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  • March 29, 2012 3:07 PM | Strategy Plan One (Administrator)
    Strategy Plan One                                                                                                                      
    March 29, 2012 
    The big business world of Mommy Blogging is illustrated brilliantly in this infographic below, courtesy of infographicsarchive.com.

    Mommy blogger huge numbers:

    • 4.2 Million Mommy bloggers and growing  
    • 33% of bloggers are Moms
    • Social Media – 79% of Moms are active on social media
    • Over 81 Million women active in social media on a weekly basis
    • US Moms spend $2.1 Trillion per year


    mommy blog
    Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur
    © 2012 Strategy Plan One

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  • March 28, 2012 9:09 AM | Strategy Plan One (Administrator)

    Strategy Plan One                                                                                                                     

    March 28, 2012 

    difficult conversationsDifficult Conversations

    As leaders, entrepreneurs and business owners, we have all encountered scenarios, difficult scenarios, where the conversation with staff, partners, customers or contractors has been rough or will be rough.

     


    Certain techniques will help in alleviating difficult conversations and pressures and get everyone back on track with meeting goals and objectives through productive business methods.

     

    Here are some strategies and techniques in handling difficult conversations:

    1. Establish mutual ground rules at the beginning of the discussion; ensure there is a mechanism and a procedure to fall back on if things get off track
    2. Ensure there is a goal and purpose to the conversation; make the scenario valuable with an intended outcome
    3. Don’t make it personal – set the mutual ground rules up front and state the goal is to resolve the issue and not make it a personal attack
    4. Create an environment where everyone can speak freely and in an open manner
    5. Make sure that other parties know their feedback and discussions are valued
    6. Be genuine, truthful and create an environment of trust
    7. Hit on the positives where there are significant negatives; positive reinforcement works
    8. Be constructive in your conversations
    9. Offer solutions not barriers or roadblocks
    10. Think and bring to the table alternatives if the current pathway isn’t working
    11.   As a leader, be an active listener
    12.   As a leader, be a learner; learn from the experience
    13.   As a leader be available, and engage parties frequently
    14.   Raise a third-party or theoretical example if points need to be supported
    15.   Ensure all parties have access to information, especially when it comes to rules and regulations and that line must be focused on

     

    Extreme Difficult Conversations

    Where you do have serious circumstances that require the most difficult conversations, you have the ability to speak directly and openly about inappropriate behaviours or non-performance issues.  You could approach the scenario by recommending some solutions to get everyone back on track with meeting objectives.  It may also be in the best interest to ask the other party what they need leadership to do.  Their feedback for issue resolution is important.

     

    Third party mediation or seeking outside sources to help resolve may also be options when the one-on-one discussions are not going anywhere.  Third parties or mediation can help take the pressure off the affected parties.  A third party or mediator may take neutral ground, observing both parties’ positions and offering up independent recommendations that will work.

     

    Positive Outcomes to Difficult Conversations

    The end goal needs be a positive one, with satisfaction to all parties involved.  Whatever tactic you choose to handle difficult conversations, think and act systematically and strategically, with end goals in mind.  It is sometimes an easier pathway to find solutions than riskier, costly pathways such as litigation.

     

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    Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

    © 2012 Strategy Plan One

  • March 27, 2012 9:44 AM | Strategy Plan One (Administrator)

    Strategy Plan One                                                                                                                             

    March 27, 2012 

    Are you using social media for business to business dealings, to promote products and services and/or to generate more business to business sales leads?  Are you using Social Media as one of your business to business marketing strategies in messaging about your business, product or service?  Here  is an interesting infographic developed by Nowsourcing.com and presented by Insideview.com.



    Of interest:

    • 90 % of business 2 business companies use Facebook
    • 67% more leads/sales per month for companies with an active blog
    • IBM reported a 400% increase in one quarter when using social media sales strategy
    • In a survey, 75% of the respondent (global buyers) said that they would use social media in the buying process in the future

    Social media strategies - business 2 business

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  • March 26, 2012 9:46 AM | Strategy Plan One (Administrator)

    Strategy Plan One                                                                                                                          

    March 26, 2012 

     

    organizational developmentEmployees Have the Ground, Intelligence Wise

    Your business has been successful and booming for a long period of time, and you as the leader / entrepreneur, have been busy in your management duties.

    You may be far removed from the ground level operations, not having to grind it out on the floor or crank out code, or deal directly with customers.  However, you are not that removed from your employees who have the greatest wealth of knowledge of the operational level.


    Much can be learned from employees who know what is and isn’t working at the operational level, who know what the customer’s actions, thoughts and feedback are, and what other employees are saying behind the management lines.

    Engaging and Interacting Frequently with Employees

    As a manager, leader, and entrepreneur, engage and interact well and frequently with your employees.  Make it well known that you are openly interested daily about what is taking place on the floor.  It should be a part of your daily routine, either through inspecting your place of retail or office space.  The employees will feel more at ease when the management team is readily and physically available for open discussions.

    Grab Intelligence from Employees

    Setting the stage with frequent engagement and interactions will assist in your employees openly providing you with a wealth of information to improve operations and/or improve client and customer relationships.  These professionals in your organization may provide valuable recommendations and will look to you as the leader to implement some solutions from issues they encounter.

    Make employees feel valued that they can share information and that you, as a tuned-in entrepreneur, are listening and willing to embrace recommendations for approval.

    Encourage Continuous Improvements From Employees

    To stay on the cutting edge and at the top of your industry, you will need your employees to think and act innovatively.  The best practices and solutions do originate from team actions, and so would innovative practices.

    Empower your employees to develop ground-breaking practices that would set the units, team, and business far ahead of the competitors.  Create an environment that is rewarding and promotes recognition for achievements.  Depending on your budgets, you can develop incentive programs for high achievers and for employees that bring innovative solutions to the table.  You may be surprised at the untapped intelligence from all of your professional staff.

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  • March 25, 2012 11:30 AM | Strategy Plan One (Administrator)

    Strategy Plan One                                                                                                                              

    March 25, 2012 

    difficult employeesDifficult Employees

    Every organization has difficult employees that are not necessarily the happiest bunch.

    Whether is it a personality issue, organizational or environmental issue, it is par for the course to have variance in people’s behaviour, moods, or job satisfaction.

    You could have the most successful, corporate culturally rich environment, with great working conditions and compensation and you can still have disgruntled staff.  No fear, there are some human resource tactics to adequately handle some difficult employees who may throw a temporary wrench into your organization.

    Identify the Issues with the Difficult Employees

    When you as a leader become aware of issues in the organization and with specific staff members, ensure that you approach the employees to better understand the scenario and to isolate the specific issues.  Ensure that in a confidential setting the employee has the opportunity to openly express the situation with you or your human resource specialist.  Encourage open communication in your corporate culture.  Be an active listener first before diving into any actions.


    Solutions in Handling Difficult Employees

    Take note of the issues the employee has expressed freely, and then ask for some potential solutions from their side.  Employee feedback is extremely important.  You may find that part of the operation or the way things are done in the organization is causing not only this employee but others grief.  Employees provide you with the needed intelligence at ground level.  This intelligence may not be something that you are privy to.

    In asking for valued feedback, you make a disgruntled employee feel valued and part of the solution.  In normal circumstances, this should build higher morale with this disgruntled employee, and broadly across the organization.

    If the scenario involves more than one employee or third parties, then you may have to engage with multiple parties, seeking solutions from diverse array of people.  Customers, suppliers, and contractors can sometimes be the cause of issues in your organization and with your staff.

    difficult employeesHuman Resource Resolution Mechanisms for Difficult Employees

    With strong human resource policies and procedures your organization will be well equipped to handle difficult employees.  Whenever possible, your human resource specialist can be used to intervene in difficult circumstances to provide the direct assistance to not only you as the leader, but also to the employee.

    Your human resource specialist may also act as a mediator between management and the employee in cases where there are challenges between staff and management.  The difficult employees may be more open to discussing the challenges as they may feel that the human resource specialist is one step removed from management.  The specialist can also provide the direct lines and information on the company’s human resource policies and on any labor acts or regulations.

    Implement Solutions to Resolve Challenges with Difficult Employees

    Once you nail down some workable solutions, be ready as a responsible leader to implement some best practices or solutions.  Implementation in any action plan is critically important to resolving those initial challenges identified.  Have a plan of action to implement those recommendations that were developed from feedback from the difficult employees and the advice from your human resource specialist.

    As a last resort to difficult employees who do not change their behavior, or do continuous harm to other employees or the organization, dismissal of the employees may be the last action to resolve.  You should however, make every attempt to resolve before this last option.  Ensure that if you do go down the path of termination, that you abide by your polices, and any acts or regulations.

    Following up with Difficult Employees

    After implementation, follow up with staff and units on progress.  Is it working?  Did it resolve the problems?  If not, you may have to tweak your approach with a revised action plan to implement.

    If your implemented actions have resolved the issues, then you may be on your way to achieving greater job satisfaction with all staff, which will greatly impact the performance in your organization.

    difficult employees

    Summary of Some Tips in Handling Difficult Staff:

    • Encourage open communication on any topic with employees
    • Empower employees to make suggestions and recommendations for solutions
    • Make employees feel that they are a part of the solution
    • Be empathetic, be a good listener
    • Show strong leadership and implement solutions
    • Track the results of the solutions
    • Follow up with staff and measure results
    • Be prepared and embrace a continuous improvement process to create a better environment for your valued staff

    Strategy Plan One

    http://strategyplanone.com

    Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

    © 2012 Strategy Plan One

  • March 24, 2012 10:05 AM | Strategy Plan One (Administrator)

    Strategy Plan One                                                                                                                          

    March 24, 2012 

    Here’s a brilliant illustrated Infographic of where all your deducted payroll tax goes.  Check out the common payroll deduction categories, tax brackets, and what programs receive a portion of your taxes.  Interesting to note the differences in taxes between States, and in some States, no tax is collected.


      

    Courtesy of Paycor & sources stated above.

     

    Strategy Plan One

    http://strategyplanone.com

    Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

    © 2012 Strategy Plan One

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  • March 23, 2012 11:41 AM | Strategy Plan One (Administrator)

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    March 23, 2012 

    conferences and working groupsConferences and Working Groups

    Physical, face to face meetings at conferences and for working groups may be the best opportunity to build capacity and relationship with teams, while fitting in some essential training for your organization.  If designed well, individuals and businesses will achieve maximum value from attending and participating in these events.

    While you, as an entrepreneur or business leader, may have goals for your business in hosting this conference, be aware of the needs and how this conference appears to participants to make sure the conference is a success and not a bust.

    Successful conferences are ones that are rich in an experience, with a variety of topics, speakers and activities.  You will note how successful a conference will be by how well the participants are engaged and participate in sessions.  







    Attendance is also a key indicator on how well conferences and working group meetings are going.  If the topics are lively and can relate to participants, members will actively participate and add value to the experience.


    If your purpose in hosting and having the conference is one of a mandatory purpose (i.e. safety training), you can add in experiences that allow participants to be active participants.

    conferences and working groups

    Here are some helpful tips to conferences and meetings for working groups:

    • Develop the objectives
    • Develop the budget
    • Engage input from a wide variety of stakeholders
    • Involve staff in the development of sections and topics of the conference
    • Encourage staff to take the lead
    • Develop a working group to develop the agenda and to work out the logistics
    • Develop an agenda that has short bursts of presentations, both educational and interactive
    • Share drafts of the agenda in advance to obtain valued feedback
    • Revise agenda as needed
    • Ensure agenda and all printed materials are developed and ready in advance

    PowerPoint & Media at Conferences and Meetings for Working Groups

    1. Variety of media is a key factor
    2. Use these in a limited fashion to illustrate points, graphics, charts
    3. Use points only and never fill up a screen with more than 50 words as no one can read that much on the screen
    4. Make the participants focus in on you as the speaker as that is the richest experience
    5. Break up slide with interactive activities at the table
    6. Look at the size of the audience and ensure all participants can see the slides & media; be cognizant of the audience’s perspective

    Speaking at Conferences & Meetings for Working Groups

    • Speakers & presenters need to be prepared in advance and should know their subject inside and out
    • Speakers need to present clearly and directly with the audience
    • Ensure presenters have microphones and that the audience can hear them
    • Wireless microphones give the speakers the ability to get closer to the audience, to walk around and have the audience focus in on the presenter
    • Ensure audio visual equipment is adequate and that technical staff are on standby for fixes

    Venue Specifics for Conferences & Meetings for Working Groups

    1. Choose a venue that is centrally located & not difficult to travel to
    2. Choose a venue that is the right fit, right size and room for participants
    3. Ensure that the room is capable for all of your Audio Visual needs
    4. If the conference or meeting for working groups is longer than a day ensure that information on accommodation packages are readily available and could be added into the conference package
    5. Design and layout of tables is important – “U” shape or table format is good for members to interact and engage in face to face discussions


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    © 2012 Strategy Plan One




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  • March 22, 2012 8:35 PM | Strategy Plan One (Administrator)

    Strategy Plan One                                                                                                                              

    March 22, 2012 

    Here is an interesting Infographic on Twitter statistics courtesy of onlineschools.com.  To highlight from a business perspective in targeting the right audience, the majority of Twitter users are:

    • Female
    • 23 – 49 in age demographic, and
    • Higher, post-secondary educational background

    In terms of active users, some reports have cited the out of the 300 Million plus users, current active user base is around 120 Million active Twitter Users.    So you could assume that eventually and approximately 1/3 of your followers are actually active users.  Target your followers and determine if:

    1. Twitter is the appropriate social media platform for messaging about your product or service
    2. The Twitter user audience is the right target audience
    3. Your followers are following you for the right purpose

    Social Media statistics

    Courtesy of onlineschools.com 

     

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    © 2012 Strategy Plan One


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  • March 21, 2012 8:34 PM | Strategy Plan One (Administrator)

    Strategy Plan One                                                                                                                         

    March 21, 2012 

    Tax return tips Tax Return Tips – IRS Website

    The April 17 tax filing deadline is fast approaching and If you are still in need of assistance to help complete you tax forms and return, check out the help features on the IRS website ( IRS.gov ).

     


    The home page is easy to navigate with links to forms, news, hot topics, helpful hints and other features.  Help and search buttons are in the upper right corner of the page.


    Tax Return Tips – YouTube Videos

    The IRS has made it easy for you by providing some tax tips and assistance through YouTube at  www.youtube.com/irsvideos .  The IRS has a YouTube channel which currently has 116 videos uploaded to the channel.  The channel has received over 3 million  views.

     

    Tax Return Tips – Social Media

    To stay up to date with the latest IRS updates, news and messaging, you can follow and sign up for other forms of social media on their website.  Follow the IRS on Twitter, sign up and configure to receive RSS news feeds and Podcasts.  Check out Social Media buttons in the lower right hand section of the IRS Home page.   Also located on their page are widgets and mobile apps to assist you with information for your tax prep and filing.

     

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    Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

    © 2012 Strategy Plan One


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  • March 20, 2012 3:58 PM | Strategy Plan One (Administrator)

    Strategy Plan One                                                                                                                              

    March 20, 2012 

    Social Media Prism

    This social media prism courtesy of TheConversationPrism.com illustrates the depth and variety of social media platforms in a multitude of categories.  If you thought you were doing well immersing into a few social media platforms, you may want to revisit your strategy around social media.  There is always the possibility that another platform may work better, with targeted messaging to the right target audience.  Or maybe there is a different form of media that would achieve better results.


    Whatever your business purpose is for social media, you will find this Infographic swirl – prism amazing and interesting  (Click on the graphic to take you to theconversationprism.com  for a higher level of detail).

    Strategy Plan One

    http://strategyplanone.com

    Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

    © 2012 Strategy Plan One

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