So, here we are in the first month of 2012. How many of you whose business year corresponds with the calendar year have your plan written? Better yet, how many have taken action on the plan?
In my fifteen years in business, many of them spent assisting other business owners develop robust goals and action plans, I continue to be amazed at how many individuals think that drafting goals and action plans is nothing but a paper and pen exercise; that they are nothing more than stacks of paper to join the already ceiling high stacks of paper. All the planning in the world won’t help you run your business if all you do with the documentation is file it away until you get into trouble. Then, it will be too late to pull it out and dust it off. The famine will be upon you.
Often, business owners tell me that they are too busy running their businesses to take the time to review their plans, or develop the systems to sustain the actions that will deliver on the goals they set. All business owners who want long term success have to pause periodically and reflect on their goals and actions. Are you doing the right things in the right order at the right time? The small amount of time required to review your actions and systems can save you both time and resources in the long run. There may be things you can stop doing, things that require refinement, and things which are making the strongest contribution to your company.
When you are in action and building systems you have to know what it takes to run your business and how systematizing those operations will benefit you. Start with looking at your lead generation. What is your system to ensure your marketing and sales funnels remain full? Do you use advertising to generate leads? A website? Referrals? And do you have a process to follow in each case?
Here is a list of other business activities that may lend themselves to systemization:
• Social networking system for Twitter, Facebook, Linked In
• Invoicing system
• Accounting system
• Product creation system
• Customer support system
• Client retention system
Any of these systems will take time to develop and you will always be looking to improve them. But the documented step-by-step processes you develop will free you to engage in productive, profitable work, not just busy work that yields nothing. It’s still early in the year, so ready, set… take planned action.