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Practical Business Management is a Balancing Act: BULLETPROOF BUSINESS 1

"Success comes from living the practicalities of today while maintaining a passion for tomorrow." EWO

If you want to achieve success in business there is one intrinsic skill you need to develop as the business leader. You need to learn how to balance the excitement of your vision for success with managing the practicalities of what's happening in the business now.

Passion in business is an absolutely vital ingredient to success. It's the source of our persistence and drive. That passion typically comes from a vision of what success will be like, your dream for the business.  Being a visionary is at the very core of being an entrepreneur and we'd all be in dead-end jobs that we hate if we didn't have it.

Our greatest strength can also be our greatest weakness. It can blind us to realities of what's required in the business right now.  Dreaming the possibilities of business is easy. 

Making rubber hit the road and changing the reality of the business today is where the challenge lies.

How to Transition from Visionary to Focused Manager

Make data your new best friend. Business data is like a confidante that's never afraid to tell you the hard, honest truth, even when you don't want to hear it.  Use the data in your business to get you focused on what you need to be working on and improving this week. Then use it to tell you how well you have performed and what you need to be focusing on next week.

We refer to this as "managing by numbers" that is, using the data in your business to create visibility of what's really going on and then making informed, practical decision based on that data.

Manage by Numbers

Here is a very brief outline of how to start "managing by numbers".

Step 1. Write down your ultimate business vision (say in 5 years time).

Step 2. Write your business goals for 3 time horizons (e.g. 6 months, 2 years, 4 years) between now and when you want to achieve that vision.  These become the interim stepping stones on the way to your vision.

Step 3. Now concentrate on the most immediate set of goals. What needs to happen to get there? e.g. Do you need to increase $ turnover? by how much? Therefore how many more customers do you need to get? What needs to happen to your operations to service those additional customers? Each answer needs to be very specific and measurable.  Together they become your strategy for achieving the goal.

To be successful at completing Step 3 you are going to have to look for data in your business.  Crunch the numbers as much as you can. Don't rely on guesswork.  In going through this process you will start to notice there are some key numbers that tell you exactly how close you are getting to your goal.  For example, $ invoiced per month, number of new customers, delivery times.  These become your key success measures that you need to watch like a hawk and manage your business with.

Don't kid yourself when it comes to the current performance of your business.  If the numbers say one thing and your heart says another the chances are the numbers are right.

Refine your business activities accordingly and be disciplined in your leadership to deliver what the business needs now to achieve its most immediate goals rather than what it might need down the track. Perfect this balance and gain focus and you will dramatically improve your opportunities for success.

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