The beautiful thing about a new year is that it gives us an excellent milestone for change. Of course, there are always resolutions to make this the best year ever. However, we will look beyond declarations. This article presents a more intentional approach to improvement based on thoughtful consideration. We are not just picking a popular trend and jumping on or an obvious, but broad, improvement.
The first step in planning our best year is to assess where we are. Take some time to look at the trends and challenges of the last twelve months. This action is not a cursory glance like checking the scale and deciding to lose weight. It is a deeper dive into not only the results but the causes. We want to treat the core problem, not the consequences. Thus, build a list of issues and then review whether they are problems or symptoms. Dig down to create a list of challenges that are slowing your progress down.
Simple and Specific
The scope is always a challenge when changing course or solving problems. We want to go for the big wins. However, that has the negative impact of keeping us from gains that quick wins can provide. A few little successes often outweigh a big win, particularly when you consider the time for those wins to “bake in.” For example, if I can save a dollar a day now or ten dollars a day in a year I will have missed out on 365 dollars of savings before I get that more significant win. Keep that in mind while looking at the problem list you created. Maybe there are some easy wins or partial improvements that can be completed in the first quarter. Move these up on the priority list and allow the more significant enhancements to wait.
Avoid being vague in your goals and improvements. A good list will have deadlines, milestones, deliverables, and be measurable. This list will help you be held accountable from the very start. A plan has been created. Thus, get to work on it. When you leave things vague like, improve sales this year, the lack of details makes it hard to get started on that goal. Your first step, in that case, is to decide what the first step is.
Finding The Clues
Sometimes things look ok on the surface. The problems you are facing can take some extra research to see them. A good approach for this task is to look at where the money went. We often can find out a lot when we “follow the money,” even when it is our own spending. When you have useful metrics on resource utilization that is another potential clue in how to improve your business. The math is simple. Look for ways to reduce costs, improve productivity, or increase revenue. When you attack these areas, you will see a business grow.