Be like a successful sports team and use halftime to review your game plan and drive second half performance

It’s August and hard to believe that the year is more than halfway over. Now is the time to review how you’ve been doing and what it takes to achieve, or even exceed, your goals for this year. In the sports world this is halftime, and we can adjust our game plan. (See the February 2011 issue of Turf)

How do I do this and where? The best way to do that successfully is to arrange for some breathing space away from the daily business distraction. This does not have to be expensive. Create a summer retreat for yourself where you get to reflect and review on the past, as well as envision and plan for the second half of the year.

How much time should you take? At the very least a couple of hours to half a day, or preferably all day if you can. Remember, this is an investment in your business.

Relax, think, envision

Take yourself to the beach, the park or your favorite cafe. The only “rule” is that you should pick a place that puts you in a good mood and where you will enjoy spending a few hours. Remember to get out of the office. Be sure to bring your business plans, current profit and loss statement, goals and objectives along with the marketing plans you created earlier this year, pens, a notebook, your iPad, your favorite beverage and some food. What you should leave behind is your cell phone, pager, BlackBerry, strawberry or any devices that will interrupt “your” time. The world will survive if you take this time!

Once you’ve settled in, take a couple of minutes and enjoy the surroundings, then start reviewing the last six months. Remember, you have the ability to make changes for the rest of the year.

You can begin by asking yourself a few general questions to get a sense of how things have been going. Are you happy with what you’ve accomplished so far?

If you are pleased with the results you see, great. Continue to focus on the things that have been working well for your business and plan on more activities that have taken you to where you are today. Success breeds success.

Get back on track

If you’re not pleased with the results you see so far, or are even disappointed, now is your time to make the changes that will get you back on track.

Take out your goals and objectives and other planning tools that you created to plan for this year, which you should have completed back in December or January. If you did not complete your goals and objectives, take some time now – a half-hour or hour – and reflect on what you wanted to accomplish this year and write it down. Seeing them in writing reinforces the goal.

Then, go over each of the points and compare where you are now with where you were projecting to be at the end of the year. Are you on track? Have you accomplished what you planned?

Or, are you behind? It’s OK, just as long as you know where you are and have a plan for recovery. Remember, they are your goals and can be changed as needed. Don’t beat yourself up with the would haves and should haves, as that won’t get you anywhere. As Sgt. Joe Friday would say, “Just the facts.” Only the facts matter.

Now it’s time to get down to business.

Consider where you are now; decide where you want your business to be by New Year’s Eve. Make a detailed list and think about what it will take to get there:

  • How far do you have to go, and how are you going to get there?
  • In which areas are you on track, and in which ones do you have a lot of catching up to do?
  • How are you doing in terms of revenue, profit? Are you on track, or are you falling short?
  • Do you need more customers, or do you need to adjust your pricing or reduce your expenses?
  • Are you working too many hours?
  • Are you working too much in the business versus working on the business?
  • Do you have a solid business plan, or are you making it up as you go along?
  • How can you improve things?

Go down your list of goals and figure out what areas need more work, and where you’re doing just fine. Then make a plan and schedule specific and tractable activities that will get you on the fast track to accomplishing your goals.

If you want a different result than what you have, now is the time to make changes. Remember, if you are doing the same thing every day, you will get the same results every day.

To finish your planning session, write a note to yourself a year from now, projecting what you will have accomplished by then.

Finally, pat yourself on the back and treat yourself to a nice lunch or dinner before you head back to work. You have made a tremendous investment in your business today and you should feel good!

Have a great second half!

With more than 30 years of experience in franchising, sales and business operations, Paul Wolbert knows franchising like the back of his hand. He helps potential new franchisees make their decision to come into the market, and his in-depth knowledge of the green industry allows him to keep the U.S. Lawns marketing plan on target for franchisees’ growth and for all divisions of U.S. Lawn’s business to thrive in any economy. He has helped build the U.S. Lawn business to where it is today.