What is your vision or goal of what you are trying to achieve now? Is it…
- A certain revenue level?
- A percentage of market share?
- A desired net income?
- A production or sales quantity?
- Or, perhaps, something else?
Why are you trying to achieve this goal? What is the reason or emotion behind the chase?
There are many valid answers to the last two questions. And yet I caution you, if your answer is: “It’s what my consultant / advisor / coach / mentor / etc. told me to do” (or something similar) then it’s time to fire that person or company.
A small business person I know (let’s call her Nancy) hired a consultant to help her increase her sales. The consultant immediately encouraged Nancy to work on tripling her sales without any discussion about why Nancy had this goal.
Nancy worked diligently for over three years attempting to achieve sales numbers that were so much larger than actual sales that the task took over her life. Not her business life; her entire life. Nancy started eating, sleeping and living increased sales. Not surprisingly after three years Nancy was exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally. She was also discouraged that she had not even gotten close to her sales goal. And she finally fired the consultant.
Here is what I know and the consultant never bothered to ask. Nancy wanted increased sales so she would have financial security as well as an improved quality of life (i.e. time and money for vacations and other leisure activities). Because he did not understand this, the consultant concentrated only on the financial aspects.
As small business owners, we are frequently reluctant to delegate even small tasks. So, why was Nancy, and many others like her, willing to delegate creating a strategic vision for her business to an outside consultant?
Your strategic vision is one of the most important decisions you can make regarding your business. Not only will it guide your long-term goals, your business growth plan, and daily decision making, it will also significantly impact your personal and family life.
So do not delegate the strategic direction or vision of your company. Take time out of your schedule to work on your company. At a minimum you should spend an hour each quarter setting your strategic priorities. I recommend that you spend at least a full day each year creating a new strategic plan that includes:
- A review of your prior year accomplishments and failures
- An analysis of your internal strengths and weaknesses
- An exploration of external opportunities and threats
- A vision of what your company ideally looks like in 5 – 20 years
- A plan complete with tactics to make your vision a reality
- An accountability tool to keep your plan top of mind and guide daily decision making
A strategic plan can certainly be completed on your own. But there are several reasons to seek out a partner or facilitated planning session:
- Outside perspective adds vibrancy and new ideas you may have overlooked
- It creates a commitment that decreases the likelihood you will procrastinate and put off planning until tomorrow
- When someone else guides the process you only need to be present with all your ideas; you don’t need to concern yourself with how to do it
- Your accountability to follow through is increased since others know what you are attempting to accomplish.
What is your vision or goal of what you are trying to achieve now? How will it contribute to what you want your business to be in 5 – 20 years? And what are you doing to keep this vision a top priority on a daily basis?