member of your team and your extended team including key business partners such as the bank, the financial adviser and so on - lets show everyone that we are serious entrepreneurs who are in business to succeed and know exactly what that success will look like.
Stage 2. Define your core values
Ok, we are now on our way and we know what success looks like for us. This is a great start but there is more to do. We have a goal to aim for but what sort of business do we want to be? What personality will we have? How do we want to be perceived? Even if our business has been trading for many years it is never too late to consider our core values - the very characteristics that define us and make us attractive to our customers.
What is special about your business? What should clients say about you? Why should you be recommended? Here are some core values to consider:
Caring, Quality, Distinctive, Passionate Discerning, Open, Straight forward, Responsive, Friendly, Formal, Knowledgeable, Creative, Premium, Relaxed, Inspiring Practical, Authoritative, Expert
First and foremost, successful businesses are seen as an authority on their market. They are more knowledgeable than their competitors and have earnt a reputation as experts in their field. Values are the key to successful brands and businesses, they summarise the experience clients
will enjoy in all of their dealings with us and these values should be shared with and owned by all staff members who do their best to live up to them.
So think about your business and the values you should live up to. Draw up a list and discuss with your colleagues. Be realistic and practical because you have to live up to these qualities and demonstrate that you are passionate about what you do. Passion is good, passion is infectious!
Stage 3. Develop your proposition statement
So we now have a vision for the future and a set of core values that define the way we operate. Now we need to get down to business and write up our proposition or business story.
This must set out who, what, why and for whom.
Who Who are you? What is your business called and what line of business are you in?
What – What do you do, describe the product or service you offer and what these products or services enable your customers to achieve?
Why – Why is your business so special and unique? List the compelling reasons why a customer or prospect should choose you over your competition.
Take your time, make it brief, uplifting and think about what your customers want to hear. Use words like you and your, not we! It should be no longer than 1 page in length.
This business story will now be used in literature, presentations and of course the website.
Stage 4. Set Goals
Business leaders usually answer to no one, and as a result, if it doesn’t get done it doesn’t matter and gets put off until another day. My advice to anyone who is serious about building their business is to set real meaningful and challenging goals. After all, what gets measured gets done. We have our vision for the next 5 years so we know how success looks for our business. This is a 5 year plan and needs to be broken down into manageable chunks.
Set annual sales and profit goals for the business and publish them. Hold quality reviews and measure productivity and performance. When faced with business decisions, ask yourself one question – ‘will doing this get us closer to achieving our vision?’ If it will, do it!
SO AS WE ENTER 2012, PLAN AND AIM HIGN!
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