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Doing Business in today's market requires new strategies - it requires something more which incorporates a different approach which is a combination of  a business plan and a prospectus which is straightforward and clear. Essentially, a business plan presents positive ideas for growth and success, while a prospectus pulls back the curtain and exposes any legal, financial or industry risks and problems the company has or will face. YOU NEED BOTH!

Big starting points for “YOUR IDEA” whether your organization is a FOR-PROFIT, NON-PROFIT, NOT-FOR-PROFIT, LLC, CORPORATION or SOLE PROPIETOR it is still a BUSINESS!

A great NEED doesn’t always lead to a great DESIRE. NEED by itself may not appear attractive enough to drive DEMAND for that NEED.

You might remember the old saying “Just because it’s good for you” … doesn’t mean that the BENEFIT is ATTRACTIVE enough to drive DESIRE because it assumes an uncertain OUTCOME somewhere in the FUTURE.


Businesses need both an effective board and an effective executive. Practically every nonprofit will accept one or the other half of this assertion. But a good many will not accept that both are needed. Yet neither the board-dominated nor the executive-dominated nonprofit is likely to work well, let alone succeed in perpetuating itself beyond the tenure of an autocrat, whether that individual be a board chairperson or executive officer.

Businesses waste uncounted hours debating who is superior and who is subordinate—board or executive officer. The answer is that they must be colleagues. Each has a different part, but together they share the play. Their tasks are complementary. Thus, each has to ask, “What do I owe the other?” not—as board and executive officers still tend to do— “What does the other one owe me?” The two have to work as one team of equals.

What are the respective tasks of the board and the executive officer? The conventional answer is that the board makes policy and the executive officer executes it. The trouble with this elegant answer is that no one knows (or has ever known) what policy is, let alone where its boundaries lie. As a result, there is constant wrangling, constant turf battles, constant friction.

Effective Businesses do not talk much about policy. They talk about work. They define what work each organ is expected to perform and what results each organ is expected to achieve. One implication of this is that the performance of the entire board, each board committee and each board member—along with the performance of the executive officer and all key people on staff—is regularly appraised against pre-established performance goals. Board members and executives whose performance consistently falls below goals and expectations will resign or at least not stand for reelection. To be effective, a nonprofit needs a strong board, but a board that does the board’s work. The board not only helps think through the institution’s mission, it is the guardian of that mission, and makes sure the organization lives up to its basic commitment. Over the door to the nonprofit’s boardroom there should be an inscription in big letters that says: Membership on this board is not power; it is responsibility. Some nonprofit board members still feel that they are there for—recognition by the community—rather than because of a commitment to service. Board membership means responsibility not just to the organization but to the board itself, to the staff and to the institution’s mission. At the same time, only two-way relationships work. An effective nonprofit executive starts building this two-way relationship with the board by asking: “What do you have to tell me?” Not, “This is what I am telling you.”

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What do customers value? —what satisfies their needs, wants and aspirations—is so complicated that it can only be answered by customers themselves. And the first rule is that there are no irrational customers. Almost without exception, customers behave rationally in terms of their own realities and their own situation. Leadership should not even try to guess at the answers but should always go to customers in a systematic quest for those answers. What does the customer value; may be the most important question. Yet it is the one least often asked. Business leaders tend to answer it for themselves. “It’s the quality of our programs. It’s the way we improve the community.” People are so convinced they are doing the right things and so committed to their cause that they come to see the institution as an end in itself. But that’s a bureaucracy. My friend a professor; points out that many organizations are very clear about the value they would like to deliver, but they often don’t understand that value from the perspective of their customers. They make assumptions based on their own interpretation. So begin with assumptions and find out what you believe your customers value. Then you can compare those beliefs with what customers actually are saying, find the differences, and close the gap. EXAMPLE: At a homeless shelter, learning what its customers value led to significant change. The shelter’s existing beliefs about value added up to nutritious meals and clean beds. A series of face-to-face interviews with their homeless customers was arranged, and both board and staff members took part. They found out that, yes, the food and beds are appreciated but do little or nothing to satisfy deep aspirations not to be homeless. The customers said, “We need a place of safety from which to rebuild our lives.” The organization threw out their assumptions and their old rules. They now make it possible to stay at the shelter quite a while, rather than turning people back on the street each morning, and work with individuals to find out what a rebuilt life means to them and how they can be helped to realize their goal. Besides asking directly, another way to sharpen your understanding of your customers’ experience is to see things through their eyes. A Music Director told his orchestra members they should sit in the audience at least twice a year so they would know what the music sounded like to the listener. The best hospital administrators I know have themselves admitted once a year as a patient, so they can really see how their organization works—and where there’s need for change, for innovation. Another point: Don’t forget that you also need to understand your potential customers—those who really need your service, want your service, but not in the way in which it is available today. In some ways, the most important people to research are those individuals who should be your customers but for now are noncustomers. To be successful, you will need to understand each of your constituencies’ concerns, especially what they consider results in the long term. Think through what knowledge you need to gain. Then listen to customers, accept what they value as objective fact and make sure their voices are continually part of your discussions, decisions and innovations.

1. Be Prepared

The act of preparation itself can shift your attitude positively --and simply focusing on meeting preparation can take your mind off worrying about what might going to happen. When you go into a sales call prepared and enthusiastic, you create your own mental confidence, imagining you've closed before you've even opened the door.

2. Get Smarter About Setbacks

Recreating your approach based on what you've learned gives you a better chance for success. This type of action teaches us how to work smarter and not give up on qualified opportunities.

3. Study Your Customer's Customer

When you are trying to learn critical information about your customer, you can learn more by trying to see though their eyes and understand their goals--and the goals of their customers. When you understand your customers' business challenges and goals, and understand how your solution can help them, you gain tremendous confidence in your own approach.

4. Create Your Own Change

There are certain universal truths that create positive changes in our attitude, confidence and behavior. One critical one: As you think, so shall you become.

Successful people have the confidence to take risks that unsuccessful people try to avoid. If you want confidence that stays strong in difficult situations, you need to change the ways you work and think.

Here are some tips…

Businesses need help translating their product or service into actionable strategies, creating cutting-edge products and services, or adapting businesses and brands to new spaces or opportunities. Remember, opportunities typically come in the wake of new ventures or sudden pressing issues. That's when you want to spring to mind as the perfect person to help. You must cultivate personal networks and strive for face-to-face interaction at all costs. Price by the hour and you'll be viewed as a commodity. Instead, keep clients, customers and staff laser-focused on the lasting value you create; value-added strategies with your baseline requirements. Your company must remain flexible by cultivating a freelance support network. Use contractors from varied industries and disciplines who can introduce additional expertise and perspective...To succeed as a business, as much time must be devoted to acquiring new business as performing assigned tasks. Any downtime should be reinvested into business development. Tone, context, and subtle nuances are easily lost in translation online. Before sending, tweeting, posting, etc., ask yourself if your message could be misconstrued or misinterpreted. If there's any doubt, pick up the phone. To state the obvious: Emails cannot be undone--so watch what you say and whom you copy. Don't write anything in an email that you wouldn't be comfortable saying publicly. If you're going to add people to an email conversation, let the recipients know ("I'm copying John Smith, our head of marketing, here"). Jumping into online conversations, say, on Twitter, is another area where you can get into trouble. Just as you wouldn't insert yourself into a dialogue with strangers without first listening to the discussion, don't dive right into an exchange online. You're apt to respond emotionally. What can you contribute to the conversation? If you can't add insights or information of value, your commentary probably is better left unsaid. Be relevant and stay on topic. Keep subject lines brief and directly related to the contents of your email. When composing important or high-stakes emails, write them out, save them as drafts, and then read them aloud later. Crucial messages deserve a second or third read-through.Your employees, customers, partners, etc. deserve your full attention in meetings and conference calls. So give it to them. In most cases, the calls, the emails, the texts can all wait.There is no such thing as failure."No" doesn't mean "no"—just "no... for now."When exploring new market opportunities remember that situations change. Just because your approach or offer doesn't make sense to a potential customer or partner now doesn't mean that it won't later on. Markets and strategies evolve, internal stakeholders come and go…Never be afraid to pick up the phone for a follow-up, especially if situations have shifted in your firm's favor. Knock politely on many doors—and don't be afraid to crawl in an open window.Don't be afraid to go up the chain and call a high-level decision maker: At worst, they'll ignore the query or say no; at best, they'll direct you straight to the proper point of contact. Cash is king—don't let yourself get crowned. Big contracts and high-profile deals look good on paper, but when push comes to shove, all that matters is leverage. Whether you are stepping up to the plate to face a 95 mph fastball or making a sales presentation, confidence can make or break your performance. Your message and your physical or web presence has a lot to do with your overall success.

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