Friday, June 26, 2009

Is your business a donkey on the edge?

Harsh title I know but we are close to end of financial year and the question I want to put out to my peers and colleagues is how many of you have made the investment in developing, changing and reviewing your strategic business plan for the next 12 months. In fact many businesses I know don’t even have a business plan. If you haven’t made this investment then indeed your business is a donkey on the edge!

A colleague of mine makes a point of changing and reviewing his business plan every 90 days. Now potentially he drives everyone around him nuts however I do know that he runs an extremely successful business that has had growth despite the GFC.

Here is a concept for you; why not challenge yourself and your people to start with a clean slate every year? Take the learning from previous years and apply them to this year’s strategy then apply changes across the board from the vision of your business right down to the actions or implementation plans.

What you will find that overall your vision, mission, and values actually won’t change that much however you would have “refreshed” them. However you will find the gaps your business has had that have the potential to hold you back.

So where do I start I hear you ask? Well the best and most powerful way to conduct a strategic planning day is to get key members of your team together, bring in an outside facilitator, look at the data and ask the tough questions.

• What is our current reality in terms of our market share, overall growth,
profitability, competitors, branding, employee engagement, culture, systems,
process and what do our clients think of us?
• How did we get here? What have been our success factors, what has held us
back and what were the results of the actions from our last SWOT analysis.
• What are our future goals? Projects we want to implement over the next 12
months, the impact this will have on our budget/bottom line, what will be
the return on investment over what time frame?
• Have you mapped out our yellow brick road – how do we intend to achieve our
goals? What forces are in play e.g. market that will hinder us, do we have
the capability to overcome them, what do we believe will be our key success
factors and have we mapped all of this back to our budget.
• Assessing your success? What measurements can put in place to ensure that we
meet our goals within set time frames and at the success rate we
anticipated. Find a business that you want to become, what do they do well
and then do it better... we call it R & D i.e. rip off and duplicate.

Once you have clarity on the above you can then focus on what you need to invest in today to get there.

People

Without the right people the above is a fairly useless exercise as you are bound to fail. Take a look around your office do you have the right people in the right roles with the right skills sets and an overall right mix of people. They can’t all be like you! It is so important that you have people on your team who will challenge you...do not surround yourself with yes people.

Successful businesses today are agile, flexible and change driven therefore the people who choose to work for you must display the same characteristics.

Doing things the same way every year and expecting a different result is insanity so is doing the same as everyone else. We don’t need to change how we do real estate we just need to do it better.

Whether you play AFL or Rugby to win the game you don’t need to change the rules you just need to play a better, smarter, more tactical game with players who are committed, focused, passionate, play as a team, understand what the end game is and are trained and skilled to an inch of their life!

My tips for businesses today is
1. Look beyond real estate for ideas and apply these back to your business
2. The saying if it ain't broke don’t fix it... let me ask you what if you have
become so complacent that you don’t know if it’s broke. I always tell the
teams I train make sure you are sitting on a chair that is prickly and
uncomfortable
3. “We have always done things this way” damn that I say... if everyone is
doing the same thing or if it is what we have always done then the chances
are every other agent is doing the same thing and we are probably all doing
it in a mediocre way.
4. Don’t forget we make our own rules in business.

I am constantly being accused of cheating at games like Pictionary and Monopoly against my kids. However I say I am changing the rules to make the game better and more interesting and of course the end aim is to win. But it keeps my opponents on their toes, they watch me like a hawk to see what I will get up to next and they all want to take me on... does this not make me the market leader!

All the best for the new financial year and may the GFC not have an impact on your business.