With the new year still in its infancy, it is the perfect time to contemplate last year’s “good, bad and ugly” proceedings!
Even though time seems to just fly past us: we go to bed in January, wake up in August, then its time to decorate the Christmas tree… Poof! the year is now done, get ready for the next flight! I really do love the end of one year and entry into the next though, it gives me the
excuse, no, the cause to really, REALLY evaluate my businesses. I find this process cleansing. It fills me with optimistic anticipation and a constructive exhilaration to take on the upcoming year.
I think about what I did, what I wish I had done, what I should have done and what I couldn’t have done no matter how badly I wanted to.
Here’s a great list of what to think about, when you’re giving your business the mental once, twice, thrice over:
- How did your business perform overall throughout the year? Was it up to your expectations? Did it exceed your expectations?
When reviewing the questions above, think about why it did or why it did not perform the way you wanted it to. Then ask yourself the following…
- How’s your brand? Do you have a professional presence in the marketplace (or even a presence at all?!?) — Do you brand your business consistently everywhere it is promoted? — Is it time to update your brand/does it truly convey and represent who or what you want it to and what it needs to? When someone sees your logo or hears your tagline, does it reminiscently bring your company/or you to mind?
- Are you promoting your business, and if so, how? Start advertising and marketing if you’re not already – no one knows your business exists if you don’t tell them! If you are promoting and it’s not working, change your campaigns, your verbiage, your venues, track your advertising so you can see if you have results or not before it’s time to decorate next year’s Christmas tree!
- How satisfied were your customers? Did you have many returns of merchandise or refunds for services? — Did you have returning customers? Awesome if you did! If not, think about how you can get those who have been willing to pay you at least once already, to do it again. Offer coupons, incentives, frequent shopper cards and discounts, freebies, sales, specials — take advantage of the Holidays, the weather, your birthday even — any excuse to cause a ruckus and get some attention to your business.
Here’s a real scary topic for you to peruse, but a very necessary one…
- How did you do managing your business? This can lead in many ways to the success or failure of a business. Is your accounting up to date? Is it accurate? — Did you have time to get things done you needed to, or put off, put off, put off until you forgot why you needed to do them? Do you need equipment, supplies, repairs to really produce and function at 101%? — Do you have employees? Are they happy, rewarded, working hard for you and your cause? There are many things that could be added to this list that appear to not be directly in need of adjustment in order for your business to excel, but… these items are the infrastructure of your business and if you let them rust and waste away gradually your foundation will fall!
Make any necessary adjustments to these items as soon as possible so your 2014 can start out with a strong, supportive foundation, you’ll feel good about what you’re doing and excited to really apply yourself to your “real” business needs and functions.
These items I have listed are more the internal organs of a business. And I feel good every January after I have reviewed the health of these items and listed them out literally and figured out and written down action items for each and every one of them. I am human too, so of course I don’t stick to all of my plans either, but going through the process of evaluation and mental adjustment is healing and refreshing to the maddened mind of the harried business owner.
Well between us all, I am sure we’ve read thousands of articles that give us business advice and suggestions, especially at this time of year. The best and most straight forward item I came across this year was put simply, but will not be done so simply by many of “us”. Here’s the best way to handle last year’s business failures…
“Make a clean break from those things that don’t work. Period.”
Ha! Easier said than done, I know it. As humans we are creatures of habit, whether it’s eating too much, smoking cigarettes or repeating an action with our business that never, ever works!
I’d love for you reply to this post and let us know your techniques for quitting some bad business habits or problems cold turkey — we could all use some more advice. The wise business owner is always open to suggestions. Being open doesn’t mean we have to apply all suggestions, merely that we have an open mind and open ears to listen and consider advice, good or bad!