Focus on the small wins – Make 2016 your best business year part 2
Make small steps towards the bigger goal
So my last post talked about the importance of creating a tangible five year plan, as well as tips on what to include in the big scary document. While a five year plan may seem like a faraway dream, this article will show you how to achieve your vision by breaking the plan down into smaller, achievable goals.
This will not only give you a greater chance of achieving your long-term vision, but it will also give you context as to where you are, and where you need to be with your business. This will help you stay on track and remedy any obstacles / issues along the way.
So, where to start?
Firstly, you need to break down your five year plan into year-on-year objectives. For example, if you want your business to turn over £1.2m in five years and you require a team of five to help achieve this, where are you currently and where do you need to be next year to get closer to the goal. Work backwards – if £1.2m is the magic number for 2021, where do you need to be in 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017…
At this point, it’s also important to be realistic. As I mentioned in my previous post, a lot of blood is spilled on the floor in Dragons Den, when entrepreneurs value their business at £2m in 2017, when they are currently generating about £200,000 of revenue. There’s nothing wrong with ambition, but if you are aiming sky high, it’s hugely important to have a clear, realistic and achievable plan of how you will get there, and what resource and capacity you will need.
So once you have your yearly projections, you can break down how that will look in terms of sources of income. For example, if you sell a product, how many units will you need to shift to reach your target for next year? Will you need additional manpower? Will you need to invest in marketing, PR or advertising services? How much will it cost for extra staff and promotional services?
The same applies for a service, if you’re in consulting, how many clients will you need next year to reach your financial targets? What is the ratio of projects to retainers? How many days of work will you need to bill?
Actually breaking it down to this level makes it so much easier to not only have a clearer vision, but it’s a great motivator towards your goals. Writing something down that is incredibly tangible and hopefully achievable can help you see the bigger picture and have something to work towards.
But you’re not done there.
Once you have your yearly projections, you can then see what you need to be achieving month on month to get closer to your vision. While you don’t necessarily need to plot this down at such a granular level, you do need to at least know what you should be bringing in. And this needs to sit in situ with the type of business you’re in.
For example, if you’re a catering business specialising in weddings, the summer months may be your busiest and where you have the greatest opportunity, so you need to think about ramping up your promotion in the months leading up to this. You’d expect a spike in income during this period, as well as a slight lull during the colder months. So your projections should reflect this.
Once you break things down, you boil down to the holy grail of every business owner, the weekly and daily to-do list. This may not be everybody’s chosen tool for working, but I – and many others – swear by them. Lists keep you on track, give you little wins to aim for, and make small steps towards the bigger goal.
For example, your monthly target may require you to meet four new business prospects every month. So average that to around one a week, then you know how much you should be networking, cold-calling, etc. to achieve this goal. If you miss this monthly target, you then have a readjusted target for next month. This strategy also helps you see what is working, and what isn’t in your new business generation tactics.
So you see, by simply breaking down your vision into achievable chunks helps you stay on track, stay motivated and work towards making your five year plan a realistic aim. Get started now, and make 2016 the year your business changed for the better.
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