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Posted: March 31, 2009

Are you on plan?

Q1 is almost behind us — are you accomplishing all that you want to?

Theresa M. Szczurek

The CEO of one firm said to me, "We have seen our business drop about 75 percent from where it was last year at this time." Another CEO commented, "Our sales are down 20 percent. Most of our competition is down 35 percent." Both of these companies are in discussions with us to get help in developing a strategic plan and evaluating their sales force.  What about you? 

Was Q1 all YOU planned? Are you tracking progress against clearly defined metrics? You do have a plan, right?

In case you haven’t noticed, spring is in the air. In arid Colorado you can tell by the 16 inches of wet snow we got last week to replenish the water supply.

It also means that the first quarter of 2009 is almost behind us. Time flies — whether you're accomplishing what you want or not.

If you have a plan, ask yourself how things are going in pursuing your purpose. Be honest and assess progress. If you are on plan, pat yourself and your team on your back. Recognize and reward.

Assess and Adjust

If you are not on plan, you are not alone. Now is the time to ask tough questions and take appropriate action. Many firms have cut expenses as much as they can. The next step is taking necessary action to build the top revenue line. Determining appropriate initiatives takes strategic thinking. Once they’re in place dive in and embark on them.

Here are five practical pointers to make the needed adjustments:
• Envision the optimal outcome. What strategies will help you get there?
• Analyze. Determine what adjustments to make by looking at the current situation and comparing it to your where you want to be.
• Broaden. Take hold of a bigger purpose. There may be other product or market segments where you can find opportunity.
• Divide and conquer. Take on a big goal by splitting it into smaller chunks. What do you need to do “a day at a time?” Focus and finish one piece at a time, allowing that progress to replenish your energy.
• Reaffirm and execute. Establish mid-course corrections, commit to them with courage, and take the necessary action.

If you do not have a plan, there is no better time than now to create a good one. Especially in a storm, you do not want to be a ship lost at sea without a rudder. Without a plan you may actually sink. That is why one of the seven actions needed to survive and thrive in a recession is: Develop a good plan and act on it. Companies with a written plan outperform those without one. A good plan depends on a core ideology to provide guidance and direction.

Now is the best time to define your core and craft your strategic plan. Make sure it includes a sales assessment and plan. Then execute it. Don't wait.

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Theresa M. Szczurek, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Radish Systems, is a serial technology entrepreneur. The story of her last start-up, which sold for more than $40 million in less than six years, is included, along with her strategies for success, in the Amazon-bestseller Pursuit of Passionate Purpose: Success Strategies for a Rewarding Personal and Business Life. www.RadishSystems.com, www.radishsprouts.typepad.com and @TheresaSzczurek on twitter.

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