“ What’s the use in running if you are running down the wrong road?” German Proverb
Same can be said of running a business – what’s the use in having a business if you don’t plan for how you want the business to run?
1 – 90-day planning is about taking your objectives for the business and working on them in small steps. By taking a annual view of what you want to achieve and break it down into quarterly/90- day increments, it is much easier to plan, evaluate and achieve. What good is an annual plan if you only know if it works after the year is over – it is too late to make any corrections then. Or worse yet, what if you have no plan – where are you headed?
2 – By thinking and writing down your 90-day plan, your brain automatically begins to work towards these goals – it is your reticular activation system located in your medula oblongata, brain compass, that starts to work for you.
3- Based on a Harvard University study tracking alums over 25 years, they found that those that had written goals accounted for the most wealth (3% had written goals and 95% of the wealth).
4- 90- days is a sufficient amount of time to implement an objective and gauge its results. It also gives you time to rework objectives to achieve your year- end goal.
5- Through 90- day planning you are in control of your businesses, versus business controlling you. You become focused and better at managing both your time and the daily “firefighting.” You will know what to spend your time on and what not to.
Do you have 90 minutes ( 1 minute/day) to stop the “firefighting” and focus on where you want your business to go? If you don’t, you may want to reconsider why you are in business.
Relationships that strengthen a business… (article that I wrote for LVB in 2016)
When I think about the opportunity to strengthen a business, there are three areas that readily come to mind. All three start with the word “strategic.” [definition of strategic -A method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem. source: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/strategy.html]
These concepts or areas are: Strategic Alliances Strategic Partners Strategic Sourcers
All of these areas have “members” that are specifically selected to help grow and sustain the business. However, you must first know where you are headed and understand the role that each of these might bring to helping you meet your goal or solution. There is also a factor of trust/confidentiality. You must feel comfortable in being able to share not only direction but challenges and mistakes.
Strategic Alliances are those individuals or businesses that you select to be a part of your business “think tank.” These generally number about 6-10 people who come from diverse backgrounds/experiences with whom you are comfortable in sharing the details about your business. You access their knowledge to help you better understand your challenges/opportunities and to help you think through situations. This Junto or Masterminds group, according to Ben Franklin or Napoleon Hill, these groups help to round out your information and knowledge. And, there is a mutual give and take of information among the members. I have belonged to several Masterminds groups since 1999; each has provided me with great insight into issues that my circular thinking was avoiding. Area chambers of commerce have provided the platform for establishing Masterminds group since the mid 1980s. If this is strategic area that you want to explore, please check with one of the areas Chambers.
Strategic Partners – unlike a partnership entity, these partners are those paid professionals that you need to help keep your business functioning. The list may include: accountant, attorney, banker, insurance professional, realtor, business coach, etc. These individuals guide you in their area of expertise and should be included in your early stage thoughts when making a significant addition or change in direction. They have a vested interest in your success and therefore should be a part of your business team. As a former banker and commercial lender, I was always appreciative of my commercial borrowers providing me with periodic business updates, and not just coming to me when money was needed. I was able to help provide direction in financial areas before it was too late.
Strategic Sourcers are those suppliers of primary goods/services (other than partners listed previously), that are important for you to be able to get to your end user. If one of these is not helping you get to your desired future, you need to find a replacement. These suppliers might be independent contractors, a manufacturer, or a business services provider. When you think about critical needs of your supply chain (which by the way, all businesses have a supply chain, not just manufacturers. Supply chain denotes the steps required to get our product or service out to the market.), where is your “weak link?” I recall that as one of my supply needs, I needed a professional proofer. When I create a newsletter or document, I need another set of eyes to help me avoid errors. My initial proofer, although very good, was not able to provide the turnaround time that I needed to meet my client’s requirements.. I had to then locate another proofing professional and develop a new routine. This second source, now my primary proofing source, has allowed me to expand my offerings, something that my first experience would not have supported.
All of these “strategic” relationships are critical, no matter the business size; there is a level of insight and expertise that all provide. Not the least of these would be the desire for your business success; everyone likes to be associated with a successful venture. These relationships also infer a level of accountability on the business owner – the ability to take information, use it appropriately and report back on the impact.