When creating a solid business plan, reverse engineering is a crucial part of the process. It’s fun and easy to sit and dream about what success looks like. Maybe for you, it’s regularly making a profit so you can wipe out your debts, or perhaps it’s about building a legacy? writes internationally acclaimed business coach and best selling author Suzzanne Laidlaw.
Your dream could be having a fully engaged team who have loads of enthusiasm and energy, and whom you trust entirely to run your business when you’re not there. Visioning what your optimal business looks like in the future is the exhilarating part of the business plan planning process and the greater your dream is, the more inspired you will be to reverse engineer the steps required to help you reach your end goal.
What happens next is sometimes not so easy; when all the nitty-gritty parts of your plan are identified. A sudden sense of overwhelm may creep in when you realise how many sales you need to generate to create regular profits. Or what training or development is required to take your business to the next level. That’s why breaking down your dreams into bite-size pieces – and having someone to help you implement your plan and hold you accountable – is invaluable. The below steps are crucial in reverse engineering your plan:
Identify your desired outcomes and goals
Starting with the key functional areas of your business – Marketing & Sales, Management, Operations and Financial – look at the outcomes you want to achieve in each area, and what gap you need to fill. These gaps become your goals, otherwise known as milestones (indicating that you are on the right track to achieving your outcomes).
As an example, if you would like to turn over $1 million in sales over the next 12 months, look at your Profit & Loss statement to see what your current monthly turnover is and then determine if it’s realistic to increase that revenue incrementally to reach that million-dollar target by the end of the 12 month period. If your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely (‘S.M.A.R.T.’), you’ll give yourself the best chances of achieving them.
Create strategies to bridge the gaps
Once you have your outcomes and goals set, then comes the creative part of figuring out what strategies you can implement that directly impact your results. If you want to receive 100 quality leads per month, then perhaps a strategy around this goal is to create an effective marketing plan that includes daily social media posts, sending out a newsletter once a month, using Google AdWords and doing a local mail drop. Those actions then need to be delegated to the appropriate person in your team, who can track and measure the results.
Changing and improving things regularly means that every small step adds up to big results. When you base your strategies and actions directly around the milestones or goals you want to achieve, you are in effect reverse engineering back to where you are at now – this is key!
Map out the time in your diary
One of the biggest roadblocks I see in business owners today is it that they don’t actually put the time aside in their diary to work on their strategies, so they don’t get any closer to achieving their goals and repeat the same cycle over and over. If you assign a set amount of time every single week and remain disciplined enough to use that time to work on the proactive strategies in your plan that will directly impact your results, then you’ll notice the reverse engineering process really starting to work. The actions involved are vital and accountability is paramount.
When my husband suffered a horrific burns accident and his fingers were close to being amputated, he questioned whether he’d ever be able to use them again. The doctor’s response was “If you do the exercises every single day there is a chance your fingers will recover, but if you don’t commit to doing the exercises then there’s definitely no chance.” Businesses are no different. The small increments along the way to achieving your vision of success need to be very specific and clear cut, and you need to be committed to spending the time required to follow through with each action.
Whenever you have something important you want to achieve, it all starts with your vision and a plan for achieving it. A strong vision and passion inside your heart will help you get through the tough times, igniting your enthusiasm to keep the momentum going. Knowing what you want to achieve in the future will help you to establish the roadmap that gets you there, meaning your business plan is geared towards guiding you to your ultimate success.
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