|To be successful in any endeavor, it is imperative to develop, execute and monitor a plan to achieve your goals. The first step in formulating a plan is to establish a goal. Common goals in business might include achieving a target sales volume, acquiring a certain market share, reducing expenses or generating a minimum gross profit. The important thing here is to determine what your main goal is, because you need to focus resources on the attainment of your primary goal so that they are not wasted on less important matters.
I have observed that the primary factor responsible for poor business performance is the failure of management to channel resources towards the achievement of specific goals. Typically, poor performing businesses waste resources by directing them towards the achievement of too many objectives. If the primary goal of your organization is to generate more sales, then you should direct most of your resources towards obtaining this goal. You might also be able to benefit by containing costs or upgrading production facilities, but these matters should wait until your sales objectives are met. A goal-oriented approach to planning will simplify your operation and maximize the allocation of scarce resources.
Once you have decided upon a primary goal, you must assess your strengths and weaknesses. You might be strong in personnel, production, product knowledge, financing, market share, etc... At the same time, you might be weak in any or more of these areas. You must know what areas you are strong in, because this will help you identify what resources you have that will allow you to carry out your plan and achieve your goals. Your weaknesses will help you identify what constraints you must work to overcome.
Having identified a goal and assessed the resources you have to work with, you have the tools necessary to develop a plan to achieve your goals. This planning process will allow you to assess the probability of achieving success in your venture. If you determine you cannot achieve your goals given the resources you have to work with, then you must redo your plan or change your goals. This will be better done during the planning process than after you have begun operations and spent precious resources.
The final process in the planning process is to monitor your progress in executing your plan and achieving your goals. Most of us have heard the advice "plan the work and work the plan," but it is much easier said than done. Once you have embarked on a plan, you must periodically monitor your progress or you will quickly deviate from the plan. Any plan, whether well conceived or not, will meet with some success if it is executed. The problem most businesses have is that they formulate a plan, but continually deviate from it so that resources are constantly being re-directed.
In summary, decide upon a goal, assess your resources, formulate a plan to achieve your goals and monitor your progress so you stay on track. This is a winning formula for success!