No Time to Develop Process? Think Again!!

A number of years ago a new client responded to my question “can I see last year’s financials?” by handing me the check register for his business checking account.  Ignoring some other issues (many?), this is indicative, to me, of a problem that many individuals have when they start their business – they don’t put processes in place to ensure that what needs to be done is a) being done, and b) being done in a standard and repeatable manner.

So when should you develop and implement processes for your business?

Pivot!! Make Your Decisions Quickly

Those of you that know me, or have been following my Business Execution blog, know that I am a big proponent of planning – both strategic and tactical.  So, how can I now be advising you to make your decisions quickly?  Doesn’t that fly-in-the-face of taking the time to think things through and plan?

Let me explain why I don’t think that it does, and why I believe that the speed of your decision making can be an accelerant to the growth of your business.  After all, I am as big a proponent of execution as I am of planning.

I’m a Square!!

Yes, I admit it … but probably not in the way you are currently thinking.  The Square in my title is the credit card reader/application/service that I use for taking credit card payments – so maybe the title should be “I’m a Square user”!!

Earlier this week I was discussing with someone why I started my business and why my ‘focused market niche’ is in the entrepreneurial and small business space.  Square is an example of one of the market drivers behind my decision to start my own business.

Small business – the engine of the US economy?

Politicians and the media like to spout what seems to be conventional wisdom that “small business is the engine of the US economy” and that these businesses create the most jobs.  But is that so?

One of the criteria describing Collaborative Xceleration’s target market niche is “small companies looking for exponential growth”.  So, recently I’ve been doing some research into how many of these companies exist in the U.S., and what their geographic distribution is (this is also input to deciding where we are going live!).  As part of that research, I’ve come across some interesting data that addresses the “engine of the economy” statement which I thought I would share with you.

Lessons from Facebook for Entrepreneurs

So the big financial news this week was that Facebook filed it’s IPO.  On Thursday, if you watched the financial news channels, you might have been forgiven for thinking there was no other financial news that day.

As I listened to the news reports and read the articles in The New York Times, I was struck by the little nuggets behind the news about how to be the founder/CEO of an entrepreneurial endeavor.  Not that any of this is new and hasn’t been said a thousand times before, but it always seems worth repeating.  So, I thought I would share with you what leaped out at me.  Perhaps you saw/heard some different things that could also be “lessons from Facebook for entrepreneurs”.

Building a Better ‘First-Time Entrepreneur’

This week I talked with an entrepreneur (no names; no pack drill!) who isn’t happy with the speed with which their business is progressing (come to think of it I’m not sure I’ve ever met an entrepreneur who was happy with their speed of business progress [superemotions file=”icon_biggrin.gif” title=”Big Grin”]) – and, actually, my conversations were with more than one such entrepreneur.

This got me thinking about weaknesses exhibited in the businesses of first-time entrepreneurs, specifically during the period before they get to revenue.  My conversation with this individual covered most of the topics that I’ve detailed below; they are ones that commonly come up in conversations with first-time entrepreneurs (I’m sure you can come up with others!!).

Business planning, not business plans

I usually cringe when I hear an entrepreneur or small business owner talking about writing (or worse, being told to write) a business plan.  The reason I cringe is that, too often, what people mean by “business plan” is some 30+ page Word document that no-one will ever read and which will end up as a dusty binder on a bookshelf, or some forgotten bytes on a dusty hard drive.

Isolation vs. collaboration

In The New York Times’ Sunday Review section (January 15th) the front page opinion article was “The Rise Of the New Groupthink” by Susan Cain.  It was subtitled “Collaboration is in.  But it may not be conducive to creativity.”

As someone who believes in the power of collaboration – it’s part of the name of my company, Collaborative Xceleration – I had to read the article to see if my view of collaboration and creativity needed to be revised.

Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season 2011

Today is Thanksgiving here in the U.S. Traditionally, it is the start of the year-end holiday season which lasts through the New Year. Many business owners (not those in retail!) see this as a slower time of the year with people distracted by shopping, holiday parties and vacations tacked around the actual holidays. So, if the customer side of your business is slower, maybe it is a good time to spend more time than usual on planning and improving your business.