Don’t Set Growth Targets Without Thinking Carefully About Timing

Don’t Set Growth Targets Without Thinking Carefully About Timing

Featured, Improvement, Planning, Process

metricsYou’ve probably seen them before — those project spreadsheets in which Year 2 revenue is Year 1 revenue plus 10%, and so on. These projections are rarely accurate, because they reduce the world to linear models — when in reality the growth process is nonlinear, sometimes even exponential. Additionally, most plans depend are multiple parts all working in conjunction. If one part takes longer than expected or implementation isn’t done in the proper order, the ultimate goal is delayed.

The Harvard Business Review recommends instead of assuming that growth will happen right away, and at a steady pace, think about the likely times at which revenues will be realized. What’s the realistic lag time between initiating your growth project and reaping the rewards from it?

Focus on three inputs:

  • the revenue goal for the investment at steady state;
  • the assumed first-year revenue;
  • the inflection point, which is the time required to reach 50% of the revenue goal.

Unrealistic revenue projections can lead to career-ending misses. So take plenty of time to do some smart thinking beforehand.

Using Sprint Goals

Using Sprint Goals

Featured, Planning, Process

Set goalsSetting long term goals is necessary for success. To build momentum and keep motivated, use sprint goals. In the Businetiks system, a sprint goal is a quick, short deadline goal that moves you closer to your larger goal. How can you create sprint goals?

  • Use a short deadline: Where long-term goals can take months or years, a sprint goal deadline should be no more than a day. For example, if your long-term goal is to make $1 million in sales this tear, your sprint goal could be to make ten sales goals today.
  • Briefly describe your goal: A sprint goal can be described in a few sentences at most.
  • Relate your sprint goal to a long-term goal: The purpose of your sprint goals are to reach bigger goals. Make sure to connect them.
Give People Time and Space to Be More Creative

Give People Time and Space to Be More Creative

Attitude and Mindset, Featured, Leadership, Planning

artCreativity takes time, requiring people to struggle down several blind alleys before finding the right solution. That’s why a lot of creative activity may look suspiciously like loafing around until a breakthrough happens. But if an organization truly wants creativity, it has to start by hiring more people than it needs to complete the tasks required for the company to stay afloat. Managers also need to provide some flexibility for employees to alter their schedules when an interesting idea begins to develop. And they need to reward employees for engaging in tasks that ultimately lead to creative solutions, like learning new things, developing new skills, having wide-ranging conversations with colleagues, and trying out ideas that don’t work.

Should Your Goals Be Rigid or Flexible?

Should Your Goals Be Rigid or Flexible?

Featured, Focus, Planning

Set goalsThere are two ways to approach your goals: You can be flexible, and let the next steps evolve as you work toward your objective, or you can be rigid, and set specific actions to take. To decide which approach you should use, ask yourself how difficult your goal will be to achieve, how invested you are in achieving it, and what else you have on your plate. In situations where your goal is relatively simple and you’re highly motivated to achieve it, a flexible approach typically works best. In situations where the change required is difficult and you feel less engaged, lay out a firm sequence of steps. And be mindful of your track record. If you struggle with follow-through, or you find that there are simply too many priorities competing for your attention, you’ll need a rigid approach to pursuing your goal.

The Algorithm Is Not Everything

The Algorithm Is Not Everything

Featured, Improvement, Planning

trendsThere is a lot of talk about big data. How you can use it to improve your business. The insights it gives you about your customers. There can be too much emphasis on algorithms and data.

Amazon recently found out that you can’t always live by the data. They created their entire business around using algorithms to figure out what their customers want. Recently they hit a wall as their original shows proved not to appeal to viewers or critics and several producers came out and stated that the company had no idea what they were doing.

Take a look at the greatest companies. They were founded by entrepreneurs who followed their gut feelings, and used that with data to build the business. Look at the fall of major corporations and the Wall Street banking crisis, The disasters were all created by MBAs focusing on data. Data is an important part of planning, but it is not the end all and be all. Remember, your customers are ruled by emotions, not data.

To find out how The Modern Observer Group can help you with your plans, contact us here.

Stay Away From The Race To The Bottom

Stay Away From The Race To The Bottom

Customer, Featured, Planning

It can happen in any industry. One company decides to lower their prices. Then another decides to match or beat them. Then a third. Before you know it, the companies are locked in a race to the bottom to see who can offer the lowest price. By lowering the price, the company hopes to bring in new customers. There are several problems with this theory though.

  • Customer loyalty: Customers that jump on to the lowest are not loyal customers. Studies with coupons have shown that customers whose main focus is price will jump to another product if that price is lower. Customers that are drawn in by low prices are difficult and expensive to keep.
  • Quality: There is only so much you can cut prices before it affects the quality of your product or service. That loss in quality will chase away your existing customers, even as the price brings in new ones.
  • It’s tough to climb back up: Once customers get used to paying a lower or discounted price it becomes difficult to get them to pay higher prices for the same product or service. Walmart found this out when they tried to raise prices. They faced an exodus of customers who went elsewhere in search of lower prices.

Stay out of the race to the bottom. Compete on quality or compete on results. Competing on price is a minefield.

The Business Coach Advantage

The Business Coach Advantage

Improvement, Leadership, Personal Growth, Planning, Process

business coachWhy should you have a business coach? Every athlete and every top performer uses a coach to bring out their best. Michael Jordan is widely considered to be the best basketball player ever. He has often credited his college basketball coach with turning him from a good player to a great one.  As a business person, you present yourself to your clients as a superstar. If Michael Jordan relied on his coach to get him to the top, shouldn’t you have a business coach of your own.

A business coach is somebody who helps you move from where you are to where you want to be, and does so by solely focusing on your goals. You’ll never really know what you’re capable of until there’s someone to push you outside your comfort zone. If you’re questioning what a coach can do for you, here are some reasons to get one

Gain an outside perspective: Brainstorming is a great tool but when you brainstorm with the same set of notions, you come up with the same ideas. A coach brings an outside perspective to the mix. By including ideas from other industries and coming in without preconceived notions, a coach brings your brainstorming to the next level. At the same time, that new perspective provides an opportunity for you to see the forest for the trees and take a look at the big picture even though you spend your days dealing with day-to-day details.

Bounce Ideas: A coach will listen to your ideas and bring expertise to allow those ideas to be evaluated and improved upon.

Guidance: A coach will make you focus on the big picture and your long-term strategies. Whether it is operations, marketing, or personal growth, your coach will help you develop plans to achieve your goals.

  • Accountability: A coach will keep you on track. Just like an athletic coach keeps a player training and improving, a business coach will keep you on track following your business plan, marketing plan and keep you growing.
  • If you want to grow and achieve your goals, a coach is what you need to step up your game.

Contact The Modern Observer Group to find out what a coach can do for you.

5 Tips For Achieving Your Goals

5 Tips For Achieving Your Goals

Featured, Focus, Improvement, Planning

ChecklistFocus is one of the key elements in building your success. A major part of that focus is having goals to focus on. Your goals provide you with both something to focus on and a way to measure your progress as you move forward. To get you started, here are five tips for setting and achieving goals to better aid your endeavors.

Be Specific and Set A Deadline: Vague goals are unattainable.  While the goal of “bringing in more sales” is an admirable, it is also lacking specificity.  Your goals need to be realistic and measurable, which means you need to be specific about your objectives.  How many sales are you aiming for? How do you intend to bring in more sales?  What specific steps do you need to do to accomplish this?  Once you establish specific goals, you need to assign them deadlines in order to ensure you see them through.

Develop A Plan Of Action: Even with specific goals, you still need to have a plan for achieving them.  Goals are a lot like trips — you cannot expect to reach your destination if you do not know what route to take.  For goals, that means creating an outline or punch list that breaks down your goals into bite-sized, manageable steps easily integrated into your daily work life.

Review Goals: Check your goals periodically. What have you done to achieve them? Talk this over with other people. If your goal is to be accomplished by a team, review it with them.  Reviewing goals allows everyone to get on the same page as their follow team members, which helps employees work more efficiently.

Incorporate Goals Into Life: Attaining your goals is a process, one that is reached gradually.  They will not fall into your lap already realized.  Instead, you must find ways to blend your everyday workload with strategies and tactics designed to achieve your goals in a concerted effort that simultaneously advances progress on your goals and improves your productivity.

Be Prepared For Changes: Life throws you curveballs.  You must accept that, because part of reaching your goals means being ready for those curveballs, being able to acclimate and being prepared to adjust your plan of action on the fly.  Goals are rarely, if ever, reached without a hitch.  Besides, adaptability is crucial in the business world.

Use Plans to Focus Yourself, Not Test Yourself

Use Plans to Focus Yourself, Not Test Yourself

Featured, Focus, Planning, Process

Planning out your week can help you navigate life gracefully — but overplanning your day-to-day tasks can make you neurotic and stressed. The best way to reap the benefits of daily and weekly planning is to take a more relaxed approach, and to understand the role spontaneity should play in your plans. Here’s how:

  • Be intentional but flexible. Decide in advance where you want to end up, but accept that your route may change along the way.
  • Redefine a 100% score. For most people, a great day is when they accomplish 60–70% of their goals. Think about a “perfect” day as one where you made the best choices possible, not one where you finished everything.
  • Don’t think of your plans as a test. If your self-worth depends on how accurately you implement your plans, you’re on shaky ground. Life is meant to be lived, not just “done.”
Tighten Up Your Sales Pitch

Tighten Up Your Sales Pitch

Communication, Featured, Planning

When preparing a sales pitch, you may be inclined to continually add elements to entice the customer. This can result in a cluttered, unfocused pitch, and prospective buyers may feel overwhelmed by choices. Don’t give your audience a choose-your-own adventure. Instead, focus on the one thing you believe they will gain. So instead of adding more ideas, try subtracting. Take out three (or more) pitch points until you are down to one core idea. Remove anything that may feel peripheral. Structure your presentation around that one point and continue to return to it throughout. You don’t want to attract customers with a long list of disparate options. Seduce them with a single, compelling idea.

  • Write It Out: Writing out your sales pitch can help you envision all your ideas and make sure you’re not missing any key points. Outlining ideas to follow can help keep your presentation concise and on track.
  • Tell a Story: Once you have all the points of your pitch, you can create a story. Real-life examples can mean a lot more to your customers than simply telling them the numbers.
  • Know Your Audience: Tailor your pitch to your audience and be mindful of their interests.