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Three-Legged Stool of Business Success

Jul 8, 2019

Finances (Money) – Operations (Time) – Staffing (People)

Are you a small business entrepreneur, owner, operator? Yes? Have you been paying attention to the Three-Legged Stool? Time-People-Money. Trust us, if you don’t, then the stool will not be able to support itself; try adding anymore to your business, and it will surely fall.

Don’t strategize on a whim or over a 5-minute meeting. Taking the time to create a strategy and a couple of action goals for each area will pay off in the long run, and surprisingly, give you more time and energy to enjoy your business and success. Yes, you do have to pay attention to the details of what you are doing with your current business, rather than come up with in-the-moment new ideas for someone else to deal with or start looking for your next business adventure!

Being a brainstorming entrepreneur is fun; putting intention behind your current business sees the great payoff!

Let’s break this down.

First, set high level financial goals, no more than 1 -3. That might be a new gross revenue number, increased profit margins on specific products or services you are considering launching. It could be as simple as reviewing and setting pricing for the upcoming year.

Then decide, what 1 – 3 operational goals are needed, such as workflow, marketing and sales systems, standard operating procedures, technology, to support and realize your financial goals.

Next, look at who, what, when, where and why for your staffing needs in order to support and obtain the financial and operational goals. Set 1 -3 high level goals for the staffing leg of the stool.  WOW! You did it!!!

You aren’t done yet.

Now that you have your high-level goals, what 2 – 3 specific and measurable actions are you going to take in the next 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks to get to your financial, operational and staffing legs solidly under your business?

Write the action down, if you don’t, you will have a harder time holding yourself and others accountable. Use the SMART Goals system if you don’t have something you are using effectively in place.

  • Specific: Exactly what is it you want to achieve? Good goal statements explain what, why, who, where and when. If your goal statement is vague, you will find it hard to achieve because it will be hard to define success.
  • Measurable: You must be able to track progress and measure the result of your goal. Good goal statements answer the question: how much or how many. How will I know when I achieve my goal?
  • Agreed: Your goal must be relevant to and agreed with all parties; examples include your line manager, employees and customers.
  • Realistic: The goal should be stretching, but realistic and relevant to you and your company. Ensure the actions you need to take to achieve your goal are things you can do and control. Is this goal achievable?
  • Timely: Goals must have a deadline. A good goal statement will answer the question: When will I achieve my goal? Without deadlines, it’s easy to put goals off and leave them to die. As well as a deadline, it’s a good idea to set some short-term milestones along the way to help you measure progress.

Now that you have the goals and action plans, do not put them in the pile on your desk or in your bottom drawer! It is time for the self-disciplined part of being a business owner. We know you would rather be out playing golf, tennis, fishing, laying by the pool, or anything but reading and analyzing business data, but put on your kick a$$ business hat a little longer.

You can do it!

Use a dashboard or a scoreboard, or whatever makes sense to you and your business to keep on track with your finance, operation, and staffing goals and actions. Report out on these at least weekly if not more often. Try not to get overwhelmed by all the analytics possible (unless you love ‘geeking’ out on data like we do). To keep it simple, pick out the 3 things you really need to know in each area in order to know if you are moving in the right direction. Ask yourself, is it working?

Use your considerable delegation skills, and if you are not good at this, set that as an individual goal for yourself. Include the people in your company that have solid knowledge in each of the three-legged stool areas to help you set goals and create the supporting action plans, as well as how to measure success. You are not the Lone Ranger, and you do have an amazing team available to you, and if you don’t, make that one of your top 3 goals. They might conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis, for instance to help you get to the SMART goals and actions for the success of your company. A definite win-win!

Happy Goal Setting and have a good time taking positive, intentional and effective action!

Still overwhelmed and wondering where to start? Let HR Annie’s team of consultants help you.

We work one on one with individual owners and operators or with leadership teams to facilitate retreats for strategic planning and goal setting for a variety of industries and stages of business development. 1-2+ day sessions at your site or ours. 503-349-6988

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