Every day, you make hard choices, as entrepreneurs and executives. You hope the results will go your way. Setting priorities is the most important strategy we have. It is the last word in time management and the main success factor for any business.
Joe Calloway's book "Be the Best at What Matters Most," is a superlative, straight talking piece of work. All about focusing on what's important, as the ultimate strategy.
Read on for some real eye-openers.
'Focus 3 Ninety'
I'm a big advocate of the Vision, Mission, Values (VMV) approach to business planning. Reading Joe Calloway's book, 'Be the Best at What Matters Most' reminded me that one size does not fit all. Simplicity and focus is a must-have, winning way, too. He suggests a half-day meeting to come up with 3 ways to improve your processes in the coming 90 days. Then pick up the phone and get on with it. 'VMV' is important, and helps you create important long-term strategies to succeed. However, don't let that take you too far astray, you also need to focus on the very basics of your business and make sure you excel at them every time and with every customer. We take this approach with all of our clients, using assessment tools like our Business Effectiveness Evaluation process and creating prioritized 90-day action plans.
'The Main Thing is to Make Sure the Main Thing IS the Main Thing'
What keeps many of my clients awake at night is knowing that their business could be better. You may have great people and great products, but you're exhausted trying to do the hundreds of things necessary to succeed. Joe Calloway calls this counter-productive and recommends focusing on the 3 or 4 things that really matter to your customers; then doing those things exceptionally well, every time.
The key is to do the fundamentals better than all the rest. Because when you win customers over on the basics, you win everything. If your competitors are better than you are, or if there aren't enough people willing to pay you to do your thing, then it's back to the drawing board for your enterprise. Only when you have figured out what matters most, can you organize your time, develop a strategy, and execute it every time.
Approaches to Finding What Matters Most:
1. Maximize Profit: Is profit for you the main thing or a necessary consequence?
2. Do you strive to make your little piece of the World better?
3. For many businesses, customer satisfaction is what matters and is the most effective driver of strategy.
4. Quality wins business through recommendations. Social media is the "force multiplier" of this strategy.
5. Growth, either organic or through acquisition can be the whole point of a business' existence. Yes, 'hype' is dead and the Internet killed it! Long live quality!
6. When you focus on consistency of performance, you can guarantee success. List out all the things that support consistency and there is your strategy.
7. Continuous Improvement and innovation in responding to customer needs will, by definition, bring you business success.
Are You Easy to Do Business With?
The most successful businesses are those that are most accessible to their customers. So on a scale from 1 to 10, how easy are you to do business with? List out the things you can simplify, so your customers don't have to work or even think at all, when doing business with you. Is your value proposition clear and immediately obvious to your customers? Are you genuinely the business of first choice for customers?
I wholeheartedly recommend Joe Calloway's ideas. In this article, I have only touched on a few nuggets of wisdom from this must-read book. It is crammed with relevant examples of successful businesses and eye-opening suggestions for how you can improve your business.
If you want to discuss any of the ideas here or any issues you have in your drive for success, contact PBC for a free consultation.
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This originally appeared in my May 2014 Newsletter.