The Importance Of Business Stationary In Personal Branding

Business stationery is an important part of building a company’s image. No matter how big or small the company, branding your business stationery will help you to increase your sales.

However, business stationery does not mean just the letterhead of your company. Besides this, you need to have your company logo printed on every piece of stationery that your clients might see or use. These include envelopes, shipping labels, invoices, calendars, calling cards, folders, compliment slips, labels and more.

Just putting your brand on the stationery is not enough. You need the formatting to be consistent throughout the stationery. Remember, the formatting of your brand logo will help with the image you wish to convey. A consistent logo will imprint the brand image much more easily. It also shows a united front for your company and delivers the message that you are efficient.

Business stationery is important because it gives prospective clients the first impression of your business. If you do not seem professional, the client will not want to do business with you. However, a good first impression will definitely bring you more business. Whenever you communicate with your clients, leave them with a piece of your business stationery. It delivers a subtle, but powerful message about the kind of business.

When you design your business stationery, ensure that it delivers the right message across. A youthful business can afford to be more creative. However, if you deal with a very serious line of work, such as law, you need to keep the business stationery curt and professional.

You can print either in colour, greyscale or in black and white. Colour printing is usually much more effective compared to black and white and greyscale stationery. This is because colour printing usually portrays you as an established and trustworthy company. Whichever kind of printing you choose, you need the branding to be effective. It should be simple enough that people can remember it easily, and complex enough that people will take you seriously.

You can hire a business stationery printing company for your company’s stationery. Many companies offer services of not only printing, but also designing the stationery. You can either send them a design made by your company for printing or ask them to design a logo for you.

Ultimately, it is all about building the image of your business. Thus, the power and utility of business stationery should never be underestimated.

Small Business Coaching Undermining Your Credibility With This

A business owner recently sent me an email inviting me to partner with him on one of his projects. I get a few requests like that a month. The venture seemed like a good one as I read his description.

I was about to have my assistant follow up until I hit this credibility-undermining flaw and guess what my response was? I was no longer interested. But I wondered if this poor guy even knew that he was undermining his own credibility. Unfortunately, too many business owners make this mistake. And you can correct it in literally 5 minutes for less than $10.

What’s the mistake you ask?

As professional as this small business owner sounded, and as interesting as his product was, I closed the door when I saw @gmail.com in his email address. It raised some doubt, not to mention what preceded the @gmail.com wasn’t exactly professional either.

The reality is free email services don’t exactly scream “success” if you know what I mean and you’d certainly want your business communication to reflect your true professionalism. When business owners use gmail, yahoo, and all those other freebie emails, here’s what may come up in the mind of the email recipient: I wonder if they’re running their business more like a hobby than a real business. I wonder if they are taking their business seriously. I wonder if they plan to be in business very long.

Sadly, none of this is probably true, as the business owner may have chosen their email service for entirely valid reasons. But it’s important to know it may raise some doubt (albeit unnecessarily so at times). And by the way, even paid email services like comcast.net and others (that you’d normally use for family communication) may also undermine your credibility. There are many reasons people choose free email services, and I personally have yahoo and gmail accounts myself. That said, you’d want to consistently project the image of an established business. Your business email is one of the first things someone sees when you communicate with them. In your email communication, you’d want to remain congruent with your business name.

If you already have a website

For those of you who have a website and are still using free email services for business communication, hey, c’mon what’s up with that? 🙂 If you already have the website, why not use the email accounts that come with your domain? If you’re avoiding checking more than one email account, remember you can have all the emails sent to wherever you want to read them (but don’t make the mistake of replying to your business emails from your free email though). If you like the features of your free service, that’s OK, you can actually redirect your business emails to the free service (behind the scenes) if you like (again, just be sure the “reply to” email is your business email when you send responses).

Now if you’re avoiding getting added to email lists, I can certainly understand that. But why not set up a separate email under your own domain name instead? An address that’s meant to be a catch-all so nothing clutters your main business email account. Like “[emailprotected]” or “[emailprotected]” Your domain typically comes with the ability to set up several email addresses. I use GreatSmallBusinessWeb.com and I have almost a dozen different email addresses under my domain name. Some of them I rarely check as they are catch-all addresses.

If you don’t have a website

If you’re just now starting a home based business (bravo!), you can hop on over to Godaddy.com and fix that email credibility problem in the next 5 minutes. But please be careful at when you’re purchasing it. Read all the screens because when you go through the purchase process, you’ll get offered all sorts of additional stuff. Feel free to say no to whatever else they’re asking you to buy until you get to the end – unless you really want to buy all that stuff of course. (that’s my insider tip ;-))

That said, you most certainly would want a website as a business owner. That, my friend, may indeed be another credibility-buster. Folks, catch up will ya? We’re almost in 2010 here. 🙂 Careful with choosing website designers, however. You don’t want a multi-thousand dollar “brochure website” that looks real pretty but doesn’t generate any money for your business.

If you don’t know what domain name to purchase

Now for those of you who don’t know what domain name to buy, I hear ya. I went through that quandary myself a couple times. So here’s the workaround. Just buy yourname.com. For example, one of my many domains is allisonbabb.com. Then you can have an email like [emailprotected] or even [emailprotected]

You can immediately use the email accounts that are included with the domain purchase (weather you have a website or not). And you can redirect all those emails to wherever you’d prefer to read them. Just be sure you don’t accidentally reply to customers from your yahoo or gmail accounts, for example, if that’s where you’ll redirecting your emails. Again, try to stay congruent with your business name in your business communication.

How To Start An Adult Turnkey Business – An Educational Guide To Money Making Opportunities

Start An Adult Turnkey Business with our Educational Business Guide. 11 Steps to Turnkey Business Profits.

1. Choose niche market. You need to be very careful with choosing your niche market. Most people want to choose a very common market such as the typical blonde haired blue-eyed girl but this does not make any money in today’s Turnkey Adult Business. You need to choose a niche market such as midgets or gay bondage. Something Different.

2. Choose domain. Choose your domain one of two ways or for the best of both worlds go for both branding and seo’d domains. Branding is great for getting people to remember the name of the business but seo marketing domains are well positioned by the search engines. My rule of thumb is to have at least one targeted keyword in your domain name.

3. Research content companies to see the quality of content and payout to you. Most people just look at payout over niche content and the quality of such. When a Turnkey Adult Content Company offers you 80% or so of each sign up by using their content it sounds terrific but one must be careful. This 80% might mean you never get a sign up because the design of the turnkey adult website or the content is horrible. So the basic point is that 80% of 0 = 0. I will take 50% in a heartbeat for a turnkey website with good quality HD content that has a professional design to it. Don’t fall for high percentage because many times you are being set up. 50% of niche market with HD quality content might bring in 5 sign ups a day whereas the 80% payout content company may not get you a single sign up. Plus you have to look at recurring billing. The 50% content company may keep the customer on the adult turnkey site for many months. The revenue adds up. The 80% might not get a sole to stay past the first month. Also ask yourself the question would I join the site? If you would not join why would anyone else?

4. Do your homework on the turnkey adult design business you may want to work with. Check scam.com, ripoffreport or complaintsboard. You can also type in the name of the owner on Google. You can type in the company name and then type scam or complaints at the end for example: ABC Design Scam. Be careful with BBB reports for it is simple to make it appear you have no complaints when your company is actually being sued by everyone and their sister. When there is an active lawsuit against a company the BBB might have them in good standing because the lawsuit is not counted against the company by the BBB. Look for quality sites that you would join yourself. If you would not join the site you are purchasing why would anyone? Price should be low but not ridiculously low such as $70 per month for 26 sites. In this type of situation you are getting what you pay for. Again if you would not join why would anyone else?

5. Hire a Turnkey Adult Business who attempts to educate you on the industry. Remember #4 on this list and type in all of the turnkey adult design companies and owners names. Please note: some owners hide their names or utilize a different name to fool you and also to attempt to fool some watchdog agencies especially the BBB.

6. Hosting is a big issue people forget about. Hosting can be very expensive if you listen to many of the owners of turnkey adult design companies. Shouldn’t hosting be FREE in at least your 1st year or damn close to it? You should not have to worry about hosting until your second year in the turnkey adult business. Some charge $50 – $150 a month from the onset of your adult turnkey business. This is absurd to say the least.

7. Billing can also be very expensive but in the Turnkey Adult Business market you usually do not have to pay anything. For example in many agreements with content companies, the content companies themselves take care of all billing charges. This saves you thousands of dollars and a great deal of headaches.

8. Now you have to Seo or Search Engine Optimization the adult turnkey site for the search engines. I usually map out my site by the titles I want to use for each page of the site. Once I do this I then name the pages appropriately to what I want people to type in to find the pages. Page names should be relevant to the niche your site is in. For example: Blondeshairedblueeyedgirls/tour1 should be renamed Blondehairedblueeyedgirls/niche-website-adult-business. If you are targeting niche website adult business. For some reason many people do not take advantage of this. We do not know why. Index1, Index2 is doing you no good unless you want your site popular for the word index.

9. Page text. The easiest way to write page text is just that, to write it. Don’t worry about using your targeted keywords just yet, just write. Write at least 500 words per page. This is where many web designers go down the wrong road. You see, they load up on graphics to make the site look all pretty but it backfires on them because the search engines will hate it. Graphics are great when they are on the page with at least 500 words targeting the main targeted keywords for that page. This is very simple but you need to take the time to perform this. Some people seem to think this is not important; we have no clue why.

10. Meta Tags – Title, Description, Keyword, Header, Alt, anchor. Out of all of these anchors, titles and headers are most important in my opinion. This is a whole separate article and for a full explanation of all I would have to write about 10 pages of text. I would send you over to searchengineguide or searchenginewatch. Full disclosure I have no relationship with these companies other than that I read what they write. They are very knowledgeable people.

11. Links. Between titles, headers and links you have covered most of optimization of your turnkey adult site. Links are basically people placing a button, banner or text on their site that brings the customer to you when they click on it. How do you get people to link to you? Good question. You can contact people in the same niche and request they link to you and you in turn will link to them. You can also submit your site to all of the adult search engines, directories and niche specific top lists. Start blogs regarding your niche market and write articles once you become an expert on the industry. The two resources listed in #10 of this article are good places to learn everything you need to know about links even though they don’t target the Adult Turnkey Business.

Ensure A Smart Purchase Of Business Insurance In Edison Nj

Buying insurance for your business, home, or auto is something you should never ignore. The simple reason being the importance of protecting your assets. After all, you never know when the tragedy might strike and the damage might at times get hard to recover. Having a comprehensive coverage ensures that your assets are protected well with minimum hassle. When it comes to purchasing insurance, the key always lies in finding a coverage that caters to all your requirement within an affordable price. To ensure making a smart purchase, you should shop around and compare the policies offered by different firms.

Whether you are buying a homeowners insurance and business insurance in Edison NJ, you can never undermine the importance of comparing between the quotes and finding a policy of worth. This is why you should seek the help of an independent insurance agency before taking the big call. Scheduling a consultation with a professional ensures that you get to choose a policy that caters to individual requirement. Business insurance can vary with the nature and type of the same. So, it is important to analyze the requirement and ensure a purchase in the same line.

The Importance of Buying a Business Insurance

If you are business owner, you should always work towards finding the best coverage catering to your needs. Simply because, even a single lawsuit can lead your business to bankruptcy by clearing all your profits paving the road to great business loss. Ensure complete protection for your business with a comprehensive business insurance in Edison, NJ and that too at affordable rates. Whatever be your needs finding coverage is easy with the help of a professional. Here’s a look at what is on offer –

Business Liability Insurance
Business Property Insurance
Business Auto Fleet Insurance
Group Employee Life Insurance
Workers Compensation Insurance
Group Employee Dental Insurance
Group Employee Health Insurance Plans
Group Employee Short and Long Term Disability Insurance

You can easily compare between the policies and purchase business insurance in Edison, NJ according to your needs with the help of a professional.

Buying Home Insurance How a Professional Helps

Similar to business insurance, you should also focus on buying a homeowners insurance in New Jersey for ensuring complete protection to the biggest asset in your life. Shopping for home insurance can get difficult especially with the availability of a number of coverage. Seeking help from a professional ensures that you get to compare, comprehend, and choose from multiple carriers with minimum effort.

Usually, a typical homeowner’s coverage includes the following aspects –

Liability
Home structure
Replacement costs
Personal possessions
Living expense following a disaster

To an usual home insurance in New Jersey, you can also add other supplemental policies like –

Flood coverage
Earthquake coverage
Umbrella insurance policies i.e. additional liability
Before buying a coverage, you should understand that your needs are different and what had worked for your relative might not bring the same kind of results for you. This is why, you should always shop around for the best homeowners insurance in New Jersey and make a confident purchase with the help of a professional.

Why Companies Prefer Business Centres For Conferences

Preference of a venue for conference, meetings and seminars are slowly shifting from hotel banquets to business centres. Last few years have witnessed that Indian companies have been opting for unique solutions provided by business centres for the office space and conferences.

A thorough insight of this trend has brought some reasons into light.

-Though hotels offer attractive interiors than business centres, they lack maintaining a business environment. Business centres are designed to meet the professional requirements of the companies. Hence, they maintain the environment accordingly. The company won”t have to take the pain of managing the space; furnishing, staffing, style formation of rooms, installing and the maintaining various facilities.

There is a business centre that provides conferencing solutions in New Delhi offers space for offices and conference in mountain fresh ambience. People tend to fall prey to various health hazards like headaches, dizziness, nausea etc while working because of poor indoor air quality. To ensure good health and better productivity this business centre has made some efforts to resolve this. The interiors are simple, classy and professional.

-Normally, business centres are strategically located, thereby offering a good chance of business growth and easy reach. For example, conference spaces in South Delhi are always high on demand when it comes to a conference space in Delhi as they are well connected with all the parts of Delhi NCR. Those located in the central part of Delhi also grab a lot of attention.

-Every business centre has a team of experts to look after the arrangements of conferences, meetings, interviews and seminars. Therefore, the headache of making arrangements with the help of own workforce and organizing it becomes zero.

Clients are offered with an array of styles to select from which is based on the number of attendees, types of conferences and other requirements. Other requirements may vary from welcoming the guests to food and beverage services. Often, clients select from a variety of services like secretarial, administrative, communication, executive offices etc and customize their package. Technical support with the power back-up too is provided by the serviced offices without a single failure. Flexibility and customization is at par.

A business centre works like a one-stop shop for all the conferencing requirements.

-There are many conferencing destinations that also offer space on hot-desking services in Delhi.

-In addition to this, many companies consider taking a space in a business centre as a matter of sophistication and an image-building exercise. Therefore, they prefer, business centres over hotels.

Every meeting, conference, seminar or training has an objective and if the arrangements are not flawless then it may become a flop show. Therefore, companies prefer organizing a conference in a serviced office or a business centre as the organizer gets a professional conference venue which serves the purpose and enhances the productivity of the event without crinkling a wrinkle.

Types Of Business Correspondence

Business correspondence is being defined as a way of communication through the exchange of letters. These are the letters written or received by two or more parties which may come in the form of letters, emails, text messages, voicemails, notes or post cards.
By just looking at the above definition, we can generally conclude that business correspondence is a very important factor in the business community. It is like an exchange of events to and from the different points which are the involved business parties.
Business correspondence, being one of the most powerful tools in business agreements and other business deals, is actually evolving nowadays. We are now living in a computer era thats why it is very understandable why there are gradual changes in the methods of business correspondence, from the way that is being written to the process of exchanging letters.
The product of the innovated technology when it comes to the business correspondence aspect is the electronic mail. Because of the email, the conventional ways of business correspondence are being phased out and the use of email is still being developed.
However, the use of paper is still not out of the scene. There are countries that still utilize this kind of method. Although email is on the big screen compared to the other types of business correspondence, let us still take a look with the different kinds of business correspondence.
The different kinds of business correspondence that we use nowadays are business letters, memos, faxes and emails. Let us have an overview of them all.
Business letters are the most established type of business correspondence. No one can ever imagine how long it has been in the business community. In fact whenever business correspondence is being talked about, business letter is the very first thing that would enter to our minds. The very respectful and most technical phrases that we can still see nowadays are first brought by the business letters techniques. It is also profoundly studied at schools especially when it is time to discuss technical writing.
Business memos are not as deeply discussed in school compared to business letters. They are being considered as secondary or just a by-product of business letters. Business memos are less formal and have a more conversational tone.
Business faxes have been around much longer than business memos but because fax machines are not that available to most of the people before, it was not recognized until 1980s. There are no established rules in writing faxes because it is being written the way that everyone considered appropriate. However, because there is now such a thing as faxing via computer, fax machines are now facing a slow death.
Email is a fruit of technology and can be considered as a blessing because you can actually send all the workplace communication and the like in just a blink of an eye! It is now the most widely spread type of business correspondence in the modernized business community. Because of emails, we can now say goodbye to a lot of inconvenience that other types of business correspondence give us. Although we can say that email is still in its infancy stage and there are still a lot of things to be realized, email has now definitely changed the flow of communication in the business world. We can also see that email is actually tremendously influencing the other types of business correspondence.
With the never ending demands and never ending searching for a more convenient way of life, it is not impossible that there will be other types of business correspondence that will arise. Improvements with the things that we have now are very imaginable. For as long as it aids in the success of the business world, without harming anyone, our all out support must be given to them.

Things To Keep In Mind While Designing Business Cards In Alaska

Everyone who has a business must have business cards with key business information printed on the same. This would help them to hand out the card in a moments notice to whoever needs one. Designing business cards is one of the most important features a business owner should care about, since the card will represent yourself and will tell people what your business is all about.

When you go for a particular company to design business cards in Alaska, the design is what you need to care about. You need to choose a design that best reflects your business. A good printing firm assures printing best quality business cards that can sell your business for you. Professional and aesthetic appeal is everything that sets a professional firm apart in the business. A professional company will always advise you to choose a design that matches you and your business personality. For example: if you are a lawyer, it is not possible to design a card that is designed with a childish picture. The card should look professional with a very nice design on it.

The content of the business card is a very important thing as it tells everyone what your expertise is and it shows how professional you are. If the company provide you with a crummy little business card that has faded colors and not a quite pretty bright nice look design, its not going to appear as professional as others. In this case, it is always good to move to a professional business cards Alaska company.

There are many different business card design Alaska and color printing Alaska companies that offer the best ideas when it comes to designing business cards. The business card design companies may advise you to design a card with your own art work or pictures that you take. For example: you can design a business card with the picture of wedding cake that you prepared and are really proud of, or if you are a professional wedding caterer, then a wedding picture on the business cared would surely be great. The photos and other contents in the card should be professional enough that explains about your business out there.

As mentioned earlier, there are several business cards Alaska websites that offer an awesome business card design. You can always find some pretty awesome cards on these sites to choose from. These business card design companies offer professional business card design to anyone from a lawyer to a real estate agent and just about anything in between. They are experienced in this field and are professional in the way the design looks on the cards. They generally offer one-sided or two-sided card printing that makes the card look very professional.

When you are deciding on your business card design, you need to make sure you choose the best design that brings great value in regards to your business. Be sure to take time and put in your information on each of your favorite design and compare to see which one look for most professional. A good color printing Alaska company will surely get your business out there for people to see and take notice of.

The Academy Of Business Strategy – The Closely Guarded Recruitment Secret

The recruitment industry has always been reactive by nature. This is not intended to be a criticism in any way, it is just considered to be convention within the industry. An employer advertises a vacancy, a candidate advertises their CV. Prospective candidates are forwarded onto the employer and prospective vacancies are similarly forwarded onto the candidate. This will invariably result in thousands of candidates applying for each individual vacancy and success is ultimately determined by the efficiency of each individual employer’s recruitment procedure. Candidates are always powerless throughout this process. The introduction of online job boards through the internet has only served to exasperate this problem. They tend to identify success in terms of quantity rather than quality. They will proudly advertise that they have thousands or even millions of candidates registered with them. They will also have hundreds or thousands of vacancies listed too. The implication being of course that if they serve this many customers then they must be good. Having said this, online job boards do provide an important service now within the recruitment industry. They provide portals where both candidates and employers can be introduced to each-other and the service which they provide is far more cost-effective than traditional offline advertising and in most cases they provide a more efficient service too. Unfortunately it does not really do very much to help candidates gain better employment and it is still rather like looking for a needle in a haystack. This is because the service which they provide merely ensures that more and more applicants apply to each individual vacancy. It is also widely accepted within the recruitment industry that any vacancy which we may see advertised is always a peripheral vacancy. What is meant by this is that they tend to be general vacancies which arise from prescriptive change such as expansion, or a merger or acquisition. The very fact that the organization does not have anyone in mind for this vacancy who could be promoted from within tells you that the vacancy is probably a peripheral one. Core vacancies are never advertised. The organization will already have internal candidates in mind for these positions and they are too important to risk employing a candidate who is considered to be an unknown quantity. Consequently core vacancies are always the ones we should be targeting. They are the vacancies which constitute power, influence and life-changing personal benefits. A senior manager or partner at a major financial institution, retail organization or manufacturing company will earn an annual salary amounting to several hundred thousand dollars for their services. A senior Director or Executive Officer at the same company will earn an annual salary amounting to several million dollars for their services. How many jobs do you actually see advertised with annual salaries that exceed 250,000.00 USD? There are traditional recruitment companies who practise what is commonly known as head-hunting, but these still tend to be for peripheral positions. The reality is that anyone who achieves a core vacancy within a major global organization will have developed and implemented a successful career management strategy over a sustainable period of time. It is quite literally the difference between success and failure. Recruitment companies and online job boards alike are already thinking of innovative ways in which they can provide better services. Improving online technology is to some extent gradually enabling them to do this. There are growing improvements in terms of the search engines that are used to pre-qualify candidates for employers and conversely to pre-qualify employers for candidates. However the more recruitment companies or online job boards which choose to move in this direction the more they will have to charge candidates and employers for the services they provide, whereas registration, particularly for candidates has been largely free of charge and candidates have grown accustomed to this of course. It is already clear that those recruitment companies who are starting to charge candidates for the service that they provide, tend to provide much better services. The old adage that “you always get for what you pay” tends to apply here. Ultimately these changes while providing some improvement in the professionalism of recruitment companies and online job boards over time will not change anything at all concerning the type of vacancies advertised. Advertised vacancies will always be peripheral. Candidates who have the most successful careers are always those who are proficient at managing their own career management strategy. It is true that we cannot all aspire to be the CEO of Microsoft, General Motors, HSBC Bank, or Mittal. But we can still ensure that we at least have the opportunity to achieve as much as we can with our careers and we will not achieve this if we are reactive by nature and if we do not take personal responsibility at some point for our own career development. After all an individual’s career development surely constitutes a core activity, not a peripheral one!

Erp A Key For Business Growth

The definition of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) in 90s included finance, human resources, order management and manufacturing. Because of todays high level competition in businesses, customer satisfaction have gained top priority in everyones mind. However, today ERP is referred as a technology strategy that joins a set of business functions, such as finance, HR and purchasing, with operational aspects, such as manufacturing or distribution, through tight linkages from operational business transactions to financial records. Its a widespread idea that executing ERP improves efficiency and provides a transparent view on productivity and growth. An enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution checks your business software that has been designed to record and manage your enterprise data.

Advantages of a well-planned ERP

A good ERP strategy must include potential vendors, business processes, business requirements, business goals, deployment strategy, business and technical architecture. ERP is considered as the backbone of a businesss operations and the primary system-of-record.

1. Combination of all business processes

To understand a well implemented ERP system, it must combine all aspects of your business from customer, to planning and scheduling, till the production and distribution of the products that you make.

2. Increases overall performance

Applying an ERP solution will check that the routine reporting work of employees at all levels are reduced. It also helps your companys management to understand their workforce in a better manner from analyzing individual performance through different business sites to visualizing the overall performance of an entire operating zone. Hence, it helps organizations to take strategic decisions as well.

3. Operational efficiency

If your business is small with less than 50 employees, then it is easier for you to manage, control and track things. But, when the business multiplies and you have an employee strength of more than 1000 employees, it becomes difficult to maintain and control workforce, different processes and procedures. Implementing an ERP solution could help businesses update variety of processes, log them and track them on an hourly basis. In addition, it increases productivity and profitability thereby reducing operating and overhead expenses.

4. Improves accuracy and consistency

In organizations where different departments are not properly integrated, information is inconsistent and sometime inaccurate. The views of every department might vary and hence, the information that they provide the manager will also be different. This hints to confusions and wrong decisions being made. Implementing an ERP solution will make sure that all information is maintained and managed in a consistent manner across the departments.

5. Quality Reports and Performance Analysis

Analysis on ERP will allow you to produce financial and meeting room quality reports, as well as to conduct analysis on the performance of your organization. Overall, ERP solutions work as an excellent information tool especially for medium and large businesses, for better decision making and accomplishing required goals. Hence, its a must for every growing business.

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Strategy – Probably The Most Overused And Misunderstood Word In Business

How many times have you heard someone talk about successful business strategies or ‘taking a strategic approach’? What do you think they actually mean by the use of the word strategy? Most often the people using it are trying to convey the fact that they have given the subject a bit more thought than usual, that they have looked a little further ahead than normal. If a consultant uses it be very wary. Strategy costs more than mere ideas or tactics. How much would you pay for consultants who have’ kicked around a few ideas’ or ‘come up with some tactics they think might work’. Depends how good they are. But if they come back with ‘strategic business advice’ you expect it to be very good and of course very expensive.

Why expensive? Because you would hope that a consultant or colleague would have used some kind of intellectually robust framework, that they would have tested their assumptions and developed more than one solution which they evaluate rigorously before making their strategic recommendation. This takes time and expertise and both are expensive. Let’s assume they have done all of this – does that make it strategic business advice rather than tactical advice?

Not according the dictionary. The dictionary definition of strategy is very clear and military. It defines strategy as “the art of war – disposing troops etc in such a way as to impose upon the enemy the conditions for fighting (time and place) preferred by oneself”. If we accept business is in effect a war – you develop successful business strategies because you define success as beating the competition – there is no reason why this definition of the overused word, strategy, is not appropriate for business strategy. It requires all that planning and testing of assumptions discussed already. Some kind of robust intellectual and very honest framework will certainly help to develop and evaluate options. Even the lazy use of the word strategy – giving it a bit more thought and thinking ahead – would be implied by the military, dictionary definition. But there is an extra dimension to real strategy. It requires you to do all this and come up with something that changes the rules in your favour – in other words it requires creativity.

And there is one other aspect to this more demanding kind of strategic thinking. It is about people and their behaviour. In order to ‘deploy the troops’ and change the rules you have to understand how people tick. If being creative involves changing behaviours then you have understand how those behaviours were formed in the first place and how they might be changed if you want a successful business strategy.

Before putting the dictionary away (the definition of strategy above was taken from the Oxford English Dictionary) just go forward to tactics. You will discover that the definition is exactly the same as for strategy with one addition. Tactics involves the all-important stage of implementation, putting the strategy into practice. So it turns out that far from tactics being less weighty and valuable than strategy they are actually the most valuable thing of all. A sound strategic plan that is successfully implemented includes, indeed demands, tactics.

The use, and overuse, of strategy in business is more often than not pretentious over-claim by people who do not really understand what they are talking about. It certainly does not mean giving something a bit more thought or thinking a bit more long term. It absolutely demands a thorough and honest assessment of your assumptions and your options. At the risk of being melodramatic, sloppy thinking in military strategy costs people their lives. In business it just wastes time and money. Strategic thinkers will of course use frameworks based on their experience. They will break a problem down so they can think about each component of it but they will look to change the rules not just apply them. And the true strategist understands that strategies are aimed at people and changing their behaviour. Their strategic business advice will be based on an understanding of human behaviour. Just as in war, a strategy does not just get the job done, it enables you to beat the competition, to deliver higher returns than ever before, to win and win big for the least expenditure of resources.

So whether you are undertaking a brand planning strategy, a new business launch strategy or any other kind of strategy remember what this really means and remember to include the tactics which are just if not more important. Then you can charge accordingly.