Tag Archive for 'John Dini'

Ask the owner of your business where it’s going

Do you know where your small business is going next year?

The best way to find this answer is to ask your business’s owner. But do you know the right questions to ask yourself in order to increase your ability to accomplish next year’s business goals?

To help you get started, here are five questions proposed by John Dini, one of the top management experts I know. Following John’s questions, I’ve added my thoughts to give you a little jump-start.

Question One: How much sales revenue do we want to achieve next year?
If you want to grow, it all starts with driving the top line on the profit and loss statement (P&L). How does your prior sales performance, organizational capability and ability to grow customer relationships support your new sales projections?

Question Two: What gross profit goal do we need to achieve to accomplish our operating goals?
Gross profit is sales revenue minus cost of goods sold (COGS), and it’s what covers operating expenses on the way to net profit. Be sure to align this goal with your new sales projection, because increasing revenue at the expense of gross profit is a fool’s errand.

Question Three: What are the most important things we can do to achieve this performance?
Better marketing? More advertising? Better sales training? Staff changes? New products? Better online capability? Expand market penetration? Start with the one that looks the most like low-hanging fruit and proceed from there.

Question Four: How should my own role in the company change in the coming year?
Each year, every business owner should fire themselves from jobs they no longer have to do and promote themselves to new jobs only they can do. Delegation and professional growth is the key to management success and ultimately, business performance.

Question Five: What is the most desirable personal goal I would like to make for myself?
If a genie gave you one wish to make your personal life more fulfilling, what would it be? More family? More golf? More bridge? More fishing? More whatever-the-heck-I-want-to-do-whenever-I-want-to-do-it? You’ll be a better manager with healthy outside interests.

Of course, these aren’t the only questions – just good ones to start with. Our job – John Dini and me – is to help you climb out of the trenches long enough to ask the owner of your business where it’s going.

Ask yourself these, and any other questions you think of. Then write down the answers and make it happen.

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On The Small Business Advocate Show I regularly talk with John Dini, founder and operator of the most successful peer group franchise in North America, overseeing 15 monthly meetings of business owners’ groups under the auspices of The Alternative Board®, about growing your business - and your employees. Click on one of the links below to listen to our conversations on starting the New Year off right.

Starting the New Year off successfully

How can you grow revenue and profits?

Evaluating your role as the leader of your business

Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

Ask where your business is going

One of the best ways to find out where a small business is going is to ask its owner. So, get a mirror, sit down in front of it and start asking.

You’ll be amazed at how much this owner knows but just hasn’t taken the time to document. That’s what we’re going to do now.

John Dini is the president of Business Performance Network, Inc., and one of the best management minds I know. Recently, on my radio program, John revealed the best questions to ask as you conduct this exercise. Here are some of his questions, written as you should ask them, followed by my thoughts.

Question One: How much sales revenue do I plan to achieve next year?

The typical way to arrive at this number is to blend history with expectations, based on existing evidence and what you think about future conditions and organizational capability.

Question Two: What gross profit – the number and the percentage – do I need to achieve my sales revenue projection?

Gross profit is revenue minus cost-of-goods-sold. It’s the number from which you subtract operating expenses to determine net profit.

Once you’ve arrived at answers to these two questions, if you’re not happy with either one, ask the next question.

Question Three: What are the most important things I can do to achieve this performance?

Better marketing? More advertising? Better sales training? New products?  Better online capability? Expand market penetration?  Start with the one that delivers the most bang-for-the-buck.

Question Four: How will my personal role change by the end of the coming year?

Every year, business owners should fire themselves from jobs they no longer have to do and promote themselves to jobs only they can do. Delegation and professional growth is the key to management success.

Question Five: What is the most desirable personal goal I would like to make for myself?

If a Genie gave you one wish to make your personal life more fulfilling, what would it be?  More family? More golf? More bridge? More fishing? More whatever-the-heck-I-want-to-do-whenever-I-want-to-do-it?

The reason the foregoing is long on questions and short on solutions is because only you have the correct answers.  My job, and the purpose of this exercise, is to help you climb out of the trenches long enough to ask the owner of your business where it’s going.

Get that mirror, ask these questions, write down the answers and make it happen.

I talked with John recently on The Small Business Advocate Show about the steps you can take to successfully start your year - and it’s never too late to start! Take a few minutes to listen to our discussion and leave your comments. Listen or download.

Your small business, your banker and economic recovery

A small business is like the human body in at least two ways: To survive, it must have both nutrition - food and water - plus oxygen. For a business, nutrition is profits, and its oxygen is cash flow. And similar to the body, a business can survive for a while without the nourishment of profits but not very long without the breath of cash flow.

Arguably, the greatest reasons small businesses fail is they run out of cash. And as improbable as this may seem, even businesses with plenty of sales revenue - if cash is not collected in time - can fail. Every growing business, large or small, needs access to cash resources that can smooth out the operating cash rough spots. But for a small business, those resources are few in number, with the primary source being a loan from a bank.

If there is one thing that I have harped on for the past dozen years, it’s the importance of a small business establishing and maintaining a close working relationship with a bank. Furthermore, a decade before the financial meltdown of 2008-9, I began encouraging small businesses to make sure at least one of their bank relationships was with an independent community bank.  That advice turned out to be prophetic.

Recently, on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked about getting your small business ready for the coming expansion and building better banking relationships with an outstanding member of my Brain Trust, John Dini. We discussed some of the elements of growth that you should begin planning for right now, including a capitalization plan that includes a closer relationship with your banker. John is the leading Tab Boards franchisee in the U.S., President of Management Performance Network and author of 103 Tips for Better Hiring.

Take a few minutes to listen to our conversation and, as always, leave your thoughts on banking relationships and how you’re getting your business ready for the coming expansion. Listen Live! Download, Too!

Small business victory over doubt

One of the tolls the Great Recession has taken on small business owners has been the tendency to allow ourselves to be overcome with doubt about our abilities as managers and leaders. But perhaps even more painful is doubt about who we are and what we stand for as entrepreneurs.

- When nothing seems to be working, “How could I let this happen?”

- When sales aren’t coming in fast enough, “Why can’t I fix this?”

- When there isn’t enough cash to fund the operation, “This is my fault.”

- Waking up at 2am, “Who am I fooling? What made me think I could actually be a real business owner?”

For small business owners there is a paradox inside of the emotion of doubt: If we never had doubts about our entrepreneurial intentions, excellence would not be possible. Doubt is part of the crucible effect that helps us create a stronger entrepreneurial alloy as we forge self-analysis with vision, planning and execution. Paradoxically, doubt, like fear, can be an immobilizer if we allow it to become personal. Consequently, small business owners must leverage doubt as a motivator.

Recently, on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked with Brain Trust member, John Dini. John is a world-class business coach and mentor to hundreds of small business CEOs in his work with The Alternative Board organization. In our discussion, John talked about how doubt has gained some traction among business owners as a result of the tough economy. Take a few minutes to listen to this interview. Listen Live! Download, Too!

Also, a while back I wrote a poem titled “Victory over Doubt.” You might benefit from reading it today.

And, as always, be sure to leave your own thoughts.




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