A Roadmap to Business Growth and A Prosperous Future

Do you have the key to Growth?

For almost three years, JR Andersen, CEO of mid-size software company Andersen High Tech (AHT), and his board have been uneasy. Business growth has been “OK” at eight percent but the market has been growing at a 15 percent annual rate. With almost half the growth from price increases, unit growth for the main product line has been less than five percent. Fortunately, margins have been expanding nicely along with management bonuses, so things aren’t too bad.

Or are they?

With business growth rates well below the market, AHT is losing customers and hence market share. At a minimum, this means lost opportunities.

Competitors are gaining enough critical mass to develop the next product faster or better. AHT’s biggest competitor has won three bids with “leading edge” requirements, leaving JR worried about his next generation product.

If you were JR and his board, where would you look to escape this predicament? My experience suggests the answer is in marketing strategy, not in technology.

To increase your company’s business growth, your new thinking and priorities should focus on:

– Finding hidden opportunities – Your potential business growth solutions are buried inside your current approach to product enhancement and development.

– Applying product discipline – You need to find and apply the right balance of technical and business factors for proactive product management.

– Discovering customer niches — You need to find specific customers with unique needs that you can serve better than others could.

Six months ago, JR started down this road. Here is his path to business growth success:

Finding the hidden portfolio gold & fixing your R&D investment black hole

AHT had a large “portfolio” of products and product enhancements in development. Like many companies I’ve seen, AHT’s pipeline had many small, incremental projects and very few truly innovative ones.

To fix his R&D problem, JR decided that he needed to divide the projects into 3 categories:

1. Major new products: Greater than 10 percent of firm revenue within three years.

2. Significant product enhancements: defined as substantial new customer functionality.

3. All other.

JR knew there were only four new products underway, counting two in the very early stages. He was surprised to find only seven significant enhancements, and even more surprised to find 73 “all other” projects.

Next, JR needed to understand the resources assigned to each category. Because there had been no central resource tracking, this step was hard for JR’s staff. They had to visit each product group and each functional organization several times before obtaining the necessary information. Everyone was surprised to discover only 20 percent of the resources assigned to major new products and another 15 percent on enhancements–with the remaining 65 percent working on “all other.”

The solution was obvious. Take resources from “all other” and add them to new product development or product enhancements. Not only did this improve confidence in launch dates, it opened a floodgate of possibilities for new products.

Applying Product Discipline

While looking at the AHT product development projects, JR first drew them out on a calendar showing launch dates. Then he asked his engineers and product managers some questions. They included:

– When are intermediate reviews scheduled and who is participating?

– Can you show me the specific customer needs that preceded the technical work?

– For existing products, do the product plans line up with corporate objectives?

– What are the skills and background of the people in product manager roles?

Like many companies, he found AHT only addressed these issues intermittently, meaning he received many answers he did not want to hear. In discussions with the vice presidents at the next staff meeting, JR and his executive management team agreed they needed to personally apply more consistent attention and focus.

Discovering Niches and Segments

Next, JR dug into the product plan for AHT’s product with the largest growth objective. He found the sales target, marketing communications plan, and the planned product enhancements. But the assessment of competitors was weak. Worse, the description of target customers and applications was missing. In other words, no description of why a customer would buy AHT’s product or which customers should be interested.

I’ve seen this pattern at many companies. The value proposition is missing or too broad, without real and specific customer benefits. Crafting a great value proposition includes becoming very specific about benefits in terms that affect the customer’s bottom line.

JR quickly realized that the most productive place to look for revenue growth was in incremental uses and new customers for AHT’s three key existing products. He asked his marketing, sales, engineering and customer service leaders to carefully understand and document each benefit received by current customers, then identify other similar customers.

Business Growth’s Bottom Line

After six months of focus, JR and his board are feeling better. Revenue growth for the last quarter was 17 percent and the most recent product launch was on time. The whole company now has a positive outlook and people are buzzing with energy. It took two new product managers and a lot of executive attention, but the customer niche/value proposition concept has really taken hold. The VP of sales even became a believer when he landed an elusive key account after a presentation of AHT key product benefits (rather than their technical capabilities).

The product launch schedule has six new products and fifteen enhancements in the pipeline, all with strong executive support and no more “black hole.”

I sincerely hope your company isn’t facing the problems faced by JR and his board at AHT. But if you are, try JR’s roadmap for business growth. Find the hidden opportunities, apply product discipline, and discover your customer niches.

B2B marketing expert, Bill Gilbert, has extensive experience in moving telecom and high tech firms, just like yours, from technical focus to a customer-driven brand. For more free business growth tips on how to drive a compelling value proposition, proactively manage new product development, and exploit product portfolios to systematically build brands check out Bill’s blog at: [http://www.b2bgrowthmarketing.com/marketing-blog/]

Author: Bill Gilbert

Business Opportunities – How to Select Wisely

How to Select Wisely

Consider Carefully
Consider Carefully

When you come across a business opportunity, how can you decide if it is a serious proposition or just a scam to get you to part with your money? There are many things to consider when confronted with any business opportunity, no matter how good it sounds or how genuine it might be. Before you start delving into the fine detail you should make a list of criteria that is personal to your requirements.

If the business opportunity offered does not measure up, don’t waste any more time on it. The questions you ask yourself will be very personal to your own requirements but here are some suggestions:

Questions to Ask Yourself

o Does it satisfy my heart’s desire? This is more important than it may seem. All opportunities have times of difficulty. During one of those times, if you can say that this is what you really want to do, it will give you the extra boost you need to push through the problem.

o Do I have the necessary skills? If not, can you afford the time, energy and finances to train?

o Do I have the resources? All business opportunities require a level of investment, at least in time, money and commitment. Do you have what it takes?

o Is there a market? You can use the Internet to see if your business opportunity offers something that is being searched for frequently.

o How profitable will it be? Are the margins high and the marketing costs low enough to make the venture profitable?

Consider Your Answers Carefully

Consider your answers carefully. Understandably, anyone offering you a business opportunity will want your decision quite urgently but if they are not prepared to give you an adequate decision deadline you have to ask yourself one final question:

o Is it a serious business opportunity at all?

Des Vadgama is a leading expert on fast business growth and boosting profits by 50% or more.

So remember before you dive into a new business, consider asking yourself and considering the answers carefully if the business is really for you and have you considered wisely in your selections process.

Author: Des Vadgama

Evaluate Your Business Opportunities With Realistic Expectations

Business Opportunities

Entrepreneurial Spirit
Entrepreneurial Spirit

Business opportunities are small business deals offered primarily to inexperienced entrepreneurs. Business opportunities usually comes as a package deal. Small business opportunities are to be found everywhere, so it should be possible to find something that fit your interests and skills.

Although the Internet has a great number of commercial possibilities, every entrepreneur who take the plunge into an Internet opportunity, doesn’t automatically find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You’ll see fraudulent Internet related opportunities promoted all over the web and through e-mail solicitations. Indeed, some of the pitches even seem designed to take advantage of peoples “Internet innocence”. You need to be cautious, there are no “get rich quick” schemes that really deliver.

Now, if you can reach beyond these scams, there are a huge variety of legit business opportunities available to match almost any interest and working style. You will have a wide range of business opportunities to consider, including Internet based businesses, retail sales, import/export, eBay stores, freelancing, affiliate programs, paid surveys, selling your own products.


If you’re Expecting to make big money overnight you’re being unrealistic. You have to realize that any business will require time and effort before it can produce profit.

You’ll have so many different opportunities available, so you’ll need to take your time picking your niche. Find out where your passion is. It’s a fact that really successful people in business are truly passionate about what they do. If you start with a proven program, add your passion and put in a little effort, success really is possible.

Entrepreneurial Spirit

You can be successful in your own business. The entrepreneurial spirit in people gives them the desire to own, operate, and enjoy the rewards of owning their own companies. Some creativity and a determination to accomplish your goals will take you a long way into a successful business venture.

There are so many work at home business ideas, that your biggest problem will be to weed through the small business opportunities to figure out which ones that are really valid and legal work at home business opportunities. The best home business opportunities will be an excellent chance for: single mothers that need to stay at home with their children, retirees looking to make some extra money, or any one else tired of working in the corporate world.

http://www.small-biz-ideas.net Provides you with a broad range of small business opportunities. Learn more about work from home business opportunities, use the tools, courses and resources!

Author: Ove Nordkvist

Did You Know Opportunity is Knocking at Your Door Right Now – During a Recession?

Finding you directions.
Finding your direction.

Are you going to accept that business opportunity and thrive from it? It’s the opportunity only a recession can bring about. People and businesses are in great need these days. Many challenges, problems and needs are longing for solutions during a recession. People and businesses have had to make changes in the way the live and do business. These changes generate a whole new set of challenges and issues, thus opportunities to provide solutions in the form of products and/or services. Observe what’s going on, listen to what people say and do and you’ll become aware of opportunities to help others in the personal lives and business. think creatively, to dream, to seek out, to observe and learn about challenges. You have or can find the solutions and profit from these new and developing challenges.

How you find an opportunity. Ask yourself these questions and write down the answers. Just to let you know, money is NOT the response to these questions.

1. What are the major needs and necessities of businesses today that they don’t have or are short of?

2. What are significant, basic needs individuals and families have today?

3. What knowledge, experience have you had over the years that can assist each group of people?

4. What skills do you have from your life experiences, career, whatever – that can provide these needs?

5. What existing products do you have or know others have that can be a solution to these needs?

Use your creativity to come up with ideas that will solve the problems and concerns you see, hear and experience. There are more questions, but these will bring forth many good ideas. And, of course, ask other people to get more ideas and solutions. You’ll be surprised at the number of ideas and solutions (opportunities) you will create.

Have fun Choosing an Opportunity: That’s your first task. Choose one, no more than two related opportunities to develop further. You can make your choice in several ways.

a. Choose something you really enjoy, something you have a passion for. Passion makes the work feel so easy. It’s fun, because you enjoy what you are doing.

b. Do brief research and survey of a few people to learn how many people need and will purchase your product(s) and/or services.

A survey of your market niche is important.

c. Determine is you have to develop the product or service or if there is already a solution available that you can market at a profit.

Opportunity is knocking at your door right now. Are you going to open the door, grab the opportunity and make it come to life and profit? It’s up to you to choose.

What’s Next? There are unlimited number of ways to develop that opportunity into a money-making machine…to monetize the solutions. That is a topic for another discussion.

Barbara Filla Business and Life Style Coach and Successful Entrepreneur, helps many become the next success story. Whether you’re looking to create and build a successful business, be an ex-corporate CEO of your own home-based business, the next millionaire Mom or Dad, Barbara can assist you to create a second stream of income and greater peace of mind.



Author: Barbara Filla

Measuring Up Business Opportunities

Measure before you venture.
Measure before you venture.

Choosing the right business opportunities is as important as deciding you want to work at home. I’ve spent a very long time researching work at home plans and systems, learning a lot about all the different types of working at home opportunities. There was so many business opportunities to choose from, it was like a minefield, some were good and some were bad.

From my research I learned that finding home business opportunities was going to be a process of elimination and measuring up the pro’s and con’s of each opportunity. I spent a lot of time and effort browsing through each and every opportunity out there and used a process to help me choose the one that would give me everything I needed on a low budget.

First I spent about two months doing general searches about opportunities, finding mass amounts of different people offering something different or in some cases similar to another opportunity. I have to say at this time I was very skeptical about home business opportunities but I still l wanted to work from home so felt I had nothing to lose.

Being skeptical didn’t help my confidence or my belief that I could really work from the comfort of my own home. So I knew I had to take action and start my own system of belief and weed out the right opportunity for me. I needed to something to eradicate my disbelief, something that would take my mind from skeptical to total belief.

What I did next was to start reading reviews about home business opportunities, I found that some people had successes and lot of people believed that they were all scams. I knew it had to be real otherwise people wouldn’t spend time, effort and money on the internet bragging about their success. I now used my research to my benefit and began weighing up the pro’s and con’s of each opportunity idea and system that I was aware of.

Weighing up the pro’s and con’s was a difficult process, it wasn’t even that rewarding in the beginning because I was finding it difficult to see other success stories and even that some of the idea’s weren’t that convincing nor inviting.

Most of them advertising themselves as a work at home business, I still couldn’t sere the value and how these people were actually using these opportunities to their success. This is where my research took a turn for the best. I looked everywhere for success, stories, forum’s chat rooms and anything out there that showed tell tale signs of a good business opportunity.

I eventually found everything I needed, a number of different business opportunities that caught my eye, the most transparent opportunities. These were the opportunities that would give me the most value for money for my time and effort.

So what I did next was try and find as much information on what each system would require me to do, this is something that the opportunities don’t tell you before you buy in, they just tell you about success and silly amounts of income you can make.

I was amazed to see the workings of some of the systems I had trawled over again and again without being able to see any real value of the systems to me. It actually shocked me that I had seen it months before and not seen the value, all due to lack of research and the lack of knowledge each system would offer on their business opportunity homepage.

Now I got realistic about working from home, my belief increased, energy levels and the power of knowing what each system would require of me. So eventually I had found the true value, I was able to see how it was all possible and start eliminating the opportunities that weren’t for me.

Eventually I had found three good working systems that I knew I had the ability to make it work for me. So From these three I chose one and started my journey to working from home. I bought into a cheap and cost effective system, that taught me the basics and a lot of stuff the experts don’t want you to know for such a small price tag. I was already keen on the computer, in fact the keyboard was already rarely away from my fingertips but why wasn’t I using my time to start working form home? The easy answer is that I hadn’t seen the value in any product up until when I took my time to really look deeper and see the value of each system and how they are amazingly versatile and resourceful.

So in measuring up all the business opportunities I was so happy to see results after many months of being skeptical and not seeing any true potential all because I hadn’t take plenty of focused effort to measure up the right opportunity for me.

I wish everyone that starts gets involved in home business opportunities all the success in the future and that you too can find a versatile and rewarding opportunity.

By Mark Raff

I wish everyone that starts gets involved in home business opportunities all the success in the future and that you too can find a versatile and rewarding opportunity.

My Blog and How I Leaned [http://www.squidoo.com/My-Online-Income-Strategy]

My Top 3 Opportunities [http://www.meetmarkrafferty.com]

Author: Mark Raff

Finding and Creating Business Opportunities

Find Business Opportunities

How, in your own lives can you find and more importantly create opportunities?

In the Chinese language, you have the character representing crisis and the character representing change. When these are combined you have the character representing opportunity. Now why is that? Why is it that when crisis and change merge you have opportunity?

Because when crisis and change merge you have disequilibria. You have changing laws or changing conditions. New needs and problems are created and often it is up to the entrepreneurs to fill those needs.

Whenever you experience new things or the world around is changing, there will always be lots of opportunities. Here are some tips for finding, creating, and taking advantage of opportunities.

– You must live your life wholly and fully as an entrepreneur. Your job isn’t being an entrepreneur. You ARE an entrepreneur. You must keep your eyes open at all times.

– The more you travel to other regions and countries, the more opportunities you will see. Often in other places things are done differently or there are good products that haven’t yet reached your country.

– You must be a networker. The more people you talk to the more opportunities you will find out about. It is not just what you know but also who you know and how well you know them that counts.

– You must be in it for the long run. You cannot be discouraged by setbacks or mistakes. You must have perseverance, learn from your mistakes, and keep going. As you learn more and gain more experience you’ll be able to see and be prepared for more and more opportunities.

– The world is filled with opportunities just waiting to be found by an energetic and intelligent person.

– Too many people wait for opportunities to come to them. Don’t. Don’t wait for the opportunities to come to you. Create the opportunity for yourself. This is what entrepreneurs do. We see a need or a problem and from that derive an idea. Then, through doing all those steps I listed a few minutes ago we create an opportunity that hopefully will be validated in the marketplace.

– You must have the opportunity mindset. You must be looking for and evaluating opportunities constantly. You must make time to talk to others about what opportunities they are pursuing. You must become magnetized towards opportunity.

Let me conclude this section with a quote from one of my favorite authors. His name is Napoleon Hill and the quote is “Every adversity comes with it a seed of equal or greater benefit.” “Every adversity comes with it a seed of equal or greater benefit.” Another good quote is, “There is no person worth remembering that lived a life of ease.”

You will be discovering many many opportunities for learning, for partnership, for collaboration during your lives. From the adversity of life there will come many benefits and opportunities. Take advantage of every one of them.

Ryan Allis is the founder of http://www.zeromillion.com, a leading entrepreneurship resource with over 3000 articles, 100 interviews, and a free monthly newsletter The Entrepreneurs’ Chronicle. Ryan is the author of the book Zero to One Million.

Author: Ryan Allis

Can Anyone Become A Successful Business Person?

Successful Business

Can anyone become a successful business person? I am asked this question many times after I have given a speech on business procedures and strategies. The answer is not that simple.

Before we get to the answer, let me ask you a question. Can anyone become a successful medical doctor? To become a doctor, there are several very important factors that have to be given a lot of careful thought and consideration.

First, you have to be interested in the field of medicine. Then develop a passion for this profession – find out all you can, do plenty of research and get professional advice.

Once you have made your firm decision, you have to go to medical school and learn from the work of those who have researched, developed and established the field of medicine through trial and error.

When you graduate from medical school, you have another very important decision to make. Are you going to specialize in any particular field of medicine like cardiology, gynecology, anesthesiology or any other particular area of medicine.

If you decide to specialize, you will have to go back to school and qualify in your chosen field.

After you graduate, you will have to serve an internship either at a hospital or with a specialist in your field who might decide to take you under his or her wing and give you some hands on practical experience under supervision.

Then you will be ready to venture out on your own. You can set up your own office or join a group of doctors who work from one office.

Some doctors, after graduating from medical college and having served an internship, decide to go into general practise. General practitioners, who usually act as “Family Doctors” examine patients and refer them to specialists to deal with a particular medical problem.

For example, a person with a heart problem will be refered to a cardiologist; a person with a skin problem to a dermatologist and so on.

Becoming a medical doctor is not easy. You have to be interested in the field of medicine, develop a passion, be dedicated, educate yourself, get the proper training and work at it passionately on a consistant basis.

Since new discoveries are being made in the field of medicine constantly by researchers and other scientists, everyone in the medical profession has to keep up with all the new developments.

I have never heard of any doctor who has gone through all the education, training, internship etc. failing in this profession. There are those who might change course. For example, a general practitioner might decide to go into research.

But doctors never fail to be doctors unless they give up or retire. Doctors take their profession very seriously and succeed always. There is no such thing as failure in the medical profession.

Now to get to the question, “Can anyone become a successful medical doctor?” The answer is “Yes! Anyone who really wants to can become a successful medical doctor.”

The key words here are, “Anyone who really wants to.”

Let us get back to our original question. “Can anyone become a successful business person?” The answer is, “Yes! Anyone who really wants to, can become a successful business person.”

To become a successful business person, you will have to make several important choices. choices like,

1) What type of business do you want to get into? 2) Are you passionate about the field you have chosen? 3) Are you willing to devote enough time and energy to your business? 4) Are you prepared to do whatever it takes to succeed? 5) Are you willing to stick to it till you succeed?

Then you have to research your field of interest, educate yourself, get the proper training, lay the foundation and work at it consistantly. If you do everything properly, success is inevitable. Ask any successful business person and he or she will tell you what they had to go through to achieve success.

A business should be taken seriously and treated like a profession, not as a hobby. Then with the correct, persistant action taken on a daily basis, you are sure to succeed. There is no doubt about it.

Those who do not succeed in business are the ones who are looking for “An easy way to make money.” These are the same people who buy lottery tickets and hope to strike it rich overnight. According to statistics, the chances of a person winning a lottery is one in 168 million.

But the chances of succeeding in a business, if done in the proper way is 100%. There is no “Easy way” to make money in any business. Passion, dedication, knowledge, education, hard work are all necessary ingredients. Once you get started and get some experience under your belt, things will become easier and easier.

Yes! Anyone who really wants to, can become a successful business person and make a living or even become very rich. Lots of people who have followed the correct path have succeeded in business and are continuing to do so. “Everyone wants to succeed but few are willing to pay the price.”

You can become a successful business person “If You Really Want To.”

Patrick Silva is a Seminar Instructor, a Researcher and a Public Speaker. He is the editor of “A Learners Lounge,” a free ezine dedicated to inspire and motivate you to achieve success. To subscribe to A Learners Lounge, please click on the URL below.


If the above URL is not an active link, please copy and paste it in your browser.


Author: Patrick Silva
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
PCB Manufacturer

Business Strategy For Challenging Times

Clear Direction
Clear Direction

The importance of strategy to steer organizations during uncertain times in unchartered territories could not be overemphasized and the current crisis proves it. The role of business leaders is fundamental in strategy development and execution and key contributor to a successful strategy implementation.

Whilst one of the main roles of business leaders is to set and communicate vision, mission and strategic objectives, many fail in the execution process as they get sucked into the details of day to day tactics. With the “big-picture” view, the leadership is able to view the ever changing environment and decide on how the organization needs to respond and to steer the organization towards the longer-term objectives. Whilst the strategic vision remains the same, the route to reach the destination might follow different tactics and game plans.

The word strategy is attributed to the military as its origin was originally derived from the Greek word for “army”. It describes a plan of action developed to realize a specific goal, bearing in mind the difference between strategy and tactics. Tactics is generally concerned with the manner an engagement is conducted, whilst strategy deals with how various engagements are interconnected.

Strategy is all about clarity, and if the strategy is not simple, clear and well-understood, it will not be accomplished. It represents the organization’s main direction and prime focus and defines the way to get there. It can only be executed if everyone involved knows what is expected of them and their purpose is totally aligned with its direction.

In business, the term strategy is frequently badly and inconsistently defined. Business people involved in formulating the strategy understand it well, whilst the majority others do not, particularly if they are not engaged in its development or strategy is not communicated down to them. Others mix strategy with vision and tactics.

Strategy is a real differentiator, often seen as the secret for long-term success and one of the leadership characteristics. It unites the whole workforce, nurtures and develops opportunities and ensures endurance during crises or tough times.

Although strategy represents a solid and firm direction, it should not be built into stone. Instead, it should be adaptable to reflect changes in the environment, whether it is politically, economically, socially, technologically or legally related. Business leaders must have clear business goals and be flexible and brave to continuously recalibrate their strategy. When times are tough and visibility is not so clear, leaders must have the buoyancy to be pragmatic and adaptable, as in the mist of chaos comes huge opportunities.

Unsuccessful companies are those which do not embrace new ideas, broaden their thinking or are totally unaware of changes in their environment. Changing circumstances may necessitate a change in direction and stubbornness and fixed ideas can frequently be the enemy of business leaders.

Business strategy is all about developing a viable plan for sustained business growth, possibly diversifying into new markets or cross selling to existing customers. Adequately qualified senior executives tend to have clear views of what their business strategy means. Good strategies are not glossy documents produced to be stacked on shelves to collect dust, but rather to be communicated, executed and monitored.

Leaders are expected to champion and drive the process of strategy execution by putting the strategy into action; after all the strategy does not mean anything unless it is fully communicated throughout the organization.

The strategy can be viewed as the story of how a business plans to develop in the next few years; investments to make, markets to address, products to develop, territories to compete in, partnerships and alliances, etc. A good strategy is simple, clear, credible, motivating and reflects the distinctive features of the business. Whilst strategies may end up looking the same, the brands and the culture of the organizations will be different.

The real test to establish whether a strategy is good or not can be seen during difficult times e.g. the current global credit crunch, as business leaders are tempted under such conditions to lose their sense of direction and seek ways to cut costs and maintain margins. The leadership’s thinking should be focused mainly on the strategy and nothing else. Companies are encouraged to continually health-check their strategy against various potential scenarios.

During changes in the working environment or tough times, the leadership should review their business strategy to assess whether it is still prudent and acceptable to adopt a more flexible approach to the execution process, for example accelerate making an investment or divesting an existing business segment. Business leaders should continuously be working on the company’s strategy, since the business environment is changing all the time with lots of threats and lots of emerging opportunities. Therefore, business leaders need to be regularly monitoring their business environment and taking a view of where the market is headed and to conduct fitness-check of their strategy.

Business strategies succeed only when they are well-developed and formulated, well communicated to the whole workforce, business functions are aligned to the corporate strategic objectives, incentives are aligned with individuals’ performance, and most importantly when the leadership is involved in the strategy formulation and execution process.

Dr Yahya Shakweh is a Vice President at Advanced Electronics Company, Saudi Arabia. The views expressed in this article are the author’s personal opinion.

Author: Yahya Shakweh

Interrogative Negotiating Strategy

Once upon a time… A tale.

There were two sisters and one orange. Each wanted the orange for herself. After much bickering and unpleasantness, they decided the only fair resolution was a 50-50 compromise. They cut the orange in half. One sister made orange juice and threw away the rind. The other sister made orange bread from the rind and threw away the pulp. Each sister half-won and half-lost. The orange was half-wasted. What could have happened if they’d tried to negotiate?

What is negotiating? It is an interactive decision making process where both negotiating partners meet their interests. It is a type of presentation that requires particularly careful preparation because we anticipate differences of perspective or opinion, perhaps even conflict. An effective negotiating process, in fact, helps prevent conflict. The desired outcome is a meeting of the minds with a mutually agreed-upon plan of action.

The benefits of good negotiating are:

Increased trust and respect. Both negotiation partners openly exchange thoughts without judgment, accusation or hidden agendas. Best mutual outcome. Both negotiation partners win. Solutions are well thought out and meet the interests of both.

Excellent long term customer relations. We are most comfortable with people, personally and professionally, when we are confident that we can work out our differences. Customers stay with businesses that have their best interests at heart.

The Interrogative Negotiating Strategy is a system for planning and conducting all types of negotiations. Family members have different ideas about where to travel together this year. People we work with have different ideas about what is best.

Why interrogative? James Thurber said “It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.” We negotiate because there is no mutually obvious answer. We have to examine a scope of considerations to arrive at the best solution. We have to ask the right questions and generate creative possibilities. This four step strategy asks questions to get to the heart of negotiating quickly, positively, creatively and decisively.

Step 1: What is your interest? What is your negotiation partner’s interest?

The most successful negotiations consider the interests versus the positions of the negotiating partners. “Position” means what you want. “Interest” means why this is important to you. Negotiating from “position” is a good way to start conflict immediately. Witness the Orange Sisters − “I want that orange!” “No! I want it more than you do!” Had they asked “Why?” there would have been an instantly obvious solution and two completely happy sisters.

Step 2: What are the matches? What are the gaps?

It seems intuitive to begin a negotiation with points of disagreement, or “gaps”. After all, the gaps are what we are negotiating about. We tend to assume the similarities need no discussion. Therefore our stance with our negotiating partner is off to a contentious start. When we examine “matches” first, we are likely to discover that we have many shared interests. We are largely on the same side of the fence. Now we are partners who can examine the gaps from a base of commonality.

Step 3: What are the possibilities? What are the limitations?

When we move from gaps to solutions, we limit our thinking to the obvious. In this step, brainstorm without solution. Again, start with the positive − possibilities. Build on the matches. Be clear about limitations. Do not set the stage for unrealistic expectations.

Step 4: What are the action options? What are the criteria for choosing? What actions to take?

Still brainstorming, what are all possible actions? Evaluate those actions in light of your and your negotiating partner’s interests, i.e. your criteria for choosing a solution. A selection grid with your interest criteria across the top and actions down the side gives you a clear visual to narrow and select your actions. Prioritize the criteria. Now you can select the action items that satisfy the most important criteria.

At the end of this process, you and your negotiation partner have mutually decided on a solution satisfying both of your interests. All you have to do is take the actions you have selected. You may want to set a time to follow up with each other, to make sure all is going according to plan and to tweak your solution as needed.

Susan deGrandpre is the owner and principal consultant of Collaboration Consulting. Her website is http://www.CollaborationConsulting.biz She can be reached at Susan@CollaborationConsulting.biz. She is the author of the forthcoming book “Common-Sense Workplace Mentoring.” The world and the workplace are way too complex for business people to go it alone. For over 25 years, Susan has shown leaders and employees how to boost their organizations and their careers by systematically merging their knowledge and expertise with each other’s.

Susan teaches business people to collaborate for success. Her clients learn to:
*Anticipate and exceed customer expectations.
*Spend fewer training dollars by using the talent already within the organization.
*Solve problems seamlessly.
*Maintain intellectual capital.
*Improve productivity.
*Install great collaboration as a primary strategy to thrive in a challenging economy.

She consults, designs programs, facilitates, trains and coaches in the areas of:
*Structuring Delegation
*Building Workplace Mentoring Systems
*Developing Strong Teams
*Teaching Productive Communication Skills
*Customer Service

Author: Susan DeGrandpre

Check out our Negotiating – The Quest for Success workshops.


The Top 10 Qualities of Your Next Winning Goal

No matter what you’re going for in your life, having a goal is an essential part of the process. When you have a goal, you’re more focused, you’re more motivated and you’re clearer about where you’re going.

Making decisions is easier when you have a goal, because if you’re really honest with yourself you know if one particular choice is leading you towards your l or away from it.

When you don’t have a goal, life can be aimless, stagnant, depressing or self-destructive. Chasing the wrong goal, though, might be even worse than not having one at all.

Here are the Top 10 Qualities of Your Next Winning Goal

  1. Fun. When the game is fun, the goals get done. Whatever your goal, make sure it’s something you can enjoy working towards. Find a path to the finish line that makes use of your strengths and gives you opportunities for connection, fulfillment and joy.
  2. Realistic. Your goal needs to be realistic and not too lofty — a marathon runner aims to run one mile, 26 times. Use your track record of meeting or not meeting previous goals as your guide. Not meeting your goals has as much to teach you as meeting them — instead of giving up, break the goal down further.
  3. Personal. Goals need to be something you want to achieve, based on your own passion and vision. If a goal is something you or someone thinks you “should” do, it’s not your goal.
  4. Concrete. Your goal needs to be tangible and definable. “I’m going to spend more time with my children,” is an admirable thought. “I’m going to spend 30-minutes reading a bedtime story to my children every night,” is a goal.
  5. Revered. Achieving a goal is cause for celebration. Too often people swing from berating themselves for not working hard enough or letting themselves off the hook, to shrugging off their
    accomplishments because they’re too busy chasing the next goal.
  6. Extraordinary. Eleanor Roosevelt implored, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Your goal should be outside of your comfort zone, outside of your job description, outside of your daily routines and rituals that you’re going to do anyway. We set a goal when we want to do MORE or do better.
  7. Flexible. You may need to shift and adapt your goals if you find you’re consistently off track. How can you think outside of the box and still get where you want to go?
  8. Applied. You can only turn your passions and dreams into reality by setting and reaching your goals. Decide what you want, what you’re going to do to get it, write it down and start doing it. Don’t take it lightly, live your life “on purpose.”
  9. Top-of-mind. Goals need your attention, or they can be easily obliterated by daily life; other things will inevitably become more important and take over. Make your goals fit in with what you also want to do for your family, career and community, so that you’re not choosing between them.
  10. Shared. Goals need to be spoken out loud, committed and shared. When someone else knows what you’re trying to accomplish, you give them the opportunity to support you. And for them, you’re a living role model of inspiration, passion and purpose.

If your previous attempts to improve yourself have failed, go back to the drawing board and make sure that you’re working towards the right goal. Once you set a winning goal for yourself, the road to change becomes clear.

(c) Copyright 2008, Mark Ford


For more than fifteen years, Mark Ford has been inspiring countless people to do things a little bit differently, to put fun back into the equation and to think outside the box. He has assisted top level executives and business leaders to increase individual and organizational performance, as well as to improve communication, leadership and motivation. To receive Mark’s monthly newsletter, Go for it!, sign up at http://www.ffgroupconsulting.com

Author: Mark W. Ford
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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