10 Resolutions to Make Next Year Your Best Ever
by Bill Collier
Frequently, when a sports team wants to improve results they hire a new
coach. They hold a press conference and the new leader almost always
announces that they team is going back to the basics Ö returning to the
Small businesses can learn a valuable lesson from these teams. ďThe
fundamentalsĒ never go out of style. Here are ten resolutions for the new
year Ė ten business fundamentals that should help you improve your
I will set
personal goals and will use my business as a tool for achieving those
Think of your business as a tool for enhancing your personal life. Why
else would you endure the risks, the headaches and the hard work if being
an entrepreneur didnít provide a better life than you had as an employee?
Be sure to use your business to achieve your lifeís ambitions.
I will set
business goals, and will have plans for achieving those goals.
Once you know what you want from your business, set business goals that
align with and move you toward your personal goals. Then, establish
written step-by-step plans for achieving your business goals. Be sure to
assign accountability using the following formula: WHO will do WHAT by
analyze my company's financial statements at least monthly.
Itís important to regularly review your progress and results. Your review
Sales, broken down by
product/service or customer segments
Gross profit, broken
down the same way as sales
Major expense line
Cash balance and cash
(if you extend payment terms to your customers)
Look at both month-to-date and year-to-date results, and compare to the
same period from the prior year. Itís also a good idea to look at most of
your income statement numbers as a percent of total sales. This allows you
to spot trends early.
I will use
my time wisely.
Your time is one of your most precious resources, so be sure youíre making
the best use of it. Use a calendar and set aside time for planning and
review. Donít become a servant to the business, either. If you use your
business time wisely youíll still have time for family and personal
"hire hard" so I can "manage easy."
bad hiring decision can haunt you for a long time and can cost you
thousands of dollars in re-hiring, retraining, lost time, lost
productivity and lost opportunities. Donít hire the first person who shows
up, and donít make a snap decision. Spend as much time as needed with the
recruiting and interviewing process so you can build a strong team who
will grow with your company.
spend quality time with my employees.
Performance reviews have been described as 30 minutes of uncomfortable
conversation followed by a raise. Rather than waiting a year to discuss
performance with your team members, visit with them informally at least
weekly. Get to know their talents, strengths and weaknesses. Praise them
for their good work, and coach them when you see opportunities for
canít do it all yourself, so donít even try. Continually ask yourself, ďIs
what Iím doing right now the best use of my time and talents?Ē If not,
find a way to delegate those activities to an employee or outside vendor.
spend quality time with my customers.
Pick up the phone or better yet, go visit your customers. Find out the
answers to these two questions:
Whatís important to
you? (Quality, customer service, product mix, etc.)
How are we doing in
Develop relationships with your customers. Find ways to stand out from
your competitors and to become the supplier of choice.
make smart use of technology to improve my business.
Technology has become so affordable and easy to use that no business has
an excuse for not going high tech. Even the smallest home-based business
can afford to appear bigger and to level the playing field with their
Each of the following areas and more offer opportunities to reduce costs,
improve communication, increase productivity and enhance customer service:
Phone and voice mail
Ecommerce sites and
Wireless access and
Web-based training and
make next year my best ever.
Build on your successes and learn from your mistakes. Resolve to implement
all these business practices, and go into the new year with the attitude
that this will be your best year in business yet.
Bill Collier is a St. Louis-based
business coach, consultant and speaker. He is the author of the book ďHow
to Succeed as a Small Business Owner Ö and Still Have a Life.Ē His website
is www.collierbiz.com, and his email is email@example.com