If you want to get where you’re going, let us help you out!
Ever heard the phrase “creative strategic planning”? Surely you have, though it may have simply been thrown around in a business meeting. Or maybe you’ve seen it scattered across the internet, a vague catch phrase get-rich-quick schemes use to lure people in. Either way, this is one thing you definitely need to pay more attention to.
Strategic planning refers to defining a specific goal and then laying out a necessary strategy to reach that goal. Basically, strategic planning makes sure your short-term decisions work in favor of your long-term goals. To begin, a strategic planner needs to answerthese three questions:
1.) Where are we now?
2.) Where do we want to be?
3.) How can we move one step closer?
Sound simple enough? Almost. The first two questions should be answered with as much specifics as possible. Let’s say you own a business. Your goal is to raise profits by 10% by the end of next year. So you might say:
1.) Where are we now?
- Our current profit margin is ___.
2.) Where do we want to be?
- We want our profits to be raised by 10% by December 31, 2013. Therefore, we need our profit margin to be ___by December 31, 2013.
Now comes the creative part, which is question #3. There are a number of theories floating around that provide the best way to start the creative process, but we feel Wallas’s creative process makes for a great fit. There are four stages: preparation, incubation, illumination and verification.
Preparation is the stage of gathering all your possible information. After all, you won’t be able to give yourself options if you have no idea of what you’re working with, right? So look at all your sources, all the people you know and all the possible pathways to reach your goal.
Next is incubation. So take a break; set the problem aside for a bit to clear your head. A disorganized mind creates a disorganized reality.
Step 3: illumination. Identify potential solutions. This is when working as a team really comes in handy, as everyone will be looking at the problem through a different perspective. Have brainstorming sessions to present as many solutions as possible.
And finally: verification. Refine your ideas. There may be a number of ideas on how to increase profits by 10% within the given time frame, but each idea needs to be refined and clearly laid out before a decision is made.
It’s completely understandable if this still sounds a bit complicated, but that’s why we’re here! Schedule a meeting with Canvas Creektoday and we’ll show you how to get on track in your creative strategic planning process. We’ll even be with you every step of the way.
Don’t underestimate the importance of social networking in your business! What are some ways you use social networking?
Networking tends to be one of those terms that is often thrown around in various business conversations. “We need to network more” or “How are doing on networking?” are just a few phrases you may hear. However, when you actually get down to brass tacks, what exactly is networking? And how do you do it?
Well, here you go. Listed below are some of the best networking tips successful business men and women have to offer.
1.) Know the purpose of networking. The entire point of networking is to have various contacts in other areas that might be of use to you later. Perhaps you are a journalist; knowing someone at your local news station might be a huge benefit to you because they may be able to give you specific leads or sources to various stories.
2.) Do as much as you can on your own. Contacting someone for information that you could easily get yourself is just plain lazy. Do your own homework and research before seeking out others to help you.
3.) Be courteous. That means you shouldn’t be calling them while they’re in the middle of dinner or tracking them down on their lunch break if they haven’t returned your calls. And if they decline your request, for whatever reason, don’t push it. Everyone has their reasons for not being able to help someone out once in a while.
4.) Be professional. Whining, groveling or being overly aggressive isn’t going to get you anywhere. As a matter of fact, it could be very damaging to your relationship. No one wants to work with someone else that can’t keep it together. In addition, if you’re going to approach a third party contact make sure your original source has given you permission to use their name.
5.) Listen. If you need information from this person then you have to be ready to receive it. Having a pen and a notepad handy, or even a recording device will let them know that you aren’t taking their services lightly.
6.) Understand it’s a two-way street. Continuing with our journalist example, if your “source” from the news station has provided you with vital information, it’s only common courtesy to return the favor when the time is needed. Otherwise, you’re just taking advantage of people to get information. Do this enough times and no one will want to work with you.
No really, what’s your passion? We want to know!
With the ever expanding world of the internet, it can be quite easy to see how business relationships may fall to the wayside. After all, instead of calling customer care, people are directed to an online question and answer forum. Instead of turning in job applications directly to human resources, people are asked to submit theirs online. Even ordering business supplies over the phone is a thing of the past; sure, you can probably do it, but not without hearing about how convenient their new online ordering system is from the person on the other end of the line. Do they know a website has the potential to put them out of a job?
Nonetheless, with so many essential business moves being made over the internet, one might think we were living in a world where human to human interaction was not the preferable option. However, relationships in business are more important than ever. And no matter how much work is done online, there are a few things you need to know:
1.) Nothing can replace excellent customer service. Ever get to a website and find that you can’t find a phone number? Anywhere? It’s frustrating to have to sit at a computer and try to decipher what someone else has already deemed the appropriate response to your problem. Maybe that solution isn’t working, maybe that’s not your problem, and maybe you just have no idea what the words in front of you mean.
Having a relationship with your clients means being there for them in a time of need, and refusing to have a help number on your website is not being there (neither is requiring them to go through 46 steps to reach a human being on the other end, contrary to the opinion of Verizon, but who’s counting).
2.) Do what you say you are going to do. When a customer has contacted you with an issue, it is up to you to resolve it. Relying on them to remind you of the problem or giving them a list of things they should try and then call you back is lazy. Sure you can teach a man to fish, but in the business world it’s appreciated if you give that same man a fish or two while he is still learning. Don’t leave your customers out on a limb; once they’ve contacted you take the problem off their hands.
Oh yeah, and fix it.
3.) Facilitate connections. I work with a local photographer here in town, and one day I asked her how much money she spends on advertising for her business. Her answer: $0.00. All of her clients are from colleague recommendations, word of mouth, and social media. Folks all these client sources are facilitated through favorable relationships. If no other photographers in town respect her, if her clients aren’t happy with her work or she ignores the growing trend of social media, her business dies. It’s as simple as that.
What are some ways you utilize your business relationships?
Any of you have a helper like this?
It’s fairly common to be unsatisfied with your current situation in life. Maybe you are happy with your relationship but your job is making you miserable. Maybe you just keep going in circles and you can’t seem to break out of your rut. Either way, change often takes time. However, it all begins with that first step, and here are a few first steps that will show a little bit of improvement immediately.
1.) Let go of the past. As wise Rafiki says in The Lion King, “Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the from way I see it, you can either run from it, or… learn from it.” And even though our lives are not lived through animation, the lesson holds up just the same. The past is the past, and dwelling on it isn’t going to solve anything. Learn what you can from it and then let it go.
2.) Cut out people that hurt you. If you have a relationship that is causing you grief, end it. Just because someone was your best friend in 4th grade or is related to you by blood does not mean you have to keep them in your life. The only people you should have time for are the ones that treat you with respect and dignity and support you when you need it.
3.) Stand up for yourself. If you don’t stand up for yourself, who will? If you feel you are being disrespected in some way, say something. Allowing yourself to be a doormat certainly doesn’t feel good, and the second you stop being one you’ll realize how amazing it feels to be treated with respect.
4.) De-clutter your mind. Have something that’s weighing on your mind? Take care of it! Maybe it’s a huge presentation you feel unprepared for; stop putting it off and prepare for it! Maybe you are avoiding talking to your child’s math teacher for whatever reason; get over it and stop by the school after work! All of those tiny little to-do tasks add up, and it can cause you some serious stress. Bear down and take care of as many of them as you can and you’d be surprised at how amazing you feel knowing all of those little tasks are completed.
5.) Appreciate how far you’ve come. Goals we set for ourselves often take a long time to achieve, so it’s completely understandable to feel frustrated about halfway through when you feel like you haven’t made any progress. Chances are though, you have made some progress, you just haven’t stopped to realize it yet. Do you have a goal to lose 20 pounds and you’ve lost 12 so far? Good for you, that’s a big deal! So take a second and think about what you’re trying to accomplish and how far you’ve come toward that particular goal.
What are some ways you guys take the first step?