As we approach the end of another year and the start of 2017, many people are taking time to think about what they want to accomplish in the coming year, setting goals with a plan to achieve them.
What’s often missing in this process of setting goals is a sane, fact-based assessment – “what is”- of where we are today. Sometimes this step is skipped as “what is” isn’t pretty. But how can we get to where we want to go without having a clear understanding of where we are starting from?
The analogy I like to use is that of a GPS. Most of us have used a GPS when travelling. What’s the first thing the GPS does when activated? It locates exactly where you are. It then prompts you to enter in your desired destination. Lastly, it maps out the route to get there. Sounds a lot like goal setting.
Locating exactly where we are in our business requires us to leave emotion out and apply critical thinking. This is our annual business check-up. Like when visiting the doctor, it helps to have outside eyes verify your findings. Your business check-up is feedback on how you’re doing and is used to make course corrections where needed. If “what is” isn’t so pretty, please do not use it to beat yourself up. Use it to motivate yourself to make the necessary adjustments to get where you want to go.
Determining “what is” should be fact-based, leaving out judgments and opinions. It typically includes, not limited to, revenue, profits, personal income, expenses, and gross margins compared to the previous year and against your plan for 2016. Is your business growing? Flat? Declining? What story are the facts telling you? What’s working? What’s not working? What changes need to be made?
Have you scheduled your annual check-up? What facts do you look at? What are the facts telling you?