Marketing Opportunities – Changing the Daily Deal Model [Infographic]

Strategy Plan One

May 9, 2012 

Marketing Opportunities

The good and the bad come with the high exposure, volume discount daily deal marketing opportunities.  One company, ConstantContact has come forward with a fresh Save Local daily deals model.  Benefits to this new model include:

  • More Merchant control – on discount, timing, terms
  • Deal sharing incentives – more benefits to the buyer when sharing the deal with others
  • Affordability – no steep revenue sharing
  • Model focuses on long-term relationship building

Check out this infographic from ConstantContact:

marketing opportunities - daily deals model


Through your core business and marketing planning exercises ensure that you analyze your marketing and promotional activities for effectiveness.  Measure you Return on Investment in marketing activities, and revise your marketing plan and activities accordingly.


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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Working Women – Leading and Armed with Education [Infographic]

Strategy Plan One

May 2, 2012 

Working Women

In this brilliant infographic from , women are now creating a dynamic shift in making up an equitable share in the workforce and dominating entrepreneur development. According to the research, women now almost make up half of the workforce at 46.9% and leading the highest increase in business development at 1.5 times the national average for business start-ups.

All in the numbers, hers are some other fascinating facts from this infographic:

  • 187 Million women are entrepreneurs worldwide
  • 7.8 Million – number of businesses owned by women in 2007 (20% increase over 2002)
  • 22% – percentage of women on the Board of Directors of S&P 500 companies
  • 40.1, 27.3 and 24.5% – the percentage of companies with women Board members in Norway, Sweden and Finland respectively (US at 16.1%)
  • 18% of all Patents granted in 2010 were received by women (up 35%)
  •  33.3% of MBA recipients are women (highest ever)
  • Women now earn more bachelor’s degrees than men (68% more)

working women

Strategy Plan One

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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.


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Elephant in the Room – Expose it, Resolve it, and Get on With a Productive Environment

Strategy Plan One

April 25, 2012 

elephant in the roomElephant in the Room

We have all heard the expression “Elephant in the room” as it describes the big issue (“elephant in the room”) that everyone obviously knows about but doesn’t want to talk about or deal with.  It’s an expression used when an issue is so big it can’t be ignored.



It may be a challenge that crops up in an organization, but due to its complex, controversial or sensitive nature, no one wants to deal with it.  Yet, without dealing with it adequately, stress and discomfort continues to build around the elephant in the room, as long as the issue has been unresolved.

So how do we rid of the elephant in the room? You may think it’s a simple task.  To deal with it adequately and effectively, you as a business leader and your staff or stakeholders need to recognize it, expose it, and focus in on it.  Bring it out in an open and transparent environment, sooner rather than later.  The longer you as a leader leave deep rooted issues unresolved, the more attention this elephant gets.  Staff anxiety and anger levels around the issue increase and it will deflect attention away from your productive work environment.

elephant in the roomLeadership to Tackle Elephant in the Room

As an entrepreneur, you need strong leadership skills in identifying challenges in your organization and to adequately find resolution.  You need to have a few strategies in your back pocket to handle challenging circumstances.

Involving, empowering and encouraging staff and stakeholders to assist in problem solving will be a part of the overall resolution.

Identify the Elephant in the Room

In meetings, take on a new format of raising honest, deep-rooted problems in the organization.  Encourage team members to speak freely about anything without any repercussions or reprimands.  Time to get everything out in the open, and this is Step 1 … essentially issue identification.

Ask for Feedback and Recommended Solutions

With the elephant now exposed, time to wrap a harness around that elephant and give it some attention, meaning give the identified issue some attention.  How do we walk that elephant right out of the room?  Ask your valued team, stakeholders and customers for feedback and proposed solutions.  And not engaging with those parties for resolution could have been the issue.

Take it step by step to issue resolution.  Chances are that this issue is a complex one, and something that cannot be solved overnight.  Take steps and demonstrate partial resolution.  Now with interim milestones achieved, morale of all staff will have improved and the team will have some successes achieved. 

Show Strong Leadership

With recommendations in hand from valued staff and stakeholders, show strong leadership by implementing solutions to those sensitive or complex challenges.  Through your actions the elephant in the room will be eliminated for a stronger, more productive environment.

Business Planning to Resolve Elephant in the Room Syndrome

To be pro-active, ensure that in your business planning you should identify the serious, complex issues that you and your team will encounter.  Your plan will set up resolution mechanisms and contingencies to handle the most challenging circumstances.  You must be prepared to handle the difficult stuff that comes your way in your business.


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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Green Businesses – Ideas for the Green Entrepreneur

Strategy Plan One

April 22, 2012 

green businesses Green Business

Earth Day sparks the green thoughts in everyone, including the eager entrepreneurs ready to jump on green business opportunities.  Green practices, policies, are trending upwards, and if you are in the right green realm as an entrepreneur, you may be able to take advantage and start or expand your business in the environmentally friendly direction.

Eco-friendly, green strategies and practices are good for the environment and are also good for business as it helps build solid positive relationships with customers who will make a connection with the green conscious business.  The green environmental sector is big business, with 2011 revenue estimates at nearly $330 Billion.

Here are some ideas of green businesses for entrepreneurial consideration:

Green businesses – Eco-Friendly Products

Green Retailing is big business in the US, accounting for billions in revenue.  Entrepreneurs jump on the opportunity of providing products that don’t have an impact on the environment, don’t contain harmful chemicals, or products that are available with eco-friendly packaging.  Organic products, falling under this business category, include some opportunities such as organic produce retailers, cosmetics and specialty garden products.  According to some reports, customers are willing to spend an estimated 20% premium on organic products.

Green Marketing Agencies

Getting the message out about your green practices, polices, procedures and products helps your business resonate with the consumer base that is trending green.  The segment of the consumer market that is eco-friendly will make a connection with your company, and thus a customer relationship will be made.  Marketing professionals can specialize in this area of green marketing, helping companies develop and implement strategies for positioning their green products and services.

Green Businesses – Environmental Engineering

Environmental engineering is the profession that provides science and engineering services to improve the natural environment.  Services include consulting, development and planning, and mitigation of projects that may have an impact on the environment.  In many jurisdictions, it is required to complete environmental screenings or assessments, and that’s where the environmental engineers come in.  Government agencies and the private sector seek environmental engineering firms to help meet environmental regulations and standards.

green businesses Eco-Efficiency Consultants

Eco-efficiency professionals specialize in finding, developing and helping your business implement environmentally friendly practices.  These consultants dig into your operations and analyze aspects such as energy consumption, product use, and practices.

The specialists would ultimately provide your business with a set of recommendations to reduce waste, reduce cost and move to more environmentally friendly practises in your business.

Research and Development Companies

Businesses that currently develop and provide consumer products often branch out to undertake research and development of better, more eco-friendly and efficient products.  Such is the case with light bulb manufacturers, with the development of compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs and newer light emitting diode (LED) bulbs.   Whether it’s an existing corporation or a newly funded start-up, there is plenty of opportunity in the environmentally friendly, product development realm.

Green Businesses Recycling and Recovery Companies

The consumer turn-over of products is amazing, such as the electronics industry where some products are replaced every one to two years.  Companies specializing in recycling and recovering metals and plastics and other materials from discarded consumer products are well poised to take advantage.  Valuable metals and materials can be recovered from the more than 200 million mobile devices that are discarded every year in the US.  For instance gold, silver, palladium and sometimes platinum can be recovered from computer boards.  At the current metal prices, some other these recovery business opportunities would be worth investigating.


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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Green Strategies – Small Business Survey [Infographic]

Strategy Plan One

April 19, 2012 

Green Strategies

Eco-friendly, green strategies are good for the environment and are also good for business as it helps build solid positive relationships with customers who will make a connection with the green conscious business.  The green environmental sector is big business, with 2011 revenue estimates at nearly $330 Billion.

During February 2012 Office Depot surveyed over 1000 small businesses to gauge information on implementation of green strategies and use of green products across operations.  The small business results in this infographic were surprising, with:

  • 70% to implement green strategies in the next 2 years
  • 61% of small businesses currently implementing green practices
  • 82% having a recycling green strategy
  • 56% learning about green products online
Concerns by small business implementing green strategies and products:
  • 39% concerned with the cost 
  • 21% concerned about lack of green strategy and product options
  • 13% concerned about clarity around going green
  • 13% cite concerns on quality of green programs / products, and
  • 11% state lack of time as a concern

green strategies

Source:  BusinessWire


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Social Media Sites – Valuation Out of Control?

Strategy Plan One

April 16, 2012 

social media sites - valuation Social Media Sites

Social Media sites seem to pop up out of nowhere, gain popularity, and before anyone knows it, the company behind the site is worth millions or billions of dollars.  What is driving business valuation of a current wave of social media sites?

This pattern is very similar to what was seen in the early internet years of internet sites popping up and soon valued at millions of dollars.  There are certain valuation factors that go into valuing web sites and the new wave of social media sites.  Although heavy financial analysis has much weight in valuation, factors such as the number of users, market potential, innovator factors, revenue potential, goodwill and speculation are all considered into the valuation models.

Social Media Sites – Revenue

The biggest revenue driver behind social media sites is advertising revenue.  In approximately 77% of social media sites, ad revenue dominates the revenue streams.  In 2011, Facebook alone was estimated to bring in $2 Billion from ad revenues.  Based on financial analysis formulas and calculations, analysts can determine advertising revenue potential by the number of users, visitors and page views.  Valuation models can involve calculations on potential revenue and future value of earnings or revenue.  Models can factor in complex valuation, with estimates of total revenue potential of social media sites which would include ad, user fees, subscription, licensing and other sources.

social media sitesSocial Media Sites – Number of Users & Market Potential

Even if the social media website has not generated one dime, but has millions of users and potential to earn revenue, speculative valuation can be determined.  An investor will be interested in a business acquisition if there is a projected return on investment.  A website that contains an existing, massive base of subscribed members, paid or unpaid membership base, would be appealing to an investor.

Most investors are looking at the revenue potential and would be interested if the valuation of that same asset has been projected to increase.  Obviously the investor may be looking for a return based on an asset turnover a few years down the road when selling off the acquired business.

Information, Mechanics and Proprietary Features of Social Media Sites

Valuation factors may also include value based on the mechanics and functionality of the website.  Through some analysis of backlinks and SEO, some automated valuation models can determine valuation of a website based on the standards created by other existing websites.  The value of the content is also important, along with any proprietary and/or patented features, widgets and coding, original to that website.

Speculation of Social Media Sites

Those in the technology field may fuel speculators by stating the what the next greatest social media sites will be, citing the next greatest thing on the internet.  When that buzz occurs, so does the buzz around the speculation on value.  Once again like other valuation factors, speculation may be driven by revenue potential.  Speculators may estimate the market potential, number of future users, future revenue, future return for investors.

Social Media Site – Valuation of Assets and Goodwill

In most acquisition projects, business valuation is undertaken to determine the valuation of assets and the valuation of goodwill.  Goodwill is the valuation of the intangibles (non-assets of the company) such as the name of the company, the Brand of products and services, and the value of relationships with the audience.  Goodwill in the name will be carried forward with the new owner or investor, as long as names or Brands, or customer appeal do not change that much.  Speculation sometimes drives up the valuation of goodwill, and sometimes investors must gamble with investing on an acquisition that has a high goodwill valuation attached to it.

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One