Winning in Business

While we are using the term "pass", we all know that being in business is not about passing or failing. It is about excelling or failing. Business is all about getting the "A".  It may be true that one can muddle along in a mediocre business...but why? You might as well just get a job and let someone else take the majority of the risk. If you agree that growing a business is about excelling, then feel free to read on...  

Recently, Chicago learned the hard way about getting the "A". Getting to the final four for the Olympic Games in 2016 was never the goal. It was winning the Olympic Games for 2016. We may never know the exact reasons that Chicago was not selected, but debriefing the entire process could shed some light on the failure. Yes, failure. Chicago didn't spend millions of dollars and convince some of the most powerful people in the United States to travel to Copenhagen for the experience. They went to win.

Your business or organization is no different. Each day, we play to win. Second place is no different from last place when it comes to a million dollar opportunity. You either win it or not - it is really that simple. But what can you do to help your organization WIN more often than it loses?

While there are a number of elements that contribute to growing a successful organization, there are some key foundational elements. A well thought out business plan and the execution of that plan are two of the most important pieces. Most businesses either don't have a plan or their plan hasn't been looked at, much less followed in years. Now please understand that we know there is a lot more to creating and sustaining a profitable business other than a business plan. However, what we are saying is that without a business plan you are more likely to fail than succeed.

Consider taking the time to write a thoughtful business plan. Here are some important thoughts as you embark on this project:

  • Clearly articulate what you do or what you are going to be doing. This sometimes can lead to a shift in your thinking about this very subject. It may open doors to new ideas that you would have never thought about without going through this exercise. 
  • Create goals - These goals should start at the top and filter their way down to all employees. Help them create goals that are aligned with yours, and you will see great improvement in daily execution.
  • Develop a SWOT analysis (SWOT is the acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). This may stop you in your tracks if you find too many threats or weaknesses, but it could also help you think about how to overcome them as well.
  • Share your business plan with your employees. They need to know where you're going so that they can decide how best to support the business objectives.
  • Review, review, review - The business plan should be a living document. As situations change the business plan may change. View it as a sail, not an anchor.