The Perfect Commercial Plan

Being Autonomous or having an SME requires a lot of effort on a day-to-day basis and it is tremendously easy to “get lost” on the road, putting out fires or resolving crises, which means leaving aside the main thing of your business, which is sales. What is the best solution? The best recommendation is to have a solid commercial action plan, since sales is what sustains your entire business.

In my professional career I have seen several types of business plans, but I have a predilection for one of a large Finnish company and it is the one I always carry with me and which I will detail below.

But what is a commercial action plan? It is a set of planned actions that are intended to achieve or exceed some objectives. The commercial action plan has to be written, after a thoughtful process and agreed with the sales team, so that everyone is aligned on the steps that must be taken to achieve the objectives that have been set at the beginning of the year. I propose 4 crucial steps that are the ones that you must first define, second execute and third re-adapt for a period of time, (check it every quarter) if you want to achieve your goals.

Define the objectives

To define some objectives you must have some kind of historical data to help you in this work of defining objectives. If your business is new or you do not have any reference data, nothing happens, the world does not end, on the contrary we will build it from below with new guidelines.

Depending on the business, I support having a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5 objectives. The objectives must be clear, concise and above all that can be measured. Remember, you cannot have an action plan without first stopping to think that you want to get from your potential clients and how long you want to get it.

Strategies

Once we have clearly defined the objectives, we will describe which strategy / s we will implement to achieve those objectives. The strategy should be the way forward, where it shows all the details and steps on how to achieve the objectives that we have set.

One thing, there are elements that can change, so analyze and understand these changes well because they will affect the strategy to follow. The important thing is to be prepared for these changes by staying firm in your goals.

Tasks and responsible

Depending on the objectives set and the strategies defined to achieve these objectives, you need to assign each of the tasks to your team or a partner to help you in this management of the business action plan. If you do not have equipment to carry out the tasks, you have to look for a partner that helps you in the development of the tasks or your objectives will be difficult to achieve, which will lead to dismissing your plan. Think: who can help me with my tasks? How can I reach an agreement with this partner to perform these tasks in order to achieve my goals in the defined time? Seek help, and a good source of information is Linkedin. Ask, because the ‘no’ you already have ahead.

And finally, run

Now that you have all the previous steps well defined, it is time to carry out your business action plan by executing it. This is the main action for which you defined some objectives so start the engine (for that you are autonomous or you run an SME) and go out to achieve your objectives.

Do not forget to measure your milestones because it is the only action that will allow you to implement commercial improvements and support to accelerate the achievement of your objectives.

Now that we are about to finish the first semester of the year, it is an ideal time to review your plan and after an analysis, evaluate what we have been right and what we have failed. What it is about is to have a constant improvement and if we have to make modifications, not be afraid, make changes and keep track of our goals.

If you want a recommendation, planning is an essential element for business success. Carrying out the achievement of commercial success is a process of constant improvement that forces you to question and measure everything, clean the corners that do not work and establish a new approach that will force you to face the following quarters to achieve your goals.

Creative Process

The creative process is the initial phase to get to create a project. When we create a project, the first thing we have to define is what problem we are going to solve. It can be of many types. In this video we help to specify types of problems that we can find.

The phases of the creative process:

1. Preparation

During the preparation step of the creative process model, an individual becomes curious after encountering a problem. Examples of problems can include an artistic challenge or an assignment to write a paper. During this stage, he may perform research, creates goals, organize thoughts and brainstorm as different ideas formulate. 

2. Incubation 

While the individual begins to process her ideas, he begins to synthesize them using his imagination and begins to construct a creation. During this step, the individual does not actively try a find a solution, but continues to mull over the idea in the back of his head.

3. Illumination 

As ideas begin to mature, the individual has an epiphany regarding how to piece his thoughts together in a manner that makes sense. The moment of illumination can happen unexpectedly. For example, an individual with the task of putting together an office party may have an idea for a theme while driving home from work.

4. Evaluation 

After a solution reveals itself in an epiphany, the individual then evaluates whether the insight is worth the pursuit. He may make changes to his solution so it is clearer. He may consult with peers or supervisors regarding his insights during this step before pursuing it further. If he works with clients, he may seek a client’s input and approval before moving on to the next step.

5. Implementation

The implementation of an idea or solution in the creative process model is when an individual begins the process of transforming his thoughts into a final product. For example, during this step, a painter may begin outlining shapes on a canvas with charcoal before applying oil paints to the medium. 

It is convenient to carry out the creative process throughout different creativity sessions or workshops in teams composed of about six participants from different profiles to encourage plurality. It is convenient to space the workshops with each other to take advantage of the time of reflection between them and allow unconscious creativity to act, which, unlike the conscious creativity that occurs during the workshops, can arise at any time through ideas that arise in our subconscious.

Best Books Every Business Owner Should Read

There are thousands of great business books out there that can help you start a business, set and achieve goals, promote your business, manage your finances, and so much more. In fact, there are so many business books on the shelves that it can be overwhelming to determine which are worth reading.

Here you can find a list of the best books you should start reading. 

1.The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People 

By Stephen R. Covey

If you are exploring personal change and are interested in a holistic approach to solving personal and professional problems, this book should make it on your list. In the book, Stephen Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity.

2. How to Win Friends & Influence People 

By Dale Carnegie

Good relationships are the foundation of a successful business, and that’s what makes this book a great read for small business owners. You’ll learn techniques for enhancing both professional and personal relationships while increasing your self-esteem.

3. Steve Jobs 

By Walter Isaacson

This book is based on more than forty interviews conducted with legendary entrepreneur Steve Jobs over two years, as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues. There are lessons to be learned on every page.

4. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity 

By David Allen

Small business owners know better than anyone how hard it can be to find and maintain high levels of productivity. In this book, David Allen shares the secret to increasing productivity: being able to relax. And he outlines a system that will help you achieve it.

5. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap, & Others Don’t 

By Jim Collins

Can good companies, mediocre companies, or even bad companies achieve enduring greatness? That is the question Jim Collins answers in this book. He shares his extensive research that reveals what it is that makes top companies tick.

6. Think And Grow Rich 

By Napoleon Hill

As one of the best-selling self-help books of all time, first written in 1937, Napoleon Hill continues to challenge readers to improve their lives—and their businesses—through positive thinking. It’s a “success” classic and a must-read for all entrepreneurs.

How to boost your brand with influence marketing?

A marketing technique that consists of identifying opinion leaders who can help a brand connect more naturally and spontaneously with its target audience. ” It is a type of upward marketing, through which the companies that carry it out have the objective of impacting their audience differently, without announcing their articles in an intrusive way. For example, through the different profiles in the social networks of the influencers or in their own blogs. 

Therefore, we have to know how to search and detail in our marketing plan what we want people to know about our product, how we want this person to transmit that message and through what platforms we want to be known. An Influence Marketing can be used to launch a new product, to highlight certain features or features of existing products or, for example, to increase brand awareness. Depending on the strategy we previously developed, this type of marketing will be adjusted to it.

On the other hand, we understand as “influencer” those people who have the power to influence or persuade certain population groups through their opinions on brands in blogs, comments or photos on different social networks. 

People passionate about life, with great power of persuasion in the purchase decision of the digital consumer. Your opinions can be positive or negative and, we have to be careful with them. They can become the best ambassador of our brand or our worst enemy.

1. Define your target audience

The use of influencers is useful both for the construction of a brand and to guide the public towards buying. To carry out this strategy you must first know who your target audience is because the influence of the influencer will depend on it.

2. Look for an influencer related to your brand

There are influencers of various themes so you should look for the one that is aligned with the identity of your brand, because its followers are interested in that theme and will be more willing to relate to the product or service to promote.

Ideally, the brand adapts to the content of the influencer and not vice versa; This will make the content organic and credible.

3. Review their social media metrics

An influencer’s metrics are relevant because they reveal the level of commitment that exists between him and his audience. Knowing its metrics you will know if it has the ability to influence its followers and help position a brand.

It is not necessary to have a macroinfluencer or a celebrity to be able to succeed in a campaign. A microinfluencer, with a committed audience, can also help position brands.

4. Validate their reputation

A very important aspect to consider is the reputation of the influencer, by allying with one of them, it becomes part of the image of your brand and therefore, their actions can benefit or damage the reputation of your brand.

Ideally, review the content of an influencer before hiring it and then follow up to ensure that it does not generate content or be involved in unwanted issues for the brand.

5 Mistakes Of Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is, for many, one of the greatest aspirations in life. However, having a good idea is not enough to avoid failure, especially when it comes to entrepreneurs who have just started a business.

The five most common mistakes that inexperienced entrepreneurs make when starting a business are explained below.

1.Invest too many resources. Sometimes, entrepreneurs invest too much time and resources in their idea without contrasting it with market needs.

“We see a dissociation between the idea and the market.” Consistency between these two is essential for the development of any new business. You may have a very good idea, but if you do not reach the potential customer, it is an investment that will not pay off.

2. Do not ask the right customer. The first approach that novice entrepreneurs have with clients is through family or friends, however, it advises young people to lose their fear of the market.

“Family and friends give positive feedback, but it is not the same as confronting someone who doesn’t really know you and who is going to critically review your business. Get closer to those potential customers. ”

3. Not knowing what the value proposition is. Not being clear about the value proposition that is being generated with the product or service that is being brought to the market, in addition to reducing credibility to the entrepreneur, creates uncertainty for his work team and its investors.

“When the entrepreneur is not clear about this, he is less able to explain it to an investor, customers or the market.”

4. Fall in love blindly with the idea. The reality is that no venture is unique and does not work for the interests of all customers. Entrepreneurs must know how to define when it is worth continuing before they fail.

“All entrepreneurs believe that their idea is the best, that no one else has come up with, and sometimes it may be that yes, but there comes a time when the market itself puts you all the obstacles that you should not out there continue and that is the time to analyze if you continue with an idea that is not technologically and financially viable ”.

5. Think you can undertake alone. No matter how prepared an entrepreneur is, he can never have the full vision of a business, so it is necessary to have the experience of someone who handles the technological, legal, human resources issues, among others.

“It is important that together with the issue of entrepreneurship, universities promote teamwork, develop leadership skills and help young people find those people who will be the ideal ones so that together they can develop good business ideas” .

Importance of Organizational Climate

Organisation climate is one of the important indicators which affect on business goals achieving by an organization. It means that employees more productive in organisation with better organisation climate! That why it is very, very, very important!  It is a set of properties of the work environment, perceived directly or indirectly by the employees, that is assumed to be a major force in influencing employee behavior.

Unfortunately there are many organisations which don’t care about organisation climate, employees’ satisfaction, as fact they are “employers of cash” and people work only for money and wish to leave anytime! Employees don’t care about organisations results, theirs engagement with organisation and effectiveness to low, turnover in such organisation high, very often there is no carrier development, training and team building in such organisations. 

There are still many companies that are unaware of the existing tools to measure the work environment. This measurement being the first step to have a productive work team and committed to the strategy of the organization.

By measuring the work environment, companies are able to know the perceptions that employees have about both physical and emotional conditions in which they carry out their work. In this way, areas of improvement are identified that allow to create a positive and integral work environment.

Measuring tools

Observation

The direct observation is that the boss realizes how employees work to identify aspects in the work environment that generate discontent among employees. Despite its ease, it is a tool that is neither precise nor objective and that demands a great deal of time.

Focus groups

Focus groups are a very common way of measuring the work environment. This is a talk with a group of 6 to 12 participants to whom a moderator asks questions about specific aspects of the organization. The great challenge in using this tool is to achieve an environment of trust for employees to speak openly.

Interviews

Interviews can be individual or group and should focus on more specific aspects of the company. Exit interviews are a good alternative to know a sincere perception about working conditions. In addition, this tool lets you know if there are different organizational climates in a company.

Surveys

Surveys are very effective in collecting accurate data on the degree of employee satisfaction. In addition, they stand out from the previous tools due to their low margin of error when gathering the sum of the subjective perceptions of human talent, which facilitates the identification of trends and areas of improvement. 

What is an intrapreneur?

Intrapreneurs are employees of a company who are assigned to work on a special idea or project. They are given the time and freedom to develop the project as an entrepreneur would.

However, they are not working solo. Intrapreneurs have the resources and capabilities of the firm at their disposal.

What is a difference with an entrepreneur? 

Intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs have different objectives. An entrepreneur envisions creating a company from the ground up. An intrapreneur has a broader vision for an established company. This vision may involve radical changes to company traditions, processes, or products. The intrapreneur typically has directly applicable skills and experience to bring to the job.

An entrepreneur starts a company as a means of providing a good or service. An intrapreneur explores policies, technologies, or applications that will help improve the performance of an existing company. Inevitably, as an intrapreneur develops the skills needed to recognize and solve important problems, that intrapreneur may turn into an entrepreneur.

An intrapreneur can expect to be given the freedom and autonomy needed for such a project. Day-to-day deliverables are generally not demanded. The intrapreneur is expected to analyze and understand the trends necessary for planning the company’s future. Intrapreneurs synthesize their findings and make proposals for staying ahead of their competitors.

Intrapreneurs often become a company’s executive leaders over time. They move the business forward and rise to the top with a deep understanding of the business from all levels.

When intrapreneurs work at solving problems, they foster the growth of other talented intrapreneurs and integrate more new ideas for the good of the entire company.

How to fidelize your customers?

The easiest way to grow your customers is not to lose them. The average business loses around 20 percent of its customers annually simply by failing to attend to customer relationships. We can introduce you to a number of simple customer retention strategies that will cost you little or nothing to implement.

1. Reducing Attrition

Virtually every business loses some customers, but few ever measure or recognise how many of their customers become inactive. Most businesses, ironically, invest an enormous amount of time, effort and expense building that initial customer relationship. Then they let that relationship go unattended, in some cases even losing interest as soon as the sale been made, or even worse, they abandon the customer as soon as an easily remedied problem occurs, only to have to spend another small fortune to replace that customer. 

2. Sell and then sell again

So many people do an excellent job of making the initial sale, then drop the ball and get complacent, ignoring the customer, while they chase more business. Your selling has actually only just begun when someone makes that initial purchase decision because virtually everyone is susceptible to buyer’s remorse.

3. A complaint is a gift

A system for unearthing complaints can therefore be the lifeblood of your business, because customers who complain are giving you a gift, they’re still talking to you, they’re giving you another opportunity to return them to a state of satisfaction and delight them and the manner in which you respond gives you another chance to show what you’re made of and create even greater customer loyalty.

4. Extraordinary Customer Service

The never-ending pursuit of excellence to keep customers so satisfied that they tell others how well they were treated when doing business with you. Moving the product or service you deliver into the realm of the extraordinary by delivering higher than expected levels of service to each and every customer.

Leadership Styles: Which type of leader are you?

While all small-business owners have their own particular method of inspiring employees, most use one or more of the following five leadership styles. Identifying how you lead can help you more effectively run your company. Which of the following leadership styles sounds most like you?

1. Participative

Also known as democratic leadership, the participative leadership style focuses on culling opinions from all employees in order to make a decision that reflects the majority’s opinion and desires. While the leader offers guidance and support, the decisions are primarily consensual among all involved, and the leader makes final decisions based on the majority’s vote.

2. Authoritarian

Authoritative leaders inform employees of a common vision and goal for the company and detail employee responsibilities designed to make reaching that goal a reality. There is a clear division between employees and the employer, and the employees are clear on the desired result. They are often given guidelines but allowed to fulfill their obligations as they see fit.

3. Laissez-Faire

In French, the term laissez-faire means “let it be,” which best describes this leadership style. Such a method involves leaders delegating decision-making and tasks. They keep abreast of what is occurring in the company and are available when advice and input are needed, but take a hands-off approach and let the employees work on their own.

4. Transformational

The transformational leadership style focuses on the leader that actively communicates with employees to motivate them to increase productivity and efficiency. The leader focuses on the big picture for the company, such as corporate goals—leaving the day-to-day details to management.

5. Servant

As the name implies, servant leaders tend to stay out of the limelight, often leading from behind and allowing the focus to be on the employees. Such leaders make service a top priority and often highly value integrity and generosity. Decision-making tends to be a group effort in such environments.

The servant leadership model tends to work well for organizations such as nonprofits that are committed to a particular cause, because the mission becomes the center of attention. Such a leadership model does not work for all types of businesses—especially those with tight deadlines.

What Would Be a Good Investment?

Think of the various types of investments as tools that can help you achieve your financial goals. Each broad investment type—from bank products to stocks and bonds—has its own general set of features, risk factors and ways in which they can be used by investors.

1.Stocks

When you buy shares of a company’s stock, you own a piece of that company. Stocks come in a wide variety, and they often are described based the company’s size, type, performance during market cycles and potential for short- and long-term growth. Learn more about your choices—from penny-stocks to large caps and more.

2. Bonds

A bond is a loan an investor makes to an organization in exchange for interest payments over a specified term plus repayment of principal at the bond’s maturity date. Learn how corporate, muni, agency, Treasury and other types of bonds work.

3. Bank Products

Banks and credit unions can provide a safe and convenient way to accumulate savings—and some banks offer services that can help you manage your money. Checking and savings accounts offer liquidity and flexibility. Find out more about these and other bank products.

4. Saving for Education

Funding education begins with savings. Learn smart ways to save, including 529 Education Savings Plans and Education Savings Accounts. We’ll help you navigate your savings options.

5. Property

Property is also considered as a growth investment because the price of houses and other properties can rise substantially over a medium to long term period. However, just like shares, property can also fall in value and carries the risk of losses.

It is possible to invest directly by buying a property but also indirectly, through a property investment fund.