As a business owner or key management person, you know your business should have a strategy for constantly adding to the bottom line. That growth strategy outlines goals and identifies the steps to be taken in achieving those objectives. In the end, this defines what you consider and will accept as success for your organization.
Larger companies generally have the resources to set these objectives through annual planning sessions or corporate retreats guided by independent third party professionals, such as Brand Irons. Smaller companies also have the ability to conduct these strategic success meetings and bring in professional guidance. The cost of these planning sessions are more than offset by the focus they bring to your corporate culture and the results they generate through higher productivity and reduced waste.
The richest value comes when your team agrees to and commits to the end result of the planning and is able to successfully implement a majority, if not all, of the objectives.
There are others, but here are five of the objectives your business should define:
- Net Profit. What are your earnings projections for 2013? Subtract anticipated costs to come up with your expected net profit numbers for the year. Are those realistic and attainable numbers? Will they satisfy you and/or shareholders?
- Annual Sales. Knowing what your bottom line is supposed to be, consider how sales will achieve those projections. Who is responsible for generating sales and what will they have to do to get them? Do you need more sales people?
- Production. Evaluate whether the capacity exists to produce what is sold in a timely fashion, or whether there is sufficient inventory to meet demand. Take a close look at ways to streamline costs yet still deliver quality products and service to your customers and prospects.
- Customer Service. How loyal are your clients to your brand(s)? Do they enjoy the experience of working with or purchasing from your organization? Do your sales personnel and front line people convey the right sense about your culture? That culture should pervade your entire organization. Does it?
- Marketing Results. Whether it’s through sales, advertising, promotions, or public relations, your company’s marketing efforts should generate measurable results. What do you measure? Conversion rates for sales presentations. Client response to advertisements (sales directly tied to an ad, for instance). Increased “Likes” on your Facebook page. Phone calls asking for information or to arrange meetings. New subscribers to your newsletter. You decide what else to measure, based on what is important for generating results.
You define success measurements to better allocate resources. There’s an adage about setting goals that goes something along the lines of “If you set sail without a destination, how will you know when you get there?”
If you place an ad in the newspaper and ask viewers to call about a special offer, you can gauge the success of the ad by how many calls you receive. Then you must ask: Were there enough calls to 1) pay for the ad? and, 2) warrant the expense in terms of sales that resulted?
However you define success for your business, make sure you take the time to think through whether that is, realistically, how you want to define your success.