Tag: George Obst

Smart Goals – Recipe for Success

Smart Goals - Recipe for SuccssA company’s vision and mission are broad and far reaching statements about business objectives and what you want the business to look like in the future. They can seem overwhelming and difficult to achieve. Think about answering the question, “how do you eat an elephant?”.   The answer is “one bite at a time.”

Developing, prioritizing, and writing specific goals are key to successful business startups, continuous improvement and success of existing businesses. The idea is to capture the stepping stones essential to business achievement. Goals create the road map, the bite size pieces that make the vision and mission a reality.

The best goals are “SMART” goals. They are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely.SMART Goals - Recipe for Success

The best goals:

  • Address the most important and urgent issues first.
  • Contribute to using time wisely.
  • Provide a management tool to measure employee performance.
  • Help us overcome distractions and procrastination.
  • Increase productivity.
  • Provide motivation and positive feedback as the goals are achieved.
  • Are key to maintaining enthusiasm and continued progress.

Measure your goal setting IQ by answering these questions:

  • Does your business have a written operational plan?
  • Do individual business owners and employees have individual goals for the year?
  • Does the business owner meet regularly with the team and individual employees to review goal progress and re-set goals, if necessary?
  • Are business goals set by all the key people, not just the owner?
  • Are goal successes celebrated and rewarded?

It is clear that business success is greatly enhanced by creating a culture of developing and writing specific, measurable goals.

A SCORE mentor can help you with your goal setting. Click here to schedule a free mentoring session in a Phoenix Valley location near you!

About the Author:

George Obst, Certified SCORE MentorGeorge Obst is a Certified SCORE mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start-ups, purchasing, financing and selling businesses.

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Marketing – The Lifeblood Of Your Business

Ask yourself a question – how important is marketing to the success of your business? The answer is – it is essential!!

What is marketing and do I need a marketing plan?

Marketing is the process of interesting potential customers in your products/services.

The name of the game is attracting and retaining an increasing number of satisfied customers. A marketing plan will focus your efforts to accomplish that objective. The plan involves the implementation of the 4 P’s of marketing:

  1. Product/service selection and development.
  2. Price
  3. Reaching the customer’s place
  4. Promotional strategy

4 Ps of MarketingSaid another way, marketing is the process of creating and delivering value, at a profit, to fulfill the needs of a target market. Marketing is building your brand and relationships with your customers. It is about knowing, intimately, your current customers as well as the needs of prospective customers.

Assessing the results of your marketing is essential to knowing whether you are getting value from your investment in marketing. “Getting a bang for your buck” will lead to your spending more marketing dollars.

If your business has flat or declining sales, you need a marketing analysis and a plan, ASAP. Most likely, you will need to redirect your marketing efforts. You will need to spend more time and “smart” dollars in gaining and retaining customers.

SCORE can help you to identify your marketing needs, develop a marketing plan, and assess the effectiveness of your marketing activities. SCORE certified mentors are available to meet with you and discuss your business and marketing needs. There is never a fee for this service. Click here to schedule a free mentoring session. There’s a SCORE mentor near you in locations all around the Phoenix Valley!

Also, there is a SCORE Symposium coming up on March 31st at Grand Canyon University. It is a day chock full of invaluable workshops and seminars to help you profitably grow your business. This may be the best one day investment you can make, and the best news is, there is no attendance fee.

Find out more about SCORE, schedule an appointment with a mentor (no fee) and find out more about the SCORE 2015 Small Business Symposium, (totally free, including lunch) by clicking here, greaterphoenix.score.org – Mark Your Calendar!

About the Author:

George Obst, Certified SCORE MentorGeorge Obst is a Certified SCORE mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start-ups, purchasing, financing and selling businesses.

 

 

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The Power of Saying Thanks

By George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor

One of the most powerful rules for successful entrepreneurs is “show appreciation” often and sincerely. Psychologists confirm that this single act can do more to foster great attitudes and this leads to better performance. In employee surveys, time and time again , over 50% of the respondents are dissatisfied with the recognition they receive. Appreciate everything your employees, suppliers and customers do for your business. Your successes result from a group effort.

The Power of Saying Thanks

The Power of Saying ThanksAs we celebrate Thanksgiving, it is a natural time to express our appreciation, not only to our families, but to employees, customers and suppliers for their support. Our thanks should not be delivered solely when it is expected on Thanksgiving or year-end. Thanks to the folks that help make a business successful should be given often and when it’s unexpected.

Saying thank you helps motivate employees, encourages suppliers to go the “extra mile” with their service and helps create loyalty among customers.

Entrepreneurs need to develop a culture of meaningful appreciation.

Spontaneous, sincere personal touches go a long way to acknowledging employee contributions. And, employee satisfaction is directly tied to customer satisfaction.

Don’t miss an opportunity to thank when thanks are merited. Put it in writing, be specific, be personal and be unexpected. “Old fashioned” personal notes are better than e mail or text messages. But e mails are better than not doing anything. Thank employees, vendors, and customers for specific actions that were positive and beneficial.

Companies that foster a climate of appreciation and reinforce it often, generally have lower employee turnover, higher customer retention, and more committed vendors

We want to take this opportunity to thank you, our readers, for your encouragement and feedback. Our idea is to help make your business idea or business more successful. We are dedicated to making our Greater Phoenix SCORE Blog specific, educational, and beneficial to you personally and your business. Our circulation now totals over 12,000 readers, a significant accomplishment during these hectic times when it’s difficult to find time to “keep up”. Thanks for making our Blog part of your weekly reading ritual. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.

About the Author:

George Obst, Certified SCORE MentorGeorge Obst is a Certified SCORE mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start-ups, purchasing, financing and selling businesses.

 

 

 

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7 Essential Skill Sets for Business Success

by George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor

7 Essential Skill Sets for Business Success Everything is changing at such a dizzying pace that it is hard to keep up.  Whether you are an entrepreneur running an existing business or starting a business,  know that the pace of change has accelerated.  Although we have always had to deal with change, its magnitude, speed and depth is unlike anything we have had to fact heretofore.  All indications are this change proposition will continue to accelerate in the years ahead.  Anticipating and adapting to these changes faster than your competitors will help ensure your success.

Are you in a rut?  Are you thinking and operating the way you always have, or are you facing the future with a new vitality and resolve.  As the external environment changes, your thinking and strategies need to change as well.  For many of us that means acquiring new skills.  You need to engage change proactively, making the necessary business changes to maintain competitive advantage.  If you are in the process of developing your start-up business plan, you will need to be aware of the changes taking place within your business specialty.  You will need to anticipate how your customer expectations are changing so you are not caught “flat footed”.

Ram Charan, a noted management consultant and author, has identified seven interrelated learnable skills that separate the performers from non-performers:

  1. Pinpoint external changes and trends quickly and accurately.
  2. Use this information to position your business and to re-position your thinking.  This process has to happen quickly enough to be effective because of the pace of change.  This means aligning your actions with today’s realities.
  3. Quickly and accurately identify the changing needs of your customers and meet these needs better than your competitors.  You need to be quicker and more nimble in recognizing changing customer requirements.
  4. Set goals and laser sharp priorities.  Select the right set of goals, make them achievable, and get everyone involved.  Goals need to be stated clearly, be measureable and communicated effectively and often.
  5. Evaluate your key staff and determine whether they are high achievers, flexible, willing to adapt to new realities, have a positive can-do attitude and are team players.
  6. Develop in yourself and team leaders the ability to be “coaches” rather than “bosses”.  Bosses tell people what to do.  Coaches ask questions and together with their people work on goals, priorities and solutions to problems.
  7. As an entrepreneur you need to possess the following attributes:  integrity, character, ambition, drive, tenacity, “people skills”, communication skills, psychological openness, realism and an insatiable appetite for learning.

Success on a sustained basis in this world of change depends on your cultivating and practicing these seven skills sets.

About the Author:

George Obst, Certified SCORE MentorGeorge Obst is a Certified SCORE mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start-ups, purchasing, financing and selling businesses.

 

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Hitting the Target: Setting & Reaching Your Goals

By George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor

HITTING THE TARGET                  SETTING AND ACHIEVING THE RIGHT GOALSSetting and achieving the right set of goals are two of the most important skill sets essential to entrepreneurial and business success.

Setting goals is about determining the set of objectives that best balances what your organization can become and what it can realistically achieve. It is about setting goals that are achievable, and yet stretch the organization to greater accomplishments.  Goals need to be clear and discussed frequently and effectively.  Also, they need to be measurable with progress documented at frequent intervals.

Once the goals are set, the priority actions need to be identified.  These priority actions are the pathway for accomplishing the goals.  This truly is where the rubber meets the road.  The right priority actions, combined by relentless follow-up, keep the truly important things on the radar screen.  In most day-to-day work environments everything seems urgent and important.  Defining what the most important actions should be and pursuing their accomplishment attests to the tenacity, attitude, and judgment of leadership.

Typically, setting four to six goals are about as many as can be effectively handled.  Then, setting at most, three to four priorities (action steps) for each goal should represent the most important and timely actions that must be taken to achieve the goal.  Each action step should have a due date and be assigned to one or more individuals.  Full dialogue about the goals and priorities needs to occur to achieve buy-in from the people who will carry out the actions.

Setting the wrong priorities, or having too many priorities, dilutes the entire effort and results in non-performance. Often, priorities are set when too little information is available or when people filter the information through their own biases or ego.

Let’s look at a simple example to illustrate the concept.  The goal is to increase sales 8% in 2014.  This goal was arrived at after an analysis of why sales were growing at only 2%.

The priorities may be:

  1. Survey existing accounts (by a specified date) that showed a drop in sales or had flat sales to determine the reasons.
  2. Based on the result of the survey take a defined action. For example, if product quality was a significant reason, then identify a priority to make operational improvements.  Be specific about the step(s) you will take.
  3. Identify a hit list of potential new accounts and call on five of these a month.

Effectively identifying and implementing goals and priorities, and linking their accomplishment to individual and team performance, have a powerful impact on people’s behavior. The result will be sustained and significant organization progress and success.

SCORE, a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration has certified mentors who can help you identify the most important goals and priorities for your business or business idea. Call today, (602 745-7250) or click here to make your no fee appointment with a SCORE mentor.  There is never a charge and you can be assured of the very best counsel and advice.

About the Author:

George Obst, Certified SCORE MentorGeorge Obst is a Certified SCORE mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start-ups, purchasing, financing and selling businesses.

 

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Charting Strategies for Business Growth

By George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor

Strategies for Business GrowthIn every industry there are individual companies that grow their sales each year no matter the economic conditions.  We are talking about organic sales, not increased prices.  In other words these companies sell more of their products and services each year.  The question is, “how do they do it?”

Creating a market driven organization requires a culture that actively targets market growth.  The key components follow:

  1. Achieve product and/or service quality with every sale, every day, every month, and every year.  In other words strive for consistency of product or service.
  2. Create product and service leadership that differentiates you from competitors.  Strive to make your company unique, in both product and service.  Develop a list of ways you could distinguish your product/service from the others.  Implement the necessary changes in your organization to deliver the differences you identify.
  3. Connect with customers to create customer intimacy.  To achieve customer intimacy the customers are at the top of the organization chart.  They are followed by the front line sales and service staff, and all other staff who have direct customer contact.

In this setting management is the catalyst that provides this customer intimate environment, and achieves it by taking the following actions:

  1. Consciously decides to improve what is already in place by focusing on manufacturing and/or service effectiveness.  These companies strive to deliver a product or service at a lower cost, in record time, and with no errors.  The result is operational excellence.
  2. Ensures that all staff who deal with customers have adequate training both in their area of expertise as well as customer listening skills.
  3. Listens to feedback from those who deal with customers and determines where to initiate changes to better serve customers.
  4. Values highly those who interact with customers and recognizes/rewards incidents of exceptional customer service.
  5. Avoids all polices and rules that stop those in contact with customers from being able to solve their problems.  In other words, empower those in contact with customers to be able to solve problems on the spot.

Creating this climate of customer and operational excellence will ensure that your company will grow and take market share from your competitors.

SCORE, a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration has certified mentors who can help you achieve market leadership.  Call  today, (602 745-7250) or click here to make your no fee appointment with a SCORE mentor.  There is never a charge and you can be assured of the very best counsel and advice.

About the Author

George Obst, Certified SCORE MentorGeorge Obst is a Certified SCORE mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start-ups, financing, purchasing, and selling businesses.

 

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