Friday, June 10, 2005

Controlling Email Overload?

Do you check your e-mail every 20 minutes? Do you read and reply to nearly every message as soon as it arrives? When you have a question for an employee, do you automatically e-mail him rather than pick up the phone?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, your e-mail practices might be cutting into your productivity. Hard to believe that e-mail, the wonder of electronic communication that has streamlined so many business transactions, can also be a major distraction at work?

NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business) offers the following tips to tame e-mail overload. Check it out.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Do You Have A Strategic Plan?

No matter how small, businesses need to prepare a strategic plan on a routine basis, according to SCORE, "Counselors to America's Small Businesses." A business owner needs to look into the future to determine the best way to grow his or her business after determining how competition, the economy, new product introductions, changing prices and changes in internal operations might impact the business.
Business owners routinely think about day to day operations on an ongoing basis. It is a good idea, at least once a year, to take time to step back and look at the big picture—including both external and internal variables and how these variables might impact the business. The annual strategic review can be as simple or as complicated as the business owner might wish to make it. Taking a look at the mission statement of the business, updating a SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats) analysis, revisiting Critical Success Factors, goals and objectives can confirm that the business is on track or going in the wrong direction. If the business is moving off course, the business owner can make corrective changes in direction before a disaster happens.
The strategic plan for the business is the “game plan” for positioning the business and for managing its activities. Strategies serve as guidelines for how the business will get where it wants to go. As important as developing the strategic plan is, implementation is everything! A strategic planning exercise can be a great way for the management of a small business to determine where they’re going and how they’re going to get there.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Choosing A Mentor

Entrepreneurs and small-business owners lack access to mentors, according to SCORE, "Counselors to America's Small Business."
While mentoring is common in large corporations, many entrepreneurs don't have a source of advice. Successful small-business owners are often ones who have learned from those who have experience in their industry or who have previously dealt with similar business issues.
Follow these steps for choosing a mentor who will best fit your business goals and give you helpful answers to your business questions.
Think About Why You Seek Advice
Establish the goals you expect to achieve by talking to a mentor. Pick the top 3-5 challenges or opportunities that your business faces. Prioritize them in order from the greatest to least impact on your business success.
Make Time to Meet with a Business Mentor
In order to get help you will need to commit some of your time and energy to meeting with your mentor. You'll be glad you did and feel energized after you meet with him or her.
Find the Right Mentor for You
Look for someone who has accomplished goals that might be similar to your own. Your mentor should be someone who can provide the time and energy to help you achieve your objectives.
Build Your Success Team
Be sure to seek guidance from multiple sources. Make sure you talk to the right person who can help you with your success strategies.