WITH year’s end approaching there is precious little time to develop a business plan so that you hit the ground running in January, instead of continuing the same strategies that may not have been working so well in 2012.
Do you have a clear vision for your business? What it will look, feel and act like when it’s working at its best? Without a clear vision, you and your people won’t understand your purpose. Furthermore, your business won’t be working at its best, and your people won’t be gaining satisfaction from their daily labours.
Is the business’s vision being clearly articulated to your people? Are you developing a clear strategy based on that vision? The strategy is the detailed planning that comes from your vision. How will you make that vision a reality?
Do you have a process for turning your vision into action? Now that you have done some strategic thinking, it’s time to turn that into execution planning.
Strategy without a plan for its implementation is useless. Nothing happens. Timelines, tasks, accountabilities and resources need to be thought through and allocated. Now you’re on a pathway to growth.
Are you getting buy-in to your ideas from your people? In reality, it’s best to get buy-in from the start. When you’re developing your vision, why not get the ideas of your people regarding what might be possible. Jim Collins talks about a BHAG - big haiiy audacious goal - and people can get a real sense of excitement by being involved at this level. This can become the greatest motivating force of all.
Are the results of your efforts being measured? If not, how do you know if you’re succeeding? This is the point at which you need key performance indicators to measure progress against objectives. These areas of measurement should go way beyond the financial results; more accurately, they should start way before the financial results, which come after all of the business activities.
Axe the expectations of customer being met? I mean, really? What are their expectations? Does your service delivery meet them? Is there a process in place to ensure a consistent level of service?
Are all of your systems and processes documented? If not, the reality is that the business runs as a result of what individual people know and do. People are notoriously unreliable (and that’s all of us) so, if we get that knowledge out of people’s heads and into systems, we are no longer reliant on the presence of those key individuals.
Do you have a really clear knowledge of your primary target market, and secondary markets? How are you gathering this information? Where is it stored? How thorough is customer relationship management? Do you have a process for continual contact with your customers?
Are you attracting and retaining, the right people? Digressing in support of an answer to this ... I am in the process of preparing for a presentation to a group, a third of which will be employees. I was asked how I proposed to handle this, when employees might be justified in thinking ‘How is this relevant to me?’ My response will be: How does one group possibly exist without the other?
Isn’t it the yin and yang of the workplace? Aren’t we all in this together? Surely, in a generic sense the primary goals of a business owner are to have a successful business, to deliver great service, (thereby satisfying customers) and fulfilling a worthwhile purpose. But are these not also the goals of an employee? Being associated with a successful business, satisfying customers and fulfilling a worthwhile purpose? If we agree on this, surely we can all have a discussion on the business, because we’re all in the business. This goes to the heart of retaining people; understanding that they really are part of the business and then ensuring they are.
Using the above questions as a guide, you will go a long way to developing your plan for a fresh start to 2013.
“If we don’t change our direction we are likely to end up where we're headed” Chinese proverb
John Matthew is principal of Switch Directions for Business, which offers a range of coaching and mentoring services to business owners looking to grow their enterprise.
Contact John on 08 9531 3777 | mob 0418 935 327 | www. switchdirections.com.au