Although it’s not yet January 1st, now is the best time to make some New Year’s Resolutions for your business. Doing this now allows you to hit the ground running when your calendar flips to 2018.
This is the time of year when business slows for a few weeks as customers focus on vacations and entertaining during the winter holiday season. It’s a perfect time to take advantage of the quiet time and work on your business resolutions.
Resolutions start with some introspection. They usually make us take a good look at ourselves in the mirror. Sometimes that means facing some brutal facts. This requires thinking about where we need to create new good habits, improve existing ones, and stop bad ones.
Resolutions are about goals. Your best chance of reaching your goals is to make them achievable and measurable. While you obviously should make resolutions specific to your situation, listed below are 10 potential ones to get you thinking about your goals.
Oftentimes a good resolution is as much about admitting we should stop doing something as it might be about improving or doing something new.
The first four resolutions below are linked together and are better if committed to as a group:
1. Resolve to examine each of your company’s products and services with clear and honest eyes, then create a prioritized list of what you are good at, and what you are not good at. This takes a great deal of honesty and introspection. We often become enamored with a service or product but have been unwilling to admit it’s not working.
2. Commit to creating a prioritized list of your company’s products and services that are profitable, and those that are not. To do this you need good financials that break down each of your profit centers in as granular a way as possible, with allocation of real costs to each of them.
3. After addressing Resolutions #1 and #2, determine if you’re willing to do what it takes to improve those areas that are not working. The best way to approach this is write down what it will take to fix each area and then prioritize them based on how important they are to you.
4. Once you determine the areas identified in Resolution #3 that don’t align well with your current business model, commit to stop doing them. Sometimes it’s just as important to stop doing things that don’t work to give yourself the bandwidth to try something new.
5. Seek education to better understand your financials and get a handle on your true net profit. Most entrepreneurs in our industry grew up on the technical side. If you pursue financial skills with the same zeal as you did technical skills, you should have no problem mastering your company’s finances.
6. Create a plan to evaluate company systems and processes, and determine if they are in alignment with your products and services. A great way to do this is to involve your whole team. They are your best resource for identifying and documenting your processes.
7. Create a solid training plan for your employees and fund it. With good training your people will increase their value to the company and themselves. As a result, the company will continually increase its value to your customers.
8. Evaluate whether your employees are equipped with the right tools to provide the level of performance your customers deserve. Start by establishing lists of both company-required, and company-provided tools and instruments. Then take an inventory of both.
9. Better manage and coach your employees, starting with conducting consistent performance reviews. It’s important to have metrics through which each employee and the company can set expectations and measure results.
10. Review your pricing to make sure it is in alignment with the value of your products and services, and adjust pricing where appropriate. Often pricing is set too low - usually to compete with low priced competitors.
Remember to make your resolutions realistic. Don’t make them so big that you set yourself up for failure. If they are tied to bigger goals, break resolutions down into smaller, more reasonable outcomes that build on each other. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!