If you are anything like me, you are entering 2021 with a sense of cautious optimism. My business goal for this year is seriously, “No Sudden Movements.” Like for real. After experiencing the unparalleled losses of last year, the only thing that did not waiver is my hope. It is truly inspiring to see so many businesses holding on to the hope that better days are ahead for us all. With this article my goal is to share 4 Simple Steps to Convert H.O.P.E Into a Practical Action Plan so that your business can thrive.
Take an honest assessment of your current business situation. You must know your numbers in order to grow your numbers. It still surprises me to hear stories about business owners who are afraid to check their accounts. Reality can be equal parts terrifying and informative, however, in business avoidance of the truth about your business only equals sudden and certain closure. Create an operational budget for your business to track all of your expenses. Review your Profit & Loss statements monthly, quarterly, and annually. Adopt an effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) process so you can track the lifetime value of your customer. Use these numbers to set realistic goals for the year ahead. Check your numbers quarterly to make periodic adjustments to ensure your business stays on track.
Carefully vet new business opportunities. All opportunities are not created equal. Take your time to research each opportunity thoroughly. Ask yourself these questions: Does this align with the purpose and possibilities of my business? Does this match my aptitude and skill? Does this ignite my passion or strike a chord in my heart? Knowing the answers to these three simple questions can alleviate stress, reduce frustration, and save money. Remember, real success takes time. If an opportunity looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Align your work to your purpose. Please don’t confuse your businesses purpose with your mission or your why. There is a distinct difference. Think of your business “Why” as a historical motivator that inspires future action. The why is always personal. The mission is really a description of the work you will do to fulfill your purpose. The mission is teamwork. The purpose for business has a similar definition to the purpose for life; it is the reason for which something is created. The purpose is about community. Aligning your businesses work with its purpose allows you to establish authentic connections with your customers and lays the foundation for trusted partnerships.
Do not procrastinate on the execution of your plan. After all, a plan is useless until you execute the strategic action steps consistently. Begin with the end in mind so that you can maintain focus on your goals. Measure and track your performance metrics regularly for accountability sake. Celebrate your milestones and small victories to keep motivation and momentum high along the way.
As I close, I want to leave you with this excerpt from the Reverend Jesse Jackson’s emotional speech during the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, GA. Whatever the status of your business at the time you read this, know and believe that “you can make it. Hold your head high; stick your chest out. You can make it. It gets dark sometimes, but the morning comes. Don't you surrender! Suffering breeds character, character breeds faith. In the end faith will not disappoint.
You must not surrender! You may or may not get there but just know that you're qualified! And you hold on and hold out! We must never surrender!! America will get better and better.
Keep HOPE alive. Keep HOPE alive! Keep HOPE alive!” The key to navigating the economic uncertainty of 2021 is to Keep H.O.P.E and Thrive.
Media, A. (n.d.). American RadioWorks - Say it Plain, Say it Loud. Retrieved January 18, 2021, from http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/blackspeech/jjackson.html