What does your business need? Find it on the MARGIN Menu
How we developed the Margin Menu
Edgy, rebellious, urban, hip and artistic, Gabriel introduced himself as a hip hop promoter and lifestyle merchandiser. With shocking blue eyes, he was also compassionate, caring, and benevolent with a servant heart. He was one of my first clients under my newly formed consulting company. And he came as a referral looking for help formulating his brand promise.
After several fairly long sessions we did exactly what his fledgling company needed; we carefully crafted a strong brand identity that would resonate with the intended customer base. Now he’d need to create the roadmap to implement his strategy and ask for the attention of his audience. In other words he needed to write a business plan.
Gabriel’s work was just beginning. I thought my work was done.
I was beyond surprised when Gabriel turned to me and asked, “What would it cost for you to write the plan?” I hadn’t seen that one coming. But once I settled into the idea and we figured out the fee I went about doing what I do best; conducting the background research, developing financial projections and creating both the promotional and implementation plan.
Oh, did I fail to mention I’m a professional writer and a published author? I am. I have written everything from book chapters to blog posts. And in over twenty years I’ve never met a writing assignment I didn’t love.
This year marks four years since I wrote Gabriel’s business plan. Since Gabriel I’ve written countless full-blown business plans, marketing strategies and focus plans under the MARGIN brand. Writing strategic, implementable plans is at the core of MARGIN.
In other words we don’t just talk about success. We write the plan that will take you there.
The MARGIN Menu
In my experience every growing business has one annoying problem that just can’t seem to be solved. It might be a feast or famine sales situation, a revolving door of crazy employees, or promotional strategies that consistently under perform. It’s that one thing that if solved would be such an encouraging sign about the viability of your company.
Finally solving that problem is what Focus on 5 is all about.
The Focus on 5 sessions produce a concise business development plan that plows through your core business problems. Unlike a full-blown business plan, Focus on 5 was developed to quickly zero-in on one problem at a time and eradicate it. The results? A business that can finally breathe and grow.
Focus on 5 uses five steps to create business change. With Focus on 5 that change is blissfully maintained.
The targeted 5 step process:
Identifies the problem
Defines what needs to change
Builds the change strategy
Creates the operational action
Evaluates the outcome
If there’s one thing I know for certain about small business development is that it’s virtually impossible to go it alone. We all come to our business with strengths and weakness. For instance when I started my first bakery I was a fabulous baker and a lousy business person. I knew nothing about costs, overhead, inventory control, employees, IRS, etc.
So if it hadn’t been for those more experience than me; nonprofits that catered to small business development, accountants, sales professionals, and friends who would pick me up when I was falling, my bakery would not have experienced success. Nor would I have developed the skills, the confidence and the ability to grow successful businesses.
Our Business Counseling program is outcome focused. I am a results kind of person. I create conversations that go beyond motivational and inspirational to operational. My mission is that through our relationship you taste success. It could be increasing your understanding of financial statements and how they paint a picture of your business activity. It could be your profit model, cash flow, marketing strategies or any business activity that seems to be creating a bottleneck or barrier.
Any area that grows your business while providing you with increased business confidence is the focus of our Business Counseling.
Usually delivered with a monthly commitment, we’ve recently added a more casual program.
With over 20 years of small business experience, I know that sometimes a month-long commitment with a series of sessions is not what you’re looking for. You simply need a listening ear with an experienced entrepreneur to support you as you work through an issue or challenge lurking within your small business or your small business idea.
So along with longer term Business Counseling sessions, we've also added single sessions.
You pick whatever is right for you – a monthly plan or a session or two. With either program; I’d love to work with you.
Business Plans have such a bad reputation. And yet in the early days of my business I made costly mistakes because I was “winging it.” Everything I did was trial and error. Setting off without a real plan can be pricey in both time and money.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against (actually love) a sort of free-flowing, react in the moment, spontaneous business approach. Especially the first 6 months of the business when you’re feeling around for your sweet spot. But after that it becomes just a little reckless, maybe a little self-defeating. Allow me the old roadmap analogy; it takes so much longer to reach our destination without knowing where we're going.
Before I was a small business person I was a professional writer, plying my craft at publishing companies. Over the years I've used my writing ability to craft many types of business documents. I'm one of those odd people that truly loves writing business plans and targeted marketing and focus plans.
To build valuable plans there must be at their core a useful, implementable, executable strategy. And that’s what we research and write. Anything else would simply sit on the shelf and gather dust.
I believe in planning. There I said it. Not the kind of planning that is so structure that if a great opportunity comes your way you dismiss it out of hand because it’s not in the plan. No, I mean the kind of planning that gives you better odds of winning.
Does your business need a roadmap?