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Strategic Planning

Action plan, career, coaching, Creative, entrepreneurs, Marketing, Strategic Planning, Visionary, Wisdom

Is entrepreneurism a gene or skill?

So, what if you aren’t born with the entrepreneurial qualities?

Recent findings and emphasis on personal development show that people can learn an entrepreneur’s (E’s) progressive traits and can borrow on E’s native talents.

There are several entrepreneur types that bring different strengths and experience while they learn new skills. This is a list of Positive Potentials LLC’s2 observations from serving E’s across two decades of business coaching:

1.    The Widget Maker—This type is often mistaken as a classic entrepreneur. These proud, diligent people are adept at doing one thing well—making widgets—Widgets are products and methods that can range from baking cookies to custom car production. The outcome is something they have perfected and want to take to market—They want to reproduce it and sell it. Although they may have no real business sense or experience, they forge ahead, often without a business plan, and launch their idea until they run out of money or personal energy.
Another E in this category is the Episodic E, who may be, for example, a car mechanic.  S/He sees an opportunity to work on windmill turbines and opens a “green” shop or a former shoe sales person starts a boutique. They work on what they know within a comfort zone. Sometimes, they have little awareness of the moving parts of a business because they only focused on their part in it. These E’s must add business skills and hire talent especially if migrating from a non-business field like a mechanical environment.
They are comfortable and adept with their skills, limited by what they know, but may not take time or fear advanced training so they move from one episode to another as part of a long learning curve. Their shops can be chaotic and may waste resources, because they do not have a plan or marketing skills. For example, lawyers and doctors are historically inexperienced business people.
2.    The Innovator—This E likes to tinker. These are not people who want to open a storefront; they want to “build a better mousetrap.”  Often, they will consider selling their idea to Wal-Mart, but do not know how to protect and secure their idea with registered patents or how to attract investors.
They are focused on continuous improvement often coming from a manufacturing or systems background. They believe “necessity-is-the-mother-of-invention,” and use their creativity to solve problems. They are creative people because they see and love how things work.
3.    You’re Fired —This is the reluctant E. Today’s uncertain economic and job climate can create this type of entrepreneur, because they may not have chosen to leave but they were downsized. They gather severance, savings and gumption in an attempt to duplicate the job they just lost.
Their perspective is limited because they only see a tiny part of the working business. This E requires support people to draft a written business map to keep the E on course and add talent to fill in the gaps.
4.    The Last Hurrah—”If not now, then when” logic? Often a mid-life crisis triggers this E, who is restless and sees a last shot at a long-held dream. For example, in the 1990’s, while the economy was stable, “40-Somethings” saw an opportunity to use their 401k’s to start a business if they resigned.  For example, independent coffee houses and bookstores popped up nationwide from these E’s efforts. They may have had access to other resources through their professional networks, too. The Boomers are classical examples of this type. After the economic downturn, many Boomers found themselves unable to retire, so they are back in the job market and ready to pour their energy into a new enterprise.
5.    Buy A Job/Be Your Own boss—This E is slow to action and can be motivated by fear or external pressure, and a “I’d-better-do-something” attitude. These are ideal franchise prospects or owners. They like a template business model. It appeals to those who want order for security, not creativity. They want the illusion of being their own boss, but, in reality, they are bound by the franchisers rules with little flexibility to improvise.

They may hire people to organize offices and billing issues so they do not get bogged down with the details. The good news for them is they can better manage their process adopting E traits. Learning offers them a better degree of competence to check the work of others they hired without being an entrepreneur.
These visionary E’s hold and share a strong mental picture that s/he translates into the support of followers. Their persuasive communication style serves them to sell the dream born out of their passion. An example of this “charismatic selling” is the rise of multi-level marketing companies since 1990 that hype success with images of wealth, fancy cars and exotic travel as payoffs. One must ask what they are really selling.
Importantly, people serving entrepreneurs are wise to understand them and can benefit by teaching them how to marketing, deliver services and hire a lawyer. Service providers who help their E’s achieve their visions, have no loyalty issues, especially when times are tough.
Tip—Identify where the gaps are in your process to start a business. Find support to complete the gaps and write out your plan. The magic begins when you can visualize the outcome and know what resources you need to get started.
A positive first step is to seek out the free programs like at Glendale Public Library for more information www.GlendaleAZ.com/library. Good luck. -MC


·  Kauffman Foundation       www. KauffmanFoundation.com
·  Malcolm Baldrige Quality Principles— http://www.nist.gov/index.html

·  Entrepreneurship.org,      The Policy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship (PDE)

·  The Phoenix Business Journal, www.bizjournals.com

·  Coaching Programs          EMBA (Entrepreneurial Mastery of Business Assets)

·  ASU Technopolis

·  Positive Potentials’            EMBA Certification Program™

·  Fast Track                        Stealthmode Partners

1 Michael Gerber, The E Myth Revisited, (New York, 1995), pp.19-33.

2 Michelle Cubas, Positive Potentials LLC, https://www.positivepotentials.com, All Rights Reserved, 2000.

coaching, Marketing, Strategic Planning, Voicemail, Workplace

One window closes, another one opens

Happy holidays to you. Each new season provides a clean slate for ideas and activities to continue to move forward. 
In my S.O.S. (Simple Open Strategies) for Challenging Times group on LinkedIn, you can “drop in” on discussions raised by small business owners and enjoy tips and tactics to move through this daunting time. Find us under Groups in alpha order.
Here are some topics we’re working on:
  • Listened to your voice message lately? If U hear, “Sorry I missed you . . . or “We’re either on the phone or …,” or, “I’ll return your call at my earliest convenience,” change it instantly! Instead, use this moment as a 30 second invitation to your website or next event or invite people to leave their phone number and message and let them know what’s new from you.
  • What clever marketing angles do you observe from clients and companies you patronize?
  • Looking for seed money? Check this out. There is little risk and adds energy to your site. http://www.kickstarter.com/ 
  • Other terrific resources are Aardvark for research and crowdsourcing elements, Squidoo and all things Seth Godin -MC

It’s the little things that make a difference. Please join us on LinkedIn and innovate together.

Action plan, business coaching, communication, entrepreneurs, Marketing, Strategic Planning, Strategy

Marketing Budgets 101—An Easy Introduction

Congratulations. You stopped long enough to read this and get out of the task mindset.

Often, clients ask me how to budget for marketing. As we are in unchartered territory, the usual “left-overs” approach to marketing will sink a business today.  At the core, it is not about the money. It is not about competition. It is about how you make your case to assure your prospect of a smart buying decision. They must feel secure that you will deliver on your promise. The prospect wants to feel good about a relationship with your company. Provide that link with your marketing message.

Amazingly, when companies are concerned about making payroll or staying afloat, the first place they cut is sales personnel. Think about it: how does that make sense when these “boots on the ground” or the voices on the phone or at the networking meeting are the circulatory system of your company. My personal favorite is how marketing money is slashed because it is a non-revenue producing department.—Try running a company without it.

The other mystery is how many small business owners do not understand marketing beyond a phone book ad. Advertising is a tool of marketing.

Here are a couple of tips as you review and revise your marketing plans. (Yes, I trust that you have one!)
1.    Have a written marketing plan.
2.    Define your primary, secondary and ancillary target audiences.

  • Assign a percentage of budget to each category. 
  • Include research to map the psychographics of your audience:
      • Where do they shop? 
      • What are similar values they hold and relate to your company values? 
      • What causes are important to them? 
      • What do they read?
      • What percentage of time are they online, reading print and want to be contacted?
      • Answers provide a place to start about placement of your marketing messages.
  • These are sampling questions for your website to conduct an online poll, survey after you have established and earned the trust of your visitor.

3.    15% designated to search engine optimization (SEO) functions. For example, if you have $500 for online marketing, $75 would go for SEO.
4.    Calculate your annual sales and take 5-7% as your marketing budget. Of course, if you are launching new products or services, you may want to assign a separate budget for those items.
5.    Who can best implement and manage your marketing? If you are doing everything, you are doing nothing well. This book will change how you view running your business, The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. You can easily order a copy by clicking on the Amazon box.

If nothing else, a simple outline encompassing the issues above will help you to run your business, stand above and look down (meta view) and begin to see how all the moving parts work together. If nothing else, consider ways to apply the suggestions. -MC

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