History is punctuated by the names of great explorers; we all know Columbus, Amundsen and Armstrong. But for every Leif Erikson, Marco Polo and David Livingstone who struck out on a journey of discovery, there were many more people who were happy to stay exactly where they were. We don't know those people's names.
And it's the same in the business world. We don't know Richard Branson's name just because he's super-rich; we know Branson because he became super-rich pushing boundaries.
Whatever business you are in, whatever its size, you can take it on a journey to glory. You just need to plot the right course. Here's how you do it:
Plot a graph with four quadrants (a big cross), where the vertical axis goes from same amount of profit/output to greater amount of profit/output, and the horizontal axis goes from doing same stuff, to doing different stuff.
Then imagine this graph is a map. In which direction are you going to take your business?
Bottom left: You get similar results for doing similar activity
In this quadrant, you continue to do the same work and achieve the same profits. You're coasting around in familiar territory, pretty much going nowhere. Boring.
Bottom right: Similar results but doing things differently
Moving into this quadrant means that you've recognised the need for innovation, but you're merely achieving similar results with different activity. While you're trying new ideas and you're releasing new products and services, you're not committed to a clear direction.
It's easy to feel satisfied here - it can feel like a good place to be - but you're not realising your potential. If this is where you find yourself, a proper business plan will help you navigate towards a more challenging venture. But remember that plotting a new course isn't where the hard work ends. Your plan requires consistent attention and regular reviews. Ensure that trying something new doesn't result in replacing the things that are working and bringing you profit; you're looking for additional not just different.
Top left: Better results with similar activity
If you're in this next quadrant, your output has started to increase. Perhaps more leads have poured in and your business now has lots of new customers. It's likely that you're working harder in order to keep up.
If you're here, you need to focus on how to systemise. Create processes to streamline, automate or delegate, so you can move on to opening new channels, products and markets.
Top right: Different activity and better results
This is where the great entrepreneurial explorers head for. Here, not only are you seeing your profits and results increasing, but you're also changing the way you do business. It's a wonderful combination of both increasing your impact, and having fun while you're doing it.
At an SME level, this might be about building a marketing funnel; choosing your niche; creating inbound marketing strategies; or developing a clear sales process. These are changes where you are systemising and moving forward with your business. If combined with increasing profits, then it is a clear indication that you are stretching and progressing.
Whatever your business, be an explorer. Stretch yourself and your ambitions. Try different and exciting things, but also keep an eye on your output to ensure you are progressing in both impact and profit. Who knows where well-planned expeditions will take you?
After all, Columbus thought he was going to India.
Sponsored post. Copyright © 2017 Shweta Jhajharia, principal coach and founder of The London Coaching Group.