You worked hard with your team to develop a winning annual plan. Everyone is optimistic going into the year that this plan is going to produce 20-30 percent annual revenue growth. Unfortunately, 67 percent of plans created fail due to poor execution. It’s a fact that the right strategy is important, but it’s even more important to execute that strategy or it’s all for nothing. Too many well-developed plans fail for 4 common reasons. You don’t need to fail if you avoid these pitfalls.
Here are the 4 most common reasons revenue initiatives fail:
1. Trying to run your business with spreadsheets.
I like Excel as much as the next person, but I would never put my companies’ future in jeopardy by trying to run it in Excel, although many leaders do. The problem with doing this is that you are not connecting your efforts to your long-term strategies and long-term goals. Projects managed on multiple spreadsheets and multiple systems are a recipe for disaster. You need a system that brings your strategy to life and allows you to manage your execution plans on a quarterly, weekly and daily basis. You would not think of running your company without financial software or an ERP system if you are a manufacturer. I don’t recommend executing your plans without the right software and system either.
2. Miscommunication between multiple departments.
When you ask employees what one of the biggest challenges they or their company is facing, communication always makes the top third of the list. I commonly hear the statement, “we are operating in silos and really need to break them down if we are going to succeed.” In order to execute effectively, it is imperative that you plan at all levels in the organization, share those plans, and communicate with each other to discuss when things are off track and make adjustments before the quarter slips away. The earlier you identify challenges, the more time you have in the quarter to get things back on track and hit your targets for success. Thirteen weeks fly by in a flash.
3. CEO and team leaders lack visibility and real-time information.
Imagine your most important initiatives for the quarter are living on one of your associate's hard drives. If this is the case, you lack the visibility and the knowledge to be confident you are on track for a successful quarter or year. I have seen too many great plans fall short because the team is not working the plan day in and day out, week after week. In this day age and age, the tools are available to give you real-time information at the click of a mouse. Not having this puts your company at a competitive disadvantage. You need every weapon possible to win.
4. Time is wasted being reactive versus proactive.
There is never enough time in the day or week. Fighting fires and solving the same problems day after day is a drain on your resources, yet I speak to far too many business leaders that operate in this manner. Remember Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day? Do you ever feel link him? Unless you have a system and rhythm to plan effectively, provide visibility and lead a team of A players who are accountable, this is what occurs. Getting into a rhythm of planning annually and every quarter allows you to set the right priorities so that you and your team know what they should be working on and what success looks like. This alone helps you move from being reactive to being proactive and accomplish the initiatives that will move the needle for the year. Make this the year you hit all of your established targets. If you received capital from an outside investor, it’s even more critical to do so.
I hope you found these tips useful, and good luck executing for a successful year. Please reach out if I can be of assistance and as always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts. - Alan
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