I want to introduce you to a nine-category model that will cover the critical areas of your business that you must include as part of your game plan for next year. These nine categories will help you structure your business plan and focus your strategic actions on the areas that matter most. Here is a brief overview of each of these nine categories and the kinds of questions you need to address in each category:
Compelling Vision – How clear is your long-term vision? Does each member of your team know, understand and feel energized by your vision? What do you need to do to make it clearer, more compelling, and more real to those who will help you achieve it?
Lead Generation – What are your best strategies to get more prospective customers to know your business exists? How effective are the strategies you are currently using? What can you do to improve your cost per lead? Do you have a robust CRM system in place?
Lead Conversion – Is your current sales process well defined and used by everyone on your team? Are you tracking the results of each step of your sales process? Are you asking the right kids of questions of your prospects that are making them want to do business with you?
Delighting Customers – How do you know what your customers really think about your products and services? Are you gathering customer feedback on a regular basis? What would you do differently to improve your customer experience?
Generating Repeat Business – Do you know your average sales ticket? Do you know your average frequency of purchase? What strategies are you using to get your current customers to buy from you more often?
Building Leverage Through Processes – How many of your critical processes are well documented with checklists posted in the work area? What opportunities do you have to standardize routine processes? Where can you gain efficiency and reduce costs by eliminating unnecessary actions or mistakes.
Building a High-Performance Team – Does everyone on your team have a personal development plan? How do you encourage risk taking in your business? Have you communicated your expectations in terms of your non-negotiables?
Creating a Succession Plan – Have you defined your ideal transition scenario for your business? What have you done to prepare your key leaders to potentially become your general managers? Have you outlined the skills, behaviors and knowledge required of your successor?
Giving Back to the Community – What are you currently doing to be a good steward and contributor in the community? Have you defined a charity or service organization that you and your business could adopt? Are you seen in the community as a business that gives generously to those in need?
With your competitive assessment and your customer feedback in hand, and a planning model that you can follow, you can now begin building your plan. First set your goal of what you want to accomplish over the next year. Next, identify the top two or three specific actions that need to be addressed to achieve those goals. Lastly, turn these specific actions into SMART goals – goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Responsible (assigned to someone specific) and Time bound.
Focus your efforts this week and you have a solid foundation for your race plan for next year.