Does that not get more true every year?
Here we are in the second half of the year already, but it feels like I just took down the Christmas decorations.
(It being 90 degrees outside shocks me back to reality.)
So, I thought, what better time for all of us to review our annual business plan, make adjustments, and hunker down to exceed our goals.
And, if you don’t run a business, the following works just as well for a communications plan.
The point is, it’s time to review your plan and see where you are against the goals you set in Q4 of last year.
Create Your Processes
There are lots of reasons business owners don’t reach their goals or growth is stunted.
In fact, most entrepreneurs hit a wall, when it comes to growth, because they’re accustomed to growing through referrals and taking any prospect that comes along.
A friend and I were having this very conversation last night.
We were talking about how most service businesses (PR firms, in particular) grow through word-of-mouth.
So, when it’s time to professionalize that side of the business, they don’t really know how.
It’s because we’ve always flown by the seat of our pants.
We’ve reacted to every client request.
We’ve thought on our toes.
And we’ve been creative on the fly.
It’s impossible to scale a business that way.
You must have processes.
Just like McDonald’s has a recipe that everyone follows for their secret sauce (so it’s the same, no matter where you go), you must do the same.
But, when you’re reacting to every client request, thinking on your toes, being creative on the fly, going to new business meetings, attending media interviews, going to events, networking, and tweeting, it’s very, very difficult to get your processes down on paper.
I get it.
But you have to do it.
Review Your Plan
To get yourself there, you have to review your 2016 plan—the one you created in Q4 of last year—and be sure you’re on track.
Are you executing against what is in your plan?
Are you working toward your big, hairy audacious goals.
Are you further ahead now than you were in January?
For starters, go back and review the answers to the following eight questions:
- What are your core values?
- What is your core focus?
- What is your 10-year target?
- What is your marketing strategy?
- What is your three-year picture?
- What is your one-year plan?
- What are your quarterly rocks?
- What are your issues?
For the first five, what has changed?
I imagine your values and focus and 10-year target have remained the same.
Have your marketing strategy or three- or one-year plans changed?
Have you achieved your Q1 and Q2 quarterly rocks?
Have you solved your issues?
Create Seven Revenue Sources
Now it’s time to look at your financials and determine where you’re ahead and where you’ve fallen short.
I’m a big, big fan of “productizing” what we do because it allows you to quickly exceed a goal, particularly if you’ve come up short.
You know that finding a qualified prospect, courting them, and signing them is a long process.
Months, maybe even years.
And, while that is the bread and butter for service firms, you should have an additional six revenue sources.
You can see that’s only five revenue sources so one of our goals is to add a sixth this year (and it’s coming!).
Where are you, against your financial goals?
Gain Some Traction
You can see that your annual plan now becomes a living, breathing document.
It’s something you review at least monthly, if not weekly, to keep your business on track.
If you don’t have a plan and you don’t know where to start (though answering the eight questions above will give you a really good start), read Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business.
It’s a fast read and it will really help you think through everything you need to include.
It’s not easy work and it does take some time, but I promise you, if you do it now, you’ll look at where you are a year from now and be astounded at how much you’ve accomplished.