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.