If I were to ask you “where do you want to be at the end of next year, in three years or five,” what would you say? Selling a million, maybe two? Increasing your profits by 15%? Ten new clients? Spending more time with your family? Going on that long wanted European vacation? Whatever your goal, you must have a plan, work the plan, and measure the plan in order to stay on course and see your goal to fruition.
I have often mentioned how important it is to have a marketing plan in order to achieve your goals. I want to expand on that. I have interviewed multiple distributor companies and have surveyed many more and what was interesting is that only three percent of the folks surveyed actually had a “written” marketing plan. So that begs the question; how do you go from where you are to where you want to be unless you have a strategic plan to follow? And in addition, are you reviewing that plan and making adjustments? A recent survey of several of my clients revealed that more than 95% have not.
Breaking It Down
There are three key steps to ensure your personal gratification and success as you move forward. You must understand that these steps work not only in your professional life but your personal life as well. When you can see this need and create that balance for yourself, and most importantly, hold yourself accountable, then you cannot help but be successful.
I am a firm believer that when it comes to life priorities, I come first, my wife, children and friends come second and my job comes last. That may seem a bit self-centered but let me explain. When I am at my best, whole and on my game, then everyone below the pyramid benefits: when I’m off my game and not sound, my family and friends and my business suffer. So I set goals for my health, both physical and fiscal, so I can deliver on time every day, week and year.
Last year I set a plan in place to be totally out of debt by a certain date and I met that goal. In the past I tried with no plan and NEVER succeeded, but with a plan it was manageable and it worked. For business I have set similar goals and they too have come to fruition; but only with a plan.
Take time to create a sound plan and have goals, specific goals in place. Create timelines and milestones in order to reach those goals. I would encourage you to consider the following business goals:
- Determine where you want to be at the end of this year and then again at the end of next year and then three years and then five
- Increase your sales 10% every year ~ minimum
- Increase your profit margins by 5% every year until you hit 60% GP
- Develop a profile on your ideal client
- Dump the dead wood from your client base
- Replace those clients with solid clients that are profitable
- Develop four to five solid vertical markets
- Review your brand, what you look like to your clients. Review all aspects of your business: social media, web presence, collateral and marketing
- Build measurement in ALL OF YOUR MARKETING in order to gauge success
Review and Measure Often
If you develop a sound plan and then never review it, you might as well have not done it in the first place. My suggestion is once your plan is completed do the following:
- Review your plan monthly for the first six months
- The balance of the first twelve months, review quarterly
Adjust to Stay on Course
Just like being on a trip if a bridge is out or the road is blocked you need to adjust. The same holds true for your plan; by reviewing and measuring the success of your plan you can make the needed adjustments to keep yourself on track.
Many folks I have worked with say a coach has helped them stay on track. The biggest challenge is keeping yourself accountable; this is the hardest of all things to do. It’s easy to make excuses and give yourself reasons for why things aren’t getting done….it IS the number one reason why people fail.
The easy thing is saying “I’m going to do it.” The hard part is following through. This I promise you, whatever you do, if you create a plan that can be measured, then implement that plan, and review and adjust where needed; you WILL achieve your goals. Now is the time to plot your course!
As always, continued good selling
Cliff Quicksell, MAS+
Cliff Quicksell & Associates