Before we get started, a gentle reminder to get the most out of our time together here in cyberspace - please listen to this podcast.
So, based on the ten year bull run, you think you can grow your business? Not as worried about failing as you used to be perhaps because you’ve been at a few years and you feel like a 'mature' business? That’s quite clever of you – but would it surprise you to learn that counter to what you might think, 30% of new businesses fail during the first two years , 50% fail during the first five years and 66% during the first 10.
While the curve is less steep to stay in business it’s not a guarantee – therefore you need a good plan to win. Listen up friends, because there's an enemy to your business' success, and sadly it might be you!
Don’t believe me? Stop reading this (yup I am giving you permission) and find your business plan from 3-5 years ago. Don’t have a written plan? That’s ok find a note, a file, an email – find something that shows what you intended to do 3 to 5 years ago. Are you there in every way? Don’t just focus on the sales numbers – focus on the whole thing. Did you achieve that plan?
Did you build that best in class solution? Penetrate that new vertical? Get that new customer or partner? Build that new route to market? Hire those talented resources? Make that money?
Be honest – and if you did achieve it all please take a bow and then realize you set your plan way too low – you need to work on that, but you don’t need to keep reading this blog, you are dismissed to go get more aggressive with your business.
If, however, you were like most businesses you didn’t hit all the elements of the plan – now did you Right. So take a note here (you choose analog or digital I don’t have a say there), what specifically did you miss? Write it down. Now take a moment and think about what you didn’t get done or failed at doing that caused you to miss the plan. It may not be the most immediate thing, in fact often when people miss a plan it’s the metric below the metric that caused them to miss.
Allow me to show you an overly simplistic example visually here of a company who made their top line goal but missed their profit goal.
Do you see how looking at sub-metrics at this firm can result in a plan to correct their issues? Of course, in most businesses this would be a more robust analysis, but you get the point right? Do you take the time to do this hard but necessary work when you miss a goal? Every time? The key is how you focus on the red elements to turn them green – that is the key to success.
And if you need that success FAST then focus on the elements that take the smallest effort to have the largest impact. Trust me I have never met a business owner or leader who had a lack of great ideas…never seen it. What they lacked was consistent focus on the smallest things that would make the biggest impact.
In the chart above I believe the smallest thing for the biggest impact is fit to initial bid. Launch a new requirements process, invest in project teams that ensure you get it right BEFORE you bid it and that will turn GREEN – and when it does much of the rest of it will follow.
Sure, you can invest in a snappy new brand campaign telling customers to love you, and you can buy a customer survey system to survey your customers and you can work hard to rebrand yourself as a company to love but that takes talent, time and money.
Now on to the hard part of this blog – you need to go away and do your homework. Take a hard look at past plans and develop a new plan that addresses your opportunities and your weaknesses. And if that's a daunting prospect (as indeed it is for most of our clients), not to worry. JS Group is here to help:
1. Our Podcast series will walk you through the major steps in the planning process
2. Our Blog series (you are here) will help you work through the steps
3. For immediate help, our Market Action Planning (MAP) process can be booked (call us)
Keep in touch, and send me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org