As we approach the end of the first calendar quarter you should have a pretty good idea as to how things are going and if you are on course to meet your targets at the end of the year.
You might think that it’s way too early to say how the year is going to pan out because you haven’t engaged with all the customers you intend to and haven’t won the contracts that will result in you hitting your goals and who knows what might happen in the coming months. All that is true. But still, you should know. And here’s why…
Yes, you cannot predict the future – we live in an analogue, chaotic, uncertain world and there’s no telling what might happen in the coming months. But I’m not asking you to.
You should have a pretty good idea as to whether you will hit your goals because you should know exactly where you are now and if it’s where you were aiming to be, at this time, when you first set your strategy. If you are where you should be then you’re on course to achieving your goals. If you aren’t then at least you know that and can see why and what needs to be done. If you don’t know…well that’s far worse than being behind plan because it implies that there is no plan or no way of monitoring progress against it.
You’ll know if you have been following me for a while, that to achieve your aims, you must have a well-planned, solid strategy. Because it’s that, and the strategic framework that goes around it, that will tell you where you are now, where you should be now and hence if you’re on course to reach your destination.
A good strategy is like a map and you should know exactly where you are on that map. When you set off on a long journey and use your satellite navigation system, you know the route and have an estimate of how long the journey will take. At any point on that journey your sat nav will tell you exactly where you are and what time it expects you to get to where its guiding you.
From that you know if you’re on course or not. If you take a different route or stop for a break, your sat nav couldn’t have predicted that but can re-calculate how much longer the journey will take.
It does this because a satellite is constantly checking where you are and updating your sat nav. It has broken your journey into small steps. And that’s exactly the principle of a good strategy. Know your destination, know your starting point, set the route between the two and break it down into small milestones.
If you’re reaching these milestones when you planned to then you know you’re on course and hence know that so far all is well for you to meet your year-end goals. If you’ve missed a milestone, then a good strategy plan will help you understand why and how much you’re off the plan. You should then be able to figure out what it is you need to do to get back on plan and on course.
But not only will a good strategy plan tell you where you are at any time, it will also help you figure out if your plan is realistic from the start. That’s because by breaking down the entire journey into quarters, months and weeks, you’ll see what you need to achieve on a weekly basis and hence how realistic you’re being.
If you have weeks where you would have to work 20-hour days and for more days than there are actually in a week, then you know that your year-end goals are unrealistic or you need to get creative with the quantity and find a more efficient and effective way of reaching milestones.
For example, my strategy to take me to my next big destination focused last year on product creation and this year on building awareness in these products and in what I do. At the same time I’m creating more products to help business owners and I’m also working with clients.
To do all of this I would need to work all hours and I would struggle to keep up and my family life and health would suffer (I know…I’ve been there.) and that isn’t in the plan. So, instead of watering down my plan, I worked out the work I would need to do and what I could outsource.
If I hadn’t created the kind of strategy plan that I help other businesses create, I wouldn’t know if my target was unrealistic and if I was on course or not. I would be blind and would inevitably drift off course.
So, my question to you is…
Are you on course to meet the goals you’ve set?
If you are – excellent, if you’re not, well at least you know that. But if you don’t know then you don’t know where you are and the answer is therefore that it’s highly likely that you are not on course and won’t achieve your aims.
Seriously, it’s that simple. If you don’t know where you are right now, your strategy isn’t working for you and you will likely miss your goals or worse, be totally unprepared for an unexpected hazard that is lying in wait up ahead.
Now, if you don’t know where your business is then you have 2 choices. Close this blog post and carry on regardless or do something about it, because it’s not too late in the year to fix. Ignore or fix – fail or succeed. What difference would the either make to your life? Don’t delay – fix it.
I help businesses set the right strategy and put the systems in place to stay on course. If you don’t know where your business is right now and if you don’t know how to fix that then contact me and let’s discuss how I can help. You have much to lose, don’t hesitate.
There are a number of ways in which I can help and, depending on the size of your business and the help you need, one will be right for you.
Photo by Gareth Simpson, on Flickr