It may seem counterintuitive, but to give yourself a better chance of achieving your goals, start with the desired result and work backward. Think about it; when you’re traveling somewhere new, you put the address into your navigation and what does it do? It marks where you are now against where you want to go and plots the most efficient set of turn-by-turn directions for you to follow. While this approach seems logical in the context of getting directions, the fact is many entrepreneurs set a goal but don’t really map out the course based on the result. This may sound like a small nuance, but the truth is that how you approach strategic planning makes all the difference in your business’ success.
Setting big goals is wonderful, but without strategy and execution, your chances of achieving them are left much more to chance and luck. So, here are a few ways you can put the power of working backward to work for you so you can make big leaps forward.
Know Your Numbers
If you set a big revenue number as a goal, (spoiler alert, most entrepreneurs do!), break it down into more manageable chunks and review your internal numbers to understand the following:
- How much is your average client worth?
- How many new prospects do you get in front of every month?
- How many new clients do you close every month from those prospects?
This will help uncover other areas that may need to be addressed, such as your marketing efforts and sales infrastructure. By knowing the metrics above, you can start to formulate how many monthly new prospects it would take at the top of your funnel to reach the needed monthly revenue to achieve your goals. Breaking down a big goal into bite-size pieces brings the finish line into focus and helps you identify other areas you’ll want to focus on, like the marketing and operational infrastructure you’ll need to scale.
Can You Handle It?
Is your current organization capable of handling the increase in new business this activity will generate? Growing aggressively will undoubtedly mean that you’ll need to plan for more operational support. Think about your current operations and what you would need if your business were to double or triple in size. Scaling your business can be a lot trickier than it sounds, but it also presents a great opportunity to create internal efficiencies that can benefit your clients and your bottom line.
Start by having a solid grasp on everyone’s roles with clearly defined responsibilities. Then, measure each employee and department’s bandwidth. At our company, we utilize our TMPC exercise, (Time Management Pie Chart), where each employee keeps track of their activity over a two-week period. This exercise provides valuable insights that we may have been unaware of such as internal duplication of tasks across multiple employees. Inefficiencies not only chip away at productivity but can also diminish employee morale.
Nothing is more important than your organization’s culture, so an exercise like our TMPC has the added benefit of helping us uncover parts of an employee’s job they enjoy the most and discuss those they find the least satisfaction from. It doesn’t matter what process you use to uncover where your organization’s bandwidth is going as long as you figure it out. This will help you retain your talent and define what roles need to be filled and when as your business grows.
Finally, don’t forget about your physical office space. With all of the growth, you’re planning for you might need to consider a larger office to accommodate your enhanced team and accommodate visiting clients.
Make Your List
Have you prepared an organizational asset list? If not, here’s why this simple task is a key factor to helping you achieve your goals. Your asset list comprises everything you have that helps you run your business. You may be thinking about items like office furniture, computers, etc., but the truth is much of it may be focused on software. Here are some items to think about including in your asset list:
Figuring out the integration of your tech stack is a key piece of the puzzle to implementing your growth plan. Starting with the wrong tech platform will cost you more in the long run and could contribute to frustrated employees and increased turnover.
Bringing It All Together
Hopefully, by discussing what variables make a difference in growing your business, you can see how starting with the end in mind will help you more effectively reach your goals. Believe it or not, you already have many of the answers needed to reach your goals, it just makes it easier to achieve them if you take the time to reverse-engineer your current business.
The rest is up to you, and with some good strategy, focus, and execution you’ll be setting and reaching an even bigger goal before you know it.
Greg Dinetz is the co-founder of Lone Beacon