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 Setting Goals

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!

Attention Business Owners. Do you struggle with putting your goals together and developing a road map for success? Then check out my Ultimate Guide to Action Planning. This step-by-step guide will put you on the right path.

Get Started. Stay On Track

Do you want your business to take a major leap forward next year? To get off to a quick start and stay on track? Then my accountability program may be just what you need. More than accountability, this program provides business owners with structure, another set of eyes and practical advice too! And it all starts with setting goals. Click here to learn more or contact me directly.

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.

New Monthly Article & Business Tools

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.

New Monthly Article & Business Tools

Looking for additional ideas to improve your small business? Then subscribe to my monthly eNewsletter for business improvement articles, exclusive tools and great insights on entrepreneurship. Click here to subscribe.

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 paragraph, bullets or combination. 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.

Get Serious And Take Action

If you are serious about setting a better course for your business and struggle with planning and goal setting, 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.

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. As you put the finishing touches on your action plan, avoid the tendency to make everything a priority that must be done in the first quarter.

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 comes first, second and so forth.

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 (procedures) 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.

Planning Resources

Planning Resources - Act NowAre you looking for ideas or assistance with setting priorities for next year? My Business Success Checklist can help. Click here for the free download and see how you measure up.

If setting goals and creating an action plan are holding you back, my Ultimate Goal and Action Plan Guide can help you create your own roadmap. My step-by-step method includes tools,  templates, and samples to make it easy for small business owners. Click here to learn more.

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

    Ultimate Goals & Action Planning Guide
    A Step-By-Step Guide For Small Business Owners
  • 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

Monthly Articles & Business Tips

Looking for additional ideas to improve your small business? Then subscribe to my monthly eNewsletter for articles, tips and great insights on business and entrepreneurship. Click here to subscribe.

Create a Vision That Inspires

How to Create a Vision That Inspires and Motivates

According to Bob Proctor, ‘Most people are not going after what they want. They’re going after what they think they can get’. Are you thinking big enough? Did you create a vision to inspire and goals to keep you on track?

Goals are important because they keep you focused and on track. But a list of goals will rarely create excitement that propels us into action. They are measures that feel like a ‘to do’ list and often lack emotion. So before you start setting personal and business goals, create a vision for your life.

Your Picture of the Future

Your vision is a picture of the future YOU create with your imagination. It’s the WHY behind everything you do. It brings together all the elements of your life – family, relationships, financial, business, spiritual, health, and community. It speaks to you. You can see it and feel it.

And, because your vision is sometime in the future, it allows you to THINK BIGGER. Your practical nature and inhibitions don’t act like a road block that produce little, safe goals.

So how far in the future should your vision be? There is no right or wrong answer here. Some people prefer to look at their lifetime, while others choose a shorter period of time. I use and recommend a 5 year period. It’s far enough in the future to encourage big thinking, but close enough to keep you motivated and driven.

So ask yourself this question, “What would I like my life to look like in 5 years?”

Okay, not an easy question. Many small business owners struggle with this. It’s often difficult to think big and beyond the next week or month when you are so engaged in the day-to-day running of your business.

Exercises to Help Create a Vision

Below are some simple, but not necessarily easy, exercises that can help you create a clear internal image for your future direction. Pick one or do both of them.

Can’t Stand / Want Instead Approach.  Sometimes it helps if you start with the easy part. What you don’t like about your life right now. On the left side, make a list of all the things that you’re unhappy with at work, at home, in your community, or in your relationships. On the right side, flip these around, and record how these circumstances would look IF they were working for you. Here’s an example. Can’t Stand: Not spending enough time with my family. Want Instead: A business (or job) that allows me to spend most evenings and weekends with my spouse and children.

Everything I’ve Ever Wanted Approach (101 Things I Want to Be-Do-Have Before I Die).  This approach is very popular and was reinforced in the movie, The Bucket List. Make your own bucket list. Write down every dream or wish that ever entered your mind. Do not worry about how you will get there. Don’t let time, money, family responsibilities or current situations become a road block. Simply let your imagination run wild and create a list of things that you would like to BE, DO, HAVE or ACCOMPLISH during your lifetime.

Now Craft Your Vision
  • Pick a specific date 5 years from today
  • Write down YOUR accomplishments for this period as if already accomplished (present tense). Remember to address accomplishments in all areas of your life: financial, business, relationships, family, health, spiritual, community and personal.
  • Be specific so you can measure progress, but give it a lot of stretch. It’s 5 years away. If it does not make you a little nervous, you may be thinking too small!
  • Build in some emotion. Write down how you FEEL about what you accomplished and why they are important to you. What you are grateful for with your new life.

Now for the litmus test. Does your vision excite and inspire you? Keep it accessible and view it often. Want to make it more powerful? Add a vision board … a collection of pictures and words that represent your future life – your dreams, goals, and accomplishments.

You are now ready to set your goals for the coming year. Make them SMART and align them with your vision.

Need some help and ideas with setting goals and developing your action plan?  Then check out my Ultimate Goals and Action Plan GuideIt’s a step-by-step system for planning your success this year.

buildprofit2

How to Build Profit the Hybrid Way

What do you need to do to create a business that out-markets, out produces and out-profits your competition?  One that really works for you?  Will you focus your time and resources on sales or revenue growth? While it’s important, it’s often not enough.

Why not take a hybrid approach instead. Take steps to improve ALL areas that contribute to success, not just sales. This is a proven recipe for sustainable growth and profit with a lot more control.

7 Business Improvement Areas

Planning..  You don’t need a 50-page business plan. But you do need some clear goals with specific actions you need to take to achieve them. Written goals and a simple action plan provide you with focus and clarity. So take the time to write down what you WANT (results or outcomes) and what you need to DO (actions) to make it happen.

Remember, think beyond just sales or revenue. Here are some additional things to consider: product or service mix,  customer retention, productivity, efficiency, hiring or outsourcing, system development, power partners and building your online presence.

Products/Services.  When was the last time you actually thought about the products or services you offer? It’s more than just ‘what price should I charge’. Which ones are most profitable, which produce the most sales? Do your products and services still meet the needs of your target customers or do they need a facelift? Technology, competition, and your customers’ needs can change over time.  Make sure your products and services keep up!

Promotion.  Sales don’t just happen.  Revenue mastery is important. So what are you doing to attract new customers and keep existing ones coming back and referring others? Most owners associate promotion with marketing for new customers and invest few (if any) resources on current customers. Big mistake. Make sure your plans also include activities to turn your current customers into raving fans who spend more, buy more often and refer other quality people to your business.

Processes.  Streamlining and standardizing procedures make daily operations easier, efficient and more effective, whether you are there or not. They are also a key to increased profitability. So make systematizing your business more of a priority. Start with just a few. Focus on those that save you time, increase sales, or fix problems that consistently erode profit.

People.  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 equally important. Your needs will vary based on your business, but most small businesses have an opportunity to improve in this area. Have a method for hiring or developing new relationships with people who are committed to your customers and the success of your business.

Personal Development.  As you grow and improve, so will your business. We are all familiar with the phrase, knowledge is power, but it also translates to earnings or income. And it doesn’t require a lot of time or money – just a commitment to learning and building skills and knowledge. Did you know that if you read (or listen to audio books) for 15 minutes a day, you will read about 12 books each year? What a learning opportunity!

Profit. Sales are important, but 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 – beyond just sales. Here’s a few others to consider: average sale per customer or transaction, the number of leads, 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 people 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.

Get Started. Stay On Track

Are you ready to take a leap forward? To get started and stay on track? My accountability programs offer an affordable way to get the help you need.  More than accountability, this program provides business owners with structure, another set of eyes and practical advice too! Click here to learn more.

Business Health Check

Is Your Business On Track?

We’re approaching the halfway point in the year. Now is a great time to take a step back, assess where you are and make the adjustments you need to hit those goals you set earlier this year.  It’s time for a mid-year business health check.

Instinctively you may know where the shortfalls are. But take the time to evaluate all areas of the business before you start changing direction and re-allocate resources – time and money.

Here are some questions I use with clients to identify areas that need improvement or uncover opportunities to exploit. Answer some of these — then compare it to last year and/or the goals you set for this year.

Business Health Check

Revenue Mastery

  • Are sales higher than the same period last year?  By how much?
  • How many new customers did you get?
  • What is your average transaction amount?
  • How many quality leads are you getting each month?
  • What is your sales conversion rate?
  • Have you lost any customers?  If so, how many (and why)?

Product/Service Mastery

  • How are sales of new or repackaged products/services performing (if applicable)
  • What is  the mix % for your key products/services? Are there any significant changes?

 Operational Mastery

  • What is your revenue and gross profit per employee?
  • What is your labor as  a % of sales?
  • Are customer satisfaction or feedback scores improving?
  • What is your quality % to date? Note: this reflects reworks or rejects
  • What is on-time delivery % to date?
  • How many customer complaints?  What is $ value and % resolved by front-line employees?
  • What % of how-to-manual is complete?

Team/People Mastery

  • What, if any, employee turnover has occurred?
  • Do all positions have a backup or ready replacement (cross-training)
  • Do you have the right people to get the results you want? What skill-gaps, if any, exist?
  • Do you have the right suppliers (and backup) to meet your needs? How do you measure success?

Profit / Financial Mastery

  • What are your gross profit margins (%) to date?
  • Has cumulative cash flow for the year been positive?
  • Is your operating margin or EBIT higher than last year?
  • Is your business debt higher, lower or the same when compared to last year?

Once you identify the gaps or opportunities, set priorities based on what is most critical for your business success.  Next, identify what you need to do (the actual tasks) to improve the results. Then start implementing!

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