Execution. The hardest part of the planning process is moving past the planning to the actual part where we jump into action. If this is you, just know that you are not alone in this struggle. Pretty much every business has plans for growth, however, 70 to 80% (depending on the source) of businesses report that their execution is poorly done. Most of us, myself included, tend to overthink how to move forward once we’ve planned. But we all know that a plan without execution is a dream. The kind that will put your business to sleep for good.
Execution is the results of thousands of decisions you make each day. So what decision are you making?
Why do most of us struggle with execution? There are a plethora of reasons. But the 2 primary reasons reported are fear and a lack of systems. So let’s address these.
First – Fear can be debilitating. It can stop us from moving. Fear of failure or a lack of belief in your ability or skill, your confidence level, your lack of information can make you unsure how to move forward. These feelings are usually based on our patterns or our history of a lack of execution in the first place. You don’t believe in yourself!
Second – You have no systems. No framework. Nothing that keeps you consistently knocking out the most important parts (a.k.a. the money-making parts) of your business BEFORE tackling everything else. An Entrepreneur.com article so eloquently stated “Many entrepreneurs allow themselves to become swept up in putting out fires instead of executing their plans. Most entrepreneurs fail at execution due to a lack of framework or methodology in place that is repeatable.”
So what do we do about it? Check out my 5 tips to help you move from planning to execution in the new year.
SET CLEAR PRIORITIES
Know who you are. Know who you serve. Know what you do. Create and stick to your identity and don’t try to be everything to everyone. Having too many priorities at once or not having the right priorities will derail your efforts every time. Establish no more than 3 priorities and identify the activities that support those priorities. Make those happen before moving on and you will begin to see tangible steps in your strategic plan happening.
You must sharpen in your focus! Now is the time to decide what is most important to you. In line with Pareto’s Law, 80% of your day and actions should be dedicated to working on the current priorities determined by your plan.
If you are a one man/woman shop, you may be thinking… “I’m all I got!” But you’d be wrong. You must find the right people to build your team. You must free yourself up to grow the business. This means to work on areas ONLY you can do. Especially if you have areas of business you are weak in. I always recommend being familiar with basic business acumen, but you don’t have to master every area. To get help, you may find a vested friend or family member who wants to see you succeed to help with social media. Hire an accountant, even if it starts off quarterly. Get a virtual assistant you can hire on occasion when you get bogged down. Have a design team on deck for your media and web needs…you get the point, right?
If you have a partner or employees, this means each person on the team must know what portion of the plan they are responsible to execute, the timeline they are expected to execute in, and the method of accountability.
This is super important – When you have delegated something away, you MUST work to keep it away. This may mean relinquishing some control over that area of your business so that you can keep growing. So do not second guess every decision made by your team. Instead, hold them accountable for the outcomes and trust them to do the work. When you are just building your team, it may take some trial and error to find the right team members, but don’t give up.
BUILD YOUR COMPETENCE
Often when we are looking to take our organization to the next level we are intimidated. We start asking if we can really do this. Do we have the skill? Do we have the knowledge? Here’s the good news. Whatever skill or competence you don’t have you can get or you can hire!
Be sure you are engaging in ways to boost your talent by continuing to develop professionally and personally. Take classes, conferences, seminars, workshops and coaching. The knowledge and accountability you gain will grow your confidence in your ability to make the updates and changes necessary to take your business to the next level.
Whatever skill or competence you don’t have you can get or you can hire!
MIND YOUR BUSINESS
In your plans, I’m willing to bet you have some targets and goals. These are probably measurable…targets such as how many new clients you want, how much you will increase production, or what new service you will roll out and when. Unfortunately these same measures rarely make it into the execution phase. One of my favorite sayings (maybe one day I’ll actually look up who said it) is “What gets measured gets accomplished (or something like that). You must measure your results. You must know your business. Every single aspect. Who’s buying, who’s not? What’s selling, what’s not? When are sales high? When are they low? Not just for the year but for each month…Is there a busier time of the month? A busier time of the week? Maybe for your business, there is a busier time of the day?
Keeping close eye on your results allows you to make adjustments as needed. On the spot. Not down the line after you’ve had a slump in sales.
This is done by creating your KPI’s (Key performance indicators) This is real time tracking of your business. Be sure to research what KPI’s are standard in your industry and add any other metrics you want to keep up with.
CREATE THE CHANGE YOU WANT
Starbucks is a great example of creating the change we want. How did we view a coffee house a 40 years ago? Was that the place to meet and chill or work? Starbucks created a space we didn’t even know we wanted or needed. A space between work and home. Create your own Starbucks.
Don’t just RESPOND to the market but look to create the market. Ask yourself who you want to be. What is your value proposition? What areas do you need to grow? What areas are you great in? This doesn’t mean that you can forgo testing the market. But it does mean take some initiative to be innovative.
This year, spend some time reflecting on what holds you back. Armed with these 5 tips, commit to moving past planning to execution. You got this!
Do you have other tips that have helped you move from the planning stage to the execution stage? Drop a comment and share with your fellow entrepreneurs.