We’re now halfway through the year. So, how are you doing? Is your business on plan (or above) for the year?
If you’re like most of the business leaders I know, you’re probably a little behind where you thought you’d be (or maybe a lot behind). You started the year with great hopes and dreams to have your “best year ever” and yet, the reality is you’re far from it.
So, what can you do to turn that around? What can you start doing differently today moving forward to recover and finish strong?
Well, to find out, you’ll want to keep reading (and then apply the five principles below) to make sure you’ve got the best shot possible for redeeming this year.
Note: Even if you’re having a great year, you can still apply these five key principles to what you’re currently doing to have an even better year.
So, without further ado, here are five keys to recovering and making the second half of your year great.
I. Get Your Head Back In The Game
If you’ve been reading my blog posts for any length of time, you know that I fundamentally believe that everything flows from the leader. If there’s an issue in a business, you always start with the leader. So, in this case, if a business isn’t hitting it’s metrics, who’s responsible for that? Exactly, the leader. Sometimes it’s a tactical issue, but frequently, the issue is mental/attitudinal.
For example, if a company isn’t hitting it’s numbers, it’s often because the leader is disengaged or distracted or dismayed or depressed, etc.. Sometimes it’s because the owner/entrepreneur is more interested in something outside of the business than inside. Sometimes it’s because he’s interested in a new project and takes his eyes off the ball for the rest of the business. Sometimes it’s because she’s tired or burned out. Sometimes it’s because he’s discouraged with Q1’s results and stops believing that there’s anyway the company will hit its goals by the end of the year (in other words, by May/June, he’s already given up on the entire year).
Whatever the reason, if you, as the leader of your business (or organization or division) aren’t fully engaged and don’t fully believe that you can achieve your goals for the year, there’s no way your business will. You are the chief motivator and morale builder for your company. It all emirates from you.
So, are you fully engaged? Do you fully believe that you and your team can still hit the goals you set for this year? If not, then you need to start here. No business can succeed well if their leader isn’t fully engaged and fully confident in their company’s ability to deliver on their metrics.
By the way, If you set a goal that was too ambitious, there’s nothing wrong with owning that and resetting your goal halfway through the year. For example, let’s say you did $3M last year and you set a goal to double to $6M this year but you’re on track for another $3M year. Reducing your goal to something more believable for you and your team (and their bonuses) may do wonders for morale and activity. For example, if you think that by doubling down and working hard for the next six months your business could generate a 30% increase to $3.9M that would be more believable and still force you and your team to stretch (and a 30% increase is nothing to sneeze at since very few businesses have 30% growth years … remember 85% of businesses are plateaued or in decline).
II. Be Honest and Confront Your Constraints Head On
If you’re not hitting your metrics, there has to be a reason. And rarely is the reason outside your business. As I’ve written before, if someone somewhere is succeeding where you’re not, you need to own that you’re the problem. Saying, “People just aren’t buying,” is a cop-out. Every day business and individuals are spending money with someone for something.
So, what are the constraints that are holding you back? To get your mind cranking on this issue, here are some common constraints
- Lack of daily/weekly accountability to metrics
- Being too focused on internal activity and not on business development
- Lack of follow-up
- Poor copy and marketing materials that don’t connect with the pain and urgency of your target market
- Lack of competitive advantages and differentiators (no “Why you should choose us” reasons)
- Not confronting poor behavior/tolerating lack of results
- Not hiring A players or being willing to spend the money to hire A players
- Not firing poor performers
- Poor systems
- No systematic marketing process in place to continually generate leads
- No or poor sales scripts
- Poor pricing
- Not creating up-sells and cross-sells (or looking for additional work with current clients)
- Not making enough offers
- Not empowering your people to make decisions (which makes you the bottleneck), etc.
You get the idea. There are always reasons why something isn’t working. The problem is most business owners and entrepreneurs aren’t willing to confront those issues. They simply tolerate them for way too long.
So, as you look at your results for the first half of the year vs. the goals you set, what are the constraints that are holding you and your company back from having a record-setting year? Once you have the list, start confronting the biggest hindrance today.
III. Recast Vision Regularly and Pay Attention to Morale Everyday
As you hopefully know, morale is everything in a business. When morale is high, you can do no wrong. When morale is low, you can do no right. No matter how you look at it, everything goes better, faster and smoother when morale is high.
So, whenever you company is in a position where you’re behind and morale is dragging, that’s when you need to be out front casting vision continually and raising your people’s mental states. They need you to keep reminding them of where you’re headed. Why you’re headed there. And how critical they are to the whole.
- Remind them that your best days are in front of you, not behind you
- Remind them of why you do what you do.
- Reconnect them to the vision.
- Remind them of the impact your products and/or services have in individuals’ or business’ lives
- Remind them that they matter
- Lift them up in front of their peers
- Praise them and the work they’re doing
- Write more notes
- Incentivize excellent work/progress
- Create some awards
- Practice MBWA (managing by walking around) every day so you’re more present
- Up your own energy level
- Be positive whenever you’re with your people (practice Leader Draft), etc.
If you’re going to turn this year around, you have to motivate and inspire the people who will create the leverage and do the work that needs to be done to make this a stellar year.
So, what kind of vision do you need to start painting for your people in order to end this year well? And what do you need to do differently day-by-day to be the great encourager and morale builder your people need for your business?
IV. Create Better Daily and Weekly Accountability
Unfortunately, very few small businesses are really good at accountability. If they set any goals/metrics for the year, very rarely do they set up any accountability structure to ensure the successful execution of those goals/metrics. For example, lets say that Sally’s business did $2M last year and she decides that she wants to grow her business by 30% this year (to $2.6M).
Having working with tons of entrepreneurs over the years, chances are that Sally hasn’t broken down that $2.6M into how much activity it’ll take to reach that number. How many calls? How many leads? Prospects? Sales presentations? Etc. Nor has she broken down where that $2.6M will come from—which product or service lines? Or created sales targets for each income stream by dates. Without that kind of detail, Sally has basically resigned herself and her company to the strategy known as, “Hope” (which, as you know, isn’t a great strategy).
But, it gets worse. Not only does Sally not know what needs to happen by what date by what product/service line, chances are she also doesn’t hold anyone accountable week by week (or day by day) for the activity necessary to reach their goals. And apart from accountability, the probability of hitting the goal will be very slim.
This is why athletes hire coaches. They know that to get to the next level they need someone outside of them to keep pushing them, to hold them accountable to doing what it takes to be a champion. The same is true for you and your people. All of us need accountability to help keep us honest and to push us when we’d prefer to coast.
Also, while accountability to a coach or boss is good, accountability to a group of peers is even better. When someone has to go up to a whiteboard and write in their numbers and answer why they didn’t hit a metric, it doesn’t take long before they start working harder to hit their numbers (i.e. no one likes to stand in front of a group of their peers month after month and say, “I didn’t hit my goals again this month”).
So, how are you and your business doing on this issue? Do you have daily and/or weekly accountability for your strategic plan? If not, how could you implement that fast?
Remember: this is about cycle time. If you check once a quarter, performance will be less than if you check once a month. On the other hand, if you check in weekly, you’ll get better performance than if you check in monthly. Shorten the cycle time between accountability meetings and you’ll dramatically increase the performance on the other end.
V. Up the Hustle Factor
If you haven’t watched my video on the Hustle Factor, make sure you do so by clicking here >>. The basic idea is that you can take two people, give them the same idea or plan, and one of them will succeed and one of them won’t. What makes the difference? Not the idea itself as much as the speed at which each person implemented—and the one who hustled (i.e who implemented the fastest) will, 99 times out of 100, be the winner.
In the case of our conversation today, you and your company are now halfway through the year. You have a choice. You can do all of the above and still not make it or you can do all of the above and hit or exceed your goals. The difference will probably be determined by how much you and your team hustle. Simply put, speed wins in the marketplace. Not when it comes to innovation, but clearly when it comes to implementation.
So, if you were to give you and your business a grade on a scale of 1-10(high), what grade would you give yourselves on your hustle factor? Chances are if you’re not on track this year, your number leaves some room for improvement. Now, what number would you like to hit for the remainder of this year? Remember, every digit increase you make, will increase the probability of you hitting or exceeding your metrics.
Well, there you have it. Five things you can start doing this week to make sure the second half of your year is better than your first half and to give you the best shot at finishing this year strong.
- Get your head back in the game
- Be honest and confront your constraints head on
- Recast vision regularly and pay attention to morale everyday
- Create better daily and weekly accountability
- Up your hustle factor
Work all five of those ideas and you’ll have your best shot an ending this year strong.
To your accelerated success!
P.S. If you have any other ideas of how to recover and make the second half of your year great, make sure you add them in the comments section below (or click here >> if you’re reading this by email or RSS feed).