Posted: 10:40 a.m. Tuesday, March 26, 2013
By Tom Searcy
The end of the first quarter is the perfect time to evaluate where your business stands. Here's why it might pay to take a page out of the government's playbook.
It's the end of the first quarter. How did you do? Are your revenues, profits and cash flow what you predicted? What about your spending? How about the sales pipeline?
The U.S government is on a forced diet of about $85 billion in annual spend as of March 1, 2013. Skip the politics of the issue for the moment and focus on the basics of what the sequester is—a triggering event that created a forced adjustment in spending.
Could your business benefit from a sequester? The end of your first quarter gives you an opportunity to re-calibrate your plan for the year.
Let's see where you stand on your business practices. Answer these few questions, Yes or No.
If you answered "No" to more than one of the above, it is my recommendation that you establish a plan. Too often I see companies that make decisions based upon the latest set of data without considering a long-term plan. This kneejerk reaction wears out your people and diminishes their confidence since it appears that you are reacting to the world rather than following a path. (By the way, the same is true for your bankers, suppliers, and potentially your customers.) It is better to have a model that clearly lays out which triggering levels of performance will cause you to change course rather than making every budget-evaluation period a surprise party that sets everybody scrambling.
What to do:
Products run hot and we scramble. Sales go cold and we scramble. I see many companies who have become world-class scramblers. Become a world-class planner and you will scramble a lot less often.