Success for 2007 - how to assure it!

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Published on 1/22/07

How do you measure success? This is the question asked by one marketing consultant at the beginning of the new year. It is a great question and the answer depends on your definition of "success."

No matter what your definition, it must be expressed in units or numbers in order to be measured. This can take the form, for example, of a given number of dollars or percentage of increase of revenue, number of prospects contacted or number of hours devoted to marketing efforts.

The unit of measurement generally must be expressed in a number format, an objective standard. Expressing "success" in relative terms such as "more revenue" or "better marketing" sets a subjective standard that is difficult to discuss, let alone measure. The subjective standard falls into the category of beauty: "I know it when I see it," but someone else may see it differently.

The marketing consultant I mention listed 15 measures that he looked at in order to determine success. In reviewing them, I combined these measures into specific categories that I believe are more meaningful in such a discussion.

He first talked about "goals." In other words, did you have goals for the year, did you measure against those goals and did you achieve those goals? Did you have a plan for last year? Do you have a plan for this year?

The next category can be termed as "look back." What worked well for you last year and what can you learn from last year that can be applied to this year?

The following category focuses on "systems." How can you systematize your practice to make it more efficient? How can you create a methodology that can be implemented time after time, without deviation, like manufacturing a product? The more you are able to do this, the more effective and efficient your practice will be, and, the more value you will create for both the client and for yourself.

The next category is "professional learning." What can you do to enhance and expand your skills and those of your staff? Increased skills, along with increased efficiency, will assure greater profits. Along with "knowledge management," this will go a long way to assure business succession and longevity.

As you might imagine, there is a category called "forward looking." The question is: What three things can you do that will have the greatest impact on your practice this year (2007)? After prioritizing this list, what can you do to make these three things occur?

The logical next focus is "accountability." Ask yourself the question: "Who will make sure that I am accountable? Will it be my partners, my staff, my spouse ... or my coach?"

And the following question, perhaps the most important, concludes this list: "Am I committed to my own success?" For a number of clients with whom I've worked over the years, this final question became critical. If the level of one's success is measured by increased revenue, the extra work and effort this requires reflects my mother's saying of many years ago: "Be careful what you ask for - you just might get it!" Be sure that "success" is what you want, that you are willing to do what is required to reach the level of success you envision and are prepared to accept this success. It will come; you just have to want it and be willing to commit yourself to the process to get it.

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