Work Backwards to Move Forwards

“We need help!”

This is something we hear from prospective clients when we first start the engagement process.  Companies turn to consultants once they realize that the skills inside their organization don’t fit the problem at hand.

What is the problem at hand?

  • Achieve the goal!
  • Get to the next level!
  • Get over the hump!

We hear these nondescript phrases that all really mean the same thing.

“I know WHERE I want to go, but not HOW to get there.”

If you are feeling this way in your business, then here is a quick exercise to help better create a plan of “next steps” to get to where you want to go.

First, really define the WHERE you want to go.  You may think you “know” what it is, but until you have written it out for somebody else to understand… You don’t really “know” it.  A simple way to define your WHERE is to explain it to somebody not in your industry.  Talk to a spouse, family member or friend and articulate WHERE you want to be in terms of:

  • What does your revenue look like?
  • Who are your employees and/or vendors? (hire and fire)
  • What kind of clients do you serve?
  • How will that change your day?
  • What processes need to be in place?
  • What automation needs to be in place?

Really get in there and layout what “over the hump” looks like.  By explaining it to a somebody who isn’t in your industry, they will ask questions and force you to articulate items that someone in your industry may take for granted.

Next, start asking yourself: “Immediately before THAT, we have to complete ______.”  Fill in the blank.

For example, you may decide that “over the hump” entails adding 10 new employees to your organization.

But, before you can add a 10th new employee you need to add a 9th… And an 8th… And so on…

In essence you are working backwards from your goal to your current state.  But you do this not just for one aspect of your business.  You do this for every aspect that you detailed in step one.

Finally, the outcome of this exercise is a list of your “next steps” – or a simple plan on what to tackle next in your business that you KNOW will lead you to your goal.

If this seem overwhelming, contact us… This is what we do!


20 Jan, 2020
Andrew Houglum