Business Processes Checklist

The following list includes the foundational systems and processes consistent across almost any organization. When an organization feels haphazard or chaotic, it’s likely the team is feeling the weight of unclear expectations. Each process can be further extrapolated to one or more roles within the organization. Each roles should also include an understanding of who participates, who is accountable for completion, and who has final approval.

It’s unlikely that a team could sit down and map out all these processes at once. Their creation should be prioritized based on the highest need within the organization.

* Denotes processes that will likely vary for given teams or departments

Team Members

[ ] Team Member Schedules

[ ] Team Member Milestones

[ ] Team Member Culture Improvement

[ ] Team Member Professional Improvement

[ ] Team Member Feedback

[ ] Team Member Prospecting*

[ ] Team Member Hiring*

[ ] Team Member On Boarding*

[ ] Team Member Project Roles*

[ ] Team Member Skill improvement*

[ ] Team Member Performance Reviews*

[ ] Team Member Off Boarding*

[ ] Team Member Meetings Rhythms*

Clients / Customers

[ ] Prospect Nurturing

[ ] Prospect Ghosting

[ ] Prospect Milestones

[ ] Prospect Close/Win

[ ] Prospect Close/Lost

[ ] Client On boarding

[ ] Client Cultural Improvement

[ ] Client Retention

[ ] Client Education

[ ] Client Up-selling

[ ] Client Cross-selling

[ ] Client Referral Curation

[ ] Client Feedback

[ ] Client Off boarding

[ ] Client Meetings Rhythms

Projects

[ ] Project Prioritization

[ ] Project Staffing

[ ] Project Timelines

[ ] Project Kickoff

[ ] Project Progress Communication

[ ] Project Demo

[ ] Project Deployment / Launch / Execution

[ ] Project Meetings

[ ] Project Feedback

Annual Reflection Framework

Another year is gone in a blink.

Over half a million minutes of life lived. Taking time reflect on the status of key areas can help ensure the past was well spent and the future is more impactful. Borrowing from the techniques of others, the most prominent being the 4 Burner Theory*, I put together an exercise for myself to frame this valuable reflection.

I put aside about 3 hours and worked through each section. Thoughts, ideas, and insights began pouring out. The goal is not a resulting task list for the next year. The purpose is to frame yourself around what matters most. Each year should involve more of what matters and less of what doesn’t.

It’s about thoughtful action, not perfection.

Also, I will not be publishing my own reflections. The ratings and insights are (and should be) convicting and highly personal. It’s unrealistic to think a public audience wouldn’t bias my thoughts or vulnerability. Growth and maturity is the goal.

* The 4 Burner Theory. You’ll notice my prompt is different, but the intention is quite similar.

  1. The first burner represents your family.
  2. The second burner is your friends.
  3. The third burner is your health.
  4. The fourth burner is your work.

Family

Overall Rating (1-5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Spouse.

Rating (1-5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Greatest Success?

Greatest Failure?

What would it take to increase 1 star in the coming year?

What is one upcoming change I should prepare for?

Children.

One summary per child:

Rating (1-5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Greatest Success?

Greatest Failure?

What would it take to increase 1 star in the coming year?

What is one upcoming change I should prepare for?

Siblings.

One summary per sibling:

Rating (1-5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Greatest Success?

Greatest Failure?

What would it take to increase 1 star in the coming year?

What is one upcoming change I should prepare for?

Parents.

One summary per parent:

Rating (1-5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Greatest Success?

Greatest Failure?

What would it take to increase 1 star in the coming year?

What is one upcoming change I should prepare for?


Interpersonal

Overall Rating (1-5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Friends.

One summary per friend (deep friendships):

Rating (1-5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Greatest Success?

Greatest Failure?

What would it take to increase 1 star in the coming year?

What is one upcoming change I should prepare for?

Mentors.

One summary per mentor:

Rating (1-5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Greatest Success?

Greatest Failure?

What would it take to increase 1 star in the coming year?

What is one upcoming change I should prepare for?

Mentees.

One summary per mentee:

Rating (1-5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Greatest Success?

Greatest Failure?

What would it take to increase 1 star in the coming year?

What is one upcoming change I should prepare for?

Local Community.

Rating (1-5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Greatest Success?

Greatest Failure?

What would it take to increase 1 star in the coming year?

What is one upcoming change I should prepare for?

Global Community.

Rating (1-5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Greatest Success?

Greatest Failure?

What would it take to increase 1 star in the coming year?

What is one upcoming change I should prepare for?


Health

Overall Rating (1-5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Physical Health.

Rating (1-5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Greatest Success?

Greatest Failure?

What would it take to increase 1 star in the coming year?

What is one upcoming change I should prepare for?

Mental Health.

Rating (1-5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Greatest Success?

Greatest Failure?

What would it take to increase 1 star in the coming year?

What is one upcoming change I should prepare for?


Professional / Work

Overall Rating (1-5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Fulfillment.

Rating (1-5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Greatest Success?

Greatest Failure?

What would it take to increase 1 star in the coming year?

What is one upcoming change I should prepare for?

Performance.

Rating (1-5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Greatest Success?

Greatest Failure?

What would it take to increase 1 star in the coming year?

What is one upcoming change I should prepare for?

Your Boss / Supervisor.

Rating (1-5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Greatest Success?

Greatest Failure?

What would it take to increase 1 star in the coming year?

What is one upcoming change I should prepare for?

Your Team.

Rating (1-5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Greatest Success?

Greatest Failure?

What would it take to increase 1 star in the coming year?

What is one upcoming change I should prepare for?

Effective Leadership Teams

Over the last few years, I’ve watched first-hand as two teams transition out of reactive decision making and into more proactive choices. In both cases, defined and organized leadership teams are at the center. Regularly confronting organizational patterns and trends becomes a gateway to improved performance. It also provides increased alignment around company vision, values, and behaviors.

Beyond traditional c-level leadership, interdisciplinary leadership teams can also be highly impactful. Take Business Operations for instance. Operations is one part of the organization’s needs, but a growing company will eventually require more specialization.  Selecting key members within operations will allow for increased buy-in and deeper focus are the vital part of the organization.

In a recent session with our Operations team at Polar Notion, we distilled the form and function into the following concepts.

The Purpose

We should explore current operational pains, in order to produce lasting organizational gains. The discussion time should focus on things that are high impact, high frequency, and high volume.

High Impact items are those which present substantial cost, unsustainable inefficiencies, or significant opportunities. A problem around company culture, for instance, runs the risk of effecting every part of the business.

High Frequency problems are felt on a regular and recurring basis. Assuming all things are equal, a pain felt daily is more important than one felt annually.

High Volume problems impact multiple people. While it’s important to address problems of all sizes, the cost is much great when felt in mass.

Ideally, issues appropriately sized for a leadership team would overlap in these areas. The goal shouldn’t be to tackle them all at once. If appropriately prioritized, the gains and improvements will likely compound.

Agenda

Consistent agenda’s are crucial of standing meetings. Here is a simple example we’ve tried for the operations team.

  1. Everyone brings 1-2 problems and proposed solutions.
  2. Each person shares problems.
  3. Nominate a ‘winner’ based on highest value to organization.
  4. Chosen problem is unpacked in more details along with proposed solutions*.
  5. Remainder of time is identifying and discussing solutions.

*Solution should include:

  • Classification of problem (people problem, strategy problem, cash problem, execution problem).
  • Proposed action?
  • Who is needed?
  • What does success look like?

Onward

Continuous, forward movement is crucial for an organization of any size. A healthy cadence of tackling the biggest problems can lead to organizational maturity, growth, and a more enjoyable work experience for all.

Big Meetings and Better Choices

There are few things more costly than large, group meetings. Whether we realize it or not, they are the greatest expense of a business. More than salaries, benefits, or a physical building.

More than utilities, inventory, benefits, or a physical building. They may be needed, but it’s a tall order to make sure they are worth it.

They disrupt the day, occupy limited time, and become bottlenecks to productivity. If Deep Work is where we experience a state of flow and professional achievement, large meetings usually impede that progress.

Here are some strategies to build better meetings.

Choose smaller blocks.

There are plenty of cases where large meetings are needed. Whose says they have to be long? Many businesses default to one hour block. Unfortunately, stuff expands to the space you give it. How different might a meeting flow if everyone knew there was only 30 minutes? 15 minutes? There is nothing magical about an hour, though it seems to be a common interval. For an average work day, 1 hour meeting consumes over 10% of your time.

Review priorities regularly.

As I mentioned in weekly rituals, priorities are constantly evolving. Coincidentally, some meetings are scheduled weeks or months in advance. Before blindly attending, evaluate it’s relevance and have the courage to cancel if it’s no longer necessary. Not only does this free up precious time, but it also respects the time of other attendees as well.

Keep them small.

Other than a demo, I’m skeptical that a meeting with more than 6 people is useful for everyone. Meetings should block as little time as necessary and involve as few people as possible.

Come prepared.

Meetings should have an agenda ahead of time and all parties should come prepare with their contribution. Nothing is more useless than a directionless meeting or one in which everyone isn’t prepared to contribute.

Opt out.

‘Do you need me in this meeting’ is a fair question. Imagine if you don’t understand why you were present you would have permission to leave. More people would welcome this than you might expect. Excusing yourself is more noble and respectable than merely staying because you were invited.

Protect your schedule.

I’ve found meetings work best when they bookend larger chunks of heads-down time. Rather than slicing a 3 hour block in half with a meeting, you’ll have more uninterrupted time if you schedule the meeting at the beginning or the end of that time.

Introduce a Reschedule Limit.

If a meeting gets rescheduled more than twice, perhaps it wasn’t that much of a priority in the first place. When considering how many people are impacted, the act of finding an opening on everyone’s calendar is an even greater drain.

Batch productive time.

Allowing mental space to do great work is important. Identify key days that can be free from meetings. These prolonged strengths of work can often become an oasis from otherwise cluttered schedules. At Polar Notion, we start sprints on Wednesdays and end on Tuesdays. This makes Tuesday and Thursday crucial days in making progress. These days should be as clear as possible.

Shoulder to shoulder

Mentorship and learning is one exception. Meetings that fuel a deeper understanding, rich decision making, and professional development are crucial. We’ll try to invite team members into meetings where they could learn something new or practice a skill they are developing. If you see a particular meeting as a learning opportunity, speak up, make sure you’re in the room, and make sure it was worth it.

Work Life Harmony

The notion of work-life-balance is nonsense. It implies that our work lives and personal lives are disjointed and function in constant opposition to each other. It was crafted as a protective counterbalance for people oppressed by their employers.

The two are not siloed. You can not prevent your work life from invading your personal life any more than you can stop your personal life from pushing against your work life. They are connected. You are connected.

I prefer the notion of work-life-harmony. In an ideal setting, they collaborate rather than compete. Work should be an outlet for us to express our personality and creativity. It should be the catalyst for our best work, not a barrier to our natural desires. This allows us to find opportunities for overlap and pursue alignment. Rather than focusing on keeping score, we focus on bringing our best self.

Actionable Insights

Practically speaking, our full time team members work 40 hour weeks. In an average week, those hours should fit nicely between Monday and Friday. That’s not to say there won’t be late nights or an all-hands push to launch a product. But to account for that, we add plenty of freedom and flexibility each step along the way.

Rather than optimizing for social norms, I prefer pushing people to optimize for their best self. When they bring their best, everyone wins. It’s worth taking time to think about…

  • What time works best to start your day?
  • What is required for you to focus?
  • How much sleep do you need to function best?
  • When do you do your best work?

Communicating Expectations

At Polar Notion, managing client expectations is a huge part of how we keep our sanity. We’ve even put together a Client Handbook that sets expectations. On top of that, we’re constantly reminding those we work with that Slack is not a realtime communication tool for us. We prioritize productivity over promptness. In the end, we teach others how to treat us and should own our own experience.

I also have a footer on my emails to make sure people understand when I’ll be getting back to them. Hint, it’s not within the hour. The simple act of communicating this expectation opens up a valuable discussion or endearing bits of encouragement.

Rest

Rest and relaxation are an important part of doing meaningful work. Constant ‘grind’ and ‘hustle’ does not map to increased productivity.

When you’re working, crush it. When you’re not working, fight the urgent need to ‘checkin’.

Data is Feedback

The value of data will vary depending on stage of the business. Regardless of ones season of business, the numbers matter. They will likely be different, but tracking key information is no less important. Most often, it’s a few numbers that impact an organization’s performance.
 
For young businesses, it’s hard to know what matters since change is constant. There is a bent to focus on things that are easy tracked, such as Google Analytics, revenue, or expenses. However, there is more pointed information that can have a greater impact on the business.
 
At a high level, the data of the business fits into four buckets:
  • Sales
  • Operations
  • Financial
  • Product/Service Data

Sales

Sales is the front door of the business and focuses on prospects and new business. A few numbers can determine the health of ones sales pipeline. Also, the right numbers can provide insight into the future business success.
 
Common metrics include:
  • conversion rate
  • close rate
  • new customers

Tools

PersistIQ. An outreach automation tool, PersistIQ simplifies followup emails. It can be time consumng to stay in touch with unresponsive individuals. Persist helps followup at various intervals without pulling attention from more eager prospects.

Financials

These are the basics of any business, regardless of size. Common metrics include:
  • Revenue
  • Expenses
  • Profit
  • Gross Margins
An important note, expenses within some businesses are much more important than others. At Polar Notion, we spent some time in early 2018 looking at cutting expenses. As a lean service company, we realized our time wasn’t well spent. Without inventory sitting on a shelf or high overhead costs, we stood to gain pennies. Time spent increasing efficiency however, yielded significant returns.
 
In ‘Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits!’, author Greg Crabtree discusses key financial numbers. His has identified ‘Return on Invested Capital’ as any businesses greatest success metric.

Tools

Xero. We’ve used this for years as cloud accounting software. It provides simple reporting and access to our information wherever we need it.

Operations

Operational data and metrics speak to the work of the business. This isn’t the data that’s part of the core service, rather it’s information about performance around the product or service.
  • customer satisfaction
  • customers services
  • churn
  • customer retention
Net Promoter Score is a example of Operational Data. ‘How likely are you to recommend to a friend’. It illuminates how well the business is delivering on what the customer is buying. A simple 5 star rating can also go a long way in understanding what matters most to consumers. At New Story, an international housing nonprofit, we track funds received. Atop this common financial metric, we also track how fast we can deploy those funds received. At Sharpp, a SAAS product for franchise management, we look at daily active users.

Tools

Promoter. A tool for tracking your Net Promoter Score, Promoter makes analysis straight forward. The net promoter score is a little more complicated than most realize. This tool handles the collection and calculations, which saves time and energy.
 
Google Reviews. Their simple 5-star systems keeps the barrier for feedback quite low. Assuming the reviews are positive, it can also bolster a brands online presence. If people are searching for your business, chances are they’re using google. Why not show market validation when they find you.

Product/Service Data

Data that pertains to the product or service has become popularized in recent years. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science depend on this type of data.
  • Bounce Rate
  • Pages per Visit
  • Session Duration
  • Popular Search Terms
  • Most engagement content
  • Usage times
Google relies on information like number of times ‘fluffy cat video’ is searched. This drives the quality and price of their advertising service.
 
Lyft and their ability to match drivers and riders comes from service records. The more they know, the better they anticipate and provide value to customers.
 
Facebook is best example (though likely the worst if tracking benefit to humanity). Their ability to collect and take action on user data has led them to a half-trillion dollar company. Customer satisfaction is plummeting, but their knowledge of our behaviors is unaffected.

Tools

Google analytics, Full Story, and Customer.io are great tools for tracking user activity. Armed with this knowledge, you can make more informed decisions.

In closing

In the end, everyones key metrics will be different. What matters most is consistency and simplicity. Three numbers tracked daily will prevail over dozens of numbers rarely engaged. Start by identifying 1-2 numbers before group. Online how often you’ll track them and where you get that information. When possible, include others in the process. Consider making those numbers more visible within the organization.
 
That which gets measured, gets improved.

Making Big Decisions

The discipline of big decision making

As we’re presented with important decisions, it’s easy to procrastinate or become immobilized. Over time, the stakes get higher and our decisions affect more people. To withstand the pressure of major decisions and keep moving forward, I’ve outlined habits I revert back to when big decisions arise.

Rest

Before leaving corporate life to raise our kids, my wife was wrestling with a decision for months. At the time, she was not sleeping well. The workload was causing her to neglect her health too. Recognizing the need for a change though feeling too overwhelmed to decide, we scheduled a day or so away at the spa. No work, agenda, or responsibilities she was free to rest up, relax, and recover. Before returning home less than 48 hours later, she knew what she had to do.

Don’t make big decisions when you’re off your game. Being clear headed and calm is invaluable. Sleep, food, and exercise all play a part in our mental capacity. Their presence or absence continually impact our lives.

Reflection

Think back on past experience. While our victories can be enlightening, our failures are often more useful instructors. Those unwilling to learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them. For me, writing is part of my reflection process. I’m constantly evaluating past situations based on my current understanding.

Over the years, I’ve found it enlightening to revisit the same experiences regularly. As we learn and grow, it’s likely our own history will reveal new insights. There are a few anchor moments that serve as a baseline time and time again. Those this can be somewhat painful at times, our past experiences continue to shape us.

Weigh Tradeoffs

Imagine you’re juggling 6 balls. Some are rubber, some are steel, and others glass. Rubber will bounce back quickly if dropped. Steel won’t bounce, but it likely won’t be damaged. Glass, unfortunately, won’t take a hit. You can’t choose how fragile the balls are but if you’re deliberate, you can let the right ones fall.

At any time there are dozens are competing priorities. Time, cost, quality, and satisfaction are just the tip of the iceberg and they rarely work in unison. It’s important to spell out what’s most important and be willing to compromise on the rest. We’ll never be perfect, but we can choose where to double our efforts and what we should let slide.

It’s also helpful to assess the consequences. Some choices have limited consequences while others may be painful to recover from. Decisions with a large upside and limited downside are usually a great place to start.

As leaders, common tradeoffs include:

• Timelines

• Budget

• Morale

• Quality

• Speed

• Value

Due to so many tradeoffs, there is rarely a ‘right choice’. Optimize for the most important factors and let the rubber bounce.

Gain Perspective

In 2017, our team at Polar Notion was pulled into a law suit. The experience shared by fellow business owners and entreprenuers proved priceless. Not only did their perspective help reframe my expectations, we went into the situation more informed and level headed.

Ask others who have made similar decisions and whose insight you trust. Leveraging their expertise and insight, filter your situation through their perspective. Beyond settling for ‘what would you do’, inquire about a time when they were in a similar position. ‘What did you do’ will lead away from speculation and toward real world experience. You path will be different but the exercise can reveal new insight.

Commit

In 2014, separate from our existing business, we tried to launch a software company. The market seemed solid and the technology worked well… the issue was our commitment to the idea. Allowing ourselves to be distracted by other projects, the failure can be attributed to our level of commitment.

The final and most important step is taking dedicated action. More often than not, failure can be traced back to weak commitment, not the quality of our decision. When you take action, commit fully. A mediocre decision, fully execute beats a great decision with half-hearted effort.

If you have take the time to rest, reflect, weigh tradeoffs, and gain perspective you should trust your conclusion enough to move forward confidently.

Weekly Rituals

Over the years, I’ve developed a series of daily, weekly, and monthly rituals designed to keep me focused and moving forward. Rather than allowing each day to dictate my priorities, these rituals provide a cadence of thoughtful progress.

In recent conversations with entreprenuers and business leaders, some of my weekly rituals have been of particular interest.

Pre-week

Before the momentum of a week, the following actions help things stay within my control.

Cancel

Priorities are constantly evolving. Coincidentally, some meetings are scheduled weeks and months in advance. Before blindly attending, evaluate it’s relevance and have the courage to cancel if it’s no longer necessary. Not only does this free up precious time, but it also respects the time of other attendees as well.

A business meetings without written agendas should be prime candidates.

“Time is our most valuable asset, yet we tend to waste it, kill it, and spend it rather than invest it.”  – Jim Rohn

Reschedule

If you have a full schedule, doing a bit of restructuring can free up whitespace. For example, meetings across the city can be grouped to reduce travel time. Our office is on the west side of town, so I want to make the most of an eastbound trip.

It also helps to look another week out. Meetings late one week can often be pushed into the next, especially when it adds focus and attentiveness.

Plan

Nothing will waste more time than arriving at an appointment without your details in order. Even if just a few bullet points can help keep the conversation on track.

As I’ve become more intentional about adding value to others, I’ll look over their social profiles and see what they’ve been up to. This can frame a social interaction and illuminate where I can be more helpful.

“If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail.” -Benjamin Franklin

Post-week

If we are not careful, one week will easily bleed into the next. A post-week ritual can reduce the mental load heading into the weekend. Knowing you’ve closed a week well can be the catalyst for great rest and relaxation.

Gratitude

Before following up with people I met with throughout the week, I take time to reflect on who introduced me to the other people involved. Whether personal or professional, I’ll reach out to the person who made the introduction, express gratitude and when appropriate, share about the meeting I had as a result of their generosity.

This includes recent and age-old relationships. Even after catching up with an old friend, I’ll send a quick note to the person who introduced us long ago. In a recent interaction, the friendship was over 10 years old.

“How do you know if someone needs encouragement? If they are breathing.” -Truett Cathy

Followup

Once I’ve expressed gratitude, I’ll followup with the actual attendees from each meeting. Whether we exchanged a quick call or a monolithic meeting, I touch base. Obviously touching on any commitments made in the meeting and passing along any addition words.

When appropriate, I suggest next steps with clearly defined options so they don’t have too struggle through a similar response. Yes, by end of week some people have waited a 3-4 days for a followup. I’ve actually found this delay helpful to actually process our conversation. Also, it sets healthy and sustainable expectations for the future.

Generosity

After the followup, I’ll push myself to make introductions on the attendees behalf. Rather than asking for something, I end the ritual with a deliberate attempt to add value.

If the meeting was with a code school student, I’ll intro them to fellow graduates in the community or potential employers.

If it’s a potential client, I’ll connect them to other professionals within their industry or people who they would like appreciate getting to know.

This habit creates a great sense of accountability during our time together. As they talk, I’m actively listen for ways to amplify their interests.

“If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” – Zig Ziglar


If you haven’t noticed, each of these habits pertain to time. At the beginning of the week I set out to protect it. After the week is over, I want to make sure it was as valuable as possible. Time is our most valuable asset. Our behaviors should reflect that.

Do the Math

Overcoming the hurdle of true profitability

In the early years, we stumped through business growth. Rather than waiting to iron out the wrinkles, we tried a variety of things and adjusted constantly. In hindsight, the strategy was simple: Survive and don’t repeat the same mistakes. While the business grew, we didn’t have a clear picture of what we were aiming for. Not only was the vision vague, the path to get there wasn’t clearly defined.

We all have hopes and dreams of what our business will become. Whether we enjoy the path of solopreneur or we hope to build a business that outlives us, there is likely a larger vision at work. For us, there was regular talk of a boutique team of creative, talented professionals doing work we love. We’d done some back-of-a-napkin calculations and determined a 20-30 person team would be a sweet spot for the business. It wasn’t until years later however, that we moved off the napkin and started putting actual numbers to vision.

From revenue needed per team member to exact number of sales, we developed insight into the number that propel our business forward. It was then that the vision truly began to come alive and our business began to thrive.

What’s your vision for the team?

This will evolve over time, but use today’s vision as a benchmark. Where do you see the company heading? Don’t get lost in the details.

How big is your team?
How much will you pay each member annually?What benefits will you include?

Once you have a number for team size, how much you’d like to pay them, it’s time for a basic calculation. Multiply team size by annual compensation. Assuming they’re full time, you’ll need to multiply that total by 15% for employer payroll taxes. Now, the result should be an annual revenue number that will at least allow you to pay your team.

For example, if I’m imaging a 10 person team with an average salary of $60,000 then I’d need to generate $690,000 just to pay my team.

You can factor in overhead and profit, but it might help to keep things simple for now. For most businesses, payroll is there largest expense so starting there usually sets pretty realistic expectations.

Where are you today?

It’s time to figure out how far you have to travel. Knowing where you’d like to be, figuring out where you are today is key to calculating the gap.

What is this year’s projected revenue?
How many ‘units’ will you need to sell to get there?

Extending the example above, building a team of 10 with an average revenue per sale of $10 and you’d need to sell 69,000 units. If you’re a service company with average revenue of $10,000 per sale then you’d need less than 70+ sales per year.

What’s the Gap?

Subtracting your revenue today from the revenue of where you want to go and you’ll see the gap. This paints a realistic picture of far you need to travel for your business to align with your vision.

How many more sales will it take?How much would increasing your prices help?

Using actual numbers to highlight the difference between where you are and where you want to be will ensure things are clear and actionable.

Fill the Gap.

Once you’ve articulated your vision, assessed where you are today, and understand what’s missing, it’s time to take action.

What are you doing that needs to stop?
What do you need to start going?
What changes move the needle?