I started doing something I call “The Whiteboard Workshop” a few years back.
The premise is simple: I come into your office with a few challenges or opportunities that you are dealing with and an empty whiteboard.
Over the course of a day, maybe two, we create a map forward for your business filled with goals, objectives, strategies, and actions.
When I first started doing these things, I didn’t realize how transformative they were for businesses, but as I’ve done more and more of them, the impact on the businesses I’ve worked with is profound.
Here are my Top 3 lessons from working with a number of businesses on “The Whiteboard Workshop”:
1. Strategy is all about simplification:
If I can only achieve one thing during the course of my work, it is that we have simplified what a business is dealing with.
Businesses fall into the trap of many:
- Many ideas
- Many opportunities
- Many possible courses of action
The challenge almost universally is that due to the number of things that can happen, nothing happens.
You get frozen by the buffet of choice.
Barack Obama said something that the reason he basically wore the same outfit every day after a while as president was that you can only make so many decisions in a day so you need to simplify the unimportant decisions to make certain that you are doing the important things.
This is what strategy is all about, getting rid of the unimportant to be able to have the bandwidth to think about the important.
So the first, and, maybe, the most important thing for small businesses is to simplify.
2. Your business likely has a theme, a core:
I’ve been out talking about revenue generation and growth for years now.
Y’all that have been following me for a while are likely tired of hearing about. I doubt it.
But every business has a core, a competency that differentiates them from everyone else.
Where businesses fail is when they think their core is that they can be everything to everyone.
Even as a generalist, like me, I’m still focused on one specific thing more than others: revenue.
Your job is to get the core of your business on the table so that you can let that core shine and become the point of differentiation for your business.
3. Goals, deadlines, and accountability are essential for forward progress:
At a certain point, you get comfortable with your business.
This is everyone.
We get stuck in a rut.
Or, we have patterns that developed.
Whatever that might be, we stop working on our business as much as we are working in our business.
This happens to everyone.
And, one of the key lessons from my workshops has been that goal setting is a powerful tool to move a business forward.
Because you don’t really have a direction if you aren’t setting goals.
You might have an idea for what you want to achieve, but you aren’t likely focusing your attention on it if you aren’t thinking goals and how to achieve them.
Along with goals, you need deadlines.
Deadlines are important due to the fact that they offer a sense of urgency to your endeavor.
If I set a goal, say to run a marathon and I pick the race, that’s a pretty clear goal and deadline for me. I’ll either succeed or fail.
Most importantly, the result will be clear.
This result is key…because if you set a goal and a deadline, you are accountable for achieving it.
Maybe only to yourself.
In the case of the marathon, you might train and mention it to a few friends. If you finish it, they’ll think you are a rock star. If you fail, they’ll give you the teenage eye roll next time you say you are going to do something like this.
Because you didn’t follow through.
The same happens in business.
You might only be accountable to yourself, but you have to be accountable to someone. Maybe me, maybe a business partner, maybe your family, but you need goals, deadlines, and accountability.
That makes your business move forward.
These are the three biggest takeaways from working on “The Whiteboard Workshop” with a number of businesses.
Do you see your business in this description?
You want to take your team through “The Whiteboard Workshop”? Send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s discuss what you want to do to move your business forward.