Tag Archive for: #betterbusiness

What makes your company remarkable? What makes your business unique? How do you differentiate your company from others in your market? What is your secret sauce? These are simple questions. Can you offer a simple answer that resonates with your audience?

Every business is unique, even those operating in highly competitive environments, selling “commodity” products and services. Getting clear about your uniqueness is important as it sets the foundation for your marketing material, web page, and sales tools. If you ask these questions to different members of your team, how consistent are the answers?

Companies evolve over time. What made your business remarkable last year might be
different today and will be different again in the future. Here is an easy exercise that will help you and your team draft a current version of your Unique Business Proposition. Try answering these four questions:

1. What do you do? (use short, bullet-point answers)

2. How do you do it?

3. Where do you operate?

4. Who are you? (What special expertise or talent do you offer? Is there something
special about your company culture and values?)

Somewhere in this mix, you should start to see elements that are unique or different about
your company. Try drafting two or three versions of your Unique Business Proposition,
what makes you remarkable. Next, talk with your customers about this topic (without leading them). Listen very carefully to what they say. If you repeat this exercise each time you refresh your business plan, 3-4 times a year, your entire team will have a current version, your website will gain traction, and you will boost confidence in your marketing and sales team. For more information on planning structure and content please visit PlanGenie.com


The first step for writing a planning document for your business is designing the structure
for your plan.

With a clear and coherent structure, the task of planning is much easier. You simply fill in
the content, and Presto! you have a working plan for your business. And the structure can
be reused each time you need to make a change to you plans.

To help you get started, we designed a universal structure that will fit any business, large
or small, at any stage of its growth, from start-up to preparing for sale.

Step 1 – Plan Summary
This is a short document that contains the following information: your unique business
proposition, your purpose, your short-term and long-term goals, as well as the major action
items that will help you accomplish your goals.

Step 2 – Values/Culture
Another short document that identifies and clarifies how you expect everyone in the
company to behave and to exercise judgment when dealing with non-routine challenges
that arise.

Step 3 – Where you are now
In this step we would gather four important pieces of information that explains your current
picture and helps you identify changes going forward: your target market, your products
and services, your partners and alliances, and your competitors.

Step 4 – Departmental Action Plans
A list of 90-day action plans/projects that involves all the company departments: marketing,
sales, operations, human resources, technology, finance, community, etc.

Step 5 – Organization Structure
Two diagrams: your current organization chart, and a future chart that shows the changes
in resources needed to execute on the action plans.

Once you have captured this information on your initial draft, it is easy to review and

We are on a quest to help business leaders be more successful through better planning. If
you like the ideas expressed in this message, please let us know.

I’ll Show you mine, if you show me yours!


Are you ready and willing to show me yours? – Your Business Plan, that is.

Sharing your written plans with others outside your business is one of the best ways to bring clarity and insights to this document, yet many business leaders are often reluctant to do this.

The key is finding the right audience, someone you trust and is willing to challenge your thinking and provide fresh perspectives. Ideally, you also want someone who has a broad business experience, and not necessarily in your industry.


Some possible examples:

  • Business leaders you may know in other industries who are not connected with your business in any way. Offer to review their plan and exchange ideas – “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” This could be done one-to-one or with a small group, spaced over time. (If you are involved in a CEO peer group such as The Executive Committee, you have access to this type of opportunity on a regular basis.)


  • Senior business bankers


  • Senior business accountants


  • Other professional advisors, such as M&A firms, business coaches or consultants


  • An advisory board (distinct from a formal board)


  • A mentor or coach


You are looking for a coach’s perspective: Does this plan make sense to you? What parts need clarification? What’s missing? Where are my challenges, opportunities, blind spots?

This may be too large a task to complete is a single meeting and may be better tackled one section at a time.

Presenting your plan to others will require you to be more succinct in documenting the plan and will lead to much greater clarity. And, clarity creates confidence.

Don’t be shy, ask for help. I think you will find most people you ask will feel flattered that you reached out to them.

If you need help in structuring your working plan, please visit our web site, plangenie.com