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Management Buzz 10/04

Business plans and game plans, define your brand and more

Got Game?

Most entrepreneurs have a business plan. But what about a game plan?

While a business plan is a document aimed at impressing investors, a game plan is a document implemented inside a company to sell managers and employees on a realistic look at the business and the goals to reach. Game plans "look at what's working and what's not," says Jan B. King, an El Segundo, California, media consultant and author of Business Plans to Game Plans.

Entrepreneurial introspection appears to be a growing trend: Sixty-four percent of fast-growing companies now have strategic plans in place that they reassess annually or more frequently, according to a study last summer by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Make sure your business plan is in place before thinking about a game plan. If sales need to increase 50 percent over the next 12 months, for example, the game plan will lay out what everyone in the company needs to do on the job to make it happen.

To get started, outline a few companywide goals, and discuss how the team can get there. Involve employees and advisors in the process, then update the game plan annually to reflect new goals and strategies. This is one case where gaming the system just might work.

Apply Yourself

Today's job seekers can sit at home and apply for positions over company Web sites. It's fast and easy.

But it's not so simple for employers, who are required to collect race, gender and other information from everyone who applies online, and then keep it on file for two years-a daunting prospect when thousands of job seekers can inundate company Web sites with resumes.

To ease the load on employers, the Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other federal agencies settled this spring on a new definition of online "applicant" that will let employers utilize three criteria to determine if they need to collect and keep paperwork from those applying online. First, the employer must be trying to fill a particular position. Second, the online applicant must follow the employer's process when applying. Third, the online applicant must indicate interest in a specific position within the company.

The new definition will make record keeping easier for companies with more than 15 employees that are required to collect and keep data on those who apply, says Larry Lorber, employment and labor partner with Proskauer Rose in Washington, DC. "You're not going to have the record-keeping burden [of figuring out] for every resume what job the person may have been applying for," he says. "It should be a cost-saving rule to follow." Stay tuned.


Nearly
2/3
of employees say their company has not fully communicated what its brand stands for.
Statistic Source: The Sterling Group

13%
of U.S. businesses have had to deal with lawsuits caused by employee e-mail.
Statistic Source: American Management Association/The ePolicy Institute

Chris Penttila is a Washington, DC-based freelance journalist who covers workplace issues on her blog, Workplacediva.blogspot.com.

Like this article? Get this issue right now on iPad, Nook or Kindle Fire.

This article was originally published in the October 2004 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Management Buzz 10/04.

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