So you’re a little over a month into the New Year and those plans for change in your business have largely been ignored. The start of a fresh year is the perfect time to make major changes in your business and the time to plan and take action is now. If you’ve allowed the first month to drift, then you need to get back on track. There’s something about the New Year that encourages fresh hope and change and you need to take advantage of it. Flush with the cash from a strong December trade (hopefully), you’re in a good position to introduce new things, and with any luck you’ve had the chance for at least a short break.
The question is what to change and how? Where do you begin?
Well known business guru Brian Tracy has an excellent formula that I have always enjoyed following. I’d suggest this four-step exercise could be the ideal way to go about pinpointing change in your organization for 2015:
1. What should you do more of? So, what went right in 2014? What worked, either by careful planning or by sheer good fortune? What product sold well for you and can you sell more of it? What tasks did you find staff were best suited to? Can you give them more of these responsibilities? Who sells the most diamonds? Can you give them more opportunities to sell them?
2. What should you do less of? This is often an area that most people don’t think about. As designers like to say, “less is more,” and that can sometimes be true in business. What have your greatest frustrations been in 2014? How can you have less of them? Delegation is often at the forefront of this question, and being time poor is one of the biggest issues facing most business owners. It might be that the tasks still need to be done, but just not done by you. What tasks can you give away?
3. What should you start doing? This is a biggie! We are all procrastinators at heart and starting something new is always the most daunting thing to deal with. It is easier to do more of something than start something new, but that’s no reason to give up. It’s the new things you start, the new habits you make that will have the biggest impact on your business. Do you have morning staff meetings? If not, is it time to start? Do you set a financial budget? If not, is it time to start? Do you set sales goals for your staff? If not, is it time to start?
4. What should you stop doing? Habit can be a bad thing. There are activities in your business that you and your staff are doing that are no longer serving you. There are product lines in your business that are no longer profitable and need to be removed. There are staff in your company that are no longer an asset to your business and need to be encouraged to develop their skills elsewhere. Some of these decisions aren’t easy, but many of them are not as hard as they may seem.
What do you currently do that you should stop doing? Are you doing tasks that you don’t enjoy, aren’t particularly good at, and appear to be pointless? One of the best activities you can do is actively track your time for a week (your lawyer or financial advisor may have time sheets that you can use or find a free tool online). You’d be surprised at how you spend your week and how much of it is pointless activity that adds no value to you or your business.
It’s never too late to start your New Year afresh. Make a decision you’re going to implement your New Years Revolution now by answering the four questions above - and if anyone tells you it’s a little late, tell them you’re using the Chinese New Year!