Why lose money when it’s there to be made?
Have you set your business goals yet for the year? If you haven’t, the fact is, you’re at risk for losing money. A failure to plan is a plan to fail. The solution is what I call a Snapshot Business Plan — a goal-driven plan powered by action steps and accountability. This unique type of plan provides an overview of all the steps needed to achieve success in each area of your business.
Snapshot Business Planning is a proven success strategy for moving your business to the next level. This is true whether you are a small-business owner, the leader of a large global corporation, or if you work in a business and are in a position to help the company succeed. This process will give you a 10,000-foot view of the business, identifying and giving you clarity in the key areas of what needs to be addressed in order to move forward.
Here are the eight areas, or “facets” of your business where you need to set specific, measurable goals in order to be successful this year: Financials, Marketing, Team Growth and Development, Office, Sales Systems, Customer Retention, Technology/Equipment, and Products/Services.
Begin by asking yourself these three questions for each facet of your business:
1. What is working?
2. What is not working?
3. What specific goals must be set to achieve the desired results?
Let’s take a look at the two few key facets in business where money is frequently either left sitting on the table or it is allowed to slip through the cracks.
Start with the financial facet.
Where are the profit centers in your business? In order to project your revenue sources for the year, you must clearly understand where sales were generated last year and past years. Understanding the sales trends of your company is critical to properly prepare your business for growth. Once you have this clarity, you can then maximize your existing resources.
The next step is creating a plan to generate more revenue. For instance, do you have a structured and organized sales system within your business that supports your financial projections? This crossover of facets, between financial and sales systems, demonstrates how closely the goals you set throughout your business impact one another.
Here are some additional factors to consider when shoring up the financial facet of your business and ensuring a profitable year:
• Are your financials easy to read? If not, what can you do to gain clarity so that you can make better decisions in your business?
• If you’re not leveraging someone else to manage the administrative tasks of your financials, should you be?
• Take the time to analyze your numbers. What is working and what is not working?
Now, it’s time to set SMART goals for your finances. A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-limited. When setting goals in each facet, you may have one goal or six, depending on what’s working and what’s not in each area. A word of caution: Even if everything appears to be working, don’t skip over your goal planning in any facet. In addition to looking for revenue leaks, this process is also your chance to look for opportunities for growth and abundance!
Another area, where, as a business coach, I commonly see companies lose money, is Team Growth and Development, also referred to as staffing. This is one of the two biggest areas of leverage in your business along with marketing. You may already by measuring your ROI in marketing, but have you considered the human ROI in your business?
Consider the case of the business that outgrew the capacity of its bookkeeper. She simply did not have the experience to manage the new needs of the business and was unwilling to increase her skillset in order to keep up. As a result of this disconnect, the company was losing money because it took her longer to process the volume, nor could she provide the necessary reports needed to keep the business owner apprised of the current financial conditions. In business, it’s critical to be aware of what is holding you back. The next step is to take action and solve problems like this quickly!
Looking at your team, do you see individuals who appear to have reached capacity and can’t deliver what the business needs? Or, do you see any employees who could be potential revenue generators by providing them with more training and development? Snapshot Business Planning requires constant assessment of what’s working, what’s not, and what goals need to be set.
The key thing to always remember is: from marketing to staffing, if you are investing a lot but not tracking your return, you are losing money. Or, on the flip side, you are missing out on the opportunity to generate more revenue by powering up your existing efforts. Take the time to slow down, work on (versus “in”) your business, and track your results in each area. Now, take some time to set as many SMART goals as needed in Team Growth & Development, and then move onto the remaining facets of your business.
Are you ready to kick start your Snapshot Business Plan and make the money that’s there to be made?
Here are three things you can do right now:
Step 1: Stop what you’re doing and schedule a time to review your business from an objective viewpoint. If you feel like you lack this objectivity, hire a business planning professional.
Step 2: Create a doable plan of action that will be profitable for your business. Remember, business is about doing what you love and making money from it.
Step 3: Set up accountability and evaluation checkpoints. A plan is just a piece of paper without purposeful action steps in place.
I hope you use these tools to create a great, profitable year!
Linda McLean is a certified business and life coach, speaker, chief executive officer and founder of Reno-based McLean International LLC, and an international best-selling author. She can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org or at 888-572-8326.
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