The year is coming to an end and a new one is about to start. Many of us tend to use the year change as a starting line for setting new goals and tackling new challenges. Looking from a business perspective things aren’t much different at the end of the year we evaluate previous commercial accomplishments and shortcomings and work on a plan to improve our business and take it to new heights. From developing new plans for growth, products innovation, marketing, daily operations to budgeting and reviewing short- and mid-term strategies everything is being taken under the loop to make sure the next year is better than the last one, and let’s not kid ourselves even if your business is thriving there is always room for improvement especially because the world around us is continuously changing.
For companies that rely heavily on utilizing information technology, in truth it would be hard to find one that doesn’t these days, changes are inevitable and simply come with the territory so to speak due to the nature of technology itself and its continuous development. The times have changed though and no business remains safe from new competitors. The startups markets are booming, technology allows people to work smarter, faster and more focused than ever before. Global communication is a key to these changes and the world is getting smaller every day. Because of this rapid shift empowered by technological progress all businesses need to keep innovating to stay on top of their game and no one is safe from new contestants, neither the small and family businesses nor multinational corporations. So if you think your business can keep thriving without a continuous need for evaluation of your business development strategy and goals just remember this:
“Technological advancement allows almost any company to challenge the status quo at any time and from anywhere.”
So what can symbolism of a year change mean for your business? It can mean a lot more than just the standard “closing” of the year’s books, filing taxes and end of the year’s reports followed by statistical projections and budgeting. This time of the year can be a perfect opportunity to break from the old mold and try to develop new strategies and vision to reach new heights.
If you already have decided that you want to do things differently or perhaps you are still undecided and need a nudge in the right direction, I have put a very basic game plan together that will help you to get started and set a right course for this journey. This journey is full of difficult decisions and hard choices, forcing you to face reality and perhaps toughest thing of all is to have a long unbiased look in the mirror and answering some burning questions. If you are ready for the ride to greatness and are willing to do what it takes to improve and take failure as no option then let’s begin right here right now!
Analyze and evaluate the past of your company, the strengths the weaknesses the “meh” factor – points of improvements, points of total change needed, what is done great and what can be done better, cut your losses and discontinue strategies that don’t work to keep focus on what’s important. Look back at what has been done excellently, well, not so well, horribly or not at all, but could have been a success. You must understand your current situation and the factors internal and external that have put your business in this place regardless of your current state of success. If you have done poorly find out why, how did the internal decisions bring you here and how was your company affected by external factors like market situation, competition and economics. If you have a successful year behind your back find out how to keep his momentum to the best of your abilities for the next year and which decisions have brought you here? Make sure to understand why you were successful in order to be able to determine future business decisions, strategy and direction.
Get new insights:
Follow changes of the markets and predictions of people and companies that have done it successfully in the past. Depending on the industry and nature of your services some excellent resources for insightful and relevant information are:
Talk to experts in your field and share ideas, brain storm don’t be afraid to explore lots of ideas before making any decisions and setting a course for the next year or two. Perhaps you are on the right track and small adjustments in strategy or implementation would mean a huge boost in potential and greater chance for success. Keep your eyes and ears open and leverage your people’s potential. In order to do so make sure first to surround yourself with people that are bright and passionate first. Analyzing the market, competition and predictions of experts is as important as analyzing your own company’s reasons for successes and failures. Only a clear view and understanding of the entire business environment can lead to making decisions with highest chances for reaching set goals for your business.
After you have evaluated your past successes, failures with reasons behind them and gathered new insights and ideas and are about to set your objectives and for possible steps that need to be taken in order to accomplish these goals to stay or become successful take one step back away from the situation and try to look at everything from the outside. Rethink your conclusions based on your research and once you are certain to the best of your abilities that you have valid and verifiable information to base your decisions, goals and strategy on, only then proceed to the next phase.
In order for your business to become or stay successful you need to define clear, realistic, attainable and measurable goals that your enterprise needs to reach so that it can be considered successful. These goals must exist so that you can set your eyes on them and develop strategy or paths which need to be followed to reach these objectives. If you don’t have clear purpose you can never focus on strategy nor commit necessary resources to get where you need to be. To understand the importance of setting business objectives and strategies I refer you to a quote from Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra:
“You’ve got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going because you might not get there.”
Once you have set the overall goals that you want to focus on, you should define Key Performance Indicators and use them as smaller goals that can be measured often to see if you keep on the right path and if not then where and how to adjust quickly and in time to stir back into the right direction.
Getting through previous steps and setting SMART meaning: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound objectives might not have been a walk in the park, but your plans can only come to fruition through the right execution. This is where your daily operations which determine attaining set KPI’s and in the end the business main goals will be influenced by organizational and communication skills of your entire team. Execution part is as tough as it gets in a process of running a business. Do you remember I mentioned previously that you need to surround yourself with bright and passionate people? These are the people that will help you execute the plans you have prepared and accomplish set goals.
Following these main steps will not guarantee you a success; however it will teach you how to improve your operation on many levels and will provide you with insights and learning moments for the future. On top of that regardless of your level of success you will have a reference points ready for further evaluation, progresses and setting new strategies and goals for the next year, while increasing your chances for attaining your objectives and decreasing the chances for failure and mistakes. If you stuck to your guns then at the end of next year evaluate what you have learned and what proved to be a success or a failure in your strategy and execution, now you have a solid foundation to build on for the years ahead.
Good luck and stay sharp!
Written By: Martin Wielomski
My Google profile.