|This article was published on: 07/01/2003|
Turbo-Charge Your Profits
Maximize profits and productivity by using these 21 proven strategies to turn around struggling businesses and kick even successful businesses into high gear.
BY CHRIS LEPORINI
Sometimes you need to slow down before you can speed ahead. TurboStrategy: 21 Powerful Ways to Transform Your Business and Boost Your Profits Quickly (AMACOM, 2003, $19.95), by prolific speaker and consultant Brian Tracy, reveals how taking the time to assess your business operations, workers, market conditions, and competition, can help you formulate a forward-looking plan to transform your business into a streamlined profit machine.
The book promises to help you turn around a lagging business or even help accelerate an already thriving business. It stresses the importance of flexibility, so sudden changes won't knock you off course. This is a timely message for the current real estate market; business is booming now, but have you prepared yourself for any eventuality?
You might feel as if pausing—even for a moment—will cause you to fall behind your competitors. But moving at breakneck speed without a plan can prove disastrous. The book cites a statistic from the American Management Association that a staggering 70 percent of managers’ business decisions are doomed to failure. Pulling over and mapping out where you are, and where you’re going, can help bypass these detours.
The book provides a soup-to-nuts approach to this process, with a 21-point plan designed to reinvest struggling businesses and boost already successful ones to the next level. Each chapter ends with a series of questions that crystallize what points you should remember after reading the main text. For instance, “Chapter 3: Conduct a Basic Business Analysis” asks you to define your competitive advantage, describe your business in terms of what you do for your customers and what results you produce, and determine which 20 percent of your activities generate 80 percent of the returns.
These points may seem elementary, but as the Tracy points out, many business owners still overlook them. He quotes Harold Geneen, the CEO who built ITT Industries Inc. into a major computer conglomerate: “Get the real facts. Not the apparent facts, the hoped-for facts, or the obvious facts. Get the real facts, based on analysis.”
This means focusing on the cold, hard numbers. What is your current sales level? What are you selling, at what price, to what customers, and with what level of profitability? Geneen believes that becoming trapped in doing the same old thing is a constant danger for business owners. He advocates “ zero-based” thinking, which basically means asking yourself, “If I weren’t doing this today, would I do it again, knowing what I know now?” Sometimes it’s more efficient just to tear a system down and start over from scratch, rather than trying to fix it.
Another key component of the book’s strategy is setting goals. How can you expect to succeed if you don’t even know what it is that you’re trying to achieve? This involves setting both quantitative business goals, as well as defining overall vision. Clarifying your goals is often simply a matter of restating them within a logical, structured framework. In “Chapter 4: Decide Exactly What You Want” Tracy outlines the “GOSPA Model,” which provides a template for strategic planning.
The GOSPA Model consists of five parts:
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