It’s January 2019, and you’re ready to go into the new year “full throttle.” Before you rush out, you’ll want to pump the brakes and follow these steps. They’re designed to make this a banner year for your business:
1. Repeat vs. Regret. Take a step back into 2018 to debrief. Ask yourself what you want to repeat from 2018. What lessons did you learn? What worked for you?
Business owners know when they’ve made a mistake. Customers complain, sales may decline or fall flat. But it’s harder to tell when they’ve got it right. When you’re planning for the coming year, it’s important to identify the steps that led to your success so you can repeat them. Track your effort, especially if you’re trying something new, so you can see the correlation between right action and right results.
Take inventory of your regrets. What do you want to do differently, or just want to do better? What happened that you didn’t like? How can you avoid doing it again?
You can often find the answers outside your comfort zone, so don’t be afraid to go there. Turn to your staff for help because they are the ones who are doing the work every single day. In the “Undercover Boss” series, the boss always works with folks at a lower level and finds that these employees have the on-the-ground intelligence they need.
2. Get 2020 Vision. We’ve just entered 2019, but by now, you should already be planning for next year. You need 2020 vision in more ways than one.
There is a lag between the time you have an idea and the time those ideas manifest. How long should you let things marinade before you can reasonably expect results? How far ahead can you project your results? The longer into the future that you can project your activities, the BETTER you are at managing your business.
That’s why you want to plan out the entire year. You need to connect the dots.
One thing 7 Stage Advisors recommend for our clients is to schedule ALL of the recurring tasks, trade shows, networking events, affinity marketing outreach campaigns, employee reviews, etc., NOW so you can understand the activities you are going to face in the new year.
We advise clients to develop a vision 20 to 30 years out. Have a plan for the next decade and the next 1-5 years. Bad ideas start out as good ideas. They usually fail when they’re created in a vacuum. Planning provides the framework for you to see and connect your ideas more clearly, within the context of real time and space.
You can see, for instance, how you did something, when you did it, and the frequency with which you did it. You may realize that you should have launched your project in the spring instead of winter, or that you should have tried a certain technique 5 times instead of 3 times. You may need to come back and reintroduce your idea later.
3. Have a compelling HOW and WHY. Every business owner has a WHAT. It’s a common commodity. But the HOW and WHY matter as much as what you do. When assessing your results in 2018, ask if you’ve distinguished yourself enough. What else do you need to do to improve in the coming year(s)? Uber’s on-demand business model is an example of how the transportation industry was changed forever.
Knowing why you’re in business drives your motives and your motivation. Everyone’s why will be different, so it’s important to be transparent and feel good about the contribution you are making, both individually and corporately.
4. Always Be Continuous. Adopt the ABC (Always Be Continuous) mantra, which applies to continuous learning. You want to make sure your staff has the best resources available to keep pace within your industry and satisfy customer demands. Making continuous education and training part of your business model will be an indispensable asset for your company’s growth and ability to pivot.
We are doomed to repeat the mistakes we don’t acknowledge. So, take advantage of the momentum of this new year by implementing strategies that repeat your success and make changes to avoid regrets.
Carl Gould writes about catalyzing and sustaining business growth. He is an entrepreneur who built three multi-million dollar businesses by age 40, and his consulting firm has mentored the launch of over five thousand businesses in 35 countries. Each week he co-hosts “Quit and Get Rich” on iHeart® radio; and in his keynote speeches, he shares his insights from growing top companies from around the world. You can learn more about Carl and his firm at www.7StageAdvisors.com and www.CarlGould.com.