When was the last time you looked at a map? The kind where you had to unfold it on the kitchen table and sort through the maze of roads to trace the best route to get from Point A to Point B.
It’s probably been a while. Technology made roadmaps something you might as well use as wrapping paper.
It’s much easier to ask your phone for directions and wait for it to spit out instructions. It’s almost fail-proof – unless your phone can’t determine your starting location. It’s impossible to give directions without having a starting point.
You have to know where you are, to get to where you want to go.
It’s as true in your business as it is in your car. You won’t stumble onto long-term success, any more than you’ll magically arrive at the right destination if GPS couldn’t determine your starting point. And here’s the thing entrepreneurs often overlook, there isn’t a singular starting point. You start your business once, but you measure success and develop a road map on a regular basis, at least you should. It’s one of the reasons companies release quarterly earnings and it’s something I don’t see most entrepreneurs doing regularly. Sometimes they don’t know what to measure or what to do with the data once it’s collected.
It’s why I’ve developed a quarterly review workbook that I use myself and with my clients. It’s how we evaluate what’s working, what’s not and what the focus for improvement will be for the next 90 days. If you don’t regularly review your business activities and business results, you’re not working with the most accurate information. You’ll be less likely to take steps that get you to where you want to go.
Commit to making today your starting point and use these three steps to map your success:
Schedule time to complete your quarterly review. Schedule an hour to complete the quarterly review sheet. Mark it on your calendar and keep the appointment you made with yourself.
Assess the results. Don’t just fill in the numbers and give it a cursory look. Dive in. Identify trends, trace the results (good or bad) upstream. It’s all information that can be used in mapping out the best plan to get from Point A to Point B.
Identify three priorities. Be realistic about what you can accomplish. Write down the actions needed to get results.
When you’re finished with this process you should be able to answer these questions:
How is your business doing in 2018?
Are your numbers up, down or on track?
What do you attribute your results to this year?
Use your answers to formulate next steps and as the starting point for your next evaluation.
I’ve been self-employed since 1996 and value the process of stopping to measure what matters in my business. As a trusted mentor says, “No money = no business.” Marking and measuring results is one of the things I talk about with my clients and a topic that’s come up in my private Facebook group. I can't wait to see you there!