Business Process Consulting – Business Development and Risk Management

Succession planning is a critical linchpin in building the bench strength of a business into a positive long-term future, as well as a key element of business risk management. Most of the business literature on this particular subject focuses on succession planning as an exiting strategy. This focus is a strategic blunder.

The emphasis on succession planning as an activity to be considered and implemented toward the end of the business life cycle is wrong-headed. Such emphasis represents a short-sighted perspective, characterized by a significant lack of strategic thought and intent. It is particularly surprising, given the current demographic changes and trends in the market.

Some of these key trends that need to be considered from a corporate team building and strategic perspective, in analysing both the internal and external environment include:

  • an aging population
  • labor and skills shortages
  • the emergence of Generations ‘X’ and ‘MTV’ into management roles, and
  • an increasing number of women assuming management and leadership roles in business.

Business owners and managers need to be open to employing people who are better than they are and different to them. This willingness becomes a crucial attribute in underpinning productive succession planning. Effective business owners and managers regard such planning as an opportunity for ongoing growth and development for themselves and their businesses.

Thinking about succession at the recruitment stage is therefore critical for the ongoing success of the business, as its principals and managers move toward leaving their company for whatever reason.

Successful business owners and effective managers are committed to bringing the next generation of leaders on from the very outset. To that end, the three critical strategic decisions that must be made are to:

  1. recruit learners
  2. create a developmental culture, and
  3. inculcate leadership as a function that delivers results.

One – Recruit Learners

Aligning succession planning in business begins when people are first recruited into the company.

In the employment of new people, demonstrable technical skills or experience, managing with and through others, and verbal and numerical reasoning capabilities are all-important elements to be considered.

But by far, the most critical factor to consider is that the people being recruited into your business must be avid learners and open to ongoing learning and development. No other single attribute will prove as meaningful in their prospects for long term success.

Two – Create a Developmental Culture

The developmental culture that we want to create in our business environment is underpinned and informed by the people at the top. The people at the top, therefore, must themselves be lifelong learners. Furthermore, they must embody the desired development culture of the value based business by being open to new ideas, by listening intently and by incorporating different ways of looking at things into the business environment.

They must model the development that they want to encourage in the people around them.

One of the risks in creating this type of business environment is the loss of good people to other businesses. It happens. People do get “poached,” and they do move on. On the other hand, when engaging in the risk management of adopting this approach, one must ask the following question:

“What would happen if we did not develop our people, and they decide to stay?”

In the end, a developmental culture in a business attracts talent like a magnet, since prospective employees see the business as one that offers more than merely a paycheck. On balance, this capacity to attract good people should more than offset any risk of losing them.

Three – View Leadership as a Function that Delivers Results

Succession planning is reinforced throughout the value based business by the pragmatic philosophy that leadership is taking responsibility for getting things done, not a position that is held.

Organizations are much flatter than in the past, which means that the hierarchy is now created by the alignment of the Mission, Vision and Values of the business, as well as by its strategic business objectives.

Leadership is a function. Leadership is the ability to see a gap between what is and what should be and the willingness to take responsibility for closing it. Leadership can also be the ability to create a gap between what is and what should be, where such a gap is necessary to propel the business forward, and, then, taking responsibility for closing it.

By defining it this way, leadership becomes an activity that can be learned, demonstrated and taught, at any and all levels of your business.

Internet Home Based Business – Developing a Business Plan Before Starting

Creating your Internet home based business plan is crucial before you start building the business. The plan should be a long range plan of a minimum of 3 years and stick to the plan. It is the main component in your goal to work for yourself and not work to make someone else rich. Your plan for independence and financial freedom must be in place before jumping in unprepared.

Everyday thousands of entrepreneurs are searching for information on business ideas and opportunities. Over the past few years, many companies have gone belly up, 401k accounts disappear and increasing energy costs that continue to hold the economy hostage. Every year tens of thousands of individuals from all levels of employment are discovering they have been living based on another individuals or company plan. They understand that a positive change is required for their survival during this ever worsening economy. They also realize that a home business opportunity is the only viable alternative.

The right time to start your home business is now

o It is the right time if you are sick and tired of working long hours every week, for 50 weeks a year, with little to show for it.

o It is the right time if you have been laid off recently or indications are that you will be next.

o If you have been unemployed for more than 9 months and your extension will soon end, it is the right time for you to start building a home business on the Internet

o Since more jobs are still being outsourced and the small number of jobs remaining that pay a livable wage are limited, it is the right time for you to start your Internet business

A few questions you need to find answers for:

o Is there a good compensation plan in place?

o What are your monthly income expectations?

o What resources will you need to accomplish your goals?

o Does the company have a support mechanism in place?

The importance of a business plan cannot be emphasized enough when you consider starting a home business opportunity. If you have problems drafting your business plan, I encourage you to get help from a professional or from others who have a home business. You can even get help from searching the Internet for articles on writing business plans. All of this and more you can do with your computer using a search engine.

In conclusion, with a business plan as your guide or map to building your Internet home based business and if you stick with the plan, your reward will be financial freedom.

New Entrepreneurs – Overcome Information Overwhelm in Start-Up Business Development

After 30 years of being an employee who worked for attorneys as a legal secretary/assistant, the firm decided they needed fewer employees. That gave me the “opportunity” to go home to my computer, with all the current technology and online resources for learning, and start my own business as a virtual assistant. My initial vision was that all I had to do is set up shop online and in extra bedroom, get jobs, and start collecting checks. Sounds very logical, common-sense and practical — not!

The way an employee “works for a living” is completely different than being an entrepreneur “creating value” and getting paid for it. As stressful as a job may become as the employee is given assignments to complete in a certain time frame, that’s nothing to compare with the “dis-ease” called information overload that is waiting for the start-up Internet entrepreneur. Here are some examples of the painful symptoms:

  1. tasks that appear to be “must-do” activities are overwhelming in quantity and complexity;
  2. the need to take another online class or buy another “how to” digital program seems essential;
  3. the fact becomes clear that I don’t know how to identify and schedule short-term/long-term projects;
  4. my attention is constantly diverted by tasks that seemed A-1 in importance, but now appear as decoys;
  5. my feelings of being duped are mounting in inverse proportion to being drained of time and money resources;
  6. as I watch time and money flow out the door, in comes insecurity and lots of low self-worth;
  7. I never seem to have enough time, never finished, and that means 24/7 – is this a business or an addiction?

Why is it so much harder to produce results from the freedom of my own home? Why all this pain and paralysis, digging holes that never dig deep enough to strike pay-dirt? I knew the answer had to do with a difference in mindset between the employee and entrepreneur, so I decided to explore it with this article.

The Good News – The Problem is Solved by Tweaking The Mindset

It was easy to analyze – what I did as an employee was essentially a three-step process consisting of:

  • Receiving an assignment (a task to do) from a employer (boss) which included a deadline for completion;
  • Completion of the project (within or outside of deadline) by whatever means it took (nobody went home until it was done or rescheduled);
  • Payment made on a time or task basis (putting in the time or finishing the task essentially guaranteed getting paid). There was some performance review, but basically, if you showed up and did the work, and the company had money in the budget to pay employees, you had a job.

What is means is that an employee really is a cog in the wheel of production, not determining the very beginning (a call for the product or service) or the very end (marketing or collecting by way of invoice/charges). Compare this with the mindset of an entrepreneur who must do these activities:

  • rule owner’s enterprise by taking leadership role(s), control decision-making and, ultimately, is responsible for the outcome in terms of satisfied customers and payment;
  • takes risks, experiments with various methods and systems of production, marketing, collecting money, keeps track of outcomes (like a science project), keeps records (notes, journals, spreadsheets) in order to maintain an accurate history of actions taken, to be able to learn from both successes and mistakes. And, yes, to be able to make mistakes as the best/fastest way to learn sometimes, and since you are the boss, you cannot be fired for your mistakes — you can only quit!
  • learn to plan for and rationally expect a return on your investment (ROI), and look for ways to increase income flow (getting compensated for time and money invested in business), the whole purpose of which is to provide value to others. And, logically, as you provide actual value to others, you will get paid, but it may not be predictable as to exactly when and how much. Also, look for payment in terms of knowledge and connections, not just money.

The Bad News – The Problem is Better Solved by Combining The Mindset(s)

In the Old Days, the days before the economy actually demanded we create a business online as soon as possible, in those old days, we’d do a self-evaluation (whether on-the-job or as a potential entrepreneur) to determine whether we have what it takes to be an entrepreneur, or if we should shape up even more, and be the exemplary employee with an annual raise. Now, I suggest that the bad news is that there is no longer a choice — it’s essential to be both an employee and an entrepreneur, both at the same time.

What I’m suggesting is that we need to create a new mindset that incorporates the best aspects of the employee mindset (which is to ‘just get it done, no matter what, because that’s what I’m hired to do), and the entrepreneurial attitude that wonders “what will happen if I do it this new way, in answer to what appears to be a need to create value for our society?”

We become both roles, the boss and the employee; we’re here to “just do it” and get the product or services out the door and delivered. We need to judge only our own self, but not spend too long lingering over the hard lessons called “mistakes” or gloating over a success that really is temporary anyway. We need to think about the customer/client as our employer and allow these people to dictate what we need to do, how to value it, and how to give them more than what they bargained for.

Yes, I believe we need to stop thinking about our expectation of a paycheck and think more about the quality of the results we are producing.

Once we combine both mindsets and step into the dual roles of employee/entrepreneur, we’ll be living in a healthy and practical world of expectations where hard work pays off as long as we produce results and not get bogged down by excess information, self-analysis and procrastination — inaction.

And this productive behavior will keep us busy, solving problems, moving forward to test our theories in action. And certainly we’ll have no time for information overload, any more than Alice in Wonderland had when she faced the Queen yelling “off with her head”! Alice simply faced the noise and commotion and said rightly: “You’re nothing but a pack of cards.”