budget Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®

Short Term Goals for Long Term Success

ID-100154878What is your goal for your business for the next year? How about for the next quarter? Next month?

A lot of business owners don’t have goals broken down like this, but why not? It’s difficult to reach a goal that doesn’t exist, and just saying that you want to grow your business isn’t specific enough to actually help you achieve results.

To really achieve the results you want, you need to set concrete goals, and you need to write them down.

Start far into the future. What age do you want to feel comfortable retiring? What amount in savings will make you comfortable retiring? Will you pass your business to one of your children, a trusted employee, or someone else? Map out your far out into the future goal.

Now that you know the far future you need to set yourself up to hit this goal. What milestones do you need to hit in 10, 5, or 2 years that will put you on the right path? What does your business look like at these intervals? How many employees will you have at the end of these times?

One year from today, where does your business need to be to hit your larger goals? What changes do you need to make to set yourself up for long term success? Do you need to hire more help now, or can it wait? What networking groups will you join in the next year? How are you spending your time?

At the end of the next financial quarter, what changes will you have made to start inching toward where you want to be? This is a great time to start looking at the numbers of your business, and diving into what changes you need to make over time to hit your overall goals.

In just the next month, what are your plans? It takes 21 days of doing something consistently to make it a habit, so what habits do you need to hit your goals? What can you implement in your life to start with that will help you reach your goals?

I know it may sound silly to break your goals down this much, but if you don’t know what you’re shooting for, you’ll never hit your target. Long term goals can seem too far away and too massive to be goals that you can actually work toward right now, so breaking them out into more manageable time frames can be more beneficial than you could image.

What is your long-term goal? How are you working toward it? Tell me in the comments below!

Who’s In Your Room? – A Personal Story

A few years ago my company was in the midst of one of the largest projects in the history of our organization.  The project involved many people—it was very complex and financially challenging.  It was also in trouble.  I needed to select a key player for the project team.  The man I chose had incredibly strong technical skills.  He was very qualified for the project and was the perfect person to help turn this around . . . or so I thought.  I knew he came with a lot of baggage.  He didn’t always play well with others, he would fly off the handle emotionally when talking to people and, worst of all, he brought an immense amount of drama to the workplace.  On the other hand he was highly qualified for the work. Based on those qualifications, I hired him as manager. I suspected there would be problems with the drama and the outbursts – however, I felt I could coach him and guide him through this.

It turns out I was wrong.  Monumentally wrong. 

Despite his incredible technical skills, his behavior more than offset his technical strengths.  The project went from problematic to horrific within a year.  It was way over budget, well behind schedule, and not nearly the quality that I expected.   Around this time, one of the project team members told me that the best thing the project manager could do for a meeting was to call in sick!  The team member said when the manager was not there they got a lot more done.

Right about that time, I attended a presentation that Stewart Emery did where he talked about the concept of “Who’s in Your Room?”.  I walked out of that presentation and decided right then and there that this project leader should have never been in my room.  I also realized that getting him out of the room was going to be very difficult.  Why?  Because he kept everything close to the vest.  Most of the people in the project didn’t understand or know many of the aspects of the work, because this project leader didn’t collaborate or share information freely.  I understood that removing him from the room was going to be difficult and painful.  But I was clear on the reality that it had to be done.

It ended up taking months to lay the ground work with everyone on the team by me personally engaging them in pieces of the project they needed to know but weren’t privy to with this manager.  I had to drop many of my normal responsibilities and devote an immense amount of time to this process.  I promoted some people and moved others around.  When all was ready, I made the move and let go of the project leader.  There was an immediate and palpable change in the project.  Today it has made incredible strides, and it is becoming exactly the product that I was hoping for and it is something I am proud of as an entrepreneur.

The lesson I learned in this very expensive and very stressful process was this: be very selective about who you let in your room.  Don’t allow people in just because of their technical skills.  I want a work environment that is a “drama-free” zone and I pick people for my organization who I want in my room.  I now try to select qualified people who fit the organizational culture of collaboration, people who share information and knowledge and people who don’t bring to the process an Emmy Award winning soap opera of behaviors.

Have you experienced this phenomenon?  If so, please tell us about it in the comment forum below and, also, please share any thoughts you have on Stewart’s Who’s in Your Room concept. Thanks!

Why Word of Mouth?

One of the most important things I’ve learned over the years is that the secret to success–without a little bit of hard work–is still a secret!  Word of mouth marketing is a solid foundation for building any successful enterprise and, like anything else that brings great rewards, it takes time, effort, and dedication (a.k.a.–a “little bit of hard work” ;-)).

Developing a word-of-mouth marketing program is an effective, potentially lucrative way of generating more business.  The reason I said it takes “a little bit” of hard work is because it’s not even hard work when you consider the alternatives:

1.  Increase your advertising budget

2.  Develop an effective public-relations campaign

3.  Pick up the phone and start cold-calling

The first two alternatives can be ridiculously expensive and the third is time-consuming and frustrating.  However, a structured word-of-mouth marketing program is also personally empowering: it’s one of the few things that you, or someone who works for you, can do (other than cold-calling) that directly affects your success.  Why wait for people to walk in your door?  Why sit idly by, hoping that your existing clients or customers will refer you to others?  With a structured word-of-mouth program you don’t have to wait for the results of your last PR campaign to kick in.

A word-of-mouth program will give you control and allow you to take ownership for the business development of your company.  Such a program has worked for thousands of people in all types of businesses and will work for you as well.

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