Don't get left out in the cold, all winter lost and confused. I'm not talking about hypothermia, but rather that business slow death of having no clear strategy or goals. This is the natural season to take some time to consider where you are and where you want to take your enterprise from now on. At PBC we know for sure that there is a very high correlation between business success and having clearly articulated goals for what you want to accomplish! So we recommend that everyone write out their goals now!
Download a 3 step worksheet that will help you:
1. Document all of your achievements, both the good and the 'could have been better', from the past year or so. If you had a business plan way back when, it is a good idea to dig it out and use it as your scorecard. Are you still in business with the same 'Vision'? Did you make the sales volume you predicted? If not, why not? If so, then ask what went well for you? What has happened to your competitors? Have some gone out of business or are they doing some things better than you? I would encourage you to be as objective as possible when reviewing your past successes. Where did luck come into play - because it always does, to some extent?
2. Analyze a realistic view of the current state. You can't kick off on to the next stepping stone if the one you are standing on currently is small, slippery, and not solid enough to take the weight of your vision. Remember that cash flow forecast you put so much work into last time you went to the bank for a loan? That was stepping stone 1. Well now you can put in the actual figures, work out the variances, plus and minus, and answer the questions: why did that happen? So now you know what stepping stone 2, the 'here and now', looks like.
3. Create meaningful and achievable goals for the future. You are older, wiser and more experienced in business now. Stepping stone 3, will definitely be emerging from the fog of an uncertain future. Make a new more informed cash flow forecast for the year ahead. Set yourself and your team stretching but realistic goals. Your Vision and values are serving you well and now it's time to turbo charge your business processes towards triple zero status; zero waste, zero defects and zero accidents. PBC can guide you in fine tuning any of your processes where you are dissatisfied with the results.
On a personal note I recommend highly Clayton Christensen's new book, "How Will You Measure Your Life". Click below for an excellent audio/pdf summary of the book.
Clayton brilliantly brings together his business strategies and equips the reader with ways
to apply them to their personal lives. I have met him personally on a few occasions and he is really a remarkable human being.
His new book is what PBC is all about too; successfully applying important business strategy insights that work, but which can also make for, fulfilled and high integrity lives. It is an excellent read for this time of year when you are reaching into the past so as to plan better for your better future. The book raises 3 questions we all need to answer for ourselves.
How can I be sure that I'll find satisfaction in my career?
How can I ensure that my personal relationships become enduring sources of happiness?
How can I avoid compromising my integrity-and stay out of jail?
I loved the way Clayton Christensen makes brilliant new links between business and personal life. So many of the PBC business strategies and systems apply directly to creating a personal strategy for our lives. It's all good food for thought at this time of year as we look for the next stepping stone of success.
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This originally appeared in my December 2012 Newsletter.