestone and final goals.

2.  Business Revenue Targets

Our business aims to increase revenue by 12% this fiscal year to a total revenue figure of $560,000 by March 31, 2013.  Through a combination of aggressive local and global marketing, the company sets goals of revenue increases of 12% by quarter.  Any deviations of less than the target will require revisions of the marketing and revenue growth strategies. 

In this business example, revenue growth as been identified and is achievable (based on track record of performance, and growth in the industry).  The goal statement established quarterly tracking and established a statement of contingencies to get back on track.

As noted, goal setting can be used as those essential tools to get organized and set directions.  Ensure you incorporate goals and objectives in your business with strong detailed business planning.

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Employee Morale Improvements – Small Things You Can Do as a Leader

Strategy Plan One

April 29, 2012

employee moraleEmployee Morale & Leadership Goodwill

As a manager, leader and entrepreneur you have a responsibility to ensure employees are interested and happy in the work that they do, and in the environment where they work in.


There are things you can do to change up the environment and make it more positive for your valued staff, leading to improved employee morale.

Here are some low-cost ideas that will have big impacts to employee morale:

Recognition to Build Employee Morale

In your weekly meetings, whether it’s a stand up meeting, conference call or through video-conferencing, take the time to frequently identify and recognize specific team members or units for their achievements and success.  As part of your core duties on a regular basis, you should be engaging with staff and scanning through your units for performance highlights.  Keep in mind you want to recognize all in phases, so that all who are putting in efforts are recognized.  Even the small successes should be recognized.  With recognition, staff will feel valued and morale in the organization will pick up.

Spend Time and Listen to Your Employees

You will gain much respect as a leader if you take the time to listen to employees about their concerns, either in operations or the personal challenges they all face.  You will understand your operational issues better the more frequently you engage at the ground level.  Employees will feel more valued if they are listened to and if they feel their input will have an impact on change.

employee moraleFruit Rewards to Improve Employee Morale (and Health)

Every once and awhile bring in a prepared fruit platter for your team to share during breaks and lunch hour.  Throw in an exotic fruit or highlight local produce to raise attention and interest in what you are providing to staff.  In providing a small token of appreciation, staff will realize that you are giving back.  On your side, you are providing something of nutrition value, promoting a healthy work environment.  If you are in an area where local fruit is plentiful, bring in fruit care packages for staff to take home.  Staff will appreciate this as some may not have the time to pick up the produce and will take this home to share with their family in the healthy initiative.

Volunteer Day

Many employees are either engaged or would like to be engaged in volunteer activities.  In your benefits package to employees ensure you include a paid day per year for employees to partake in volunteer activities.  Provided that it does not impact your essential services, allow employees to pick, choose and schedule in a day to dedicate to good causes.  Give them the opportunity to do a bit of sharing and promoting of causes at your business.  Not only is this a good notion for employees and for community, but it also build solid relationships for your business with the community and organizations in need.

Special Guests Build Employee Morale

Bring in a special guest to speak on topics that could benefit your staff.  You could encourage a partnering firm to come in and speak about a topic or have a motivation speaker enlighten the crowd.  Inviting in and scheduling in a speaker could make your work environment more interesting and gives your team a break from the sometimes monotonous work duties.  To keep your costs down on such an activity, make arrangements for mutual exchanges, or if there is a added benefit for the person to come, they may come at no charge.

As an entrepreneur, always gauge your team for the level of workplace satisfaction and employee morale.  With some back pocket strategies for employee morale building, your team will perform better and will stay with your business longer as an employer of choice.


Strategy Plan One

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Strategies to Improve Performance in your Personal Life and Business

Strategy Plan One

April 9, 2012 

improve performanceImprove Performance

One should never be fully satisfied that they have reached their performance peak, that no further improvements to any aspect would be necessary.  With rapidly changing environments, entrepreneurs and successful professionals must constantly seek methods to improve, on a personal and business level.


To stay on top on the cutting edge, innovative level, you will need to engage in a systematic process of continuous improvement.

Determine your Performance Goals

There should always be a purpose behind a strategy, plan, or movement to improve performance.  You need to determine why you need or want to improve performance.  This purpose will set the stage to improve performance.  Performance goals can help guide you to an end point, assisting you to keep focused on the objective to improve performance.  Every professional and entrepreneur has differing performance goals, and differing levels to reach.

Ensure that you identify a strong performance goal, that is measurable and linked to a time frame (i.e. :  Personal goal of achieving 5% more income by the end of 8 months, or Business goal of achieving 12% return on marketing investment through the first quarter marketing campaign).

improve performanceIdentification of Performance Issues

To get to the root of all performance issues, one must start with an objective analysis of either your personal or business situation.  Shake that notion that you haven’t been doing anything wrong or could not have been doing anything wrong.


You will need to take a serious look at any deficiencies around your professional life and in your organization.  Step two is digging deep and really identifying the issues that create barriers to achieve the next step or improved performance.

Example of personal and business challenges and barriers may include:

  • Financial limitations
  • Time constraints
  • Organization issues
  • Educational or professional limitations
  • Health and wellness, and work-life balance
  • Balancing family responsibilities
  • Location and connectedness
  • Access to resources

Whatever the issue or challenge is, ensure that you objectively list them out as you will be seeking genuine resolution to improve performance.

Pathways to Improve Performance

Once issues have been identified to improve performance, you will need to develop some options to resolve performance issues.  Breakdown larger issues and barriers into micro issues and establish a plan with milestone goals along the way.  Similar to business planning, your personal improvement plan will be your blueprint to improve performance.

If it seems like you have many issues and barriers, don’t be overwhelmed by the overall picture.  Feel assured you can improve performance by breaking the plan down into smaller performance goals and solutions.  The example of personal performance of increasing income by 10% may involve many complex issues.  Break it down into what can be achieved on a micro-step, daily basis.  As part of a detailed plan, you may need to take small steps daily, seeking alternative employment options on a daily basis, or seeking promotional opportunities at work.

Stay on track and be dedicated in meeting your end performance goals.  Stay positive and work hard at this to improve performance.  Performance will not improve if you do not put in the effort.  Your dedication and hard-work ethic will pay off and you will soon observe yourself hitting milestone performance goals.

Achieving Performance Goals

Through your dedication, performance goals will be achieved at milestone stages and at the end goal.  Throughout the whole process, ensure that you continuously review your initial purpose, your initial goals.  As mentioned, your plan to improve performance should be measurable and tied to a time duration.   Measure your actual improvements against your planned performance goals.  If necessary revise and be motivated to achieve the goal or next step.

Motivation, perseverance, dedication, hard-work … grab and use these from your personal toolbox and you will achieve improved performance.


Strategy Plan One

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Lessons Learned … From Your Own Employees

Strategy Plan One

March 26, 2012 


organizational developmentEmployees Have the Ground, Intelligence Wise

Your business has been successful and booming for a long period of time, and you as the leader / entrepreneur, have been busy in your management duties.

You may be far removed from the ground level operations, not having to grind it out on the floor or crank out code, or deal directly with customers.  However, you are not that removed from your employees who have the greatest wealth of knowledge of the operational level.

Much can be learned from employees who know what is and isn’t working at the operational level, who know what the customer’s actions, thoughts and feedback are, and what other employees are saying behind the management lines.

Engaging and Interacting Frequently with Employees

As a manager, leader, and entrepreneur, engage and interact well and frequently with your employees.  Make it well known that you are openly interested daily about what is taking place on the floor.  It should be a part of your daily routine, either through inspecting your place of retail or office space.  The employees will feel more at ease when the management team is readily and physically available for open discussions.

Grab Intelligence from Employees

Setting the stage with frequent engagement and interactions will assist in your employees openly providing you with a wealth of information to improve operations and/or improve client and customer relationships.  These professionals in your organization may provide valuable recommendations and will look to you as the leader to implement some solutions from issues they encounter.

Make employees feel valued that they can share information and that you, as a tuned-in entrepreneur, are listening and willing to embrace recommendations for approval.

Encourage Continuous Improvements From Employees

To stay on the cutting edge and at the top of your industry, you will need your employees to think and act innovatively.  The best practices and solutions do originate from team actions, and so would innovative practices.

Empower your employees to develop ground-breaking practices that would set the units, team, and business far ahead of the competitors.  Create an environment that is rewarding and promotes recognition for achievements.  Depending on your budgets, you can develop incentive programs for high achievers and for employees that bring innovative solutions to the table.  You may be surprised at the untapped intelligence from all of your professional staff.

Strategy Plan One

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Strategies to Handle Difficult Employees in Your Business

Strategy Plan One

March 25, 2012 

difficult employeesDifficult Employees

Every organization has difficult employees that are not necessarily the happiest bunch.

Whether is it a personality issue, organizational or environmental issue, it is par for the course to have variance in people’s behaviour, moods, or job satisfaction.

You could have the most successful, corporate culturally rich environment, with great working conditions and compensation and you can still have disgruntled staff.  No fear, there are some human resource tactics to adequately handle some difficult employees who may throw a temporary wrench into your organization.

Identify the Issues with the Difficult Employees

When you as a leader become aware of issues in the organization and with specific staff members, ensure that you approach the employees to better understand the scenario and to isolate the specific issues.  Ensure that in a confidential setting the employee has the opportunity to openly express the situation with you or your human resource specialist.  Encourage open communication in your corporate culture.  Be an active listener first before diving into any actions.

Solutions in Handling Difficult Employees

Take note of the issues the employee has expressed freely, and then ask for some potential solutions from their side.  Employee feedback is extremely important.  You may find that part of the operation or the way things are done in the organization is causing not only this employee but others grief.  Employees provide you with the needed intelligence at ground level.  This intelligence may not be something that you are privy to.

In asking for valued feedback, you make a disgruntled employee feel valued and part of the solution.  In normal circumstances, this should build higher morale with this disgruntled employee, and broadly across the organization.

If the scenario involves more than one employee or third parties, then you may have to engage with multiple parties, seeking solutions from diverse array of people.  Customers, suppliers, and contractors can sometimes be the cause of issues in your organization and with your staff.

difficult employeesHuman Resource Resolution Mechanisms for Difficult Employees

With strong human resource policies and procedures your organization will be well equipped to handle difficult employees.  Whenever possible, your human resource specialist can be used to intervene in difficult circumstances to provide the direct assistance to not only you as the leader, but also to the employee.

Your human resource specialist may also act as a mediator between management and the employee in cases where there are challenges between staff and management.  The difficult employees may be more open to discussing the challenges as they may feel that the human resource specialist is one step removed from management.  The specialist can also provide the direct lines and information on the company’s human resource policies and on any labor acts or regulations.

Implement Solutions to Resolve Challenges with Difficult Employees

Once you nail down some workable solutions, be ready as a responsible leader to implement some best practices or solutions.  Implementation in any action plan is critically important to resolving those initial challenges identified.  Have a plan of action to implement those recommendations that were developed from feedback from the difficult employees and the advice from your human resource specialist.

As a last resort to difficult employees who do not change their behavior, or do continuous harm to other employees or the organization, dismissal of the employees may be the last action to resolve.  You should however, make every attempt to resolve before this last option.  Ensure that if you do go down the path of termination, that you abide by your polices, and any acts or regulations.

Following up with Difficult Employees

After implementation, follow up with staff and units on progress.  Is it working?  Did it resolve the problems?  If not, you may have to tweak your approach with a revised action plan to implement.

If your implemented actions have resolved the issues, then you may be on your way to achieving greater job satisfaction with all staff, which will greatly impact the performance in your organization.

difficult employees

Summary of Some Tips in Handling Difficult Staff:

  • Encourage open communication on any topic with employees
  • Empower employees to make suggestions and recommendations for solutions
  • Make employees feel that they are a part of the solution
  • Be empathetic, be a good listener
  • Show strong leadership and implement solutions
  • Track the results of the solutions
  • Follow up with staff and measure results
  • Be prepared and embrace a continuous improvement process to create a better environment for your valued staff

Strategy Plan One

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One