A Line Of Questions To.Discuss.How.9 11 Affected.You Critical Success Factors

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Critical Success Factors

Focus on the things that make the biggest difference in your future prosperity.

(Note, although this article was written in early 2002, it is totally relevant. Today.)

About three weeks ago I was surprised by this headline in the morning newspaper:

“The Fed says September 11 will hurt the economy.”

Wow!

“What am I missing here?” Is this news? USA Today thinks so. I’m surprised the Fed saw fit to announce this.

And this week, another: “NBER Confirms Recession.”

Hey, Greenspan! Go out and talk to people. All over the country people are telling me that if they break even this year, they will consider it a victory. If that’s not a “recession”…

But have you ever wondered what it takes to end a recession? Not the textbook answer: two consecutive quarters of growth. Have you ever wondered what causes consecutive quarters of growth in the first place?

The economy will pick up when enough people are tired of the economy being turned down.

Companies need things. They need new people or new services such as marketing and sales. Some need new premises or new equipment. You might say something like “We really need this or that but we’re not going to spend another penny until the economy gets better.”

So we suffer from a cascade effect where you wait for someone else to make the first move – and the economy goes down – worse and worse – until …

Until people start saying, “I’m tired of this,” or “I can’t wait,” or “Let’s go.” And as if by magic people started spending again, and poof – the recession was over.

I’m a growth strategist — I help people figure out the best way to build their businesses and make money. I want to know when this recession will end, but I’m not an economist and that’s a tough question. Instead, I ask how long people can sit on their duffs before they get so tired that they have to move again.

I hope that early next year people will get to that point. Although The Fed made it official, many businesses declined in the third quarter of 2000, and have not recovered since.

Aren’t you tired of everyone doing nothing? Don’t you want to start rebuilding your business? Of course you do. What do you think everyone thinks?

(Side note: This forecast is right in line with the “professionals” who say the recession will end in mid to late 2002. That will only happen if businesses and consumers start spending early in the year.)

So what do you do about it? What would you personally do to end the recession?

What should you do to start making money again? (I agree with President Bush. You don’t have to throw that flag away, but the most patriotic thing you can do right now is start spending money. rocket.)

Are you ready?

Now is a good time to prepare yourself for the next time people decide to start “doing business” again.

Last month I outlined a way to polish and even rethink your business strategy. Here I will quickly review the critical factors that will ensure your success.

A plan designed as a platform for growth and revenue must consider each of the following critical success factors:

Cash factors: positive cash flow, revenue growth, and profit margins.

Gain new customers and/or distributors — your future.

Customer satisfaction — how happy are they?

Quality — how good are your products and services?

Product / service development — what’s new that will increase business with existing customers and attract new ones?

Intellectual capital — adding what you know to profit.

Productivity — how efficient are you? How effective are you?

Strategic relationships — new sources of business, products and external income.

Employee attraction and retention — your ability to expand your reach.

Sustainability — your personal ability to sustain everything.

For each reason ask these three broad questions.

1. What can you learn from last year’s experience in this matter?

What are you doing right? What is working? Always start with this question. Why? Because it is positive. That’s it! It’s surprising how naturally people drift toward negativity. Even if I ask — verbatim — what you’re doing right, more than half the time people will respond to something they did wrong.

How can you do more of those “right” things? How can you make them better? How can you apply what you learned in this section to others?

If you’ve exhausted this line of questioning, what did you do wrong? Not to beat yourself up — to make sure you don’t repeat it and find ways to fix or improve the process.

Next, ask what is missing. What would you add that would improve your effectiveness?

(Efficiency can be expressed as the ratio of OUTPUT to INPUT. Efficiency, on the other hand, is how many INPUT actions you perform per unit of time. For example, you can increase the number of calls you make per hour — that’s more efficiency. You can increase the number of sales for the same number of calls — that’s more efficiency.)

Random examples of things that may be lacking include marketing consistency, new products or services, multiple sales people, a source of new leads, an employee (or a plan to self development).

2. What are your goals related to this cause?

Setting new goals can, in itself, transform your business. Your goals should be bold and dynamic — big enough to inspire you and everyone around you. Goals are most effective when they are objective and measurable. And you have to believe that it can be achieved – no matter how difficult or impossible it may seem.

Some examples of bold goals: dominate your market niche; sales doubled last year; top list of prospect mind-share; 100 percent repeat customer purchases; three new products were developed and shipped mid-year; Customer problems are solved in half the current time, a career path for every employee, enough money to cover any business emergency.

3. How will you achieve these goals?

A successful plan to achieve your goals has several components:

Who is responsible for each goal? Not you? then which executive? Who are the managers? What department?

Some factors map directly to a specific department, such as revenue owned by sales and marketing. But factors such as intellectual capital or customer satisfaction – these do not clearly fall into one department.

However, there must be an ‘owner’ of the cause. Guess who. Without one person being held accountable – guess what – it won’t happen.

Whoever accepts responsibility for a specific purpose must answer the remaining questions.

What strategies and tactics have the best chance of accomplishing the goal?

If you’ve set bold goals, chances are you don’t yet know how to achieve them. That’s what made them brave in the first place. For now, you have to make some answers and live with uncertainty.

And while there is no guarantee of success, every target should have a recognizable path with a reasonable probability of getting you there. That path will define one or more initiatives and milestones that you can place on a timeline.

What structural and procedural changes would you make regarding this factor?

Some examples are adding two salespeople, or a new assistant. Maybe you’ll establish new reporting lines, eliminate paper memos, acquire a competitor, or have a monthly new business quota. Each structural and procedural change will create its own initiatives, which you will also create a timeline for.

Does it require initiative and new people? Do you need new job descriptions, or add managers? If you have to add people feed all the financial considerations back into your budget.

Together, all the factors, objectives, responsible parties, initiatives, structural changes, timelines, steps and milestones add up to a strategic plan for the year.

Can you live without paying attention to each of these factors?

Of course you can, but can you improve?

Yes — you can do that too. But it will be more difficult.

Let’s face it: some companies sell the same product year after year without change. Check out WD-40. They absolutely own the do-it-yourself lubricant niche — all they do is take orders and keep them on the shelves. But their growth rate of 4.6% this past year was negative. Apparently they neglected one or more critical factors.

So yes — you should consider every critical success factor — even if you can’t do anything about it you should think about it.

Increase sales but neglect service – what happens to customer satisfaction? It can go down, affecting return sales, your reputation in the market, and ultimately new sales.

Improving product quality but neglecting employee retention? What will happen to quality next year? It will probably go down. And then what happens to the sale?

As you can see, the development of each factor synergistically contributes to the survival and prosperity of your company.

Can you do everything at once?

Most businesses don’t have the resources for that, so something has to give — right…

Or you can make another achievement.

This time, make a success of the plan – one that commits you to some level of progress for each of the critical factors.

This planning task is not as big as you might think from reading above. Anyway, you might think that you can’t afford the time…

Look – any amateur can grow a business when the economy is booming, but it takes a purpose, inspiration, and attention to detail to increase income while the rest of the world is in a recession. Having a strategic plan — one that takes into account all the critical success factors — is a sure way to improve the odds in your favor.

(To learn more about these critical factors, pick up a copy of my book, Faster Than the Speed ​​of Change – on our business coaching website – it also makes a great holiday gift for to traders.)

–PL

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