Taking Your Business To The Next Level

April 25, 2010 at 5:14 pm Leave a comment

See full size imageOne of the key challenges to staying ahead of the competition is strategic planning.   Simply put, anyone can start a business but not everyone can make their business succeed.   Persistence, dedication and perseverance are what separate the successful from those who struggle, or in the worst case fail.  

Making your business succeed and taking it to the next level is about planning and detail.   I am currently involved with a small group in a start up operation.   While just in our infancy, we have a vision which is to bring revolutionary processes and technology to the insurance industry that will make our customers more efficient, more accurate and most importantly, more competitive in the marketplace.  This is not only good for the industry, but it is good for their client’s as these new found internal enhancements are sure to translate to lower premiums for customers.  

Two of the greatest stories of persistence, dedication and perseverance are undoubtedly Wal-Mart and Southwest Airlines; giants of their respective industries who started out with nothing more than an idea.   Their leaders took their ideas and dedicated their lives to transforming the way we shop and the way we fly.  A generation ago there were many who doubted whether either company would succeed in the long run; today all doubts have been erased. 

The first step that anyone venturing into uncharted waters should consider is the acronym SMART.   Is your venture: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timebound? 

Any person looking to take their idea to the next level should have a specific understanding of not only what this idea is but what it will take to accomplish it.   The best way to do this is with a business plan, samples of which can be found in the free resources available at www.christidball.com.

As you bring this idea to fruition and shoot for the next level, will your results be measurable?  It’s easy to hang a shingle and produce widgets, but you will not have long term success if you cannot measure the fruits of your labor.  Implementing key metrics and constantly raising the bar will ensure both longevity and success.

When considering these metrics, they should be attainable and realistic.   If you run a six minute mile, setting a goal of running a five minute mile is probably attainable, but if the goal is to be achieved next week it is likely not realistic; hence the need to make it time bound.  Understand where you are today by benchmarking current results.   If you are a true start up, then set short term goals and do benchmarking every 60-90 days.   As you grow, make your goals bigger and bolder.   Neither Wal-Mart nor Southwest shortchanged what they thought they could do; even in the face of incredible skepticism. 

To move your venture to the next level, you not only have to be a step ahead but have a keen understanding of both your customers and changes in the marketplace.  The only constant in our world is change, and it is by strategizing and anticipating change you can reap huge rewards. 

In several blogs we have discussed areas of great opportunity, in particular with regard to providing outsourcing solutions.   This discussion began with the anticipation that Congress would pass healthcare reform and the associated costs onto employers who now have to make decisions.   By strategizing and developing outsourcing solutions, we were able to provide existing employers with the ability to reduce their internal workforce while improving bottom line results and avoiding many of the costs being mandated from Washington.  

This is just one example of helping client’s to stay ahead of the game, which is precisely what your venture should do in the quest to move to the next level.   As Abraham Maslow said, “You will either step forward into growth or step back into safety.”

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Chris Tidball is the author of Kicked to the Curb and provides businesses with bottom line business solutions to improve profitability, often with no new money out of pocket.  He can be reached at chris@christidball.com

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Chris Tidball is a claims and revenue management consultant and author of the "20 Essential Rules" series of self and organizational improvement books. You can ask him a question at chris@christidball.com

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