I've been reading through Dave Ramsey's new book EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (affiliate link) and was reminded of something that I've known for a long time but needed the reminder. It was one of the points that stood out to me most when I attended his live event in Orlando last November and I think it's an absolute key to success.
It's also an old adage from my years in sales. Activity = results. What are the things that you need to do day-in and day-out that produce the results you're looking for? I remember sitting through sales meetings with this being pounded in to our heads and how we needed to make sure that we knew all our numbers so we could pound the phones and stir up more leads. That part sucked. A lot. But I think there is some truth to the principle and as a business owner it's something that I need to take a hard look at.
Do you know what activities you need to do to make things happen? Stop and think about that one for a minute. What is it that you do each day in terms of activities that help you get closer to your goals? Do you know? For me, this has been challenging to think about. I recently have started going back over my goals for 2011 and I've had a ton of success there. I've added more clients, added new aspects to my business, and launched projects all in keeping with those goals I set last year when we came back to Tallahassee.
But now that I have these things going, how am I going to sustain them? This is where I've spent a lot of time thinking lately and if you're thinking about or running your own business it would be an area to which I suggest you pay serious attention.
It starts simply – figure out what your goals are. What are your sales goals? What are your customer and client acquisition goals? What are your goals for growth? Figuring this out will help you mold your daily work to focus in with laser-like intensity on making these things happen.
Goals are great, but without action they're platitudes. It's in the activity that they're achieved. So say you have a sales goal of $100,000 in revenue for 2012. That means that you need to have $25,000 per quarter, $8333 per month, and roughly $1851 per week. What do you need to do to make that happen?
Maybe it's making new contacts. Then you need to know how many contacts it takes to get a warm lead, then how many warm leads you need to generate to make a sale and how many sales you'll need to reach your target. Say, for instance that your average sale is $1000, how many do you need per week to reach your goal? Well, in the example above you need roughly two sales per week to make that happen, and to do that consistently throughout the year.
Backing up yet another step you also have to think about your marketing and how you add new customers. How many people do you have to reach to be able to generate these leads? Are you marketing locally? What about to the world?
90 Days at a Time
One new thing I've been working on is breaking goals down in to 90 day stages. Michael Hyatt has a great post about setting goals in 90 day increments and I've found out that this works really well. It's also a great point to start from and build out some longer term goals too.
Now that you're starting to get a little understanding about what your activity looks like, or needs to look like, break it down and see what you need to accomplish each quarter. This is a big enough chunk of time to allow you to get to your goal, but it's also short enough to be able to get some reasonably quick feedback.
Adjustments will need to be made, no doubt, but doing the right things and doing them consistently wil help lead you to success.
Stop Doing the Wrong Things
Here is something that may be convicting for a lot of us: what do you need to STOP doing? Where are your productivity drains? How can you transform the unproductive time in to productive?
Another thing – what's holding YOU back? Is it fear? Is it lack of training or understanding? Is your competition kicking your butt because they're better prepared? What do you need to do get up to speed to be competitive? Do you need to push through laziness, procrastination and discomfort? What do you need to do so that you can give and serve – to the maximum? After all, that's what business really is – giving and serving.
That should at least give you a lot to think about, I know it does for me because all these questions are questions that I'm asking myself right now. You can't hit a goal that you can't see and vague, ambiguous goals don't help you. Get clear and specific about what you want to achieve, get a plan and get to work.
image by Carolincik