A Message From Howard
CEOs, Presidents and Business Owners:
Your business success is determined every single day. Business success doesn’t take place because of a good or even a bad marketplace. It takes place because of you. You’re the one that has worked through the difficulties and slogged through the challenges of your business. But one day something happens in your business that…
The month of December marks the fourth anniversary of the Talk Business With Howard radio show (broadcast Monday – Friday) on Blog Talk Radio. The radio show has evolved over the years to its present format, The 5 Minute Business Strategy, with business advice, insight and perspective to improve and grow your business for more business success, greater profit and less business stress.
As the final business days of 2014 bring the year to a close, let’s talk about your business, not for 2015, but for what happened in 2014 while there’s still time.
Here are 5 points you, as the CEO, president or business owner, need to do or think about for business success before the start of 2015:
1) Contact your company’s accountant or CPA. The year isn’t over… yet. Take a few minutes and talk about how you can still make this the best financial year possible. For example:
- review business taxes
- review profit and loss statements for the year
- review how you could have been smarter with your business finances
2) In order to be more successful and more profitable in 2015, you need to thoroughly look at the 2014 business year. Look at:
- The past: What needs to change? Learn from your business mistakes. Ask: What could have been done better?
- The present: What is the company doing well? What does the company need to do more of?
- The future: What are your company’s future plans? How are you going to get there?
3) Take the time to pause, honestly reflect and look into the mirror of your business. What do you see?
Where was the…
Where was the…
What situations put your company on top?
What situations didn’t your company handle so well?
Be openly critical of the 2014 business year so you can have a GREAT 2015.
Business isn’t static. Business isn’t a level plane or playing field. Business is always about doing your best and doing more, more, more…
If you don’t take the time to reflect on your business in 2014 then how will you be successful in 2015? You can’t keep doing the same things over and over and over, again and again and again.
Remember: The competition is always breathing down your neck. The best gift you can give the competition is your business – and I am certain that you don’t want to do that.
4) That’s why you need reach out to:
- Your customers at this time of year and let them know how much you appreciate their business. Pick up the phone and call your customers. Ask what more you can do for them.
- Do the same with your employees. Let them know how much you appreciate their efforts. Ask them for ideas on how to make the work experience and the company better.
- Don’t forget your vendors and other service providers who help make you the success you are. How can you better your relationships with them?
When you honestly and openly reflect on what is the mirror of your business it will show you the good, the bad and the ugly. It will also show you how to close out 2014 and be off to a successful start in 2015. Then let the business momentum build throughout the year.
5) When you walk in the door of your office every morning, ask yourself:
- What’s not right in my business that needs resolved?
- What will it take to make the business better?
- What do I need to do right now?
- How can I help every employee to succeed?
2015 gives you the opportunity to have the best business year ever. But your business success begins today in 2014. Don’t wait a moment longer to attain the success you and your company deserve. It’s waiting for you to make it happen!
For more business advice and tips, take 5 minutes and listen to the entire broadcast that inspired this blog post. The radio show is entitled: Let’s Talk About 2014 And Your Business. Let’s make 2015 the best business year ever! I look forward to talking business with you in 2015!
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘play it forward’ or ‘pay it forward’. In fact, there was a popular movie a number of years ago entitled, Pay It Forward, that perhaps you’ve seen. The concept is that when something good or nice happens to you, you then do similar and do something good or nice for someone else. Then that individual does something nice for another individual and the concept goes, hopefully, on and on with the goal of making this world a better place to live and work in.
The concept is certainly a wonderful, timeless idea that we definitely need in our world today, both locally and globally. It’s not just about doing one good thing for one person. It’s about doing good and being nice to everyone you meet in your day, including during business hours. It’s certainly a positive approach to living life and doing business.
For example, in business: Be polite and respectful to everyone you encounter in your business day – even if you are not going to do business with them. Answer questions and share information with people you may never see or talk to again. Listen to what they have to say. Be considerate of others always. It sounds like a good common sense approach to take but it’s actually something that will make you stand out in our time crunched with too many things to do business days.
Remember: everyone and everything has value in some way.
But there’s another concept to consider incorporating into your business days.
In addition to ‘playing or paying it forward’, let’s also ‘play it backwards’ to improve opportunities for success.
You read correctly…
Here’s why you need to work backwards: To be successful in business, it’s necessary to have a business plan. CEOs, presidents, founders, business owners and entrepreneurs need business plans to effectively run companies; department heads need business plans to meet company objectives; and regardless of a person’s title within a company, you need a business plan to accomplish individual contributions to a company’s success. But how do you meet your goals? Work backwards!
1) What’s the ultimate result you want to achieve?
2) Where do you want to go with your goal? For example: Let’s say you are a CEO, president, founder or business owner and your goal is to do at least a million dollars a year in annual revenue. Or maybe you’d like to personally earn a million dollars a year! How do you get to a million dollars? Work backwards. Start at a million dollars. Then ask:
- To do a million dollars in sales volume what would you have to do?
- What’s the average sale?
- Then divide a million dollars by how many sales.
- How many prospects would it take to get the number of customers or clients?
- How many appointments would it take to get the number of prospects?
- What’s the closing ratio to get the desired number of sales to reach the million dollar mark?
- What’s the timetable to reach a million dollars?
- Is there enough support staff to reach a million dollars?
- What additional costs will be incurred to reach a million dollars?
- Is the office location right?
Is it realistic? Or do goals need to be adjusted? If so, work backwards again till you reach attainable numbers. By working backwards you will know if and how you can reach your business goals. There’s nothing illusionary about working backwards. Sometimes business people when writing out a plan create an illusion that’s just not possible to attain. They don’t really think about how it’s possible or what they really need to do to reach a particular goal. You can’t just say: I want to do a million dollars!
By working backwards you may find the goal to be too disruptive to you and your business. Or maybe that it’s just not possible at this time. Re-evaluate and reset the goal. Work backwards again till you find a workable, realistic goal. When you do, then you can consider stretching the goal just a bit for added incentive to make it all happen.
By working backwards with your business goals and business plans you’ll have a more precise, detailed understanding of what you really need to do. You can do this with almost any business issue.
By working backwards you’ll have a better understanding of your business and your goals. When you reach your goals, you’ll be more successful, more profitable, less stressed – and able to ‘play or pay it forward’ by doing great things!
This post was also published on the Linked Into Business blog. You can view the post here.
If you are a fan of professional football and you watch the game on television, you’ve probably seen this: The player scores a touchdown in the end zone and starts dancing all around. The player starts showing off as if he’s never made a touchdown before and lets the emotion of the event go to his head. Instead of acting like scoring touchdowns is just what he and his team does, he acts like it’s an extraordinary event instead of it being just another day of playing great football.
The same is true in business, isn’t it? To win the game of business every day requires focus and determination. It’s not just closing one sale or having one great day. It’s about planning your strategy to stay ahead of the competition.
What will it take to win every single business day?
Answer: Have a daily business plan.
Spend time each business day reflecting, planning and strategizing regarding your daily goals for continued business success.
There are 3 business questions you, as a CEO, president or business owner, need to ask yourself every day – at least once a day. These 3 questions can be applied to many business situations you encounter such as hiring a new employee, making a presentation to a prospect, adding a new product or service, making a major business decision or writing your daily or annual business plan.
The 3 questions to ask yourself every business day are:
1) What do you expect? – Another way to phrase the question would be: What are you looking for? If you don’t know where you are going, how can you get there? If you haven’t thought through your expectations of what you need to do and what the end results will be, you’re just winging it. When you wing it, many times you don’t get the desired response. In today’s competitive marketplace, winging it often just isn’t going to cut it for sustained business success. For example: If you’re hiring an employee, what characteristics are you looking for? If you’re selling, who’s the potential customer? It could be any business subject. What do you expect to get out of this particular situation? Always know your expectations. When you know what the expectations are, you’ll be well on your way to getting what you want because you have an understanding of what you’re looking for.
2) What do you need (to get the desired results)? - This is different than what you expect. Here’s why: What you expect is about hopes and wishes. What you need is the reality of it all. Many business people scoff at making a business plan. They think it is a waste of time. But quite the contrary. If you don’t have a plan you waste more time because you have no true direction or sense of purpose.
Remember these words which you may have learned in school during English class: Who, what, where, when and why. No matter what the business circumstance is you need to constantly be asking questions starting with these words. Then ask one more question beginning with the word, how: How much is it going to cost? When writing your plan if you ask questions starting with: who, what, where, when, why and how much is it going to cost – and can clearly answer those questions you have the beginnings of a good plan in place.
Also, think about this: What is the return on investment (ROI)?
What do you need a recently hired salesperson in your company to do? What do you need a new product or service to do? Maybe you’d like to rent new office space. You may expect to be successful enough to rent the space but why do you really need the space? How functional will it be? How much more business do you need to do in order to furnish and rent the space? How much is renting the space going to cost? How much additional business will you have to do to make this work?
By asking questions throughout your day starting with: who, what, where, when, why and how much will it cost, you’ll have the foundation to make sound business decisions as you go about your day – and getting the results you desire for your company.
3) What aren’t you getting? - This is the question business people so often don’t ask, yet is vitally important to your success and the success of your company. It’s not meant to be viewed as a negative question.
If you know what your expectations are, if you know what your needs are and you have thoroughly worked through the previous two questions listed here in this article then you can look at the situation and ask: What am I not getting?
For example: You went ahead and hired a new salesperson. Now ask: What is the new hire not doing in their prospecting and sales presentations to close more deals each month? Or: The new product is now featured on the company website but it’s not bringing in the sales originally forecasted. What changes need to be made in the marketing campaign? Or maybe you moved into the new office space and now you’re asking yourself how you can better utilize the space.
Every day for business success, CEOs, presidents and business owners throughout the day need to continue to ask these three questions.
If you do, and the more often you ask these 3 questions, the more opportunity there will be for business success.
This blog post also appeared on Nimble.