Because Small Business is Big Business

Posts by Sonia Keffer

Document Conviction

Do you have a great business idea? Having an idea for a business can be the impetus that gets us started in our own business. But, do you have the wherewithal to do the work, day in and day out, to bring that idea to life? According to GrowthWheel there are seven action steps to move your idea to fruition. They are, Ideation, Research, Decision-Making, Sparring, Testing, Document Conviction, and Presentations to sell ideas. I will be sharing a series of blog posts to discuss each of these ideas. I hope they strike a chord for you and help you move your idea forward.

The first is, Inspiration for Ideation. Ideation is the act of getting ideas to move us forward. There are several ways to get an idea chain moving. (See prior blog post on this topic.) READ MORE »

 

Testing Your Idea

Do you have a great business idea? Having an idea for a business can be the impetus that gets us started in our own business. But, do you have the wherewithal to do the work, day in and day out, to bring that idea to life? According to GrowthWheel there are seven action steps to move your idea to fruition. They are, Ideation, Research, Decision-Making, Sparring, Testing, Documentation for conviction, and Presentations to sell ideas. I will be sharing a series of blog posts to discuss each of these ideas. I hope they strike a chord for you and help you move your idea forward.

The first is, Inspiration for Ideation. Ideation is the act of getting ideas to move us forward. There are several ways to get an idea chain moving. (See prior blog post on this topic.)

The second is, Research that provides knowledge. Perhaps you already have a plethora of ideas or have a couple that you are trying to choose between. What’s next? Research. Doing research up-front will say you a lot of legwork and heartache. (See prior blog post on this topic.)

The third is, Decision-Making that leads to action. A strong decision leads to action. This step of creative business development is vastly important because it will lead you forward from the first two steps. (See prior blog post on this topic).

The fourth is, Sparring that provides improvements. Sparring in this sense means to meet and discuss with others the ups and downs of your business idea. (See prior blog on this topic).

The fifth is, Testing that gives realism.

Beyond the research and sparring is testing. Some entrepreneurs find that the “Just Do It” approach works better for them. The idea being that trial and error is the best teacher and too much time in the lab just doesn’t tell them what they need to know.

Depending on the type of business you have, manufacturing, service, delivery, or a new or improved product, you will have to determine what type of testing will work best to give you the information you need to move forward. You may need to create a prototype, implement a pilot project, make test deliveries, or set up a consumer test that allows you to observe the customer using the product and then asking them questions afterwards.

Testing can be a very creative way to work, beyond the research and sparring steps outlined earlier. The step is a great way to get hands on knowledge prior to sending a product or service out into the world.

Are you ready to test an idea? What steps do you need to take to share your product or service with the public to get some feedback? It may take a little up front time, but the knowledge that you gain from testing can give you an invaluable boost.

To learn more about these actions steps check out some of our workshops and seminars or check out the book A Guide to Developing Mission, Vision, and Value Statements

 

Sparring Provides Improvements

Do you have a great business idea? Having an idea for a business can be the impetus that gets us started in our own business. But, do you have the wherewithal to do the work, day in and day out, to bring that idea to life? According to GrowthWheel there are seven action steps to move your idea to fruition. They are, Ideation, Research, Decision-Making, Sparring, Testing, Documentation for conviction, and Presentations to sell ideas. I will be sharing a series of blog posts to discuss each of these ideas. I hope they strike a chord for you and help you move your idea forward.

The first is, Inspiration for Ideation. Ideation is the act of getting ideas to move us forward. There are several ways to get an idea chain moving. (See prior blog post on this topic.)

The second is, Research that provides knowledge.  Perhaps you already have a plethora of ideas or have a couple that you are trying to choose between. What’s next? Research. Doing research up-front will say you a lot of legwork and heartache. (See prior blog post on this topic.)

The third is, Decision-Making that leads to action. A strong decision leads to action. This step of creative business development is vastly important because it will lead you forward from the first two steps. (See prior blog post on this topic).

The fourth is, Sparring provides improvements.

 Sparring Provides ImprovementsSparring in this sense means to meet and discuss with others the ups and downs of your business idea. Whether those people are your business partners, an advisory board, or even a coffee club, these experienced, “wiser” people can offer insights that can make your business venture more successful more quickly than you can alone.

Some of you may have found a mentor who is encouraging you in building your business. Mentors are those helpful, wise souls who offer their guidance free of charge to you, just because they see a spark in you and they believe hold great things.

This step of sparring, or sharing insights and information can help your business move forward more quickly than you can do simply by doing all of the research and decision making on your own. “Many hands make light work” goes the John Heywood saying, and that is true of brainstorming ideas as well, the more the merrier.

Whether you have a trusted advisor or not, it is never too late to get started. Who do you trust that you can ask to help you brainstorm and talk through your ideas and get their insights in return. Those earlier steps are important and need to be done, but at some point we all need to hear from someone else. Set up a meeting and get started. You’ll be glad you did.

Do you want to get started on growing your business? Then check out the our Growth Series Workshops, where we will learn all about the seven action steps to move your idea to fruition.

 

Mission Critical – The Importance of Mission

Mission CriticalYou have started a company, maybe on your own maybe with a partner. You have a great idea that the worlds need, exceptional product and service. When you talk to people about your company you can tell them all about the idea, the products and services, but something is missing. The Why. Beyond the what is the why. It is mission critical that people, future customers, shareholders, employees, and financiers, want to and need to know more about why you are in business than just what you do or how you produce it before they invest their time and money with you.

There are three pieces that make up the organizational Vision statement. They are the Value statement, the Vision statement, and the Mission statement. Each is important in its own right, the three together make it possible for you and everyone your organization touches to know why you exist and how to interface with your organization. Many companies create all three statements, but only publicly share their Mission statement.

Mission Critical

The Mission statement tell others Why you exist. What problem do you solve, what work you do and what you offer to the larger community and world. The Vision statement tell others where you see your organization in the future. This can have a date associated with it, or just be the biggest goal you can identify for your company. The Value statement tells others what you stand for and how you behave with each other within the company and the larger community.

Having these statements helps you organize important work and set goals for your company, as well as, tell others, succinctly, the story of why your company exists.

To learn more come to Sonia’s Lunch and Learn session on Mission, Vision, and Values statements. The session will be based on Sonia’s Rule of Thumb book, “Developing Mission, Vision, and Value Statements for Small Businesses”. There are two sessions January 28th and February 12th both from 11:30am-1:00pm.

 

 

Let Vision Lead!

Let Vision LeadThe Vision ( that series of three statements made of up the mission, vision, and value statements) needs not only to be in front of each current and potential customer each and every day, but also in front of each company leader and team member. This is not accomplished  by having a copy hanging in every office, hallway, restroom, and computer sleep screen, which are great ideas, but by having the Vision be the starting point of every team meeting and discussion about business direction.

When an organization is not guided by its Vision, it can easily get off track and begin pursuing things that don’t align with who they said they are and who they wanted to be. One of the first jobs I had out of college was for a consulting firm. This organization provided contract training for state and local governments all across the country. At each and every team meeting, we would start by reciting the company’s mission statement and guiding principles. By doing this, we were reminded of why we existed, what we did, who we did it for, and how we did it. This made it easier to say, “Yes,” to some ideas about business procedures and new business growth as well as saying, “No,” to other ideas that did not meet our mission.

Does “Let Vision Lead” sound limiting?

I suppose it could. Yet, I would argue that for a new or newer business, it is critically important to keep growing in the direction you intended. The danger is growing too big too fast, and before long no one knows what the company is about any more.

To learn more about how to use your organizational Vision to make business decisions get your copy of the book, “A Small Business Guide to Developing Mission, Vision, and Value Statements” or attend one of our Growth Workshops.