By Victoria Mavis, Area Director, BNI – North Central PA
As a human resource consultant, I often work with business owners who grapple with the demands of employees, business challenges, and life events—all of which can derail a business. When asked for suggestions to get their business back on track, I turn to these five steps:
1. Have clearly defined and realistic goals. This means more than announcing “Increase sales” at your weekly sales meeting. Every goal should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
Does your goal have teeth? Imagine that you’re taking the last ski trip of the season and you end up in a coma from an accident (unfortunately—accidents do happen at the most inconvenient times). You had a succession plan worked out, so your #1 replacement comes in to lead the company until you can resume duty.
Reviewing your goals, she determines there is nothing else to do since the company is ahead on sales by three percent. Yet, currently, the market is increasing by 50 percent and your strategy is to mirror the industry. That means 47 percent is on the table for your competitors to grab.
If you have a knot in your stomach about now, power-up your laptop and add some clarity to your goals.
Are your goals achievable? According to Dr. Ivan Misner, founder of BNI, the world’s largest business networking organization, “Re-engineer it.” If you want $3 million in annual sales and it’s the end of March and you’re at $100,000, this means sales of $322,222 per month are needed for the next nine months.
You need to question, “Is this doable? What will it require?”
If you’ve never set goals to run your business or if your goals haven’t yielded results, I recommend you get help. Read a book about goal setting; meet with other business professionals to find out what they do; or, invite a coach to help your team through the goal-setting process.
2. Remove distractions. Email and the Internet are reported to be the biggest distractions at work and often in our personal life. It is the bitter-sweet of social media. Email, tweets, and Facebook posts produce contacts who begin to know and trust you, purchase your product or service, and tell others about you.
Removing all social media that gets client attention and still expecting activity that generates sales is like cutting off your right leg and immediately expecting to run a marathon. The secret is not to remove distractions necessary for business or professional functions, but rather to shift your focus. Determine a time when you can pay un-interrupted attention to them and nothing else. For most, this is where the real work begins.
3. Get support. As business leaders, we often trip up with this one. Why? It’s simple. Our entire life we’ve been conditioned to believe that to be the leader, you need to deliver everything flawlessly by yourself. In fact, seeking guidance from others may be interpreted as a sign of weakness.
Would you rather be thought of as weak and get results or as a pillar of strength and fail miserably? The choice is yours.
4. Know what works for you and do it. Begin by identifying and stopping what has not worked in the past. According to Misner, “It sounds ‘counter intuitive,’ and it is, but it works. Many get trapped thinking ‘I’ve always done it that way.’ So if ‘that way’ is not working, try something new.”
You’re probably thinking, “I don’t know what to try.” If so, repeat Step 3 until you get it. Everyone has someone from whom they can learn from. The point is to surround yourself with a circle of friends and business associates who help your growth and development.
If that’s not your current circle, either change the conversations you have with the people you know or develop a few new relationships with people you’ve always wanted to learn from.
5. Stay for the miracle. I can imagine the furrowed brows by readers right now. I know it’s tough; but it’s not impossible. As a person who has enjoyed a walking disability for the majority of her life, I can tell you all about difficulties, challenges, and hardships, but what does that really matter?
At the end of the day, the difference between settling for what life gives you and achieving what you want is the way you respond to each person and everything that you meet along life’s journey.
If you’re committed to the life in front of you, give it your best 24/7. If you’re not, begin to migrate towards something to which you are committed that will produce positive results for you, your business, your community, or the world.
Life is too short a game not to be played “full out.” You may never achieve what you set out to do, but if you set out to do what you plan to achieve, the world will be forever altered because of your daily contribution. Make it a purposeful day now for your world!
ABOUT VICTORIA MAVIS
Victoria Mavis is a speaker, author and human resource (HR) expert that is known for always “telling a story” to illustrate her experience from over 20 years in industries, such as hospitality, local government, manufacturing, medical services, non-profits, and retail. She skillfully guides clients to increased earnings by “rightsizing” HR administration, including the use of human capital and internet technology.
Victoria holds an MBA, is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), and also certified as a Behavioral Specialist. She is a member of Rotary International, BNI, and other business, professional, and community organizations.