Top 5 Questions all CEOs Must Ask Before the Next Fiscal Year

It’s the beginning of the end of Qtr 4 and you are starting to plan for the next fiscal year, what are you thinking about?

Most CEO’s are thinking about their next year budgets and their strategic plans in hopes to bring alignment to the organization with the hope for positive outcomes. But, as strategic thinkers and the people responsible for the livelihoods of everyone who work for the company, there are some other questions you should be pondering.

  1. Do you have the right strategy?
  2. This isn’t a trick question, because if you have the right strategy, it is simple and easy to restate. Have you gone through your organization and asked the workers why your company exists? Snapchat’s strategy is to deliver photos that disappear within seconds; Domino’s strategy is to deliver hot food in 30 minutes or less ; and the Ritz Carlton’s strategy is to be the leader in luxury lodging and they accommodating each guests special requests. Do you have a simple strategy that each employee knows how to deliver on it? Test drive it at the next town hall and see if it is as easily understood as you may think, and tweak if necessary.

  3. Do you have the right people on the team?
  4. For your company to grow and your profits to BLAST to unbelievable heights, you need to have the right people doing the right things for your company. Too often, we get stuck in the status quo and as the Chief, we need to ask ourselves, do I have the right people on the team? If I had to do it all over again, would I rehire my key executives? If you have mediocre leaders, you will have mediocre results. It may be time to make some tough decisions and evaluate if your leadership is part of the challenge why the company isn’t growing in the areas and direction you want.

  5. What could disrupt your industry?
  6. What new innovations are you working on that could create a new market or redefine your existing market? Market leaders every day think of innovative ways to upset the status quo and create new systems, technologies or products that shake things up. For example, the music industry was disrupted when digital music via the iTunes Store or Amazon phased out the purchase of physical CDs and DVDs. Cable disrupted the movie rental industry by offering steaming video. What can you do differently that will be a disruptive innovation to your current industry and create tremendous value to your customers?

  7. What Clients are Good and What Clients are Not so Good?
  8. In the beginning, companies usually chase revenue in an attempt to get started, prove out their model and possibly get recommendations but all clients should not be treated equal. Yes, I am suggesting you take a look at your client list and uncover the ones that are truly profitable and do not require a tremendous amount of overhead and identify those that are not. Develop an exit strategy that has the least amount of impact on your company and causes the least amount of disruption to the relationship with those customers. Stack your deck with healthy, profitable clients that provide the resources for you to invest in your company and create new tools, products and offerings.

  9. What relationships do you need to nurture?
  10. I call it the 5 in 5 plan. What top 5 relationships in the following 5 categories, do you need to nurture and develop to get results for next year.

  • Clients
  • Prospects
  • Suppliers/Vendors
  • Strategic Partners
  • Influencers.

Business is conducted every day via relationships and the people you connect to and it is your job as CEO to make sure you are making the right strategic connections that will have a positive impact on your organization. Figure out how to cultivate and deepen these relationships and how you can add value to them. It is about giving first before asking.

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