New Year’s Eve is traditionally the time to set resolutions and goals for the following year. Following this tradition, below are some resolutions for 2020 that one can make for their business, separate and aside from their personal resolutions
1. Commit to compare 2019’s performance to its budget. Did you meet the goals you set at the end of 2018/beginning of 2019? If not, why? Be brutally honest with yourself, too. Analyze variances between budget and actual results. Evaluate what changes you could make to get closer to achieving your goals this year. In some cases, you might need to look at several years’ results to understand what’s happening and how problems can be resolved.
2. Commit to assess the competition. Make a truly honest assessment of what you sell, whether a product or a service, and what your competitor sells. Loyalty and inertia will allow you to retain some of your customers in the short-term, but if you lose your competitive edge, you will lose out in the long run.
3. Commit to analyzing market trends. In what direction is your industry heading over the next five or ten years? Consider trends in technology, the economy, the regulatory environment and customer demographics. Anticipating and quickly reacting to trends are the keys to a business’s long-term success. Companies don’t operate within a vacuum. Trends can be positive or negative, creating either opportunities or threats. Either way, it’s important to give yourself time to formulate a strategic response to make the best of it.
4. Commit to nurture relationships with your vendors. Often, businesses focus on building and maintaining customer relationships and unwittingly let supplier relationships fall by the wayside. At the start of each year, review your contracts with key vendors to find out whether their products and services are fairly priced. Long-term vendor relationships can be helpful if you need to ask for more generous payment terms or a rush emergency shipment. But periodically renegotiating contracts or even switching vendors can help ensure that you’re getting the best possible terms and service.
5. Commit to seek independent feedback on marketing efforts. Are your efforts generating tangible results? Set up focus groups or hire outside professionals to evaluate the quality of your company’s website, branding, advertising and social media presence. Then review the findings with an open mind. Address any shortcomings and consider discontinuing ineffective campaigns. It’s easy to fall in love with your creative efforts, but your customers might have different opinions.
6. Commit to conduct a Personal Time Assessment. Controlling everything 24/7 can wear you down. It also sidetracks you from two critical tasks: 1) proactive, strategic planning, and 2) building a successful team. What tasks make sense to delegate or outsource?
7. Commit to conduct a Personal Skills Assessment. Do you (or a staff member if applicable) need to acquire any new skills or knowledge to help run the business more effectively? Highly effective people seek continuous improvement and renewal, both professionally and personally. Complacency is bad news for growing your business.
While there are many more activities you should ideally incorporate into your business strategy, these brief seven ideas will help put you on the right path and improve your chances for both success and growth in the New Year. Looking for a more comprehensive lists of tried-and-true activities to commit to? Contact your Business Coach to develop a tailored plan.