Is it Too Early to Begin Thinking
…About New Year’s Resolutions?
Mark Twain once said, “…..Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits!” Unfortunately for most people, this is true. They make grand proclamations of what they will attempt in the New Year and then slide right back into their old excuses on why they can’t successfully chart a new course for themselves…..or their company.
It is said that one of the main reasons that New Year’s resolutions are so difficult to keep is that we don’t adequately prepare to initiate them. For most people, the thought of making such resolutions are not something they even consider until the week before they try to implement them. We thought that perhaps this year we would try and provide a bit of guidance that may help to ensure your company’s success in the new fiscal year.
As we just said, the first and foremost reason resolutions fail is that not enough thought is put into developing them and preparing for them to be successful. The second reason is that they are generally too broad in scope by definition. In other words, resolving that your company will sell 10% more in products for 2017 is a recipe for failure. Resolutions need to be very specific. You may want to resolve to do more of the specific actions that drive your sales model……so that the result is an increase in sales of 10%!
Dream Big…..Focus Small
Let’s start by addressing the first reason resolutions fail. If we accept that for our purposes, the New Year will begin in January 2017, then that means that we have around 40 days to consider what we want our 2017 Resolutions to be. Now is the time to whittle that list of possible goals down to a manageable number. Take the time now, to decide what your company goals are for 2017. Do you want to increase your imports menu to expand your inventory? Perhaps you want to distribute your products to more retailers? You may well need to “prep” your company for your upcoming resolutions to succeed.
Second, your goals or resolutions need to be very specific. Think of them as though you are writing instructions on how to assemble something. Be specific in your thoughts. The successful assembly of the item is a result of your efforts in general. As an example, adding new sales people and properly training them will result in an increase of sales. Securing new products to sell, and then increasing your distribution network to new “brick & mortar” stores will result in additional revenue growth. Choose your resolutions in a results oriented manner.
Third, once you have scribed those resolutions down on something, you will need to “post” them in a high-profile location. This could be in a frame on your desk that is always in view or it could be as the home screen of your computer or Smartphone. They must always be evident to you throughout the day. You need to also share them with everyone in your company. Your “troops,” need to know what they are fighting for and what the “mission,” is they need to focus on. Again, be specific in what is expected of your team and reward them when they drive towards those goals.
If you can implement these three concepts into your New Year’s resolutions, then it is very likely you will succeed with at least some of them. If for arguments sake we accept you will follow the three aforementioned rules in developing your goals for 2017, then let’s actually list some that may be worth considering. While the stated resolution may be somewhat general, the actions needed to realize them are detailed. As in all things……the devil is in the detail.
2017 Business Resolutions
- Increase Market Share – take the time to research your top competitor’s attributes. Identify and learn what their strengths are. Incorporate the data you gather from such research into your overall strategic business plan for your company and then explain further how specific targets can be met. Update your marketing plan by redefining or updating product or service offerings, researching your new target markets, then strategically placing, pricing and promoting your company offerings.
- Strengthen Your Financial Resources – revisit your credit lines and your capital reserves to ensure they are adequate to support your new efforts. For many organizations this means strengthening your financial resources. Streamlining your cash flow processes or increasing your assets in order to attract investors and creditors to fund future expansion is also part of the equation.
- Physical Resources – If your company produces tangible products, physical resources could mean the plant, machinery and other equipment could be modernized to enhance customer service and/or other business processes. This may mean leasing new equipment, modernizing your servers and digital hardware or simply adding more phone lines.
- Productivity – By definition productivity means fine tuning a business process to achieve the best results for customers while increasing profits. This could mean you are converting sales at a higher percentage or you are cutting waste and costs. The end result is the same. Your customers benefit as does your bottom line. As an example, if you can decrease call times but increase your conversion rates for actual sales…..your productivity has increased!
- Innovation – A resolution to advance your innovation means you will stay ahead of your competition. Increasing your investment into research and development to create new products or co-branding established ones will pay dividends for your company. Perhaps advancing your communication capabilities to enhance customer service will secure your place at the forefront in the marketplace just as much as the launching of a new or unique product?
- Action Planning – A business cannot advance or grow without defining specific action steps to take them toward their goals and self-identified business objectives. Maybe now is the time for you to develop your SMART goals…..these are goals that are specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and timely. By setting and meeting SMART goals, an organization will meet specific business objectives along the way. Action Planning also includes emergency plans to unload products that are not selling or how to handle product recalls… as an example. The best time to figure out how to address these types of issues is well before they happen.
The aforementioned strategic business objectives can easily be incorporated into your New Year’s resolutions for 2017, especially if you begin formulating them now. Mosaica has always believed in a two pronged approach to our clients being successful. Our most successful clients have short-term goals that generally reflect business plans that are 30 to 90 days into the future. We call such short-term plans, “Today Targets.” For those goals to be hit…..we must start on them TODAY. Goals that are six months to a year out are called “Tomorrow Targets.” However, we also live by a motto that best explains our daily mindset…… “Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today!”
In other words, you need to start today to prepare for your 2017 New Year’s Resolutions. If you wait until a few days before January to consider what those resolutions will be then you will fall into your old habits……and end up being the punch line of a Mark Twain quote!