To improve business performance:

Define the Present and Future. Use outside resources to create a picture of the organization’s current state and future, related to market trends.
Pick a Few Well-Defined Goals. Prioritize one to five goals.
Create a Plan. Detail the time it covers, actions, responsibilities, resources, and specific outcomes.
Get the Right People on the Job. Fit the best people to responsibilities.
Monitor Activities and Results. Use a system that gives feedback and forecasts against budgets and timeframes.
Five Strategies of Business Performance
Let’s take a deeper look at how to use each of these five strategies.

1. Define the Present and Future
To improve performance, you’ll need to understand the business’s current performance and future potential using tools and resources such as the following. A SWOT analysis reveals the weaknesses and strengths of the business—as well as threats and opportunities. A benchmarking analysis compares your business’s performance against similar businesses. Market research and trend analyses look at large-scale business data to discover how to better serve your customers. Finally, a consultant could help you create a new business model taking trends and other data into account.

2. Pick a Few Well-Defined Goals
Usually, a business with more than five major goals won’t be able to focus enough resources on any one of them to accomplish it well. To make your business more efficient, pick only three to five goals. Make them specific, measurable, achievable, relevant (improving your business), and attached to a deadline. Finally, put them in order of priority, because it’s efficient to focus on some goals before others, rather than trying to do all of them at once. Some are more urgent, and some can only be achieved with a methodical, long-term plan.

3. Create a Plan
To move toward achieving your goals, you’ll need to create a plan composed of the following elements. First, list the necessary actions and tasks in detail. Next, define a length of time for each, with start and end dates. Next, list personnel who are responsible for the completion of each task. Also, list all the staff, supplies, and other resources needed—including budget. Finally, define the desired result of each task and how it will be measured.

4. Get the Right People on the Job
Your success will be based on having the best people for each task in place. You’ll also need to build a culture that supports the kind of people the plan needs and which encourages them to collaborate. Besides getting to know your staff well enough to fit them in the best tasks, your HR department should also hire people who are a good fit for your culture from the beginning. You should also hire personnel who are excited about being mentored; if they’re willing to be coached to improve their individual performance, they’ll be better equipped to improve overall business performance.

5. Monitor Activities and Results
Finally, you’ll need to monitor the progress and results of tasks using the measurement criteria you defined in the “Create a Plan” step. Some simple tasks may be measured as simply “completed” or “not completed.” But you’ll measure major goals with numbers, such as a percentage increase in profit. You can also increase productivity by setting milestones on the way to each goal that help employees track how well the plan is progressing. With this concrete feedback, you can search for ways to increase the business’s efficiency at turning resources into outputs.

Technology such as Kimble software can automate some of these tasks for any consulting, professional services, or other business that bills for project-based work. It can compile performance data and output a visual representation of progress toward goals. It can forecast completion of goals by including projected sales from your CRM. And managers can

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