The Business Edge Blog

December 20, 2012

The 4 Presents I Would Put Under Your Tree This Christmas

Christmas Presents

If you own or manage a business there are 4 presents that I would put under your Christmas tree this year. Successful business owners would agree that if I could box these up and put them under your tree you would be well on your way to growth and prosperity.

Present  #1: Clarity

Clarity of your Vision, Mission and Values.  A clear vision of who you are, what you are and what you stand for is at the core of every successful business.    Of the four packages under your tree, this present would be the largest one.   It is the foundation upon which everything else in your business is built.   Before you open any other gifts, open this one.   Until you establish clarity for your business it is hard to move forward with a purpose.

Present  #2: Focus

Focus on what matters most. As a business owner you probably feel like you are being pulled in 10 different directions at times.  Once you have clarity you can begin to focus on what is really important and what path you need to be on to reach your goals.  Stopping to analyze if what you are doing is the most important thing for you to be doing at that moment will help you to prioritize and decide which of those directions you are being pulled is the right one to focus on.  Decide what your goals are, then write down the action steps you need to take to get there.  Set achievable goals in terms that you can measure progress along the way.  Define dates for reaching the goal and identify who will be responsible for monitoring progress in a fun way.  Think of the charity’s Christmas stocking thermometer billboard with a clearly defined goal and updating along the way to clearly show what has been achieved and how much more work needs to be done.  Find something that works for your goals.

Present  #3: Momentum

Momentum to achieve your goals. Avalanches start from one small section of snow breaking away from a slope.   Something causes the first section of snow to break away. Focus can be the start of the tremendous growing force in your business.  The focused momentum that you start ignites excitement in your employees and customers and is contagious.

Present  #4: Accountability

Accountability for success. Your fourth present is the one that can sit in the back of the pile and get overlooked.  If you don’t open it and implement it with the other 3 presents, all the presents may as well be packed up with the Christmas ornaments and not be looked at again until next year.  Without accountability, all the gifts and all your work can lose their luster and end up collecting dust on a shelf somewhere as a partially implemented project.  You have great intentions for the year, but without accountability the year flies by and before you know it the Christmas tree is up again and the year is almost over.  This may be where you are right now as 2012 is ending.  Don’t let it happen again in 2013.

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As you open the gifts under your tree this year, remember that you can give the biggest gift of all to those that are most important to you – a thriving growing business that fulfills your dreams and theirs and makes a positive impact on the world.

Let me know how I can best help you achieve your dreams for your business in the comments below.

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August 2, 2010

How to Make a Profit – Part 2

It may sound silly, but many business owners forget that they are in business to make a profit.  That means making money! 

 In Part 1 of this two part series, I talked about what a Profit Plan is and why the time spent developing one is worthwhile.  If you want to re-read Part 1, click here…..

Once your Profit Plan is pulled together, the real fun starts.  As I said in Part 1, it’s critical to get others in your organization involved so they can help with the execution of the plan.

One of the most important areas for you to focus is the top line (projected sales).  What is everyone in your business doing to bring customers in?  A couple of ideas on how to keep yourself and your organization focused on driving sales into your business:

  1. Have a Clear (Written) Goal for the Number of New Customers:  You have a Profit Plan that shows the total sales in terms of dollars you’d like your organization to bring in.  Now let’s break it down into the number of customers required to reach that number.  If you are targeting $100,000 in new business this year, where will it come from?  From one customer, from 1,000 customers, or some other number?
  2. Break Marketing Activities Into Monthly & Weekly Buckets:  Marketing drives sales.  All you can manage is what you and your people do – activities.  You can not control who and when someone will actually buy your products and services.  Once you have the number of new customers identified to meet your sales goal, the BIG question is, “What marketing activities will put you in front of those prospective customers so you can reach your goal”?  Marketing activities fall into three categories:  i) Short-Term – referrals, cold calls, direct mail.  ii) Long-Term (networking, writing, strategic alliances, and iii) Passive – print advertising, web sites, promotional products.  Once you’ve identified the strategies that work best for your business, the next step is to put a weekly schedule into place to drive those activities.
  3. Meet Regularly to Track Progress:  With so much time and effort going into developing the Profit Plan, I’m amazed at how many people will put the plan in their desk drawer and not look at it again to measure their progress against the plan.  I recommend you and your marketing/sales team meet on a weekly basis to track the execution of the marketing plan.   Is everyone doing what they agreed to do?  Are things working as planned or do changes need to be made?  While it’s easy to justify skipping the meetings when you “get busy”, I strongly advise my clients to continue with the meetings to keep the momentum going.
  4. Adjust the Plan Sooner Than Later:  Things almost never go as planned.  The biggest benefit of having a Profit Plan is to ensure that all the right discussions are happening within your organization and that all your key team members know what needs to be done.  Once you and your team get used to having the Plan, you’ll find yourself constantly tweaking the execution of the plan by what happens throughout the year.  If you get a fabulous response to a promotion that you had planned to only run occasionally, why wouldn’t you want to increase the number of times you plan on running it?

 

This discussion provides a framework for how to drive the top line of your Profit Plan.  Understanding that a plan needs to be constantly tweaked and challenged during execution is key to making a profit in your business.

Assignment:  Establish your top line goal for projected sales.  How many new customers will it take to reach the new sales volume?  Define weekly and monthly marketing activities you’ll do to attract those new customers:  Short-term, Long-term, Passive and Active.

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