Have You Charted Your Course?

Last week I started talking about how I function as a GPS for my clients businesses.  Today I’m going to talk about NAVIGATION.  Let’s face it – sometimes we may be in business, but don’t have a clear picture of where we really want to go beyond getting AWAY from an employer.  A well-prepare budget and forecast, along with some strategic thinking, can help!

This is where I coach my clients, primarily in long-term financial and operational navigation.  This is a classic ‘begin with the end in mind’ scenario.  Do they want to sell the business when they retire?  Pass it on to the next generation?  Maybe even franchise!  What about a shorter time frame.  Do you want to expand in the next three to five years?  What about hire staff and increase sales this year?

Like a GPS, I help prepare for traffic, weather, roadblocks and look for alternative paths to success.  Adding staff is always tricky, especially when you go from being the sole employee to now being a manager and having to delegate.  This can be likened to road construction.  It’s great in the long term, but you may see that the road is narrowed to one lane while you train the staff, then the road opens up and it’s smooth sailing ahead.

There may be roadblocks to franchising that you need to either be patient and wait for (like our Los Angeles traffic!), find a detour, or maybe even put that trip on hold while you figure out conditions a bit closer to home.

And let’s never forget that Californians as a whole have difficulty navigating less than ideal road conditions.  These aren’t always obvious when we start our journey.  These conditions are usually out of our control like a serious health or family issue, or they can be much larger, like a shift in the economy and changing spending habits, especially if you’re producing or selling a readily -found commodity or service, or one that is seen as discretionary.

Oh, and let’s not forget the scandals that are rocking our country right now!  Could your business survive a scandal?  What about a bad online review or vocal dissatisfied customer?

A good navigation plan will help you chart your course, and scenario planning will help you look for and plan alternate routes if your road has too many obstacles.  You need to look at risk from all angles, making sure you have good records management, a solid budget and forecast for the future, and a way of making sure you stay on path.