Clear the Fog: How to Make Sure Your Business Plan Succeeds
There are a lot of reasons a business owner might be struggling to meet their revenue goals.
They could have a weak marketing strategy. They could be suffering from low morale and an unmotivated team. Maybe they’re failing to adopt new technology and are falling behind the competition as a result.
Maybe. I’ve seen entrepreneurs struggle with all these issues.
But most of the time, when a business owner reaches out to me to talk through a disappointing quarter or the loss of a huge project, the problem is simple:
There is a complete lack of clarity within the business.
The Cost of Operating in a Fog
Now, one of the biggest challenges to overcoming a lack of clarity is recognizing that the problem exists in the first place.
We can easily operate in a fog without realizing it because we aren’t even trying to look beyond our own assumptions and expectations.
We have a tendency to assume everyone else is just automatically on the same page as us. I’ve definitely struggled with this as an entrepreneur. My goals, priorities, and strategies have seemed so obvious to me that it didn’t even occur to me that I might need to clue my employees in on the mission.
As a result, they followed their own compass, giving their very best to an effort that was not in alignment with my vision.
Does this sound familiar?
Or maybe you’ve struggled because you haven’t taken the time to give yourself the clarity you need. This is another issue I have both observed and lived. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in working hard to succeed that we don’t step back to ask ourselves what success actually looks like.
And if you don’t know exactly what you’re shooting for, you can’t get there. You can’t strategize properly, you can’t communicate with your team… you can’t even judge your own progress.
If you keep spinning your wheels, it’s time to ask yourself if you and your team are seeing the same vision with perfect clarity.
How to Create Clarity for Your Business
I encourage you to set aside some time to slow down, be still, and read through each of these steps.
Have you skipped any of these? Are you leading with clarity, or could your strategy use more communication?
Step 1: Get 100% Clear on Your Goals
Do you want to make your first $1 million in 2022? Do you want to open a second location in two years? Do you want to become the Number One Restoration Service in your county?
Great! These are fantastic goals. But you have to get way more specific.
If you want to bring in $1 million next year, you need to know what you need to pull in each quarter and each month.
You have to pinpoint your revenue drivers to determine which services have the best chance of helping you meet your goals. How many jobs do you need to do each month in order to bring in the kind of money you want?
Once you have that number, look at your lead close rates. Based on your LCR, how many leads do you need to generate in order to meet your target bookings?
All these details should factor into your business plan, alongside the answers to other questions such as:
- Who is my target buyer?
- What are the best marketing strategies to connect with my buyer?
- What sets our business apart from our competitors?
I also recommend conducting a SWOT analysis. This is an in-depth review of your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
When you get a clear picture of where you stand, it’s easier to see where you can go. You’re less likely to waste time on strategies that don’t fit with your skill set and value propositions. And you have a better shot at recognizing new opportunities to capitalize on what you do well.
I know this sounds like a lot of work… and it certainly can be. But the work you put in now will pay off huge in the long-run.
Step 2: Determine How Your Team Fits into the Strategy
Now that you see exactly what it will take to reach your objectives, it’s time to figure out how each team member factors into the strategy.
You will probably be tempted to skip this step.
Don’t skip it.
I know it seems too obvious to outline. Your office manager keeps the office running. Your techs provide quality customer service. Your marketing expert generates leads.
Here’s the problem: no one’s job is actually as simple as their two-word job title suggests.
For example, where do you want your sales manager to put his greatest efforts? Cold-calls? In-person meetings? Residential properties? Commercial? Should he be pursuing referral partnerships, or are you handling that?
I recently spoke with a business owner who discovered his team making big mistakes on an important project. Now their four-day job had become an eight-day job, which cost them quite a bit in both profits and customer relationships.
The project manager was more focused on bringing in more business than he was on overseeing the current job.
This employee wasn’t trying to be negligent. He was trying to be proactive. It was just that he and the business owner did not have the same idea about what it meant for someone in his position to contribute to the mission.
Every single person you hire has a role to play in growing your business. Take the time to see how their role fits in with your larger business plan.
Step 3: Communicate
Tell every employee… every single one… what your expectations are for them specifically.
Make sure they know:
- What tasks you’d like them to prioritize.
- What it means for someone in their position to be successful in your company. (Be as specific as you can. If you can put it into numbers, that’s ideal.)
- What metrics you will use to evaluate their performance.
- Who they report to and who reports to them.
- What unique contribution they make to your company’s greater vision.
Also, tell them what that greater vision is.
Don’t keep your cards so close to the vest. Your team needs to know the ultimate destination so they can help you get there.
Plus, the more transparency you offer, the more you empower your employees to be proactive. When you share your vision, it becomes their vision. They see why their role is important… why they are important.
I highly recommend providing a clear job description for every person on your team. If you need a little help with this, Get Out of the Truck has a free tool for that, too. Just fill out your answers to a few questions, and the system generates a job description you can download, print, and share with your employee.
Clarity is power.
Be honest with yourself about your own expectations. Know where you’re going so you can outline the route that will take you there.
Then share the roadmap with the people who share this journey with you.
This is how you get there faster.
Further Resources on This Topic:
Free Tool: Business Plan Wizard
Free Tool: SWOT Analysis Tool
Free Tool: Job Description Generator