Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image
Chris LoCurto

By

March 11, 2014

Your Strategic Planning Questions Answered [Podcast]

March 11, 2014 | By | 3 Comments">3 Comments

On todays podcast, team member Joel Fortner joins me to answer your questions about strategic planning!

In this episode, I dig into my strategic planing process and answer questions like:

  • Why does strategic planning matter?
  • What’s involved in a strategic plan?
  • How do you implement and follow through once you’ve got the strategic plan?
  • What kind of information do you get out of a strategic plan?
  • How far ahead do you plan out the future of your company?
  • How often do you revisit a strategic plan?
  • When do you re-vamp a strategic plan?
  • Will you make more money and increase revenue?

I’ll also be sharing stories from several companies that have gone through my Strategic Planning events and have had tremendous success.

“The Strat Plan gave us perspective on our business that we could have never obtained on our own. We gently peeled back the leadership lid that was creating a bottleneck to our companies growth opportunities. The step-by-step guidance of the Strat Plan methodically helped us develop a vision that gave us the gift of unlimited potential. We were able to shift away from a singular event driven momentum so we can now engage in the long term process of success.” - Brian Staley, ITG

Question: What else do you want to know about the strategic planning process?

 

Chris LoCurto

By

March 4, 2014

Steps to Grow Your Business [Podcast]

March 4, 2014 | By | 5 Comments">5 Comments

Today’s podcast is my response to a great question that came in on the blog from Matt Ham:
Chris – how do you decide the next right steps when processing through growing a business? Is there a particular order that you recommend?
Subscribe to the podcast:          iTunes  Stitcher Radio  SoundCloud
  1. Revenue: It’s all about revenue in the beginning phases. Where there is no margin, there is no business. If you’re not actually making revenue, guess what, you don’t have a business! Utilize guerilla marketing and social media to build your platform as inexpensively as possible. Once you’re making a profit and the business is humming, move to the next step.
  2. Hires: Who do you hire first? Based on the first step, I’m always going to start with a sales person. Why? I need to bring revenue in and a sales person cost justifies. If they don’t sell, they don’t get paid. Now, if you are the one selling and doing an incredible job, you’d be best served to hire an admin person to take tasks off your plate that keep you from selling. Admin people are a fixed expense. If you don’t have the revenue, be careful on the budget balance.
  3.  Marketing: Think tactically not expensively. What can you do with your website? Is it functional and aesthetic? What can you do with SEO like keywords, adwords, content creation, etc. How can you continue to bolster your platform by spending a little bit of money?  Sneak peak – we’re going to be launching marketing coaching soon. 
  4. Strategic: Up until this point, you should be focused on the here and now. Once you get to this step, you should start thinking 6 months to a year out. What can you do as far as future initiatives? Are you launching new products or services? What about marketing strategies? What is the most important thing to grow the company in the next 6 months. Don’t just drop ideas into place and hope they work out. You need a system that outlines the most important thing to do going forward. After our Strategic Planning events, businesses usually leave with 4 to 6 initiatives and they leave knowing nothing is more important that those items. If you focus on those things, you grow.

Those are the steps I’d go through if I was a small business starting out or growing. On the next episode, we’re going to be answering any question you have about the process of strategic planning or our event. Comment on this post and be sure to listen for the answer on The Chris LoCurto Show next week!

Dillanos CoffeeWe tasted the Pak Dadi blend from Dillanos Coffee Roasters today. Get 15% off your coffee order by using the code “CLOTRIBE”

Question: What do you want to know about Strategic Planning?

Chris LoCurto

By

March 3, 2014

Business Plan Mission And Vision

Without a mission and a vision, you’re just another product on a shelf! Last week we talked about Why You Should Write A Business Plan.

Success and Failure, ChrisLoCurto.com, mission statement, business plan, vision, mission and vision, mission statement definition, vision definition, mission strategy, vision strategy, business mission & strategy, company mission statement, small business plan, how to write business plan, how to write mission statement, mission statement, how to create vision, vision for business, vision for entrepreneur,

This week we continue the series and discuss mission and vision. Now, I can tell you that I’ve had everyone and their brother argue with me on the definitions of mission and vision.

For the sake of this post, mission is what God is telling you that you’re supposed to do, and vision is where you’re going. If you don’t agree with that, it’s ok. You can be wrong, I don’t mind.

When it comes to writing a business plan, I believe it is imperative for you know what it is you’re supposed to do. If you’re a believer, then you should be spending countless hours in prayer asking for God to show you exactly what it is that He wants His business to do.

Notice that I said HIS business. You see, you have to make a choice. Is it YOUR business, or HIS? If it’s yours, do whatever you want. If it’s His, you might want to follow His lead and make your mission about what He’s telling you. If you’re not a believer, then follow your heart to the best of your ability and make sure it’s about helping people. You can’t go wrong there.

Career coach Dan Miller says your mission should be about:

  • Your Skills and Abilities
  • Personality Traits
  • Dreams and Passions

Write out exactly what your top qualities are in each of these areas, and then work hard at forming a sentence with those exact words. Try making it no more than 12 – 14 words so it’s easily memorable.

Work to craft that into a viable Mission Statement that represents you well (keeping in mind its not chiseled in stone). A mission statement is viable as long as that’s what God is telling you to do.

When it comes to vision, you have to realize a couple things:

  1. Vision is where you are headed. It’s not a dream, it’s not a goal, it’s the destination you’re moving toward until you have a new destination.
  2. Proverbs 29:18 reads, ”Where there is no vision, the people perish.” I have done a word study on perish to find that it means to be set out in a dessert with no food, no water, and no possible way back to civilization. You literally just wither away and die. I think we can all claim a former job where we felt that way. If you don’t have a vision, YOU, YOUR COMPANY, AND YOUR TEAM ARE PERISHING!!

Therefore, it is vital to have a vision that you share repeatedly. To discover your vision, write down where you are right now as a company. Then, write down where you are headed. Finally, write down how you will get there.

With this, formulate your vision according to where you are going. This gives you and your team something to aim at.

Adding these to your business plan will help you to see that you have more than just an idea. It’ll show that you have a direction and a future.

Question: How important is mission and vision to YOUR success?

By the way, we’ve had a couple coaching spots open up for next week. If you’re interested click here.

Chris LoCurto

By

February 25, 2014

How Your Past Can Change Your Future [Podcast]

February 25, 2014 | By | 5 Comments">5 Comments

Subscribe to the podcast:          iTunes  Stitcher Radio  SoundCloud

Every time I do a LifePlan, I spend several hours going over the major turns in each participants life. Major turns are key events from your past that help you gain perspective on where you’re at and where you’re going. It’s literally a process of sharing the major changes from your life, like moving as a kid or marriage, loss, accepting Christ, etc. It doesn’t have to be something big, heavy and deep but it very well could be.

Typically, we get around 10 to 15 major turns or changes in each LifePlan. Of course this depends on age and experience too. Some people have 10, others have 18. There’s no right or wrong number but a major turn isn’t just a continuation of an event, it’s something that actually changed the direction of your life.

Here’s what I want you to do:

Think back as far as you possibly can and start writing down the major turns in your life. You’re not doing this to re-live stuff or make monsters or victims. It’s about understanding and gaining perspective. Once you’ve written down every major turn up until now, write down what the impact was in your life on every major turn. How did it affect you? Here’s an example from my life:

  • Discovering I wouldn’t make the Olympic team – I was shooting for the ’88 Olympics and sponsorships were not allowed. When I discovered that my family couldn’t afford it, I was devastated. Skiing in the Olympics was my biggest dream and goal. I was so angry that I stopped skiing. I started hanging out with an unsavory crowd. I convinced myself not to dream or shoot for anything big because I could get my heart broken. It impacted me by starting a decision making process that messed me up for 10 years. I didn’t want to stick my neck out, hope or dream.

Thankfully, after 10 years, I realized what I was doing to myself by giving up on something I loved. I immediately booked a trip to the mountains, rented skis and raced. I’ve been doing that just about every year since. It’s a love of mine. It’s energizing. I finally realized that I made a decision that didn’t just have to do with skiing. Every time I went to make a big decision, I choose not to do anything I could get hurt over.

I began of process of running every major decision through the filter of “Is this going to let me down?” If so, I’m not going to do it.

I had to change force of habit thinking. When we make decisions based on habits of the past, we loose out on some of the great moments or greatest changes in our lives. We do it because we don’t truly understand the perspective of our past. I didn’t have to look back and be mad or make monsters or victims. I simply had to ask, “How did that impact me?” As I understood that, I realized I’d put a decision making process in place that would affect me for 10 years. To this day, it’s something I have to rule out as a part of my process.

That’s why I want you to do this. Take time this week, schedule it in, and go through your major turns. If you want to dig deeper into gaining perspective on your life, check out LifePlan by inquiring on the page & we will reach out to you with additional information.

Question: How has understanding the past changed your future?

 

Chris LoCurto

By

February 24, 2014

Why You Should Write A Business Plan

February 24, 2014 | By | 17 Comments">17 Comments

Last week, we kicked off a content series around starting a new business with the How To Fund A Business video. Many of you have asked about how to write a business plan so today we start with the WHY.

Business plan, why you should write a business plan, ChrisLoCurto.com, Business Plan, importance of business plan, how to write business plan, small business plan, writing business plan, create business plan, why you need business plan, do you need business plan, creating business plan, business plan 101, start business, start-up business, start-up plan,

While some businesses make it without a business plan, I’ve seen a TON of businesses close their doors because they never had a plan to begin with.

You’ve heard the old saying, “Few people plan to fail, but many fail to plan.” So have a plan!

For me, there are three main reasons to write a business plan. Ok, there’s a fourth, but you’ll see my response below.

Definition - Start by defining a few things:

  • Product or Service – What in the world is it that you’re planning on doing? You have to be able to completely define what the product or service is, what it does, how it’s used, etc. If the customer can’t understand it, they surely won’t buy it.
  • Customers – You would be shocked at the number of highly profitable corporations that have launched products that nobody wanted. Hello, New Coke circa 1985. Everyone has an idea that is their baby. The problem is, not everyone thinks it’s cute. Do a lot of market research to find out if people even want to purchase your baby…uhhh, product.
  • Competition – It’s not enough to have a great product idea, you have to know if anyone else had the great idea too. Is your idea going to catch fire more than what’s out there? If you run up against someone who already has a foothold, you might find your incredible idea struggling to get any attention. Anyone remember Betamax?

Viability – By definition, viability is having the ability to live and grow normally. Can the product or service you have grow because of demand, or will it just be a flash in the pan?

Way too many times I see people want to launch a product because of the “perfect storm” moment, only to realize by the time it gets to market, the storm has changed direction.

You have to be able to forecast your Product Life Cycle to the best of your ability. This can be both stunning, and comforting at the same time.

Startup costs – It doesn’t matter how great your product idea is if you have no clue how much it will cost to get it to a sellable model. It’s vital for you to think through every possible cost on the front side, before going into production. It’s hilarious how the standard of building a house is to give the customer a budget, and then go 30% over. Everyone in the construction community understands that but the customer.

I’ve coached a few entrepreneurs who started building their business before counting the cost, only to come to a screeching halt due to a lack of funds. It happens a lot in the restaurant world.

Financing - Oh heck no. I’m not going to give you financing as a reason why to write a business plan. If you have to borrow or get venture capital, then start your business plan with, “This will most likely cause me a great deal of pain, stress, pain, anxiety, and PAIN!”

So, those are just a few reasons WHY you need to write a business plan. Understanding these aspects in the beginning could be the difference between moving forward or not, as well as succeeding or not.

Question: How valuable is the WHY when starting a business?