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Your Planning Partners

Recipe for Success

When we had our IT Consulting business our offices were in Cabbagetown; the beautifully refurbished old Victorian neighbourhood of Toronto. One of our business neighbours in Cabbagetown was a newly started catering business called Daniel et Daniel. They also had a store front from where we bought our daily dose of calories in the form […]

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Diamonds Are Your Best Friends

Growing a business is all about “more”. More people, more products, more processes, more complexity. And, of course, more revenue. As we create revenue growth plans we usually focus first on bringing in new clients. While this is a valid strategy it causes us to lose sight of the growth opportunities from our existing customers; […]

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Culture & Strategy; You Can’t Have One without the Other

by Guest Blogger Jeff Goldenberg If entrepreneurs focus on building a great culture with the same passion that they exude on strategy they will see magic happen! I was very flattered when Nick invited me to share some of my ideas on culture with Your Planning Partners community. I’ve been lucky enough to study with […]

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Stop! Get Clarity

If like many business owners you are starting to plan 2014 … STOP! Before you go any further make sure you have complete clarity around what YOU want in your future and what YOU want for your business. We call this your Vision. “A business without a vision is directionless. It lacks purpose” writes Michael […]

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Are You a Good Boss?

I was reading a Maclean’s article called “Really Bad Bosses” when I was stopped in my tracks by the following: “So what does make a great boss? Increasingly, it’s an ability to deliver results by teasing the very best out of employees – without screaming at them” If I read this right the article is […]

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Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast

Recently I had the pleasure of serving on a panel discussing the topic “Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast”. It was an event for business owners put on by 360 Degrees of Inspiration. For information and photos from the event click here. It turns out I was the only panelist to disagree with this statement and […]

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How Do Projects Fall Behind Schedule?

“How do projects fall behind schedule?” Answer: “One day at a time”. Projects must be managed closely at all times, every day. When things change (and they will) act immediately; don’t wait. This is the last in a series of four blogs about planning and executing projects. So far we have covered: The importance of […]

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If You Fail to Plan You Plan to Fail

This is the third in a series of four blogs focused on the importance of successful projects in building a strong, sustainable business. If there are no projects it means no new things are happening, which means the business is standing still. If the business is standing still it is actually going backwards. If there […]

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In Search of the High/High’s

In the previous blog we introduced you to the idea that without projects the business will go nowhere. In fact growing a business is all about projects. For example: Implementing a new website Hiring a new member of the team Installing new technology Creating a new product Each of these is a project. They all […]

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Missing Ingredients for Business Success

What is the single most important ingredient for business success? Having enough clients? Building a great team? Profitable products and services? Using technology? Actually there isn’t a single ingredient; all of the above are essential but there is one missing. That is successfully executing of projects. Business owners often fail to realize the importance of […]

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Summer Time is Leisure Time

One motivation for many people starting their own business is the promise of more flexible time.  Time to do the things they love when they want to and within their family schedule.  However, many soon discover when you have your own business you often have less flexibility and there is even less time for you. […]

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The Experts Are Wrong; Time Management Does Not Work

Time Management doesn’t work because we can’t manage time. Time moves forward on its own with no help from us, completely ignoring our efforts to slow it down. There are always 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and 52 weeks in a year. We can’t change that. But we can change […]

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Growth in Sales Can Be Harmful!

“Everyone knows that too few sales are fatal. But very few owner-managers understand that too many sales, made too fast, can kill a small business. Managing the growth in sales is another make-or-break condition of small business success.” Written by Paul Resnik in his book the Small Business Bible. Too many sales can be fatal? […]

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If It Can’t Be Measured It Can’t Be Managed

One of the challenges faced by us business owners is being objective about our own business! We are too close to it. It is our child and so it can do no wrong; even when it reaches its teenage years. But we must find a way to be objective. We have to find those things […]

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Exercises for the Desk Jockey!

There are a number of simple ways to get some movement into your desk bound day!   These exercises are not going to get you to the Olympics but they are going to keep you alert and reduce stress. Let’s start with alertness. Your ability to focus on a task is directly related to the amount […]

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Your Fortune is in the Follow-up

Build Your Business By Building Relationships! You go to a networking event.  You do all of the right things. You “get” more cards than you “give”.  You rush back to your office and you send a follow-up email scheduling an introductory meeting.  Whew … that’s done …this is definitely a client in the works. It’s […]

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Growing Towards Your Goal

What makes some people successful over others? Why do some people persevere in the face of obstacles and others are paralyzed at the first sign of a challenge? Why do some people keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results while other people are able to adjust, move towards their […]

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Best Practices in Time Management

Not only does time spent planning increase your productivity and save you money but it’s estimated that each minute spent in planning saves ten minutes in execution, according to Brian Tracey, Time Power. New York. Each tool below can contribute positively to your overall productivity but begin by choosing one that resonates with you, implement […]

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Metaphors for the Business Owner

Coaching small business owners, I’ve found a couple of metaphors that are very useful to help them keep their confidence and make sense of things. What’s so valuable about these metaphors is it allows them to use the metaphor to understand unclear situations, deepen their insights and be comfortable with what is happening. The Trapeze […]

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Sales Ain’t What It Used To Be!

There are more opinions, more books, more articles and more blogs about selling than almost any other business topic.  When I Google effective selling I get over 45,700,000 results! So where does a business owner turn if they are looking for help to improve their sales results? The fact that you’re reading this blog is […]

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It’s Tough Being Optimistic All the Time

Being a business owner means you are constantly excited about what you do, invigorated by what the future holds, confident about everything and in a constant state of optimism. Nothing gets you down because you are in control and you know everything will be just fine. If you honestly believe the drivel I’ve just written […]

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Meetings, Bloody Meetings

If you google “meetings bloody meetings” you get over 11 million results and page after page of workshops, how to books, videos, webinars and lessons on how to hold effective meetings. And yet we still attend meetings that: Drag on interminably Have no purpose Are interrupted by late arrivals who need a synopsis of what […]

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How To Make Plans Work

As the previous blogs point out, a good plan is: The key to business success Easy to do What is difficult is actually using the plan on a consistent basis to move your business forward. If you intend to create a plan and then file it away; save yourself some time; don’t plan. One of […]

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Why Bother Planning?

There are many reasons why business owners should not waste time creating plans: Things change so rapidly plans become obsolete before they are finished Far too busy to take time out to plan Don’t know how to plan In the time it takes to plan I can be looking for new customers Look at our […]

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The Disruption of Change

It wasn’t a big change and so we didn’t expect anything to go wrong. How wrong we were! The change was merging two small office locations into one. Compared to previous office moves we had managed this was one was small. And yet it threw us a few nasty surprises that could have been avoided. […]

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The Power of Purpose

Do you know the purpose of your business? Do you clearly understand why you started your business? Have you communicated this purpose to all those who work with you? Have you documented the purpose? If the answers to any of these is ‘no’ then you are probably finding it difficult to stay on course as […]

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The Power of Focus

One of the common attributes of successful people, whether they are athletes, entertainers, or business leaders, is their ability to focus. They are able to concentrate all of their attention and energy on the right things in the right way at the right time. They are focus gurus! To achieve the growth you want for […]

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The Power of No

Why is No so powerful? Because it gives you permission to stop doing what you shouldn’t be doing so you can focus on the few initiatives that will bring success to your business. Businesses that try and do everything rarely succeed. A good example is Apple. When Steve Jobs returned to run the company it […]

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The Power of Why

Why is why so powerful? Because it enables you to get to the root of a problem, rather that applying superficial band-aid solutions that solve nothing. Rather than accepting the first reason for a problem you respond with a question starting with why.  If you respond with at least 5 ‘why’ questions there is a […]

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The Power of Processes

Why are processes so powerful? Because they are the engines of your business; they make sure everything happens when and how it should. Yet they have a bad rap. They are seen by many as administrative overhead that sucks the life out of organizations and so should be avoided at all costs. But the reality […]

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Badge of Honour ~ “I haven’t had a real holiday in years!”

For many business owners they wear it as a badge of honour; the inscription reads; “I haven’t had a real holiday in years!” What a shame! I don’t mean the lack of a holiday. I mean the sad fact that they are proud of this admission. They should instead be deeply concerned because without a […]

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Summer Reads: Learn From Other Business Owners

I have 2 great summer reads for you this time. But you won’t want to read them from front to back so put them next to your favourite summer chair so you can pick them up and browse. Both books are full of fun, surprising and exciting stories of Canadian businesses. I Know that Name […]

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What Is Your Company Worth?

What is your company worth? If you were to close the doors today how much money would you have left? Do you track this number so you can manage it and help it grow? To find out the answers to these questions go to the company’s Balance Sheet. One point of clarification about company worth. […]

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Are You Making Any Money?

Do you want to get rid of that nagging voice in the back of your head? You know the one. The one that keeps telling you that something could be terribly wrong with your company’s financials but it is best not to know.  So ignore it. Don’t ignore it. Find out the facts and rest […]

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Financials

When your business runs out of money it is too late! And it is your fault! Most business owners would prefer to chew on cut glass rather than pay attention to the financial results of their business. This is strange because we are in business to make a decent income and to build wealth. So […]

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The Never Ending Chase After New Revenue

Business ownership is a never ending chase after new revenue. If we don’t get new revenue we won’t get revenue growth. And if we don’t get revenue growth we will get revenue decline. And revenue decline is a nasty thing. But where should we focus our marketing and sales strategies. All too often business owners […]

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Top Twenty Generates Revenue

You don’t build your business by “earning revenue” you build your business by “generating revenue”. And you generate revenue by getting out on the streets and letting people know the value of what you do. But you don’t want to tell everyone; after all not everyone cares. But you do want to tell people who […]

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Marketing the 80/20 Way

There are numerous, no thousands, of tools, techniques and methods you can apply to your marketing and sales efforts. The bookstores have shelf after shelf of books sharing the secret ingredients to successful sales and marketing. So where do you start? Start with a simple tool discovered by a guy called Pareto back in the […]

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Take Control of Your Time

We hear it all the time: “I just don’t have enough time to do everything”. And it’s true! So here are some management models to help you take control of your time and therefore your life. 1. The 45 Minute Solution Add 45 minutes to your work day; this adds half a day to your […]

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One Step At A Time

When you plan to execute a large project or campaign it is very easy to become overwhelmed. Overwhelm leads to procrastination (see last month’s blogs on procrastination) and so nothing happens. When you find this happening to you it is time to call in a modest little management tool called One Step At A Time. […]

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Last Thoughts on Procrastination

Going by the response from our blogs, procrastination resonates with lots of people. Amy from our office brought in a wonderful cartoon a friend had given her. We share it here with permission from the artist. Ann Patterson of Wood Green Community Services wrote: Good afternoon.  I thought I would let you know that you […]

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Procrastination

The blog theme for March is procrastination, which probably means it will never happen! Procrastination is putting off doing something important to work on something trivial; or not work on anything at all. We are told this is a bad thing. But we are also told everyone procrastinates. So how can something that everyone does […]

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Critical Success Factors

As we end our February theme of focus focus focus we introduce you to a powerful tool to help you keep that focus; Critical Success Factors. They are the things that MUST happen in order to achieve the goals that you have set for your business. When you identify your Critical Success Factors you will: […]

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Fragmented Focus Treadmill™

Are you finding it difficult to stay focused on the “important” things because there are too many “urgent” things needing your immediate attention? Do you start each day determined to achieve your goals but end the day with important work undone? To add misery to this confusion are you working harder and harder and getting […]

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Small Business

A recent MacLean’s special feature about Canada’s Small Business World starts out saying “more than a million small businesses operate in Canada. And our economy depends on them.” My first response was, “well we knew that!” Then my second response was “but lot’s of people don’t”. Canadian Small Business provides jobs for almost half of […]

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The Perfect Business

We believe every Canadian business owner should have the opportunity to build the Perfect Business. But what is a Perfect Business? The Perfect Business supports the life style you and your family want. This covers everything from personal income through to life balance. It means the business is not consuming every minute of your life. […]

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This Year I Will

The end of one calendar year and the beginning of another brings many of us to embrace setting goals and making plans with great gusto. We develop plans for our business, set personal goals for our health and make New Year’s resolutions about money … all with the very best intentions. According to one survey, […]

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Lessons to Learn from the book Good to Great

The book Good to Great by Jim Collins was the result of a research study Jim and a team of researchers did on why some large companies are great while others are not. Although their study was around large companies the book contains many lessons for the small business owner. For example they found that […]

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Old Habits Die hard

Do you have something in your business or our life you want to change … some situation you want to have a different and more positive out come?  If so, read ‘Switch ~How to Change Things When Change is Hard’ by Chip Heath and Dan Heath and then give it a try. This witty and […]

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Built to Sell by John Warrillow

It is the Circle of Life of an entrepreneur. We start a business because we have a passion for something. We keep at it because it is fun, rewarding and challenging. And then the day comes when we must end the relationship with our business. At that time we have a choice; close it, give […]

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A Business Built On A Hat

Alex was bored with his business but that was okay because it gave him plenty of time to pursue his real passion; sailing. And it was this passion that led him to invent a product that took him on a successful and rewarding business journey. He invented a hat for the sailing community that would […]

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Ed Mirvish – Entrepreneur with Bold Vision

Ed Mirvish was 15 when his father died. As a result, he had to drop out of high school to run the not very successful store his father had opened in Toronto. He struggled to keep it afloat for 9 years before conceding defeat. But this inauspicious start to Ed’s business career was not indicative […]

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Celebrating Canadian Business – The Four Seasons

Last week we celebrated two Canadian companies that have a significant impact in Canada; Lee Valley Tools and Dufflet Pastries. This week we celebrate a company that has a presence on a global scale; the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. In 1961 a young architect named Isadore Sharp, who knew nothing about the hotel business, […]

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Celebrating Canadian Business

For some obscure reason it has been decided (by whom I do not know) that October is small business month. Never one to miss an opportunity for a celebration I thought we should celebrate Canadian business. And so let me introduce you to two of Canada’s many successful businesses. In just 30 years these 2 […]

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How Healthy Is Your Business?

Cholesterol is often described as the silent killer. High cholesterol is bad for us and yet there are no symptoms. There is no pain; there is no nausea; there is no shortness of breath. That is why doctors regularly check our cholesterol. Businesses have the Cholesterol Factor. Sales may be strong; profits may be good; […]

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If It Can’t Be Measured It Can’t Be Managed

One of the challenges faced by us business owners is being objective about our own business! We are too close to it. It is our child and so it can do no wrong; even when it reaches its teenage years. But we must find a way to be objective. We have to find those things […]

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Processes are the Engines of Your Business – So Document Them

Processes have a bad rap. They are seen by many as the administrative overhead that suck the life out of large organizations. But the reality is without processes nothing will work. Invoices cannot be issued. New clients cannot be on boarded. Products cannot be made. Without processes nothing will happen because they are the engines […]

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Customer Service Hall of Fame

This month’s blogs have been all about customers. How to care for them. How to deliver excellent customer service that thrills them. How to recover from a customer service snafu. And so I thought it was appropriate to end the series nominating companies for the Customer Service Hall of Fame. Here are my nominations. Porter […]

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How To Recover from the Customer Service Snafu

We all want to give our customers the very best service. Unfortunately, Murphy is lurking in the shadows to ensure that whatever can go wrong will go wrong. And Murphy was an optimist! So despite our best effort things will go wrong and a customer will experience bad or horrible service from our company. When […]

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10 Ways to Thrill Your Customers

“Do you provide good customer service?” we ask every business owner who crosses our path. Not surprisingly they all say yes! Who would say no? We all believe we provide the very best customer service but do we? Or more importantly do our customers think we do? There are five levels of customer service: 1. […]

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Customers Leave Because They Think You Don’t Care

The statistics are startling. Of the customers who leave you: 3% do so because they move away 12% are lured away by the competition 15% just don’t like your products or services 70% leave because they think you don’t care Yes that’s right … 7 out of every 10 customers who stop doing business with […]

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Do You Like Your Customers?

Do you like your customers? Yes you heard me. Do you like your customers? Of course, you say. After all they are the people paying me. They are my customers for goodness sake! Indeed they are but over the years we have met business owners who spend a great deal of energy complaining about their […]

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Pitfalls to Avoid When Building Your Team

Building your team does have challenges but it also has huge rewards. You will be energized by the team’s successes. The team will allow you to focus on those things you are really good at while others are doing work they are really good at. The business will thrive and the capability of your team […]

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Build Your Business by Building Your Team

If you want to build your business you can only do it by building your team. So say after me: I cannot grow my business without the help of other people who can do some work better, faster and more efficiently than me, allowing me to be doing what I should be doing! Recruiting people […]

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Don’t Get Good At What You Don’t Want To Be Doing

As business owners we are very busy people. We try our best to get everything done and yet much of what we do we are not good at. We continue to do the things we are not good at despite the fact there are people out there who would love to be doing them! It […]

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Build Your Business by Building Relationships

I was recently reading an article about the differences between Canadian and Indian business manners. Interesting topic but what really caught my attention was a quote from Srikantan Moorty, Vice President of Education and Research at Infosys (a huge Indian IT company). He said: “I actually lost a client because I barely talked during a […]

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There are Diamonds In Your Backyard

David was an ambitious and proud man who was desperate to be very rich. To this end he traveled the globe, spending years away from home searching for a diamond mine. He was sure that once he owned a diamond mine his dream of riches would come true. Unfortunately David ended his days neither rich […]

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Not Everyone Wants to Buy from You

Not everyone shops at Wal-Mart. Not everyone buys a Mini Cooper; despite the fact that I think it is the coolest car around. Not everybody dines at the Windsor Arms Hotel. Nor does everyone eat at MacDonald’s. And, believe it or not, not everybody wants to buy from you. Ouch, that hurts! But wait! Read […]

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