To be effective your business strategy must be put into action. In our high tech world your whiteboard is still one of the best tools to ensure that your business strategy is followed. It will hold you accountable, reduce your uncertainty, and maximize your focus on what’s important. Nothing will help you stay on track to meet your goals better than a whiteboard.
My wife Dawn and I regularly meet with people who have a clear business strategy and have set incredible goals, but they tend to get off track. They have a big picture idea but haven’t put together all the little pieces that help them achieve their desired results. I’ve developed a unique way of white-boarding an entire business. This is often the key to turning our clients’ business around and propelling it forward. There’s a lot involved in teaching you how to whiteboard your way to success, but I’ll share a few of our best tips here. In order to get the most out of this information, you need two things in place:
1. Set goals & create a business strategy
The first priority is to develop a clear business strategy and set goals for your business. Get them on paper, be specific, and set deadlines for each one. A goal without a deadline is a fantasy. How much money do you want to make this year? Consider your desired net profit, not gross. Remember that setting a goal is making an agreement with yourself. Just as it’s important to keep your word to someone else, you’ve also got to keep your word to yourself.
2. Assess viability
When you look at your desired income, carefully assess whether it’s doable. We once coached a client whose company sold a high-end product with a long selling cycle. In order to sell, she had to educate people over a period of time about the advantages of her product. The company had set an overall goal for her to hit. There strategy for attaining this goal was credible. However, when we crunched the numbers, based on how much profit there was per unit, and how many units must be sold to reach her goal, we learned that it was an impossible number. There just weren’t enough hours in the day, and days in the month, for that goal to be attainable. It’s important to set goals that make you stretch, but they must be doable.
Let’s say you want to make $5000 a month. If you have a product that gives you $250 in commission, you need to sell twenty to reach your goal. It’s also important to determine the length of the sales cycle. A widget is simple to sell and has a short sales cycle. If your product requires educating potential buyers, it will be longer. Higher end products tend to require more education to sell, so consider how much time you have.
If you’re in direct sales, you’re working with a two-pronged approach. You’re not just setting goals for your product, but also for how many team members you want to bring in. It’s wise to determine how many team members you want to add in a year, then break it down month by month.
How to use your whiteboard to implement your business strategy
I developed this system using whiteboards back when I was a football coach. I would break down break big projects and goals into small, bite-sized pieces. As I viewed them written on whiteboards I could clearly see the process required, where we were in the process and what we needed to do next.
Here’s an example of my method: Let’s say you’ve set a goal to do 20 sales presentations per month. Set up a whiteboard with twenty lines. Record a list of the names of all your leads either with CRM software or a legal pad. Place prospects names and phone numbers on the whiteboard once they have seen your sales presentation. Record each time you follow up. As your leads convert to sales, place them on a second whiteboard and watch it fill up. This is exciting and builds confidence. It also keeps you on track: if you’re halfway through the month and your board isn’t half full, you realize you need to push harder. The whiteboard doesn’t lie or make excuses, and it holds you accountable to your business strategy.
The walls of my office are covered with whiteboards filled with lists of people. Once I have done a sales presentation I place that person’s name on the appropriate whiteboard. This reminds me who to follow up with. Information doesn’t get lost. Quality leads can slip like sand through your fingers because you have an assortment of business cards in a drawer or file, where you can’t see them. Try using a whiteboard to organize that information and keep those names in your face all the time.
Benefits of working from whiteboards
1.You SEE it.
Perhaps you are using a CRM software like Sales Force to organize and followup with leads. That’s great. I also use this but have found that seeing prospects names on the wall creates urgency. According to Dr. Gail Matthews you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down regularly. Too often what is in the lap top, stays in the lap top. A whiteboard is a constant reminder of what has been done and the activities that need to be executed.
Let’s say you wanted to do twenty sales presentations in January, but you only did ten. Beating yourself up over the shortage is not going to help you. So you reset and go again, and in February maybe you only do fifteen but that’s okay: it’s more than you did in January. Keep yourself in the game. Analyze every month with a yes or no question: did I talk to enough people to sell enough to meet my goals for the month?
2. It reduces your worry.
You never feel uncertain about what to do today, because it’s on the whiteboard. As soon as you walk in your office, there it is! You know what you have to do. It reduces stress on you as far as what you’re doing each day.
3. It lowers your reliance on others.
The whiteboard holds you accountable. Every day, it’s staring you in the face, reminding you of what to do and who to call.
4. It helps you focus on what’s important.
Steady focus is critical. Too often, we’re not working in our highest income producing areas. We have to do the things that create the greatest growth in our business, rather than being busy without being productive. Whiteboards help you hone in on what’s important and give you razor sharp focus.
Finding a method to develop steady focus is especially important because life can be so distracting. Responsibilities outside of work, commitments to family and friends, event vacations can throw us off track. Your whiteboard can quickly help you find your way back.
5. It never lies
Accurately recording your daily activities provides a clear picture to see the progress of your business strategy. This information is invaluable for assessing the possible need to tweak business plans and avoid issues that may develop by engaging in unproductive business strategies.
There is one downside of learning how to whiteboard your way to success: it’s tough to set it up by yourself. For a free fifteen minute consultation, call Joe at (407) 947-2590, and he’ll discuss how he can help you whiteboard your business and not miss opportunities.
You probably have set goals this year that are higher than last year’s. But you cannot achieve a higher goal by doing the same thing you’ve always done. Call Joe to get fresh, expert eyes on your business and learn the power of the whiteboard!
Joe Pici is ranked in the top 30 sales trainers internationally by Global Gurus. Connect with him on LinkedIn