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For Business Success: Work Backwards

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…

Businesspeople working togetherFor business success: Work backwards!

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!

Here’s how:

Ask yourself…

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!


Want MORE business success in leading your company? Talk with Howard! 888-738-1855 – or connect with Howard on LinkedIn.


This post was also published on the Linked Into Business blog. You can view the post here.

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