Chamber U

Chamber U class gives business professionals strategic advantage

November 10, 2011 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA Rockford Chamber of Commerce (RCC) Executive Director Jeanne Gregory allowed her organization to serve as the example for a class on building a strategic business plan held Tuesday, Nov. 1 in the Rockford Public Schools administrative offices. The class was led by Lynda Nance of Nance Business Solutions. “Whatever is wrong with your business, it’s your fault,” Nance stated, advice she often uses when consulting with business owners on how to improve their operations. She said she softens such blunt statements with the use of humor as she helps managers build a plan for improvement and success. The evening did include humor, but also serious discussion on developing a strategy any business owner or manager can use to promote success in their company. Step one, Nance explained, is a clear vision of a company’s purpose by creating a vision or mission statement. In the example of RCC, both a mission statement and vision have been created. RCC made an appropriate subject for study in the wake of the organization’s own strategic study. For RCC, the process was an intense, six-month job that was completed on November 1. The plan will lead the organization through the next three years and requires revisitation every 18 months. Members of the class took a short-cut version of the process during two hours of instruction, but were also advised that any strategic plan does need periodic review and adjustments as the company evolves. Step two, after developing a mission statement, is creating a SWOT evaluation: identifying Strengths and Weaknesses and Opportunities and Threats. Nance advised it is vital to include members of all levels of an organization, as well as customers and even vendors, to take part. “Who knows your weaknesses better than your customers?” she noted. She also stressed the importance of involving those at every level of the company, rather than from a stratified distance of management only. “If you just go to employees and tell them, ‘This is what we’re doing,’ they won’t be on board.” Third, develop “baseline metrics,” a measurable footprint of where your business is today. In the example of RCC, that could be the number of members. For others it could be a measure of the amount of business taking […]