Experts agree—if you start doing something new, it takes at least 21 days for it to become a real habit. So by now, your 2015 business plans are showing you that they either they work or they don’t—whether they should become a habit or be tossed aside.
Whether it’s taking more time to network or figuring out how to gain market share with new or existing customers—every business owner should take the time to reflect, react and reaffirm what your business goals are each and every year. By March of that each new year, you have almost finished the first quarter. Are you incorporating workable changes into your business life? Or is trying to make change making you feel a bit of the “March Madness”?
Where to Look First
A recent article in Forbes posed three great questions to help you start to make new resolutions and refine your business goals:
- Where do you want to be in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years?
- With these goals in mind, what will be different for your company? What’s the end-goal?
- What type of investment can you make in your goals, in regards to time, effort, energy, money? The key question: Is each goal doable?
The same article cited activities such as enhancing your business networking opportunities, recruiting, presenting as a thought leader in your industry, and others.
No March Madness
For me, if I spread myself too thin and try to make too many changes at once, I start feeling a little crazy. There is, after all, work to be done to make sure my current clients are well and happy (and getting their work accomplished in time!).
This year will be about enhancing my entrepreneurial efforts through target market identification and changing my company’s sales model to include new, high-value customers I have not had the time to address. I have scheduled my time to include behaving as a “new business officer” in these environments—and written it all down using the classic goal-setting template—SMART= Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Sensitive. I’ve also committed to using The Center for Business Modeling SWOT template to ensure that my activities are aligned with my company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
The other things I like to focus on are the three items in the above graphic: Customers, Investors and Employees. I like to run a SWOT on these three areas, as well. Using the CBM template, I examine where my Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats are in each of these areas.
I find many business owners worry a lot about customer churn—but not enough about employee churn. The people who work with me on my client accounts are probably the single most important resource I have—they “fill in the blanks” when a client wants to work with me (they love me!!) but I might not have the skills for a particular project. Recently, I had to hire a business analyst to ensure my client and I had a solid ROI on our focus groups projects.
If you want to make sure that by the end of this quarter, you’re experiencing solid results, let me suggest that you spend some time looking at ways to keep your employees (or contractors) happy. You’ll protect a lot more than your employees—you’ll ensure brand value for your company for years to come.