This is one of my favorite stories: Three frogs are sitting on a log in a swamp. One decided to jump in. How many frogs are left on the log?

Nope, there are still three. There’s a difference between deciding and doing, and until you execute, all decisions are just plain-old intentions. Doing is harder. It takes a plan, and a commitment to that plan. “I believe, I support, I approve” are all just weasel words unless they’re connected with action.

And this time of year is a perfect time to decide what actions you will take toward ensuring your company’s growth in the coming year. There are many options:

  • build a strong sales team
  • target a market
  • streamline processes

The key is deciding which is right for you and your company. I want to build on this concept by adding a few other weapons to your arsenal of action planning and doing, do you can decide which makes the best sense for your business and its goals. You already know that doing comes as a direct result of meticulous planning, tenacity, clarity of vision and determination, patience and commitment, but it’s still the tip of the iceberg.

Here are three items to consider to ensure solid success strategies:

1. Make processes efficient

I’ve said this before and it’s worth another mention – be fanatical in evaluating how you do things, why you do them, and in making improvements wherever possible. If your company culture is all about doing things better and more efficiently, your company will survive and thrive, and so will your employees.

2. Encourage innovation

Time and again I’ve seen great suggestions ignored or underplayed because the time isn’t right, the money wasn’t available, or the skillsets within the company were non-existent. Develop a “not now” mentality – it’s far more productive than “no” and leaves the door open for ingenuity and further examination at a later time. There always are plenty of reasons NOT to do something, and it you look close enough, an equal number of reasons that the idea in question is not only worth doing, but worth doing right now.

I’m not referring to excessive optimism, which can crash a company just as often as it can raise a company to its next level. It’s about discernment – do your homework and then be discerning about if, why and when a new idea is viable, and communicate this reasoning down through the organization to encourage future innovation. Hands down the best ideas more often come from inside than from outside, so create a system or plan of action that keeps that spirit alive and well within your company.

3. Adopt good operating practices

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are myriad of sources to inform and to provide you with the best industry practices, but the real trick is to understand how each of these fit into your overall objectives and goals. You’re bound to come across a few outstanding ideas, but before you act, think and ask yourself a few questions:

Is this realistic? Unless it solves a problem without creating another, walk away from the idea while you can do it unharmed.
Does it generate value at low cost or with little risk? Unless the answer is yes and yes, check the fine print on the idea and re-evaluate the down and up-sides.
What are the weaknesses or vulnerabilities in this idea? Every idea has them, and the two most obvious are poor general management, which will cause any great idea to fail, and weakness in the idea itself, which will generate the same result, so it’s best if you understand what these are and how they will affect the intricate management and workings within your company before you launch.
Will this practice work within this company? Generally, you want to know that the context from which the practice is derived is comparable to the context in which the practice will be applied within your company. If it passes that sniff-test alone, it is worth further investigation. Do your best not to fall victim to “excessive optimism” while still in your research stage.
Invest in your people and in your community: It’s just good business.

Finally, sit down with your management team, map it all out in terms of time, cost, function and more, assign benchmarks and timeframes, and most important, put someone in charge and make everyone accountable for doing, rather than just deciding or intending. Only then can you attain the success strategies you want.

At the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce we work together to address any concerns you as a business owner may have. From better marketing skills to how to deal with employee issues, we’ve got you covered! Reach out today to become a member of the Chamber, grow your business, make connections and support the local community!

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