rethink new year resolution

Time to Rethink Your New Year Resolution?

Did you know that January 17th is Ditch New Year Resolution Day? No surprise that resolutions are as effective as an umbrella in a typhoon. While new year resolutions are a common practice, most people fail to stay on track for more than a few weeks. You may have great intentions, but change requires more than that.  So turn a new year resolution into something more inspiring.

Motivation + Goals + Action = Success

Motivation is key to accomplishing any goal you want. But overwhelm, procrastination or impatience often cause us to give up or hit a roadblock. It is why a new year resolution doesn’t stick. So here are a few things you can do to increase your motivation and accomplish your goals.

Why is the Goal Important?

Before setting any goal, clearly identify why successfully reaching this goal is important to you. The reason why or meaning is the motivation behind your goals.

I want to lose 10 pounds so I have more energy to go hiking with my family is far more motivating than I want to lose weight. I want to increase my income by 20% so we can buy a house is more inspiring than I want to make more money.

Master the why and you will likely overcome a big roadblock – procrastination.

How Will You Get There?

Write down how you plan to achieve your goals. The SMART principle can help:

  • Specific (What exactly do you want to accomplish?)
  • Measurable (How will you know when you have succeeded?)
  • Achievable (Is the goal you have set possible?)
  • Realistic (Does setting this goal make sense for you right now?)
  • Time-bound (What is the specific time frame to accomplish this goal?)

Vague goals create vague results. So, when you write down your goals, make sure they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

What Actions Do You Need to Take?

To quote Nelson Mandela, “A vision without action is just a dream”. The same can be said for goals. So now comes the critical part. Make a to-do list to accomplish your goals.

  • What steps or actions do you need to take? If the tasks are too big, break them down into smaller, manageable pieces.
  • Set deadlines for each task.
  • Schedule time to work on and accomplish them.

I use the Task App on my computer and phone to list the tasks – with deadlines. I then use my calendar to schedule time as needed. It makes it easy to track and prioritize what I need to do – and I enjoy checking things off when completed. Give it a try.

Share Your Goals

Invite others to help you stay on track. Your team, family, and friends may be willing and able to hold you accountable or inspire you to keep going. If focus and accountability are holding you back, get rid of the distractions and find a good accountability partner.

Related:  Need Accountability?

Track Your Progress

Review your ‘to-do’ list at least once per week. Are you meeting the timelines you established? If not, where are the stumbling blocks? Are you procrastinating or easily distracted? Or were you too aggressive – and now feel overwhelmed?

It’s okay. Be kind to yourself on occasions when you fall short. And remember to build in small rewards too for your accomplishments. If necessary, reconsider some of the challenging aspects of your goals. Make changes to your plan. Be realistic and keep going!

SPECIAL OFFER

Is accountability the missing ingredient to help you achieve your new year resolution or goals? Are you ready to get focused, prioritize tasks, stay on track and get results? Then take advantage of this special offer.  Click here to check it out.

About Joan Nowak:  I’ve been helping business owners turn ideas into profits for more than a decade. My whole-business, common-sense approach empowers my clients and drives improvements in critical areas, including revenue, operations, team development, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

Make Planning Easy

7 Do’s & Don’ts to Make Planning Easier and Effective

“I know I should, but don’t have the time”. It’s a common belief when it comes to planning.  The truth is that taking some time to plan is the best investment of your time. It provides the focus and clarity you need to achieve what you want to be, do, have, and accomplish – in business and in life.

7 Ways To Make Planning Effective and Easy

Don’t Strive for Perfection. A plan acts as a roadmap but results come from doing. Spending countless weeks and months trying to create the perfect plan comes at the expense of taking action. Doing creates learning and you can adapt along the way. A plan that is 80% perfect and implemented now will always outperform a perfect plan that is never executed.

Focus on What Not How. Don’t let the how to kill your dreams.  One of the biggest roadblocks when it comes to long-term goals is linked to our practical nature. If we can’t figure out how to get there today, we simply change the goal to something in our comfort zone. It’s okay if you don’t have a perfect picture of how you will achieve your long-term goals. Don’t change the dream, simply look for opportunities to appear and act on them.

Start With a Purpose. Your business should support your life, not the other way around.  Whether you call it a purpose or vision, it helps to have a picture of what you want your life to look like down the road.  How do you spend your days and your free time? What do you have in the future that you don’t have now? And why is this important to you? Jot down your thoughts. Then write down your vision.  Use paragraphs, bullets, or combinations. Remember, it should be compelling to you, so don’t worry about what others would think. Keep it visible and review it often.

Set Goals. Your goals are simply the outcomes (results) or activities you need to accomplish over time to achieve your vision or purpose. Goals act as milestones along the way to measure progress. Ideally, your personal goals should cover important areas of your life: financial, personal, relationships, spiritual, health, and community. Your business goals should include all the important areas that drive growth and profit, not just sales. Be specific because vague goals create vague results.

Take Action. Goals without actions are nothing more than dreams. Whether you want to lose weight, earn more money or improve your business, your ability to get there comes down to one thing – doing!  You must take some action each day, week, and month. Identify the tasks you need to do, prioritize them, and schedule time to do them. Think to-do list and enjoy checking them off when accomplished.

Don’t Keep It In Your Head. Put your goals and key activities in writing. For most of us, commitments we put in writing are stronger than verbal ones we make with ourselves. Create a simple action plan. Be concise and clear. And keep it short so you can review it often!

Build-in Accountability. Once you commit to your goals and develop a simple plan of attack, share them with someone who will hold you accountable to yourself – your personal accountability partner. This may be a spouse, friend, colleague, or coach. But it should be someone who has a vested interest in your achievement of the goals and will support and push you to do what you need to do. Click here to learn more about my accountability program.

Don’t let fear, dislike, or attitudes about planning prevent you from reaching your full potential – in business and in life. Keep it simple, but do it. You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish with a little planning.

Need help? My Ultimate Action Planning Guide helps you create a roadmap for success. But if you prefer to work with me virtually – and build your plan together – then check out my Action Plan 2022 Program.

About Joan Nowak.  As a business improvement expert, business coach, and consultant, I’ve been helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into profits for more than a decade. My common sense approach empowers clients and drives business improvements in key areas including revenue, operations, team development, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

Focus on growth

It’s Time to Focus On Growth

The new year is rapidly approaching. Are you ready to focus on growth and recovery instead of survival?

Last year many small, local businesses made changes in response to the pandemic. For some, it was a means of survival. For others, it was an opportunity to meet the changing needs in their community. Regardless of why the pandemic has had an impact on your employees and customers. So, it will also affect your business now and in the future.

The Impact of Evolving Trends

New trends, including remote work, social distancing, greater use of technology, and shorter supply chains, evolved as a result of the pandemic. But it also created a lot of self-examination and reflection for the people that live and work in your community.

What mattered in 2020 may no longer be important.  Stay on top of evolving trends but talk to employees, customers, and local business owners. This will help you build a better roadmap for 2022. One with a focus on growth and recovery – not just survival.

Not All Pivots Result in Good Business Performance

Some businesses found unexpected opportunities during the pandemic. They took advantage of existing capabilities and built a different model or products to serve their customers.  But not every pivot will provide long-term profitability or enhance your business value.

With the lessons you learned, a better understanding of needs and trends, and a focus on the future, identify the changes you need to make. Some of your earlier initiatives will require tweaking. Others may be doing well but would benefit from a combination of systems and technology. Some may need to be eliminated completely. The key is to look at your entire business with a fresh set of eyes and a new, positive attitude.

Is Your Business Flexible?

I think it is fair to say that the past year has taught us that business (and opportunities) can change without warning. But the businesses that were able to pivot quickly got a head start on others who couldn’t.

Smaller businesses are known for being nimble so they can change direction quickly.  And the small businesses I see that do it better than others have a few things in common. They…

  • Embrace technology and are willing to invest in it. This was a huge advantage when the pandemic hit.
  • Appreciate innovation and realize that their employees often have great ideas to improve the business. So, they ask and actively listen to them.
  • Take care of their team because happy employees create raving customers.
  • Value the contributions of others and gladly give them credit. They are never too busy to say thank you or recognize their accomplishments.

As you look toward 2022, get your team engaged in planning and goal setting. Take advantage of their diverse skills and knowledge. Decide together how you will measure success. Then track and share results. Their involvement in all areas of the business makes pivoting (for any reason) a whole lot easier.

Plan with a focus on growth

Time to get out of survival mode and refocus your efforts on growth and recovery. So, take the time to start setting your goals and building your plan. Planning is easier than you think. And it will provide you with the focus and clarity you need to achieve more of what you want – in business and in life.

Related:  7 Do’s and Don’ts to Make Planning Easy and Effective

About Joan Nowak.  As a business improvement expert, business coach, and consultant, I’ve been helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into profits for more than a decade. My whole-business approach empowers clients and drives improvements in key areas including revenue, operational performance, team development, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

Need help? My Ultimate Action Planning Guide helps you create a roadmap for success. But if you prefer to work with me virtually – and build your plan together – then check out my Action Plan 2022 Program.

How to Build Profit

How to Build Profit As You Rebound

For many businesses, the journey to rebound and build profit is underway. Will you focus on sales and hope you can get back to where you were? Or will you apply your resources to building a better business in 2021? One that is profitable and sustainable. And admired and respected. A business that can quickly adapt – even in a pandemic.

The secret to such a business? Build a strong foundation and leverage all areas of your business – marketing, sales, operations, people, systems and finances. This whole business approach, which I call the “hybrid way”, is a proven recipe for growth and sustainable profit in any small business.

Here are 7 business improvement opportunities to help you build profit as you rebuild your business

Planning

If you want to take a different path, you need a roadmap. In this case, some clear goals with specific actions you need to take to achieve them. A simple action plan will provide clarity and focus.  And with all the changes over the past year, this is a good starting point for rebuilding.

As you put together your goals and tasks, think beyond revenue. While sales growth is important, here are some additional things to consider:  product or service mix, customer retention, productivity, efficiency, hiring or outsourcing, system development, distribution channels, and power partners.

Products/Services

For my clients and other businesses, the ability to quickly modify services or change how they were delivered had a big impact on their business in 2020. A few client examples include:

  • A medical practice Introduced telemedicine visits and drive-thru flu vaccines
  • When out-of-state travel required quarantining, a volleyball academy introduced local leagues and clinics to temporarily replace national and regional teams.

And I’m sure many of you enjoyed the outdoor dining or take-out options from your favorite local restaurants. Or maybe curbside pickup from your favorite retail store or boutique?

And the best part is that these new services don’t need to go away. Businesses continue to offer them, along with their traditional (pre-pandemic) services. It’s a win-win for the business and its customers.

So why do you need a pandemic to give your products and services a facelift? You don’t. Technology, competition, and customer needs will continue to change over time. Make sure your products and service keep up!

Promotion

Sales don’t just happen. It requires an investment of your time and money. Most of all, it requires consistency. Something you do frequently – not simply when sales decline or you have time.

So, what are you doing to attract new customers and to keep existing ones coming back and referring others? To build profit, not just sales, you need to invest in both. As the past year taught us, a loyal customer base is priceless. For many small businesses, these were the customers who kept them afloat. So make sure your plans include activities to generate new customers and retain your existing, loyal customers.

Systems & Processes

Streamlining and standardizing procedures makes daily operations easier, efficient, and more effective, whether you are there or not. It also made it a lot easier for businesses to quickly pivot and go in new directions.

During the past year, we saw many businesses add new services, modify delivery options, change payment methods – and even change how their people worked. They all require system changes within the business. When a company values both systems and people, making changes is easier and more profitable.

Why wait for a pandemic to address the systems issues in your business? Make it more of a priority. Start with a few. Focus on those that save you time, increase sales, or fix problems that consistently erode profit.

People & Teams

No business operates successfully in a vacuum. We all need help from others. While we often associate people with employees, building a strong network of contractors, vendors, and alliance partners for your business is also important.

The past year has been difficult for employers and employees. Uncertainty has a way of doing that. Work-life balance and working from home have changed expectations. The future will look different than the past. But with it comes opportunity. As the leader, you have the ability to rebuild your team and the culture of your business. Take advantage of it and long-term you will come out ahead.

Professional Development

As you learn and grow, so will your business. Make a commitment to learning and building new skills and knowledge. Did you know that if you read (or listen to audiobooks) for 15 minutes a day, you will read about 12 books each year? What a learning opportunity!

Want to be a better leader or improve your productivity? Maybe you want to improve your technology, sales, or marketing skills? Need any ideas to improve cash flow or build profit? Read a book, listen to a podcast, take an online class. There are plenty of resources available today. It simply requires a commitment to invest in YOU.

Financial Mastery

Sales are important, but cash flow is king and profit is your reward for excellence in entrepreneurship! You don’t need to be an accountant or financial guru, but you do need to track and understand the numbers that drive your business’s success. Beyond sales, here are a few others to consider: average sale per customer or transaction, the number of leads, sales conversion rates, revenue per employee, average accounts receivable, gross profit margins, customer retention rates, and net profit.

Monitor them and focus on activities that help to improve them, especially gross profit margins and net profit. If you keep them at the center of what you do, your small business will continue to serve your needs and the needs of your team, vendors, and customers.

Remember, little improvements in ALL these areas will put more profit on the bottom line and in your wallet. So, build your goals and plans with them in mind.

Need a different perspective?

Would another set of eyes, ongoing support, and accountability from an expert help you get on the right path and quickly rebound? Let’s explore the possibilities with a brief, complimentary consultation.  Click here to schedule your free exploratory session.

About Joan Nowak. As a business improvement expert, business coach, and consultant, I’ve been helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into profits for more than a decade. My whole-business approach empowers clients and drives improvements in key areas including revenue, operational performance, team development, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

prioritize-business-goals

4 Ways To Prioritize Your Business Goals

When it comes to planning, most business owners are not short on ideas for growing sales and profit. They set goals and identify what they need to do to get there. But as you set goals and create your action plan, you need to prioritize business goals and activities. 

You only have so many resources – people, time, and money. You still have a business to run and customers to serve. Be realistic about what you and your team can accomplish each month and quarter. Set priorities.  What’s first, then second, and so forth. Here are a few things to consider as you prioritize business goals and tasks.

4 Ways To Set The Priorities in Your Plan
Top Challenge.

What is the #1 challenge you face today in your business?  Is it getting new customers, getting more from the ones you already have, making more profit from your current sales, delivering consistent service to customers, having the right people, or getting more from them?  Choose at least one or two that address your biggest challenge and work on them first.

Complexity.

How much work and other resources are required to complete the tasks or projects you identified in your plan. The more complex, the fewer you can reasonably handle in a short period of time.

With large, complex projects break down the tasks and spread them out over a few months.  This allows you to make progress without getting overwhelmed, putting them off, or ignoring other areas in your business.  For example, a new website or how-to manual will take more than a month. A marketing campaign or customer feedback survey can be done within 30 days.

Natural Prerequisites.

Sometimes there are things you must do first because they are tied to the success of something you want or need to do in the future.  Here are a few examples.

  • If you plan to use social media, email, or other online strategies but don’t have a website (or your current one needs updating), then the website should be done first to get the most bang from your other efforts.
  • If you get a lot of leads but struggle with converting them to paying customers, you might want to focus on ways to improve your sales conversion rates before you invest in new lead generation or marketing.
Time versus Money.

In a perfect world, we seek balance.  But if money is tight, then focus initially on things that are low or no cost to help you build more revenue, profit, and cash flow.  Then invest in strategies that require additional financial resources.

One caution as you set the priorities in your plan.  Don’t prioritize based on what you like or what is easy.  Putting off what is important for what is easy is just another form of procrastination.  Focus on what will get you results – more sales, profit, control, or freedom.

It’s Never Too Late to Plan

Planning Resources - Act NowNeed help creating your road map for success? You can do it yourself by using my Ultimate Action Planning Guide.

Prefer to work on it with me? Then check out my Action Planning Program just for small business owners. Click here to learn more. 

About Joan Nowak.  As a business improvement expert, business coach, and consultant, I’ve been helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into profits for more than a decade. My whole-business approach empowers clients and drives improvements in key areas including revenue, operational performance, team development, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

goals.resolutions

Do’s & Don’ts for Setting Goals

Now is the time when many of us reflect on this year and begin looking forward to what the new year may bring. Take the time to acknowledge your accomplishments and maybe some lessons too. It’s important. But then move on and focus on what is ahead of you. It starts with setting goals.

Whether you own a business or work for someone else, setting business, professional and personal goals pays off. 

7 Do’s & Don’ts for Goal Setting

Do Write Them Down & Keep Them Visible.  Your goals clarify what you want or a desired outcome.  If you are truly committed to achieving them, put them in writing and keep them visible so you view them often.  Whether that be daily, weekly or something else – don’t set them and forget them!

Don’t Go Overboard.  Since goals help keep you focused, too many can mess you up.  Keep the number of goals manageable – and set them for all areas of your life and business.  I recommend 4-5 personal goals and no more than 5-7 critical business goals. 

Do Be Specific.  As they say, vague goals create vague results. A goal like earn more money (which most people want) is too general to propel you to act. If you want to earn $100,000 next year, say so. Put it in writing. Now you can focus on what you need to do to achieve it. 

Do Make Them Measurable.  Goals are accomplished over time — so you will want to monitor your progress and stay on course. Quantify goals so you can track how you are doing. What we measure, we can achieve so build measurements into your personal or business goals.

Measurements can include actual results or improvement percentages — whichever works best for you. Here’s a few simple examples to demonstrate measurable goals:  Lose 20 pounds, Increase salary/wages by  20%, Arrive home by 6:00 pm, Read 2 books per month, Hire 2 new employees, Increase customer base by 10%.  

Do Set Deadlines.  All goals are not created equal.  Some are more critical.  Some take more time.  Some are contingent on others. Establishing due dates for your goals and related actions helps you prioritize what is important and creates urgency to get it done.  Deadlines also help you avoid procrastination.

Do Think Bigger.  Set goals that are challenging but realistic given the time-frame you establish. Get out of your comfort zone and put some stretch in those goals — so they actually excite and motivate you to take the action to achieve them.

Don’t Ignore the Why.  When setting goals, ask yourself “Why is this important to me?”. Know the motivation behind your goals to make them more meaningful.  Why do you want to earn 20% more this year or be home by 6:00 pm?  The why is often what really drives you — to keep going throughout the year. 

Goals without actions are simply dreams.

Nothing will happen until you take action. So once you identify your goals, take a few minutes to jot down what you need to do in order to accomplish them. Some goals require more tasks than others, but your road map to success requires you to take action.

As a final thought, share your goals with someone who has a stake in your success. Accountability goes a long way and can be the ingredient you need to put you over the top!

Ready to Put Your Business on the Path to Success?

Would another set of eyes, ongoing support and accountability from an expert help you take your business to a new level of success? Then let’s explore the possibilities with a complimentary consultation. It’s a chance to get to know each other, discuss your goals and the obstacles that hold you back. Together we can determine if there is a good fit between your needs and my services.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call me at (856) 533-2344 or drop me an email Joan@HybridBizAdvisors.com

Refocus-Achieve Your Goals

Get Refocused to Achieve Your Goals

The summer is the perfect time for business owners to re-energize and refocus. We are more than halfway through the year. Many businesses see a slowdown. More family fun. So why not take some time to assess where you are and make the adjustments you need to achieve your goals and finish the year strong.

While you may instinctively know some of the shortfalls, take a look at all areas of the business. Consider both results and actions taken (or not taken) – because the doing part really matters.

Need help? My Business Success Checklist is a great tool to help you discover some of the hidden opportunities. Click here to download.

5 Question Mid-Year Health Check

#1 – Is revenue (sales) up, down or flat?  What are you doing to get new business or help generate sales from existing customers? Do you have at least 3-4 proven methods to grow sales – and are you doing them consistently each week or month so you achieve your goals?

#2 – Are gross profit margins from products or services consistently high or trending up? Review pricing, costs and value. What changes, if any, are needed?

#3 – Is your business operating efficiently AND effectively? Are customers happy based on reviews, feedback or complaints? Is work done right the first time, every time? Is continuous improvement a priority for you and your team?

#4 – Do you have the right people – employees, contractors, vendors and strategic partners – to support your business? Are there clear goals and expectations? Do you have backups or ready replacements for all key people and/or suppliers? Can your business run without your daily involvement – or is everything dependent on you?

#5 – Is profit sustainable and cash flow positive? Is net profit higher than last year at this time? Is your debt similar or lower than last year – and being managed properly? Do you review financial reports, understand them and use the information to help you make decisions? Do you re-allocate resources (time and money) when opportunities arise – or miss out on them?

After you identify the gaps or opportunities, re-set your priorities. In other words, list the actual tasks or activities you need to do to achieve your goals and finish the year strong. Results come from taking action – so start implementing!

Still operating without a clear road map for success? It’s never too late to get started. My Ultimate Guide to Action Planning makes it easy. Download it today.

More Profit Building Ideas for Your Small Business

For new business improvement articles, exclusive tools and insights on entrepreneurship, click here to subscribe to my monthly eNewsletter. When you do, I’ll also send you my free eBook, How to Build Profit Through Leverage.

reachsuccess

How To Reach New Levels of Success

As we approach year-end, now is the perfect time to reflect, re-focus and re-energize yourself and your business. It’s time to prepare so you can reach new levels of success this year.

Preparation starts with planning and it works best when you follow some simple steps.

5 Steps To A Better Year

Look Back. Take a few minutes to look at where you are today in your business and personally. What do you like and dislike? How do your sales, profit, and other key results compare to the prior year or the goals you set at this time last year? Are you ahead or behind? What about your personal goals? Did you make progress on your financial, family, health, social and other goals you set?

Acknowledge Accomplishments. A  natural tendency at this point is to focus on what you didn’t get done or what you could have done better. It’s important to acknowledge what you did accomplish, big or small. Take the time to pat yourself on the back and thank the team of people who made it possible.

Learn & Adjust.  No matter how much you plan or how well you execute, some things may not work out as you expected. We tend to view these as failures. But if you learn from mistakes and make changes to improve it next time, you haven’t really failed. You simply delayed success! Don’t dwell on it. Make adjustments in the coming year and move on.

Reset Goals. What do you want to be, do, have or accomplish in 2017? Think big, but be realistic — keep your goals to a manageable number. It’s difficult to stay focused if you have too many critical goals.

Identify Key Tasks. Results come from doing. Therefore, you need to identify the tasks or activities you need to do in order to achieve the goals you set. For example, a common goal for business owners includes revenue growth. So if you want to increase your sales by 15% next year, what do you need to do (or do differently) to get there?

Write down your goals and supporting tasks. Assign responsibilities (even if it’s you). Set deadlines. You now have the key elements of an action plan. With a roadmap to guide you, focus on implementation, the most important part!  In doing so, you will accomplish and achieve more in 2017.

Need An Action Plan?

Want to set a better course but struggle with planning and setting goals? Then check out my Ultimate Goals and Action Planning Guide for small business owners.  With my step by step instructions, plus easy to use templates and examples, you can create an effective and actionable plan for your small business in less than 8 hours! Click here to learn more and download your copy today.

Ready to Put Your Business on the Path to Success?

Would working with a business coach help you take your business to a whole new level? Then let’s explore the possibilities with a complimentary consultation. It’s a chance to get to know each other, discuss your goals and the obstacles that hold you back. Together we can determine if there is a good fit between your needs and my services.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call me at (856) 533-2344 or drop me an email Joan@HybridBizAdvisors.com

business action plan

6 Steps To Create A Winning Action Plan

In sports, getting off to a fast start is often the difference between a winning and losing season. According to Joe Gibbs, “A winning effort begins with preparation.”  The same is true in business.  It begins with an action plan.

Creating a winning plan is not difficult.  Sure it will take some time now, but saves a lot of time later. Most important, it delivers big dividends – more sales, profit, and control.  So what are you waiting for?

6 Steps to a Winning Plan

Research.

It helps to know where you are today before you map out where you want to go next year. Research is simply gathering information about your business, competition, industry, and customers.  So here are a few ways you can get up to speed:

  • Financial Trends.  Review your current financial statements – and the previous two years. Look at trends in revenue, margins, profit, and expenses. How about the number of customers, retention rates, debt, and receivables.  It can help you uncover the improvement opportunities – so you can focus your efforts in the right areas.
  • Competitive Analysis. How do you compare with your major competition?  Look beyond price and consider some of these competitive factors.
  • SWOT. An honest assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats goes a long way.  When doing your analysis, don’t be afraid to ask others – customers, vendors, employees – for feedback.
  • Industry Trends.  Is your industry growing or declining – and why? What changes are you seeing?  Are you capitalizing on the changes?
  • Customer Feedback.  They can tell you what you do well and what you can do better – all you need to do is ask and listen.
Mission Statement.

It may feel like fluff, but a clear purpose-driven mission statement for your business helps you keep your goals, objectives and values in mind – as you build your plan.  A mission statement summarizes the purpose of your business, what steps you are taking to achieve it and the motivation (values) behind it.  It should inspire you and keep you committed.

Goals and Objectives.

Start with the big picture in mind and look at all areas of your business – not just sales.  Goals are simply your destination on a map and objectives are your route you take to get there.  Here are two examples to demonstrate this point:

Goal:  Increase revenue by 25%

Objectives (to support this goal) might include some or all of the following:  Grow customer base by 10%, Increase average transaction from $203 to $225, Launch new product by March 31st,  Hire one additional salesperson by April 1st.

Goal:  Improve profit by 18%

Objectives (to support this goal) might include some or all of the following:  Reduce delivery errors and re-work by 10%, Invest in [technology] to improve scheduling, Eliminate products with margins under 15%, Revise and implement new credit policy by May 31st, Reduce outstanding receivables by 10%

As you can see, there are a variety of ways to get you to your destination.  Choose the ones that work best for YOUR business.  Your research can help along with my 155+ Profit Building Ideas.

Promotional Tactics.

Using the information above, now it is time to identify the marketing and sales tactics (or tasks) you need to do to accomplish your goals.  This should include methods to generate new leads, retain and grow existing customers and improve sales conversion rates.   You have a lot of options here, but it’s a quality versus quantity game.  Decide what you want and then execute with consistency.   Remember to include timelines for completion and responsibility if the task is delegated or outsourced.

Operational Tactics. 

Your business is a combination of people and systems that evolve together – and are the key to sustainable growth and profit.  So as you build your action plan, you need to look beyond the marketing and sales elements.  How can you improve your daily operations and increase efficiency and profit?  What actions can you take to build a stronger team — employees, subcontractors, vendors and suppliers? My business success checklist may provide some additional ideas. Remember to incorporate timelines and responsibilities here also to ensure the work gets done.

Budget.

While it’s never on the “can’t wait to do list”, preparing a budget to support your plan is important.  It shows you how the growth and investments you plan to make will impact your profitability. Simple works best so many owners use their current profit and loss format to complete their budget.

If you are serious about your business and committed to its success, an action plan is the best tool out there.  Make creating an action plan a priority and invest the time to do it!

Additional Resource

For help with setting goals and creating your action plan, check out my Ultimate Goals & Action Planning Guide, a step-by-step approach to planning. This guide provides everything you need, including tools and samples, to get it done!

SettingGoals

Setting Goals: 4 Ways to Power Profit

Building a business is a marathon. It’s about consistency over a period of time. And it starts with setting goals and planning your activities. For sustainable growth and profit, here are four ways to make your planning pay off.

Focus On All Parts of Your Business.

While sales growth is important, improvements in four core areas – revenue, cost, customer satisfaction and operational performance – drive long-term profitability. Your goals and  activities should support them.

While sales growth is important, improvements in four core areas – revenue, cost, customer satisfaction and operational performance – drive long-term profitability. Your goals and  activities should support them.

  • Revenue: It’s not just about getting new customers. Look for ways to retain and grow your current customer base. Can you get them to buy more often or spend more? Can you expand or update your product or service offerings to reach new people?
  • Cost.  It’s not about cutting expenses, but optimizing your costs or improving the return on investment – from labor to marketing.
  • Customer Satisfaction. Happy customers are your best source of new business, especially today when social media makes it easy to give reviews and spread the word – good or bad. Do you and your team deliver on your promise to customers and make them feel appreciated?
  • Operational Performance.  How efficient and effective is your business?  Are your people productive? Is there a lot of waste and duplication?  Do you spend time re-doing work or services?  Do you struggle to meet customer or supplier deadlines?

Small improvements in all these areas can provide massive results on the bottom line.  So when setting goals, think systems and people to power profit and success.

Think Beyond Likes and Strengths.

When choosing the actions to support our goals, we often gravitate toward what we like or excel at.  If a task is critical to your success, you can’t just ignore it.  Delegate it, outsource it or learn how to do it effectively.

Keep It Balanced.

The majority of small business owners start their business to get more money, time, control and freedom. You can build a business that delivers these things, but it won’t happen if you create your plans in a vacuum, ignoring your personal vision and goals.  Remember, your business should support your life, not the other way around!

Change the Path You Take.

As you choose the activities to support your goals, avoid the tendency to go down the same path …

  • I need more revenue, so let’s get more customers
  • We must get more leads, so we need to do more marketing
  • I want more sales, so I must reduce my price or discount
  • We need more profit, so we need to cut expenses
  • I want a better team, so I need to hire better people
  • I want more time, so I need to hire more employees

Depending on your current business situation, some of these may be true. But did you know that you CAN …

  • Grow revenue and profit without adding new customers
  • Get more leads without investing more in marketing
  • Get new customers and keep the ones you have without discounting
  • Build profit by improving efficiency and productivity
  • Leverage your time and better serve your customers without hiring more people
  • Create a better team using the people you already have
Ready to Put Your Business on the Path to Success?

Would working with a business coach help you take your business to a whole new level? Then let’s explore the possibilities with a complimentary consultation. It’s a chance to get to know each other, discuss your goals and the obstacles that hold you back. Together we can determine if there is a good fit between your needs and my services.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call me at (856) 533-2344 or drop me an email Joan@HybridBizAdvisors.com