July is a great time to reflect on that first 6 months of trading. What really worked? What surprised you? Here is a little checklist for leaders to review to help focus and align your team on the next 6 months.

20 Pointers
  1. Sales: – Why are some sales professionals doing well and some struggling?
  2. Sales: – What products are gaining traction and why?
  3. Sales: – What are average deal values doing?
  4. Sales: – What performance is needed in the second half to hit your 2013 targets?
  5. Sales: – Account development – How has customer penetration changed in the last 6 months?
  6. Marketing: – What are your popular blog posts in terms of page views, unique vistors?
  7. Marketing: – Does the web site really reflect your story as set out at the start of the year? Has it lost it’s way?
  8. Marketing: – Where are leads coming from? Any surprises? Have you compared ROIs with last years campaigns?
  9. Marketing: – What are the trend lines across the complete marketing mix?
  10. Metrics:- What metrics are showing promise that might affect your strategy going forward? What metrics reveal you have a problem? Have you asked all department heads to summarize the story behind their top 10 ten metrics?
  11. Metrics:- Have you audited the signals out there, given six months worth of data? What metrics are not being measured?
  12. Reviewing all major projects across the company – where do you stand? More resources needed?
  13. Meetings: – What meetings have become redundant and stale? What meetings are needed? Also think about increasing the frequency of some meetings and dropping some weekly meetings down to monthly.
  14. Alignment: – Where is the leakage? Where are you losing the power of alignment? Every business suffers leakage the more it scales? Whether you are driving your start up from 3 to 10 people, or small business (defined as < 500 staff) from $20m to $100m or your public company division from $500m to $1Bn, you will have leakage. Six months is a great time frame to audit where you  are losing momentum.
  15. Innovation – I’m devouring a great book on innovation – Inside The Box – blowing up the myths of “brainstorming” sessions. Tweaking existing products and services is far easier than inventing the next wheel, Google or drug! What are you tweaking to build your business? The first MP3 player came out in 1979. The iPod came out in 2001! Guess who won in that market? It’s never too late to tweak an existing product to deliver a killer product.
  16. Talent: – How are the new recruits doing? How about staff you thought were a bad fit in January? Has the situation improved? Six months have gone by and it’s a great time to review performance. These days the annual review is way too long to assess whether talent are happy, performing and developing in their role? In six months your sector may have changed dramatically.
  17. All major investments, capex, acquisitions, product launches deserve a thorough review before you hit August.
  18. Business models: – Are you leaving money on the table? Are you bringing your products to market in the most palatable, lucrative way?
  19. Processes: – Businesses fail to scale because they fail to put process and playbooks in place at the right level and at the right time. But how do you know when the right time is? If this is your first leadership role, how do you know? It is likely that if you carefully review the first 6 months of trading, you will see symptoms that reveal a lack of process is holding you back. As a hint consider: dashboards that show aligned metrics across the company, a more sophisticated sales process, a measurement of marketing campaigns, an action list related to talent performance from good to bad, innovation requirements by department and not just your product or service.
  20. Finally set out a brief set of policies you believe will drive the performance of the company in the second half to hit Target sales and profits.