- THE MAGAZINE
One of the difficult things about running a service company is staying focused on your business plan and not allowing the multitude of distractions that arise every day to keep you from your goal.
The key to any successful business plan is to first have a solid goal. From that goal you can develop a plan of action to reach the desired result. However, as soon as you set the plan in motion, life starts throwing you curve balls in the form of distractions, little challenges, and roadblocks in the path toward your goal. When you’re surrounded by these distractions, your energy goes into “putting out the brush fires” and it’s easy to lose your focus on the original goal. One fellow described it to me by saying, “when you’re up to your tail in alligators, it’s hard to remember that your original goal was to drain the swamp.” This leads to what business consultants refer to as “crisis management” and soon the business is running you instead of you running the business.
The first rule in keeping your focus is to make sure your goal is crystal clear. Write out your goal(s) in as much detail as you can. This helps you to visualize exactly where you want to go. Quantify the goal(s)—put a measurable number on it—for one year, and then post that number where you will see it several times each day. Divide the number by either 12 (to get a monthly total), or 52 (to get a weekly goal) and post that number near the original number. This allows you to track your progress toward your goal.
Decide on rewards that you will “earn” by reaching your goals—small rewards for weekly goals and larger rewards for meeting monthly and yearly goals. Identify pictures that represent those rewards such as a picture of the beach for a reward of a vacation to Hawaii. Post the pictures where you will see them every day.
When challenges come up, ask yourself if it meets one of the only two criteria that warrant any of your attention: Does it contribute toward the goal?, and does it eliminate or reduce any obstacles that might stand in the way of achieving the goals?
If the challenge is financial, the questions change slightly to “Does it bring in money or reduce expenses?” If the challenge does not pass these questions, don’t waste time on it—it’s not worth your attention.
This technique places everything in terms of the business goals and keeps your focus on the goal. It also allows you to put into perspective the true nature of the challenge or distraction. It may seem absolutely imperative that you deal with that alligator. However, if you think about it, there would be no alligators in a drained swamp. Keep your focus and meet your goals and the rest will fall into place.