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Is a New Road Map Needed Today?

We need a new road map for yourself and your company. Why a new map? Because the old one doesn’t work in this economy. In fact, I would suggest that very few people really understand the ramifications of this “new” economy.

Let me explain this using an analogy. I’m a visual person and can find my way around with a good map. Recently, I made a trip to an area that I had never been to before. I got a map at the car rental place and had printed off a couple of additional maps from the Internet. I learned major details were left off of all the maps that I got, but I was confident that I would find my way because of my past success.

That was my first mistake - I was using old success scripts in a new territory. The second mistake - major details for my successful trip were missing on the maps I was using, meaning I was really unprepared for this trip. The third mistake was my male attitude – I felt I did not need anyone else’s assistance or help because my past experiences would lead me successfully to the goal. This proved to be - A Major Mistake.

You see, the old map showed my target to the southeast of where I was starting. So when the road sign indicated South with the highway number, I started my quest. After about an hour of driving, I noticed a major skyline with major buildings everywhere! Doubts began flying around since I was traveling to a smaller city and these buildings were a mismatch to my image. Yet, I continued on, confident that I was headed in the right direction. Fourth mistake! I ignored my instincts that something was wrong with the current situation!

Finally, I stopped and asked someone what city was this? Imagine my embarrassment when I learned that I had traveled in the opposite direction for over an hour. That was a first-time mistake for me. I had never been lost before or made such a major directional mistake while traveling.
I got new directions, made some additional plans and noted points or milestones to indicate success this time. Just like we are taught in Goal Setting 101. Now I started again with a better idea of where I was, what path to take to get to the travel goal, and a couple of alternatives – just in case I had bad information (Contingency Plans).

Plus, about half way there, I stopped again to check if this time I was on the right path and if there were any obstacles ahead that I should think about now? I was monitoring my milestones set when I re-started my trip.

That afternoon I got to my target destination. It turned out to be successful after developing a new travel plan and checking the details of the plan with others that had experience in this area.
So what does this story have to do with personal goals or a company? Everything! We are in a totally new economy in which no one truly has any major experience. We are dealing with new and different decisions this year. What worked in the past may not work well in 2012.

You need to get with someone who will challenge your thought process about your plans, assist in developing contingency plans, and help you make mid-course adjustments if necessary. Check your ego at the door, or you may end up going in the wrong direction like me!

There are major differences between surviving and thriving: beware of personal assumptions that may have flaws and lead you down the wrong path, schedule time in your calendar to get a new road map for your goals – personal and company, then re-launch your execution while checking your milestones for progress.

-- Voss Graham
Posted: 5/16/2012 3:25:15 PM | with 2 comments
Filed under: 2012, big, blog, business, career, chamber, economy, goals, graham, ideas, memphis, plans, recession, small, survive, targets, thrive, voss

James, if you're speaking of an actual Memphis street map, then you can call the Chamber's front desk at (901) 543-3500 and Connie can hook you up with one from the Memphis CVB. If you're being metaphorical, then one of our Small Business Council members can help you find a direction for your business:
5/30/2012 3:09:44 PM

james howland
how can I get a street
5/29/2012 2:51:20 PM

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Your business may be small, but that doesn't mean that your impact can't be huge! The Greater Memphis Chamber's Small Business Council serves to encourage, support, recognize and be a resource to small- and medium-sized businesses in the Memphis area. Here, our talented panel of contributors will present big ideas that could make a huge difference to your small business. And don't be afraid to ask questions ... no matter how small.

Sales & Small Business Ownership
Voss W. Graham is CEO and Senior Business Advisor for InnerActive Consulting Group Inc. He is known by his clients as "a knowledgeable partner who helps our team achieve business growth." He provides practical experience as a small business owner for over 29 years, yet is often engaged with Fortune 500 companies in the development of their people and business strategies.

Public Relations
Several professionals and strategists from the local Obsidian Public Relations firm provide excellent advice on everything from research to media relations to event planning. They believe that all companies, no matter how big or small the company or its budget, should have a public relations plan driving how they manage their relationships with key stakeholders. Public relations is an integral part of doing business the right way.

Human Resources
Joel Myers is a career Human Resources professional, with over 40 years in the field including 26 years in consulting.

Small Business Advice
Tom Pease is a small business owner of an office equipment dealership called e/Doc Systems, Inc. He has also owned a full-line Kawasaki dealership as well as a document shop. He used 30+ years of experience in owning a business to author two books, including: Going Out of Business by Design: Why 70% of Small Businesses Fail and Small Business Survival 101. He also has published 85 columns in The Memphis Daily News as the Small Business Advisor.

Marketing & Public Relations
Lori Turner-Wilson is CEO and Founder of RedRover Company, a sales development, marketing and PR consulting firm. Lori works with companies large and small, from start-ups to mature organizations, to help them improve the productivity of their sales force and the return on their marketing investment. Lori writes a weekly syndicated column for the Daily News, Memphis News, Nashville Ledger, and Desoto Times, among others, titled “Guerrilla Sales & Marketing,” for which she won a 2011 Summit International Award and 2012 International Communicator Award.

Design and Digital Strategy
Founded in 1999, inferno provides brand development, advertising, public relations, design and digital marketing services to clients across a broad spectrum of industries. Headquartered in Memphis with a satellite office in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the award-winning firm produces results-driven work by passionately combining strategic thinking, creativity and culture to ensure the success of its clients. For more information, visit

Labor & Employment Law
Fisher Phillips attorneys are ready to help you take a stand: in court, with employees and unions, or with competitors. Fisher Phillips has the experience and resolve to back you up. That's why some of the savviest employers come to the firm to handle their toughest labor and employment cases. The firm has 350 attorneys in 32 offices, including Memphis. For more information, visit

Since its founding in 2005, Paragon Bank has maintained a solid focus on the community and customer service. For more than 10 years, Paragon has delivered innovative products and financial expertise, convenience, and a deep understanding of what both businesses and individuals need from a ban, in order to provide solutions that make a difference. In the areas of business or personal banking, lending options or wealth management, Paragon delivers cutting edge technology, an experienced team and the most service-oriented staff of any community bank.