Every year millions of business owners use January 1st as an opportunity to clean out the old, and bring in the new. They resolve to get rid of bad habits (e.g. mismanaging their time) while introducing good habits such as taking exercise breaks after sitting for too long.
The problems start when the first resolution is broken – which usually happens around the second week in January. Soon the business owner is back into his or her comfort zone and very little has changed. If you want to avoid a similar fate, here are four simple solutions to help you run a better business in 2016.
- Hit the ground running – When the bell goes off on January 1, 2016, don’t be the business owner who has no idea where to take their company in the new year. If you haven’t created business goals as well as a GPS plan for achieving them, NOW would be a good time to start. Don’t let an initial stumble derail your plans or zap your commitment to making 2016 a successful year. As my friend Andrew Sherman likes to say “Start Fast, Start Right.”
- Don’t lose focus – If you enjoy initial success in 2016, other companies may want to partner with you to gain access to your early good fortune. Learn to say “no” to most proposals. Stay focused on executing the plan you put together for your business. Wild goose chases can cost your company dearly. When someone approaches you with an opportunity, quickly assess whether or not it will help you get closer to achieving your goals. If the answer is no, or you’re unsure about the potential of the partnership, decline the offer with the option to review the opportunity at a later time.
- Have monthly milestones – Monthly milestones are important for several reasons. First, a monthly goal challenges you to stay focused on the tasks at hand; it also helps you stay on pace to hitting your annual goals. If/when you achieve a monthly goal, take time to celebrate the win and thank those who helped make it possible. Positive reinforcement is almost always a great morale booster. Don’t miss the opportunity.
- Don’t be afraid to make big changes – Sometimes things don’t go your way. I’ve seen clients lose their biggest accounts, their best salespeople, or have a disaster strike their business. When a major adverse event happens during the year, it requires revisiting your goals and plans to make necessary adjustments. It’s ok to change your goals during the year if something happened to make it impossible to achieve them. In certain circumstances, you may have to close a location, lay off staff, lower your expenses for the remainder of the year to avoid going out of business. You will need a contingency plan ready to go if you want to run a better, smarter company in 2016.
Business owners that proactively go after their goals with a specific plan in place, and a backup plan in their pocket, are much more likely to achieve success in 2016 than owners who are reactive in the marketplace. Be smart and have a plan.
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