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How to Make Your Business Amazing Begins With Your People

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How to Make Your Business Amazing Begins With Your People

In spite of the advancement of technology and the expansion from a local to global economy, people still do business with people. So if your goal is to make your business amazing, then your first step is to develop two plans.

The first plan is called your strategic action plan or strategic business plan or just plain business plan. This is an overview of the following key areas within your organization based upon some very intensive research:

  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Customers (I prefer Customer Experience as this involves both external and internal customers)
  • Management/Leadership
  • Growth and Innovation
  • Financials

Since strategy comes from the Greek meaning for a General to deceive his enemies, then this is your battle plan to out think your competitors while securing necessary benchmarks (goals) such as market penetration, increase sales, build customer loyalty through repeat purchases, etc.

Your second plan and this is the one that 99% of most organizations never considered is a Human Capital or Employment Development Strategy. Here you work on developing your internal customers, your employees, to be the best that they can be.

Effective employee development is truly not that difficult provided you are willing to embrace new ideas and remove yourself from the traditional K-16 experiences where are the foundation for the majority of existing non-effective training and development. Research from organizations such as American Society for Training and Development continue to report that anywhere from 50% to 95% of all dollars invested in training and development do not stick. This failure to deliver sustainable change is why so many executives view human capital as a liability instead of an asset.

There are a plethora of great employment development tools and guess what, they do not cost an arm and a leg. For example, a simple workshop on goal setting and achievement using a proven goal setting worksheet tool along with a proven process is very affordable and beyond that necessary since organizations run by goals. Unfortunately, consistent goal setting and achievement are not taught in the K-16 experience and this is one skill set that cannot be learned through osmosis.

Another employee development tool is positive affirmation statements or what I prefer to call positive belief statements. Due to negative conditioning many people have pre-wired their brains to think what is going to go wrong instead of what is going to go right. By actively reprogramming your own mind, you can change your results. This is the basic premise in the book, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

A third employee development tool is a talent tool that assesses a person’s attributes, strengths or talents. Most people from my experience truly do not know their strengths and focus far more of their energies on their weaknesses and non-talents. Just imagine if your people knew what they did well. Awareness is the first step to improving any situation. Training and development tip: A talent assessment should not be confused with a personality assessment. There are two different instruments.

To make your business amazing does require you to be ahead of the flow. And this may mean you may need to find mentors, colleagues, business round tables, mastermind groups or even hire a business coach or executive consultant. Remember, people buy from people they know and trust. Therefore beyond the strategic goal driven well research action plan, effective employee development is the next action to truly be the Red Jacket in a sea of gray suits.

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This post is part of the HP SugarTone contest: “Making your business amazing”, sponsored by Hewlett Packard

As Chief Results Officer for her 10 year old international executive coaching and consulting firm focusing on sales through human capital and organizational development, Leanne Hoagland-Smith is not the typical coach or consultant. With over 30 years in corporate America along with teaching in public education, she brings a no sense solution approach to her clients. Since April of 2005, Leanne has devoted 75% of her marketing time to article writing because this education based marketing approach really works. Her articles have appeared in a plethora of websites, ezines, blogs, newsletters and ebooks. She is a top sales expert at EzineArticles as well as Sales Gravy, Evan Carmichael, Sales Bloggers Union and NBiz Magazine. In June of 2010 Leanne published her first book, Be the Red Jacket in a Sea of Gray Suits, the Keys to Unlocking Sales Success. As to her practice, the initial focus is to increase sales through these 3 steps: 1. Assess to know the talents 2. Choose what gaps needs to be closed 3. Create an executable plan of action By integrating a simple one-page business action plan along with a proven goal achievement process into daily behaviors, she is able to quickly deliver results for her clients. Her business philosophy is simple: Know, choose, create tomorrow’s results today. And that is what Leanne does for herself and her clients.

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  • Short and sweet Brad.
    I guess the challenge for business owners is that there’s already a lot on the plate in the sense that one or two people represent every single department in their company. Would lists be the best ways to tackle everything?

  • Stress free effectiveness to me is personal effectiveness. I know I am not doing myself any favours when I allow myself to be distracted, procrastinate, or am feeling downright lazy.
    Lists to me mean any form of self management – whatever works to get things done in the correct order! I don’t believe a program or list can solely organise us – it has to come from within, hence point no 3 is very important.
    We need to buy into the idea of being stress free, and organised. Some would scoff at organisation 🙂

    I would however, like to comment on your definition. It is compelling, but I believe that whatever a person does or doesn’t do in the moment – is the right thing to do in that moment.

    Great snappy post and the 3 points would be super effective if we could just stick with them all the time. Clearing the mind made me smile – I for one still struggle to clear my mind. Deep meditation is necessary for me but not always practical. So we do our best with what we have, in the time that we have. Clarity does help yes 🙂

  • Thanks Elaine, for the comments. I also smiled when I read your comments. Because until recently I would have thought the same. To be honest, the reason most people struggle really clearing their mind and keeping it that way is because they don’t process or organise the results (i.e. step 2), and they don’t do step 2 because they don’t trust themselves to regularly review it and keep it current (i.e. step 3). So the key is to adopt a systematic approach that encompasses all three behaviours.

  • Hi Leanne, welcome to Bloggertone, we are delighted that you joined us.
    People are the fundamental difference between success & failure & I have been guilty in the past of criticising companies that lose sight of this, particularly now during times of economic uncertainty. However I think that your point as to why so many executives view human capital as a liability instead of an asset is very interesting & well made. The Human Capital or Employment Development Strategy is a brilliant idea & I simply love the tools that you have highlighted.
    Thanks for sharing,

  • Facundo

    Welcome to Bloggertone Leanne! I liked the idea of “customer experience”

  • Hi Leanne, and well done for a great post. I completely agree with you – businesses do very often fail to have any Employment Development Plan. This is something I find particularly true of small businesses, perhaps because they are so very often reactionary in their approach. Fully agree too that training is regularly not focused on the right things and fails to be “sticky”.

  • What I enjoyed most about this video and the tips in it is that they are very straight forward. Many of the home based business owners I work with can be quite intimidated by this subject and not know where to start. These tips are a great reminder that the best strategies are often simple, well executed, customer focussed and measured.nYour video helps to demystify this subject for very small businesses in an easy to understand and easy to implement way. It is just what small businesses need.

  • Thanks for your comment Ali, they don’t call John the worldu2019s most practical small business expert for nothing 🙂

  • Thanks Ivan!

  • Anonymous

    Super stuff Fred. Great to see new ground breaking activity on Bloggertone:)

  • Colette @ Real Insights

    Really enjoyed this & delighted to hear ‘listen to your customers’ to glean insights into how you can perform better & deliver to their needs – has always been my mantra & will continue to be!! Thx again 🙂

  • Cheers mate

  • Derbhile

    I’m always trying to hit that point home about being different when I’m writing press releases. Even if what you do isn’t that different, it’s how you do it that will separate you from the crowd. n

  • Great stuff Fred, really enjoyed that. Simple, clear and manageable advice.

  • This is great and what a gift to have this interview for your followers/viewers. John is one of my absolute favorites who I have come to completely rely on in many areas for small business. I refer many of my small business clients to follow him and learn all they can because he offers so much. Thanks for sharing this! Much kindness, Elena

  • Sounds like you have the right mantra! Thanks for your comments, Colette.

  • Thanks for the comment, Elena. We hope that many Bloggertone readers can benefit from John’s advice, just like your clients :).

  • It all sounds extremely exciting and I’m pleased to see Bloggertone making such a great leap forward.nExcellent interview!

  • What a great watch, well done lads, looking forward to tuning in to Bloggertone TV again 🙂

  • Hi Anita, Welcome to Bloggertone, I am delighted that you joined us. It’s a great story, if expensive one but congratulations on your honesty! Choosing and deciding on a domain name for a new business, is now such a big challenge but it remain hugely critical in terms of branding. Strange as it sounds, It gives the rest of us hope when we hear someone like you can make mistakes too! Thank you for sharing.

  • Compelling story Anita. As always, policy, mental notes, procedures, come after mistakes and not before. That’s probably business 🙂 I guess the good thing about reading other people’s experiences is to (hopefully) avoid some of their mistakes. Definitely some mental notes taken on my side. To your advice I would add for others reading this post that it is very important to also purchase domains which are close to your company name or variations with plurals, typos, regional extensions. Anything you can do to protect the brand & your visibility.

  • That’s a great line “Your business is what develops while youu2019re making plans for a different business”!nnIt’s hard for business start-ups (unless they’ve done it before) to think of brand protection before they’ve built a brand. But, like you say, it’s work to change a domain name down the road, or to obtain one that’s no longer available.

  • Hi Anita, nnOne mistake I made is use my own name as the domain rather than build a brand, which offers more opportunities.nnChris Brogan made the point that if he was starting out again he may not have used his own name and developed a site that (if he wanted to) he could sell on at some point. nnThere are exceptions to this of course, for example, if you want to develop a personal brand. nnThe trick when starting in blogging is sometimes to take yourself out of the equation and see whatu2019s best for the busines. nnNeed to follow my own advice more often :)nnIvan

  • Philip O’Rourke

    nGreat piece of work, Anita. You have my admiration and respect for your tenacity. Far too much of the “It’ll do” attitude in society today, and now we are paying the price. Well done.

  • Luc Glasbeek

    Hi Anita, nnGreat post! I’m reminded of the time when I started to think about a venture about 6 months ago. nnI noted down all possible domain names (even the silly ones) and checked whether they’d be available still. I ended up with a long list after some time, and when the ‘right’ name crossed my mind it just felt right. nnIt was a rather extended brain storm (time-wise) but I was glad I did this from the start and didn’t feel like I was under time pressure. The process was helpful in its own right as it made me think about identity etc.nnOne mistake I’ve made on a previous occasion was not thinking through the difference between American / UK spelling……….

  • Hi Anita,nnWelcome to Bloggertone, great article and a lesson for anyone starting an online presence, whether it’s for business or just a hobby…. I think many of us (myself included) have made some boo-boos like this when starting out, but we live and learn 🙂

  • Hi Catherine, thanks for the welcome. Would that this had been my “only” mistake — but those are posts for another day….. Live and learn is right. Anita

  • Hi Luc, It’s good to do things right, from the start, isn’t it? Feels great. Anita

  • Hi Phillip, great point! I always say, “perseverance is the #1 secret to success.” I don’t necessarily have brilliance, I just stay with longer than others, and keep working at stuff until getting it right. And fix my mistakes. :-)nn- Anita

  • Hi Ivan, that’s a good point about keeping a separation between your personal brand and your business brand. nnI think it works when you’re a consultant to have the two be the same thing. Because often you’re selling your individual expertise.nnBut for other types of businesses, it limits the potential. Like Chris says, it’s hard to sell a business when it is so identified with you, the individual.nn- Anita

  • Hi Jennie, yes, and many startups aren’t really sure what business they are actually in, until later on. Things often develop differently than you plan. :-)nn- Anita

  • Good post. I think this advice is more poignant than ever. With relevant, short domain names becoming so scarce, I think many business owners may be tempted to abandon any hope of a relevant domain. Your posts points out how the confusion this causes is such a huge issue. It was a $3,700 lesson for you, but it could be a five or six figure lesson for someone in the future. Good advice.

  • Hi Facundo, you make another wonderful point to remember, about purchasing domains and variations that are close to your brand or main domain. nnI own a lot of domains, but at least half are “defensive domains” — i.e., ones that just protect the main domains.nn- Anitann

  • It seems that all lessons learned in business come from previous mistakes – that I have learned the hard way also. Now before I do anything the affects my business I reach out to my on-line groups and ask first. It has saved me from myself on several ocassions.

  • It is also worth buying up side names you might move into OR similar names to deter future competition. I only run 6 sites but own over a hundred domains.

  • Like real estate agents say, it’s all about location, location, location and this rings true with domain names as well! Great article, hopefully many people will learn from your costly mistake!

  • Ah, if we could all simply see the future. 🙂 On a similar note, when you’re buying that all-important domain be sure to claim at a minimum your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts and the same username in any communities you frequent. If they’re not available you might even want to consider a different domain name so they can all match. nnIf you’re really serious there is a way to claim your preferred username across hundreds of social networks all at once. Having matching usernames gets you recommended and followed much faster because remembering one is simple but having to remember where you are which username is more work than most busy social savvy folks will do.

  • Stratico

    Having a business strategy is also about allowing strategies to emerge (business happens when making other plans) in a way that adds to the original strategy. Sometimes things evolve dependent on which customers ‘pull’ but generally a good level of initial research togethewr with souns strategic planning will ensure faster more effective and efficient strategic development. A strategic consult at the front end may have been cheaper than the domain purchase down stream.

  • Steve Waterhouse

    What a great and fun article. Technology can be a bit overwhelming at times. It’s great to have advice like yours and to know we aren’t all alone out there trying to figure all this stuff out. Thanks!!

  • Fiona Stolze

    Thanks Anita for sharing this story. I would have had no idea either and may have done exactly the same thing. I love your honesty. It’s given me food for thought about purchasing more domain names to protect my art brand. nn

  • Hi Niall, glad to finally join you guys over here. You’ve been such wonderful supporters of BizSugar.nnWell if I can give people hope, I’m glad. I have plenty more mistakes where those came from [grin]. Maybe not ones so easy to quantify, but there are enough of them.nn- Anitann

  • Anonymous

    Welcome to Bloggertone, Anita! nnHearing your story really illustrates how important it is to choose and acquire your desired domain name. You’ve got me thinking about what I might need to evaluate as I go forward. When you’re starting off (or starting something new), it can be easy to overlook something such as our presence online is another important piece of our strategic plan.

  • Hi Fred, Yes, the confusion factor is certainly significant. nnIn my case the organization that had the domain (a non-profit organization involved with small biz with a completely different name) didn’t actually do anything useful with the domain. They had it in a strange redirect loop that for years led to one of those “file directory” pages. That was a bit of luck for me, because visitors quickly realized they were in the wrong place. The confusion factor would have been far worse if their organization had had the same name and sent visitors to a site with the same name. nnSo I think it was good foresight on your part to recommend a re-branding.nn- Anita

  • Hi Steve, Luckily I like to laugh and keep a sense of humor. If I didn’t I’d sit down and cry like a baby over stuff like this – LOL. nn- Anita

  • Hi Fiona, I would say for art that domain names can be especially important, particularly if you have unique names. It’s definitely a good idea to think ahead on those things. ;)nn- Anita

  • Hi Gail! That’s a great point about securing your brand for social sites. One service that will check for you is There is another service that does that, too — someone else may know the name of that service.nn– Anita

  • Hi Travis, yes, indeed, it’s also important to get those other extensions. Great point. At least the key extensions that are popular in your country.nn- Anita

  • Hi John, have you done much with typos and misspellings? I haven’t (other than plurals and singulars). But a very common misspelling might be worth it….nn- Anita

  • Hi Garry, I like that: “saved me from myself.” Now if we could all just get saved every single time we were about to step off a cliff or something….. :-)nn- Anita

  • Hi Scott, so true on the economics. As domain names go, given some of the numbers I’ve heard through the years, I suppose I actually got off easy.nn- Anita

  • Anonymous

    Hi Anita. As a long time writer on Bloggertone, I’d like to welcome you, on your first post here. Thanks for sharing your story which is a great lesson that we can all learn from.

  • Hi Anita, welcome to Bloggertone. What a very honest and insightful first post. nnWhen I first bought my domain name the .com wasn’t available (owned by a school somewhere in Africa) and became available April 2010, unfortunately I was away at the time and I missed the slot. It was bought by someone who offered it to me for $10,000 and I refused to bite. He badgered me for a month until I told him to shove it where the sun doesn’t shine, that I would NEVER pay more than the normal asking price for it as I had the .ie, .org, .net, domains and .com really wasn’t that important to me since most of my business was local.nnLike some of the other replies on here, it has been suggested that I trade as my own name too, however that would be really difficult to sell if I ever wanted to, plus as a generic Irish name is is difficult for the average Irish person to spell, never mind the rest of the world.nnMis-takes are the things we do so that we can learn how to do it correctly the next time – an essential part of life. Unfortunately all too often we beat ourselves up over them unnecessarily.

  • Hi Mairead, nnTalk about extortion!!! Good for you for not caving in.nnI also have my name as a domain and used it when I was consulting. Now I have it mainly for reputation management and to make sure my name comes up in search engines. So it’s not a bad strategy to at least have the domain name for your own name, even if you use a company name to conduct business under. nn- Anitan

  • Well hello, Frank! Thanks for the welcome. You’re all so friendly here. 🙂 nn- Anita

  • Hi Elli, nnYes, you’ve got it right — it’s all too easy to overlook something. nnAnd really, it’s that way with a lot of things when you have your own business and you have 30 balls in the air at any given time. At least one thing is bound to fall on the floor — I always hope whatever I drop won’t be TOO critical or TOO expensive. nnThanks for the welcome!nn- Anita

  • Totally agree with your point – tis a bit strange to be asked to like a search when you haven’t even visited the site and why would one return to the search page again, will be interesting to see how it all pans out though. Thanks a mill for the explanationnLorna

  • Hi Niall,nnThe combination of Social influence with the traditional search algorithm is definately the way for Google to go but the issue is how best they should do it. It might have been better if they put effort into getting people to use and understand their Google public profile more and then once that is achieved they can allow people to recommend links from that profile. Google profiles are still not mainstream, nearly everyone I know is on Facebook but I never hear anyone mention they were in their Google profile. Gmail seems to be pretty mainstream so perhaps they should look at it from that point of view, expanding Gmail into a social network and then allowing people to search the web from Gmail and then recommend links from there.

  • Thanks for all of the positive feedback. I am going to go into my Google profile right now and start connecting and +1ing links – we might as well give Google all of the help they need!

  • Hi Beatrice, great answer! I don’t think I can disagree with any of it 🙂

  • If Google are tapping into it, then the power of ‘likes’ is sure to increase. I do agree with you Beatrice, that the word ‘like’ would have worked much better. Then again maybe Google is hoping the new name is much more unique – who knows.nnIf you do have to click the magic button to express a like beforehand, then couldn’t this be a pointless metric or abused by brands and companies?? I’m all for some social integration online, but do worry about manipulation. Rankings has always been about relevancy as opposed to popularity.nWatch this space!

  • Facundo

    Completely agree with you and Beatrice, there is no logic in one having to click on a result that one hasn’t visited. Before anyone says it, it is true that sometimes we “like” posts or content with the FB button without actually reading it fully, but that doesn’t mean that the principle behind it is to like blindly. It also seems to me that Google has missed a first step: Facebook first got us to like like like stuff within Facebook and only then rolled out the button to external sites. In this case Google is rolling it to external sites & search results without having us adopt the +1 somehow before (they can’t). Probably Beatrice’s point that Google should call a “like” a “like” makes even more sense in this race for adoption.

  • Hi Chrstina,nnI agree that manipulation is a significant concern for this. Google have put some regulations in place to make manipulation more difficult, for instance, the +1 button only shows to you if you are logged into your google account while doing the search and to set up a Google account such as a Gmail account you need to verify with a telephone number. This will allow Google to track if numerous clicks on the same +1 button are coming from the same account and then would probably count those as invalid. Google seems to be able to determine invalid clicks on Adwords ads so it should be able to do the same for the +1button. Having said that I’m sure it will be a constant effort from them to ensure they are keeping up with all of the latest tricks from the spammers.

  • I so agree with Sathishkumar – until Google does their part, whose going to use it?

  • Very useful post Facunda. I already know I’m going to have fun playing around with those in the near future.

  • Very useful post Facunda. I already know I’m going to have fun playing around with those in the near future.

  • @37b80f46c3622a6b1e0a16c9f20c4035:disqus Great post. A lot of these WP plugin roundups tend to over-focus on eye-candy operations, and ignore genuinely useful, nay indispensable alternatives. I know options with respect to Caching & Minify and why you would use them (too many clients on the one share hosting shard), have used 301 Redirects for similar reasons, but WP Security Scan looks like a real find, especially on sites with too many admins (like one that I am building now: – ~15 people with admin rights). Installing it now.nnHowever for me qTranslate is the peach. I have seen professional translation plugins like WPML (site 5?) but nobody seems to get it when I try to explain what a translation plugin REALLY means. Too many suggestions along the lines of Google Translate. I actually have a potential client who really wants something along these lines (she is bilingual).

  • Facundo

    Hi Richard. Glad you found the suggestions useful. The guys that do qTranslate seem to really get it so if you decide to go that way you can expect even more features in the future I’d say. n

  • Thanks Mairu00e9ad. Trying out new plugins is something I enjoy too of course 🙂 n

  • Excellent Facundo! Will add the ‘related posts’ one for sure. n

  • Anonymous

    Great list there. I also think it’s important to have a plugin to give users the ability to share a post they like on any social network, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, etc. Found a neat one today: n

  • Facundo

    Thanks Tina. Makes sense, especially if you have plenty of older posts!n

  • Great selection Facundo – there’s so many plugins out there, it’s good to get recommendations.nnnI’ve just installed Dagon Design Sitemap Generator – another useful one.nn next up is WP Security Scan…

  • Some really useful Plugins there Facundo. For SEO do you prefer the All in One SEO Plugin or the SEO Ultimate Plugin?

  • That is a good one Simon. I use Digg Digg but it can slow up a site if you opt to use all of the different buttons. n

  • I’m not sure if you’ve tried it yet Beatrice, or if Facundo will agree, but I’d opt for Joost’s wordpress SEO plugin ahead of both mentioned. Still technically in beta and continually being developed and improved, but already a superb (and stable) option.nn list Facundo. The security scan is a new one for me, looking forward to trying it out.

  • Facundo

    Thanks Jennie!n

  • Facundo

    @twitter-201285346:disqus & @twitter-155752094:disqus I normally go for All in one SEO because it is generally compatible with other plugins. I’ve tried Platinum SEO which is great but a thing to consider is that once you choose one of these SEO plugins if you then want to change you may end up having to re-enter metadata again or find a way to export it and import it (and it can be a bit messy as this is not built in). In short, I tend to decide based on the plugins I may need down the line too. n

  • Facundo

    Very true Beatrice nn

  • A very valid point Facundo, both on compatibility and on import/export flexibility. nnMost of the tools mentioned are compatible with the SEO data transporter plugin (, but it can still be messy if you’ve a high level of customisation on your site. Regardless of what methods you use to achieve it (Joost’s tool has a nice and tidy import/export function which works pretty well), ensure you have a safe backup before proceeding. It can cause serious headaches if you run into a problem down the line without a safe restore point.

  • Hi Facundo. A good list.nnnI’d also add a spam filter like Akismet. Not so important when you start off first but as you increase your profile online, targetted spam does come it’s way :)nnnCheersnnBarneyn

  • Facundo

    There’s a plugin for everything 🙂 Didn’t know about that tool, excellent!n

  • OK, you lost me after No 5 but the first few are excellent for WP non-techies like me. Looking forward to experimenting @facundov:twitter

  • Facundo

    Thanks Elaine! You can probably try out number 7 too without too much pain 🙂 n

  • Thank you so much for this awesome info about  online makeover This is very interesting..

  • That is a really nice, The URL seems to be awesome and best part is that we can join it from here itself

  • Liran Hirschkorn

    Yes – pricing is based on age, health, and also occupation – so an occupation with more risk would have a higher premium.

  • Good option for finding domain names ownership information, registration data and much more it is Free Whois domain lookup tool.

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