Define your success whilst remaining realistic
Whether you’re starting out in business for the first time or running an ongoing concern, ensuring that every aspect of your operation is always working at the maximum level of efficiency is essential if you want to ensure you are on the fast track to success.
Key Strategic Indicators
Establishing a set of Key Strategic Indicators (KSIs) makes it easy to see exactly how well your business is working and the progress that is being made. Such measurements not only enable you to keep track of everything as you move forwards but can also provide an early warning if you start to veer off course, allowing you to make the necessary corrections in plenty of time to avert potential disaster.
Before you can create indicators, you first need to decide on your definition of success – without one, it simply won’t be possible to know if your business is truly moving in the right direction. KSIs differ from one business to another, as what matters most to one company might be of little importance to another, so it’s vital to choose the right KSIs for your business. One of the easiest ways to do this is to ask yourself a simple question: what matters most to my stakeholders? Once you come up with the answer, you’ll have a good idea of what to look out for and what areas to monitor.
Goals and Milestones
Another way to find the right KSIs for your company is to analyse your goals and objectives, making sure you fully understand the difference between the two. Your goals can be thought of as the final destination you want to reach, while objectives can be seen as the road map that tells you how to get there. Having a clear set of objectives will increase your efficiency and propel you towards your goals more quickly. For example, if the goal of your company is to double the number of customers, your objectives might include placing advertisements in regional newspapers to increase awareness, focusing on attracting first-time customers with promotional incentives and sending out weekly email newsletters to turn prospects into clients.
Once you start thinking about everything you want to achieve, you may find you end up with a list of goals that just goes on and on. At this stage, it’s important to stay realistic about how much you can achieve in a particular time frame and to focus only on those goals which are absolutely essential to the success of your business. Goals should be simple, clear and specific enough to leave no room for doubt about whether or not they have been reached. At the same time, don’t be afraid to aim high. A goal of having a million-pound turnover is clear and specific enough to provide the right level of focus, whereas a goal of simply being the best in your particular line of business is not.