The Balanced Scorecard

How do you know if your business is successful? How do you measure success? The Balanced Scorecard can help.

In 1992 Robert Kaplan and David Norton wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review titled “The Balanced Scorecard – Measures that Drive Performance”. The article was the result of a year long research project into 12 companies at the leading edge of performance management.

They observed that companies easily fall into measuring either financial performance or operational performance and proposed that successful performance management had to be much more balanced across the complete business. The model they proposed – The Balanced Scorecard […]

Disney’s Creativity Strategy

Do you struggle to produce original ideas or innovate in your small business?

Walt Disney is well known for the creativity he brought to storytelling and animation – “If you can dream it, you can do it.” But how did he and his studio capture such creativity?

In his book, “Strategies of Genius: volume one”, Robert Dilts examines the thinking strategies of four famous people including Walt Disney. This article reviews what has become known as ‘Disney’s Creativity Strategy’ and looks at how it can be applied to your small business.

Disney’s Creativity Strategy

Walt Disney had three chairs in his office that were never […]

Creating Opportunities for your Small Business

Are you waiting for your small business to get ‘lucky’? Stop waiting and start creating opportunities. Don’t get hung up on looking for ‘big’ opportunities – making the right small change can produce big results.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison

The following 10 areas are places that you can start to look today for opportunities for your small business.

10 Places to look for new opportunities.

1. Your Customers

Find opportunities through your existing customers.

  • Ask your customers what they like, what they don’t like and what else they would pay for.
  • Sell a […]

The McKinsey 7S Framework

How effectively does your business operate? Are some areas of your business pulling in different directions? The ‘McKinsey 7S Framework’ can help you to create an effective business.

In the late 1970s Thomas Peters and Robert Waterman at the Consulting firm McKinsey & Company developed what became known as the ‘McKinsey 7S Framework’.  The model was created to:

  1. Diagnose how organizations operate.
  2. Advise people on what particular elements of their organization they should change.
  3. Advise how any changes made should be aligned with one another.

The McKinsey 7S Framework

The model divides an organisation into seven areas or ‘elements’. There is no hierarchy of the elements because they […]

Porter’s Value Chain

If you want to increase your profits, Porter’s Value Chain can identify where your small business creates value.

In his book ‘Competitive Advantage’, Michael Porter proposed the Value Chain as a way of understanding that competitive advantage is not created by a business but by each of the distinct value adding activities that it performs in designing, producing, marketing, delivering and supporting a product.

The value chain is the sequence of activities that a business performs in order to create and deliver a valuable product.

The model considers each activity as having inputs, transformation processes and outputs. Resources are consumed by each activity as value […]

20 Time Saving Tips for your Small Business

What is your time worth to you? Here are 20 tips to help you save time in your small business.

1. Know when your most productive time of day is.

Plan to do important work during your most productive hours and keep the less important work for your less productive hours.

2. Don’t procrastinate.

Do the job you’re dreading first so that you can enjoy the rest of your day.

3. Do just enough.

Don’t do a poor job but don’t ‘gold plate’ your work either. Unnecessary quality is wasted time!

4. Have ‘Do Not Disturb’ times.

Let colleagues or family know when you are not to be […]

10 Steps to your Business Elevator Pitch

You have one minute to communicate the essence of your business to a complete stranger. Can you do it?

The expression ‘elevator pitch’ comes from the scenario of meeting a stranger in an elevator where you explain what it is your business does in the hope of securing a further meeting. Think of it as a ‘verbal business card’ that you leave with people.

The ‘elevator pitch’ is a verbal business card.

The Message

Your pitch has to be quick, about one to two minutes, and crystal clear as there is no time for clarification. It is a micro-presentation of your brand so it has to […]

10 Tips for having difficult conversations

Are you avoiding a difficult conversation? It might be difficult because of the emotions involved or because you don’t feel in control or because you’re at risk of losing something.

Here are 10 tips to help make that difficult conversation a successful conversation.

1. Have a ‘game plan’

It’s a good idea to have a ‘game plan’ or framework for the conversation before you start. Without a plan you are likely to jump feet first into an accusation and force the other person into a defensive reaction. Setting the wrong tone at the beginning means you’ve lost before you’ve started.

The framework should look something […]

8 Types of Intelligence

Are you more intelligent than you realise? By understanding how you are smart and how you learn you can discover your strengths.

Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard University, was concerned that definitions of intelligence failed to “take into account large areas of human endeavor”. It was his opinion that the “one dimensional view” of testing intelligence based on IQ alone was unfair.

As an alternative Gardner presented his theory of Multiple Intelligences which eventually defined 8 types of intelligence that cover the full capabilities of human beings. The theory states that everyone has all the intelligences but that different people are […]

Managing Your Small Business Cash Flow

Cash flow is the life support system of your small business because every purchase your business has to make depends on it. How effective is your small business cash flow management?

Here are 8 keys for managing your cash flow.

Have Good Financial Systems

You need to know how much cash you have, where it has come from and where it has been going.

  • Reconcile your bank accounts regularly.
  • Have a disciplined approach to recording all expenditure.
  • Find out how to get useful reports out of your accounting software.

Have a Realistic Cash Flow Forecast

Develop a cash flow forecast based on historic payments and receipts that […]