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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Seven Resources for San Antonio Business Owners

When business owners finally bring their visions to life by opening their doors, the real work begins. The planning stages have come and gone, and operation is not as simple as it may seem -- especially when working as a Solopreneur. There are only so many hours in a day, and entrepreneurs often have to wear many hats to make sure their businesses run efficiently. Below is a list of resources every San Antonio business professional can utilize to help make running their business easier. Each link represents a resource that can be used to ease the stress of running a business, and provide information to give your business a competitive advantage. 

Continue reading on Examiner.com.. 



ChrissyBiz Solutions provides clients with customized, results-driven web marketing strategies. Our primary business writing duties include: article marketing,  search engine optimized web copy, blog content, social media, press releases, and newsletters  designed to drive traffic to your website and influence buyers decisions when purchasing products and services.

Contact ChrissyBiz today to discuss the impact that web marketing copy can have on your business.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Business Plan: Operation Plan | Operation With Excellence | Part 1

We've discussed the marketing and financials of a successful business plan. Next, we move on to the operations component of the plan. Success in your marketing and recouping any funds invested in your business will be dependent on how business operations are operated. 

You will need to consider who will actually be involved in daily operations, what the business hours will be, how many hours a day will you be open to gain the maximum profit, where you will be located, and include the technology plan you will implement. Deep thought should be given to this section as how you operate will distinguish you from competitors and hopefully give you an advantage over them as well. Your goal is to implement a strategy that will give you the most profit, use your time most productively, and capitalize on mistakes of others in your industry to make your business better. 

Think about what it is that causes customers to leave a storefront, or click off a webpage. What are things that cause you to feel companies are incompetent or very efficient? Never allow your business mind to over take your common sense and observations as a consumer. Find a balance between the two that allows you to use your business sense to the best of your ability and incorporate what you know from your experience with brands, vendors, and businesses. 

Key components to this section include:
  • Facilities -- comprehensive information to include size, costs, location, lease terms, & any special considerations.
  • Manufacturing / Production Plan -- how will you produce your product or service? Be detailed. Being specific will allow you to immediately notice processes that can be eliminated to make workflow more efficient. How many people will it take to produce your product? 
  • Equipment and Technology -- This section will include everything you plan to use from a printer, fax, and copier, to mobile apps and scanners, desks, types of laptops, everything. To include everything, start from the beginning of production, to the end of your product / service. Write down every piece of equipment that is involved in making your business run. You will need price information as well. 
  • Variable Labor Requirements -- Do you need the same workforce at peak hours that you need in the morning? How many part time or full time employees will you need? What types of skills will you need these people to possess? Try your best to gain the best value from your workforce as possible by hiring people with several skill sets, that can fulfill several roles. Make sure you have accounted for their cost to the company, and develop a salary to attract the most efficient and productive type of employee. 
  • Inventory Management -- How will you maintain accountability? How you will make sure you always have what you need on hand?
  • Supply and Distribution -- Where will you get your supplies? How will you get it to your market? What channels do you need to make the process as efficient and cost effective as possible?
  • Order Fulfillment and Customer Service -- How will customers place orders and how will you deal with their needs, complaints, concerns, and questions? What steps can you take to develop FAQ's, customer feedback plans, and surveys beforehand to be prepared for the success of your company?
  • Research and Development -- How will you stay abreast of the most cutting edge developments in your industry and make sure you are incorporating them into your business? How much money and time will you allocate to this? Some companies will only need to pay for conferences and classes to be competitive in the area while others will have to be more aggressive. Technological, medical, automotive, and technical fields must invest a lot of time and money in this area if they want to remain in business.

  • Quality Control -- Deming was a business guru that was able to revitalize a dying industry because of his belief in continuous improvement. How will you maintain the standards of your product or service? Are there federal requirements? What process will you employ to keep the reputation of your business in good standing by producing quality products or services?
  • Safety, Health, Environmental Concerns -- Extremely important section. What does the federal and local government require for operations and disposal of the materials you are using? Are there any posting requirements you must have in your facility. Time spent on this section will save you money with law suits and liability issues. Ignorance to the law is no excuse for the law; employees are entitled to work in an environment free from health hazards. Obviously, some industries have inherent risks involved, and www.OSHA.gov will answer any questions you may have about your workplace.
Other considerations and the technology plan specifics will be posted in part 2. Stay tuned.


ChrissyBiz Solutions provides clients with customized, results-driven web marketing strategies. Our primary business writing duties include: article marketing,  search engine optimized web copy, blog content, social media, press releases, and newsletters  designed to drive traffic to your website and influence buyers decisions when purchasing products and services.

Contact ChrissyBiz today to discuss the impact that web marketing copy can have on your business.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Seeds and Dreams: Parallel Processes, Similar Results

Have you ever thought about how wonderful a small seed really is? Think about it for a moment. You can take something very small, plant it in the ground, give it water, and it will grow millions of times larger than it's original size. Let's examine what the seed that grows into a tree can teach us about the dream that becomes reality:
  1. The size of the seed is irrelevant: Diverse plants and trees across the planet all begin with seeds. While not all seeds are the same size, none of the seeds are the same size as the finished product. Seeds are so small they can be easily lost, trampled, and thrown away. Similarly, when you conceive a vision, have a goal or dream, it begins small, and it is easy to lose if not careful. You can share your vision with the wrong people and throw your seed away because they could not see what you see. Instead of planting it, you shared it -- prematurely nonetheless. You might share it with close friends or family members that eventually trample all over it and discourage you to the point of quitting. Seeds and dreams are the similar: small, fragile, easily destroyed, but also potentially great, larger than you could ever imagine, and able to produce more seed. 
  2. Soil is very important: Preparation for the ground in which you plant your seed is very important and will determine the success or failure of your seed. You can plant prime seed in dry, infertile soil, and it will not bring forth what it is supposed to. Instead, you have planted perfectly good seed into bad ground. Position yourself and prepare so that your seed is planted into good ground. Don't be the man or woman with the greatest idea and poorest execution skills. You will need to prepare in advance for the success of your crop. Do you expect your vision to come to fruition? Or is it just a great conversation starter at business functions? You have to be serious and being serious requires turning over the soil before you plant the seed, and making sure the ground is capable of producing fruit. Timing, resources, and your attitude might be the soil in which you can plant your dream -- if they are not right, how can you expect the seed to take root and grow?
  3. Cultivate the seed: Beside the initial preparation, watering the seed and making sure it has enough sunlight will be determining factors in the seeds success. Gathering the funding and support for your dream is very important to bringing it to pass. However, without proper attention after the seed is in the ground, it will not produce what you want. It may take root and actually spring up into something, but not what you envisioned. When you get your business off the ground and your first clients have began to applaud you for your expertise, continue to work hard. Do not allow complacency to stunt the growth of your dream or rob you of its full potential. The entire process weeds out the dreamers from the go-getters, the talkers from the doers. Soon, you will see that small seed bloom into something that everyone can see. You never have to share your seed in the beginning because if you stay the course, all will see it grow.
  4. Get rid of the weeds: There will be thorns, weeds, and days you water the seed too much or give it too little sun. Mistakes happen, but you must pull up the weeds and thorns immediately. Anyone in your life that chokes your dream or vision and leaves you feeling drained or lifeless must be removed immediately if your seed is to see full growth. Don't be surprised when they come and don't waste much time wondering why they are there or their purpose -- pluck them and throw them away. Your seed is in jeopardy the longer you allow them to stay near the seed. In fact, they could be stealing essential nutrients from your seed! Prepping the soil and the daily cultivating will mean nothing if you allow the weeds to stay. A decision must be made: whether you will continue to grow a dream or will waste time on thorns. They cannot dwell together very long. One will thrive, one will barely survive. Sometimes they can do a great job of blending in, but the careful planter can easily determine the real from the fake. 
  5. Allow it to grow and mature: There will come a time when your dream and vision has been monitored, pruned, and cultivated to the point it appears to be growing without any of your help at all, but be careful. No matter how large or great the dream has become, it is never completely "out of the woods" from destruction. The good news is that maintaining your dream and vision may be slightly easier than planting, growing, and cultivating it. Not because you have become an expert but because you have experience. Regardless, do not allow your experience to make you feel immune to the real threats that still remain. While your dream is no longer a seed and easily trampled, it is now large and impossible to hide. The threat of trampling or not seeing the seed grow is no longer there, but now that all can see it, new threats emerge. While the weeds can no longer come and choke it, it can still be axed. Use wisdom in keeping the dream, reminding yourself of the work involved in bringing it to fruition.

ChrissyBiz Solutions provides clients with customized, results-driven web marketing strategies. Our primary business writing duties include: article marketing,  search engine optimized web copy, blog content, social media, press releases, and newsletters  designed to drive traffic to your website and influence buyers decisions when purchasing products and services.

Contact ChrissyBiz today to discuss the impact that web marketing copy can have on your business.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Brainstorm, Extract the Details and Execute

How many times have you heard others say "I was going to do this" or "I wish I had done that?" Not just business people, all people. I believe that one of the dividing lines between those who realize their dreams versus those who just have a dream is procrastination, also known as the arch enemy of success

Not one person on this planet is void of some type of gift or ability, yet majority will settle for dreaming instead of putting in the time and effort necessary to achieve the dream. As a business owner, when you are interested in streamlining processes or improving your product or service, a simple formula to use is Brainstorm, Extract the details, then Execute! This also works for the planning process before you start your business, or begin to bring your vision to fruition.

Brainstorm
Take time and allow your brain to think about the issue at hand. Do you need to improve your product or service? Are you consistently receiving negative feedback from your customers? How can you bring your dream to life and start your business?

Be sure that you have identified the correct issue, and not mistakenly narrowed down a symptom to a bigger issue. Brainstorming will allow you to assess everything surrounding the issue. Rambling to a co-worker or jotting down notes on a pad might help in this process. The goal is to allow your mind to focus on nothing else but the issue at hand, whether it's your dream, your vision, or anything else you need to address in your business. 

Extract the Details
This is where you begin to organize all of the information your brain just poured out. The brainstorm can leave you with much more than you need, but extracting the details will allow you to stay on task. If you were brainstorming ways to have a shorter turn-a-round on orders placed on your website, you may have thought of pricing the USPS, UPS, and FedEx based on the sizes of your product. Perhaps you realize that hiring a part time courier 3 times a week will really make a difference, and you need to look into hiring someone. This is an easy way to get sidetracked away from the original issue and leave it unsolved. Yes, hiring someone is crucial and related, however, you must continue on in extracting all of the other details you uncovered to make your process run smoother. It might include: setting a cut-off time for deliveries, creating a filter in your website email to make sure no orders are accidentally placed in the spam folder like before, and instead of forwarding emails, setting a calendar reminder on your mobile device to check it every 4 hours. 

It is really easy to get carried away with one side of the solution if you are not careful. In the example above, all of the solutions gathered will ultimately reach your goal, but hiring the courier and the details that go along with that can easily cause you to stop short of solving the entire problem. By the way, hiring a courier might require it's very own brainstorming session -- might be cheaper to have USPS pick up the orders with their flat rate shipping service when you work out the details. 

Execute
You know the problem and you know the steps you need to take, but don't stop there. This is where many stop. Just knowing the problem is solved is a big burden off their shoulders, but unless the action is executed, the problem remains. Take every detail included in the problems solution (as many have several steps involved) and begin to mark them off the "to-do" list. Do not give yourself any room to rest until every solution is implemented. Taking the example above, the solution would include: posting the new cut off time for deliveries on the website; creating rules in your email and checking spam folders at least twice daily; stop forwarding emails from domain email and manually checking it as often as necessary.


ChrissyBiz Solutions provides clients with customized, results-driven web marketing strategies. Our primary business writing duties include: article marketing,  search engine optimized web copy, blog content, social media, press releases, and newsletters  designed to drive traffic to your website and influence buyers decisions when purchasing products and services.

Contact ChrissyBiz today to discuss the impact that web marketing copy can have on your business.

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