Benchmark Business Group

Your Own Design

January 5, 2016

Here we go again. It is January and another new year. Time for those well-intentioned New Year's Resolutions most of us never seem to be able to keep. Do we lack so much discipline, or could it be our resolutions are just a wee bit unrealistic in the first place? Are we trying to bite off more than we can chew, or have we just now come to expect failure and disappointment when it comes to our "resolutions"?
Let's examine this a little differently; maybe that will help. For this article and the remainder of the month of January, we will talk about Goal Setting. As always, if we are going to find a different set of solutions and end up with a different result than we usually do, we need to engage in a different way of thinking. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, you must often give up what you are in order to become what you will be. So we need to ask a few simple, but powerful, questions.
The first of those, and the subject of today's article, is: "Just because you can do something, should you really do it?" This is a personal question as well as a question for your business. How you spend your time is (yes, it's true) a matter of choice, a matter of your own design. Likewise, the things your business does or doesn't do is a matter of design. Choosing what your business will do this year, what products and services it will offer, what processes it will perfect, what relationships it will form or enhance, what sales goals it will achieve, and so on, is a matter of design. Designing a business, and setting goals, is a highly intentional and thoughtful activity. Here is a starting point:
  • Consider what you and your business should not be spending time and resources doing.
    Does your business spend time and resources doing things that are not producing the results you want? Are there things it should stop doing in favor of more productive activity? Are you personally doing things that should be done by someone else, or not at all?
  • Give some thought to how you would optimize the use of yours and your staff's time, your business' financial and physical resources, and the opportunities that present themselves in your marketplace.
    Do a simple SWOT analysis on your business. Give some honest consideration to your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Are you maximizing the use of your staff's talent, skills and time? Are there staffing gaps that need to be filled by other talent and skill-sets? Are there opportunities for growth or other enhancements you are not pursuing, and should be? Are you spending your financial resources in the right places and getting the most "bang for your buck"?
  • Design an optimal end-game scenario or story for December 31, 2016.  Have fun with this. Make it realistic, but make it a stretch. Remember what Wayne Gretzky said: "You miss 100% of the shots you never take." Speaking of Gretzky, he also said: "A good hockey player plays where the puck is; a great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be." Take a shot.
Next week we will pick up this conversation with the "end-game" scenario, and talk about how to think differently about designing the road-map to get there from here. As your experience probably tells you, deciding where you want to be is easier that getting there. What we hope you discover is that the more time and thought given to the effective use of your resources-time, money, people, assets-the easier it is to design the pathway to a successful result. See you next week.

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