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  • March 11, 2012 1:48 PM | Strategy Plan One (Administrator)

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    March 11, 2012

    green gardeningSpring and the growing season will soon be upon us.  Many will flock to garden and flower centers to spend on gardening necessities to either spruce up your property or get a jump on planting those vegetable and fruit gardens. 


     It is big business and entrepreneurial opportunities are plentiful if you know the gardening industry, conduct your own research, and find your niche.

    Gardening Industry Statistics

    According to First Research, the US garden center and farm supply industry is a $30 Billion, 16,000 establishment industry.  Those 16,000 businesses generate much employment for the US, with the US Census Bureau estimating well over 350,000 employees, with total payroll salaries exceeding $10 Billion.


    In Canada the statistics are proportionate as well, with the industry approaching $3 Billion in revenue annually, with relatively similar levels of employment and salaries.

    Gardening Industry Challenges

    Most research firms have identified key industry challenges including competition across the industry, changing regulations with products, and economic ties to the housing market.  Consumers are also very cautious with expenditures, such as outdoor plant and landscape product spending, that would tend to be on the discretionary expenditure side.  However, where there are challenges, opportunities open up and exist for new entrants in niche areas.

    green gardeningGreen Gardening Industry Opportunities

    Along with the sale of normal bedding and landscaping plants, garden and nursery centers are expanding to offer new breeds of tropical plants that can withstand some North American climates.  Genetics plays a role in some of these new strains of plants.

    Garden centers have also diversified their product lines to add in different decorative garden supplies and new composite concrete products for landscaping.  Product offerings extend into the indoor plant and decorative arena, as these sales help offset the off-season, low sales period of outdoor plant and garden sales.

    Opportunities and Growth in Niche Green Gardening

    Another gardening industry area that is experiencing growth is in green gardening, environmental gardening, with use of safe products and growing interest in organic gardening.  Growth in organic green gardening is estimated to be in the range of 5-10% annually.  One of the most relevant reasons is the changing consumer attitude and landscape towards the use of herbicides and pesticides.   Organic green gardening is completely void of the use of any herbicide or pesticide. Not good for herbicide or pesticide suppliers, but excellent for garden centers who promote, sell and are specialists in organic gardening products and techniques.

    Todays Garden Center identified many key growth areas in niche green gardening. In one detailed blog, the author highlights the following niche green gardening areas:

    • Organic Pest Control
    • Composting and Recycling
    • Natural Grub Control
    • Easy Organic Gardening
    • Grow Your Own Fruits & Vegetables
    • Sustainable Gardening
    • Safer, Natural Lawn Care

    If you are an entrepreneur searching for opportunities in the gardening and garden center industry, as always, conduct your own due diligence and plan well.  Although challenges exist, so do opportunities, especially in niche areas.  Adequate research and business planning will be required.

     

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  • March 10, 2012 3:22 PM | Strategy Plan One (Administrator)

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    March 10, 2012 

    video game statisticsVideo Game Statistics Stand out in the Challenged Economy

    With the recent challenges in the economy over the past few years, the video game industry continues to boom with staggering video game statistics and data… huge numbers.  

    Many articles and marketing research firms are predicting favorable statistics for the video game industry for 2012, with one Chicago Tribune article stating the global industry to hit $64 Billion this year.  Entrepreneurs, video game developers and tech firms out there should pay close attention to these important trends and opportunities in this industry.

    Video Game Statistics – Mobile Gaming Market

    The mobile gaming market is one experiencing exponential growth.  Leading the pack, the new iPad is about to be launched along new Android and other platforms.  ABI Research has estimated that 2.1 Billion mobile devices are expected to use HTML5 browsers by 2016.   


    One blog, imediaconnection, cites that the marketing research firm M2 Research is predicting that the mobile gaming market will blow past the $6 Billion mark in 2012.  Plenty of opportunity for those developing apps for the mobile market.   However, big players such asZynga has to develop new strategies to keep its estimated 250 million users interested in its gaming platform.

    video game statisticsVideo Game Statistics – iPad Gaming Market

    iPad is closing in fast on consoles with an estimated 55 Million units sold, compared with 62 Million PS3 and 65 Million XBox consoles out there in the hands of gaming consumers.    Apple is stating that its future gaming will offer faster and sharper video games, making them more attractive than console games.   Plenty of opportunities for those Apple iPad app and game developers.

    Not with out its challenges, the video game industry, especially the console gaming industry has its issues with attempting to keep its paid subscribers and competing the mobile gaming market, which is obviously exploding.  Keep watching the interesting video game statistics trends over the next few months.

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  • March 09, 2012 2:16 PM | Strategy Plan One (Administrator)

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    March 9, 2012 

    Here is an interesting infographic on US Job Recovery for February 2012, courtesy of Bureau of Labor Statistics.  You will note significant gains in professional services, manufacturing and health care.  As government tightens its own internal budget, public servant jobs are declining, as indicated here.


    U.S. Jobs Report

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  • March 08, 2012 2:17 PM | Strategy Plan One (Administrator)

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    March 8, 2012 

    Tax Return Tax PreparationTax Returns

    Dreadful as it may seem, just around the corner is the tax filing deadlines.  Here is a quick burst of information, helpful tips, tools andresources to help you with effective and efficient tax filing.

     

     

    Tax Preparation and Filing Tips

    • Take advantage of current year tax savings initiatives; regulations and rules tend to vary on a year by year basis
    • File on time to avoid any late submission penalties
    • Pay your taxes due immediately to avoid interest penalties
    • If you can’t pay the full amount, make arrangements with your local tax filing office for installment payments, deferred payments, etc; the more you keep them informed, the more information and tools they may have to help you through the process
    • Throughout the whole business year, keep accurate track of your expenditures, and be prepared to back any claims with detailed records
    • Be open, fair and transparent about all information and claims in your tax filing
    • Follow the rules and regulations of each taxing authority
    • Tax filing may be difficult for some business, corporate or other type of entities; acquire the services of an accountant to assist you in preparation of your tax return
    • Several tax preparation & filing software packages exist that are user friendly, have easy to follow manuals, and have features such as electronic online submissions

     

    Websites with Useful Tax Preparation & Filing Information

    Here are some of the websites that provide some information on taxes.  Many more exist out there too, so it is worthy to do some further research.

     

    US

     

     

    Canada

     

    Tax Preparation and Filing Software Packages

    Here are a couple of options for tax preparation software packages, with many more out there for you to choose from.

     

    Whatever method you use to file your taxes, ensure you submit on a timely basis and that your submission is fair and consistent with taxation authorities and those regulations.  You will feel more at ease if you have kept good records and can back any claim if an auditor comes knocking and asking.

     

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  • March 07, 2012 8:48 PM | Strategy Plan One (Administrator)

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    March 7, 2012

    Capacity BuildingCapacity Building for Strong Entrepreneurship

    To be a successful entrepreneur, individuals must build capacities in four key strategic areas – Operational, Management, Financial Management, and Personal capacities.  Entrepreneur capacity building involves developing the combination of all four capacity elements, to provide the ingredients for a great entrepreneurial success soup.

    Some of these capacities are gained through experience throughout your career, while others are learned through educational avenues.  Some successful entrepreneurs are born with strong personality traits, and some behaviors are strengthened through learned responses in the business environment.


    Here are the four key categories of capacity building leading to the development of successful entrepreneurs.

    Operational Capacity Building

    Having a brilliant understanding of an industry and business at ground level builds operational capacity.  This of course involves working in a variety of business operations for a period of time prior to diving into entrepreneurship.  This is where you gain valuable insight into what makes businesses tick.  Understanding the dynamics on the floor, in the cubicles, in the field and out on the road, gives you the perspective on how to lead, organize and plan for operations.

    Management Capacity Building

    Taking operational experience one more step, gaining management experience in a field or business will be directly applicable to managing your own business.  The valuable experience you gain managing operations, resources and people will give you the applicable tools for your own business.  With a few years of management experience, you will gain management capacity and an understanding of responsibilities and accountabilities at that level… all precursors to managing your own company.

    Capacity BuildingFinancial Management Capacity Building

    Through a combination of work experience and education, you need to be well-grounded and versed in managing finances. You need to be able to accurately estimate and build financial statements and to understand them.  With gained skills, you will need to be able to analyze financial statements, looking at trends and indicators and what those all mean to your business.  Financial reports provide key indicators and information on the business’ financial health…there is a wealth of information in the financial statements.  Other parties, partners and financial institutions will be looking at you and your organization’s ability to manage finances.

    Personal Capacity Building

    Of extreme importance, if you don’t have some key personal, entrepreneurial traits you may be closing up shop fast.  Some people are born with strong traits while other behaviors can be picked up along the development pathway.  Demonstrating strong traits and behaviors such as dedication, perseverance, ambition, determination, strong-will, openness, honesty, transparency, fairness, etc may move you along the pathway to become a successful entrepreneur.

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  • March 05, 2012 9:20 PM | Strategy Plan One (Administrator)

    Strategy Plan One                                                                                              

    March 5, 2012  

    Statistics and DataStatistics and Data for your Business Plan

     

    As part of your due diligence as an entrepreneur starting or expanding your business, you will need to develop a detailed business plan.  As you draft up your business plan and the financial documents, you will need to obtain data and statistics that would form and back your financial statements.

     

    If you use to much guess work and estimates, pulling figures out of the sky, your business plan will be weak and subjective.  To make your business plan more objective, you should obtain credible sources of data from multiple sources.

     

    Here are some helpful tips for gathering statistics and data from multiple sources.

     

    Statistics and Data from Experience

    If you are going into your business in the same industry you have been working in, you have excellent intelligence on marketing, sales and expenditure data.  Through years of experience in operations and management you will gain the innate ability to draft up projected financial statements from this known data.  Be careful not to steal data or proprietary information, but use your gained skills knowing the industry.

     

    Statistics and DataStatistics and Data from Mentors and Advisors

    You should always drive and lead the business planning project, but should you need an advisor or mentor, these individuals can provide credible sources of information to you.  Based on their experience and their network of professionals they will help you form more realistic projections.  Once again, a wealth of experience usually reveals a wealth of good statistics and data.

     

    Statistics and Data from Surveying

    If you develop some objective methodologies in surveying your potential markets for your products and/or services, you may be able to obtain some useful data for your planning.  This should be done with caution and should not be the only source of data you would use.  Ensure you sample randomly and with large sample sizes to make the data more reliable and valuable.

     

    Statistics and Data from Federal Government Statistics Branches

    To support data obtain through your own sources, you can seek out sources of statistics and data from Federal Government sources.

         US Statistics and Data

    • The US Census Bureau (http://www.census.gov ) provides an enormous catalogue of statistics and data on the US population, markets and the economy.  General economic indicator information can be found within a few easy steps on their website (http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/briefroom/BriefRm ).  Information is also broken down by industry classification, based on 2007 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes.  USA.gov website provides additional, relevant business and economic linkages to statistics and data.  Please note that information is presented in general overall industry, summary form and you will need to drill down as far as you can get to what is applicable to you.

         Canada Statistics and Data

    • Statistics Canada (http://www.statcan.gc.ca ) is the place to go to obtain statistics and data on the Canadian people, markets and economy.  Statistics Canada promotes their federal responsibility to provide objective statistics and data, with methods and surveying every 5 years.  Statistics Canada also has information broken down into NAICS codes.  Once again, this source can be helpful in analyzing the overall industry statistics and data.

     

     

    Statistics and Data from Paid Sources

    To round off your basket of statistics and data for your business plan, you can pay for very specific data.  There are many marketing companies out there in the private sector that can provide relevant data for your specific industry and target markets.  Companies can also provide customized surveying for you to obtain the most reliable, objective data.

     

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    © 2012 Strategy Plan One


           

  • March 04, 2012 3:59 PM | Strategy Plan One (Administrator)

    Strategy Plan One                                                                                                         

    March 4, 2012

    Achieving SuccessAchieving Success

    Achieving success as anentrepreneur can be interpreted a number of ways at a number of different levels.  No matter how you slice it, you most likely achieved success through your own efforts AND from the people, contacts and professionals that helped you get there.  At some point you should be willing to continue that good-will cycle and help other budding entrepreneurs.  Do your part to help the business environment thrive.

    What You Received Along Your Way to Achieving Success

    On your pathway to success you were educated and gained experience in operations and management.  Through mutually beneficial arrangements you gained most of your valuable on the ground experience from some employers who took the time to help you build capacities.  Not only did the employers enjoy the fruits of your labor but you also used this to your advantage, to be later applied to your ventures.


    Early on in your entrepreneurial endeavors you may most likely had the benefit of being coached and mentored by a successful business person.  That successful entrepreneur was a willing participant to assist you in your own business pathway.  You probably noted that person was also benefiting, with sharpening his or her leadership skills or observing your business dynamics.

    Your family and friends were most likely very supportive as you dedicated much time, money and resources to achieving your goals.  Many were patient, and many were willing to assist you to achieve those goals, lending moral and sometimes financial support.

    What You Can Give Back as a Successful Entrepreneur

    Looking at your pattern and pathway to successful entrepreneurship, you may be able to give back in the same manner to those who are building capacity to be a successful entrepreneur.  Here are some of the constructive things you could do to give back to the business community:

    • Volunteering to business organizations
    • Hosting workshops and presenting successful methods
    • Blogging on business topics
    • Mentoring and coaching
    • Assisting youth entrepreneurship groups
    • Taking an employee under your wings, under your guidance
    • Donating money and other resources if you don`t have the time
    • Encouraging and empowering your business teams to contribute to the same entrepreneur causes
    • Creating a network of professionals across multiple industries that help build capacities
    • Advocating for change and capacity initiatives to the local and Federal governments

    If you had the benefit of achieving success and you know others assisted you on your pathway to achieving success, you should consider giving back.  This continuous cycle of good-will is essential in helping the current and future business generations thrive, and strive for success.

     

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    © 2012 Strategy Plan One


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  • March 03, 2012 11:45 AM | Strategy Plan One (Administrator)

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    March 3, 2012

    Building TrustBuilding Relationships  

    In a conference we attended this week for entrepreneurs and small businesses, the over-arching theme between sessions and presentations was overwhelmingly similar.  In order to build a new customer base or to build up an existing customer base, entrepreneurs must first focus on building trust, building strong relationships with potential consumers.

    Building Trust 

    In the business examples brought forward in the presentations, the best customer - business experiences were ones where trust was first built with the customer.  


    The customer must believe in what you are selling, promoting, or offering.  In today`s business environment, and with instant information to anything under the sun, customers are well-educated and informed prior to making a purchasing decision.  Those businesses that take the time building trust and relationships with customers will note that those buying customers have made a personal connection with the entrepreneur and business.

    As an entrepreneur you need to promote an environment where customers can ask questions and receive honest, trustful information and advice back.  It is in your best interest to provide that honest feedback on whether or not the product or service is the right fit for the consumer.  It may come back to haunt you, if you decide to oversell something to your client you worked so hard to get.  As mentioned information is readily available and if the consumer finds out they were oversold or ripped off, that relationship will be broken, and obviously that customer will be gone forever.  Wipe that repeat revenue off the books.

    Building RelationshipsBuilding Relationships, Trust, Customers, and Revenue

    When trust has been gained, you will gain the customer`s confidence in you as a trustworthy entrepreneur, and will gain confidence in your product or service as something that is absolutely essential to them.  Build that relationship and there will be no need to go elsewhere.  Providing a trustful business environment is your competitive advantage over other big box stores or corporations that don`t have those strong micro relationships with the consumer.  You are in a great position if at the end of the day, you can see a list of repeat customers that all have a connection to you and your business.  This is your key to building up your customer base and building increasing revenue streams.

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    © 2012 Strategy Plan One


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  • March 02, 2012 2:38 PM | Strategy Plan One (Administrator)

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    March 2, 2012 

    Here is a fun infographic from udemy  to end the week.  Find your place in the food chain  -  ecosystem.



    Courtesy of udemy  

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  • March 01, 2012 5:01 PM | Strategy Plan One (Administrator)

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    March 1, 2012 

     

    Best PracticesBest Practices

    In your business or organization, teams and units work to find effective and efficient operations, methods and procedures.  Most of the time through the normal course of business evolution, teams find brilliant solutions.  As a leader it is in your realm to bring teams together to encourage them to share best practices, to bounce great ideas off each other, and to create a constructive learning environment.

     

    The sharing of best practices across multi-functional teams is one method of implementing continuous learning and improvement processes.  Success is achieved at many levels when best practices are shared and implemented across business units.

     

    Identification of Best Practices

    As a leader in your business you may note differential results between units that do the same work.  In your regular meetings and briefings, investigate the methods and successes that are isolated or behind the scenes.  Best practices may be revealed from frequent communications and engagement with individual staff members and with teams.

     

    Best PracticesEncourage and Promote Best Practices

    Great work and efforts should be recognized.  Incorporate recognition in your organization as a way to illustrate appreciation across colleagues.  Promote an environment where teams can openly share what works well for their units.  Promote an environment where teams can learn.  The combination of sharing best practices and open learning environment spells potential success broadly across the organization.

     

    Best Practices Forums

    If your organization is large, establish a formal setting for the sharing of information and effective practices.  Forums or working group meetings assist in bringing large groups together to share a broad array of topics.  Structured, these forums can result in improvements to cross-functional units that are not related, such as an administrative efficiency that improves the general operation of all units.

     

    Intellectual Property

    As a leader ensure you identify any process, product or design that may fall into your business’ intellectual property rights.  Pay close attention to the best practice or method as it may warrant protection of intellectual property.  Investigate whether patents, trademarks and copyrights should be filed with your Federal Patents office.

     

    A very effective way to improve your organization across individuals and business units is to share and implement best practices.  Allow your professional teams to help others be successful with results-based best practices.

     

    Strategy Plan One

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    Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

    © 2012 Strategy Plan One


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