Will You Get What You Need From Your Business Next Year?

Here’s what you’ll find:

  • A powerfully different way to map out your coming year.
  • The important difference between Needs and Wants.
  • A four-step process to determine unsatisfied needs.
  • How to use this information to build your next year’s performance improvement plan.

This time of year, businesses face an important decision.

As an SBOM reader, I’m guessing you have a strong bias toward greater influence over your personal and business future.

I’ll also assume you’re willing to invest the time, focus and effort to map your business’ performance improvement for next year.

Here is a simple yet unusually powerful way to do this.

Needs versus Wants: A Big Difference

This is definitely not a semantic nicety.

Possessing razor sharp clarity on what you need from your business is like having a state-of-the-art navigation system to guide you in the day-to-day running of your business. It also gives your internal compass “true north” information, as you set annual and longer-term business goals and objectives.

It’s like mining your personal bedrock of pure motivational power.

It begins with an important distinction:

  • Need = a condition or situation in which something must be supplied for a certain condition to be maintained or a desired state to be achieved; something required, a requisite
  • Want = a strong feeling to have something; a wish to possess or do something; desire greatly

Abraham Maslow described it best when he published his landmark work on the Hierarchy of Needs:

Basic needs are said to motivate people when they are unmet. The need to fulfill such needs will become stronger the longer they are denied. For example, the longer a person goes without food the hungrier they will become.

(Learn more about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs here.)

This is also true for a business. If your company isn’t fulfilling your basic needs, no amount of setting big, hairy audacious goals will get the job done.

Ask these key questions:

  1. What do I need from my business?
  2. Are those needs currently satisfied and fulfilled?

Can you give an honest, unvarnished “yes” on the second question? If so, then focus on those growth-oriented “wants” goals in the various aspects of your business.

What if your answer is “no”? Then identify what basic needs are not satisfied, and look at what’s needed to build or improve your business to fulfill those needs.

A Simple Four-Step Process to Clarify Unfulfilled Needs in Your Business

·    Step One: List What You Need From Your Business

What were the reasons you started your company? They are the needs it must eventually satisfy to make your incalculable investment in time, money, emotion, energy, work, worry and hope worthwhile.

Here are some examples my clients have shared:

  • Enough consistent income to support a reasonable and comfortable lifestyle for me and my family
  • Career security, continuity and growth
  • Stable and predictable income
  • An engine of wealth creation over time
  • A reliable way to finance my children’s higher education
  • A respectful, trusting and collegial work environment
  • A place where my skills, knowledge, effort and contributions are acknowledged and rewarded
  • Avoid being downsized, right-sized, re-engineered or automated out of a job

This list could be considerably longer, but you get the idea. Maybe one or more of your reasons are mirrored in the list.

Write your list of reasons/needs for starting, investing in and running your business. Be specific. Say whatever is true and real for you, because no one else will ever see your list.

Next, score each reason/need on a 1-to-5 scale, where 5 is fully satisfied and 1 is completely unsatisfied.

You’ll be surprised at what you discover!

·    Step Two: How Would Your Business Look if it Satisfied All Your Needs

Write a description or draw a picture of what your business would be like if it fully satisfied all your needs.

What business functions would operate like a fine Swiss watch? How would your organization chart look? What would your people do? How would you monitor all aspects of your business’ performance? How would you ensure it continually acquired and served great customers? How would you be certain it was financially strong and solid?

·    Step Three: List the Needs Your Business Does Not Satisfy

If you’ve invested yourself fully in the first two steps, this one is easy.

Now you know what needs must be fulfilled by your business, and you’re equally clear about how it would look if all of these were met. That means you’re close to being able to influence the next calendar year— moving your business closer in reality to your picture in Step Two.

Go back to Step One and your scored list of reasons/needs. Which needs are scoring at 1 or 2?

This is the Needs Gap. Make those unfulfilled needs your planning targets and objectives for next year!

Use the Needs Gap as the “true north” compass to drive your Performance Improvement Plan for next year.

·    Step Four: Do The Six Questions Method of Performance Improvement Planning

Another SBOM section offers a detailed method of easily creating an actionable and usable Performance Improvement Plan for next year. It uses six sequential questions. Find it here.

If I’m right, you take your business seriously. Now’s the time to get started with the Four Step Process. Invest the time, intention and commitment to do this fun and illuminating work. It will not only increase your level of influence on 2016, but for years to come.

Key Points

  • Satisfying needs is a more powerful motivator than pursuing wants
  • Abraham Maslow noted that individuals (and businesses) must first have their needs met before doing anything else
  • The Four Step Process to illuminate the unsatisfied needs in your business is your guide to building a motivating performance improvement plan for next year
  • Keep your Needs Gap with you for review and battery charging
  • This process of needs-based business planning is straightforward and easy to involve your staff