By Michelle Post
Have you ever visited a mall, zoo, and/or theme park and needed to head straight for the huge map at the entrance? You want to know where you are and where you need to go. You look for the words, “You Are Here.” Then you look for where you want to go, plot a course, and head in the direction with confidence of knowing where you are going.
Running a business is like a map. You need to know where you are, what you have, where you want to go and when you want to get there. If a business does not create a map in January, then in December, it does not know where they are or even where they came from. How can a business owner review the year if there was never a map plotting the way?
Do you know why maps are essential? Besides showing you where you are, where you want to go, and when you want to get there, maps are important to help teach others our business. We can add to our map weekly, monthly and quarterly goals. We can show the route to achieving these goals and the processes necessary to carry them out. A map helps identify the tools and systems we need in place to manage the goals. It can also show all the entry points into your business. And most importantly, it can show you a customer’s journey.
I love the following Hebrew saying, “where there is no vision, the people perish.” For me, that vision is a map, which shows me where I am in January, what I have, where I want to go, and when I want to get there. Then, in December, I can see the words, “You Are Here.” I can then look back and see the journey of my business. I can identify the steep mountains (growth curves) that I was not expecting, the deep valleys (low sales) that I had to press through, or the plains where I had opportunities to review and reflect. Most importantly, I can see those who joined me on my journey (my community) for I know I cannot do it alone.
As the year ends and before the new year begins, I encourage you to draw your map and ask yourself, “Am I here where I wanted to be?” If the answer is no, then review your map and see where you can make improvements (i.e., better processes, more automation, build a team of navigators who can help you on your journey). Remember, without a map, a business can perish.