Goals

Your Business Model Blueprint

Business model.jpg

You can NOT work on growing your business without first taking a look at your business model.

Your business model is the blueprints of your business. It’s the roadmap. If your business was a human body it would be the circulatory, nervous and skeletal systems...probably. Your heart? That’s your passion which, is also important but it’s not your business model. Your business model is the thing that outlines how your business is going to make money. Which would be the blood (and breathing) if we’re going to stick with this vaguely anatomically correct business reference.

There is a lot of hype about growing a business these days. It’s hard not to jump on the hype train when you see an environment of Tai Lopez Facebook ads, new crypto millionaires every week and guys like Gary Vaynerchuk motivating you to hustle harder than you think is even possible. But, even with all the hype and plugs for mentorship programs (shameless plug: be sure to check out my new group coaching program if you’re thinking of finally taking the plunge) and get rich crypto strategies, lots of people still forget to take a look at their “business’s” underlying business model.

At its most basic purpose, a business model answers the “how” question when it comes to you delivering or creating value for your customers. If you plan on being successful, which most people do, you need to make sure your business is organized and your foundation is solid before you can go off and start executing some the business growth strategies and tactics du jour.

If you don’t take the time to really flush out your business model then running your business ends up being kind of like taking a shower with your clothes on. Sure you’re in there and sudsing up with your favorite lufa but are you really getting clean? Probably not and now that sweater vest is never going to really fit right again.

Below is a quick blueprint you can use to see if your business will function how you want it to when you are ready to start executing your business growth strategy. Not only that but sometimes you are so involved in getting your product or service out, dealing with customers, and making sure you are doing enough marketing that you lose track of how your business is actually working.

Wing’ing it is never a good business model.

Think about these concepts and use them to help tighten your business up - most importantly don’t wear your clothes in the shower.

Customer Value Proposition:

- Who are your target customers?

- What important job are you doing for them? What need are you fulfilling?

- How are you packaging that offering so that it is the most effective way to communicate your value to your customer?

Profit Formula:

- Think about your revenue and where is your profit coming from? What kind of volume do you need to have to reach your profit goals? Are you selling at low prices with the hopes of high volume or high price low volume - does that match your market?

- How are costs allocated? Keep track of your spending!!! Remember your time and overhead count too.

- What is the minimum level of margin you need to earn on each sale to reach your profit goals?

- How fast is the turnaround time on the inputs you need to sustain your businesses activities? Think and plan for those cash flow needs.

Key Resources:

- What are the most important factors in bringing your business and strategy to the next level?

- These include people, strategic alliances, technology, how information flows, distribution channels and any specialized equipment.

- When you map these out it makes executing your strategy a lot more efficient!

Key Processes:

- What are the processes that are repeatable (and eventually scaleable) that you use every day to deliver value to customers?

- What are the metrics you use to keep track of your success? What gets measured gets managed!

- What are the norms in your market or industry? Understanding how business is done in your market will help you get in front of your customers faster and in a way that they are familiar with. It will also help to build your social credibility and proof as a business in your market.

These four major concepts help you better outline the model that your business follows. When you break everything out it will help you better focus and avoid doing things in your business that are wasteful or that even are too far away from what you actually wanted to be doing in your business.

Model first then grow!

Manager Minutes Episode 2: How To Set Better Goals

The second episode is live! This is exciting because I'm already working on small changes to make this a better experience for both of us. 

Transcript:

Hi everyone! I’m Nunzio and you’re watching Manager Minutes: Episode 2. In this series it’s my goal to help you close the gap between what you planned to do to grow your business and what you’re actually doing in the business.
 
In this episode I want to highlight three things that will help you set better goals. 
 
Let’s start with measurable. When you are working on setting goals it’s really important that your outcome, effort and action be quantifiable. You want to be able to look down at your progress at any given time and know exactly where you are, what’s working, what’s not and what needs to be done. 
 
Next is actionable. It’s awesome that you want to do more, be more or make more but “more” is not a real action. When setting goals that you are serious about achieving you can’t treat your actionable items like bullet points on a bad resume. So get specific and quantify the action you want to take on a daily, weekly, monthly or any other time interval basis. 
 
Lastly is making sure that your goals are realistic. If you aren’t honest with yourself about the time you have to commit to your goal or the work that needs to be done then your goal will just sit on a list somewhere. Your goal should challenge you but it needs to also be rooted in common sense. So ask yourself, based on my current situation, ability and constraints can I stretch myself a bit and still make good on this goal. 
 
However you are planning goals right now I hope that you’ll pay a little more attention to making sure they are really measurable, actionable and realistic. 
 
I’m Nunzio you’ve just finished The Manger Minute: Episode 2 and I’ll see you in the next one.

How to Get More Done In Your Business

Don't get stuck staring at the loading screen in your business. 

Don't get stuck staring at the loading screen in your business. 

There are lots of ways you can organize, operate and deliver value as a business. You can be an independent online business, an Amazon seller, a cooperatively owned farm, a brick and mortar restaurant, or a residential cleaning company to name a few. If you can identify a problem and offer a solution that people are willing and able to pay for, you have yourself a business. Even though businesses come in all shapes and sizes, for all the different problem-seekers and solution-offerers that exist there is something that connects them all.

That common thread that ties all of these business together is the drive to produce the best quality product, service, or experience using as few resources for as much profit as possible.

That was a mouthful.

Yes sustainability, honoring mission, and providing value are also big drivers for business but to keep operating, on average, it takes bringing dollars in the door. Then using those dollars in the best way you possibly can to continue to bring the next dollars through the door.

This post is going to provide you with some tools to help make sure you are being as efficient as possible.

Start by segmenting each department or operational area of your business into projects. Boil everything down to the most basic functions in the business. Making something simple but not simpler should be reminiscent of methodically putting together your childhood science fair projects or at least putting together IKEA furniture (way more fun than the furniture though). The term we use to describe this process is Project Management. Project Management is all about planning, organizing, monitoring, and allocating resources to successfully complete a specific outcome.

Operationally, most businesses are made up of lots of projects – some short term and some long term.  Take this process and adjust it so that it best works for you – here is your crash course in project management.

1. Start with the cash flow. More specifically where cash is going and how it is being used in your business. Some easy ways to bring these costs down are to re-evaluate your shipping costs, credit card processing and insurance or liability needs.

2. Manage your businesses schedule. One of the biggest drains on resources and reason businesses hemorrhage money is over-staffing.  If you are a one person operation, audit your time hour by hour to see where you get the most return on your time. If you have employees it means possibly trimming those hours. Are you paying the right people to do the right job?

3. Plan how your product or service goes from client engagement to final delivery and map out all the costs and tasks along the way.

If this is feeling a little overwhelming try breaking down each department or group of related activities and treat them like individual projects. Then find the goal of each project by asking:

1. Does this department or group of activities have specific or measurable goals? What are they?

2. Does this department (now project) contain all the related tasks to reach those goals?

3. Is there a clear start and end point in the process?

4.Is this so important or different that it needs to remain a standalone project? If not where can I combine these activities to be more efficient?  

Now you have your project defined and it’s time to set it up.  Here is a format to help you define what you need within each component of your business. It’s called the Triple Constraint:

1. Time Constraint: When does the outcome need to occur or is required?

2. Budget Constraint: What funds or resources are available to get the desired outcome?

3. Performance Criteria: Are there any barriers or quality issues related to producing the outcome.

For each project set up charts to track progress and measure from week to week, month to month and quarter to quarter.

Here is a personal example –

Sometimes, I hate doing the administrative work associated with running my consulting business. I wish I could just spend my days talking to people and lecturing to my students. But, invoices need to be sent out. So I have set up some constraints for the A/R or Invoicing Project in my business. This will ensure that I utilize my resources as efficiently as possible. For my time constraint I block off a chunk of time on Monday’s biweekly to go over and review invoices that need to be sent out. I physically and mentally limit myself to 1.5 hours maximum in dealing with this. If it needs to take longer I’ll pick another favorable time and do it then. My time, like yours, is important and after 1.5 hours I probably need to be somewhere else.

Budget Constraints are interesting for me. I tend to be a softy when it comes to invoicing and each week give myself an allowance for discounting. That’s part of the budget as well as the monthly fee I pay for Freshbooks, my invoicing and financial management service. Freshbooks is where I keep a good chunk of my client invoicing and billing information and is something I highly recommend to everyone.

That leaves me with quantifying and measuring performance. For my invoicing project this gives me the opportunity to see my billable hours or any other client services and measure them against the past. I can see how many invoice related communications are sent, follow up with old invoices as well as send out new ones. It also gives me the opportunity to review for errors or test new tactics to try to get my invoices paid faster and more accurately.

A real life fumble on my part was leaving the wrong mailing address on my invoice and losing out on a client’s payment for over a quarter – that’s how long it took for the Post Office to get the client's letter back to them. Quality of information and process is super important – otherwise you end up like I did and carry an opportunity cost on receiving that late payment.

Now it’s your turn. Start small and try to build momentum by breaking down one of the things you need to get done in your business into a single project. It’s not going to be perfect but taking the time to break down what really needs to get done, how to measure success and how to build systems around the stuff that you can. Taking the time to do this work will also help you get out of your own way so that you can do more of the work that matters to you and to your business.