Starting off the Year Right

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I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions. I’ve tried them. I’ve watched other people try them. Somehow, they never seem to stick, even in business. So what do I do to ensure that my company gets prepped for a banner year? I reflect on what worked, what didn’t work, and what I didn’t get a chance to try during the past year and decide what to change or keep for the new year.

Throughout the year, I like to tinker. I try new marketing ideas and brainstorm on new products and services. I evaluate behind-the-scenes procedures regarding bookkeeping and staffing needs. Not all of my ideas are good ones. Indeed, if you ask my associate, Karen, she might say that many of my ideas aren’t good ones.

So the first week back to work in January is the time that Karen and I evaluate what worked well (we keep those), and what we didn’t get to try. For the things we didn’t get to try, we decide whether or not to try again this year. For the things we tried that crashed and burned, we decide whether it failed because of something we did or didn’t do, or if it failed because it was a bad idea. If we can think of another way to do it, we add those to the company goal list.

Once we decide what to keep and what to toss, we get the rest of the team involved by way of goal setting. We discuss what the overall company goals are and see who’d like to lead on getting those accomplished. We also discuss with the team what they would like to see happen in the new year. When one of the team comes up with something we want to try, we have him or her take ownership of that task and it becomes part of his or her goals for the year.

I think that reflection and planning is a critical part of every business. If you want to grow, you have to change. As I look back over the past twenty-three years, while the core of our business is the same, in many respects we aren’t the same company. We offer similar services that have been tailored to the needs of the current generation of consumers, and we have improved our company culture and procedures.

If you want to get this year off on the right foot, take time to reflect on your past and make written plans for your future. Give yourself goals for the next thirty days, sixty days, ninety days, and beyond. Check in on your list monthly to see how you’re doing. Next January 1st, you will be stunned about what you were able to accomplish!

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