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All in all, I'm pretty happy with how 2005 turned out. My business is taking off. I've built a solid foundation to support even more growth (which I forecast for 2006) and I've even managed to take some time off.I'd like other entrepreneurs and business owners to feel as good about their business as I do about mine, so I thought I'd take a moment to share 5 things I attribute to my successful 2005.

Business success strategies 5 Things I Did Right in 2005

Business success strategies  5 Things I Did Right in 2005All in all, I'm pretty happy with how 2005 turned out. My business is taking off. I've built a solid foundation to support even more growth (which I forecast for 2006) and I've even managed to take some time off.I'd like other entrepreneurs and business owners to feel as good about their business as I do about mine, so I thought I'd take a moment to share 5 things I attribute to my successful 2005. 1. Attended seminars. This one is HUGE. Nothing beats getting out of your office and away from your computer and actually meeting people face to face. I've come away from these events with clients, joint venture partners, and more. (And that doesn't even include the great information I absorbed and was able to put to use in both my business and my clients' businesses.) If you only put one of my 5 tips to use, this would be the one to do -- that's how valuable I've discovered attending seminars to be.2. Hired a coach. Again, this was another tough decision to make, but I'm really glad I did. It's difficult to see your business objectively, so having a neutral observer on your team is extremely valuable. Coaches help you get out of your own way (and believe me, that's a biggie for us entrepreneurs.) They can help you with both your inner game (your habits and mindset) and your outer game (your skills and business structure).3. Started systemizing my business. Unless you want to be chained to your business night and day, you have got to start systemizing your business. Yes, all businesses should have systems in place, even if you don't have anyone else working for you and you primarily sell services. The best part is when you do have systems in place, your business suddenly starts running a lot more efficiently and effectively (and you can start sleeping better at night and relaxing on vacation).4. Outsourced. For all you control freaks out there, this one is for you. If you don't start hiring some help, I guarantee you'll never be able to grow your business because you'll be constantly doing tasks you have no business doing. Do yourself a favor and get some help...NOW. I've just hired a project manager/director of client services, plus I have 2 backup writers and 2 virtual assistants. Building a team has been a big stress reliever for me.5. Focused on my inner game. Shifting my mindset away from "freelancer" to "business owner" was another big piece of the puzzle. As soon as I made that shift, all the other four techniques fell into place because it suddenly made them easier to do.It's tough to change your inner game on your own -- hiring a coach is probably the fastest way to do this. But there are some good resources out there if you want to begin dabbling in it first. Do a search and see what comes up, I started my journey with free ezines and articles.Creativity Exercise -- Make 2006 the best year everGo back and reread my list. Now get out a piece of paper and start brainstorming ways you can integrate my tips into your business. Which one do you think will bring the quickest results? Which one will be more difficult for you to start doing? Which is the one you SHOULD be doing? Have fun with this exercise, really play around and see what comes up. Don't censor yourself, just write down the answers that bubble up even if it doesn't seem right. You might discover something important about yourself and your business that might be the key to launching you forward faster than you ever dreamed possible.

Elements for success in team building event planning

Elements for success in team building event planning

The responsibility of organising team building events is a huge task for anyone. Everything has to be planned and implemented with sheer precision. In addition to that, team building objectives would need to be incorporated into most activities. This is why the goal of the event must first be identified prior to the planning process. Once thats done, it would be best to run a research on the various team building activities that will achieve the intended objectives of the organisation. Browsing through websites such as http://www.chillisauce.co.uk/corporate-events will give you with an idea on the type of activities you can run.Your next step is to pick a venue that has the necessary facilities to run your team building activities. It may be a good idea to go through the list of locations approved by your corporation before you start making enquiries. This way, you wont waste any of your time considering venues that will not be accepted. You can also cross check with your colleagues for referrals, as they will possess first-hand experience on the service levels and facilities of the places that you are thinking about.As a teambuilding event planner, one of your core responsibilities is to create a balance between meeting organisational objectives and boosting of employee morale. One of the ways to do this is to encourage interaction amongst participants, through the activities and games that will be implemented. Holistic participation would be your ultimate goal, which is why these games should be made appropriate for everyone. Utilising activity evaluation models such as Kirkpatricks Learning Model will help you decide if an activity is enjoyable, educational, and applicable while improving performance. Depending on the event objective, there will be many activity options for you to choose from, such as ice-breaker exercises, leadership and management activities and observation and awareness exercises.Finally, its good to make a last-minute list of the tasks that you need to sort out a few days before the event date. For instance, you may need to confirm the number of team building participants with the venue or resort and make a list of the equipment needed for the event. Ultimately, precision in all of these details would be essential for your success as an event organiser.

12 New Tips for Effective Meetings

12 New Tips for Effective Meetings

1) Ask everyone to arrive five to ten minutes early. This gives everyone time to socialize, obtain coffee, or organize materials before the meeting. It also ensures that everyone is present at the scheduled starting time. Make this part of the agenda.2) Discuss sensitive issues with the key participants before the meeting. Use this as an opportunity to listen and gather information on the issues. From this you will understand the different views, needs, and histories. This information can help you prepare the agenda and conduct the meeting. In addition, you may be able to facilitate solutions or strategies for solutions before the meeting. In either case, the result will be a more efficient meeting.3) Plan small meetings that focus on a single issue. People work more effectively over short periods of time (such as 45 minutes). This also allows you to match experts with issues for more productive meetings.4) Only invite those who can contribute to at least 50% of the items on the agenda. For meetings lasting more than 30 minutes, invite special participants only to the part of the meeting that deals with their contribution.5) Send copies of the minutes to everyone who could have been invited for informational purposes. They can read the minutes in a small fraction of the time that they would have been spent in the meeting.6) When invited to a meeting with a vague (or missing) agenda, ask: what role will I have? Why do you need me? If your impact is minor, refuse to attend and use the time for other work. Meeting planners often attempt to add importance to a meeting by inviting prominent members of the organization.7) If the chairperson seems to have allowed the meetings intent to drift, ask: What do you want to achieve? or How can we help you? or How will we know when we are done working on this? These questions can help focus the meeting on a goal.8) If a meeting seems out of control, suggest adjourning and reconvening at a later time. This will allow you to clarify goals, prepare strategies, and better understand the issues.9) Reflect the content of key points. This ensures that everyone has the same understanding of the key point. Although this is one of the chairpersons responsibilities, it can be filled by anyone else in the meeting.10) Prepare a list of questions, ideas, suggestions before the meeting. Then you can focus your attention on the discussion in the meeting.11) Watch the listeners instead of the speaker. Their faces and body language will tell you whether they agree or disagree, which can help guide you participation in the discussion.12) Work with a sense of appropriate urgency. Life is finite, and the discussions in meetings should be the same. Plan a time budget and then use it to guide your meeting. Spend extra time only when an issue warrants it.

Adventure Team Building the Fun Way to Success

Adventure Team Building  the Fun Way to Success

Adventure team building is a great way to infuse your company with new life with a breath of fresh air! This type of team building activity incorporates many of the elements you find in traditional corporate events but accomplishes them through outdoor activities and more adventuresome games.Many companies offer adventure team building activities to serve a wide range of functions. A wide range of activities is usually offered so you can choose the one that will strengthen the values that are core to your business. Some events can last for a few hours, while others might last a few days and can accommodate up to 500 people at a time.And you wont believe how many activities from which you can choose. Some include: archery, rock climbing, kayaking, raft building, zip wires, mountain biking, sailing, night walks, fishing, horse riding, mountain expeditions, kite building and flying, barbecues, camping, and backwoods skills.Adventure team building is perfect if your company requires events that will really offer a change of pace to your team, get them out of the office and learning new skills through a variety of different means. Adventure activities can invigorate a group of people and help them bond better than any other experience.Perhaps better than any other corporate event, "adventure team building" improves communication problems, strengthens leadership skills, and helps with problem-solving, decision-making and teamwork.Adventure events are held in a wide variety of locations and venues, so you can choose what works best for your company. Resorts, conference centres and parks are just some of the places where adventure team building can take place. And many organizations can custom-build a corporate adventure for you that is designed to develop the specific skills required by your employees.Adventure team building is also an excellent way to celebrate a success story and reward your team for a job well done. This will help to continue the success, boost future team performance and increase morale. Whether you choose a helicopter ride or a camping experience in the woods, when everyone in the office feels motivated, energized and excited about work, more success is definitely on the horizon.

Mission Statement Drift/ The Corporate Cancer

Most if not all organisations these days have a published Mission Statement which should explain their reason for being. It is also true to say that most if not all organisations today suffer from Mission Statement Drift.Why is this?There could be any number of reasons. However organisations suffering from this malaise are almost certain to have internal problems with communication and or interpersonal relationships. Their processes and procedures are also likely to be somewhat ragged.All companies large or small follow a corporate script, whether they are aware of it or not.The modern day corporate script has usually just evolved unnoticed as a consequence of the daily processes running within the organisation. Sadly corporate scripts directly devolved from the corporate mission statement seldom if ever exist. Why? Because most companies are blissfully unaware of the damaging effect of performing to an inappropriate corporate script.If left unchecked and ignored an inappropriate corporate script may well develop into a commercial cancer which quietly eats away at the organisations effectiveness. Recognisable title examples of corporate scripts which have just evolved surreptitiously are those such as;A Victorian melodrama.A Victorian Mill Owner.A farce.A Greek Tragedy.The Roman Empire.Megalomania.Charge of the Light Brigade.Im alright Jack.A thriller.A who done it?A comedy of errors.Some of the above may well be familiar to you. You may even have played a role in such a production yourself.It is obvious that the performers in these productions are all corporate employees, from the longest serving employee to first day recruits; from the gate keeper to the CEO they all have their part to play and play it they do.The problem is that they are unaware of the fact that they are performing at all, let alone to a script which is totally inappropriate and potentially damaging.The corporate script should of course devolve from the Mission Statement and its subsequent corporate objectives.So, how should a company approach the task of rewriting their corporate script? This is a task which will be beyond all but those CEOs and main board members who are most committed to the long term health and viability of the company for whom they presently have final accountability.The positive pay off for commencing such an arduous task will most likely not be felt for a few years. It is therefore a most unselfish task for a board to agree to embark upon.However if anyone would like to seriously consider writing a definitive corporate script which is in trim with their corporate "mission statement" then the following may be of assistance.Please feel free to contact me for any clarification or further information. msm@e-trainme.com 26 stage approach to developing an effective Corporate Script 1. Confirm the business you are in. 2. Confirm your market place. 3. Reaffirm your mission statement. 4. Map the mission statement in fine detail. 5. Identify and map the critical "corporate objectives" . 6. Identify and map the critical tasks to support the corporate objectives. 7. Group the tasks into job title roles. 8. Identify measure and map the competencies and performance attributes for each key job role title 9. Group job title roles into team roles. 10. Group team roles into divisional roles. 11. Match the mapped aggregated divisional competencies and performance attributes with the mapped detail of the corporate mission statement. 12. Apply critical gap analysis to identify any areas of incongruity. 13. If you have an acceptable level of congruence with the corporate mission statement you have a corporate script. 14. Now it is time to cast the key job roles. 15. Identify measure and map the competencies and performance attributes of the total workforce. 16. Match the workforce with the job role titles. 17. Reaffirm the appropriateness of the team groupings by matching aggregated team competencies and performance attributes with team objectives. Apply "critical gap analysis" to identify any areas of incongruity. If there is an acceptable level of congruence with the team objectives the team structures are in trim. 18. Reaffirm the appropriateness of the divisional groupings by matching aggregated divisional competencies and performance attributes with divisional objectives. Apply critical gap analysis to identify any areas of incongruity. If there is an acceptable level of congruence with the divisional objectives the divisional structures are in trim. 19. Reaffirm the appropriateness of the total workforce by matching total aggregated competencies and performance attributes with corporate objectives. Apply critical gap analysis to identify any areas of incongruity. If there is an acceptable level of congruence with the corporate objectives the human element structure is in trim. If not...............? 20. Monitor the corporate non-fiscal performance by continuously applying items 21-25. 21. Measure and match corporate objectives with your mission statement. 22. Measure and match divisional objectives with your corporate objectives. 23. Measure and match sub-team objectives with divisional objectives. 24. Measure and match actual aggregated sub-team member competencies and attributes with sub-team task driven competencies and attributes. 25. Measure and match team member competencies and attributes with their respective Job Title required Role Competencies and Attributes. 26. Re-assess at least every 12 months.There are a number of ways in which the above tasks could be approached. Please feel free to contact me for further information or clarification.

Pricing For Profit

To improve your profitability you must either make a larger gross margin on each dollar of sales or sell more without increasing your fixed costs. It goes without saying that the greatest improvement will be realised when you achieve both simultaneously.Remember your gross margin is the difference between the price of your product and what it costs you to buy or make it. Therefore, the only way to increase your gross margin is to sell at a higher price or buy at a lower price.In most instances (but not all!) you will have limited scope to buy at a lower price. For this reason your selling price is the critical variable.Without doubt, the biggest single barrier preventing small business managers from making an acceptable profit is their refusal to charge a price which will enable them to achieve this. You are not in business to match the price your competitors set, but you are there to service your customers.In fact, studies of the factors people regard as important influences on their decision to deal with a particular business indicate that product and price are relevant in only 15% of cases.It is the lazy manager's competitive strategy to try to hold or win market share on the basis of price discounting. It is relevant and applicable only in the one situation where you have both a definite cost advantage (either variable or fixed) over your competitors and your product or service is one where customers are very price sensitive.For example, if your gross margin is 30% and you reduce price by 10% you need sales volumes to increase by 50% to maintain your profit. Rarely has such a strategy worked in the past and it's unlikely that it will work in the future.The service you offer or the unique way that you add value to the clients you support are all sustainable ways to differentiate your business and support an ongoing pricing for profit strategy.

Summary

All in all, I'm pretty happy with how 2005 turned out. My business is taking off. I've built a solid foundation to support even more growth (which I forecast for 2006) and I've even managed to take some time off.I'd like other entrepreneurs and business owners to feel as good about their business as I do about mine, so I thought I'd take a moment to share 5 things I attribute to my successful 2005.