*This article was first published online, via Spontaneousdevelopment.com (now defunct) on April 04, 2006
“In the race for excellence, there is no finish line” – Malcolm Baldrige
In a past edition of Philip Humbert’s(http://www.philiphumbert.com) TIPs newsletter, he wrote that persons building their businesses should always strive to make the systems they setup sustainable.
Sustainability, he explained, is what will ensure a business started up today can endure weeks, months or years of struggles till it eventually becomes what many(who are often unaware of the prolonged periods of struggle endured) call an “over-night-sensation”.
Philip’s expressed insight captures the essence of this article. Many times we think only about what we need to do to overcome the challenges of starting up a business.
We fail to think of what will be needed to successfully keep it going – profitably – for as long as we want it(or should I say “forever” i.e. long after we’ve passed on like Ford, Carnegie etc?).
If it was not for the use of Best Practice/Continuous Improvement Systems they developed in order to achieve sustainability, many Japanese companies would not be as efficient as they are known to be today.
Robert Kiyosaki once wrote that these sustainable systems keep many Japanese companies running on low operating expenses while achieving optimal efficiency in production.
They are consequently able to sell higher performance products at lower prices, thereby attracting more paying consumers – and increasing their retained profits.
“The world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going” – Abe Lincoln
It is important that you make it easy for yourself to stay on track towards achieving your business purpose. I once read somewhere that success is the never ending pursuit of perfection or excellence.
Stop and think for a minute about many successful businesses that you know have been around for as long as you can remember – IBM, General Electric, Ford, BMW, Mercedes. There is hardly anyone of them that has not gone through some evolution over the years from when it started till today.
Decision makers running these companies have to ensure they keep looking for cheaper and more effective ways of making the companies succeed. And in doing this, they would need to be able to accurately relate every action they take to the results they get, so as to competently decide on the best way(or combination of ways) to proceed. How well each company does this, determines how successful, and relevant it remains over the years.
The same requirement for big companies just described applies to small ones – and even individuals.
One tool I personally use for meeting this requirement – and which I believe others could find useful, even if with modifications – is the Action Plan/Progress Evaluation Checklist.
It can help you stay focussed towards achieving your set objective(s), and at the same time ensure you can review your achieved progress to determine modifications/changes you may need to make to your plan(s), in order to continue towards your purpose.
You can download an Acrobat PDF copy of my personal “Action Plan/Progress Evaluation Checklist Template”, from my website – TayoSolagbade.com.
Below, I provide steps you can follow in using it, should you be so inclined:
1. Use a spreadsheet to produce a blank editable version of the PDF document. (You can make any changes you want to the headings to meet your peculiar needs).
2. Decide on your Purpose/Goal – type it in the space provided on the blank checklist. IMPORTANT NOTE: You need to be certain about what you write here. If you are not sure how to accurately decide what your Purpose/Goal should be, read “The First Way – DEVELOP A MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION” in my article “Ten Ways You Can Use Self-Development To Create The Future You Want”.
3. Under the “Year” column, enter the year in which each sub-Goal(see 4. below) is to be achieved. Try making entries according to the order in which each sub-goal is to be tackled relative to others.
4. On a piece of paper, list the specific key tasks/actions you will need to take in order to achieve your purpose or goal. These would be your sub-goals or mini-goals.
5. Next, you will number/type each Sub-Goal from 4. above under the “Sub-Goals” column in the checklist table, leaving a few rows between it and the next. This is necessary to allow for entry of description details for each sub-goal. (Note that you can have more than one sub-goal in a year – email the checklist template to yourself to see).
6. Enter bullet point descriptions under the “Action Plan” column, of the specific Action Plans (Tasks/Activities) you will need to implement in order to achieve each sub-Goal.
7. Indicate the specific date you expect to complete each task under the “When” column.
8. Indicate completion status for each task by entering “Yes, No or Ongoing” under the “Done?” column.
9. Decide on a reasonable time interval during which you will routinely review your progress(each time updating your entries to reflect the current status. It might help to print out and file each updated version to track progress made).
The Action Plan/Progress Evaluation Checklist will force you to document up front, the various key tasks you need to perform in order to achieve your set goal over a defined time period.
You will also be able to record DATE ACHIEVED next to each task successfully completed.
As you pursue your goals, this document can help you easily keep track of what has been done, and what needs to be done next. You will also find it to be an extremely useful reference material much later – especially when you need to revisit your startup/other experiences in the future (possibly in coaching someone else).
In the long run, the Action Plan/Progress Evaluation Checklist will provide you a detailed historical record of what you did to produce the results/achievements you recorded, making it potentially valuable for better decision making(and/or knowledge sharing) in the future.
With regard to the foregoing, and to end on a lighter note, writing a book – in future – about HOW you succeeded in business might just turn out to be easier than would be normally expected, if you have diligently used your Action Plan/Progress Evaluation Checklist!
This article is one of twenty-five(25) contained in Tayo Solagbade’s Ebook titled “25 Articles/True Stories On Self-Development, Entrepeneuring & Web Marketing To Help You Succeed More Often”.
Download your copy of his 25 Articles Ebook from http://www.lulu.com/content/268555. You get full reprint rights for each article.
You’re reading Where Do You Want Your Business To Be FIVE Years From Now? (Progress Evaluation Checklist) by Tayo Solagbade, originally posted on his Daily Self-Development (SD) Nuggets™ blog. If you loved reading this post, be sure to follow Tayo on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
On 4th May 2014, Tayo’s 9 year old domain (Spontaneousdevelopment dot com), was taken over by Aplus.net. Within a few days however, Tayo used his advanced self-taught web development skills to build (and move his website contents into) a SUPERIOR “reincarnation” at http://www.tayosolagbade.com.
Most URLs bearing the old domain name appearing in search engines should now work if “spontaneousdevelopment.com” is replaced with “tayosolagbade.com”. If you experience any difficulties finding a page or document, email Tayo at tksola dot com.
Click “Tayo, What Happened to SpontaneousDevelopmentDotCom?” to read a detailed narrative about how the above event occurred :-))
Here’s an article Tayo wrote, to inspire others to defy adversity, and bounce back to even greater reckoning at what they do EVERY time:
Succeed by Emerging from Adversity Like a Phoenix (TayoSolagbade.com launches extra Hosting plan with FREE Web Marketing!)
And he wrote the one below, to explain why losing a domain name, no matter how old NO LONGER determines your online success or otherwise: