Quick, write down your profit margin for December of 2014 or for the end of your Fiscal Year NOW.
Don’t know it? Why not? If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you get there?
Business requires (not recommends) a plan. We’re not just talking about profits here. You can say the same thing for other factors such as your inventory level, your headcount, your expenses, etc. Operating a business demands discipline to what you intend to achieve. Discipline trains your mind to believing in your goals. You wrote them down at the beginning of the year and now you train your mind to keep your eyes on the goal. Don’t brush them aside with a lame excuse of why it won’t happen or how you’ll make up for it in July. That won’t happen. When obstacles arise along the way, make immediate adjustments to compensate so you can still reach your goal.
Never, ever allow yourself to accept any excuses. This is serious. Excuses are the major obstruction to achieving goals or objectives. Your goals need to be clear, measurable markers of the most important things that keep your business alive, allow business growth and the staff to be compensated all the time. People have a natural tendency to find reasons (excuses) for why it isn’t getting done. These reasons become deficits to your company’s success. You originally set your sights on a margin or revenue level, and these reasons are eating away at it. Learn to identify excuses and not accept them. Here are some common excuses:
- The economy is tanking. So it is, there are always buyers out there (believers) that can be sold to. Companies that believe in what they do sell it that way. They succeed.
- Look at your expenses. Make adjustments, even if they are painful.
- Look at your payroll. Make adjustments, even if they are painful. If you think that cousin Mike can’t be laid off, THAT’S an excuse that’ll bite you in the shorts down the road.
- Get a better salesperson. If he or she isn’t getting it done because of this or that, find someone who can and will.
- It’s just a bad month. You cannot use that excuse two months in a row. Why is it a bad month? Who didn’t get it done?
- The weather… Yes it tends to get ugly now and then. What bad weather opportunities for revenues presented themselves?
- Our competitors surprised us with a huge sale. A. Why didn’t you know about it? And B. what huge sale will you have to get the business back?
These are but a litany of excuses that can be used on a regular basis. None of them are acceptable. You should not use them or accept them from your employees. What are the opportunities that present themselves with each “excuse”? Why do we accept it? Why do we settle? Remind your employees that excuses don’t work for you. Reasons for not getting it done are excuses. Excuses are crutches to make us feel better about our loss or failure. They do not get us to our goals, they diminish them until the goal disappears.
Learn to identify excuses from your employees. Learn to turn them around into getting them to think about what opportunities they can find or create from them. Even if you know of one, let them come up with it first so they can get in the habit of thinking that way. Beware of ever using an excuse with an employee afterwards. They may catch you on it.
January is a good time to make plans for the business’ success for the year. Let your consultant guide you through the goal development and monitoring process. The cost of the consultant will be lost in the success of your business for the year.
Leading Edge Business Strategies, LLC is a consulting firm for small business. Paul Beaudette is the President and has over 30 years of successful business experience managing companies to sustainable profits and leading employees to being productive and aspiring to growth.