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Monthly Business e-Tips Vol 6
Issue 1

Is Your Business GPS Recalculating?

“It is a bad plan that admits of no modification.” Publilius Syrus

Take it from someone with no sense of direction: many of us need help getting from point A to point B. For as long as I’ve had a driver’s license, I have circled rotaries and driven highways looking for the right exit. When kind souls offer directions such as, “Get off the highway at Route 13 and go west,” they might as well be speaking Swahili. I don’t know which way is north, south, east or west. Recently I received a wonderful gift - a global positioning system (GPS). I was sure it would end my road adventures and get me to meetings on time. However, even when I think I am making a correct turn, Lola (the voice in my GPS) announces (in a seemingly agitated tone) that she is “recalculating.” Then she sends me off in another direction. I know I had better adjust to her corrections.

As business professionals, we need to constantly recalculate. We need to have our own Lola, a voice whispering in our ears. The routes we have taken in the past aren’t necessarily going to deliver us to our destination anymore. If there are closed lanes, roadblocks, accidents and traffic jams ahead, we may need to exit the highway and take the back roads.

When consulting with clients, the first step in resolving most business problems is to work with them on articulating their vision and creating a plan to ensure they reach their goals. Under today’s circumstances, most previously developed strategic plans need revisiting. If you don’t have a roadmap, you need one now more than ever. If you do have one, it probably needs a refresh, if not a complete overhaul. Ask yourself lots of important questions. Are the markets you’ve been serving for years still the best ones for your offerings? Is your direct sales force still effective or would telesales deliver more for less? Should you offer additional pricing options for shrinking budgets? Are you sending out costly mail pieces but not utilizing social media?

Here are additional steps to recalculate your route to success:

  • Identify the company’s long-term goals. Get commitment from your executive team so the plan will be embraced and implemented from the top.
  • Generate enough data to make informed decisions. Look at industry trends, your competition and the needs of your targeted markets. Your plans also need to respond to the changes resulting from the current economic climate.
  • Identify who is responsible for each aspect of the plan. Every function of the company needs to be accountable for its portion of the implementation. The plan timeline identifies who is accountable for each part by when. The company leader must make sure all managers stay on track.
  • Engage all employees in the vision and strategic direction. A company-wide meeting is critical to bring the strategy to life. If employees see their place within the company’s plan, they will be unified and committed to the process and their roles in it.
  • Measure, analyze and recalculate. Continually adjust to the fast paced world to survive and thrive.
Once you’re on the road, you may have a smooth ride. Then again, there are always surprises. You may be traveling a little slower, or taking a longer route, and you could get stuck behind a slowpoke driver in a no passing zone. In any event, drive safely and be prepared to recalculate as many times as you need to until you arrive at your destination.

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