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Posted: May 25, 2011

The halfway point: Break out of your rut

It's all about developing the right business habits

Larry Turner

We are just about half way through the year, a good time to reflect on your progress to goals set in January. Early in the year, I spoke with a number of business owners who were looking to change what they did on a daily basis to break out of the sales rut they got in during the recession.

Many of these business owners had drastically cut back on sales and marketing, which made it difficult for them to identify ways to start growing revenue on their own. During the early part of our relationship, we identified areas to communicate with current clients, prospects and networking partners. The plans we developed were action based to provide an easy check list of those things their organization should be doing on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

Now that we are almost done with the first half, it's a good time to reflect on progress made against your goals. Are you on track? If not, why not? Did you set the right action items early in the year, or do you need to made some modifications? Did you execute your action plan?

The largest area I see with businesses is they may have great plans, but are terrible at execution. To break out of the sales rut, you must make changes to your business activities. It is no different than changing a personal habit. A number of months ago, I decided to start exercising and get in shape before an appointment with my doctor. I did not want to get lectured on my weight, cholesterol or blood pressure (all the areas we hear about as we get older), so I decided to make a drastic change to my lifestyle.

I started an extreme exercise program called P90X - many of you may have seen the ads on television or even use the program. I started on a Friday morning, and the first day is a program with works the chest and back - an hour of pushups and pull ups! I worked muscles that I hadn't exercised in years so hard that I couldn't raise my hands high enough to wash my hair in the shower. The next day I was so sore, but determined to keep up the program so I did the next round of exercises...plyometrics, an hour of high impact aerobic jump training. I spent the next five days in pain every time I tried to sit down or stand up.

I finished the program and felt great, but it required me to work muscles I had not used in years and determination to keep it going. They say it takes 21 days to start a new habit. I am not sure what the exact period of time is, but I found that after a couple weeks, I missed the program if I couldn't work out. It was a change in my lifestyle that took dedication and focused effort.

Changing a habit in your business is much the same. Too many businesses develop great plans only to fall back into the old habit, and expecting a different result. Albert Einstein said it best with his definition of insanity: "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Develop the actions that will allow you to break out of your sales rut and then execute.

Execution may require a business lifestyle change and using business muscles that you have not used in years. Have a focused determination to implement your plan every day and keep track of how those activities have been going. Only by making the new actions a regular habit will you break out of your old routine and start making the positive changes in your business.

What do you think? Share with us your thought on experiences as it relates to making positive change in your business.

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Larry Turner is CEO of Roundhouse Advisors, Inc. and has over 25 years experience growing, starting up, repositioning, and revitalizing organizations. Roundhouse Advisors is a consulting practice focused on helping businesses increase enterprise value by managing pain, growth and owner exits. Larry is a consultant, public speaker, and the author of two books "Owner Exit Planning: Leave On Your Own Terms" and "Mapping Your Recovery: Grow sales in difficult times". For additional information visit www.RoundhouseAdvisors.com

"Mapping Your Recovery: Grow sales in difficult times" provides additional information on areas that can positively impact your company www.roundhouseadvisors.com/growsalesbook

 

Larry Turner is CEO of Roundhouse Advisors, Inc. and has over 25 years experience growing, starting up, repositioning, and revitalizing organizations.  Roundhouse Advisors is a consulting practice focused on helping businesses increase enterprise value by managing pain, growth and owner exits.  Larry is a consultant, public speaker, and the author of “Owner Exit Planning: Leave On Your Own Terms." For additional information visit www.RoundhouseAdvisors.com

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Readers Respond

Good article, Larry. In my career, I've witnessed a couple of organizations go to the trouble to set goals at the beginning of the year, only to never periodically check progress to see if changes had "sunk in." In one case, the company missed its mark by so much, they discounted the whole twelve months as an aberration. Old habits die hard. By Tony Peccolo on 2011 05 26
Simple concept but so tough to follow consistently, thanks for the insight, Larry. By Bill Santos on 2011 05 26
As always, Larry, a great article. The changes you helped me make in our business are already paying off through some increased product sales and other revenue. We truly appreciate your coaching! By John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC on 2011 05 26

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