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Sabtu, 23 Agustus 2008

Prescribing a Future for Your Business


Are you wondering what the future holds for your business? Whether you want to predict your future or prescribe an outcome of your choosing, you'll have plenty of company!

Throughout history, we humans have tried many ways to predict the future, from reading palms to stargazing. Today, we refer to these as descriptive methods when we attempt to describe objectively what the future will be or could be.

On the other hand, prescriptive methods focus on determining what the future should be. These techniques can help us clarify our preferences and values so we can create a vision of what we would like to see in our lives, businesses, or communities.

Once we understand what we would like the future to represent, we're better able to take the actions required to implement it. Ideally, that future will align with our passions, gifts, and what we (or our companies) can really be the best at doing. This article suggests a two-stage process for achieving that goal.

First, Identify Your "Hedgehog Concept"

So, what can you be the best in the world (or at least in your community) at doing? This thought-provoking reflection is one of many from Jim Collins' "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don't."



Collins' team examined 1,435 companies to see which ones made substantial gains in profitability and sustained those improvements over 15 years or more. Since the 1970s, only 11 companies had risen from mediocrity to greatness and stayed there -- topping many other prosperous firms that lacked the same staying power.

Of eight characteristics these companies shared, all held an unshakable adherence to becoming the best in the world at whatever they did. Each company committed to doing only those things and nothing else. That sometimes meant dropping their core businesses to pursue other things at which they could become the best in the world.

Collins and his team coined the term "hedgehog concept" to reflect a single-minded determination and focus that, similar to that of the hedgehog animal, attempts to do only one thing really well, such as curl up and roll. A hedgehog concept actually represents the intersection of three areas:

1) What you're most passionate about
2) An understanding of what you could be the best at doing, and
3) A metric that drives your economic engine and helps you measure results.

Keep in mind that according to Collins, this concept is not a goal, strategy, or plan, but an understanding of what you can and can't be the best at doing. Until you develop your hedgehog concept, you won't know your true vision, mission, or purpose.

Next, Define Your "Business Success Criteria"

Do you have a crystal clear idea of the types of business undertakings that align with your gifts, talents, passions, and strengths? In that same context, have you thought about whether your business can be the very best in the world at doing those things?

If the answers are "yes," you are in an excellent position to choose the ventures that can give you the greatest satisfaction and results.

If you're not yet totally clear about the answers to these questions, developing a set of "business success criteria" can enable you to select worthwhile endeavors with much deeper insight, and thus set the conditions for successfully pursuing them. A hedgehog concept thereby represents part of the formula you can devise to identify and choose among your very best options.

Why is this so important? It's not uncommon for people to wander into businesses, projects, and professions opportunistically, which means that they often select the next available and convenient thing that comes along. At times, this may be necessary for financial reasons. But unless we understand our underlying success criteria, we might not recognize the options that truly fuel and inspire us -- those that are best suited to our passions and strengths.

Some of your criteria could be practical considerations, and others more lofty ideals. But all of your criteria will be essential to achieving balance, fulfillment, prosperity, and higher contribution in your life.

In conclusion, a set of carefully crafted success criteria fueled by a potent hedgehog concept provides an unbeatable strategic advantage, and an excellent direction-finder for prescribing your future!
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Write A Successful Business Plan


Whether you are planning to start a brand-new business, expand an existing company, or get financing for a business venture, you will need to write a business plan. A business plan not only lends your business a sense of credibility, but also helps you to cover all your bases, increasing your chances of success.

Although writing a business plan can be a lengthy, intimidating project, it is not necessarily difficult. Here is an overview of how to write a successful business plan.

What to Include in Your Business Plan

Your business plan needs to demonstrate that you have thoroughly considered all aspects of running your business. To that end, the standard business plan has nine major sections, covering everything from your business’s mission statement to a detailed financial analysis.

Executive Summary

The first – and most important – section of your business plan is the executive summary. This section is so important that it should literally be the first thing the reader sees – even before the table of contents! However, it should also be written last, as you’ll have a better understanding of the overall message of your business plan after you’ve researched and written the other sections.

One of the most important parts of the executive summary is the mission statement. The mission statement is only three or four sentences long, but it should pack the most punch out of everything else in your business plan: Those four sentences are responsible for not only defining your business, but also capturing the interest of your reader.


The rest of your executive summary should fill in the important details that the mission statement glosses over. For instance, your executive summary should include a short history of the business, including founder profiles and start date; a current snapshot, listing locations, numbers of employees, and products or services offered; and a summary of future plans and goals.

This section is a candidate for a bulleted format, which allows you to list main points in a manner that is easy to scan. Avoid using too much detail – remember, this section is a summary. A page or two is usually sufficient for an executive summary.

Market Analysis

The next section of your business plan focuses on market analysis. In order to show that your business has a reasonable chance for success, you will need to thoroughly research the industry and the market you intend to sell to. No bank or investor is going to back a doomed venture, so this section is sure to fall under especially close scrutiny if you are looking for financing.

Your market analysis should describe your industry, including the size, growth rate, and trends that could affect the industry. This section should also describe your target market – that is, the type or group of customers that your company intends to serve. The description of your target market should include detail such as:

• Distinguishing characteristics
• The needs your company or product line will meet
• What media and/or marketing methods you’ll use to reach them
• What percentage of your target market you expect to be able to wrest away from your competitors

In addition, your market analysis should include the results of any market tests you have done, and an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.

Company Description

After your market analysis, your business plan will need to include a description of your company. This section should describe:

• The nature of your business
• The needs of the market
• How your business will meet these needs
• Your target market, including specific individuals and/or organizations
• The factors that set you apart from your competition and make you likely to succeed

Although some of these things overlap with the previous section, they are still necessary parts of your company description. Each section of your business plan should have the ability to stand on its own if need be. In other words, the company description should thoroughly describe your company, even if certain aspects are covered in other sections.

Organization and Management

Once you have described the nature and purpose of your company, you will need to explain your staff setup. This section should include:

• The division of labor – how company processes are divided among the staff
• The management hierarchy
• Profiles of the company’s owner(s), management personnel, and the Board of Directors
• Employee incentives, such as salary, benefits packages, and bonuses

This goal of this section is to demonstrate not only good organization within the company, but also the ability to create loyalty in your employees. Long-term employees minimize human resource costs and increase a business’s chances for success, so banks and investors will want to see that you have an effective system in place for maintaining your staff.

Marketing and Sales Management

The purpose of the marketing and sales section of your business plan is to outline your strategies for marketing your products or services. This section also plans for company growth by describing how the growth could take place.

The section should describe your company’s:

• Marketing methods
• Distributions methods
• Type of sales force
• Sales activities
• Growth strategies

Product or Services

Following the marketing section of your business plan, you will need a section focusing on the product or services your business offers. This is more than a simple description of your product or services, though. You will also need to include:

• The specific benefits your product or service offers customers
• The specific needs of the market, and how your product will meet them
• The advantages your product has over your competitors
• Any copyright, trade secret, or patent information pertaining to your product
• Where any new products or services are in the research and development process
• Current industry research that you could use in the development of products and services

Funding Request

Only once you have described your business from head to toe are you ready to detail your funding needs. This section should include everything a bank or investor needs in order to understand what type of funding you want:

• How much money you need now
• How much money you think you will need over the next five years
• How the money you borrow will be used
• How long you will need funding
• What type of funding you want (i.e. loans, investors, etc.)
• Any other terms you want the funding arrangement to include

Financials

The financials section in your business plan supports your request for outside funding. This section provides an analysis of your company’s prospective financial success. The section also details your company’s financial track record for the past three to five years, unless you are seeking financing for a startup business.

The financials section should include:

• Company income statements for prior years
• Balance sheets for prior years
• Cash flow statements for prior years
• Forecasted company income statements
• Forecasted balance sheets
• Forecasted cash flow statements
• Projections for the next five years – every month or quarter for the first year, with longer intervals for the remaining years
• Collateral you can use to secure a loan

The financials section is a great place to include visuals such as graphs, particularly if you predict a positive trend in your projected financials. A graph allows the reader to quickly take in this information, and may do a better job of encouraging a bank or investor to finance your business. However, be sure that the amount of financing you are requesting is in keeping with your projected financials – no matter how impressive your projections are, if you are asking for more money than is warranted, no bank or investor will give it to you.


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Successfully Navigate Your Business through an Economic Downturn



An economic downturn is a phase of the business cycle in which the economy as a whole is in decline.This phase basically marks the end of the period of growth in the business cycle. Economic downturns are characterized by decreased levels of consumer purchases (especially of durable goods) and, subsequently, reduced levels of production by businesses.

While economic downturns are admittedly difficult, and are formidable obstacles to small businesses that are trying to survive and grow, an economic downturn can open up opportunities. A well-managed company can realize the opportunity to gain market share by taking customers away from their competitors. Resourceful entrepreneurs capture the available opportunities, from an economic downturn, by developing alternate methods of doing business that were never implemented during a prior growth period.

The challenge of successfully navigating your business through an economic downturn lies in the realignment of your business with current economic realities. Specifically, you, as the business owner, need to renew a focus on your core clients/customers, reduce your operating expenses, conserve cash, and manage more proactively, rather than reactively, is paramount.

Here are best practices that will help you to successfully navigate your business through an economic downturn:

Goals:

The primary goal of any business owner is to survive the current economic downturn and to develop a leaner, more cost-effective and more efficient operation. The secondary goal is to grow the business even during this current economic downturn.

Objectives:

• Conserve cash.

• Protect assets.

• Reduce costs.

• Improve efficiencies.

• Grow customer base.

Required Action:

• Do not panic… History shows that economic downturns do not last forever. Remain calm and act in a rational manner as you refocus your attention on resizing your company to the current economic conditions.

• Focus on what YOU can control… Don’t let the media's rhetoric concerning recessions and economic slowdown deter you from achieving business success. It´s a trap! Why? Because the condition of the economy is beyond your control. Surviving economic downturns requires a focus on what you can control, i.e. your relevant business activities.

• Communicate, communicate, and communicate! Beware of the pitfall of trying to do too much on your own. It is a difficult task indeed to survive and to grow your business solely with your own efforts. Solicit ideas and seek the help of other people (your employees, suppliers, lenders, customers, and advisors). Communicate honestly and consistently. Effective two-way communication is the key.

• Negotiate, negotiate, and negotiate! The value of a strong negotiation skill set cannot be overstated. Negotiating better deals and contracts is an absolute must for realigning and resizing your company to the current economic conditions. The key to success is not only knowing how to develop a win-win approach in negotiations with all parties, but also keeping in mind the fact that you want a favorable outcome for yourself too.

Recommended Best Practice Activities:

The Nuts and Bolts… The following list of recommended best practice activities is critical for your business' survival and for its growth during an economic downturn. The actual financial health of your particular business, at the outset of the economic downturn, will dictate the priority and urgency of the implementation of the following best practice activities.

1. Diligently monitor your cash flow: Forecast your cash flow monthly to ensure that expenses and planned expenditures are in line with accounts receivable. Include cash flow statements into your monthly financial reporting. Project cash requirements three-to- six months in advance. The key is to know how to monitor, protect, control, and put cash to work.

2. Carefully convert your inventories: Convert excess, obsolete, and slow-moving inventory items into cash. Consider returning excess and slow-moving items back to the suppliers. Close-out or inventory reduction sales work well to resize your inventory. Also, consider narrowing your product offerings. Well-timed order placement helps to reduce excess inventory levels and occasional material shortages. The key is to reduce the amount of your inventory without losing sales.

3. Timely collection of your accounts receivable: This asset should be converted to cash as quickly as possible. Offer prompt payment discounts to encourage timely payments. Make changes in the terms of sale for slow paying customers (i.e. changing net 30 day terms to COD). Invoicing is an important part of your cash flow management. The first rule of invoicing is to do it as soon as possible after products are shipped and/or after services are delivered. Place an emphasis on reducing billing errors. Most customers delay payments because an invoice had errors, and therefore, will not pay until they receive a corrected copy. Email or fax your invoices to save on mailing time. Post the payments that you have received and make deposits more frequently. The key is to develop an efficient collection system that generates timely payments and one that gives you advance warning of problems.

4. Re-focus your attention on your existing clients/customers: Make customer satisfaction your priority. A regular review of your customers' buying history and frequency of purchases can reveal some interesting facts about your customers' buying habits. Consider signing long-term contracts with your core clients/customers which will add to your security. Offer a discount for upfront cash payments. The key is to do what it takes to keep your current customers loyal.

5. Re-negotiate with your suppliers, lenders, and landlord:

i) Suppliers: Always keep your negotiations on the level of need, saying that your company has reviewed its cost structure and has determined that it needs to lower supplier costs. . Tell the supplier that you value the relationship you have developed, but that you need to receive a cost reduction immediately. Ask your supplier for a lower material price, a longer payment cycle, and the elimination of finance charges. Also, see if you can buy material from them on a consignment basis. In return for their price concessions, be willing to agree to a long-term contract. Explore the idea of bartering as a form of payment.

ii) Lenders: Everything in business finance is negotiable and your relationship with a bank is no exception. The first step to successful renegotiations is to convince your lenders that you can ultimately pay off the renegotiated loan. You must point out to your lenders why it would be in their best interest to agree to a new arrangement. Showing them your business plan and your action plan that includes your cost-savings initiatives, along with "the how" and "the when" of the implementation of your plan is the best way to achieve this goal. Explain to them that you will need their cooperation to insure that you can survive, as well as, grow your business during the economic downturn. Negotiated items include: the rate of interest, the required security to cover the loan, and the beginning date for repayment. A beginning date for repayment could be immediate, within several months or as long as a year. The key is to realize that your lender will work with you, but that frequent and continual communications with them is critical.

iii) Landlord: Meet with your landlord. Explain your need to have them extend the term of your lease at a reduced cost. Make sure you have a clause in the lease agreement that entitles you to have the right to sublet any or all of the leased space.

6. Re-evaluate your staffing requirements: This is a very critical area. Salaries/wages are a major expense of doing business. Therefore, any reduction in the hours worked through work schedule changes, short-term layoffs or permanent layoffs has an immediate cost saving benefit. Most companies ramped up hiring new employees in the good times, only to find that they are currently overstaffed due to slow sales during the economic downturn. In terms of down-sizing your staff, be very careful not to reduce your staff to a level that forces you to skimp on customer service and quality. Consider the use of part-timers or the current trend of outsourcing certain functions to independent contractors.

7. Shop for better insurances rates: Get quotations from other insurance agents for comparable coverage to determine whether or not your present insurance carrier is competitive. Also, consider revising your coverage to reduce premium costs. The key is to have the right balance-to be adequately insured, but not under or over insured.

8. Re-evaluate your advertising: Contrary to the other cost-cutting initiatives, evaluate the possibility of increasing your advertising expenditures. This tactic realizes the advantage of the reduced "noise" and congestion (fewer advertisers) in the marketplace. The downturn period a great opportunity to increase brand awareness and create additional demand for your product/service offerings.

9. Seek the help of outside advisors: The use of an advisory board comprised of your CPA, attorney, and business consultant offers you objectivity and provides you with professional advice and guidance. Their collective experience in working with similar situations in past economic downturns is invaluable.

10. Review your other expenses: Target an across-the-board cost-cutting initiative of 10-15%. Attempt to eliminate unnecessary expenses. Tightening your belt in order to weather the downturn makes practical, financial sense.

Proactively managing your business through an economic downturn is an enormous challenge and is critical for your survival. However, through well-planned initiatives, an economic downturn can create tremendous opportunity for your company to gain greater market share. In order to take advantage of this growth opportunity, you must act quickly to implement the above best business practices to continue realigning and resizing your company to the current economic conditions.

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Kamis, 21 Agustus 2008

Mascot 101 Training Course


This 8 week online sports Mascot Training Course is designed for sports and entertainment companies who need to hire, manage and train mascots in addition to those individuals who want to break into the sports world as a mascot performer. Having a great mascot helps you grow your team name in the market place and also enhances the quality of the fan's entertainment experience. A mascot is an ambassador for your organization; a great mascot program will understand the importance of a quality wardrobe, having the right props & accessories and how to develop routines that are specialized for a variety of occasions and events. Mascots build fan loyalty, help sell tickets and can enhance sponsorships. If your team has a mascot, they can improve, if you don't have a mascot, you need one!

At the end of the Mascot training course, you will be able to uniquely design a successful turnkey mascot program that, once implemented, immediately starts a "return on investment".

What should teams look for in hiring a mascot performer? How can the mascot program build revenue for your venue? If you are the mascot performer, what do you need to know to be the best in the business? How do you make a living at being a mascot performer?

You should take this course if:

* Your team or program doesn’t have a mascot and you want to implement one
* You are a mascot coordinator or you have the responsibility of overseeing a mascot program at your team, club, league, or school
* You are a marketing manager that wants your message and brand to rise above the marketplace
* You are already a performer who wants to learn from the best and you are looking to re-energize your performance.
* You are a young performer, just starting out and want to learn how to get started
* You are an entrepreneur that is looking for a new business opportunity

Phillie

Mascot 101 is for:

* Skilled character performers
* New character performers
* High School & University performers
* Professional performers
* Spirit Coaches
* Game Day Operations Managers
* Mascot Coordinators
* Marketing Managers
* PR Directors
* Business Entrepreneurs
* Small business owners
* Volunteer performers who want to improve
* Hiring Personnel who need to know how to evaluate a mascot and insure quality, safety and security

Mascots are iconic characters that hold enormous value with their fans, customers and organizations. Mascot 101 training includes an in-depth character branding program. A character should build a strong identification and recognition for your team and your brand. A successful and profitable mascot program needs educated marketing support. What is your team’s message? What is the logo? Who is the target audience? This is where the furry fun starts. How do you increase sponsorship opportunities with your team mascot? What is the business side to having a team mascot? How do you schedule events and appearances for the mascot? What mascot activities are crowd pleasers? In this course you will learn the mascot tool box of tricks and entertainment for an evening of fun at a losing game. Fan entertainment. Morale boosting fun, energy, excitement, audience interaction. Money making made fun!
Mascot Training Course includes:
Clutch

* How to build a full character branding plan
* The business side of the mascot
* How to realize unrecognized revenue
* Character marketing best practices
* Building a mascot sponsor package
* Protecting against liability
* Identifying, screening and hiring a great performer
* Creating a memorable performance
* Physical Fitness and Nutrition
* Nonverbal communication skills
* Costume care and repair
* How to create skits and routines
* Using props and wardrobe
* Spontaneous crowd interaction
* Using music and dance to enhance character performance
* How to develop a live appearance program
* How to harness the Power of Fun

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Sports PR and Journalism Course Provides


The Sport PR & Journalism course provides aspiring students an opportunity to learn the skills and inside secrets that hiring executives seek when hiring new media contacts. This is a one of a kind, eight week online course for individuals who are passionate about securing or improving their sports media and promotions career.

* When the Duke Lacrosse team had their tragic press conference, who was running it?
* When Lebron films a new TV ad, who is on site for the shoot?
* Who writes a statement for a team to release to the media?

If you are interested in doing PR, marketing or journalism in the world of sports, this course can provide a great foundation for a successful career.
This course is for you if you want to pursue a sports career in the following capacities:

* Media Relations
* Integrated Marketing Communications
* Public relations
* Communications
* Sports information director (SID) for a university
* Journalism jobs in radio, TV, internet and newspaper
* Fan communications

Sports organizations look for individuals with strong communication skills who can handle the spotlight of big time professional sports. Teams and agencies are looking for individuals who can help their organization be perceived positively and can handle when a PR problem develops. When that call comes, will you be prepared? Can you organize a press conference at a moment's notice and get results? How do you keep your team relevant when they aren't winning?

The Sports PR and Journalism Course is designed to give you the skill set and competitive edge that will distinguish you from others when applying for sports journalism and communication jobs. Upon completion of the course you will be thoroughly trained and ready to make a difference in the operation of a sports organization. In addition, students will get hands on experience in the field of sports media to add to their resume. The goal of this course is to give you specific training you will need while also providing you with job strategy for sports careers you have a passion for. This Sports PR and Journalism Course is designed to give you the "who you know" and "what you know" to launch your sports career.

You do not need to relocate, this course can be taken from anywhere in the world.

Sports PR & Journalism training includes:

* Promotion, publicity and public relations
* Conflict resolution
* Press releases
* Press conferences
* Effective press materials for game day
* Sports Information Director
* Promoting a "losing team" versus "the winning season"
* Overcoming reputations - handling the media for athletes and teams
* Event and game management promotions
* Professional athlete interviews
* Getting athletes and top execs exposure on radio and TV
* Internet based publicity
* Internet Journalism
* Product promotion versus professional athlete promotion
* Media Kits and great headlines
* Developing sports websites
* Developing media contacts
* New media journalism techniques
* Community relations


Course Details:

The Sports PR & Journalism Course is an 8 week online course designed to provide skills aspiring sports business executives seek. This might be for a job in community relations, public relations or communications. This course can be taken at any time and any place around the world to fit your schedule. All you need is access to the internet with a computer.

Students will learn fundamental and successful business principles that hiring sports executives look for when adding personnel. Take this course to get your first position or to enhance your current job situation. All graduates of the course will have a well-rounded understanding of the sports business industry, specifically in the areas of grass roots public relations, media relations, community relations, marketing, personnel, customer service, promotions and event management.
Career Guidance, Strategy and Interview Techniques

Each Sports PR and Journalism student will be active during the course in learning how to obtain a position in the sports field. This will vary for each student based on their career goals and location but SMWW's goal is to assist you in learning how to obtain a position once you finish the course. From whom to contact, the methods for contacting them and interviewing techniques, the course give you the ins and outs and gets you on your way to a dream job in sports. The instructors for the course will work with each student one-on-one and provide strategy that will help them reach their sports career goals.

Weekly Audio Chats:
A unique aspect of each 8 week course is the opportunity for students to participate weekly in interactive audio chats with fellow students, instructors and renowned guest speakers. This is a tremendous opportunity to network within Sports PR and Journalism and get to know your instructors and fellow students personally via the internet. This is available via any online computer with a microphone (we provide the microphone). The connections and synergies via the audio chats will be sports networks that you will utilize throughout your career.

The course's main objective is to develop a new generation of Sports Publicity and Journalism professionals by teaching skills and strategies that are unique to sports publicity jobs.

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Sabtu, 14 Juni 2008

Gita, The Achievement, and New Album


Aluna Sagita Gutawa or that more was known by us with Gita Gutawa, was born in Jakarta, on August 11 14 years ago.
Gita was the singer pop classic, that better understood the world of music since still the child, because of Gita personally was the child from the big Indonesian composer namely Erwin Gutawa.
This time we will discuss about the achievement and the second Gita album that will be released in not again old time. Gita that also often had the achievement in the academic field, once the duet by Ada Band in the song that Terbaik Bagimu.
Moreover also had performed a duet with the singer sholawat Hadad Alwi, in the album of Street Cinta 2.
In his age the 13 years gita released his album featured GITA GUTAWA as an editorial (self title).
In this album of Gita that claimed did not want "mendompleng" the greatness of the name of his father, brought one of the work songs of Sarah Silaban, with Andi Rianto and Pink-Pink.
The sale of the girl's album that was quick-selling as the star of the advertisement model succeeded in gaining Awards Platinum by achieving the sale more than 150 thousand coffees in 4 months then.
That afterwards took himself as the Singer the Newcomer Be The Best or Terbaik in AMI Award Album 2008.
The girl who just gained the public's champion in the 6th International Nile Children Song Festival (INCSF) in Cairo, Egypt, also tried the world of acting through the short film AJARI AKU CINTA and AJARI LAGI AKU CINTA. Meski many offers, Gita that still was busy this school did not often develop his talent in the world of acting.
After gaining 3 appreciations in the Gift of Musik Indonesia, currently the Gita Gutawa turn gained the appreciation in SCTV Music Award 2008 as the Album of Pop Solo Terfavorit.
The "first album that brought the blessing," said Gita Gutawa about his album that featured Gita Gutawa as an editorial.
"This victory was the appropriate surprise" continued Gita.
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