Focus on these 2 Things to Start the Year Off Successfully

By Larry Chester
Internal Controls , Management , Strategic Planning 0 comment Like

How are you starting off your year?  Now is the time to dig in and get a strong start.  But there are so many things that you could do, and there are only so many hours in the day and days in the week.  Here’s a solid approach to get yourself going and growing.

Concentrate on these two factors: 

  • Fixing Problems
  • Being Strategic


Fixing Problems

Fix what’s been keeping you up at night to start the new year off right!!  Every business has issues.  Some have been roadblocks for years, some are relatively new ones.  Identify the issues that you have been experiencing over this past year that are still unresolved and attack them.  I mean REALLY attack them.

Identify and face those issues early.  Don’t spend this year staying up all night lamenting the monster that is still under your desk.  If you don’t resolve it, you will be sitting at your desk 12 months from now, singing the same sad song, after having faced the same struggles for another year.  Don’t accept the status quo.

Be pragmatic.  Take a piece of paper.  Write up a list of the 10 issues that plagued you this past year.  Then prioritize them.

  • Which ones have been a problem for the longest?
  • Which ones have cost you the most money?
  • Which ones are keeping you from reaching your strategic goals?
  • Which ones will provide the longest-term benefit when resolved?

Now take the top 2 or 3 issues.  Those are your targets for the next 30 days.

  • Give yourself a firm deadline to resolve them.  Three or four weeks at the most.
  • Determine the resources that you need to make them go away.
  • Identify the people on your staff that are best suited to take these on.
  • Set up weekly meetings to identify progress in resolution of the problems.

By putting a solid effort behind resolving issues that are keeping you from success, you will reach your goal and prepare yourself for the next one!!

Being Strategic

How can you be more Strategic?  Look beyond what you want to accomplish in this calendar year.  Focus on what needs to be done to grow and continue your success for the next 5 or 10 years.  What is it that you want to be doing 5 or 10 years from now?

Did you read my blog on Wearing 500 Hats? What kind of company do you want your company to be 5 or 10 years from now?  Do you have an exit strategy?  What do you need to do to be able to accomplish that exit?

What elements of your business need to change or adapt to sustain growth?  Do you need to bring capabilities in-house that you are currently buying to increase productivity and reduce costs?  Is there something that you need to do, or someone that you need to hire that will allow you to get to the next level, or free you to do the things that you REALLY want or need to do?

No business is the same today as it was 5 years ago.  And, if you’re paying attention to the marketplace, and reacting to it, your business will be different in another 5 years.  Business owners and leaders need to stay aware and adapt or they will watch their businesses disappear.

Look at these factors:

  • Define your typical customer.  How are they changing?
  • What are your core competencies, and are they becoming more in demand?
  • Does the information you are gathering on your business tell you which segments of your business are growing and which are shrinking?  What is the trendline on product sales, margins, inventory turns?
  • What factors are preventing you from getting to the next level?
  • Are they operational, financial or personnel related?
  • Do you know for certain that removing that roadblock resolves the problem?
  • Can you test the water on a small scale to provide verification?
  • Are you following the leaders or is the market following your lead?

As business leaders, if we see changes happening, we need to take action to adjust to trends in the market.  Is the current market situation a “bubble” or part of a sustained pattern?  How do you prepare your company to take advantage of the sustained pattern and how do you protect your company if it’s just a bubble?

Being strategic means thinking beyond this year.  It’s taking the long term view.  It’s being PROACTIVE rather than REACTIVE.   That’s really the line in the sand that separates those leaders and companies that will be here for the long term, and those that are just riding out the current market situation.

Which one are you?

Larry Chester

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