Can Tyra Banks, Cindy Crawford and David Beckham improve your business?

Written by Diana Needham on . Posted in Latest News, Planning

It’s true.  Many large organizations, from Eli Lilly to SAS to the Department of Defense, use models to help them improve their businesses.


The most common is a model of the processes that the organizations use to accomplish their goals.  This is followed closely by information models (often called data models) that show what information is needed to execute each process and organization models that show who is involved in each process and what information they need.

Some organizations build “as is” versions of these models as a baseline from which to improve, and then “to be” models to show where they want to go.  These models are particularly useful in large organizations, where lots of people in various locations (and maybe speaking many languages) need to be involved in the business improvement.  For small businesses, this extra effort is rarely necessary – the business owner and key individuals usually know the “as is” business and need only model the future, or “to be” state.

The most helpful use of these models is to take one area of the business, for example, SELL PRODUCT, where performance needs to be improved.  The three models are built (process, information and organization) and each component of the models is evaluated for effectiveness.  The parts of business that need to be improved become very clear as a result of this work.  Enhancements can be made at the model level first and then implemented in a controlled way to evaluate the effectiveness of the improvements.  Frequently, one or two improvements to the models can create significant results in terms of new customers, increased revenue per customer visit or a boost in “long-term value” of each customer.

So while Crawford, Beckham and Banks may not be able to help your business, other models may beautify your profit and loss statement and your balance sheet.

Click here to watch a short video on process modeling for small business success.

Getting Personal

Written by Elisabeth Galperin on . Posted in Planning, Productivity

Personal Time Policies

What associations do you have with the words “policies” and “procedures”?  Long lists of rules employees are required to follow?  Pages of legal-speak that large companies produce but which are never read by customers/clients?  Dreaded documents that entrepreneurs are supposed to create during the start-up phase of business?

Harold Taylor & David Allen are two very well-respected experts in the field of time management and productivity.  These experts often speak of a different kind of policy, which many of you have probably never considered as part of your successful business plan: personal time policies.   The concept of personal time policies is that each individual should have their own policies that help guide daily decision-making and use of time.  Any productivity consultant will tell you this is a brilliant idea yet is one that very few business owners implement or even have on their radar.

Think about it; How many times are your actions and decisions driven by what others want, need, and prefer rather than what you or your business want & need?    Sure, you want to be helpful to others, especially your clients and customers, and at times you need to be accommodating, but too often business owners become out of touch and lose sight of their own goals and agendas.

Setting policies for yourself, both in business and in your personal life and relationships, provides consistency and helps you stay true to yourself and to your core values.

Not sure how to go about setting personal policies?  Here are some guidelines to get you started…

  • Determine what values & beliefs you need to honor and protect in work and in your personal life.
  • Discuss your policies with family members and/or co-workers; the people these policies will most impact.  This will help others to understand the decisions you make.
  • Remember that these are guidelines and are always evolving.  Take time to review and adjust them at least once a year.
  • Time policies help you maintain balance in your life and help when making difficult decisions regarding how to budget time.  Two great examples of time policies are:
    • For every new activity I take on, I will let go of another of equal value and time commitment.
    • I will respect my own time as much as I respect the time of others.
  • Write your newly-defined policies down and keep them in a location you look daily!  If they remain only as thoughts, they will quickly be forgotten and dishonored.

Once you become clear on your priorities and policies, you will find yourself making decisions with greater ease and using your time more wisely.

So, what are YOUR personal policies?  Share them with the Small Business Success Project tribe!  We can all learn from one another.