IOWA CITY, IOWA— In today’s polarized world, it is often challenging to share one’s beliefs as inevitably those beliefs will inspire some and upset others. Jeff Nock is a Christian and has learned through many years of business leadership that utilization of Christian values can be beneficial to all business leaders regardless of religious belief.
Jeff Nock is an experienced executive, consultant, and leader with a demonstrated history of growing startups, nonprofits and established companies. Skilled in strategic plan development and execution, business plans, leadership development, marketing, Sales, finance and presentation development, Jeff has a strong, well-rounded background with a Master of Science in Management.
No surprise, given the topic of this article, Jeff Nock is a committed Christian blessed with four children and a long-standing career as an expert in growing companies. He is motivated to work long hours to see his business thrive as the Bible teaches to utilize the gifts people are given to help others. He also understands that he has been given an awesome responsibility of being a parent and utilizes time management skills to ensure he is there for his children when they need him and is the best possible leader for his family.
Jeff Nock asks shouldn’t the following biblical values be at the core of all company cultures?
Love – Do I demonstrate true compassion for my fellow workers, customers, clients, and partners?
Joy – Do I maintain the attitude that regardless of the current circumstances, everything will work out in the end?
Peace – Do I calmly go about my work- or do I “rant and rave” or “get upset” when things don’t go smoothly?
Patience – Do I maintain an attitude of “allowing people to grow” or do I demand they “have it all together” right now?
Kindness – Do I genuinely treat others with dignity and respect?
Goodness – Do I really have the best interest of others in mind when I talk and work with them?
Faithfulness – Do I speak the same of others when I am not with them, as when I am? Do I put in an honest day’s work?
Self-Control – Do I maintain the discipline to do my job with excellence? Am I pro-active or do I act re-actively? Do I take personal responsibility – or do I blame others or allow myself to be a “victim”?
Jeff explains, “In the end, whatever your religious beliefs, these values will enable you to be an empowering leader who is respected by your team. This doesn’t mean that difficult decisions should be avoided but it does mean those decisions should be made within the filter of these values. The leader of the organization is responsible for the culture of the organization. Whether you are Christian or not, you have a responsibility to set the example by living your own values in your daily work.”
Jeff Nock is CEO & Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC, which is a management consulting business that helps funded early stage and mid cap companies achieve their vision and growth goals by offering services that include C-Level mentoring, strategic planning, business planning, business model ideation/evolution, market analysis, financial analysis, competitive niche analysis, business development, operational efficiencies, and brand evolution.
Jeff Nock, CEO & Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC. Prescient, which is a management consulting company that helps fund early stage and mid-cap companies achieve their vision and growth goals.
By offering services that include C-Level mentoring, strategic planning, business planning, business model ideation/evolution, market analysis, competitive niche analysis, finance, business development, operational efficiencies, and brand evolution.
While all companies should have a strategic plan that connects to each individual’s role in the organization, companies should only invest time in a formal business plan when there is a specific demand for that business plan.
Such demand could come from potential investors, banking institutions, potential partners and potential acquirers.
Since the strategic plan provides the guidelines for the daily, quarterly, annual and three to the five-year direction of the company, much of the content in the strategic plan will also be of value for the business plan.
Jeff Nock understands that it is important to know your audience when writing a business plan. Before putting a lot of work in, ask the people who have requested the plan what they would like to receive.
In most cases, it is no longer necessary to write a 30-page business plan as it was many years ago.
In today’s world of bytes of information, it is important to be more concise. Often a 10 to 12-page plan will hit the mark. Highlight the following in one to two pages; Executive summary, company description, market analysis, competitive analysis, product/service description, marketing plan, sales plan, leadership overview, financial projections.
Write this section last. It summarizes, in one page, all the other sections of the plan. Make sure to emphasize the highlights as some readers will only read this section and the financials.
Describe your business model. What problem or opportunity is your company addressing? What is your value proposition? Who is your target market?
This section will show the reader that you thoroughly understand the industry you are planning to enter. Use data to show where the market has been and where it is going to be in the coming years.
The last thing a potential investor or partner wants to hear is that you think you have no competition. Every company has competition even if it is the status quo. Educate the reader on who the leaders are in the industry and why.
Now that you have described your competitors, describe in some detail your product or service and be specific about how you differentiate from the competition. Why are you better than the rest? If you aren’t, you won’t be able to compete against existing, entrenched companies.
Marketing is your “one to many” strategy for how to establish your brand and drive interest in your product or service. Describe how you will establish your brand in the market and how you will get potential customers to believe in your value proposition.
Sales are your “one to one” strategy for influencing potential customers to purchase your product or service. Describe how you will close prospects.
Often investors and partners go with a strong team of people even over a great idea for a product. Make sure to share who your leadership team is and why they are a great team. Jeff Nock understands a company’s culture can be a huge key to future success. Describe your company culture and why people want to work hard to make your company and themselves successful.
Share your revenue, expense and income forecast for the next year by month and for years two and three. Be pragmatic with these numbers.
You don’t want to be so conservative that the reader sees no potential in your company, but you don’t want to be so optimistic that you lose credibility with the reader.
Typically reviewers of business plans will cut revenue forecasts considerably.
When a business shares their business plan with an investor, vendor, client, or whomever they desire, they must be accountable for not only the successful outline of their initiatives but also their passion about the company.
The fervency of this passion is one of the most critical aspects of the business plan’s authenticity.
CEO, consultant and startup savant Jeff Nock has worked for years to improve the output and success of small businesses and established corporations. He advocates mentors for startup businesses and discusses the potential for the improvement they bring.
As CEO and Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC, Jeff Nock understands the importance of professional mentoring for all business leaders and professionals. For years, he’s helped startup, early-stage and mid-cap companies grow and reach their goals through strategic business planning, business model ideation and development. He has also seen the advantages mentors can bring to startups.
“Founders of startups are typically incredibly passionate about their new company.
Sometimes they are so close to their business concept that they can’t see the forest through the trees and can benefit from advice from an experienced business professional who has been there before,” says Jeff Nock. “Mentors for startup founders can be found through their local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), area economic development agencies, through networking and by contacting successful founders that are farther along and willing to give back.
For startups, funding is limited so mentors don’t have to be paid for their advice. Just make sure to respect the person’s time and pay it back once you are successful. Successful local business owners will want to help start-ups succeed not only to pay back for the help they received in the past but because it makes the local entrepreneurial community stronger, which helps all.”
“Some start-up founders have never been part of the business before (college students or moving from a career outside the business) and other startup founders have had their hand in someone else’s start-up or been part of a product launch for a larger company,” says Jeff Nock. “The type of mentor each founder needs is dependent on what kind of experience that founder does NOT have.
Founders with no business experience should seek a business generalist who has a broad range of startup and business leadership skills.
Experience is Key, Says Jeff Nock
Founders with more business experience should seek out mentors who have skills in areas they lack experience. For example, if an engineer is starting a company they should seek out mentors with marketing, sales, and overall leadership experience.”
While aligning with a mentor who can help a start-up founder augment their experience is helpful, it is also beneficial to identify and learn from mentors from within the specific industry the founder is entering. Each industry has its own culture and mores and it is helpful for start-up founders to know as much about these industry nuances to save time and growing pains.
An experienced startup mentor will also be able to offer healthy network connections, having explored and made a name in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and industry already. In this way, they will be able to open many doors for a startup business and connect founders with people who can form win/win partnerships.
“Starting a business is hard work,” says Jeff Nock, “but learning the ropes from an experienced startup mentor will give these companies more traction to get up and running, helping them skip over the otherwise frequent pitfalls of learning the ropes on their own.”
As CEO & Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC, Jeff Nock understands the challenge of operating a business and maintaining responsibilities as a father at home. He shares with other business-centric parents what he believes to be the best methods of balancing work and family.
Both work-life balance and the traditional roles of parents at home have changed tremendously in the past few decades. Child-rearing isn’t delegated solely to mothers anymore, and an increasing number of mothers take on top roles in busy, demanding businesses. Some professionals choose to avoid having kids in order to put their careers first, but many more try juggling parenthood with steady work.
“It’s a challenge to designate enough time to both your family and work, but it’s not impossible,” says Jeff Nock. “While my kids will always come first, they also understand that I need to provide for them and that I enjoy my work. The key is good communication and scheduling. While the kids know I will be there for them, my business clients have to know they are a priority. Sometimes this leads to long days!”
Jeff Nock is CEO of Prescient Consulting, LLC and is compelled to work long hours to see his business thrive. However, as a father, he understands that at times a child’s sports game or graduation ceremony will take precedence over a business meeting.
“While business success is gratifying, our kids only grow up once and it happens so fast. I will do whatever it takes to coach or watch my kids in all of their activities while also making sure that our clients are happy. This can be accomplished by staying on top of the kids’ schedules and communicating with clients as to their deadlines and expectations,” says Jeff Nock. “In the end, you have to make sure the kids and clients know they matter.”
In the past, people have had to choose between their priorities, but today they can maintain family commitments as well as professional careers by relying on technology and new modes of communication to be present in multiple places at once. For instance, parents can spend needed time with their families while phoning in remotely through chat or video to important meetings when needed. Alternatively, if business trips take busy professionals out of town, they can use the same modes of communication to contact loved ones and spend quality time from afar.
As a CEO, Jeff Nock has come to the realization that a healthy work-life balance isn’t an end goal, but rather a balancing act that requires constant consideration of what’s most important on any given day.
“Sometimes you have to excuse yourself from work in order to be present for family events,” says Jeff Nock. “Other times you have to ask for forgiveness from your family if something at work is too pressing to put off until tomorrow.”
He concludes that positive communication is your ultimate ally in these circumstances and that there should always be an open dialogue between you and your work, and you and your family, so that both parties stay in the loop. This way, he says, you’ll seldom disappoint either.
Performing competitive analysis allows businesses of all levels the chance to observe competitors’ movements and gauge the effectiveness of their own strategies. Jeff Nock of Prescient Consulting, LLC shares his perspective on the usefulness of competitive analysis below.
Thorough market analysis is a necessary component of any successful business strategy. Success depends on how well a business sells its product or service, and comprehension of the market and potential competitors will inevitably factor into sales plans. Understanding what one company gets right and how another business fails can be interpreted and applied to improve any business strategy. In that way, companies can evolve and keep up with a changing market by using competitors’ results to enhance their own efforts.
“If you’ve developed a business plan in the past, then you’ve already conducted thorough research on your niche market,” says Jeff Nock, CEO & Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC. “It’s just as important to explore the competitors within your niche and track their success or failures. This will allow you to anticipate shifts in the market and respond appropriately, among other useful benefits.”
A competitive analysis must include more than a subscription to competitors’ email lists and keeping an eye on their social media accounts. While these are very useful tactics, quality competitive analysis will include an all-encompassing strategy to monitor your competitors throughout various channels on an ongoing basis. Whether businesses choose to follow only a few of their main competitors or else study as many companies as they can is ultimately a strategy choice, which is likely factored by available manpower and resources.
However, Jeff Nock reminds businesses that the competitive analysis is not something to skimp on or dedicate only a small fraction of time to. Especially not with all the help available to businesses today.
“There are plenty of resources available online to help businesses monitor and track what a competitor is doing,” says Jeff Nock. “Subscribing to all competitor channels and online domains is easy. Companies can also use tools like those offered by Google to get detailed and accurate reports of competitors’ strengths and weaknesses in real time.”
Google is the world’s leading online index of professional services and they offer a range of complex tools (many free of charge) to help businesses keep a fresh and precise depiction of their markets. Google AdWords Keyword Planner informs businesses which keywords and phrases are trending online, how often they appear on competitor sites, and what their current bidding price is. Google Trends and My Business help companies link up their efforts with the successful trends sweeping a market at any given moment. Google Analytics, meanwhile, delivers a well-rounded snapshot of how users find and interact with a given website, allowing them to make alterations and test their success or failure.
“Competitive analysis will never fail you,” says Jeff Nock. “It’s a cheat sheet to your niche market that can empower your business and ensure strength and longevity over the competition. Refusing to conduct thorough market or competitor research will only hinder business potential.”
Jeff Nock is the CEO and Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC, which he has used to help startups, established companies, and non-profit organizations push their limits of success. Often, this means helping businesses understand positive strategic planning and building a stronger foundation to work from.
Many businesses consider strategic planning a useful strategy for large, evolving corporations without understanding how it can help set all businesses up for success down the road. On the opposite end are businesses who consider strategic planning an essential component but don’t understand how to develop a truly useful plan. This is where Jeff Nock of Prescient Consulting, LLC lends a hand to teach companies and organizations of all sizes the proper way to strategize for the future.
“In a good strategy plan, businesses will set top priorities, make wise investment decisions, and lay out the plans that will help expand their reach and potential,” says Jeff Nock. “Poor strategic planning will be vague and indirect without any real insight to the market or the business.”
Strategic planning will serve as a company’s blueprint and will help all facets stay on track to achieve predetermined objectives in an evolving marketplace. It will identify key areas of growth and establish both short and long-term goals. A decent strategy plan will specifically call out the milestones you intend to meet within the next year as well as those you hope to meet in 5 or 10 years.
“If your company is new and has, let’s say, a few thousand followers and a city-wide reach, your next move is to double your following and extend your product or service to the whole state,” says Jeff Nock. “To get there, you must identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for expansion (near and far) and what threats stand in the way of reaching your goal.”
He mentions that a good strategic plan will identify some essential components, namely distilling who and what the company is. It will encompass the mission, values, and vision for operation that will set the stage for production. This will help businesses stay on track when there are setbacks, new opportunities, or wide fluctuations in the market. Here, companies should identify why the business exists in the first place and what the guiding principles are that hold the organization together. For example, the Walt Disney Company doesn’t just want to be a source of good entertainment, they want to be the world’s leading source of entertainment and accomplish this by employing top creative innovators and artists while maintaining a family-centric focus.
After defining their mission, businesses must set up planned stages for achieving it with clear goals and milestones along the way to measure success. Strategic planning should have a sturdy foundation and core values, but flexible in terms of details. This will help prevent dead ends and upset over not sticking exactly to the plan as you grow.
“Good strategic planning will keep businesses on course to achieve early goals and will help them realize new ones when they encounter success,” says Jeff Nock. “It will serve as a road map, show bible, reference guide, and an important reminder to not lose sight of the original plan that made the whole business possible in the first place.”
Business developer and skillful leader Jeff Nock works with startups, established companies, and non-profit organizations to enhance their growth prospects and achieve their vision and goals. He encourages businesses to pursue social entrepreneurship strategies not only because it is the right thing to do but because it is good business.
Jeff Nock has spent decades crafting business models, enabling companies to grow, and helping leaders develop solid plans for success. He’s the CEO & Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC, which uses this experience to help early-stage and mid-cap companies achieve their potential. As a demonstrated, versatile leader, he shares his learning experiences with other professionals in the hopes that they will take on positive leadership and drive their ventures to new heights.
“Now’s the time to integrate social entrepreneurship into each company’s core planning,” says Jeff Nock. “Companies like Toms and Warby Parker have proven that social entrepreneurship not only helps our world be a better place but also improves brand equity and drives revenue and bottom-line growth.” By donating one of their products to the lesser privileged for each product they sell, these companies provide shoes and glasses to people who otherwise would not have access to such important items we take for granted. In addition, because consumers value this philanthropy, both Toms and Warby Parker gain incredible brand value for their companies which ultimately drives revenue and profits. It is a true win/win.
According to the Schwab Foundation, “Put simply, social entrepreneurship is the use of new approaches to solving old social problems. Throughout history, there have been social change agents and activists who have put their societies on a better path.” For companies, this can mean donating their core skills to build websites for non-profits, holding quarterly fundraisers for a local charity or in the age-old model, banks donating to local youth groups to raise brand awareness amongst families.
As companies are spending more and more time on culture and determining and living their values, they are realizing that they have an obligation to give back to the communities and world that has been so good to them and Jeff Nock says that incorporating a social responsibility component into a company’s business plan not only helps the world be a better place, builds brand equity, drives top and bottom line growth but also helps recruit great people who want to be part of a culture that values social responsibility.
“Social entrepreneurship is a fast-growing part of much good company’s business plans. While the long-standing model of giving to United Way, who then gives the money to non-profits, is still a valuable model, companies today should think like Toms and Warby Parker and incorporate social responsibility into their main business model. The result can be an increase in brand equity, revenue, and profits. But more importantly, the company’s business model helps make the world a better place… every day.” – Jeff Nock
Jeff Nock Explains the Importance of Market Analysis and How to Conduct Thorough Research
Jeff Nock is an experienced leader with years of dedicated work as an executive and consultant to growing startups, established companies, and non-profit organizations. He shares critical insight into market analysis below and explains how it benefits businesses of all sizes.
Through years of experience helping companies improve and expand their potential, Jeff Nock has developed a well-rounded understanding of the vital pieces of a growing business. Apart from a few other critical characteristics, Mr. Nock is convinced that businesses can only achieve their potential if they have a full understanding of the market they are operating within.
Market analysis, says Jeff Nock, is both a quantitative and qualitative assessment of your business’ market, which considers customer segments, buying patterns, market volume, economic environment, competitors, and more.
“Using market analysis, companies define their niche and gain insight into the hurdles and barriers in the way of success and what effective means should be taken to reach success,” says Jeff Nock.
He explains that a market analysis will help companies to understand that they are clearly solving a problem as Kleenex did with tissues, or incrementally improving the market like Google did with an Internet search. Once they have confirmed their value proposition, companies need to identify their target market, or who has the problem or needs the incremental improvement. Then market analysis or customer discovery should be done to confirm proper product/market fit. Companies simply can’t do with their products or services what other companies are already doing. Those companies already have market share. Companies must identify a sweet spot or niche where they are better than anyone else or create a product or service that is exponentially better than the competition’s in order to be successful.
“It all begins by understanding your value proposition and being willing to listen to your target market to learn,” says Jeff Nock. “From there, you should start by identifying customer personas and build user profiles and consistently get feedback from people within those profiles as you build your product or service.”
The target customers will be the ones most likely to buy your product and the people who will convert into loyal (hopefully lifelong) customers. Business leaders should discover what it is the target audience wants and needs as well as their interests and general demographics. Jeff Nock encourages including data on their spending habits, the potential growth of your market, where your customer is physically located, what their daily behaviors are and the trends that define them.
“Any market analysis should be data-driven,” says Jeff Nock. “The more solid, unbiased customer discovery data you gather, the more useful your eventual results will be in business planning.”
Before building any products or services, it is imperative to get enough positive, objective customer/prospect feedback on the market demand for what you are planning to build. Too many startups and even more established companies build products or services before having a good understanding of their competition. A thorough competitive analysis should result in a clear understanding of where the product or service will fit in the market and why it will stand out to potential buyers.
From there, Jeff Nock says, businesses have to iteratively continue to conduct market analysis to ensure that next-generation versions of their product or service are desired by the target market and that the company is continually up to speed on the competition.
“Good market analysis, including customer discovery and ongoing competitive analysis, can save companies hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars and months or years of time developing products or services that aren’t ultimately desired by the target market. Good market analysis is like a lighthouse that leads you to success” says Jeff Nock.
Jeff Nock has spent years demonstrating key leadership qualities in a range of positions, improving both small-scale businesses and corporation-style establishments. Here, he shares insight on what makes a good leader and how these characteristics promote growth and stability.
Jeff Nock, the CEO & Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC, understands good leadership. His business helps early-stage and mid-cap companies grow and ultimately achieve their goals by offering a range of services, notably business planning, and software application development. He teaches companies how a positive leader will affect the entire business from the top down, strengthening their production and encouraging healthy growth with time.
“Without good leadership, the culture fall apart and the business can’t scale from a start-up to a sustainable, growth oriented company,” says Jeff Nock.
The first quality of a great leader he mentions is integrity, which he tells us sets the stage for the entire process. Integrity in business may mean unwavering decision making or the ability to put safety and quality before all else. Having a leader who employees can rely on to make solid, informed decisions without compromising the original intention of the business is essential.
“Every leader should display integrity,” says Jeff Nock, “but they also need to be able to communicate effectively with their team to to gain buy in for the plan and execute the plan.”
It’s the role of leaders to motivate their team and teach them to take charge of their roles as well as listen and accept feedback while being able to give their own. All of this requires that they exercise great communication skills as bad communication will likely lead to negative outcomes including employee turnover and poor operational results. A great leader will know what words to use and the tone of voice that’s most appropriate for the situation, but they will also be able to listen just as effectively (as listening is an integral part of positive communication anywhere).
In order for a leader to be prepared to make the appropriate decisions, they must display a certain decisiveness. They must prove they’re empowered to make decisions and are willing to take risks, understanding that they will hold themselves accountable for end results. A leader who falters on decision making or who is too timid about executive decisions will hinder progress across the board. They should accept opinions or counsel and be open to debate but also be prepared to make the tough call when the time comes.
“A great leader will also empower their team,” says Jeff Nock, “instead of creating fear, doubt, or animosity.”
Many people in leadership roles don’t spend time strengthening their employees (and ultimately the whole business) by empowering their choices and actions. However, a great leader will constantly encourage their team to make decisions that are in the best interest of the company and customers.
“And lastly, and maybe most importantly, a great leader must be patient,” says Jeff Nock. “All the other qualities will certainly make for a good leader in the moment, but it’s patience that ensures they continue being a good leader for years to come.”
CEO and Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC, Jeff Nock has helped grow businesses and startups by teaching them core basics for years. Here, he shares his own insight on strategic planning to encourage businesses to take the reins on their growth and find success in their ventures.
Jeff Nock is an experienced executive, consultant, and world-class leader who has demonstrated a history of growing startups, non-profits and established companies. Mr. Nock is skilled in areas such as business planning, the strategic planning process, management development, comprehensive marketing, sales, and presentation development. He has a strong, well-rounded background in business and applies a Master of Science in Management to all his professional projects.
Jeff Nock is also the CEO & Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC, which is a consultancy that helps early stage and mid-cap companies achieve their vision and growth goals. Prescient is able to accomplish this by offering services such as C-Level mentoring, strategic planning, business planning, software development, business model ideation/evolution, market analysis, competitive niche analysis, business development, operational efficiencies and brand evolution.
He believes that every business should begin with strategic planning to align goals and determine the proper course of action to reach high returns. This, Jeff Nock says, begins with the vision statement, which outlines the scope and purpose of the business as well as determines the eventual destination. It will function as a roadmap later on if things get bumpy but also as a critical foundation for understanding the business.
“After they’ve determined their vision,” says Jeff Nock,” businesses should clearly define their core values. It will help them make better hiring decisions and determine what actions to take on their next steps.”
Once the values and the vision are put down to paper, businesses need to work on expectations and outcomes for milestones such as months or years. This, he says, will assist them to stay on track to reach their goals, especially if things become uncertain along the way. Outcomes can be set for weeks, months, years, or some other time window so long as they are realistic and achievable through business means.
“Every business needs clearly defined goals, outcomes, and expectations,” says Jeff Nock. “And from there, each business needs to be able to pick up on performance indicators that let them know they’re on the right track to success.”
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are a tricky but necessary addition to any business plan. Businesses only need a KPI or two for each focus area (such as mentions or shares on social media or a certain number of visits to the website within a specific time frame). However, they will serve as impertinent landmarks on the journey to success.
“From there,” Jeff Nock says, “it’s all about establishing accountability in each position and holding those people to their responsibilities. Doing this will inevitably lead to better service, better performance, and business growth in the end.”