Last week we talked about the overarching swing and a miss we make in our business strategy: We think that our purpose in business is to make money when our purpose in business is to BUILD A BUSINESS that makes money. These two things are worlds apart, and almost every business I work with is absolutely buried in making money, which will keep them from ever making a lot of it.
This week we we'll talk about how to create the proper balance between the Tyranny of the Urgent - things we have to do today to make money; and the Priority of the Important - things we have to do to build a business that will make money for us.
It's not as hard as we make it.
The wrong focus - A focus on making money makes us reactive, trying to keep 11 ping pong balls under the water in a washtub with only 10 fingers - we're never done. Every time we get one under control another pops to the surface.
The simple problem -We're so busy trying to capture 11 ping pong balls with our own 10 fingers that we can't spend time figuring out how to hold down thousands. Capturing every dollar today keeps us from figuring out how to capture a lot more down the road.
The simple key - Be willing to let a few Urgent ping pong balls get away to build a business that later can hold thousands of ping pong balls under the water without using any of your own fingers.
The simple solution - One motivator and two bosses that keep us moving toward building a business that makes money.
The motivator - Lifetime Goals. We think making money is the goal of business. Wrong. Making money is not an empowering vision, and it won't get you out of bed when money is hard to make. But having a powerful over-arching reason to build a business will carry you through the tough times. What are your Lifetime Goals that you can use your business to achieve? Get a bigger reason to be in business than make money, or you're likely never going to make much of it.
The two bosses:
Boss #1 - A strategic plan. Not a business plan - those are for bank loans, then they sit on a shelf. I mean a 12-month rolling strategic plan by which you manage every strategic and tactical move in your business. Four simple components - 1) A business vision (the big why/values) , 2) mission (the big what - your marching orders - the RESULT you get your customers), 3) 1-3 year strategies (how you make money), 4) 12 month measurable objectives (how you measure success at making money).
Once you have the vision, mission, strategies and 12-month objectives, you can easily figure out what to do in the next 3 months to reach those 12-month objectives. This makes it simple to figure out what you need to do this month. At the end of 3 months, plan the next three and push your 9-month Objectives back out to 12-months. Rinse and repeat faithfully every quarter.
A Strategic Plan that runs your business automatically keeps us balanced between taking care of the Tyranny of the Urgent (making money today), and the Priority of the Important (building a business that makes money.) VISIT YOUR STRATEGIC PLAN WEEKLY TO KEEP FOCUS!
Boss # 2 - Outside eyes on you and your business. A strategic plan that runs your business is great, but you also need others from outside your business to help you keep clarity and direction. My business is my baby; I'm subjective about it. Others will have a much more objective view and be able to see things I would never see. Get a peer advisor or better yet a full peer advisory group and meet once a month. GET OTHERS SUPPORTING YOU AND YOUR PLAN!
In the daily Tyranny of the Urgent, you are unlikely to use your Strategic Plan to run your business unless you have peers and/or advisor(s) helping you do so. Don't fool yourself - get others involved from outside your business or don't expect to build a real business.
Use your Lifetime Goals, Strategic Plan and monthly peer advisory group to force you to spend time on the Important, on building a business that makes money. If you engage these two bosses to motivate you to build a business that makes money, you're much more likely to build a business that makes a lot of it, and more likely to get to your lifetime goals.
By Chuck Blakeman
Author of the #1 Business Book, Making Money is Killing Your Business
The Crankset Group
Make Your Own Business Rules