I’m being the Grinch – reminding you that there will be no Christmas if you don’t plan and don’t track. And, if you don’t plan and don’t track, you can’t complain about what happens to your business!
Here is part 2 of getting the Grinch to go away:
As I’ve often written in the past, I hate New Year’s resolutions. They don’t work for most of us. However for those of you who plan for the entire year, implement the plan, and track the results, you’re likely to be ready when opportunities and threats occur. You know what “Plan B” is and take the steps to implement it.
What’s a good Plan B? A business owner calls you wanting to sell his business. You are interested. You negotiate the deal. And, since you have cash saved from putting 1% of every deposit away, you have the money to do the deal without financing it.
What’s a bad Plan B? Your largest competitor just moved into your town. Now you have a direct competitor who is “across the street” rather than in a nearby town. And, he is investing large advertising dollars to let everyone know he is there. He is also trying to poach your field employees. You have built a great company culture so that your employees are “not interested” and implement the marketing plan to reassure your customers that you are there for them.
It’s time to refresh and plan for a great 2018. As Dwight Eisenhower said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” And, “Plan B’s” will keep you in business.
So, over the years I have created an easy way to do this. Get input from your employees so that everyone knows where the company is going, and they have a stake in its success.
The most critical part of the planning process is to involve your employees. If you set goals, then they are your goals and some of your employees won’t buy in. If they have input, they will care about the results…and often push you to do things you might not have continued to focus on without the employees asking where you are with respect to X goal.
Here are six simple questions to ask your employees:
1. What went right in 2017?
2. What went wrong and what did you learn from it so that you don’t do it again?
3. Have you run into any new competition?
4. Have you seen any of our competition go out of business?
5. What would you like to see our company do in 2017? How can you contribute to making that happen?
6. What did we used to do that we stopped doing?
Put a these questions with their paychecks along with an envelope. They don’t have to put their names on their answers – just make sure they give the sealed envelopes to a person you designate by a specific date.
Compile the answers. You’ll see that the answers to these questions will start great discussions. Make sure you have them on “your employees’ turf” – in the field, at their desks, etc. rather than a formal meeting in your office.
Once you get the feedback, and determine the goals, put the goals where everyone can see them. If the goal is “at the top of the stairs”, you have to determine the stair steps, or objectives, to achieve the goals. Break the goals down into monthly objectives. Put the objectives somewhere you can see them and review them each month. Check off each objective as you complete it.
Your employees will help keep you on track.