Three Quarters

By Mark Riffey

A little more than seventy-five percent of the calendar year is behind you.

Can the same be said for the year’s goals, income expectations, etc?

Will you wait until the end of the year to plan your next six, twelve, eighteen months or are you doing it now?

How often do you review the results of your work?

On the other hand…does it really matter? I mean, is there really a good reason to defer the decision about when you reassess your business to a schedule designed almost 500 years ago?

Yes, I mean the monthly calendar.

What can you do better on January 2nd that you can’t assess, decide and plan on today or perhaps next weekend?

As in “Why wait?”

Business owners assess the financial position of their business on a regular basis since they have to make payroll (no matter what that means to your business) and pay bills. Today’s software and banking systems provide up-to-the-minute balance info.

Thing is, so do most other aspects of your business. But do you use them?

Are you assessing the rest of your business as often as your financials?

Are you adjusting your plans based on the results you’ve measured in the last week, month, quarter? Have the first three quarters of this year changed what you’re implementing now? Are you re-inventing the rest of this year? Does it need it? Whether things are better or worse, if you are waiting till the end of the year to adjust….why?

Do you only look at your gas gauge when you leave the house and arrive at your destination? Why do that with your business?

Do the bumps your business encountered this year matter? What would you do differently if they came along again?

My plans for this year got hit by a bus in April.

I was fortunate because I had been able to position myself to grab some clothes, my laptop and phone and head out the door if I needed to deal with an unplanned emergency. Unfortunately, that emergency happened.

While it still had an impact on my work, I was able to respond as I wished vs. not being able to do anything or far less than what I would have liked. That’s a regret you don’t want to have if you can help it, but it takes planned action to get there.

Planning for the work, if you can’t outsource it, is another thing entirely. What can you outsource? What can you outsource if you HAVE to?

Your plans might hit a bump next month. It’s better to be prepared than not, even if you can’t be perfectly ready.

Expect bumps. Plan for them. Sometimes the worst case scenario comes true. If it doesn’t, you can be grateful that it didn’t.

If a bump occurs, no matter how bad, coming back for it might look something like this: React, respond, recover, realign, restructure, reset, restart.

Is that all?
Beyond the bumps, there’s something missing. We’re talking about reacting after the fact. Assessing and adjusting after the bleeding starts. Evaluating what’s going on at a certain time simply because the calendar says so.

Does that make sense in an ultra-competitive world?

In less serious situations, we don’t act that way. Who in Montana waits until February to see if their snowblower will start?

Yet with business, we do just that – waiting for the end of the week, month, quarter or year to assess, adjust and deal with the bumps after we’ve driven over them.

While you can’t always know when your emergency might happen, when it comes to bumps in your business’ performance, there are signals.

If you knew you could avoid the bumps, you’d do something before they occurred rather than waiting until you hit them.

That’s what waiting does for you. While you still have to do month-end (etc) to keep your CPA, there’s a better way to keep your business fine-tuned.

We’ll talk about that next time.

Want to learn more about Mark or ask him to write about a business, operations or marketing problem? See Mark’s site, contact him on Twitter, or email him at mriffey@flatheadbeacon.com.

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