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 […]

10 Reasons Why Small Business Projects Fail

Learn from the mistakes of others and you can save yourself some pain. However, if you have already been involved in business projects then you’ve probably also seen some of these hazards.

1. Objectives not clearly defined at the start

If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you’ve arrived? Objectives need to be SMART – specific, measurable attainable, realistic and time-bound.

2. Overly optimistic planning

It is well recognised that project planners regularly overestimate benefits while underestimating costs and time to completion.

3. Lack of regular project monitoring

Even the best project plan is worthless unless the actual project performance is monitored against […]

What is a Business Strategy?

The phrase ‘Business Strategy’ can sound both impressive and important but it also often sounds vague and detached.

Business Strategy Defined

There is a lot of jargon that surrounds business strategy but put simply:

Business Strategy is the overall, long-term plan of an organisation to fulfil it’s purpose.

A business strategy is not the same as a business plan. A business strategy is based on a longer timescale and may incorporate multiple business plans. For example, a cleaning company may have a one year business plan for it’s domestic business and another one year plan for it’s commercial business whilst it’s 5 year business strategy […]

4 Stages of the Small Business Product Life Cycle

No product lasts forever. Do you know where your small business product is in its product life cycle? Are you introducing tomorrow’s product, today?

The ‘Product Life Cycle’ is a model that predicts the general trend that most successful products or services will follow during their lifetime.

The Product Life Cycle for Small BusinessStage 1: Introduction

As a product is introduced there will usually be high costs in bringing it to market but low sales resulting in initial losses.

Stage 2: Growth

If the market decides it wants the product, sales increase; and unit costs […]

‘5 Whys’ to your Small Business Answer

Do you get to the root cause of your small business problems? Or, like many do you revisit the same problems regularly?

The ‘5 Whys’ technique.

The Toyota Motor Company recognised that by asking the question “Why?” continuously of a problem that they would usually get to it’s root cause in five attempts.

Of course whilst the technique has become known as the ‘5 Whys’ this was just their observation. You may have your answer in three attempts or you may still be asking the question after 10 attempts. The essence of the ‘5 Whys’ is that it’s going to take you longer […]

SWOT Analysis

What are the strengths and weaknesses of your small business? What should your business be taking advantage of and what should it be avoiding? If you can’t answer these questions then a SWOT Analysis is the place to start.

A SWOT analysis is a simple but effective tool that gives you a snapshot of how well your business is doing. It’s value is in prompting you to ask the right questions about your small business. However, as with all business models, it’s usefulness is limited by how honestly and objectively it is used. Ideally you would go through this process with […]

5 Competitive Pressures on your Small Business

Competitive forces have the power to break or make your small business almost overnight. Do you know what competitive forces your small business and it’s industry are under?

In 1979 Michael Porter identified 5 forces, or sources of pressure, that influence competition in an industry and which ‘determine the ultimate profit potential of an industry’. Not only was the model he proposed widely accepted but it is still at the centre of competitive strategy thirty years later.

Competitor Forces in Small Business

Potential Entrants

How attractive is your market or industry to potential entrants?

What […]