To be able to climb the steep ladder of success, it is necessary to fine tune your business. Irrespective of the nature, type or size of your business you need to prepare and nurture it in a specific way to be ready for success.
Abraham Lincoln once stated 'while others were enjoying their sleep I was busily climbing the ladder of success'. He was referring to his phenomenal success 'from a log cabin to white house'. Like Lincoln you too can prepare, ahead of others, to take your business to the pinnacle of success. And the top of the ladder of success being never crowded on reaching the top it is easy to stay there and excel.
The groundwork to reach business excellence starts with finding answers to a few questions. The important questions are;
A. Where my business is now?
B. Where I want it to be?
C. And how I am going to get it there?
To probe what stage your business is now compare your business with the competing businesses. What is your business's market niche, the popularity, the size of customer base, current performance, turnover and profits are some of the comparable indicators. These indicators will help to indentify the current position of your business. For example if yours is a website business you can use indicators such as its search engine position, Google page rank, traffic status, incoming links etc to ascertain where your business is now.
Next step will be to evaluate the weaknesses and strengths of your business to understand it better. Then you can determine ways and means to convert the weaknesses to strengths. Business strengths will lead to opportunities.
This analysis will also reveal to you the threats to you business as well. A plan of action will help to deal with threats. Threats are challenges that test your strengths to the fullest.
On identifying weaknesses too work out a plan on how to convert weaknesses to strengths. More strength and fewer weaknesses will provide you with more opportunities.
As a useful step of this exercise you can benchmark your business with the best practices of businesses that excel. The factors such as customer loyalty and retention, product/service features and quality, business image, on time delivery, after sale service, marketing capability etc., can be benchmarked. It is useful to compare your current performance in each operational activity with the best practices and try to narrow the gaps.
The top businesses excel because of their best practices. Some of your business practices may be above or below theirs. Learn what others do better in business and make improvements to your business practices. Accordingly, make plans and implement what you need to improve to excel. It benefits you to follow those who have already reached the top.
Next your focus should be to find answer to the question 'where I want my business to be? It refers to the Vision of your business that states where you want the business to be. Your business needs a carefully thought out Vision. 'To reach the number one position in its line of business in five years time' is an example of a Vision. Decide on a Vision to aim at for business excellence. A Vision has a definite time deadline. The Vision is really a 'Dream with a Deadline'. And you need to make and follow a strategic plan to reach it.
Our final question 'how you are going to get there' relates to the Mission of your business. A business needs a Mission to take it towards its Vision. A Mission Statement should reflect your business purpose. For example a successful apparel company had as its mission 'Clothing the world in style'. Your business too can have such a rhythmic Mission Statement to constantly remind, motivate and push you and your staff toward business excellence.