While the calendar ends and starts, our companies should be on a continuous path. I’m a big proponent of setting benchmarks and measuring outcomes for 30-day periods. I am also strongly committed to making changes when they need to be made, and not waiting until the calendar gives us permission. You make changes when the business demands them.
Start, Stop, Continue
I recommend asking three questions every day:
- What should we start?
- What should we stop?
- What should we continue?
You need to start new efforts when the business requires it, no matter where in the calendar you happen to be. Why? Because it is required. If your company requires a boost in revenue, waiting until the calendar turns costs you money. Why lose weeks or months of sales because of the date of the year?
Starting something new when the business requires it usually gives you a burst of energy. Do you have an idea for a great new marketing effort? A new product or service you know your buyers will love? A new position to fill or a terrific employee who is deserving of a promotion? Capitalize on the excitement and energy these initiatives naturally generate and start them NOW.
Your customers and clients aren’t thinking about your calendar. They are always thinking about themselves. What they need, want and desire. Give them your best new offering as soon as possible.
The opposite of start now is stop now. I’ve been delighted when a business owner we’re working with just decides to stop undercharging, even if it happens to be in the middle of a month or a quarter. Continuing to undercharge costs money.
Providing the product or services takes up valuable space in your mind and the minds of your buyers. It perpetuates a message that is unhelpful to your company’s reputation. Undercharging is one of the most destructive things a business owner can keep doing, so when you identify these products or services, just decide to STOP.
Other things you may want to stop right now include: 24/7 availability. Unless you are the provider of services required in an emergency, you will increase the respect your buyers have for your company by establishing and sticking to a schedule of hours.
You could stop demanding packing every single day will billable hours. (If you charge for value, not hours, this would not be an issue.) Your employees need time to think, to reflect and to regroup. Every productivity study concludes that when thinking time is built into every day, people become more productive in the remaining time. This is as much a culture issue as a revenue issue. Stop demanding quantity over quality.
Stop feeling the need to respond to every shiny object you hear about. Trivers Consulting Group encourages our clients to “Think INSIDE the Box,” which means to leverage and build on your current buyers, your current offerings and your current employees. Stop looking for next big thing out there and make more time for the wonderful people who already are within your company’s orbit.
Many of your activities are working well for you and you should continue them. We never look to eliminate or replace what’s working. The key is to know for sure what is working. Ask several questions as you review your company:
Profit: How much is each of our products or services contributing to revenue AND profit? Continue offering the high profit ones and stop offering the lowest contributors.
Marketing: What is the measurable value of each of our marketing efforts? Continue doing the high performing ones and stop the rest.
Customer Service: Which of your service efforts are the most appreciated by your desirable buyers? There are a couple of layers here: the quality of your buyers; the cost of the service; and the relationship between the service and future purchases. Continue with the customer service that most benefits the company and stop the rest.
Buyers: not all buyers are the same. Continue cultivating and nurturing buyers who most support your company. You cannot do enough to keep them close. To do this effectively, you’ll need to have great information about your buyers. If you’re doing that, continue doing it.
When to Start, Stop or Continue?
Setting quantitative goals helps you know what to start, what to stop, and what to continue. You have to be conscientious and consistent in measuring activities and performances in order for those quantitative goals to give you meaningful information.
You should be measuring in small periods of time. We recommend 30-day periods. On the 30th day, ask these questions: what should we stop, what should we start and what should we continue?
Get into this habit and then you’ll find it easy to answer these questions based on your actual results not on the calendar.
The only perfect time to start, stop or continue is the time that works best for your company. When you want to increase company value and owner wealth, every day is the right day to make that happen.
We’ve packed a lot into this article. We urge you to choose one idea and go with it. If you’re not sure where to start, or if you think you could benefit from some help, give us a call. 703-801-0345.