My head seems to be whirling just a little slower now and something is really cool is happening… I am managing to get really clear and concise about what I am am trying to do, why I am trying to do it and how I am going to get there, helping me highlight, what is at the “heart” of my business…
I want to share this with you for a few reasons, first obviously I want to share some idea of my cool plans coming up, but there are a few other reasons…
I fundamentally believe that all businesses benefit not only from being clear and concise but also being transparent about why they are doing things (beyond just making money, obviously a business needs to make to survive) and then be open to reflecting how they are doing things and being open to change when those things don’t line up.
Economies, markets and customer bases are not static, they change, they evolve… If businesses are not open to development and change, they become “stagnant and they die, and the new something or someone comes along and changes things, that’s what the average shelf-life of a business is not that long”*…
Beyond all this, I really think there are many amazing people doing great things and have great ideas in New Zealand and many are coming from a basis where their past experience of businesses in generally may not be that extensive..
As part of the training I have just completed, we were assigned the job of doing a project that helped the community beyond just the one we live in by sharing some knowledge..
Now this model I am going to talk about wasn’t taught to us at the course, but one of the amazing things beyond the information we were taught was the experience to network with people in this newly establishing industry from many varied perspectives, approaching the training from many different “roads” and with many different interests and plans…
Many of us left there beginning a journey to set up our own consultancy businesses, which means a different thing to each of us and we will all have different projects and learnings from the training, but as I sat down and thought, “I need to get clear, it needs to be more concise!” I started having different “models”and templates and past tools pop to the forefront of my.mind and remind me why I remember them, because from all those years of learning, these where the ones that worked…
So I am not sure this would even count as my” project” anyway as it isn’t anything about what we learnt at the course haha but one of the most awesome thing that has happened for me in this process over the last few weeks and even days, is working out how I can best combine my knowledge and skills to do something that I think is really cool.. And this model helped me get clear and concise about it…
It can be used in any business or project, you can use it for your own personal goal setting, I have done so before for myself and with others.. It is a loose model that I have adapted but I don’t consultant with SMEs (small to medium enterprises) or contract in a business development sense anymore but do know lots of people doing amazing stuff, so in the interest of sharing knowledge, not about babywearing or child carrying, but related as it’s how I have applied the model in this case..
If you have a small business, especially if like many other small new Zealand businesses, many could find that business development planners or human resources consultants are probably a cost beyond reach… So as someone who has been employed in that role before, my first step as a business consultant would to make sure you are really clear about what, why and how so we could work together to find the “heart” of what you’re trying to achieve.
This is the model I would use. I would sit with you and talk lots as it takes lots of work to get things clear enough you can put it into three bullet points, which would be my loose rule about how much can go in each section of the diagram. In this case I knew “Why” I wanted to do things, so I started there and worked out the rest as I went…
When I worked with larger established businesses in the past, we have often started at “what” because it was clearer to look the products and service they provided first. If you are trying to use this, just start wherever you feel like you know the answer… Except for the heart, if you think you know something that should go in the heart first, you are probably thinking more of an objective which would go in the “Why” section..
Anyway enough about the model, here is mine, which outlines that at the heart of my business plans for Babywearing with Jess Ltd is ” to boost the profile and awareness of babywearing within New Zealand”.
Here is a PDF version in case the image is too difficult to read and if you are someone who doesn’t like diagrams and would prefer to read the outline of my business plan as a document, I have included a link to this for you here too.
From this point with a client with my “business development consultant” hat on, I would work with them to “beef” up this information in a full written business plan, you can find many templates online, which could then be used to apply for funding, take to investors or other in other planning in development.
Just like life, this isn’t static… Keep redoing it… I did one of these for Babywearing with Jess when I first dived into this crazy journey and reached my then “heart” within a few months which surprised even me! This is my third one for this business process. Keep doing them is my point, if it seems to be the same, start with the area you are most sure about, then reflect and explore if the other two are lined around that… Often, only one or two aspects might change, but what is important is the reflection process, it is key to development and growth.
So hopefully that gives you a clear idea of what I am up to at the moment and busily working on behind the scenes and hopefully by sharing my process and approach, it might help some others using these tools and models I have picked up along the way.
I have also included a blank model of the diagram in PDF version if you would like to use it for your own purposes…If this kind of thing is of interest or beneficial to you, please let me know, I have plenty of other “models” and “templates” that have worked for me over the years that I am drawing on at the moment and am happy to share more of my process if its helpful to others. These models have been used by me and others in charitable, business and personal development and planning so are broadly applicable.
Some examples include “The Sandwich Method” for planning public speaking among others… I have made up great names for them hahah its is a conglomeration of all different kinds of things I have picked up along the way, but as I mentioned, they are the ones I remember because they have worked for me, make sense from the literature, case studies and research within these areas and also the organisations I have been involved with in the past.
Feel free to ask me any questions at all, about the model, about my business outline or projects and watch this space…
There will be more and more details coming from me as I ramp up for a business launch and New Zealand Babywearing Week celebrations!
*This is a quote from an interview my Dad did just before he passed away, it was recorded on 30 Sep, 2010. You can listen to the interview here but I reference it a lot, its not the only information and way I can access my Dad’s knowledge and information he passed onto me, but its been five years since he died… Being able to hear his voice and “quote” him is super special so I do it a bit I guess, plus I love that despite all the countries and stories he could have told in this interview, it is one about New Zealand he talks about… – http://www.boxofcrayons.biz/2009/09/grahame-maher/
To share some of my personal background here in case you where wondering where I am basing my experience, I have a Bachelor of Business (Human Resources major) and Information Management and completed a year of postgraduate studies in International Business at The University of Auckland. I worked for a number of years consulting with small to medium businesses in New Zealand to help them within the areas of HR, information processes and social media management. I have been part of setting up several business and charitable organisations and involved with development and change programs to help achieve organisational and social objectives.
My Dad, Grahame Maher, was first an entrepreneur but then worked as a “change manager” and traveled around the world with the Vodafone group leading change, business set ups and take overs in 7 different countries. He talked a lot about something he called, VBOs (Values Based Businesses). This model came from him to me (I’m not saying he invented it, just that I don’t have the opportunity to ask him where he got it from originally), I have not referenced anything in this document because this process has had me drawing on so many varied experiences and aspects of information and knowledge I have picked up from all over the place, I have adapted this model to make it my own interpretation and as such have changed the name.
If you would like me to find a reference to back up anything I have said in this post, please, I would encourage you to ask in the comments section below because if there is a chance you are questioning if what I have said has any merit or not, then the likelihood is, someone else is too!