Posts tagged: planning

The Business Plan, the Entrepreneur and the Junior Investment Analyst

By , July 30, 2014 3:53 am

It’s a delicate ritual.

Ideally, no-one does the business plan better than the entrepreneur/owner. In reality, most business owners from emerging markets couldn’t be bothered with a written plan; they feel comfortable with the business idea in their head. So, it is naturally the job of the JIA to write the business plan.

Here, the JIA who most likely come from finance/economics background may need to rewrite vision & mission, perform market research, technical product evaluation, strategic planning, develop sales & distribution strategy, marketing plan, human resource capability grading, business risk management, define new KPIs, and a plethora of things s/he never learned during the last internship, nor finance school.

However detailed and elaborate a plan is, I found from my experience the essence of an effective business plan boils down to the following points:

  1. Describe the problem and the product in one slide.
  2. Describe the business model in one diagram.
  3. List the key competitive advantages in 3 sentences.

Business plans are staged in milestones; milestones depending on the business model, R&D, market, and when certain product/service/practice is legalized. Why? Because for many investments, committed capital is only disbursed after the firm has reached a milestone.

The difference between the business plan done for investors and the plan used for operations is the former is usually quarterly and the later weekly.

It is normal to temporarily focus more on industry KPIs in the short-term than on standardized accounting benchmarks, but it will catch up when the auditors come.

Most SME business owners only want to deal with investors and investment managers themselves without involving their managers. However, I found effective CEOs delegate. For example, the Sales plan is best done when the JIA sits down with the Business Development Director. The benefit of such practice is two folds. One, the Sales Lord knows best. Second, when the Business Development Director is involved, s/he is formally committed to the plan.

Things will never work according to plan, but a plan is still needed nevertheless because without a plan it can get even more chaotic.

Lastly, students who participate in business plan competitions may find this note not very useful for the simulated environment the competition takes place.

e-Learning should no longer stand alone

By , July 12, 2008 2:07 am

Since its development from 1979, e-learning has increasingly played an important role in training of many organizations.

Traditional classification of e-learning is categorization. Courses are put into common categories such as: business, soft skills, technology, social sciences

From Horizontal to Basket

However, categorization gradually fall shorts in the need of real organizational training. One professional should have a combination of knowledge and skills across various disciplines. For example, a Project Manager should have Project Management skills, Leadership, Technical skills, Interpersonal and Communication skills, Client Management skills, Time Management skill, Coaching skill and so on. All these skills belong to different categories like Management, Soft Skills, Accounting, Technology. Any organization may want to standardize the training “basket” for each position. A basket contains courses/programs/articles that one person should acquire in order to perform a role.

Learning Basket

then moves on to integration

Now, let’s take a look at the system as a whole. Training is one important part of an organization. Because it is important, it needs tracking and measurement. Key Performance Indicators can be used on Training as on any other departments.

Then an idea crossed my mind: the computer can be taught to ‘know’ what the employees need to learn in order to

  • Follow their career plans
  • Satisfy the organization KPI

e-learning should no longer stand alone, it should be integrated into other systems instead.

What technologies are available?

Can Portlet do that? Just a suggestion. I’m leaving this to the experts here.

Visionary Leadership, Capability Development and Resource Utilization

By , May 12, 2008 12:57 am

Now this is a well-known time management matrix many people use to manage their daily tasks.

Urgent Not Urgent
Important
  • Crises
  • Pressing problems
  • Deadlines
  • Prevention
  • Capability Enhancement
  • Relationship Building
  • Recognizing Opportunities
  • Planning
Not Important
  • Interruptions, some calls
  • Some emails, some reports
  • Some meetings
  • Trivia
  • Some emails
  • Some phone calls
  • Some chats
  • Time wasters

***

Using this table, the first step many people take would likely be neglecting Not-Important trivia and spending efforts on Important-Urgent matters. And so these matters grow. The problems get bigger and bigger and all energy will be used to manage problems and deadlines.

Urgent Not Urgent
Important
  • Crises management
  • Problems management
  • Deadlines management
Not Important

***

How about Important but Not-Urgent endeavors?

They may never get done since Important-Urgent are consuming all the time and energy.

But it’s Important + Non-Urgent matters that make the difference. They are usually long-term vision, planning, expectation management, capabilities enhancement, maintenance and opportunity realization.

Urgent Not Urgent
Important
  • Vision
  • Planning
  • Expectation management
  • Capabilities enhancement
  • Maintenance
  • Opportunity realization
Not Important

Focusing on Important + Non-Urgent issues is opportunity-minded, more than sheer problem-solving-minded.

***

How to focus on Important and Non-Urgent matters

Neglecting Non-Important requires some techniques:

  • Say ‘No’ to trivia
  • Tell the phone caller you’re busy and will call back
  • Check emails at fixed times and solve all unread emails all at once. Of course, in some conditions you’re required to open email application but if not, consider not letting it disturb your concentration

But then to avoid falling into pressing matters and to focus on Important but Non-Urgent matters requires more than techniques.

It requires vision, imagination, desire, discipline, commitment, and balance.

Vision

You need to have clear visions of your life. Where do you see yourself in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, at 60, till the rest of your life?

Many industries change dramatically, but organization doesn’t change that much. Societies evolve rapidly, but many social values don’t change as fast.

Have your vision.

Because without visions it’s easy to get lost in circles of life and even trapped in your own decisions.

Imagination

To be able to build visions, imagination is crucial. You can imagine how and what you will be doing towards your goals of life. Then how and what you will be doing after accomplishing certain milestones of your life.

Desire

Have had a vision? Desire it with all you’ve got. Desire is different from greed.

Desiring a vision keeps you on-track and over temptations on the way.

Discipline

Following a vision requires high discipline. Almost no one but you yourself keep track of your progress, so fit yourself in your schedule.

A plan without deadlines is no plan.

Commitment

Even higher than discipline, it requires commitment. Commitment to your vision, your values, your goals, your targets. Commitment to what’re truly important to you in the long run.

Balance

Persistently following a vision is painful and it’s easy to be off-tracked or lured by temptations.

Mental and physical balance should be met for you to always focus.

***

On Organization level

I’ve discussed leadership and capability development on individual (or personal) level.

The same principles apply for organizational leadership.

Leadership is different from management is that leadership points out the direction and builds up long-term capabilities to reach the goals.

Spending efforts on strategic planning, developing capabilities reduces risks and put crises under control.

Take one example in Human Resource. It’s wise to develop some practices:

  • Develop the skills of resources, both for immediate tasks and long-term development business needs
  • Encourage self-learning
  • Backup and rotate resources
  • Utilize the right person with the right skill for the right job

***

Conclusion

This articles encourages shifting the focus from Urgency to Importance which, if done, can create positive energy in your life and/or your organization.

Visionary Leadership, Capability Development and Resource Utilization

By , May 6, 2008 12:57 am

Now this is a well-known time management matrix many people use to manage their daily tasks.

  Urgent Not Urgent
Important
  • Crises
  • Pressing problems
  • Deadlines
  • Prevention
  • Capability Enhancement
  • Relationship Building
  • Recognizing Opportunities
  • Planning
Not Important
  • Interruptions, some calls
  • Some emails, some reports
  • Some meetings
  • Trivia
  • Some emails
  • Some phone calls
  • Some chats
  • Time wasters

***

Using this table, the first step many people take would likely be neglecting Not-Important trivia and spending efforts on Important-Urgent matters. And so these matters grow. The problems get bigger and bigger and all energy will be used to manage problems and deadlines.

  Urgent Not Urgent
Important
  • Crises management
  • Problems management
  • Deadlines management
 
Not Important    

***

How about Important but Not-Urgent endeavors?

They may never get done since Important-Urgent are consuming all the time and energy.

But it’s Important + Non-Urgent matters that make the difference. They are usually long-term vision, planning, expectation management, capabilities enhancement, maintenance and opportunity realization.

  Urgent Not Urgent
Important  
  • Vision
  • Planning
  • Expectation management
  • Capabilities enhancement
  • Maintenance
  • Opportunity realization
Not Important    

Focusing on Important + Non-Urgent issues is opportunity-minded, more than sheer problem-solving-minded.

***

How to focus on Important and Non-Urgent matters

Neglecting Non-Important requires some techniques:

  • Say ‘No’ to trivia
  • Tell the phone caller you’re busy and will call back
  • Check emails at fixed times and solve all unread emails all at once. Of course, in some conditions you’re required to open email application but if not, consider not letting it disturb your concentration

But then to avoid falling into pressing matters and to focus on Important but Non-Urgent matters requires more than techniques.

It requires vision, imagination, desire, discipline, commitment, and balance.

Vision

You need to have clear visions of your life. Where do you see yourself in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, at 60, till the rest of your life?

Many industries change dramatically, but organization doesn’t change that much. Societies evolve rapidly, but many social values don’t change as fast.

Have your vision.

Because without visions it’s easy to get lost in circles of life and even trapped in your own decisions.

Imagination

To be able to build visions, imagination is crucial. You can imagine how and what you will be doing towards your goals of life. Then how and what you will be doing after accomplishing certain milestones of your life.

Desire

Have had a vision? Desire it with all you’ve got. Desire is different from greed.

Desiring a vision keeps you on-track and over temptations on the way.

Discipline

Following a vision requires high discipline. Almost no one but you yourself keep track of your progress, so fit yourself in your schedule.

A plan without deadlines is no plan.

Commitment

Even higher than discipline, it requires commitment. Commitment to your vision, your values, your goals, your targets. Commitment to what’re truly important to you in the long run.

Balance

Persistently following a vision is painful and it’s easy to be off-tracked or lured by temptations.

Mental and physical balance should be met for you to always focus.

***

On Organization level

I’ve discussed leadership and capability development on individual (or personal) level.

The same principles apply for organizational leadership.

Leadership is different from management is that leadership points out the direction and builds up long-term capabilities to reach the goals.

Spending efforts on strategic planning, developing capabilities reduces risks and put crises under control.

Take one example in Human Resource. It’s wise to develop some practices:

  • Develop the skills of resources, both for immediate tasks and long-term development business needs
  • Encourage self-learning
  • Backup and rotate resources
  • Utilize the right person with the right skill for the right job

***

Conclusion

This articles encourages shifting the focus from Urgency to Importance which, if done, can create positive energy in your life and/or your organization.

Problem-Solving Tools Series: Introduction

By , January 29, 2008 12:30 pm

Introduction

In this series I will introduce different tools that can be used in problem solving situations.

They belong to different categories such as: creativity, understanding complex situations, decision making, planning and self-management.

I also plan to discuss how sufficient these tools are in managing tasks (products) and people (organization).

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