Is your business one of the many that has gotten flabby from lack of exercise during this down turn? Have you and your business been on the sidelines the last couple of years? Sitting on the couch waiting for things to get better? Are you still waiting to see? We need to change that. Many economists and business experts believe that things will never be the same as they were before the financial crisis. I happen to believe they are right. Things will be different but that doesn’t necessarily mean they need to be worse for your business. How do we make that your new reality? We create a game plan!! Below are some simplified steps to crafting a winning game plan:
1) Take a realistic look at yourself. Have you been holding back? Unsure of what direction to take? In the wake of all of the negative news did you stop leading your team? Did you try to do too much by taking on tasks that should have been done by others? What are you good at and what are you not so good at? Areas that are not your strength should be supplemented with the skills of others (head coaches generally hire others to run their offenses, defenses, etc. It isn’t that they don’t know how, it’s that they know that the team will perform better by utilizing the skills of others)
2) Take a realistic look at your business. Is your product or service still relevant? What about the quality of the product or service? Do you have the right people to deliver the “goods” ?
Ok, so we have completed the introspective piece of work and we will assume that the answers were supportive of continuing. So let’s go.
3) We need to establish a set of goals for the business (remember the SMART acronym when setting your goals… it is broken down for you at the end of this article).
4) Create a game plan for attaining the goals. Many business owners struggle with this but it doesn’t have to be so daunting. Remember to walk backwards. Or, if you prefer, in the words of Stephen Covey, “begin with the end in mind”. Isn’t that really what goal setting is about? Once you have set the goal walk backwards until you get to where you are standing today. For example:
Let’s say that you are a sales person and you want to buy a $70,000 sports car one year from today and you want to pay cash. GOAL!!!
So let’s take the steps backward.
1) Do I currently have the cash? Nope.
2) In order to buy the car I will have to earn an extra $70K in commissions this year (after tax).
3) In order to earn $70k extra I will need to sell and extra $700K
4) In order to sell and extra $700K I will need to close an additional 10 orders at my average of $70K.
5) In order to close an additional ten orders I will need to have an additional 100 appointments
6) To set an additional 100 appointments I will need to make an extra 1,000 calls this year.
We have just walked backward from the goal through each of the metrics that you need to achieve by engaging in a specific set of activities…starting today. I have just established a game plan for my success. Of course this can and should be broken down further to include intermediate steps, measurement points, and an assessment of the resources required (for instance; in the example above where am I getting the names of the extra 1000 people to call?). By breaking this down to smaller measurable components and reviewing ongoing results I receive the necessary information to modify my activities as necessary to achieve my goal.
In your business the game plan for improving your sales would have to include sales team goals, production goal, etc.
In a recent NFL game the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the previously unbeaten and far superior (in terms of recent performance) Green Bay Packers. Their goal, which no one expected them to achieve, was to win the game. In order to achieve that they came up with a game plan for all the parts of their “business” and then executed the plan.
By crafting and executing the right game plan for your business you may achieve a similar and perhaps equally improbable victory in 2012. Remember the key to moving forward in 2012 may be walking backward.