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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Strategy Wins Over Raw Effort

I promised to give you my notes after watching Rich Schefren's video.

One comment particularly hit home, and I've heard this said so many times in so many different ways. It was...

The problem is ...
That you are focusing on the Wrong Questions and therefore arriving at the Wrong Solutions

So what on earth does that mean?

Basically it's saying that you may have worked out the best way to get into an orchard. But if you're wanting apples and the orchard only has pears you've wasted your time. Because you asked,  "how do we get into that orchard?".  Rather than, "how do we get into an orchard with lots of apples?"

Why Do All The Work In Your Business?

It is so common for an entrepreneur to do all the work themselves thinking they're saving money.

At the start-up that may be true. As you get clients you must concentrate on providing your own value to them. Anything you do that is not for a specific client, or prospect, is potentially a waste of your time.

Rich asks, "Why do it yourself when you can hire someone to do it better than you can?"

After all that's an instant improvement in your business.

Think about web sites, blogs, brochures and other written marketing materials. How many business owners do it themselves in the happy, and mistaken, belief that it's good enough. 

When owners do everything their business is limited by their own imperfect knowledge or understanding of techniques, concepts and strategies outside their own expertise.

Think about it. As an owner doing everything you lose out twice. ..

Once by doing sub-standard work which may turn your clients off and that someone else could do better . Twice because you're not concentrating on what you do best for your clients.

Most online businesses don't work
their owners do!

The way to check your business is working right is to set goals and measure expected against actual. Then work to improve results.

(Remember that whatever you measure is what is concentrated on - there can be a grave danger of useless activity for the sake of better statistics. Unproductive monthly sales meetings are a very good example of this.)

 Strategic Business Metrics

Rich notes the following online stats that he uses:

  1. Total number of monthly visitors to all sites compared to goal
  2. Overall customer satisfaction from survey results compared to goal
  3. Overall conversion rate compared to goal
  4. Number of products and web sites compared to goal
  5. Total number of customers on lists and prospects on list
    compared to goal
  6. Overall employee satisfaction compared to goal
  7. Total revenue compared to goal
  8. Total profits compared to goal
  9. % of business functions systematised compared to goal
  10. Breakdown of how you are spending your time in the 4 roles
    compared to goal
  11. Total number of hours you are working compared to goal
  12. Your overall assessment of your own quality of life compared to goal

Steps You Can Take Alone

  1. Learn how to process map and begin mapping what you want your online business to do
  2. Learn project management
  3. Build leverage & scalability into your business
  4. Become fanatical about your business numbers
  5. Use an effective time management system and log your time for a week or two
  6. Analyse your log and identify routine tasks
  7. Automate as many things as possible - start with the easiest
  8. Outsource one item at a time starting with the most time
    consuming first 
  9. Hire an employee that will take over the largest number of
    your responsibilities

As an ex-business process analyst and projects director myself I know the power of documenting business processes and refining them until they're the best they can be.

Imagine doing that to each of your business processes?

If you've just 10 processes and improving each one improves sales by 1% you'd think you get 10% improvement.

You don't!

It can be exponential because almost every improvement impacts on all the others too. 

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