I read an interesting line recently. A commenter said that many businesses are “too busy trying to build castles on top of quicksand to stop and think about the bigger picture and make strategic goals.” (SOURCE) What a good point!
Goals in business are vital. It’s not just about financial targets either. It can be about sales targets or reach, about growth targets or branding results. Whatever the goals are, it’s vital that businesses: a) have some, and b) know and understand what they are and how they’re going to get there. In other words, they need a plan. But guess what the number one reason is for why businesses fail to meet their goals?
They don’t create a plan
Do you remember that old adage: “If you fail to plan, you should plan to fail”? Benjamin Franklin knew what he was talking about.
You have to have a strategy to move from point A to point B, let alone A to Z. Running a business, flying by the seat of your pants, just isn’t going to get you where you want to be. Remember: 50% of businesses fail within their first two years of operation and a huge part of the reason why is a failure to plan.
It’s not enough to create high level strategic goals: you also need the plan that will take your business through the ‘how’ of achieving those goals. The measures and tools that are needed to get where you want to go, step by step, need to be defined and set out so that everyone on your team understands not only the goals but how they contribute to achieving them.
They don’t ensure there is follow through
Creating a plan is just a waste of time, money and paper if you don’t follow through on it. An implementation strategy is part of the solution but so is communicating the goals and the implementation strategy. Some people are great planners and terrible communicators. Here’s a tip: your staff can’t read your mind. You have to communicate not only your intentions but also your expectations of how you want them to go about achieving the goals you’ve set out. In fact, a communication plan needs to be part of the tactical plan to ensure that goals and deliverables are clear to all who need to know.
They don’t have accountability
There is a solid accountability method for goals: return on investment (ROI). If you have clear and measurable results to achieve as part of the goals, you have something against which to evaluate effort. In other words, you have a way to determine if there is any ROI.
With a carefully constructed plan, both at the strategic and tactical levels, you can make yourself and your team accountable every step of the way by ensuring that there is a measurable. Lofty goals without any way to evaluate their success or failure aren’t practical for a business.
Measuring the ROI still requires a level of personal accountability, however. Every team member who feels like they have a stake in what they are trying to achieve is more likely to achieve deliverables because they are going to be willing to be responsible and accountable for them. An unmotivated team member who is effectively ‘going through the motions’ will not only not deliver but they won’t feel responsible for this shortfall. And this is true for owners too! Blaming others for lack of success is a sure way to miss the point AND the goals.
They are spending too much money on resources that they don’t need
With every resource you engage, every task your team acts on, make sure that it is moving you forward to achieving the strategic goals. Stop wasting time and get laser focused on what is going to actually move your business forward. Example? Too many small business spend a lot of time and money on expensive planning systems, which have to be maintained and evaluated continually when in fact, business processes can be easily mapped out and communicated to your team, without spending a fortune.
Should you be spending four hours a day on social media to build your business? Maybe. But probably not. We’ve all been guilty of falling down the rabbit hole in search of shiny objects, instead of doing what we need to be doing. Sometimes that comes from having too many things going on at once, resulting in a loss of focus and momentum.
They lose their momentum after the first month or first quarter
A business that is losing steam is not one that has been well thought out, with planned, strategic and tactical goals. Without a well defined plan, you can become easily overwhelmed and for many, that results in a loss of momentum. You get bogged down in details and putting out fires instead of staying the course with your plan (or re-evaluating your goals. Remember, a plan is not cast in stone. It’s meant to be a guideline but has to be somewhat flexible to accommodate unexpected changes in the marketplace, for example.)
If you’re a new business, or even if you’ve been around for a while, take some time to sit back and review your strategic goals and your business plan. It’s time well spent. You might night a course correction, or you might be on track and not even realize it. Whichever way things fall for you, taking the time to plan is the key to your success.
To learn more about Amanda, please visit http://www.degraceenergetics.com/about/