Do you have a clear idea of where you need to be in your business?
When was the last time you mapped out the steps to arrive at your ideal destination?

There are so many things you can concentrate on in business however, I believe the key is to only focus on the GAP of where you are right now to where you want to be….

Sooooo What’s a GAP analysis any way?

A GAP analysis is a method of assessing your business by taking a snapshot of where you are right now and what your desired outcome and then continue with what steps should be taken to ensure you reach your goal successfully. Gap refers to the space between “where we are” (the present state) and “where we want to be” (the target state). A gap analysis may also be referred to as a needs analysis, needs assessment or need-gap analysis.

Now you could literally do this for avery single part of your business, however I pretty much know you that of you’re like most business owners you;re probably become overwhelmed and stress out even more than before you did one.

So here are the key area’s I believe that you can focus on using the GAP analysis approach to your business. Just before I tell you this it’s important that I set you UP with the right mind frame…

Think of this exercise like being a sniper on a battlefield with multiple targets all attacking at once. Obviously logic says that the one that poses the most threat would be the critical target…right? Well in business there are so many so called threats that in many cases we try to get all of them at once and end up getting over run or overwhelmed and in some cases defeated by the environment itself. (in war it’s the battle ground)

Now just to go one step back from the technical stuff, it’s really important (just like the sniper) to get your mindset right for the task ahead, using the right approach will make the job easier and get the result quicker… what do I mean by this?

As business owners in many cases, we think about 5000 things in one hit, the accounts, the marketing , the operations , client management, when that delivery is coming in, I need to get the van serviced and the list goes on and on… But with GAP “thinking” you only want to focus on a few objectives

– What is the outcome you are trying to achieve
– What are the incremental tasks you need to apply to get from where you are right now to the end outcome
– What questions do I need to ask myself or others to achieve my outcome (quality of the questions equals the quality of the outcome)

Everything else needs to be dismissed or like my good friend Stephen Bock (the 61st Australian to climb Mount Everest) says “grey’d out”… he shared this with me telling me about when he was crossing a Crevasse on a ladder in the ice falls, on his way to the summit. He said that often we try to take in all this data or what he calls “noise” that is not really specific about the task at that given time versus just concentrating on what “needs to be done” to reach the outcome. For him it was making it from one side to another without any major injury or death.

Once you set the outcome and grey out all the other noise then the job at hand becomes so much more focused and easier. Now we can focus on the process of breaking down the small steps or the incremental tasks turns a mammoth job into a bite size manageable chunks.

Now a way of conducting a GAP analysis is to simply create an excel document with the following columns:

A. Where are we now?

B. What is our ideal outcome?

C. what do we have in place now?

D. what do we need to create in order to achieve our outcome?

E. Obstacles that may hold us back from achieving the outcome

F. Solutions to the obstacles

BTW – Money and Time are standard obstacles, so don’t get caught up on them, find a solution to manage them. I know that they can be major hurdles however with GAP thinking you will find a way!!

What I love about this is using Excel you have a working document that can be edited and added to and ticked off once completed. It gives you a running tally of what needs to be accomplished in order to narrow the GAP of the now to the outcome.

OK here are the key area’s to work on

1. Marketing:

This is the life line of any business so it make obvious sense to start on the source of what makes the business tick…no clients, no business it’s as simple as that…

Start with

Ideal Client – what client do you have now and who would be your ideal client , working on your client avatar to really understand their traits , personality, buy-in habits, likes/ wants and ultimately how to market to them would drastically narrow the GAP especially by becoming ultra effective with your marketing budget and messaging

Lead Acquisition – this is a big one for business owners that I speak to as they always tell me “how can I market if I don’t have time” and as normal my response is that’s exactly why you need to market , to generate income and to have someone else look after all the heavy lifting for you. Isn’t that one of the major reasons WHY you got into business? OR was it to do everything yourself and stress out and never take a day off?

Now I understand that time is precious and as business owners we have very little of free and that’s why automating your lead acquisition is so critical… so ask yourself

– On a scale of 1- 5 ( 5 being high) how automated is my lead flow
– How many steps is it broken down into
– Am I having to deal with that enquiry that is waiting for me?
– How can I filter the leads to deal with my ideal client and so on…

2. Sales:

It amazes me how many business owners fumble their way through this part of their business and suffer needlessly. I see them do all the hard work of attaining the lead , engaging the client and then losing them for in most parts a small step that could have been avoided. This GAP in your business needs to be tight as all the hard work of lead acquisition amounts to nothing if you cannot convert them into paying and repeat customers… right?

Segmented Sales Strategy – there are 7 steps to any sales strategy that you can observe, improve and ultimately perfect. Here is what I use so you can apply it into your business as well…

– Pre Sale – getting your client interested via your marketing
– Lead Magnet – first engagement with your client “Value Offer” in exchange for their details
– Fact Find – how can you help them connect your product/service with their wants and needs
– Demonstration – where you show them why and how your product /service will suit them (narrowing the GAP)
– Pre Close – answering any concerns and next steps in order to move ahead with a purchase
– Close – the exchange of $$ for goods and or services
– Follow Up – how can you continue the journey together (often also comes with an upsell or referral)

This breakdown is a great way for you to really narrow the GAP between poor and great conversion metrics… see now you can identify what or where or who the weakness is in the sales process 🙂

3. Cashflow:

One of the biggest challenges of every business owner, regardless of what size or type of business you have. This Key needs to have ongoing attention of narrowing the GAP to the ideal outcome as many factors can effect the progress of reaching it.

I believe the underlying critical mindset needs to be that of the following statement “ Wealth is habit, not an amount” translated means its not how much you put aside but how often you do it. To really push forward with this I suggest the following steps:

A. Get Clear about your numbers – Most business owners simply leave it up to the accountant to figure this out and I have to tell you it sends me a little nuts. If you are the business owner then guess what you are responsible!!! The accountant only goes by the numbers that your give them AND most of the time it’s too late by the time you get whats happening the ship has already sailed.

Here are the key numbers:

– Profit and Loss – what your sales are , what the expenses are and whats left (basic explanation)
– Break even – how much it’s actually costing you to open the doors every month
– Client acquisition cost – how much it’s costing you to obtain that client (even if they are referrals your time comes with a cost as well)

B.Multiple Savings buckets – just earlier I shared that wealth is a habit not an amount and using that approach, having multiple income buckets is the key. See most business owners suffer with cash flow (sales revenue vs expenses) due to the fact that that they rob Peter to pay Paul… You can only do that for so often before you fall into strife and there is always something that comes UP… right? So having a cash reserve that you can use when things get a little tough or when growing the business just make sense. Now no one said it was easy but persistence is the key to creating a GAP solution for your cash flow challenge…

So to summarise this process or to narrow the GAP, work on the key critical components above and most importantly get your mind focused on the only tasks that are important… going from where you are right now by analysing your situation and where you want to be by projecting the ideal outcome.