Tag Archive | "planning"

Video: Ideas for Dealing with Worker Shortages

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Video: Ideas for Dealing with Worker Shortages

Posted on 20 December 2019 by cradmin

Many in the countertop industry are experiencing trouble finding new workers, and this is true in a variety of industries. Much of this has to do with low unemployment and an aging workforce. This video put forth by Knowledge Force Consulting offers some ideas how to get your hands around this growing problem in incremental steps.

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Kick These Old Planning Habits in the New Year

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Kick These Old Planning Habits in the New Year

Posted on 19 December 2019 by cradmin

According to InEight, a top producer of construction project management software, companies have four bad habits that should stop in the coming year. The overarching goal of project planning is to create a model that “best reflects what we believe will be a reality”. However, many software tools teach us bad habits that are better left in the past.

  1. Starting From Scratch – When you begin a new project with a critical path method (CPM) tool, nothing much happens. You are presented with a blank workbook in which to create a master schedule. Construction organizations are becoming increasingly concerned about losing project expertise through software and other employee conditions, such as retirement. Instead of starting from scratch, the right software will allow companies to achieve knowledge-driven planning with all new project schedules.
  2. Work-Driven Planning – Work-driven planning is a top-down scope that breaks a project down into deliverables and what is needed to deliver them. The work required is modeled by a CPM, but this work is often not the only ingredient in getting things done. A separation of scope and work to be done allows planners to report what matters most during the planning process. While getting estimates wrong is seen as one of the worst results in project planning, it can be just as bad to miss scope and detail in the planning phase. On the other hand, deliverable-based planning helps to explain what is being done in addition to how it is being done. This creates a model that “truly reflects and includes all of the scope we are being asked to build.”
  3. WAG Planning – WAG planning is an acronym for wild-ass guess planning. In the modern age, this simply does not suffice. Each project is a unique endeavor, but if you break it down far enough, there are enough similarities with past projects that you can find the commonalities. WAG planning only precipitates re-planning, which gets you nowhere in the long run. With the right software, however, you can benchmark similar projects based on duration, cost, sequence of work and common issues or risks. Historical benchmarks alleviate the need for WAG planning and let you get into calibrated planning, which allows for differences in location and the scope of a project.
  4. Planning Alone – Planning a project and coming up with an accurate estimate should not be a job for a salesperson alone. That is a tremendous amount of responsibility to carry for someone who is not involved in the work. Planning is not simply a “done-by” timeframe. It is important for the customer to know exactly when each step will be carried out. Rather than silo planning, strive for consensus planning. Your workers will be able to buy-into a project by giving details on what can go wrong and how long it will actually take.

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Build a Marketing Plan Guaranteed to Increase Your Business

Posted on 13 April 2016 by cradmin

By Grant W. Hicks

Marketing Objective

There is nothing better in marketing than surpassing your targets and growing your business as you planned. On the flip side, there is nothing worse than finishing a slow month and starting a new month with few prospects and little potential business other than a desk full of cold calls to make.

We all have financial goals and targets. Now we need a blueprint to start making those goals a reality. As an advisor, I know that the ups and downs happen. But I also know that with a consistent marketing guerrilla-attack program, you will smooth out your production and be more consistent in your approach.

Marketing Strategy

How do you sit down and write a marketing plan? Budget at least half a day to one full day, grab a pad of paper and a pen and start writing. Sound simple? Well it is, so make it simple. Unless you’re running the marketing for Proctor & Gamble, why do you need an exhaustive written plan?

Try these simple steps:

1. Write down all of the marketing that you are doing now, the frequency and the annual and monthly costs.

2. Write down all of the marketing ideas that you were thinking of pursuing in the next year. Write or collect a list of ideas. Don’t discard anything until you have examined it further. At this point, write it down. If you are looking for ideas, conduct a routine search of the Internet. Ask your manager or marketing wholesalers for ideas. Visit the library to find a book that serves as a guide to marketing ideas. Just write them down.

3. Write down what your competition is doing for marketing. At the same time, write down who your competition is.

4. Write down what your peer group and some of the business owners you admire or respect are doing in terms of marketing and their costs.

5. Create an annual and monthly budget. Exclude the cost of personnel. The final marketing budget should be between 10 to 20 percent of your gross income. Remember, marketing is an investment in your business and not an expense.

The second part of budgeting is time. Your time and the time staff spends on marketing both need to be allocated. How much time will you devote to developing your marketing? How much time during the day do you spend on marketing? Now, how much time should you spend on marketing during the day? I always schedule a half day per month to work on my marketing and client communication strategies. This scheduled time is very productive time in my practice. If you don’t have the time now, how will you have time in the future to grow your business?

6. Identify your ideal client profile, and write it down.

7. Decide what marketing mix will work for you. What will work and what won’t work depends on your commitment. This is where you make decisions based on projections of growth that you want to achieve. For example, if you want to increase revenue from $300,000 to $450,000 per year, your marketing budget is $6,000 and you have no major plans for marketing, then how are you going to achieve that growth?

Although some advisors say that their business grows by referrals only, what do they do to generate those referrals? Perhaps they provide exceptional service, which costs money and may be defined as an excellent communication program. Well, guess what, their dynamic communication program is part of their marketing strategy. What is your ideal marketing mix?

8. Once you have decided on what you are going to do in the next year, break it down into a monthly marketing calendar. Decide which months you are going to do what.

9. Decide on costs and put annual and monthly costs down on paper. At this point, make sure that you can afford your program. If you cannot, consider the consequences of borrowing to invest into your business. That is solely your decision. I remember once when I first started in the business, I borrowed money on a credit card to attend a conference. I didn’t think I could afford to go, but after I returned, I realized I couldn’t afford not to. I learned that I was investing in myself and not just spending money on my business.

10. Put the plan into a working document. Share it with other executives, managers and your staff. Then, commit to completing it, revisiting it on a monthly basis and measuring the results.

Bonus Tip

The simpler your marketing plan, the easier it will be to complete successfully. The marketing plan should be easy to execute once you have put enough thought and effort into it. The most challenging part of your marketing plan may be time and timing.

For example, I know several financial advisors who start a marketing plan only to stop after a few months because they are too busy. The plan depends on a constant time commitment to complete. If you plan in advance and schedule times and dates and pay in advance, then you are committed. However, don’t put your marketing eggs into one basket. Have multiple marketing ideas in different avenues working for you simultaneously.

Each quarter, I take one day to review the success of the marketing plan, look at future ideas that I may implement into my plan and set a course of action for the quarter. I also write a mini-marketing plan for the quarter. That way, I can review it with my team and plan the next quarter’s marketing events and ideas in advance.

Another key element of your marketing plan is to look back and look forward. First, look back to what marketing worked for you and what didn’t work. Then, project a vision of how you want to position yourself in your marketing messages. For instance, I manage retirement assets, so my title is not Financial Planner. Rather, it is Retirement-Planning Specialist. Positioning means determining exactly what niche you’re intending to fill. I live in a retirement community, so it is natural to work in that niche.

Finally, if you’re happy with and expect average service, then that is what you are probably giving. But if you expect world-class service, then bring that element to your business. The Ritz Carlton motto is this: “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” Look to first-class organizations with a high degree of service and attention to detail, and implement that type of philosophy into your business. This will help your marketing efforts when thinking about attracting new clients.

About the Author

Grant Hicks, president of Hicks Financial, is one of Canada’s leading authorities on marketing. He is a dynamic and entertaining speaker with an amazing ability to motivate audiences to achieve more. He co-authored Guerrilla Marketing for Financial Advisors with Jay Conrad Levinson for Trafford Publishing in 2003.

Copyright© 2016, Grant W. Hicks. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at [email protected].

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