Monthly Archives: December, 2017

Great Ideas for 2018 – A Resolution Revolution

December 19th, 2017 Posted by Behavior, Blog Post, Business Plan, Entrepreneur, Goal, Inspiration, Strategic Planning 0 thoughts on “Great Ideas for 2018 – A Resolution Revolution”

Let’s make 2018 the year of the resolution revolution. No more empty promises that fizzle out within the first 2 to 6 weeks. Let’s get serious this time.

An article at The Balance entitled Top New Year’s Resolutions for Business Success has some easy, actionable ideas that we really like a lot, particularly:

  • Make business planning a weekly event
  • Set realistic goals
  • Join a new business organization or networking group
  • Give something back to your community

Of course we like them because they are essentially some of the basic premises on which Plan Canvas is built. Let’s take a look at them a little more closely.

Resolution 1 – Business planning as a weekly event

Honestly, as much as we love business planning, doing it weekly may be a bit of an over-reach. But there are some things relative to the business plan that really should be done weekly. Namely:

  • Review progress against both the strategic and the business plan on a weekly basis. Note, some objectives may only require monthly or quarterly progress checks.
  • Review progress against assigned action items, internal initiatives, and client projects.

Whatever you do, do not write a business plan that is never referred to, tracked against, or updated. Otherwise, you are missing out on the primary benefits of strategically managing a plan – greater results.

Resolution 2 – Set realistic goals

Again, if we are being completely honest, we are OK with setting goals that might seem a little “out there.” Goals should be big, lofty things. Add a dose of reality but think and dream big when setting goals.

Now objectives are another story. Objectives let you know how you are progressing toward goals. One objective may support many goals and one goal is likely to be supported by many objectives. By nature, objectives should be realistic.

In fact that is one of 5 characteristics of a well defined SMART objective:

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Achievable
  • R – Realistic
  • T – Time-bound

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Resolution 3 – Join a new business organization or networking group

There are two primary types of groups we highly encourage you to join. One is a business networking group. The other is a peer mastermind group.

Networking groups are focused on growing your business through referrals. In these types of groups you get to know others on a more personal level, building relationships to the point that you mutually, genuinely refer each others’ business, products or services to others – key because it is also your reputation on the line when you refer others to people in your own network.

Peer mastermind groups, are not networking groups at all. They are work groups designed to help members resolve business and personal issues that affect the business. A well run mastermind group “rolls up the sleeves and gets to work.” It is not about socializing over cocktails and business referrals.

Resolution 4 – Give something back to your community

We saved the best for last. Giving back through your business is called “Corporate Social Responsibility” or CSR. Formally defining a CSR program for your business, no matter what size, actually increases your odds of success.

We call it setting value-based goals as opposed to profit-driven goals. When you focus CSR goals, then employee goals, then customer goals, your profit goals will naturally follow and you will feel much more fulfilled.

Resolution 5 – Be intentional in 2018

The year 2018. Here it comes. What will you do? Will you wait and see what happens, or will you intentionally lay out a plan and go after it?

What is SEM – Strategic Execution Management?

December 12th, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Business is ART, Business Plan, Objective, Strategic Planning, Strategy, Vision 1 thought on “What is SEM – Strategic Execution Management?”

As we prepared to launch Plan Canvas, a bootstrapped passion project led by subject matter and technical experts, none of who had a clue about marketing and public relations, we began thinking about how to truly position ourselves in the market.

Plan Canvas’ origins are in the book Business is ART (Articulate, Revise, Track), which makes it clear that there is a distinction between strategic planning and strategic management.

See related post 2 Main Phases of Business – Planning it and Running it.

How to differentiate

So, from the start, Plan Canvas has never been about “develop a one-and-done business plan” even though the prevailing sentiment erroneously assumes that is exactly all a business plan is – one-and-done. Instead, Plan Canvas has always been about executing to and revising the plan as you move along. That is where the real benefit of planning is realized.

So rather than being a simpler business planning tool in a saturated market, we knew we had to position ourselves differently because we are genuinely different.

As an unknown startup with limited means to reach large numbers of potential customers, we were excited (and somewhat shocked) to accept an invitation to meet with representatives from technology research firm Gartner, who had come across Plan Canvas through our humble and limited content marketing efforts.

Should Gartner decide at some point to review Plan Canvas in greater detail, it would be a tremendous honor because Gartner is a major influencer.

A Eureka Moment

In the meantime, they provided us with the perfect answer to our question – how do we position ourselves in the market?

The answer is that Plan Canvas fits into an emerging market of Strategic Execution Management, or SEM, tools. At a very high level you can think of SEM as the bringing together of business/strategic planning and project portfolio management (PPM) – with a focus on communication and the achievement of measurable results.

From Gartner’s perspective, SEM tools support the process of ART-ful strategy execution in several ways, including, but not limited to:

  • Visualizing the organization’s strategies, goals, missions, objectives, plans, projects, etc – Articulate
  • Prioritizing any continuing, upcoming and in-flight investments relative to strategies – Articulate, Revise
  • Continuous planning and project investments – Articulate, Revise
  • Capturing actual metrics – Track

Plan Canvas does this and more, including the additional elements of Gartner’s definition of SEM.

We’re getting there

And so we carry on with our journey to put Plan Canvas in the hands of those who stand to benefit from its use – but now with a renewed sense of who we truly are.

Step 1: Build and validate the product – CHECK!

Step 2: Determine the market position – CHECK!

Step 3: Determine appropriate market messaging and introductions to influencers – WORKING ON IT!

2 Main Phases of Business – Planning It and Running It

December 5th, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Business Plan, Objective, Strategic Planning, Strategy, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “2 Main Phases of Business – Planning It and Running It”

There are two major phases to starting and maintaining any business or organization: planning it and running it. We refer to this as strategic planning and strategic management, and actually break things down a little further.

Strategic Planning is the formal development of plans (vision, goals, objectives, initiatives and action items). It includes:

  • Analysis & Assessment
  • Strategy Formulation & Documentation

Strategic Management is the on-going running of the business based on those plans. It includes:

  • Strategic Execution
  • Sustainment Management

“Planning” Isn’t “Set It and Forget It”

A common mistake made by entrepreneurs, owners and leaders is that planning is a one-time event, relatively unrelated to running the business. The American Management Association (AMA) reports that more than 60% of strategies are not implemented. That is particularly a disturbing stat when you consider a 2015 survey by Wells Fargo that found an even greater percentage of small businesses never develop strategies in the first place.

Meanwhile, a report by Cognizant states that organizations that don’t focus on strategic execution “are at risk of wasting 14 times more money” than those who put an emphasis on strategic execution.

An Unofficial Recognition

The Plan Canvas team recently spoke with representatives from the technology research firm Gartner, who informally stated that they see Plan Canvas as a Strategic Execution Management software (SEM).

This was music to our ears because since its inception, that is how we have viewed Plan Canvas. Yes, you can produce strategic plans, business plans, and personal plans from Plan Canvas, but, more importantly, you can strategically manage with it.

In fact, of the 8 major characteristics of an SEM solution, as defined by Gartner, Plan Canvas at least touches on all of them – some more deeply than others, but all are addressed.

This is a very important distinction for both the Plan Canvas team and the Plan Canvas user.

Contact us for a free 30-day trial of Plan Canvas.

We cover all phases

See a list of Plan Canvas features and an 8-minute demo

Learn more…

Plan Canvas is a community and a powerful software for improving your odds of business success and personal fulfillment.

© SeaSeven LLC 2017.
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