(Time to read this Blog is about 3.5 minutes)

Before we get to the main topic, here are a few things to get you thinking or smiling:

  1. My Quote of the week:
    “You need high standards of performance, appearance and behavior in every part of your business.  Always explain what your standards are and why you have them…but never apologize for them.”   
    …Donald Cooper.
  2. Most Investment Fund Managers underperformed…again. Nearly 80% of Investment Fund Managers underperformed the stock market last year.  This was the 12th year in a row that they’ve trailed the market. What would your business look like if you underperformed for 12 years in a row?
  3. Quick Biz Tip: ‘Cooper’s 20 Tips to recognize, celebrate and reward your people.’
    Attracting, engaging and retaining top performers is the biggest challenge for most businesses in the world today.
    One of the most important things you can do, right now, is to hang on to the good people that you already have.  There are many things you can do to better recognize, thank, reward and celebrate your Team.  Click here to download, no charge, my Biz Tool #B-22, 20 ways to help your Staff ‘fee’ more important and be more engaged.’


Now, to this week’s important topic:

Now is the time to start planning for an extraordinary 2023:

It’s October and now’s the time to start the planning, making the decisions and taking the action that will make 2023 your best year ever.  Now’s the time to work ‘ON’ the business…not just ‘IN’ it.   There’s lots of talk about a recession next year…but you could choose not to participate. Here are some insights and ‘tools’ to help you.

  1. First thought:  Your focus should be in two separate areas:
    1. Fixing what needs fixing.
    2. Creating new opportunities for growth and profitability.
  2. Second thought: When you and your team are planning for next year, don’t talk about ‘goals, targets, aims and objectives’.  These are weak and wishy-washy words that leave way too much ‘wiggle room’ to not Talk about ‘commitment’s.  ‘Commitments’ to your customers, your team, your bottom line, your community and the planet.  When we change our language, we change our culture…and our results.
    The more clear and specific you get about your commitments, the better your results will be. Here are 3 examples of what clear and specific commitments look like:

    1. We commit to increase sales by $800,000 in the next 12 months, while not increasing sales and marketing expenses by more than 4%.
    2. We commit to reduce operating expenses by $50,000, in the next 6 months, without diminishing our customer service or employment experience.
    3. We commit to improve delivery on ‘rush orders’ by 4 hours, within 3 months, without increasing our shipping expense by more than $12,000 a year.
    4. For each commitment you make, determine what specific activities, actions, changes or initiatives will be done, by whom, by when, at what cost, with what result, measured how and rewarded how, to make that happen. Then, determine what resources and empowerment will be needed to  get it done…on time.
  3. Third thought: The best way to start this important process is to get real about which areas of your business or department need work.  You can’t get to where you need to be if you’re unclear about where you are now.
    An effective and quick way to determine where you are now is to download and use my 1-page ‘Business Key Challenge Audit Sheet’ that takes just 4 minutes to complete.  It comes with complete instructions.  To download it, just Click HereThere is no charge.
  4. Getting started: Sit down for a few hours with a group of the best minds and hearts in your business, or department and answer the following 10 questions: 
    1. What extraordinary bottom-line profit do we commit to deliver in 2023?  Our profit is something we commit to and plan for…not something that we just hope for.
    2. What’s our sales commitment for next year that’s required to deliver our profit commitment.  What are the 3 or 4 (or more) most important things we need to do to achieve that 2023 sales commitment?
    3. What are 3 things that we do that confuse or tick off our customers…and what will we commit to do to fix them so wonderfully that they actually become part of our competitive advantage?
    4. What are the 3 most important new systems, processes or technologies that we need to bring into the business in 2023?
    5. What are 3 or 4 important value, marketing or operational things that any of our competitors do better than us…and how will we improve and be the competitive leader in 2023?
    6. What are the 5 biggest expense items on which we can save some money or improve operational efficiency in 2023…and, specifically, how will we do that?
    7. What are 4 things we can do to become ‘greener’ in 2023…and beyond?
    8. What are 3 or 4 things we can do to improve internal communication and improve clarity about our commitments to customers, to each other and to our bottom line?
    9. What improvements in marketing, promotion and advertising will we commit to in 2023 to tell our story more effectively? There’s no point being the best if we’re also the best kept secret. How will we create more customer intimacy, be more responsive to and interactive with customers and prospects?  How can we use social media more effectively to achieve this?
    10. We can’t grow the business without growing our people and your team. What new talent, skills or experience must be added to our team to compete successfully in 2022 and beyond?   What training, development or mentoring does each person on our team need to help them grow?   How do I commit to grow as a leader and manager to be more effective in 2023?
      NoteAdd a few of your own key questions to the 10 listed above.  Ask each team member to come up with at least one idea to grow or improve the business next year.  Give them a week to come up with their ideas and then schedule an ‘Idea Fest’.   You’ll be amazed at what they come up with.
      Bonus Tip:  During the ‘Idea Fest’, no evaluation or criticism of ideas presented is allowed.  That kills participation.
  5. Create your 2023 Business Plan
    Your 2023 Business Plan will consist of:

    1. Your profit commitment for 2023 (Click Here to access my Biz Tool #B-5, ‘The Back-Assward Approach to Profitability’).
    2. Our ‘Value & Experience Differentiation Plan’ (how will we be the extraordinary and clear ‘wise choice’ for our target customers?)   Note: If we’re manufacturers, this will include a ‘Product Development Plan’.  If we’re Distributors or Retailers, it will include a ‘Product or Product Line Acquisition Plan’.
    3. Our ‘Marketing / Branding / Communication Plan’ (how will we consistently and effectively tell our value & experience story in everything we do?) .
    4. Our ‘Systems & Process Improvement and Cost Management Plan’ (specifically, what will we do to achieve world-class operating efficiency in every part of our business?),
    5. Our 2023 ‘Org Chart’.
    6. Our ‘Talent Development, Training & Acquisition Plan’ (Click Here to access my Biz Tool #A-17, ‘Evaluate Your Talent Pipeline’).
    7. Our ‘Biz Culture Improvement Plan’ (How will create a Culture that the best people are attracted to and stay with  Click Here  to access my Biz Tool #A-16, ‘How to Create an Effective Team Culture’).
    8. Our ‘Cash Flow Plan’ for 2023.
    9. Our projected 2023 ‘P&L Statement’.
    10. Your 3 to 5-year Vision. For even more help in proactively planning for 2023 and beyond, our transformational 40-page Vision Critical Guide provides the insights, tools and templates to create clarity about the future of your business.  This transformational ‘Guide’ is available as a PDF download for just $24.  Click here.
  6. In Conclusion:  This may sound like a lot of work…but it’s what management is all about.  It’s why you get the big bucks!   Stop retreating to the familiar, doing the ‘easy day-to-day stuff’ and hoping for better results.  Remember, we get what we work for…not what we hope for.
    If you’d like help with this important process of Planning your extraordinary future and your bottom line, I’m easy to find at donald@donaldcooper.com.

That’s it for this week…

Stay safe…live brilliantly!       

Donald Cooper 

Donald Cooper speaks and coaches internationally on management, marketing, and profitability.  He can be reached by email at donald@donaldcooper.com in Toronto, Canada.

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