Recap of Business Development: The Foundation for success webinar
- Hosted November 17, 2020
- By Evan Thomas
This article is a recap of the Business Development: The Foundation for Success webinar that Azlo hosted on July 23, 2020. Watch it here.
Setting a strong business development plan is important, but you may not know how to get there. In July, Richard Sibert, co-founder of Kadre Inc., provided a roadmap during our webinar, Business Development: The Foundation for Success.
Sibert and his business partner, Ray Savage, created Kadre Inc. to help entrepreneurs start a business the right way. During the hour-long webinar, Sibert drew on his own experiences and gave tips on how to achieve business goals and manage time efficiently.
Creating and setting business goals
Why should you create business goals and will they help you?
Sibert suggests that you be intentional when setting goals so that you lay the right foundation for your business. These goals should guide you in decision making.
If you establish goals that are true to your vision and business’ mission, you could make decisions that could help you with your five- or 10-year goals.
Think of the goal-setting process like climbing a mountain. Your ultimate goal may be the summit (long-term goal); but to reach the summit, you need to break the climb into segments (intermediate goals) and divide those segments into individual steps (short-term goals).
What are the steps for successful goal setting?
According to Sibert, you should:
Define Quantifiable Goals
The first step in setting business goals is determining what you want to accomplish. Make sure your goal is worth your effort. Think about how you would design goals if you were certain that they would be successful.
Make Your Goals Specific
Make sure your business goals aren’t too vague. It’s critical to use a goal-setting formula that includes a built-in action plan. Define your end goal and create a roadmap for how you’re going to accomplish it. Be specific about what you want to accomplish at each checkpoint.
Commit to your Goals
Make a commitment and stick with it. Once you’ve set your plan in motion, stay motivated to see your goals through to the end. Procrastinating or second-guessing your decisions can delay the process.
Make your Goals Public
An extremely effective technique for achieving business goals is making them public. Invite a team or even a single person into your plan; you’ll face accountability, which may motivate you. Once you share your goals with someone, you can determine how they will be involved with your plan.
Set a Deadline
If you don’t set a deadline, your goal may fail. Goals without deadlines indicate you are not fully committed. A deadline, however, makes your goal more real.
In the goal-setting process, there’s one very important thing to remember: you. Once you have accomplished a goal or reached a milestone within your goal, make sure to mark the occasion. You’ve invested an incredible amount of time, energy, and determination to reach your goal, so make sure you take a moment to celebrate your success.
How often should you review your progress towards goals?
At Kadre, Richard reviews his company’s progress on a weekly basis by evaluating what goals were and weren’t met. But this depends on you. You may choose to review progress in the same way or choose to do it on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis.
What kind of goals should you set?
Goals will look differently for everyone, but here are some Sibert recommends:
A financial goal is incredibly important. This is especially true for small businesses and startups, as cash flow can fluctuate in the first few months or years. Finances are one of the most reliable metrics that can help you identify how much your business has grown over a specific period of time.
What do you want people to think when they hear your company’s name?
The first years of a startup are crucial in establishing a unique brand identity. The products or services you offer aren’t the only ways to attract clients and potential customers. Brand goals is one way to further connect with customers through shared values and grow your business.
Product goals can help in the development of your products and services, which serve as your primary business driver. For example, If you are a SaaS (Software as a Service) company, a good example of a product goal could be having a list of features your software should have after a year or two.
Assess Your Company's Potential
One of the most valuable uses of a business plan is to help you decide whether a venture can fulfill your dreams. Many business ideas never make it past the planning stage because their would-be founders, as part of a logical and coherent planning process, test their assumptions and find them to be non-starters.
Growth planning strategy
One way you may beat those odds is by creating a startup growth strategy. Here’s how to create one in five steps:
- Analyze Your Value Proposition: Have an understanding of your business and the value you bring to the market. You want to know:
- What sets you apart from your competitors. If you can figure this out and stay true to it, then you could be setting your business up for long-term growth.
- Why customers come to you for a product or a service in the first place.
- Why customers must do business with you.
- Identify Your Target Market: Define your target audience and be specific. Who are they? Where are you going to find this audience? Are you sure you have defined your ideal customer? If you are wrong, then who are you serving?
- Set up Key Performance Indicators(KPIs): KPIs reveal useful information and shed light on what’s going right and where you can improve. They can help you grow your business.
- Review Your Business Model and Be Willing to Pivot: When you are structuring your business model, you may want to set aside time to write down your goals and assumptions. Then, review whether you are achieving your business goals or not.
As things change, it’s important to remain flexible so that you can adapt and pivot. To pivot doesn’t mean to abandon your entire business model, but rather to adjust it to current trends or events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Keep Tabs on Your Competitors: Regardless of which industry you belong to, your competition may prosper at something you struggle with. When creating a growth strategy, take a look at similar businesses that are growing each and every day. Take a deep look at their growth strategy and learn from them.
Performing a SWOT Analysis
A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis is a technique for assessing different aspects of your business.
Because SWOT will help you understand your business, it may help you reduce the chances of failure. Through SWOT, you can get a better idea of where you’re lacking and eliminate what doesn’t work. You can also use SWOT analysis to craft a strategy that distinguishes you from your competitors.
Strengths: Strengths are what your organization does particularly well or in a way that distinguishes you from your competitors. Think about the advantages your business has over others. These might be the motivation of your staff, access to certain materials, or a strong set of manufacturing processes.
Weaknesses: Consider your organization's weaknesses and be honest. It's best to be realistic now and face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.
Opportunities: Opportunities are openings or chances for something positive to happen, but you'll need to claim them for yourself.
Threats: Threats include anything that can negatively affect your business from the outside, such as supply chain problems, shifts in market requirements, or a shortage of recruits. It's vital to anticipate threats and to take action against them before they hurt your business.
Richard suggests performing a SWOT analysis every six months, when a significant decision needs to be made, or when external factors arise.
Effective time management
Effective time management is important for anyone, and particularly so for entrepreneurs. Because entrepreneurs are ultimately responsible for every aspect of their business, allocating the right amount of time to most pertinent tasks is critical in keeping your business running smoothly.
Better time management isn't just about working harder, it's about working smarter. Trying to do too many things at once may make progress more difficult. It could also lead to burnout. Define your top priorities and build your schedule around them.
Time Management Tips
Build Unstructured Time Into Your Schedule
Build two to four hours of unstructured time into your weekly schedule. This is time set aside with no agenda beyond learning, exploring, and thinking.
Do the Most Important Things in the Morning
Take your time to do the right things. Everyone wastes time at some point or another, so focus on being effective—doing things correctly, instead of being efficient.
For some, if it doesn't get scheduled, it doesn't get done. Scheduling every hour of your workday may make it easier for you to stay focused and productive. You can even put “free time” to pursue side interests on your calendar.
Look for Ways to Automate
Automating can make it easier for you to work smarter instead of harder. Entrepreneurs can actually free up time by closely examining their processes.
Prioritize Tasks Using the First Five Method
1. Tasks you must do (the kind where there are serious consequences if they don't get done)
2. Tasks you should do (mild consequences if they don't get done)
3. Tasks you could do (no consequences if they don't get done)
4. Tasks you delegate
5. Tasks you never do
Take at least five minutes in the morning to think about your day. Ask yourself questions like:
- What’s most important for me to accomplish today?
- Does my calendar reflect that priority?
- Am I doing what I most need to be doing?
- Am I being who I most want to be?
- What did I learn? Anyone I need to thank or acknowledge?
- Is there anything I want to do differently tomorrow?
As part of each webinar, we host a Q&A session. Here’s what participants asked this time around:
What are the common mistakes entrepreneurs make when creating a business plan?
Lack of preparation, such as not having done any market research or never performing a value proposition. Or it may come on the operational side, such as being unprepared for leadership and delegation.
How can you improve your goals if you already set them for your business?
Reevaluate goals and to what extent you have achieved them. If possible, consider bringing in third-party consultants or think tanks that could assist you in this evaluation process to further improve or refine goals.
How important is business credit in today’s environment?
Business credit is important because it can help you keep your business afloat. It can also keep you from over-stretching your finances.
How do you balance your time between your business and your 9-5?
Many entrepreneurs face this same obstacle, and it comes down to scheduling. You can take stock of how your time is divided, and then choose where you can make sacrifices.
Are there business plan creation templates?
Sibert recommends startups.com, and he also noted that some templates or services may come at a cost.
How frequently should you SWOT?
This is different from person to person and business to business.
Pre COVID-19, performing a SWOT analysis every few months was probably fine. But now, with some much changing every week, performing a weekly SWOT might be warranted.
Are there any tips for growing a business as an introvert?
If you’re an introvert, you are not alone in the business world.
As an introvert, you will likely need to push yourself out of your comfort zone. If you’re nervous to get your idea out there, Sibert (who identifies as an introvert) suggests starting with people close to you who can give you honest feedback and help, such as family, close friends, or some advisor.
About what percentage of your week should you dedicate to growing sales, finding leads, and helping customers?
Each business will have a different ideal time to dedicate to those activities. You can start off with a few hours a week, something like five to 10 hours, and then re-evaluate. Adjust the time as you see fit and continually reassess.
How do you bounce back from failure?
Being an entrepreneur requires thick skin, resiliency, and a winner’s mindset. You will likely fail along the way.
To successfully bounce back after a failure, you need to believe in yourself. Evaluate what went wrong, and be willing to correct mistakes and keep pushing forward.
Tips for growing clientele?
This depends on your industry, market, and niche.
But there are a few things you may want to track or define, including your ideal client and your social media marketing strategy. Making an effort to understand your target and niche markets could prove fruitful. From there, you can drive your strategy with that ideal customer in mind.
Are my ambitions and goals too big for reality?
Focus on success first. Once you find a winning formula, product, or service, use your ambition to scale your business.
What are some recommended podcasts or books for entrepreneurs?
- How I Built This podcast with Guy Raz
- The Mindset Mentor podcast
- The E-Myth: Why Most Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber
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