What is the secret to our success? Well, as you can imagine, there isn’t one thing that can be credited with the success that we have had. It’s the multitude of things that we do, how we do them and making sure that what we do matters. But probably the most single important part of that last sentence is the “what we do matters”. When I look back at when we have struggled in the past, it was because we were very busy but we weren’t focused on what mattered. What we were doing really didn’t impact our bottom line (or top line) the way we thought it should.

Yes, we have struggled and I expect that we will struggle in the future as well. Some would think this a bad thing and would never want to admit it but I think any business that is growing and evolving has to struggle a little. We learn so much when we are struggling and fighting to propel our business (or lives) forward. The trick is to learn the lessons that the struggle has to offer. So if you are currently struggling, take heart. If you do the right things, the things that matter, you will eventually be successful.

So how do you know what the right things are? Well many of us find out after we have being doing that process or action for a while if it is working. But this trial and error method can be costly, sometimes so costly it results in the loss of your business. A number of years ago I was introduced to Balanced Scorecards and Strategy Maps. These concepts were created by Robert Kaplan and David Norton and were designed to help Corporations focus on doing the right thing for the right reasons. I immediately saw the power of them and how they could help corporations ensure that they were working towards their identified objectives.

Entrepreneurs and small businesses face different problems and the scope and nature of their goals or objectives are very different. It wasn’t until a few years later that I realized that although entrepreneurs are different, they too struggle to do the right things to reach their goals. So I started examining the idea of the strategy map and could it be adapted to the needs of the entrepreneur and small business. What I found was that it could indeed be adapted. The motivators are different for an entrepreneur and a corporation but we all have customers and we have to perform certain tasks and processes to make and deliver our products and services as well as run our business. Entrepreneurs are also different at other levels as well. They don’t have large numbers of staff to be motivated and managed but they may have a small staff and of course themselves (usually the hardest one to manage is ourselves). So the strategy map is different for an entrepreneur but the concept still works. We call the entrepreneur’s strategy map a Master Plan. It’s exactly that, a Master Plan on how to start or grow your business to reach the dreams you have for it.

So where does the Master Plan get its power? The power is in the development of the Master Plan. You don’t have to create a book or multi-page business plan, it is only a single page but that one page has everything identified that you need to focus on to reach your dreams. As you develop your Master Plan you are identifying and recording exactly all of the things that you must do to be successful. When you are done, if it’s not on your Master Plan, you likely don’t need to be doing it. Therefore, it eliminates the time wasters and things that don’t add value to your business. We have created our Master Plan and it does make a difference to keep you on track.

Robert Stickle is the COO of BizXcel, Inc. and the CFBE Network which specializes in helping coaches and consultants. “Our mission is to make you succeed. We are bringing together individuals like you and offering incomparable resources to help you along the way.” Opt-in for your FREE SUCCESS TIPS and basic membership at http://www.CFBEnetwork.com