Do you know where your small business is going next year?
The best way to find this answer is to ask your business’s owner. But do you know the right questions to ask yourself in order to increase your ability to accomplish next year’s business goals?
To help you get started, here are five questions proposed by John Dini, one of the top management experts I know. Following John’s questions, I’ve added my thoughts to give you a little jump-start.
Question One: How much sales revenue do we want to achieve next year?
If you want to grow, it all starts with driving the top line on the profit and loss statement (P&L). How does your prior sales performance, organizational capability and ability to grow customer relationships support your new sales projections?
Question Two: What gross profit goal do we need to achieve to accomplish our operating goals?
Gross profit is sales revenue minus cost of goods sold (COGS), and it’s what covers operating expenses on the way to net profit. Be sure to align this goal with your new sales projection, because increasing revenue at the expense of gross profit is a fool’s errand.
Question Three: What are the most important things we can do to achieve this performance?
Better marketing? More advertising? Better sales training? Staff changes? New products? Better online capability? Expand market penetration? Start with the one that looks the most like low-hanging fruit and proceed from there.
Question Four: How should my own role in the company change in the coming year?
Each year, every business owner should fire themselves from jobs they no longer have to do and promote themselves to new jobs only they can do. Delegation and professional growth is the key to management success and ultimately, business performance.
Question Five: What is the most desirable personal goal I would like to make for myself?
If a genie gave you one wish to make your personal life more fulfilling, what would it be? More family? More golf? More bridge? More fishing? More whatever-the-heck-I-want-to-do-whenever-I-want-to-do-it? You’ll be a better manager with healthy outside interests.
Of course, these aren’t the only questions – just good ones to start with. Our job – John Dini and me – is to help you climb out of the trenches long enough to ask the owner of your business where it’s going.
Write this on a rock…Ask yourself these, and any other questions you think of. Then write down the answers and make it happen.
Jim Blasingame is one of the world's leading experts on small business and entrepreneurship. He is the creator and award-winning host of the nationally syndicated radio program, The Small Business Advocate® Show. In addition to his weekly columns, Jim is the author of two books; Small Business is like a Bunch of Bananas and Three Minutes to Success.