Challenges Facing Business Owners When Designing Their Business Plan

A business plan is often referred as the roadmap to success. Anyone who runs an existing business or is in the process of starting up understands a sound business plan is the initial step for success. It will give a precise description of what the business will achieve, how it will be achieved, why and by whom.

Writing a business plan will help the entrepreneur organize his expectations for the business and develop a framework that will guide him in running the business.

Moreover, the business plan will become a relevant tool in making future decisions, especially those that will impact the business over the long period.

A business plan has several sections, however, when crafting your business plan, take time to define your mission and vision as well as your goals and objectives. These sections will clearly state the core of your existence and define what you want to accomplish and what your business actually stood for.

Before you can actually develop these sections, you need to identify your core values. Consider the stakeholders that your company is accountable.

The stakeholders may include the owner, employees, customers, suppliers, and investors. Your core values will be the foundation of your mission and vision as well as your goals and objectives.

Mission Statement

A mission is defined as an important purpose, accompanied by a strong conviction. Therefore, your mission statement must clearly state the purpose of your existence.

It must be about you and should create a connection with both the customers and the employees. Mention a specific goal that is tangible and should boost the value proposition of your business.

Often, generic, extremely long mission statements are confusing and may become useless. Brief and concise, single sentence mission statements are more preferred.

Vision Statement

Vision is defined as the anticipation for that which will come to be. Your vision statement must clearly impact how you envision your business.

It asserts your expectations; therefore, it should be an awesome, inspiring and hopeful statement of your commitment and dedication.

Make your vision statement detailed and compelling. It should point out why your company exists. It must also paint a clear picture of your intended outcome.

Vision statements that are generic or utterly unreasonable can become uninspiring and totally bland.

Business Goals and Objectives

Simply put, your goals and objectives will help you figure out where you’re going and help in executing or setting your vision and mission for your business.

Your business plan must clearly lay out, both your long-term and short-term goals. When setting your business goals and objective, it is important to make them SMART and logical.

This means that you need to make your goals Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and with a Time Frame.

Goals are generally qualitative and tend to focus on achieving the general picture of the business intentions. Primarily, goals are centered on customer service, market positioning and business growth.

Objectives, on the other hand, are centered on the practical daily operations anchored in the quantitative measure of business figures such as the number of customers, costs, revenue and other product-related metrics.

Conclusion

Having a sound business plan is like having a road map when embarking on a road trip. A road map will guide the traveler in making decisions how to reach his destination and to make his travel itinerary.

In a similar fashion, a business plan encapsulates the very core of your company’s existence, and will help you plan out and decide as you navigate your business towards success.

Ensure your business success with a sound business plan and realize your dream of starting and operating your business.

Workforce Development Issues Facing Business

Are you really thinking about how workforce development issues impact your organization? Outside of your current employees, have you thought about how are you and New England Assessments challenges you to think about how your company is going to prepare for the upcoming labor shortage? All indicators show that the talent market is tightening and if your organization is unprepared then you are going to be facing significant labor shortages.

If you begin to talk to your recruiting team they will tell you that the labor shortage is already here! Many labor economists were predicting that we would already be in the throes of the labor shortage right as the Millennium was upon us. Lucky for all of us, the Dot-Com bubble burst and we had a glut of talent on the market. This slowed down the impending storm and bought us some time. However, that gift is quickly eroding. According to Jim Sirbasku, CEO of Profiles International, the workforce crisis is being driven into a “perfect storm” of catastrophic proportions by…

  • A significant drop in the growth rate of the labor force
  • The impending retirement of Baby Boomers
  • A continuing paradigm shift from physical labor to a knowledge worker economy

Soon, the worldwide demand for labor will outstrip supply by 35 million jobs essentially draining $3.5 trillion in annual output from the global economy– an impact sure to be felt worldwide and math that can’t be ignored. While your competition may not be ready to address the challenge you can make sure that your company is ready to address the “war for talent” head on. Many thought that the delay in retirement of the baby boomers along with the fact that people are living longer would save off the storm. It has, in fact, changed our outlook but it hasn’t changed the problem. Here are some tools that you can use to manage talent in a tight labor market:

  • 1. Use the talent you already have
  • 2. Get flexible
  • 3. Educate your hiring managers

Let’s dive into each of the tools in more detail. It is my belief that each of these steps is critical for any company that is interested in hiring and retaining top performers and winning the war for talent. At first the differences will be slight but each competitive advantage will set the winners apart from the losers. Step 1: Use the talent you already have to its fullest capacity Most companies hire people into their initial jobs and never give them a second thought. In today’s market, exceptional employees are always looking to upgrade their skills. Given that superior performers outperform average performers by 34% (1), it is surprising to learn that most companies do little to improve the skills and motivation for the average employee. Understanding what makes superior performers “tick” is knowledge that most organizations just don’t take the time to acquire. What can you do? Start by talking to your top performers. Ask them these three questions:

  • 1. What interest you about your job?
  • 2. How do you keep current in your field?
  • 3. How do you approach your job on a daily basis?

Next, take what you learn and apply it to other people who are doing similar work. You’ll quickly be able to find the differences. Now, you’ll need to determine how to fill those gaps. What are the skills and behaviors that are missing? How can you fill in those missing skills and teach those desired behaviors? Could these people be moved to different jobs that would be more rewarding to them and more profitable to you? Is it time to let them go? Step 2: Get flexible If you think back to famous 1980 movie Nine to Five, Doralee Rhodes (Dolly Parton), Violet Newstead (Lily Tomlin), and Judy Bernly (Jane Fonda) all conspire against Mr. Hart (Dabney Coleman) to make some changes in the office. They implemented job sharing, on-site daycare, work teams, an Employee Assistance Program, and in general, a much more creative workplace. Despite the fact that the movie still has a typing pool and a stenograph machine, there was a lot to be said for the creative thinking around employment situations.

Today, the typewriter is in the Smithsonian and the Internet has revolutionized what can be done in a distributed workplace. Part-time work, at-home work, and new and exciting training programs can all be managed and delivered through the Internet. All anyone really needs is a good telephone, a broadband connection, and a boss who can think outside of the box.

Consider the following:

  • Could this job be done part-time by someone who wants a different type of work arrangement?
  • Could this work be done remotely?
  • Can I get training to this employee via the web?

Think about these scenarios: One of your best employees is about to retire, take time off to raise children, or find a job closer to home so he can spend less time commuting. Would you be better off keeping that employee three days a week by setting them up with a home office or would you be better off letting your competitive advantage walk out the door? Employers are going to have to begin measuring work output vs. time at the office. As long as the work gets done, on time and in an accurate fashion, new thinking needs to take place. Step 3: Educate Hiring Managers Hiring managers need some reality education about the workforce. As a company leader it is incumbent upon you to make sure that the current company leadership understands that people are a competitive advantage. That means that everyone in the company is responsible for finding and developing talent. Hiring managers must understand that when the right person walks through the door they need to grab that talent. They must stop expecting the recruiting team to deliver four more candidates for examination just so the manager has a choice. While they send the recruiter searching, the good ones always find another offer, and you are stuck with number two or worse. Finally, the hiring managers need to understand what their people do and be able to talk about it. They must understand what has made past people successful and they need to find those traits in the people they want to bring on board.

The entire company needs to learn about our four-generation workforce and the amazing strength that it brings to the marketplace. Never before have we had four different generations working side-by-side. While it sounds great, each of those generations needs different things from their jobs and each comes to work with very different expectations. It is important to understand that. I recommend that companies consider education around the generational topic. It should prove to be one of the greatest assets we’ve ever had.

Learn more at Talent Insight Group

(1) Source: “The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings” Psychological Bulletin, Sept 1998, Vol. 124, No. 2, pp 262-274.

Two Problems Facing Businesses Checking A Candidate’s Background

For any business needing to check a candidate’s background there are serious difficulties. Two of the most important elements within any candidate’ s CV when applying for a position of employment include their education qualifications, and their previous employment history. Unfortunately the two elements within CV’s which tend, either by design or by accident, to include incorrect information, or omit critical and relevant information, include qualifications and previous employment history.

This presents businesses with a significant challenge, and whilst large businesses may already have procedures in place, many small and medium-sized businesses have found the challenge to be one which presents almost impossible difficulties. Yet the risk of employing somebody on the basis of potentially inaccurate and misleading information are very severe, both in terms of legal ramifications and the risk to the business of having somebody employed who may well have something to hide.

Inevitably when a business needs to check a candidate’s background it will begin with the information provided in the CV. But no business should assume that this information is either correct or complete, and often it can be the discovery that a candidate has been misleading or dishonest which can help a business make the right choice.

Possibly because many candidates feel that their education and qualifications from school, college or even university are from many years back, and represent only the very basic foundations upon which their subsequent employment has built in a more significant way, the number of embellishments featured in this section of the CV is extraordinarily high. Grades can be increased, subjects which scored poorly can be omitted, and even the name or description of the subject or course can be edited to improve its relevance or simply make it sound better than it may have been.

But when it comes to inaccuracies, exaggerations and the omitting of key information nothing comes close to the previous employment history. When a business needs to check a candidate’s background the key focus is inevitably on the most recent employment history, and these will also usually include one or more referees.

In some cases a candidate may have had a period of unemployment, perhaps due simply to bad luck, due to illness, or even due to incarceration. It’s important for any potential employer to be aware of these employment gaps, and to be aware of the causes. But often what candidates do is to remove these gaps by extending the dates of those periods of employment either side. This is difficult to identify unless you have access to official records, or manually contact each individual employer to verify the precise employment dates.

These are just a couple of the very serious challenges facing businesses, and it is easy to see how the process of checking a candidate’s background can become extremely time-consuming and very expensive. With a small or medium businesses the task can be made much simpler by using the services of a specialised pre-employment checking service.

These agencies have a wide range of tools and access to a great deal of data, as well as having a worldwide network of contacts. This means that businesses can carry out pre-employment background checks quickly, easily and affordably, enabling them to focus on what candidates can offer the business, rather than spending most of the time simply checking who the candidates really are.