Strategic Planning for Small Business

strategic planningRunning a small business can be chaotic. It’s easy to get sucked into the day-to-day operations required to keep things running smoothly and profitably. By taking the time to invest in a strategic planning process, you’re saying, “I am ready to take this business to the next stage of success.”

I’d like to share the best practices I’ve used to grow Infusionsoft from a start-up with a handful of employees to a thriving, venture-backed organization with 450 employees. They are rooted in the philosophies of experts like Jim Collins, Verne Harnish and Tyler Norton and vetted over 10 years of real-world app

1. Articulate Your Vision—Your Purpose, Mission & Core Values

Creating, articulating and sticking to your vision is the single most important job you have as a leader. A clear vision is needed to guide and influence your strategic planning process. Have you ever asked yourself, “What is the purpose of my business?” If not, sit down right now and figure it out. Our purpose at Infusionsoft is quite simply, “To help small businesses succeed.”

Once you’ve clearly articulated why your business exists, it’s time to identify the concrete “what” behind it—the three to five-year Mission you’re embarking on. Your Mission should be bold, inspirational and compelling and just gutsy enough to give you butterflies in your stomach. Think of President Kennedy’s Mission to put a man on the moon and return him safely home within a decade. Our Mission is, “To create and dominate the market of all-in-one sales and marketing software for small businesses, with 100, 000 customers worldwide.”

With your Purpose and Mission in place, the last piece you need is Core Values. This is the “how” of your business. Core Values should articulate what is already true about your business and culture, not describe how you want it to be:

  • How do you go about your work?
  • What do you value in yourself and your employees?
  • What characteristics do you want your customers to experience?

These are your Core Values.

Once you have your Purpose, Mission and Core Values in place, it’s your job to hire, train and also fire employees that don’t align to it. It sounds like extra work, but you’ll actually discover that finding good people is much easier when you’ve clearly articulated your Vision. At Infusionsoft, we’ve found that our Purpose, Mission and Core Values attract the right candidates and repel the wrong ones.

2. Understand How Strategy Drives the Plan

When you take the time to define the why, what and how of your business, you’re ready to identify strategies to achieve your Mission. To determine what those strategies should be, examine the company strengths that you can employ to achieve a strong return on your investments. Look for resources and capabilities you can leverage for maximum gain. To develop a competitive advantage that is sustainable, I recommend focusing on no more than three to five core strengths.

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2012-08-29 16:59:36 by NonProfit123

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2006-05-30 16:09:15 by FrickenLance

This? no

The Baldrige Award is given by the President of the United States to businesses—manufacturing and service, small and large—and to education and health care organizations that apply and are judged to be outstanding in seven areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis, and knowledge management; human resource focus; process management; and results.
Congress established the award program in 1987 to recognize U.S. organizations for their achievements in quality and performance and to raise awareness about the importance of quality and performance excellence as a competitive edge

2002-01-25 08:07:59 by justyouraveragecitizen

Chomsky on the World Social Forum

Interviewing Chomsky
Preparatory to Porto Alegre
Compiled from diverse email and radio interviews in the week before the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre
Why have you decided to participate in the WSF? What do you think of it?
Two meetings are taking place pretty much at same time. One is the Davos meeting of 'the masters of the universe,' to borrow the term used by the world's leading business journal, the London Financial Times, when they met a year ago. The term was presumably used with a touch of irony, but it is rather accurate. The second is the World Social Forum (WSF) meeting in Porto Alegre, bringing together representatives of popular organizations throughout the world whose conception of what the world needs is rather different from that of the masters....

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