Plan The Work – Work The Plan
We’ve all heard the clichés of how critical goal setting and planning are to the success of a business, but still many business don’t do it … or start a plan, but then lose track of that plan during the year. It’s important to lay out your goals for the year, and how you realistically plan to achieve them, including detailed projections. And then track it! Fortunately for most CFBC members, they have done this already. But if you haven’t, get to it!
Goals. Keep them simple, memorable and inspirational for the whole team. Hitting key benchmarks; 1,000,000 units sold, $X million in revenues, or a certain profit or efficiency levels – can keep everyone focused on the key drivers of the business. The book, The Great Game of Business, provides nice guidelines on setting the goals (or rules of the game per the book). Then, drill down to individual departments and individual goals, the summation should total the company goals.
Strategy and Tactics. Plan how you will achieve these goals as company, division and individually. If you want to increase sales, are you going to use the same tactics or change things a bit? Are you going to use technologies more effectively? This applies to nearly all of us. Some need to data mine the information we’re already collecting, some can use social media more effectively, some can use internet and intranet sites to make information flow more efficiently with employees, vendors and clients. Look at your goals and key objectives and find one area you can be more efficient in using technology. Of course, there are a myriad of strategies and tactics - and you should review many of them - but try not to implement too many at once and over burden yourself and your team.
Forecast. There are many forms of cash flow projections. The most effective, in our experience, seems to be a 13-week cash flow forecast that tracks cash in and cash out in all major categories. Many companies are often introduced to these tools when they are experiencing difficulty from their bank or consultant, and eventually find them so useful that they continue to use them even when their businesses are thriving again. A simple excel spreadsheet often can do the trick. Most bankers, CPAs, or business advisors can help you get started.
Tracking. Most people need someone to help keep them focused on the goals. Fortunately for the CFBC, forum members can act in this role for each other. Too many businesses lack that focus to track their progress. Select a regular time to review your progress with your team. In the Great Game of Business they stress a weekly Huddle. There are plenty of different successful options as long as you’re tracking your progress and making adjustments when you see something is not working. In every business there is usually something that is not working – or that could be improved – FIND IT!
Best wishes to all CFBC members for a successful 2014! If we can assist you in achieving any of your goals, please let us know.
Michael Moran, firstname.lastname@example.org, 847.418.3226
Chris Prestegaard, email@example.com, 847.956.3994
Ken Stemke, firstname.lastname@example.org, 312.492.3133
Sarah DeRuntz, email@example.com, 312.492.3120