4 Essential Steps for Businesses
“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything” -Warren Buffett
“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” -John D. Rockefeller
How do we know what is great vs. good? Sometimes these quotes seem great for a website or a presentation but what do they really mean? Of course, everyone desires to do what is best in their life but how do we know what is best?
Maybe you have heard this analogy before but I think it proves a good point. When taking a trip, the first step is to decide where you want to go. To know the direction to get there, you first must know where you are today. Then, you can map out how to get there. If you live in Dallas, you can’t get to New York by going northwest toward Denver. There might be a few different ways to get to New York but you should be heading northeast.
Although you could use these steps in many different situations, I am going to FOCUS on helping businesses get to their destination and meet their goals.
Step 1: Where Are You Today?
You need to assess a few things to know where you are today. How far are you away from your destination? One of the first things you should do is know where you are financially in your business? Do you have good accounting to know your revenue, profit, and cash flow this year or even last month? Do you know your current monthly revenue trend or profit margin? Until you know your numbers in your business, it is going to be difficult to move to the next step.
Why does this matter? Can’t I just guess? It matters because your journey could change considerably based on where you are today. You may desire to grow your organization to a certain revenue level but you don’t know how far to go. Let’s go back to the trip analogy. You wouldn’t take a trip to New York from Dallas if you didn’t have the money to get you there. You certainly would need to figure out how much money you need for the journey and have a plan to pay for these expenses.
Step 2: Where is Your Destination?
We should now consider the destination and how long it will take to get there. Time and Money are two essential variables. Most businesses desire to grow each year but how fast should they grow? I have talked to business owners that want to double their revenue in one year. Then, they say they want to triple their revenue. Never mind, that these are aggressive goals but it is a change in destination. We must be clear on a reasonable but challenging goal with a plan to meet this goal. We should have the people, processes, profits, and even products to get us to this destination. One valuable tool is to build a financial forecasting model to show the clients, expenses, people, and all the variable necessary to achieve these goals.
Step 3: How can I Focus to Get to My Destination Faster?
We all desire to move faster toward our destinations. In Michael Hyatt’s Free to Focus Course, he discusses automating processes. One easy way to automate is to build personal rituals and routines in your life. These routines involve how you start your work day and end your workday. A valuable tool is the “Full Focus Planner”. Each day you write down your three big goals for the day that help push you toward your goals. I also suggest writing down something you are grateful just to get you into a positive mindset. At the end of each day, write down 2 wonderful things that happened, 2 struggles, and the solutions to these struggles.
Think of writing these down as the map to get to your destination. You need to assess where you are and how far you need to go.
But sometimes we get off track, what do we do now?
Step 4: Assess and Adjust
One thing is certain, you will have to make adjustments. Maybe you aren’t hitting your profit goals or maybe you just aren’t accomplishing as much as you would like. In some cases, it could be the other way around and business is coming faster than expected. No matter what, this can be scary.
In the Full Focus Planner, there is a section for weekly review. Of course, this can be done monthly and quarterly if needed. During the Review, you assess the following:
- What are the biggest wins?
- Assess how far you got toward your goals.
- List out lessons learned and what you would do differently.
- Consider changes in behavior and
- Write down your new goal or destination. What are you going to accomplish that week, month, or quarter?
We are going to get distracted. People will come to us with new ideas, investments, and partnerships. How do we know what to listen to and what to disregard? How do we stay focused? We must keep our eye on our destination with adjustments and assessment along the way. Any idea, product, investment, or partnership that does not fit within your journey is not important. Stay focused and success will come but don’t just listen to me, go back and read the quote from Warren Buffett and John D. Rockefeller.