Goal Direction Positioning:
Achieving the results you want requires focus and direction. Both can be put in play with written goals. Whatever you committed to last year- scrap! Start fresh with new vision and a commitment to accomplish no more than 3-5 really important areas of your business. Among these areas should be ideal client acquisition, better management of revenue channels, customer service, enhanced process delivery and a more targeted marketing campaign.
When developing your goals ask yourself these questions: 1). What exactly do I want as an outcome. 2). Why is this important enough to devote time and resources to. 3). When do I want it completed. 4). How will I accomplish it. 5). Who will be involved to help achieve it.
Once you and your team have assembled goals you are committed to, publish them and insure everyone knows what’s important.
Having the ability to move and change to capture more business is driven largely by your financial position. If needed, could you expand quickly? Are you spending your operating dollars in the most effective manner? Are you positioned to be able to leverage funds from others?
Start by reviewing your finances. If you don’t have an operating budget, put one in place. Shop all of your annual services: insurance policies, phone/ internet services, subscriptions and dues. Make sure everything you currently spend money on is delivering the highest value to your organization possible.
Talk with your bank about your credit. Do you need to eliminate debt or secure more financing to handle anticipated expansion? Don’t wait for the place to collapse under the weight of unfulfilled new business before getting the financial help you need.
Businesses who are financially adaptive are in much better position to adjust your size or method of operating to take advantage of sudden spurts in volume.
Your operating system is comprised of your people, your processes, the systems that support both and the practices that allow you to make money at various levels of demand. Go to school on all of these areas to expose gaps that may cause breakdowns when your operation becomes stressed.
Over the previous 6-8 years, many businesses tightened their belts to the point of having no margin for increased capacity. If your operation is struggling to keep up at your current pace, bring your team together to see what needs to change to be able to open up more capacity for potential increases. If the capacity is there, determine if you could operate effectively with a 20 to 40% increase in order activity?
One final aspect of tuning up your operation is how you measure performance. If you have no way of doing this regularly, create a management dashboard. A dashboard is a simple reporting tool that measures your most important activity weekly and monthly. If you don’t know how you are doing, you will not be able to tweak things as you go and refine your operation to that of a well oiled machine.
This is another area that is often neglected when the marketplace starts to heat up. In a growing market sector, the well positioned businesses usually start investing heavily in advertising and promotion. This increase in activity can overshadow other companies who think that just being there will capture more business. Your marketing needs to be very targeted, compelling and consistent. Just because more people are looking for the things your business provides does not mean they will find you!
The first place to evaluate is your web presence. Today, the average buyer spends 65% of their time learning about what they want on the internet. They need to be able to bump into you along the way and be encouraged enough to visit your site for more details.
The close sibling to marketing is sales. Make sure your sales process supports your marketing message. If potential customers form an impression about your business with your marketing message but get ‘spooked’ when your sales people make contact, you run serious chance of losing revenue.
The greatest detractor to a robust business is having the wrong people doing the wrong things. You don’t want to start replacing people that aren’t contributing at the highest possible level but you do want to evaluate who is doing what and how every member of your team can contribute in ways that raise the capacity level, speed of delivery, level of customer satisfaction, etc. Great people doing the right jobs are competitive advantages that cannot be beat!
Start by taking a look at your current organization chart. Chances are this was designed several years ago. Now, sketch one that reflects what you would like your organization to look like. You may need to invite a few people into this process to get all aspects of your business considered. Then, decide what changes need to be made. If you have been feeling stressed by the weight of managing your business, it’s probably because your organization is out of sync with the realities of your business today.
As the economy heats up, more companies will be looking for skilled people. If your industry is running a talent deficit, have a plan to upgrade your current team or a source to help you acquire better talent.
Let’s face it, if you are like most business owners, your focus and responsibility is on everyone else in the organization. While this outlook is noble, it creates a severe level of neglect for your own development and ability to stay at your best over time.
Consider taking time to attend some seminars, join a business networking group or just take the time off to get away from your business. The fact is, if you have constructed a well run business and you have the right people doing the right things, you have more time to get away than you think. Take advantage of it!
There’s an old saying that goes, ‘as you go, so goes your business’. Prolonged involvement in the weeds of your business without breaks will cause you to become less effective and not know it.
Positioning for growth is all about staying ahead of the curve; the competitive curve, the consumer purchasing curve, the money curve, the talent curve, and your own ability to play at the top of your game. Get comfortable doing these things and you will be poised for superior results in 2017.