Success is not an accident, and hope is not a strategy.
It is officially the second half of 2011. Are you where you want to be? Are you on track to have a successful year? Are you measuring your progress against your plan? Are you achieving impressive results?
If you are not making the progress that you would like to make and are capable of making, it could be because your goals are not clearly defined. This week’s Business Challenge is to perform a Mid-Year Check up. Think how quickly we got to the mid-year point? Well, the second half of the year will go by just as quickly. Don’t miss the opportunity to have a successful year no matter where you are right now.
Read on for some additional insight and tools on how to get on track:
I often hear CEOs wringing their hands, complaining about how tough things are these days. Sales are down, profitability is off, or whatever. It’s certainly true that the economy is struggling, but you can’t control that. However, you CAN control how you respond to your current circumstances. So let’s focus on that: if you want to drive your company to the next level, even in troubled times, you are going to have to make a decision to take charge of your future. Random accidents of nature and hoping for better days will not drive your company to the next level. Achieving that is going to involve setting some goals, and holding people – including yourself – accountable. So, let’s get started taking concrete steps to make som e things happen by laying out a simple strategic planning process.
Let’s look at three simple steps to put a plan in place. This is a simple way to develop an effective strategic plan, and drive it down into effective tactical actions.
What are these three steps? They are:
1.1. Understand where you are.
1.2. Envision your (year) end-game.
1.3. Connect the dots.
Let’s talk about this in more detail:
1) Understand where you are.
To begin, management should ask some basic questions about the business today. Some examples:
What drives your revenue? Is it internet marketing, specific sales channel, particular advertising, or through ongoing business relationships? And which levers in each of those drive revenues?
What’s your average unit price? How sensitive is your market to pricing? Can you position your service or product to more positively reflect the value added? Does your pricing reflect the value offered? Does it contemplate every cost involved – even things like overhead or other sales, or administrative costs. If your average price seems appropriate, how can you drive unit volumes?
Have you defined, and are you monitoring your Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)?
2) Envision Your (Year) End-Game
Where do you want to be at the end of this year? Set stretch goals for:
2. Number of Customers (You want more granularity to reduce risk)
3. Cash flow
4. Other relevant metrics or KPI’s
The intent of management to clearly define very specific goals to be achieved within a clearly defined timeframe.
3) Connect the dots to deliver
If you know where you are now, and where you want to be, how do you bridge the gap between the two? The answer is to set intermediate goals with accountabilities. For example, if you’ve identified your revenue drivers, and you have now set a revenue growth goal for the year, you can define the intermediate steps management needs to take to achieve the growth goal. For example, such steps might be:
1) Putting in place a goal of a minimum number of outbound calls per salesperson.
2) Hiring of new sales personnel to support revenue growth, with specific sales goals for these new hires.
3) Developing a specific number new contacts within local business community.
Your intermediate goals will obviously be specific to your situation.
To finish connecting the dots you will need to put together all of the intermediate goals that get the company where it needs to be. I would suggest that you set these goals by quarter. Finally, you will need to put in place accountabilities: which tasks must be completed to achieve these goals, who will do them, and by when. I would suggest at monthly follow-up meetings (or more often, if desired). With this in place management will be well on on its way to achieving the goals of the company.
Remember, accidents and hope will not bring the results that you want to see. You must carefully define where you are, where you want to be, and then take careful, disciplined steps – with accountability – that will get you there. No company has ever succeeded without its leadership initiating a process like this. And, like I said in the first few sentences, it all begins with you making a decision.
If you have any questions or feedback, please contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 954.356.0439
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