Archive for the ‘Strategic Planning’ Category

StephenBy Stephen Rhodes

Be Prepared. That’s the motto of the Boy Scouts.

“Be prepared for what?” someone once asked Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting.

“Why, for any old thing,” said Baden-Powell.

The RIC Centre is part of Ontario’s commercialization framework – a collection of stakeholders and partnerships among businesses, institutions and local governments all focused on promoting entrepreneurs and innovation. It’s public money at work in an area that can keep Ontario competitive.

Most of us have seen the Dragon’s Den on CBC, an elite group of venture capitalists and a rag-tag bunch of innovators looking for the big payday.  I wrote a blog not long ago, Get Dragon Ready that talked mostly about preparation and why it’s so important to emerging businesses.

Boy scouts be preparedAs a marketer, I meet some very creative people with incredible minds, who have not considered the essential elements of business like strategy, marketing or even a business plan. I used to think it was amazing that some of these napkin planners actually got a product to market. Sometimes the product is unique, without competition. Sometimes sheer passion wins the day. Sometimes the product or service sells itself. But rarely.

For most of us it’s hard work and that requires preparation – something RIC excels at – preparing entrepreneurs to take their product or service to market.

Innovation starts with an idea.

It’s useful to know, before investing much time and money, whether someone else has had the same idea, how you might position your idea in the marketplace and to whom you plan to position it. Developing a strategy helps you better understand the long term but in the short run you need to develop a brand with strong messaging that is targeted at your perspective buyer. You need to hone that message because unless you are independently wealthy you may have to pitch your idea to let’s say Kevin O’Leary, who has a finely tuned sense of the possible in business, and doesn’t much like bad pitches.

RIC can help prepare  entrepreneurs for market with research, analysis and even pitch polish.Visit riccentre.com for more information.

Stephen Rhodes is President of The Marketing PAD, a full service strategic communications and marketing company. Read Blogpad or visit  The Marketing Pad online.

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ken sweeneyBy Ken Sweeney

Post Labour Day can be a great time for strategic planning as children are back to school and employees are back from summer holidays.

With four months remaining in the calendar year and with hopes of a better economic picture in 2010, now is the time to engage management and get your company focused on the task at hand.  But what are the tasks at hand and what are the tactics required for execution?

Step 1: Ownership needs to be committed to the planning.  Without this, planning becomes a useless exercise.  Next, determine who else needs to be involved in the process to establish buy-in and to aid with execution.

Step 2: Schedule time (and plenty of it!) and a place.  I recommend getting out of the office to an alternate private location – without BlackBerries, in order to keep everyone focused.  This may also allow the opportunity for team building, such as dinner or a golf game afterwards, which is never a bad idea to keep employees motivated!

strategyStep 3: Develop a game plan!  This includes a detailed agenda highlighting the areas on which management would like to focus.

These areas may include business development, macro environment impacts or opportunities, human and capital resources, operational challenges and solutions.

Ownership is looking to scope out its overall objectives for the coming period with the tactics to support the execution of those goals.  Note: agendas should always be e-mailed out at least two days in advance as this gives the attendees a chance to digest and reflect upon the topics!

Step 4: Record the minutes and assign tasks. All key points and action items should be recorded into a concise document. This document should be sent out to all stakeholders in a timely fashion as it becomes the road map for the company over the established period of time.  Benefits will include measurement of progress and success and buy-in and accountability from management.

Remember, there is never a bad time to step back and revisit your strategy so post Labour Day is as good a time as any!

Ken is currently the acting CFO for K&K Recycling Services, a Pickering, Ontario-based ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metal processing, brokering and recycling company operating in Canada and the United States.  He is also a founding partner of Growth Equity Partners whose focus has been to support small to medium sized private and publicly listed companies execute transformational business initiatives since 2001. Visit www.growthequitypartners.com

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