Facilitator Training: An Overview of Training Levels

Facilitator training (eg strategic planning training) equips organizers with the skills that need to succeed at one or more of the following levels of enablement: basic, developmental, and advanced. To aid beginners in understanding the type of education working at each level, it helps to define the levels in terms of the disciples that they…

Facilitator training (eg strategic planning training) equips organizers with the skills that need to succeed at one or more of the following levels of enablement: basic, developmental, and advanced. To aid beginners in understanding the type of education working at each level, it helps to define the levels in terms of the disciples that they involve. Below is an overview of the basic, developmental, and advanced assistance in terms of facilitation disciplines.

The Basic Level. The basic level relates to activities such as information sharing, and goal setting. The meeting guide uses basic skills such as time management and specific skills such as technology skills to help the group achieve the purpose of the meeting. At the basic level, facilitators help their clients solve problems on a meeting-by-meeting basis. Often, the goal of each engagement is achieved in a single session.

The Developmental Level. At the developmental level, implementers help the client improve their processes, instead of meeting a temporary need. For example, whereas the point of goal setting at the basic level is to set a specific goal, its purpose at the developmental level is to help the client improve the goal setting process for the future. To this end, real-time feedback and performance coaching are often performed over several sessions.

The Advanced Level. The advanced level deals with situations that have added complexity due to various factors, such as personal disagreements within the group, low morale due to company misfortune, difficulty channeling company values ​​into products or services, etc. At this level, organizers oversee meetings that focus on resolving conflicts, teambuilding skills, and implementing vision and values.

Career Options and Education. Without professional experience equips them with unique insight into issues at the developmental level or advanced level, most individuals begin at the basic level and gradually acquire skills to practice at senior levels. Alternatively, others opt to stay at the basic level due to the short engagements it entails, the convenience of charging a flat meeting fee, and the flexibility that is offered by working in this manner. Regardless of the level of assistance that they prefer, the goal is to pursue facilitator training – be it goal setting, resolving conflicts, strategic planning training, or all three – and acquire the skills necessary for the job.

There is no shortage of educational options, but architects can limit their choices to training services that have experience working with the types of groups and entities that they envision assistance. For example, management teams, business-owning families, task forces, boards of directors, and coalitions all have unique concerns and different ways of doing business. By working with an educator that understands the difference between the needs of one group and another, facilitators increase their chance of success.

Conclusion

Facilitators must acquire skills that help them succeed at a particular level – basic, developmental, or advanced – and type (eg strategic planning facilitation). To learn more about educational options for different types and levels of facilitation, contact a provider of facilitator training services today.

3 Simple Steps to Charging What You’re Worth

Two of the problems that I see many entrepreneurs facing is how to set their prices, and how to convey to potential clients or customers what is the value in working with you, buying your product, or using your services. This is most often because you're not clear on it, or 100% convinced of it…

Two of the problems that I see many entrepreneurs facing is how to set their prices, and how to convey to potential clients or customers what is the value in working with you, buying your product, or using your services. This is most often because you're not clear on it, or 100% convinced of it yourself. This lack of clarity undermines your confidence and can lead to behaviors that sabotage your business instead of building it if you try to compensate by over delivering. This may show up as undercharging, putting up with problem clients, not sticking to session times or prices, answering emails in the middle of the night (just stop that one right now!) Answering the phone outside of business hours or not putting strong systems in place to really support your business growth.

Here are 3 Simple Steps to help you get clear on the value you deliver, and to charge fees that are in line with that.

Step # 1: A quick, simple and super effective exercise is to list 30 results that your clients get in working with you, or purchasing your products or services. Be sure to list the tangible as well as the non-tangible ie Paying down 5 figure debt (tangible) and greatly reduced stress (non-tangible). List 30. Not 12, not 25. Be tenacious and dig deep. If you're new in business, then look at the results that are typical of your particular profession or industry, and ask yourself how you can help people create that.

Step # 2: Once you have made your basic list, look for the secondary results.

Example: Paying down 5 figure debt = less stress = fewer headaches and physical problems, better sleep, more disposable income

Fewer headaches and physical problems = fewer healthcare expenses = more money in the bank (which equals less stress)

More disposable income = more vacations, nicer car / house / clothes, quality of life for family

See how this works?

Step # 3: Now that you know, it's important for clients or customers to be aware of it too. Be sure to ask them regularly what they value about working with you or buying your products. It's a great ego boost for you to hear this, and it helps to bring this to the forefront of your clients' minds as well, and keeps them coming back for more.

Remember, that you are irreplaceable, and money alone can never reflect your true worth. What you're charging for is the difference you make in the world, and to other people's lives.

If you're doing great things in this world, it's up to you to let people know and share it! We can all create big change together!

So what is the value to you in receiving this coaching tip? How much more income do you think you can bring into your business by focusing on the value you deliver, and charging what you're worth?

Much Love & Success

Management Training: What Makes a Person Management Material?

Managers have the enviable – and some would say unenviable – task of overseeing the operation of a business, or the function of a department within a company. These leadership positions are not for those who perform poorly under stress, even though the level of stress executives experience depends entirely on the qualities and skills…

Managers have the enviable – and some would say unenviable – task of overseeing the operation of a business, or the function of a department within a company. These leadership positions are not for those who perform poorly under stress, even though the level of stress executives experience depends entirely on the qualities and skills that possess, these characteristics can be enhanced through leadership development and management training. If a professional possess the skills that are listed below, he or she may be leadership material:

Industry Knowledge. To start with the obvious, managers must have knowledge of the industry in which they work. In many cases, this knowledge does not need to be intense. Many are well served by having a deep knowledge of a particular aspect of their industry, such as project public relations or human resources. Industry knowledge is gained through education and experience – typically in that order.

Self-Motivation. Managers strive to motivate their workers, but they themselves must be self-motivated, as executives seldom have the same motivational duty to managers as the latter have to personnel. If a professional is a self-starter who does not need frequent encouragement to keep a full head of steam, nurturing this quality through management training is a smart idea.

Optimism. Managers may have to make difficult decisions one day, and then show up the next day smiling. They play a larger role in controlling the morale of the business or the corporate department than employees do, since the employees look to them for help in resolving business issues and personal problems relating work. Leadership training can articulate the role of optimism in maintaining morale.

Reliability. At many companies, a manager has the duty of picking up the slack when employees are sick or on vacation. Consequently, they are required to exhibit more dependability and reliability than the average employee does. These hits are demonstrable through the person's work history.

Integrity. In an era when big companies are being called out for their lack of ethics, the merit of integrity is once again a quality that executives are looking for in department leaders. The need for integrity never went away, but companies now feel that they can not depend on just anyone to possess it. Anyone who has a work history that demonstrates integrity is discussed favorably as a managerial candidate.

Active Listening. Everyone has moments when he or she zones out and misses what a college said. For managers, though, these moments must be few because most things that are said are kindly said with respect to the manager position. Not capturing information could put managers at a disadvantage in areas where they need to shine, such as project management and conflict resolution.

Conclusion

The characteristics above are basic hits that every manager needs. If considering a career in management, chances are that some of these exercises have already been acquired. To maximize them – and to add new skills – consider pursuing leadership development and management training, which are available from a provider of facilitation services that offers educational courses.

The ABCDE Of Strategic Planning

Any organization, business or individual, who desires to maximize his potential, and to plan effectively both for the present and the future, should go and prioritize strategic planning. This means considering not only how to react, but planning how to act, not simply going from crisis to crisis, but evaluating in advance, and learning how…

Any organization, business or individual, who desires to maximize his potential, and to plan effectively both for the present and the future, should go and prioritize strategic planning. This means considering not only how to react, but planning how to act, not simply going from crisis to crisis, but evaluating in advance, and learning how to prioritize one's actions based on needs and degree of importance and relevance. Many organizations claim to do strategic planning, because at one time or another, they created a committee or panel to evaluate needs and strategy. Effective strategic planning is a continuous and ongoing process, and requires both commitment and vision. When I refer to the ABCDE of strategic planning, I am referring to: analysis and assessment; best way and because; caring and then creating; deciding to deliver; and evaluating to achieve excellence.

1. Because we do not live in a static society, sustainability often requires remaining relevant, by evolving on a preliminary, ongoing basis. Groups must truly examine their identities and purposes, in order to assess needs currently, and in the near term and longer term future.

2. This means that an organization must find the best way or best methods of achieving their goals, and meeting their needs. They must take an honest look at themselves, to understand the because of membership (in other words, why would someone want to belong or be associated with the group). What purpose or direction or combination of items, does the organization serve that is either not served or undeserved elsewhere?

3. Why should someone care about the organization? What does the organization care about; what are its values ​​or ethics? Are these concerns relevant and significant to others? Based on what the group cares about, what does it do, or in other words what programs, visions, goals, and actions has it created?

4. It is never enough to just have goals, address needs, and to talk about them. Talk may at times be soothing, but until an organization actually makes the conscious decision to deliver on its goals and promises, no one will take the group seriously. Organizations are judged and attract attention, not by the loftiness of its rhetoric, but rather by whether or not it takes steps to deliver on its promises.

5. Part of the strategic planning process must be to do things better, and never settle for being less than it can be. This means that the process must also be evaluative, in order to come up with an approach that will emphasize excellence and achievement.

In over thirty years of organizational and leadership consulting, I have been involved in developing and implementing close to a hundred strategic plans. While strategic planning is important, it must be viewed as far more than just a process, but rather a methodology, on an ongoing basis, of assuring not merely survival, but maximum performance from an organization.

Getting People Engaged in Strategic Planning – Before You Start!

Strategic Planning can be a framework to plan for and deal with change or to ensure all members of a team are working in the same direction. The process can be used for groups and individuals at several levels including the Business and Government Sectors, Community Groups and in your personal lives. The Strategic Planning…

Strategic Planning can be a framework to plan for and deal with change or to ensure all members of a team are working in the same direction. The process can be used for groups and individuals at several levels including the Business and Government Sectors, Community Groups and in your personal lives.

The Strategic Planning process

In its simplest form, strategic planning combines three basic elements – Now-Where-How.

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to go in the future?
  • How will we get there?

It's a process to help people look at their current situation, identify how they would like the future to be and what steps they need to take to get there.

During the process I take participants through a number of stages

1. The drivers for change

2. Understanding the current environment

3. How to help a group set their aim or future vision

4. How to help a group understand it's role

5. A basic SWOT analysis to set priorities

6. Development of an action plan

So let's focus on the first three steps.

But before we go too far into the process we need to identify if the team is ready- and – do they need to do anything anyway?

Planning for the sake of planning is not going to get many supporters. Getting people involved in change processes can be a challenge at the best of times.

If we understand the process it can help to identify where and what some of the hurdles may be. In looking at the drivers for change you can use a number of models to help the team identify and understand them. My view is that we need to make it personal. Yep, personal.

So prior to the workshop I often send out an online survey. In this I get participants to articulate their key frustrations about the way things are right now. This is not manipulation. If there are no frustrations, no concerns, no worries – then there will not be a change. Everyone will continue in cruise control. The workshop and any associated documents and plans produced will substantially be a waste of time – and money!

Then, as part of the 'warm-up' process at the start of the workshop, revisit these frustrations, concerns and worries. Use them in developing participants' expectations of the process.

And here's the key step.

Rather than having participants set an extended list of expectations that you're expected to deliver on, turn it around.

Get them to focus on the one thing they've come here for. ' And put out the challenge. “If you find yourself wandering during the day, zoning out or getting distracted, come back. Come back and focus on this expectation, the thing that you want to resolve.

This way the ball is in their court – you can get on with running the process and they can have the responsibility of sticking to the task ahead.

How to Start a Team Planning Workshop

The first session of a workshop is all about setting the scene and making people feel reasonably comfortable with what lies ahead. You'll find that there are still plenty of people who feel uneasy about being 'facilitated'. Be open and clear about the process, what you intend to do and why. That will help people…

The first session of a workshop is all about setting the scene and making people feel reasonably comfortable with what lies ahead. You'll find that there are still plenty of people who feel uneasy about being 'facilitated'.

Be open and clear about the process, what you intend to do and why. That will help people to focus on the content of the workshop rather than the facilitation processes being used. In a nutshell – be upfront and keep it simple – not many people will complain about that!

An important part of starting any workshop is making sure that participants understand the aims of the workshop. In other words, what they are there to do.

The basics are:

  • Introduce yourself and your role, including who you represent;
  • Thank participants for investing their time, effort and passion in the workshop;
  • Provide a brief outline of why the workshop is being held (background);
  • Provide a brief outline of what the workshop is planning to achieve (outcomes);
  • Indicate how long the process / workshop will take;
  • Talk briefly about how you intend to run proceedings (ie: brainstorming, goal setting, prioritisation, etc);

Emphasize that your role is to lead the process and ask the questions and let participants know you'll be drawing on the skills and experience of those in the room to develop agreed solutions.

Things to remember:

  • Breathe – you've got to breathe. Breathe in – breathe out. It's easy;
  • Every day above ground is a good day;
  • Fear and nervousness are excitement waiting to get out;
  • Get through this part and your confidence will continue to grow.

Things to check:

  • Everyone is clear on why the workshop is being held;
  • Everyone is clear on what can be achieved.

Questions to ask:

  • Are there any questions?
  • Is everyone clear on what we're trying to achieve ?;
  • Are we ready to move on?

Do not …

Ask if people are happy (not everyone likes workshops)

Introductions

People like to know who they're working with. A workshop situation is no different. Introductions can help people to find out what skills and experience lie within the group, as well as put a name to a face.

Some people like to keep their private lives separate from work. As facilitators, we have to respect that. Some people are plain shy and we have to be aware of this. Doing some homework beforehand will help you to decide the most appropriate way to conduct introductions. There are a range of ways for people to introduce themselves, or each other.

The short approach

If you only have a half day or less for the workshop, using shorter introductions is the way to go. People may be watching the clock and will be keen to get into the main body of the workshop.

It's important to provide some context – ie: “We'll be working together over the next few hours / day.

Start with whoever is closest to you (make sure you know their name first) and get them to introduce themselves, then move in order around the room.

Things to remember:

  • Give everyone the chance to introduce themselves;
  • Keep track of who has spoken and who has not;
  • Acknowledge and thank people for their introductions as you go (does not have to be everyone – can be good to build the confidence of shy people – can also help you in remembering names).

Types of introductions

  • Description of yourself using your initials;
  • Highlight of your last two weeks;
  • Something you're really good at

Mobile Payments and the Future of the Credit Card Processing Business

As with many of our new and evolving technologies, no one really knows what the future holds for mobile payments. However, there's no lack of people who act like they know. 'Mobile payments' is a buzzword among columnists, consultants and pundits, all weighing in on what will be the that hits it big. And there…

As with many of our new and evolving technologies, no one really knows what the future holds for mobile payments.

However, there's no lack of people who act like they know. 'Mobile payments' is a buzzword among columnists, consultants and pundits, all weighing in on what will be the that hits it big. And there are many products for them to analyze; new ones are launched every day. Many fail just as quickly.

However, one thing I'm fairly certain of is that smartphone and tablets will significantly change commerce. It will change how customers buy, how businesses sell and how marketers market. It will change the credit card processing business, and it will change how we develop and launch products to offer the best merchant services.

Now that you're thinking about mobile payments, let's consider a few points about the subject that I gleaned from a recent conference.

Do not count on NFC.

Many experts are predicting how the rollout of NFC, or Near Field Communications, will impact the mobile payments sector. Each new iPhone releases a wave of speculation about whether it will be able to support NFC and therefore increase the likelihood of NFC being widely adopted.

However, many experts do not think NFC is the future. They think it's unwisely to overemphasize NFC because mobile payments are not dependent on it. The bottom line is that NFC may grow into a method of transferring data between a smartphone and a point-of-sale system, but other, competitive ways of transferring that data could also become the standard.

The consumer will determine the future.

What consumers find useful, they'll adopt. And what they adopt will become the standard. It's a cycle that has played out with a number of different technologies. Mobile payments will be no different.

It's really rather refreshing. Let the service that provides the greatest benefits win. It's similar to developing the best merchant services program: provide customers with a product they like, and they'll reward you for it.

Showrooming will change retail, not kill it.

'Showrooming' is a new term that refers to consumers using mobile phones to do product research while in stores. They compare prices and browse competitors while walking down the aisles. Some experts have claimed that showrooming will kill brick and mortar retailers.

However, this may be going too far. Yes, showrooming will change retail, but many experts note that retailers will still have the advantage because the consumer is in their store. For example, 70% of consumers who 'showroom' visit the website of the store they're in.

These are just a few things to consider when thinking about mobile payments. What do you think about mobile payments? Are you developing a strategy? Let us know.

How To Create A Winning Mission Strategy For Missions Of Change

It is a sad fact that most missions for change fail or make slow to no progress. That is why it is critical that difference makers, wayseers and agents of change learn how to create a winning mission strategy so their visions do not suffer the same fate as other projects for change. Good people,…

It is a sad fact that most missions for change fail or make slow to no progress. That is why it is critical that difference makers, wayseers and agents of change learn how to create a winning mission strategy so their visions do not suffer the same fate as other projects for change.

Good people, with great hearts, grand ideas and magnificent visions all too often struggled to get their message heard, least of all implemented in meaningful ways, that would create the better world we all desire to live in. I see it all too often. And what happens is the change we all want to see in the world just does not happen.

We can postulate as to the many reasons why missions for change fail, from it being the Government's fault to the human condition of fear of change. Regardless of the cause or causes, there are missions that succeed because they clearly have a winning strategy.

When creating your winning mission strategy here are some things to consider, that I have found to be fundamental to reaching mission accomplished. You may have heard much about The Law of Attraction since the movie The Secret came out. While millions of people have used this law to attract to them more money, a bigger car, a soulmate, I pose the question – why not use this Law and other Laws in Nature to create winning mission strategies that make a better world?

Here are some strategies that come from my working knowledge of the Universal Laws of Nature that govern our physical universe, commonly referred to as the Laws of Physics.

1. Align Your Mission To The Law of Expansion

The number one biggest mistake just about every change agent makes is designing a mission strategy that contravenes a very important Law called The Law of Expansion. It was Hubble who discovered our Universe was expanding at ever increasing speeds. There is a way that we can align our mission strategies to this Law to get past stuck and slow to no progress so we create consistent, predictable improvement towards mission accomplished. And that's simply to make sure the strategy by which you seek to achieve your opportunity expands the human experience in some way rather than contracts it.

We are on this planet to expand and elevate the human experience. All restrictive measures to prevent that from happening ever fail or crumble. We are baring witness to that fact in many areas of our word today.

2. Create Leverage With The Law of Growth, Periodicity and Mass Attraction

One of the biggest problems people on missions face is overwhelmed leading to burn out, because there is just too much frantic hard work without strategic growth. We could all do with greater leakage so we achieve more results with less effort. One of the best ways to leverage results it to incorporate the principles of the Law of Growth, Periodicity and Mass Attraction into your mission strategy. Going with nature instead of against it will ease the struggle and bring forth the leakage.

The Law of Growth states all things that live, including thoughts, seeking to attract like to itself. The Law of Periodicity states that everything has a cycle of birth, growth, fruition and decline and the Law of Mass Attraction is an equation we can use to determine how much mass or exposure we need for our mission, plus the distance we have to cover to attract the very results we want.

Creating leverage using The Laws of Nature particularly Growth, Periodicity and Mass Attraction is a little complicated to teach in this short article. But you can start with this one exercise.

Take a look at your current strategy, or if you are just beginning with your mission, write down your estimated achievement and means to get there. Now ask the question … “Is the means to my income congruent with that opportunity I am seeking?” In other words, am I doing the right kind of activities, am I thinking the right kind of thoughts, do I have the right kind of strategy that will lead to my desired goal rather than a goal I do not desire? “If not adjust your strategy.

Secondly look at your current mission strategy once again and determine where are you at within the Law of Periodicity – Are you in the birth, growth, fruition or decline phase? Once you have determined which phase you are in you build your strategy based on your current position. So if you are in the growth phase you need to be focused on the activities that will grow your opportunities, not abandon to start another mission or project or get distracted with too many balls in the air.

Finally determine how much mass you need, how much marketing material or exposure you need to attract the results that you'll be looking for or the people that will help you reach those outcomes. Whether that be customers that you need, or clients, supporters, funders and the like, you need to have enough mass to attract their support. This may require you to go back to look at your market research then adjusting your marketing plan within your overall mission strategy.

These are simply steps you can take to leverage your efforts. Imagine if you will a piece of string that that being being held loosely between your two hands. This piece of string is looped, has knots, dips down and is weak. Now try to imagine what would happen if you place a ring on one end, slightly slippery it so it slides into the other end of the string. Chances are the ring will stop dead in its tracks in the dip of the string, and not be able to make it to the other side without a lot of efforting.

Working with the Laws of Nature to create your winning strategic plan is like tightening the string, getting rid of the knots and kinks so the ring slides gracefully from one side to the other. You reach your goal with a whole lot less effort. You work smarter not harder. You can also incorporate these Laws and many others into your mission strategy plan to avoid dealing with relentless obstacles so that you finally reach mission accomplished, vision achieved, and arrive at the finish line breathing with energy to enjoy your accomplishments.

Do New Start-Ups Really Need a 40-50 Page Business Plan to Get Funded?

Not long ago, I was talking to an individual who wanted to start up a fleet truck washing business in a Midwestern state. He knew several people that had the wealth needed to buy the equipment, reclaim devices, and provide him with enough cash flow and marketing monies to get going. He assumed that he…

Not long ago, I was talking to an individual who wanted to start up a fleet truck washing business in a Midwestern state. He knew several people that had the wealth needed to buy the equipment, reclaim devices, and provide him with enough cash flow and marketing monies to get going. He assumed that he needed a business plan, and therefore he hired someone to help him write it. He had contacted me because he wanted lots of information about the industry which I assumed would then go inside of his business plan, and he wished to make sure that his assumptions on his spreadsheets and pro forma were correct.

Interestingly enough, a month later he contacted me back and then, as I looked over the business plan, and as professional as it was, it made a number of false assumptions about the industry, and underestimated the competition, the current economics of the trucking industry, and the preference of owner operator drivers. Further, it asserts that the price points could remain quite high, while the vehicle counts or numbers of trucks cleaned would have been approximately from the first month of operations. Lastly, when it came to cash flow, they made false assumptions of how fast these trucking companies and government agencies might pay them.

Because I know a little bit about this, I explained to them the error of their ways, and explained it would take them probably another 4 to 6 months to get going, as they figured they could start the business within three months of getting funded. All of these false assumptions would lead someone to believe that their business model was superior, and they would start making a profit right away. In fact, judging by what I know, not only would they not make a profit right away, it could take six months before they even break even based on the cash flow, perhaps longer, and years to get a substantial return on investment.

After my 10 pages of notes, and after looking over their 45 page business plan I realize why so many investors these days are not interested in business plans, industry information, or spreadsheets. The reality is that much of that is just minutia and baloney. You may not need a MBA style business plan to get funded for your new start up, and do not be surprised if many investors are unmoved by your due diligence, creative writing, and brilliant strategic planning. For the simple reason; they know better. It is my hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Year-End Planning and the Impact of Tension on Success

Success appears to come so naturally for some while others struggle. What differentiates those who succeed from those who do not? I have written many articles about the importance of strategic planning, but today I would like to shed some light on another element beyond planning that can make or break success. This other component…

Success appears to come so naturally for some while others struggle. What differentiates those who succeed from those who do not? I have written many articles about the importance of strategic planning, but today I would like to shed some light on another element beyond planning that can make or break success.

This other component of success is one that I deal with extensively in my coaching practice- the challenge of change. Change is almost always required when implementing a forward-thinking strategic plan, yet as we all know can be extremely difficult. Interestingly, research has shown that what motivates people to change, or what holds them back, is the level of tension involved.

Tension, contrary to what you might suspect is not always a bad thing. People step up and stretch to do amazing things with a high level of challenge. However, if the level of tension involved in overcoming the challenge is perceived as too high, stress and often paralysis takes over. If the tension is too low people tend to become apathetic and lazy. Success requires getting the tension just right!

The level of tension involved in any set of activities can predict whether you will act to initiate change and do what it takes to climb over the hurdles along the way, or whether you will stay stuck. Every goal or activity has a perceived level of tension associated with it. Tension is comprised of a combination of three things; your ability, the perceived level of challenge, and how important you view the task.

The most successful companies have figured out how to set big goals and match them with the right set of abilities to get them done in a motivating way. As you go about putting together a roadmap for the coming year you can strengthen your ability to predict success by taking a closer look at the tension involved in what you strive to achieve.

Let's take a look at a real example.

A financial advisor is looking to attract new business prospects. One of their goals for the coming year is to launch a social media campaign. The project has been looming for some time and they decide to put it on their 2013 goals list. The owner views their ability to get this done as medium and the challenge as extremely high, creating a high level of tension.

Another one of their goals is to add a new level of certification to their impressive resume. While adding another credential is a great goal, in contrast to all of the other goals on their plate, they view the level of challenge as much lower, with their ability quite high, creating a very low level of tension.

Both of these goals are important, but are at risk compared to their other goals that have high levels of ability and challenge involved. Our attention naturally goes to the goals with high levels of tension- where we have the ability and it involves a big challenge.

By lowering or raising the level of tension involved in each of these goals, there will be a much higher likelihood of success. Getting outside help on the first task, and determining how to motivate them on the second would increase the chances of them succeeding on these goals.

If you are part of a team or a larger organization the perceptions of each member of the team around the level of ability, challenge and importance of a goal may look very different than your own. Gaining insight into the perceptions of others can be quite useful. As a business owner or manager if your team is not as engaged as you would like them to be, there is a high likelihood that it may be related to their received level of tension on specific goals.

A quick way of understanding how the concept of tension might come into play in your organization can be seen by taking a no-cost assessment developed around a standard set of strategic planning activities) at http://tinyurl.com/clvlkjh

Now is the perfect time to identify the largest areas of opportunity for your business. I look forward to hearing about your 2013 success.

What’s the Best Type for Your Idea?

While it's true, there are thousands of businesses for you to choose from, in order to choose the right business type; you must do your research. Why? You want to make sure that you choose a business type that you are passionate about. If you lack true passion for your business, you will not give…

While it's true, there are thousands of businesses for you to choose from, in order to choose the right business type; you must do your research. Why? You want to make sure that you choose a business type that you are passionate about. If you lack true passion for your business, you will not give your business the proper time, energy or creativity required, in order to make it successful. Also, while nothing is guaranteed, you want to choose a business that is financially viable for the long term.

You can obtain information on your prospective business type through web searches, industry books, current business owners, and industry professionals. I strongly suggest you do your own research, by doing your own research; you will gain invaluable knowledge about your particular business type industry and the business market as a whole. Your research will absolutely tell you that your chosen business type is the right business for you or no, throw it back and make another selection. Enhance your research by factoring in the type of company you want to have and the types of customers you want to target.

Other things to consider when choosing / researching a business type:

Low Startup Cost: You must be realistic about the amount of resources you have. I can not tell you how many people contact me wanting small business development support services and are moving towards business ownership with absolutely no idea about the type of finances that are going to be required for their startup. No matter what you may want, some businesses require start up money in order to start off on a successful note.

Beware of Business Trends: Be mindful of the “trendy” business – business opportunity. There are several business opportunities out there that are simply over-saturated. This industry over-saturation usually means that there will be a lot of salespeople / consultants in your general area. Industry over-saturation can draw you into some ugly business practices and can many to use cutthroat business tactics in order to get ahead. What would be a red flag for me? When I introduce my business to someone and they have already heard about the business opportunity and go on to tell all about the business. Also, with 'trendy' business models, you run the risk of the novelty wearing off.

CAUTION: Too many “newpreneurs” desiring to be their own boss often get caught up in scams and schemes. Be careful of the business opportunities that lead off with promising you “riches”. You've heard it all before, “If the deal looks too good to be true, it is.” The odds of you making $ 50K a month is slim to beyond none. Unless you are selling dollar bills for fifteen cents, building and growing a successful business takes time.

Sometimes It's Good To Be Alone: ​​Focus on creating an industry / market niche. Niche entails creating and being able to offer your target market the most unique products or services.

Where Can I Get the Biggest Payoff: Of course, you want to choose the business type that will afford you the best financial opportunity. However, be mindful that you always do business with integrity at the forefront and not money.

Lastly, be mindful, the best approach to business ownership is to be methodical, systematic and disciplined. By taking your time in selecting your business type, this approach can help you avoid mistakes, which in the end, can be very expensive.

So, which business type is right for you?

Auto Detailing and Car Washing in Parking Structures – Are You Missing Potential Customers?

Let's say you get the opportunity to clean and detail cars at a high-end corporate center, office park, high-rise structure, or corporate campus. How can you legitimately know how many cars you might be cleaning? I mean this is an important question right – after all you need to hire labor, buy equipment, and do…

Let's say you get the opportunity to clean and detail cars at a high-end corporate center, office park, high-rise structure, or corporate campus. How can you legitimately know how many cars you might be cleaning? I mean this is an important question right – after all you need to hire labor, buy equipment, and do a little business budgeting. Also you probably need to write a business plan too. Okay so, let's talk say we?

Not long ago, I was talking to an entrepreneur who was going to set up an auto detailing business inside of a high-rise parking structure somewhere in the United States. It strictly matters where, this is a decent business model, but if this is something you are also considering you might be surprised on how long it takes to build up the volume. It can take up to six weeks before people will even give you a chance to clean their car, they need to make sure they can trust you first with their car keys, and most people are skeptical.

Let's say you are in the high rent district in Miami and working in a large corporate office building, and let's say there are 1000 cars in the parking structure, or at least spaces for 1000 cars, and generally speaking it is at 80 to 90% capacity? If you are going to clean 10% of the vehicles, does that mean you'll be cleaning 80-90 cars per week? It could actually be more than that and let me explain why.

Most of the people who are getting their cars cleaned have more than one car the family. If the husband works in the office building he may have two cars, or he and his wife both have cars and their mid-20s or 30s daughter, now a single mom still living at home, or their college aged son might also have a car , and the dad may switch cars allowing you to clean each of their cars. Perhaps the wife gets her car cleaned every other week, and on those days the husband switches with the wife. You see that point? Is this something that happens often?

It certainly tends too especially if you're doing top-quality work. Remember that if their spouses, significant others, or family members also work somewhere there might also be mobile car washing available where they work as well. Think about it, lots of detailing services do pickup and delivery in-and-around your city. If you are in a metro area you might get to work downtown in an office building, but there are detail shops nearby, especially in the light-industrial areas right outside of the down-town area and they can pick-up and deliver.

What I'm saying to you is this; your volume can be siphoned off by other competitors, just as you can pick up their volume, whether it be a fixed site car wash, another detailing company, or some mobile auto detailing company that comes to their home or another family member's office. Please consider all this and think on it.

Communicating Company Goals to Employees

So here is another project that I have been assigned at work … how to translate the company goals to employees effectively. These are the projects that I love! Every company should create, have, and maintain a set of business goals that will increase productivity, profitability, and overall business functions. However, how many companies really…

So here is another project that I have been assigned at work … how to translate the company goals to employees effectively. These are the projects that I love!

Every company should create, have, and maintain a set of business goals that will increase productivity, profitability, and overall business functions. However, how many companies really engage their employees in the process of creating and maintaining the business goals? In fact, how many companies (larger in stature) really even relay and update employees on the status of the goals through the year? Unfortunately, not enough.

Obviously, the first step (once the business plan has been created – and approved) is to determine which goals to communicate to employees. Not all items on the business plan are relevant to all of the employees. Some items may be confidential or only certain to senior management. These items should not be shared with the general population (ie all employees).

Next, determining the way to present the goals to employees is essential to set the right tone to help employees feel positive about the goals and changes in the company. In addition, explaining how the goals impact the different departments and employees, especially when they are not monetary goals for the employees, will increase the level of satisfaction of employees with the company. A few examples include:

  • Discuss how the goal will benefit the company and the employees
  • Filter out irrelevant details that are for management only
  • Focus on the positive aspects of the change
  • Give examples of how the changes may impact staff of customers

Communicating goals in a way that allows employees to understand their role in the goals and the company can lead to increased productivity, employee retention, and customer satisfaction.

Third, get the employees involved in the business goals, where appropriate. Have specific deliveries that the employees can perform on to get them more involved and give them a sense of participation and accomplishment. Some employers also provide some form of a bonus for achieving these deliverables so that the employee also has a monetary reward that goes along with the emotional reward.

Actually communicating these goals to the organization is step four. Learning the best approach to your employees may take some time, but the best approach in the beginning is to saturate the organization in several avenues of communication. Some ideas include:

  • Small departmental meetings where the information is shared
  • All company meetings where an overview of the information is shared
  • Manager-only meetings where the information is reviewed and where managers are given
  • responsibility to manage the information flow to employees
  • Weekly or bimonthly meetings between managers and employees to discuss goals and where the company is at with the goal
  • Internal website posting of goals – make sure this is not too drab or dreary for employees or they just plain will not read it. Also, do not be too technical with the jargon used … keep it simple
  • An internal social networking site where information can be posted and shared with all employees

Once the goals have been delivered, explained, and reinforced, do not forget to follow-up with the employees to let them know what is going on with the goals and where the goals stand (ie if they have been completed, if they are 50% complete, etc.).

What to Do When Buying Business Management Software

There are a number of business management software which are available and finding the right one that suits your business is extremely important. This is because your performance and assessment rests on the software you use. In a hurry of getting a business solution into place and the data to be managed properly, a lot…

There are a number of business management software which are available and finding the right one that suits your business is extremely important. This is because your performance and assessment rests on the software you use. In a hurry of getting a business solution into place and the data to be managed properly, a lot of businesses and organizations make the mistake of buying software that is not up to the marks and does not solve the problems of the business. This is the reason why a manager or the buyer needs to ask a few important questions before actually buying the software. To know what these questions are, you should first need to understand what exactly you need to achieve the objectives of your business. Once you are sure, it is the time to look for different software and decide the one that will be appropriate for you, here are the things that you should keep in mind while buying one.

If you have a small or a mid-sized company, you do not have to waste on management software that does not work for you. Also, if you end up buying wrong software, you might just end up losing money without realizing. This is why you should really need to pay attention on what to buy and for how much you should buy. The most important procedure of finding out what the price of the software should be by the Per Seat and Per Concurrent User mode. This is used by most enterprises to determine the price of the software.

Before you buy business management software, always remember to make sure that both service and support are present in your contract, if not deal now, this could be a huge problem later. Other than that, you need to make sure that there are features in the software that could help you in achieving the goals of your business. A few of the most common features for small and mid-sized companies include advanced consolidation, robust business intelligence and others. The software must also include a functionality that includes operational as well as financial aspects. These include forecasting, budgeting, reporting and others, and these features will help you in integrating and automating the financial processes of your company in a very fast manner.

Apart from these features, the software should also have a guarantee that will help you now as well as in the future. To make sure for this to happen, you need something that offers stability as well as performance. If your company is a budding company, look for a software that has an easy installation process and can start functioning fast. Also, look for something that makes data migration a quick and easy process and is user-friendly. This will help your company grow and become a bigger organization.

Once you are done taking care of the above aspects, one more important thing you need to take care of is the problems and bugs you may face. When you are buying the software, make sure you inquire about the company's policy of bug fixing and the regularity with which they do it. Most companies do it on a six monthly or a yearly basis. Once you are satisfied with the features and the services, invest in good software which helps in the progress of your company.

Don’t Forget to Add Color When Identifying Your Goals

Planning is critical to business success as it creates a pathway to follow in pursuit of our goals. As it is prudent to have a plan when traveling to a foreign city, it is even more important to have a plan of action for your business. However, it is pointless to have a plan and…

Planning is critical to business success as it creates a pathway to follow in pursuit of our goals. As it is prudent to have a plan when traveling to a foreign city, it is even more important to have a plan of action for your business. However, it is pointless to have a plan and not execute that plan to the letter. Yet, so many business owners attempt to build successful enterprises without a plan in the futile hope that everything will work out the way they want. There are specific steps that must be taken into account when planning for the future of a business, team, or community. Although it looks obvious, the first step to take when outlining goals and objectives is to put the plan in writing. There are those who insist on operating their business with the notification that creativity will always flow and pulling an idea out of thin air on demand is the best option. This way of thinking is ostensibly limited, but also dangerous as the lack of focus opens the floodgates for potential legal and ethical attacks. Moreover, our memories are fleeting and subject to lapses resulting in missed opportunities. Taking advantage of opportunities as they arise is one of the cornerstones of business and enterprise. Therefore, relying only on memory alone is a poor proposition for any business wanting to expand its presence.

Another common mistake business owners make when it comes to planning for the future is having too many generalities in identifying goals. The objective is to not only see the details in your plan, but to see that plan in bold vibrant beautiful colors. When making plans the future of your business, it is crucial to visualize a key presentation as being warmly received with enthusiasm and great optimism. Creating plans should inspire, motivate, and energize the creator as this is the blueprint to your future – while serving as a guidepost to those around you. Have the courage to push beyond your apprentice limits, as the best lies beyond the uncharted boundaries. Similar to being vague with regards to goal setting, having limited or small goals will act as a barrier to accomplishing meaningful exploits. Accept the fact that the imagination is an unlimited and creative ally that can propel your business to unimagined heights. Let that force work for you by allowing your mind to go as far as your imagination will take you. Do not listen to the naysayers who will hinder you and rain on your parade at every turn. Finally, writing down goals in brilliant details, full of color and vitality, exposes the bigger picture of what your business can be. The vision is only limited to the degree that you harness your imaginary powers. Go on, let go and experience the brilliant hues of your mind and dream yourself to ultimate success.