Business Plan Resources – The Four Keys to Building the Ethical Business

Success in business comes as a result of getting the right things done, in the right way, by the right people, all the time. If our business structure supports this kind of effort, then we will be the proud owner of a business that very quickly achieves outstanding and lasting results.

All good business relationships are based in trust. The higher the trust levels are within a business, and between the business and its customers and partners, the more rapidly the results will be achieved.

When people trust us, business deals are done very quickly and often on the basis of a handshake. High trust and high ethical standards produce high performance. Trust is one of the highest valued attributes and qualities of good leadership.

The organizational architecture of the value-based business shapes the creation of meaning and purpose, in the first instance, and informs all actions.

Clarity about our Mission, Vision and Values and living by these elements creates trust in our business. It does this because our espoused belief system gives us a benchmark against which all of our behavior can be measured. Strategy and leadership are then grounded in and informed by always doing that which is right.

A clearly articulated Mission, Vision, Values, and a list of the expected behaviors that flow from these elements, form the basis of our employment contract with all of the people involved in our business.

By consistently carrying out our small business plan in light of these elements, we build exponential value into our business.

These elements inform all the activities of our business, from policy development, planning, leadership skill development, information and communication flow, through to our systems and processes that ensure compliance with standards, measures and benchmarks.

Being clear in the first instance about the meaning and purpose of the business delivers excellence as a natural outcome of putting the right principles in play.

In the value-based business, standards and compliance are never seen as an imposition. They simply represent that which the business is already and naturally pursuing. This approach leads in turn to even higher levels of performance and excellence.

The high trust, value-based business is integrated and aligned by these critically important foundational elements.

The four keys to getting this right are:

Know what you are in business for
Align your thinking to this value base
Integrate and align all activities
Create a never-ending cycle of reinforcement.

We Must Know What We Are in Business For

Our Mission embodies and spells out for everyone the reason we exist as a business. To this end, we must think it through at a very deep level and align all our business activities with the sense of meaning that we have created for our business.

It naturally follows that all the people we deal with, at whatever level, are watching and testing us against this stated meaning. We must be “centered” in this meaning and hold ourselves accountable to a high standard of personal behavior, responsibility and accountability. We must examine ourselves daily to ensure that we are adhering faithfully to the Mission and Vision that we have articulated.

To have an ethical business, we must be straight forward in all of our dealings with others, within our business, within our industry and within our community. When we make a mistake, we must admit it, learn from it and move on. To build trust, we must trust ourselves and trust the people around us.

All of Our Thinking Must Be Aligned to Our Value Base

All effective decision making is bounded by the belief system we have established for ourselves in our business by way of Mission and Vision.

Our list of Values creates a code of expected behavior that we hold ourselves and each other accountable to on a daily basis.

When we do this, we create clarity, coherence and consistency. The result is a high-trust culture, where everyone is on the same page.

All of Our Activities Are Aligned and Integrated

The power of having the foundational elements right in our business means that we can consistently align all of our business activities with our value base.

By having our proper foundation in place, we create the high-trust, ethical environment, where the expected behaviors are clearly spelled out and understood by everyone involved in the business.

This environment becomes trustworthy because there is a clearly understood business philosophy, mindset, common shared frameworks, and tools and processes that build competency and capability that are used uniformly throughout the business.

Create a Never-Ending Cycle of Reinforcement

These elements must be consistently reinforced at every level of the business and within all business activities. Everyone must know his or her particular role and how to carry it out. This understanding must be reviewed on a regular basis as part of the performance management process.

Alignment, integration and continuous improvement are parts of a never-ending cycle that drives the whole business to even higher levels of performance and speed in achieving its objectives.

Peter McLean is a highly experienced Coach, Senior Manager, Consultant, Business Owner and Company Director. He successfully coaches top Executives in some of Australia’s leading multi-national companies. One such Senior Executive recently won an International Award for Excellence within his particular field. In addition, Peter works extensively in the Public, Private, Commercial and Not-for-Profit sectors, delivering outstanding results for his clients.

Accreditation – How Amway Is Maintaining Business Standards

Amway a few years ago introduced the accreditation programme to set standards for business groups affiliated to it. There have been complaints made by critics that some business leaders were not building their business ethically. There was a continued violation of Amway’s code of practice and this reflected badly on the Amway business.

For the past decade, some Amway business groups deviated from Amway’s code of ethics resulting in a huge amount of criticism hurled towards Amway’s way. While Amway was not directly to blame for these violations, it was obvious that the ultimate responsibility for policing the sales force and ensuring compliance with established code of practice lies with the company.

Its Issues like these that has compelled Amway to introduce the accreditation process to address issues such as to the supply and distribution of business support materials (or system tools). It forbids the excessive postulation of religious or political view points at business meetings. It required that business groups must be in good standing and operate to the highest professional standards and use professionally developed materials that are contractual and transparent. Amway guidelines state that there should be openness in declaring any profits made from the sale of Business system tools. This applies to profit earned by the leadership using tools (books, functions and CDs) to promote their business.

One of the merits of the accreditation process is the curtailing of religious evangelism at functions. One of the major complaints made against Amway was the fact that some leaders and motivational speakers have used functions and conferences as platforms for promoting religious beliefs and knocking down public figures whose political ideas differ from their own. This was clearly an abuse of Amway’s code of practice and it has resulted in people being put off from joining the Amway business.

There have been complaints made by people who come to Amway conferences with the belief that they will learn more about the Amway business but are shocked to see leaders in the business and motivational speakers trying to push their religious and political view points down their throats. It is heartening that Amway has explicitly forbid religious evangelism and the excessive of political view points in its accreditation guidelines. The aim of the process is to ensure that the Amway business is treated by Amway business groups as a business and not a platform for inappropriate practices.

Amway ensures compliances with these guidelines through a regular review of business materials. They also monitor compliance through surveys. Accreditation has only been introduced to the North American market. It is hoped that it will be introduced to other countries where Amway is operating to ensure conformity with established guidelines. Since the process was introduced the amount of criticism directed at Amway has dropped significantly.

Lets hope that other Network Marketing businesses besides Amway will consider introducing some form of accreditation. I think it brings credibility to the whole Network Marketing industry and prevent abuses that could lead to intervention from regulatory bodies and the courts.

Business Standards Followed by a Fast Property Sale Company

If you are interested in getting into a fast property sale you will need to take a look at some things that relate to the company that you are going to be dealing with. A good quick property sale company will be one that is going to work with a good series of business standards. Here are some of the things for you to take a look at.

You should look to see that a quick sale company is going to be able to work with a good communication process. The company should be able to get you to contact you within twenty-four hours of your initial request for services. After all, time is of the essence in a fast property sale.

A good company will also be able to work with direct communications with you by the phone. A company will never resort to communicating with you only by some kind of machine. A personal communication will be used to help you to get a good level of communication handled with a fast property sale company.

Another standard is that a company will be one that is going to be able to get plenty of communication with you handled. This is done in that the fast property sale process can be one that can take a week to take care of. A good process will be used to help you with getting a level of communication set up between you and the company that you are dealing with. This communication setup will be used to make it easier for you to be able to know what is happening.

The company should be able to communicate with you by both email and telephone. This is so you will get information on what is happening with your transaction at any time of the day. Having enough knowledge is important because you will want to be sure that you are going to be getting plenty of support for your sale. You will want to know that the sale is working properly so that you can continue with it over time.

The next business standard that a fast property sale company will offer will involve honesty when it comes to getting your cash offer handled. A company will work to tell you about what you are getting from your home as it is going to be offered to you. The amount of money that you can get will be a large one. Therefore, you should look to see that the amount of money that you are getting is one that is going to be large and helpful for your needs. Honesty will be needed for when you are going to be getting your cash offer.

The last standard is that a fast property sale company will help you to get information on every single part of the fast property sale process. Transparency is vital to the success of the transaction. You should look to see that you will understand every single step that is working in the entire fast property sale process.

Be sure to take a look at all of these business standards that a good company will be able to help you out with. These are standards that can help you to get a better sense of support and service for your sale. It will help for you to take a look at all of these standards in order to see that you are going to be getting a good deal out of your fast property sale experience.

Getting Back To Basics – 5 Steps To Strengthen Your Business Foundation And Become More Profitable

One of the most important lessons I learned in my business early on, was how important it is to have and maintain a strong foundation in your business. In order to support our growth and efforts to achieve our goals, our business needs a solid infrastructure on which we can build. If this infrastructure is not in place, you could find yourself in a position where you are growing too fast too soon and not serving your clients nearly as well as you should be. This in turn will create unnecessary stress and frustration, which equals a not so happy Virtual Assistant who is working harder and making less money than she should.

So, it’s important to take stock of your business periodically and see how your foundation is holding up and what improvements you need to make. And if you’re just starting out, you’ll do yourself a HUGE favor by setting up a strong business foundation from day one. This is the perfect time of year to consider these points, as we are heading into fall and the final quarter of 2009. If you set aside time now to analyze your business operations and start making adjustments, you’ll be primed and ready to jump into 2010, while most everyone else is still trying to wrap their heads around their New Year’s resolutions!

Following are my top five tips for assessing your business and strengthening your foundation:

1) Review and revise your business plan – Many times business owners create a business plan when they are first starting out, get excited about it, but then file it away and never look at it again. Sometimes new entrepreneurs don’t even take the time to develop a simple business plan. This is a BIG mistake! Going through the steps to create a business plan is a terrific way to get all of your ideas out on paper and to create a roadmap to follow to grow your business. Its easy to think one can keep all of their ideas, goals and strategies locked safely in their memory. But there are two things wrong with that. 1) You absolutely can’t remember all of the details and 2) you’ll have a more difficult time working towards them because you haven’t committed your thoughts to paper. So schedule time on your calendar NOW to review and revise your business plan. (Or if you’re just starting out, to create one – which we will help you with in our “Get A Strong Start” class). Think about all that you’ve accomplished thus far in 2009 and map out your goals for 2010 and then how you’ll achieve them.

2) Take stock of your financial situation – For some this can be the least “exciting” part of running a business. That is having to deal with all of the “number stuff”. But, most of us start our companies to make a profit and support our families – not to unintentionally be running a non-profit organization where we work for free. You won’t know which category you fall into if you aren’t clear on the financial state of your business. If you are not already doing so, ask your accountant or bookkeeper to start running monthly reports of your expenses and income so you can see how profitable you REALLY are. You may be surprised to find out which of your services is actually most profitable and then start focusing more attention on those. Also, you’ll see clearly how your expenses are affecting your bottom line and what adjustments need to be made.

3) Review your business standards to see if they are still working for you – One of the things my coach helped me to do when I was first starting out was to create a set of standards for my business. This included the hours I would work, my fee structure, how I would handle different clients situations, illness/vacation, etc. – basically ALL of the details of how I would run my business. I highly recommend that you take the time to outline your standards as well. It’s your business, so the way you work and operate your business should be reflective of and work for you. After doing this you’ll be clear about your boundaries and can then easily (and tactfully) share them with your clients to ensure that you are supported and protected to do your best work.

4) Fine tune your marketing systems – Some Virtual Assistants have a bad habit of only marketing their business when they need a new client. That is a big no-no! As a business owner, you should only be spending your time on two things – 1) serving your clients and 2) marketing your business. If you don’t have a marketing system in place – meaning a strategic plan for how to consistently present your services/solutions to your ideal clients and enroll them in your practice, then now is the time to implement one. You should be regularly attending networking events where your ideal clients hang out, following up on leads, engaging in social media and pursuing other effective marketing strategies. Map out a plan of how you will market your business for the remainder of 2009 and then commit blocks of time on your calendar to work on your marketing efforts. Marketing your business will be a lot easier (and much more effective) if you consistently and comfortable share what you have to offer instead of operating from panic mode because you need a new client.

5) Start implementing systems in your business – You likely do some of the same tasks over and over again in serving your clients. At the very least, each week/month you’re doing bookkeeping, marketing, reporting to your clients on project progress, etc. As such you should be developing systems for every aspect of your business. A system is simple a list of guidelines or instructions about how to handle a particular task or project. It’s way for you to implement quality control into your Virtual Assistant practice so that you consistently deliver high quality results for yourself and your clients. It’s a way to save time, because you won’t have to think about or try and remember how to handle a particular project. And it’s a way to make more money. “How so?”, you may ask. Because you can easily delegate certain tasks to someone else, freeing up your time and mental energy to pursue your high-payoff activities. The more you systematize your business the more organized and profitable you will be. So, start today in outlining the steps you take to operate your business and serve your clients. Compile the instructions into one central document or binder and create your own operations manual. As you continue to grow you’ll have all of the information you need to run your business right at your fingertips.

Likely, you set out to be a Virtual Assistant because you wanted to pursue a career that would give you more control over your schedule and earning potential. So make it easier on yourself to achieve your goals, by taking steps to tighten up your foundation and get clear on your goals. Running a successful business obviously takes effort and dedication. And having a strong infrastructure and a solid plan to follow will ensure that you are spending your time and energy on the activities that will get you the results you want!

Your action plan for this week:

1) Pull out your business plan and schedule time to review and revise it by October 31st. (If you’re just starting out, set aside time to create your plan by the same date).
2) Pull year-to-date reports on your financial situation and review them with your bookkeeper or accountant to see what adjustments may need to be made.
3) Outline the details of how you will run your business so that it is working for YOU, not the other way around.
4) Review the strategies that have been most effective in marketing your business and then create a plan around how you will consistently implement these tactics to attract new business.
5) Start creating systems for EVERYTHING you do in your business and compile the information in one central location.

Sydni Craig-Hart, The VA Success Coachâ„¢, is Founder of Executive Assistant to Virtual Assistant!, a company dedicated to providing Administrative Professionals with the support, tools and resources they need to create a highly successful, profitable Virtual Assistant business. Visit [] to listen to Sydni’s FREE audio class “How to Start and Grow A Profitable Virtual Assistant Business…In Less Than Six Months”.