As we come into the last quarter of 2007, you should be evaluating your actual business performance this year vs. your plan.
Uh-oh… did you even have a plan? I don’t mean the, “Hey, I want to make more than I made last year,” plan. That’s not a plan; that’s a desire.
We all desire success. The problem is we often confuse the desire for success with a plan for achieving that success, thereby causing us to be unsuccessful simply because we didn’t create a concrete plan of action to help us get where we wanted to go.
If you don’t have a business plan and a defined budget for 2007 yet, that’s OK – start one now for the rest of the year. Remember this: the only thing worse than not having a plan is continuing not to have a plan, and defeating yourself just because you haven’t done all the right things this year to date.
You can begin a plan at any time. That’s the beauty of planning – that’s also the curse of planning. Human nature is such that we often procrastinate, then use excuses to procrastinate more, then use the excuse that we’ve procrastinated too long (so why even bother?) – and then we give up. It’s a vicious cycle!
It’s time to stop the cycle of procrastination and demotivation. Begin now. Add up all your income, what sources it came from, all your expenses including any commissions, fees and expenses (don’t forget to include taxes and savings) and take a financial “snapshot” of your income.
- Did you make as much as you wanted to?
- Did you keep a substantial portion, or were your expenses out of control? How can you better control them next year?
- Was your income relatively steady, or did it fluctuate widely? How can you even it out a little more next year (BIG HINT: by doing more consistent marketing, prospecting and lead follow-up)
- What was the biggest source of your income: your past clients and customers? High impact sources of new business? How can you capitalize on that and get more business from these sources?
Evaluate your efforts in the different types of prospecting programs you employ, and learn where you are strongest, or where you may need a little more practice.
By making a plan of where you want to be financially and personally in 2008, before the year begins, you will be able to track your progress and adjust your efforts as the year progresses, rather than waiting until it’s almost over and discovering then that you have no time to recover and salvage the year.
Good business planning takes some effort, but it’s well worth it. Evaluate the above areas and determine how much of your business you want to derive from each source of business. Then determine where your future leads will likely come from by analyzing where most of your sales came from this year, and capitalize on the strengths you exhibited in getting those sales. Remember, if something works, do more of it! And if something is not working, either let it go or get better at it and get it working for you. You must monitor your success against your plan weekly or monthly, so you don’t let it get ahead of you.
Try making a plan for the next three months, determine how you will carry it out, stick to it, and monitor it periodically. See if you can get two new sales a month for the next three months (or two more sales than you’ve ever gotten before). You must commit to these goals if you really want to achieve them. Not only may this help you wind up the year 2007 with a bang, but it will prepare you for what you must do with regard to a 2008 plan.
Create a plan, follow it and make whatever mistakes you’re going to make for the next three months this year, so you can plan for a VERY successful 2008!
Sandy has been a national speaker, trainer and coach since the year 2000, speaking to organizations and individuals across the U.S. to help them achieve breakthrough performance in sales, customer service and personal and professional productivity through effective risk-taking.
She is a member of the National Speakers Association, is a former Dean of the Speakers’ Academy for the Central Florida Chapter of NSA and now serves on the Board of Directors for that Chapter. For more information, visit Sandy’s website at http://www.sandygeroux.com