Category Archives: Strategy

Writing Content for Your Website

by Susan Shoemaker, Principal-Project Manager, Peninsula Web Design

The single most common challenge for creating a website is writing good content. Why is this an issue? We encounter this speed bump with almost every website project.

The written content of your website impacts the performance of your website. This is how both the search engines and users find you, and determine if you have what they want. For your website to produce results for your business it first has to be found, and then it must connect with the user, in order for that person to be inspired to reach out to you.

Writing content for a website takes effort.

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Your first step toward business growth: a SWOT Analysis.

This simple strategic planning technique can help you identify what your business is doing well, what it needs to improve, where it needs to grow, and what could be its undoing.

SWOT strengths weaknesses opportunities threatsChoosing the right direction for the future of your company can be a daunting task. Should you add services? Is your team staying competitive? How can you improve cash flow?

All of these questions and more can be answered by performing a regular SWOT analysis.

What is a SWOT Analysis?

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Taking a deep look into your business by examining these four elements will provide you with an overview of the health of your company. Your strengths and opportunities offer avenues for your company to flourish, while your weaknesses and threats can inspire improvement and help you recognize emerging competition.

It’s likely that you completed a SWOT analysis in the beginning stages of your business plan to help determine where you stood in the market and identify target customers. Now that your business is established, it’s imperative to conduct regular SWOT analyses to help improve your operations and systems and stave off problems.

How to Get Started with a SWOT Analysis

The most vital step in conducting your SWOT analysis is determining what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are, but sometimes they can be hard to narrow down. Continue reading

Want to grow your business? Be different.

by Kelly Deis of SoundPoint Consulting

The odds are that there are a lot of other businesses in your market providing similar products or services. So what is compelling about your firm that sets you apart from your competition and entices potential customers to buy from you?

Many business owners will answer with the “soft” differentiators, such as reputation, good service and high quality. These are all great characteristics (and absolutely necessary!), but do they really set you apart? I’ll bet that if you ask your competition what sets them apart, you will get similar answers.

The fact is that highly differentiated firms are generally more profitable than their counterparts. Their overall market may be smaller than a less differentiated firm, but they have more of it (the proverbial big fish in little pond). And, they most likely charge more and spend less on advertising and marketing. Continue reading

How much cash should a small business keep in reserve?

piggy bank cashCash is the fuel that makes a business run. It is needed to pay salaries including your own, fund marketing programs to acquire and retain new customers, invest in equipment and facilities, pay rent, supplies and many more day-to-day activities. Most financial experts recommend three to six months of operating expenses, but using this for every business in every situation is misleading.

To determine how much cash you need, you must look at the following key areas.

How Much Cash Have You Been Using?

If you’re an established business owner, look at your monthly cash flow report (or go to the next paragraph if you’re a start-up). This report will provide an historical and seasonal perspective. Note the cash received from sales and the cash spent. The net of these two is often referred to as the “net burn rate.” For example, if you have $50,000 in sales and $30,000 in expenses, then your net burn is +$20,000

Your “gross burn rate” only takes cash expenditures into account; in our example, that’s $30,000 and is the more conservative amount, since it does not assume any sales are made. Historical spending patterns are a good starting point in considering future spending plans.  Continue reading

Options in selling your business: asset vs stock sale.

by Kelly Deis of SoundPoint Consulting

So, you want to sell your business. For most of us, it is a once in a lifetime event. There is no reason to expect that you should know the intricacies of a transaction.

That is why it is oh so important to have good advisers help walk you through the process.

One of the fundamental decisions you will need to make is whether the transaction will be an asset or stock sale. It will depend upon your individual circumstances as well as your business structure.  Continue reading

Do you think you might want to sell your business?

The Value Gap

by Kelly Deis of SoundPoint Consulting

business for saleHave you ever heard of it? Well, if you are thinking of selling your business in the next few years, it is a term that you should get familiar with.

The value gap is the difference in price between what the seller thinks his/her business should sell for and what a buyer is willing to pay for it. Bluntly, it is unrealistic expectations on the part of the seller.

Sadly, it is one of the bigger reasons why deals go awry in the lower-to-mid market tier. And, it can be avoided.

Causes of the Gap

There are a variety of reasons why a seller may think that their business is worth more than what others are willing to pay for it.

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Every business deserves planning.

Don’t make the all-too-common mistake of dismissing the value of planning for your business. Every well-run business needs to manage strategy, tactics, milestones, metrics and essential business numbers.

Do it right, and planning is easy to do, great for managing and developing accountability.

Remember these two key points:

  1. Good planning doesn’t require a big, formal, traditional business plan document. A lean business plan is much easier than a traditional plan. It just consists of bullet-point lists and tables. You can do it yourself.
  2. What really makes the difference is keeping the plan live. It doesn’t take more than an hour or two per month. The planning process means you track results, review, and revise often enough to keep your plan fresh.

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