Growing your business means having to make tough decisions: Do you hire a new salesperson? Give the receptionist a raise? Invest in a new marketing campaign? Donate to the local non-profit that keeps calling you? We are always choosing between a range of “good” options, but we can’t do it all! How do we allocate our resources to make the biggest impact so that we can achieve our goals?
In the real world of your busy day, what is your method for determining what gets the green light? Does it depend on your mood? Do you say ‘yes’ only when you feel pressured? Do you say ‘yes’ only after thinking (and reviewing, and reconsidering) the request, essentially wasting your valuable time? Or, do you just say ‘no’ to everything – if it was important they’ll come fight for it, right?
This process can be difficult in the moment because our brains are not good at “thinking” and “doing” at the same time. For some reason our brains want us to do one or the other, but in a real day we end up trying to do both all the time. That’s why we talk so much about Strategic Plans at Anchor Advisors. When you engage your team in a strategic planning process you, and your team can do your “thinking” in advance, and build your priorities into your plan. Then if you and your team are meeting monthly to check your progress against that plan, you are constantly updating those priorities based on your company’s performance. Strategic plans – and their counterpart, the budget – can help you be clear on those priorities so that you can make consistent progress toward your goals.
A strategic plan is like a road map; it shows you where you are going and how you will get there. You can measure your progress along the way to determine if you are off course or need to pick up the pace. With that in mind, let’s look at a how a strategic plan could help you make more confident decisions.
Since your strategic plan will help you determine where you want your business to go, you have to figure out just who you need on the bus in order to get there. Let’s say you want sales to increase by 20 percent – who is going to go out and get that new business? Your already overworked staff? Looks like you’ll have to hire a salesperson or two. Do you have the money for that? Your budget should tell you the answer.
Not all business is good business. As you sit down in your strategic planning meeting, you should have talked about your “ideal clients” – whose business do you treasure the most and why? Who is draining you? It might be time to start saying ‘no’ to certain business, while seeing if your ideal clients can say ‘yes’ to giving you more business.
There’s a misconception out there that all businesses have deep pockets. You, of course, know that’s not true, but you do want to give what you can. During your strategic planning session, you and your staff can decide together which causes you should support, both financially and through volunteer commitments. Are there certain causes that align with your company values, or that connect with the values of your team members? It might be a good idea to focus your giving efforts with a few causes where you can make a bigger impact.
By doing your “thinking” in advance you will be clearer about what you want to say yes to and what you have to say no to. That clarity will focus your efforts on making a bigger impact on your clients, your business and your community.
Strategic plans are not just a good idea – they are essential to a growing business. For information on how Anchor Advisors can help you with your strategic plan, please Contact Us for more information.
Photo credit: Eric Fischer