From Planning to Profit Revisited

By David W. Favor

When we first started business mentoring (consulting) we were focused on law firms. Well, we still are, but our next business book will update our methods and we will include all small businesses. We are changing the language to what my partner calls every-day talk. She always tells me not to use those big technical terms. Our first book was full of business process and best business practices. The new book will have Chery’s interpretation in each chapter.

When I was re-writing, I looked at the ever popular 12 steps. It seemed that everyone had a 12 step process. When I got done with my edit my 12 steps became 8, and after reading it, my 8 became 5. So here are the 5 steps in chapter one of the re-write (sorry wait for the book for the full story).

  1. Identify your company’s critical factors. Most businesses have three to five key factors that are critical to the success of the company. Once you have identified what is key, you can focus your efforts on your strategic plan. To identify your key factors, focus on the areas that have the greatest impact on revenue, expense and time spent. Often, there is a relationship between some specific factor and the revenue generated. In a law or consulting firm, billable time, case turnaround, client satisfaction, or firm reputation come to mind.
  2. Define how your business is distinctive. Why are you different from everyone else? Your strategic plan should be built to take advantage of what sets your company apart so you can focus your resources on this area. You need to build your company’s uniqueness into your culture, marketing materials, and policies.
  3. Establish solid goals for the future. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day grind and forget the overall goals of your company. With your critical factors and unique selling position defined, you can set specific and measurable goals in your strategic plan.
  4. Develop a process to achieve your goals. To execute your strategic plan, you need a documented process. To be effective, your plan should integrate your company’s culture, values and goals. It must be embraced by all of your employees and used daily in decision-making and operations.
  5. Monitor your results and refine the plan. Too many strategic plans end up on a shelf gathering dust after they are completed. The ideas are brilliant, but the implementation is poor. Develop a process for monitoring the results to see what is going well and what is not. Once you have enough information, begin refining the process. By using a consistent refinement process, your company performance will improve with time.

Where does this leave you. You need to be planning now. Create a time and a place to make this work for you. Our experience says those that profit the most have the best plans.

About the Authors

Owls were considered creatures of wisdom and Dave Favor and Cheryl Leone are no exception as they write as The Wise Owls. With almost a century of experience together in business and life mentoring, Dave and Cheryl bring a new thought process to owning a business and owning your life. Together they live in Raleigh, North Carolina, and through their parent company own Catalyst Group, Inc., home of Wise Business Leader. Watch for the newest book Gone for The Gold: Self-evident truths for living and working coming soon. Questions? Email the Wise Business Leader (a.k.a. Dave Favor).

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