November 07, 2018
Staying on Course - Do You Know Where You're Headed?
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Running a business inherently entails many complexities, any of which can throw your business off course from executing on its plan. As a business owner it is your responsibility to ensure that the business stays on track while being able to assist, guide, and develop your employees, service your customers and chart a vision of the future for your team to follow. Putting out fires becomes a daily routine and while you may be working long hard hours, you are not doing the work that will move the business forward. You are so worried about "working in the business" you are not spending any time "working on the business". Over time this leads to missed goals, declining sales, employee turnover and unhappy customers. As the business owner, you begin to feel frustration anger, anxiety, over the direction the business is heading.
You may have heard of the proverbial plane that takes off from New York flying to Los Angeles. The pilot is multitasking and in the process of running through the pre-flight checklist, checking on weather reports and communicating with the tower for instructions, he sets his course heading but is off by 2 degrees. Throughout the flight, the plane stays on the course that is off ever so slightly from the required course heading. Five hours later, when the plane reaches California, it lands in San Diego 120 miles south of Los Angeles.
The pilot's inability to identify that he was off course and take corrective action put the plane off its intended destination. When business owners fail to work on their business, they are failing to check on their heading and make necessary course corrections, and the business ultimately will end up off course as well.
When a business runs off course, it means lost jobs, lack of profits, lack of income for the owners disappointed investors, employee turnover and loss of faith in the business by your customers. In my experience, very few businesses who fail to keep an eye on their key performance indicators ("KPI") will drift more than 2% off course. At some point, if you drift too far it becomes impossible to get back on course.
How do businesses drift off course? it could be a toxic culture, an underperforming sales team, a lack of cohesive sales and marketing strategy, a failure to clearly communicate the founders/owners vision to the leadership team, employees not being held accountable, poor customer service, inefficient process, poor recruiting, lack of retention of key employees, or poor financial / cash planning to name a few.
A strong Advisory Board and/or business coach can help you make sure you take are paying attention to your KPIs and are making the necessary course corrections and that you keep the business on course.
Success breeds success, and a properly run business will attract and retain better talent, which will lead to better customer experiences, which leads to profitability, which leads to happy investors which leads to income for key performers which leads to the life you envisioned when you started your business.
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