Spring is here at last, days are getting longer, new life is all around us and we’re at the end of the first quarter of this year already.
Now is the perfect time to look at how your business is going since the start of the year and if you’re on track to meet your end of year goals.
How do you feel about how things have gone so far? Are you excited, are you flat, are you stressed? Have you achieved what you wanted? Are you where you hoped you’d be?
The following 3 questions will help you gauge how well the rest of the year is going to pan out. If you’re struggling to answer these questions then heed this early warning and do something about it.
There are 3 questions that you need to ask and act upon now if necessary.
1. Are You on the Right Path? (Do you have a path?)
Building and growing your business is a journey. And like any journey it must have a destination.
To reach that destination you need to set a ‘path’ that you’re going to take. In reality, this route is you deciding where you’re going to focus your limited time and resources in order to get the best return for your business. This is your strategy.
So, assuming you’ve set such a path that will get your business to a specific destination, now that you’re 3 months into the year, it’s worth checking that it is in fact the right path – that it is the right strategy.
Is your strategy working as you planned?
A strategy shouldn’t be set in stone but should adapt to changes around it. Do you need to adapt your strategy to take into account any changes that can affect your business, whether in your market sector, from your key customers, because of a new opportunity or because of your own circumstances?
Take the time out to check that the plans you have made are still realistic and adapt them if necessary. You’re 3 months in…you can still do this and meet your year-end goals – you can still divert your path and get back on it further along.
2. Are You at the Right Place Along the Path?
Creating a good, balanced strategy is one thing, executing it is quite another.
Do you know exactly where you are on your plan?
If you do that’s great – you have clarity and can address what isn’t working and exploit what is.
If you don’t know then you are essentially running blind.
Do you have the tools and processes in place to monitor and review progress according to clear and accurate data? Have you identified the important metrics so you can measure progress? Have you broken down this path into small enough milestones to help you stay on course?
It really is crucial that you know where you are on this path. If you don’t know where you are on your path then you’re basically lost and you have no real idea how the rest of the year will pan out.
3. Can You Stay On The Path?
Having reviewed where you are and changed course if necessary, now would be a good time to check that you can actually stay on the path ahead, because 3 months in, you have a much better idea.
Do you have the necessary resources and capabilities?
Resource includes people, funds and that all important element, time. If you don’t have enough, the answer isn’t to work even more hours a day or at weekends.
If you don’t have what you need in order to reach your (strategic) destination then your strategy needs to be adapted so that you acquire it or you need to change the strategy so that you don’t need it.
You need to either find another way to reach your destination or decide that you need to reduce the results that represent the destination or extend the time that it’ll take you to reach it.
Doing this proactively and if necessary re-setting expectations, is far better than blindly keeping going only to find that you missed your goals and that you’re way off reaching your destination.
Year-in and year-out business owners struggle to grow their business because they aren’t able to answer these questions.
They haven’t set a clear destination, which means they’re drifting. Or if they have then they haven’t mapped out how they will get there (the path). But if they have then they don’t know where they are at any particular time and they don’t check that they have the resources and capabilities to stay on course.
Right now, can you answer these questions?
If you can’t with any certainty then you have two choices. You can do what it takes so that you can answer these questions or you can leave it and hope that you are actually doing the right things to achieve your goals.
Of course, I hope you’ll do the former because your business will be stronger, you will be more certain that you’re using your valuable time wisely and you will be more in control and be less stressed.
If you need help to answer these questions then sign-up to my library of free resource, where you’ll find a ton of material to help you.