Over the past 28 years, we have worked strategically with hundreds of businesses across a wide variety of industries to help companies develop and implement their strategic plan. This unique opportunity has allowed us to experience first-hand the differences between companies who are average and those who are super successful. In this article we are going to share these observations and insights to help you head into this new year ready to achieve a greater level of business success.
One of the biggest differences between those companies achieving average business success and those businesses who are continuously super successful is that the top performing businesses have established a routine or rhythm of doing the things necessary to drive their growth. The businesses who seem to struggle are more apt to simply make excuses.
Some of the excuses we hear from average performing company leaders include:
This may seem somewhat blunt, but when we hear excuses like these for not creating an actionable plan for success in the new year, we know immediately that the organization is going to continue to struggle. If you do not create an organized plan, the odds of you achieving anything greater than average decreases dramatically.
In our recent blog post, “Annual Planning Roadmap – Your Guide to Greater Success“, we detailed our steps for successful annual planning. If you are not sure how to do annual planning or if you want to conduct more successful annual strategic planning, be sure to review this article.
Here is a summary of the key annual planning elements detailed in our previous article:
Those companies who follow these steps enjoy many advantages and even a vast competitive advantage over those companies who do not. Some of these many benefits include:
Let’s take a step back and take a look at the characteristics and the routines followed by those companies who achieve amazing results.
Preparing and implementing for your annual business success is not something that just happens. You must dedicate time specifically for this by scheduling strategic time spaces. These spaces must allow enough time for understanding the available information, asking critical questions, introspective thinking, stakeholder collaboration, and truly fresh thinking.
Many companies scheduled these spaces at the beginning of each year to ensure that nothing can get in the way of them taking this time. They are not optional and cannot be cancelled. This attention to rhythm and discipline assures that this critical strategic preparation and implementation are given the full attention that they deserve.
A sample annual strategic rhythm may look something like this:
Companies who do not have a plan often make the excuse that a rhythm like this would take way too much time. But highly successful companies who implement this type of rhythm and discipline and would all agree that without this time, there is no possible way to excel and achieve their lofty goals.
Highly successful companies do not rely on their feelings or individual bias for the development of their plan. They collect the necessary information for objective review and to determine the facts more accurately. As a matter of fact, it is far more beneficial to hope that you are surprised by the data than to assume that you already know everything. Each surprise you encounter teaches you something that you did not know. This makes you and your plan better and more competitive.
Some data that you may want to gather as part of your annual planning process could include:
Every company is different with regard to what data might provide the critical insights for them to reach a greater level of success. As you practice your planning, you will continue to improve your knowledge of what critical data you need and the insights this approach will provide.
The first element of an effective success plan is setting specific goals. There is no right or wrong answer for how many years into the future that you should look when doing this. However, the fewest number of years forward that we have seen, as effective, is three years. Then, for each of the next three years, you should outline your key success measures. Some of these success measures might include:
The more specific and detailed your plan, the more successful you will be.
By using and understanding the right data and insights through an open-minded and curious review, you can create a plan with greater clarity and intention. When we work with our clients to help them develop their plan, we define the following key elements:
When you have developed a plan using the approach outlined above, you should have the knowledge necessary to identify the key performance measures which you need to ensure your success.
This list of possible KPIs can get overwhelming quickly. You can drown yourself in a sea of data. Our advice is to go ahead and make a complete list of all the data that you would like to track. Then, take a step back and start to prioritize your list by what will move your success meter the most. A good goal is to have an initial list of 10 or fewer (less is better) key business indicators that you need to track, based on your defined business goals.
Let’s look at an example. If your #1 annual priority is new client acquisition, the most important KPIs for you to track would include:
It is just that simple. If you are achieving your monthly goals for these two KPIs, you will achieve your new client acquisition goal for the year. So, if these KPIs are on track, you do not need to measure anything else for this initiative. Keep it simple.
One of the biggest challenges we see with our clients is that they do not have the systems in place to accurately measure their most critical KPIs. Here is a little secret. NO business has the systems in place to accurately measure their most critical KPIs until they clearly define these KPIs and set up necessary systems to measure them.
This makes perfect sense, right? How would a company possibly have the system to accurately measure KPIs without first defining what these are? The first step is defining the KPIs, then identifying and creating the right systems to create accurate measurement. It is important to avoid getting distracted by what your current systems can measure. These may or may not be your most important KPIs. You cannot improve what you don’t measure.
Let’s go back to our example above. If you need to measure your # of new qualified leads per month, here is what you need to accurately measure this:
For each of your identified KPIs, you must create this type of system. Once in place, you can focus on achieving the results needed.
The most successful companies engage their entire team in their plan. They outline the specific goals and the most critical KPIs. They tie everyone’s role responsibilities and the company projects/initiatives to these goals. Everyone understands how what they do each and every day fits into the overall plan. Everyone understands the value they create, why this is important to the overall team’s success and the impact that this creates for themselves, their team and their clients.
Some companies will even tie profit sharing and other goal-based perks to an individual team member’s performance and the overall company’s success.
If your team understands the vision of the company and that their specific role is critical, the performance of the entire organization elevates.
Let’s say that I had a personal goal to lose 10 pounds this year. At what frequency of weighing myself on the scale would you say that I would have greatest chance of success?
Of course, the more frequently something is measured, the greater the odds of success.
The most successful companies have the systems to measure their most critical KPIs often. These measures may even generate reports in real time. This information needs to be readily available and viewable by everyone who is able to contribute to your results. If you need X qualified leads in a month to be successful, the number of new qualified leads should be reviewed on a daily basis. If not, your odds of achieving your goal diminish greatly.
The quote “What gets measured gets managed” rings true. Once you have created an effective rhythm for measuring and reviewing your most critical KPIs, that next step is to manage these outcomes to achieve your defined goals.
Let’s go back to our lead generation example. If you set a goal of 19 new qualified leads per month and you conduct business Monday–Friday, there are about 23 business days in a month. This means that to achieve your goal, you need to generate .83 new qualified leads per day. If you are 4 days into the new month, you should already have 3+ new qualified leads. If not, this situation needs managed.
Some examples of ways to manage these results to improve your KPIs could be to:
As you measure, review and adjust to achieve your defined KPIs, you will excel as an organization.
How can I prepare for greater business success in 2023?
The most important first step is to carve out the time necessary to establish a cohesive, actionable business plan that identifies the strategic initiatives you believe will lead to your desired growth goals. If you don’t already build time for annual planning into your success rhythm, start by setting up a series of meetings with your exec team to work through the items we discussed above.
What are the 4 basic elements of business success?
There are four essential elements that must exist for your business to become – and remain – successful:
What are the 3 ways to prepare for the future of business?
The only thing we know for sure about the future of business is that it won’t look like the present. The only constant in the business world is change. Therefore, the best way to prepare for the future of business is to place your company in the best possible position to capitalize on this change. The following three steps will help ensure you’re prepared:
How do you run an annual planning process?
As we discussed earlier, we outlined this in detail in our recent blog post on annual planning. We recommend that you review it for additional insight on how to get this process rolling. For tips on how to develop an annual marketing plan that will drive more qualified leads, read the companion post on our blog.
Believe it or not, you are probably spending more time spinning your wheels and dedicating your resources to things that are not going to move you forward than the time you will spend putting the elements of this approach into practice. Change can be hard. But, once you start and get into this rhythm, you will begin to gain clarity into what is important. You will begin to focus on the activities, KPIs, and actions that will allow you to grow your company faster, smarter and easier.
The more you do this work, the better you will become at it. You will begin to create systems. You will gain a clearer understanding of what creates the most impact. You will develop reports and structures that make this easier and easier. As you implement these systems, your knowledge and understanding of them will grow along with your company. The key is to start! If all you do is set some goals, do some competitive research, develop your KPIs and start tracking, reviewing and managing against these on a daily basis, you will see amazing results.
Webolutions is a full-spectrum management consulting and strategic growth implementation company. We help businesses across the country identify and effectively bring their unique stories to life, empowering them to scale faster, smarter, and easier.
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To speak with one of our experts about how you can implement these strategies for your company of at least $5 million in annual sales, call us at 303-300-2640 and request your Free 2023 Success Planning Consultation. During this 60-minute introduction, we’ll help you start creating a plan for success. You can also email any questions to [email protected].
Since 1994, Webolutions has helped hundreds of customers implement the strategies we've laid out above in this article. Meet with one of our experts to see how we can help you and your company implement for greater success in 2023.LET'S GO
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