2 Things Top CEOs Always Do When Creating Business Plans
I have talked many times about the importance of having a focus day. The act of setting aside a day (or two) once a week to work on your business’s top goal and taking steps to make it a reality is crucial to growing your business and gaining independence. We have seen first hand the difference that focusing on the fewer, better can make on a company’s bottom line and profits.
But for many of our new business coaching clients, the idea of coming up with their businesses top goal is easier said than done. And many struggle with figuring out what they should be focusing on over the long and short term.
What is Your Business’s Top Goal?
What is the one goal that you are mobilizing all your company’s resources to accomplish over the next three to five years? I want you to find a quiet place, and day dream with me for a second. Ask yourself, “What business am I committed to building over the next three to five years?”
And then approach your answer two ways: quantitatively and qualitatively.
Begin by choosing three to five of the most important quantitative ways to describe your future business. These are items that have hard numbers associated with them.
- What does your future business look like in terms of things you can measure and count?
- What are your annual sales?
- Your annual number of transactions?
- Your percent of market share?
- Your average sales per customer?
- Your gross profit margin?
- Your operating profit margin?
- Your retention rate of clients?
- Your sales per employee?
What does your business look like in other ways that you can’t easily measure or count, but still matter greatly? Again, pick three to five of the most important qualitative ways to describe your future business.
- Who are your key customers?
- What is your brand?
- What is your market reputation?
- Who do you have on your team helping lead the business?
- Which markets do you serve?
- What key products or services do you offer?
- What impact do you have on the lives of your customers?
- What is your future role as the business leader?
After you’ve combined both the top quantitative and qualitative descriptions of your future business into one single target, whittle away at this picture until you are left with a tight, clear statement that can guide your company’s focus over the next several years.
Here’s an example of what your top goal might look like:
By December 31st, 2025, we’ve built Growth, Inc. into a thriving business with $34 million in annual sales and a 20 percent operating profit margin. We have deeply penetrated four distinct verticals, with no single vertical or customer representing over 30 percent of our business. We continue to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 15 percent or higher.
Of course, your top goal depends on your industry, business model, and your goals. The key is that you want to end up with a concentrated statement that describes the one target all of your team is focusing on helping the business reach.