A Leap Year is upon us! It makes sense that with an extra day to leverage, we as business owners should embrace the possibilities and opportunities with gusto and focused intention to make that extra day and every day count. The fact that it is also an election year shouldn’t cause you to pause or be nervous. Something realized by disruptive-thinking entrepreneurial businesses back in 2008, before the Great Recession wreaked havoc on the economy, is that it really doesn’t matter which party is in office or who is leading the country. Those take-control businesses thrived during the economic slowdown, and were better prepared for the next shake-up with the disruption of COVID.
Savvy entrepreneurial businesses know that what matters most is demonstrated by the choices and decisions that are made on a daily basis in business to be one step ahead of any challenge or opportunity.
Momentum-Building Decision #4
To be a step ahead, you must think a step ahead.
To make 2024 a year that proves my point, consider these five areas of focus when it comes to your business – your profitability, spending, everyone’s time, your goals and your actions.
1. Align What’s Profitable: If you are only looking at your profit margins on your offerings alone, or your overall P&L report, you may be missing many marks when it comes to driving and growing sales and profitability in your business. ProfitSizing® is a process of analyzing not just your offerings, but also taking a deeper dive into confirming what are your most profitable and ideal target market segments coupled with identifying geographic pockets of opportunity for strategic prioritization, focus and greater return on investment.
In this Forbes article, I share more details about the process and its impact with examples of outcomes as a result.
Bottom Line Rules #1, #2 #3
It’s not about sales; it’s about profits.
It’s not about appeal; it’s about preference.
It’s not about footprint; it’s about foothold.
2. Allocate Spending Wisely: Something proven by businesses that survived and even thrived during COVID is strategic disbursement of spending and a prudent allocation of profits that afforded them the ability to pivot and take next-level action while other businesses were struggling to adapt or even keep afloat. Your spending should be balanced between sharing, capacity building and value building in your business.
Sharing is everything from great benefits, incentives and pay for employees to giving back to industry, community and marketplace in ways that build preference and reputation. Building capacity should always be looking at what’s next to keep your company ahead of the curve versus just keeping up. Value building initiatives should be spending associated with initiatives that will add value to clients or to the company market value. Key when it comes to spending is also to understand what makes your business have a high Profitability Quotient based on our Economic Vitality® Model.
In addition to sharing, capacity building and value building being an ongoing focus, a bucket of profits should also be building a cash reserve equivalent to at least 12 months of operational overhead.
Bottom Line Rules #5 & #6
Allocate profits four ways at all times.
Allocate spending three ways at all times.
3. Value Everyone’s Time: How much do you value everyone’s time in your company, really? Do you put more worth on your own time over others? Do you believe that certain roles within your company are just the cost of doing business? Did you know there are five focus areas of time in every business? The top reasons cited in interviews of candidates looking for new positions as to why they are leaving are either not feeling valued and appreciated or not feeling challenged enough in their work.
When you value everyone’s time, time management becomes an income and profit-generating success factor within the business. You see better delegation, better alignment of strengths with skills and responsibilities, and everyone appreciating one another for their contributions. Appreciating time being spent to help sustain and support your company operations, promote, and deliver its offerings, or build future value, all when recognized, helps your team members feel valued for their time spent and money earned.
Most important, if you challenge your team to leverage their skills and talents, then you have impassioned team members building your business right along with you. In this Income-Based Time Management® At-A-Glance Checklist, you can begin to see where everyone is contributing to helping your company operate.
Momentum-Building Decision #2
When you value everyone’s time,
your people become more valuable.
4. Set Goals Within Goals: In our SMARTer Goal GettingSM approach featured in Forbes.com, the first key success factor to goals actually being achieved is to have goals within goals. The more you can drill down to key milestones of success, the more likely everyone will see the overriding goal achievable, especially if it feels like a bodacious goal. The value in this approach is you and your team have the ability to focus on shorter-term wins that create incentive to stay focused on the end game as you check off one mini-goal and then the next.
These mini goals should also engage the entire team in order for everyone to provide input and take ownership in their roles and responsibilities. It is also important to think about what will make the goals meaningful and rewarding to each team member so that they believe it is time well spent.
Momentum Building Decision #26
Setting a series of goals to achieve
an overriding goal ensures success.
5. Take Momentum-Building Action: If your approach is more like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what will stick, chances are you are not seeing any momentum in your business. It is more like a roller coaster ride of feast or famine, highs and lows, sales spurts and sales valleys. Momentum building decisions occur through having a vision, mission and strategy in place that helps drive focus and priorities. The goal-getting approach mentioned above works in unison with a clear strategy to inspire action within each person’s areas of responsibility.
Continuous assessment of what has worked and what hasn't helps the company build upon success and opportunities. A clear strategy and focus also clarifies priorities and opportunities for everyone on your team. When people are inspired to take action, your company truly can realize next-level growth.
Bottom Line Rule #14
Strategy brings clarity.
Clarity brings results.
As you embark on the year ahead, your business’ growth depends on how effectively you manage profitability, spending, and expectations, and how intentionally you focus on your people along with your business.
Yours in economic vitality,
P.S. For added insight into intentionally focusing on your people, read this Expert Panel article I was featured in entitled "12 Human-Centric Ways for Leaders to Promote High Performance" on forbes.com for higher performance and better results.