Writing a Marketing Plan


  • Use a direct, professional writing style. Use appropriate business and marketing terms without jargon. Present and future tenses with active voice are generally better than past tense and passive voice.
  • Be positive and specific. At the same time, avoid superlatives (such as terrific, wonderful). Specifics are better than glittering generalities. Use numbers for impact, justifying computations and projections with facts or reasonable quantitative assumptions where possible.
  • Use bullet points for succinctness and emphasis. As with the list you are reading, bullets enable key points to be highlighted effectively and with great efficiency.
  • Use “A level” (the first level) and “B level” (the second level headings under major section headings to help readers make easy transitions from one topic to another. This also forces the writer to organize the plan more carefully. Use these headings liberally, at least once every 200 to 300 words.
  • Use visuals where appropriate. Illustrations, graphs, and charts enable large amounts of information to be presented succinctly.
  • Shoot for a plan 15 to 35 pages in length, not including financial projections and appendices. An uncomplicated small business may require only 15 pages, while a new business startup may require more than 35 pages.
  • Use care in layout, design, and presentation. Laser or ink-jet printers give a more professional look than  do dot matrix printers or typewriters. A bound report with a cover and clear title page adds professionalism.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

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Group Decision-Making


The person leading the discussion can have a big effect on whether the group’s decision is useful. If a chairperson monopolizes and continually shoots down others’ ideas while pushing his or her own, it’s likely that other points of view will go unexpressed.

An effective discussion leader has responsibility to do the following:

  1. See that all group members participate. As discussion leader, it is your responsibility to ensure that all group members participate and have an opportunity to express their opinions. Doing so can help ensure that different points of view emerge and that everyone takes ownership of the final decision.
  2. Distinguish between idea getting and idea evaluation. Evaluating and criticizing proposed solutions and ideas actually inhibit the process of getting  or generating new ideas. Yet in most group discussions, one person presents an alternative, and others begin immediately discussing its pros and cons. As a result, group members quickly become apprehensive about suggesting new ideas. Distinguishing between the idea getting and idea evaluation stages—in particular, forbidding criticism of an idea until all ideas have been presented—can be useful here.
  3. Not respond to each participant or dominate the discussion. Remember that the discussion leader’s main responsibility is to elicit ideas from the group, not to supply them. As a discussion leader, you should therefore work hard to facilitate free expression of ideas and avoid dominating the discussion.
  4. See that the effort is directed toward overcoming surmountable obstacles. In other words, focus on solving the problem rather than on discussing historical events that cannot be changed. Some groups make the mistake of becoming embroiled in discussion about who is to blame for the problem or what should have been done to avoid the problem. Such discussions can’t lead to solutions because the past can’t be changed. As a discussion leader, your job is to ensure that the group focuses on obstacles that can be overcome and solutions that can be implemented.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Learning Organizations are Fun


Many organizations, even in this day and age, still hate hearing bad news. This is driven by their attitude to learning: at heart, organizations are either learning organizations or they are not. Those that are not learning organizations genuinely hate bad news. They shoot messengers and prefer to bury their head in the sand till they get kicked out of their complacency and forced to act. Fortunately (or not) for some of them, they have enough credit in the bank to get kicked quite a few times before eventually they receive one kick too many and are pushed over the edge. Learning organizations, however, are fun to work in and attract talent.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Adopt Open Communication


To build trust and solid working relationships with employees and others in the organization, it’s important to be seen as someone who is committed to sharing information with others and who goes beyond communicating only what is necessary. Developing a climate in which you and your team are open with information—information exchanges between you and your people, between departments or divisions, and between team members—is critical in order to function effectively.

  • Find out what your employees want to know.
  • Encourage your staff to keep one another informed and share information.
  • Establish a departmental bulletin board to keep people up-to-date on both personal and professional items of interest.
  • Hold periodic staff meetyings to share information about recent developments in the organization.
  • In staff meetings, encourage two-way communication, solicit agenda items from employees, and allow employees time to raise issues.
  • For the purpose of informal communication, hold monthly breakfast meetings that have no agenda.
  • Keep your manager and employees up-to-date by submitting a monthly activity report for your area.
  • Alert your manager to possible implications of events occurring either inside or outside of the organization. Don’t assume that your manager is aware of these implications.
  • Don’t “shoot the messenger” of bad news.
  • Ask your manager which key people you should keep informed.
  • List the key organizational people upon whom your success depends, and make a special effort to keep them informed.
  • Copy your manager on all correspondence to managers in the organization at his or her level or higher level.
  • Ask your manager about any perceived “surprises” in your area and then look for ways to avoid recurrences.
  • Don’t gloss over anything that goes wrong in your area. Report the situation as accurately as possible.
  • Talk with peers or people in other departments about “communication breakdowns.” Devise ways to avoid them.
  • Always double check all written communications before mailing; also ask yourself, “Who else should know about this?”
  • Use the “informal organization” as a way of keeping others informed. Wander around, have coffee with people, ask them questions, and so on.
  • At the end of every day, ask yourself of what occurred that should be reported to other people.
  • Return phone calls promptly.
  • Make a point of updating the appropriate people even when nothing new has developed.
  • Ask your secretary to suggest who should be copied on documents you produce.
  • Appoint a “recorder” for the meetings you conduct and have the minutes distributed to the appropriate people.
  • Promptly respond to notes, letters, and other requests so people know what you are doing about their communications.
  • If they are available, use electronic aide (voice mail, email) to pass along information that doesn’t require face-to-face exchange when you cannot do so in person or in writing.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Process Owner


The process owner, who is responsible for reengineering a specific process, should be a senior-level manager, usually with line responsibility, who cares prestige, credibility, and clout within the company. If the leader’s job is to make reengineering happen in the large, then the process owner’s job is to make it happen in the small, at the individual process level. It is the process owner’s reputation, bonus, and career that are on the line when his or her process is undergoing reengineering.

 Most companies lack process owners, because in traditional organizations people do not tend to think in process terms. Responsibility for processes is fragmented across organizational boundaries. That’s why identifying the company’s major processes is a crucial early step in reengineering.

 After identifying the processes, the leader designates the owners who will guide those processes through reengineering. Process owners are usually individuals who manage one of the functions involved in the process that will undergo reengineering. To do their reengineering jobs, they have to have the respect of their peers and a stomach for reengineering—they must be people who are comfortable with change, tolerant of ambiguity, and serence in adversity.

 An owner’s job is not to do reengineering but to see that it gets done. The owner must assemble a reengineering team and do whatever is required to enable the team to do its job. He or she obtains the resources that the team requires, runs interference with the bureaucracy, and works to gain the cooperation of other managers whose functional groups are involved in the process.

 Process owners also motivate, inspire, and advise their teams. They act as the team’s critic, spokesman, monitor, and liaison. When reengineering team members start to produce ideas that make coworkers in the organization unhappy, process owners shield them from the arrows that others will shoot their way. Process owners take the heat so that their teams can concentrate on making reengineering happen.

 The process owner’s job will not end when the reengineering project is completed. In a process-oriented company, process, not function or geography, will form the basis of organizational structure, so every process will continue to need an owner to attend to its performance.

 My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight