Use Critical Success Factors for Small Business Planning

As a small business planning firm a tool that we found invaluable in assisting a small business owner to ferret out the initiatives that will truly be beneficial to them is to identify a business’ Critical Success Factors. In the blog How to Use Your Small Business’ Limited Resources Wisely I discuss the fact that with regards to new initiatives, projects or tasks which a small business is contemplating it must consider that it has limited resources in the form of its time, money and talent. I covered the fact that these are limited in both the total amount which can be spent as well as the timing of the expenditure.

In this prior blog I shared how one of our clients narrowed down their potential action item list from 20 tasks to 7 in only two Small Business Planningshort hours. We were able to do this narrowing process quickly and avoid spending the six hours that an exercise like this normally takes because of a special tool that we use to assist clients to focus on initiatives that provide it with the largest and most immediate payback.

While there is a dearth of simple, easy to use tools in conjunction of making a go or no go decisions on various undertakings, the use of Critical Success Factors is a tremendously valuable tool that can assist you with this decision making process.

Critical Success Factors are the items or actions that a business must achieve in order to reach its Vision and fulfill its mission. This means that your Critical Success Factors are the things that will either make or break your small business. This has serious implications: the identification of and realization of your business’s Critical Success Factors will ultimately determine the destiny of your business!

According to a Dun & Bradstreet study, 96% of businesses in America that fail, fail because they don’t make the right decisions nor do they have the criteria to make the right decisions. The criteria for making the right decisions for your small business are your business’s Critical Success Factors. Noted author and speaker Tony Robbins has said that “one reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power.” Your Critical Success Factors are the things on which you need to direct your focus and on which to concentrate your power for your business!

Critical Success Factors is a Foundational Tool for Small Business Planning

Small Business PlanningIn working with many, many clients over my lifetime I have seen that many small business owners view the development of a detailed (not just a general “we’ll figure it out as we go” type document) business strategy document or strategic plan as a daunting and overwhelming task. By using a Critical Success Factor approach to create your strategy, you are able to produce a workable and executable plan in small, easily accomplished steps as compared to creating a strategic plan from scratch. Remember the old saying: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

As we have discussed, the reason that determining your small business’s Critical Success Factors is so very important is because every business has limited resources—limited time, limited money, and limited talent. Therefore, a small business must focus and channel its effort into the most important areas for that business. Utilization of a Critical Success Factors methodology will allow you to properly deploy your business’s resources in ways that are focused on

In my next small business planning blog, I will discuss how you utilize your Critical Success Factors as a decision making tool within your business.


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