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What you did yesterday will improve over time…if you lay out a strategic plan and follow it.

That was my big take away after spending an enjoyable afternoon at our local Greek Festival. My wife’s take away was a nice red blouse, a pair of earrings and some salted caramel balsamic vinegar.  She was happy and I had my ah-ha moment for the week.


Starting Small

Our Greek Festival has been going on for 12 years now and this weekend’s festival has to be their biggest and most successful festival yet. It was not always such a big deal, but there is vision and purpose behind the festival, so it grows.

As I was sitting on the bench enjoying a light breeze and sun on my face, I remembered back to when community church started with a simple building to allow worship for the followers of the Greek Orthodox faith. Not much to write home about back then but now, it has really grown. Multiple buildings and a great multi-day festival with vendors coming in from out of state and lots to see and experience.

Many businesses start out in similar circumstances. Little to no funding, maybe a card table in a spare room, 500 business cards from the local print shop and a whole lot of, “hope this works”.  I think a lot of people that start down the entrepreneurial road want to move out of the small phase quickly, but positive growth needs to be measured and intentional.

A new business is like a baby in more ways than one. Like a small baby, it cannot move from startup to an established business without going through the various stages of development.

A business, like a baby, needs a lot of food (cash) and it poops a lot (non-fatal errors and strategic pivots). Soon, that early venture will start to stabilize and enter into the toddler, primary school, adolescence and then adulthood phases. These are just names for phases, but they serve a visual purpose that start-ups and small ventures will continue to grow, expand, and mature…if that is part of their strategy.


Strategy and Metrics

Growth is not as easy as just getting bigger. Successful growth requires deliberate planning and execution. Just wanting more and to be bigger is not a very deliberate strategy and can lead to fatal mistakes.

When starting out, it is great to have a five-year plan. But the savvy leader will know that they need a year by year plan as well. The year by year plan lets you put a baseline in place (current results) with a targeted plan to grow. The metrics are how you will be able to measure your growth.

Metrics are super important. I know that they are often not much fun unless you dream of graphs, Excel macros, and spreadsheets, but they are important. Without metrics, you will be challenged to chart how your venture is progressing. Are your expenses growing faster than your revenue? Which direction is your cost of client acquisition going? Are customers becoming cheaper or more expensive to acquire?

Whatever your business, you need metrics. They may not be strictly related to accounting ratios or balance sheets but knowing where you are today and how much you need or want to grow tomorrow is very important.


Coach’s Wrap Up

All of us want to be better tomorrow than we were today and certainly, we want next year to be better than this year. Inherently, we know that growing professionally and personally is what we need to do. Just like the Greek Festival that started with a couple of vendors and not many activities; we can all grow and move forward with deliberate strategic planning.

If you need help in building your next strategic plan or even help getting unstuck from your current situation, reach out and let’s see what growth path we can cart together.


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