It is "that" time of the year here in the Heartland of the United States, that time where tractors are being fired up and planters are being filled as they are readied to enter the fields to plant seeds. This doesn't just "happen," this is a task that is born out of a plan that begins with deciding what harvest the farmers want to have at the end of the season. The same should be true of all business owners; they should begin by asking the question, "What harvest do I expect this season?"
By beginning with the end in mind, it helps the farmer decide what preparations need to be made, what seeds need to be acquired, and what needs to happen throughout the growing season to cultivate the planned harvest. It is not as simple as only choosing what seed to plant, tossing it into the field and waiting - that is a great strategy to feed birds but not to harvest a bumper crop. The same is true for your business - what do you expect your harvest to be at the end of your season? What do you need to do to plan for the expected harvest? What seed needs to be planted? What needs to be done throughout the season to cultivate your crop? These are all questions that need to be addressed to help ensure that you harvest what you expected.
This week we will briefly explore the foundational question, "What harvest do you expect?"
Step 1: The first thing to consider is the timeframe of your 'growing season.' Is this going to be a short season, like a sales campaign or a longer season, like your annual goal? Defining the length of season is not just important for this 'growing season,' it is also necessary to be able to plan for each 'growing season' to follow.
Step 2: Once you have decided what your "growing season" is going to be, you then need to define the harvest you expect to reap in your season. Is your harvest a set sales amount, a defined margin, a hiring campaign, or another harvest your business needs? Farmers don't plant random seed and take whatever may come as a result. They start right here with what they expect to harvest. So should you.
Once you have defined the expected harvest, you will be able to move on to planning, planting, and cultivating your expected harvest.
So, decide what it is you want to harvest. It may be as simple as something like this: Over the next (enter time frame here) I expect to harvest (enter your goal here - number of sales, amount of revenue, new position(s) hired, another location opened, etc.).
In the next few weeks we will look at the planning, planting, and cultivating needed to bring in the bumper harvest you expect.