Building a successful business is like climbing a ladder – every rung you climb takes you closer to the top.  But that ladder can look like a very long one, stretching out up to the sky, and bringing you out above the clouds.  Without planning your climb, it’s easy to understand why so few people make it to the top.  Some barely ever make it off the bottom rung.  Most hang on for dear life somewhere around the middle – either happy that their view is better than most, or desperate to move towards the top, but too scared to step up to the next rung in case they fall.  For those who make it all the way to the top, however, the view is amazing.

Read on to find out a bit more about the idea of the ladder of success, and how this translates for your own business.

The bottom of the ladder

Some people never get time to climb the ladder.  If you’re spending all of your time firefighting and focussing on the here and now of your business, this is where you probably find yourself.  If you haven’t planned your climb up the ladder, you’re never really going to take your business to the top.

The top rung dream

It’s all very well dreaming about the view from the top rung, imagining what you can see and how life will be once you get there, but dreams need a plan behind them if you’re actually going to see them come to fruition.

Climbing the ladder

If you’re actually going to make it all the way, you need to have that vision of the view from the top rung, because that’s what will motivate you.  And you need to start at the bottom as the sort of person who can get stuff done, because that’s a necessary part of business.  What makes the difference is planning how you’re going to make the climb.  Planning your climb will allow you to step up every rung on that ladder

The ability to plan WHO does WHAT and WHEN is critical to reaching the heights of true business success.  So you need to start planning.  You can’t just take one step and get to the top, you have to plan one rung at a time.  This is what we do at Business Navigation Services.  We work with business owners, helping them to create and execute the plans that will move them towards the top of that ladder – one rung at a time.

Planning your climb

Long term goals.  What do you want to see when you get to the top of the ladder?  This vision is important.  Every action you take, and every plan you produce should be aiming to get you to this point.

5 and 3 year goals.  Once you know what your end goal is, you need to work backwards to work out the key things you need to get you there.  What key things will you need to achieve in 3 years and in 5 years to know that you’re on track to get to your long term goal on time?

1 year goals.  Planning the next year is key.  It’s a timeframe that has enough urgency to really make us think about what we have to do, but still gives us enough time to achieve big things.

  • When we’re planning for the year ahead, it’s important to get commitment on every level.
  • Why? What’s the PURPOSE of this goal? How does it contribute to making the vision real?
  • What? What does the business have to DO to make the goal happen?
  • Who? Who DO we, the business owner, team and business, have to BE or BECOME to achieve the goal

90 Day Action Plan.  And once we know what we need to achieve during the year, we need to break it down into actionable plans.  Identifying the key priorities to deliver within a 90 day timeframe increases the sense of focus and commitment.  We can break things down so we can focus on what needs to happen each month, and translate that into weekly tasks and activities that need to be completed.  It becomes clear what needs to be done, how much time it will take, and therefore who should do it.

This process means that the firefighting can stop (or will be drastically reduced, at least!)  More often than not, it means that tasks can be given to someone other than the business owner, so time can be spent on the next move forward rather than standing still whilst doing the doing.  Once everything is under control, business owners can start taking planned and confident steps towards the top of the ladder of success.

Help along the way

If you’d like to apply these principles in your own business, and accelerate your climb up the ladder, I’m here to help.  My purpose is to help as many Thames Valley based companies access coaching to create thriving and successful businesses.

Accelerate things by booking a free 2 hour session with me.  We’ll look at how you can start climbing those first few rungs, and what you might need to do to stay on that ladder right to the top.