Have you made some New Year resolutions this year? It’s only been a few weeks so I hope you’ve been thinking about how to make them come true.
Will you go for it this year? Or will the enthusiasm die out by March?
While a few harmless New Year resolutions not being achieved may be a bit of harmless fun, any decisions about what you want to implement in your business could be quite critical to the growth of your business this year. I almost always resolve to do more exercise and when I tail off the daily run come March or April, sure, I’m not as healthy as I could be but that’s about it. Whereas if you fail to implement something in your business effectively, it could mean staying stagnant or growing your business into your vision.
So how do you go from deciding to do something about your business, to actually getting it done?
The crucial thing to do is to treat the idea seriously and to treat it as part of the planning process.
An idea on its own will only indicate what you can do – but it must fit into the overall strategic direction you want to take your business. Otherwise, you’ll have one idea after another and following each for a few months, you’ll meander from pillar to post instead of heading to the ultimate vision you want to get to.
The planning process is simple: –
- Decide where you want to go;
- Understand where you are now;
- Bridge the gaps; and
- Implement the strategies consistently.
Watch this video as I break it down, and then read on.
Let’s take your idea, your “resolution” you might have had during the break. How do you set this into the context of the bigger picture, and how do you set an achievable goal?
First of all, you need to be quite clear that it fits within your overall strategic direction. For example, if you are a health professional and your ultimate vision is to operate a multi-service health centre servicing families, a new idea about adding a burger restaurant in the complex may not be such a good idea. However, a health food outlet may fit.
Then you need to work out exactly where you are starting from right now, in the context of where you want to go. Let’s say you need to increase your health centre’s sales from $500,000 to $750,000, which is why you thought adding a new service might be a good idea to help boost sales.
You need to first work out why you are at $500,000 – is it because you lack some services, including a food outlet? Or is it because of some other underlying reason like poor marketing? Let’s say you really analyse where you are now and you decide that the reason you are stuck at $500,000 in sales is that of poor marketing. This won’t rule out opening a health food bar but you need to deal with the underlying issue otherwise your new health food bar won’t be attracting customers either. So you need to dig deeper into the cause.
You may find that since the cause of the sales being stuck at $500,000 is not that of a poor range of services but that of ineffective marketing where your return on investment of the marketing-spend is not good enough, you need to focus on increasing the returns on marketing investment. You may not “need” to open a new service after all, you just need to attract more customers to the existing services.
Next, you need to define the gap.
I don’t mean $250,000 (the difference between the existing $500,000 and the target $750,000).
I mean the real gap as measured by the effect of the cause. In this example, it might be that the sales you get from every marketing campaign must be $100 in sales for every $1 spent, whereas you are only getting $10 now. So the real gap is $90 per $1 spent on marketing.
Once you know this, you can set your goal, for example: “To increase marketing effectiveness so as to achieve $100 in sales for every $1 spent.”
You can also start to strategise on how to achieve that goal.
Once again, it’s not about opening a new service, it’s about looking at your current marketing practices and improving them. Your strategy might be to prepare a focused marketing plan, targeting some known areas or demographics that find your health centre appealing. Or another strategy might be to find your target market and offer incentives like a free day to try the services, or a “two-for-one” membership, and so on.
So you see, while the idea itself may not be the right solution to your problem, in looking at the idea you should be able to create the right solution, and, in future, the original i=dea may resurface as the right thing to do.
I see a lot of people who often have a clear idea of where they want to take their business, but no clear idea of how to do it, no clear strategy.
When I talk to them further it’s almost always that they have no plan and therefore no clear idea of the path they need to take.
Get planning! Set a vision, set goals, create strategies.
Get over to my website teikoh.com to find more ways to grow your business!
If you want to know more about planning, you should check out my free Business Planning eBook And Checklist.