6 Steps to Long Term Business Sustainability
If a task needs to be completed, then an action needs to be taken … simple, right?
Yet the actions taken determine the completion OR non completion of the task.
AND the importance of the task will determine how decisive the action taken will be … again it’s simple.
The level of importance will also determine the level of focus required to complete the task.
So why is it that so many people focus on completing the less important ‘stuff’ that only brings short term gain?
They get distracted, ignore, or procrastinate about their own work and it becomes contagious –it becomes the norm. This is when the holes start opening up, the sales stop, the money in the bank goes down, the people just show up for the pay and the worst thing is, no one seems to really care.
And there is nothing simple about it! Everything has become a shortcut to short term gratification.
So, how do you turn this around?
- Identify what your long term goals are: This means analysing where you want your business to be in two to three or more years. Now, if you have already done this, then revise and make sure the goals are still relevant and move onto the next step.
- State the goals as strategic outcomes: This means be specific in terms of the date, benchmarks, key performance indicators and other measures that will determine the outcome has been reached.
- Break these strategic goals down into smaller sub goals: This means developing a step-by-step process to work towards the long term goals.
Now, the next three steps are designed to turn around the action that focused on short term gains that are not linked to the long term goals.
- Analyse what is being done or not being done towards those goals: This means identifying the attitudes, behaviours and actions that are detracting from the business goals and why they are not producing the results you want.
- Identify what needs to be done instead: This means stating clearly the difference between previous expectations and what the expectations are from this moment forward. It also means stating the unwanted consequences of previous actions and the expected consequences of the new action.
- Provide feedback consistently: This means undertaking regular reviews of progress, checking in against the strategic measurements and modifying as you go to make sure you stay on track. It also means having the conversations that need to be had with people who are not on board with the direction your business is going and provide appropriate feedback.
Now let’s be very clear here. Taking on the six steps above is no easy feat. To make your business sustainable over the long term means being smart about how you invest your time, money and leadership into building the systems that look after your short term and long term goals.
After all, your business is THE system and it has sub systems that need regular looking after, which is part of developing both long term and short term strategies in your planning. If you leave any one unattended, then your business will seize up and slow you down or worse, break down completely … then it’s really going to start costing you!