We bring in a new year with great fanfare, often staying up until midnight arrives and making a big hullabaloo about a fresh start. We make resolutions and vow to keep them. How long do they last? It depends on what we promise ourselves, but often they fade away before the end of January. This whole exercise rarely works. Perhaps to make resolutions WORK, we should focus on WORK. What steps can you take to make resolutions for your business?
Step 1: Reflect on the Past Year
Use this past year as a baseline. Think of what went well throughout the year. Compare those results with the year before. Your resolutions will be best crafted by reflecting on this year fairly and objectively, reviewing the trends and practices. The year’s end is is an ideal time to ask current customers what their experience has been with your business – what they appreciated and how things could be improved.
To reflect on the past year, gather the information you’ll need to give it a thorough review and list any extenuating circumstances (like vacations or office moves). Once you have compiled all of the data, now it’s time to reflect. Resolve to take ample time for a thorough review of the year’s business activities and outcomes.
Step 2: Note What Worked Well
Go through all twelve months and see when business spiked. Reflect on what occurred that might have caused this. Did you run a special sale? Attend an event? Send out a broadcast email? Note these spikes and their apparent causes.
Which of these brought the best results? Is there one particular reason that appeals to you the most? For instance, maybe you attended a business conference in March and had the opportunity to meet with like-minded business owners, learning from their successes and their failures. If so, check to see when conferences will be held in the new year and make plans to attend. Resolve to appreciate all that is going well with your business.
Step 3: Detail What Didn’t Work So Well
Note how the previous step reflected on the positive. It can be disheartening to review what did not work so well if this step is taken before Step 2. Now consider plunges in sales and determine what caused those. Perhaps your sales team was going through a transition. Maybe you weren’t so actively changing your website or interacting with customers. Figure out what happened during those times and make a note of it.
Once you’ve reflected on any dips in revenue, figure out how you could do things differently. Perhaps you could assign certain tasks to your team to ensure that business operations run more smoothly in the next year. Maybe you could spread vacations more evenly throughout the year so that all bases are covered or plan on a two-week holiday period like some businesses do during a traditionally slow time. Resolve to create solutions wherever you see problems.
Step 4: Create the Resolutions
After this assessment of your business to determine what worked well and what needs improvement, find ways to strengthen your business plan. Avoid making your resolutions general in nature. In order to track maintenance of these, your new year’s solutions need to be specific and detailed.
Based on what you have learned because of your review of the year, focus on ways to boost your business in the new year. Often plans go awry when too many plans are made. Look at what went well and factor in three of those to continue doing throughout the new year, and perhaps more robustly. Look at what seemed to lead to poor results and figure out which tactics or techniques could get your business back on track. Resolve to use three of these. In total, you have six resolutions that will serve as essential ingredients to boost your business in the new year. Resolve to track the results of your plans to make the year-end review more helpful.
As for more success in the new year, we have something that could make the new year your best year yet. Online Sales Pro is a powerful software platform that will turn your online traffic into leads for your business. Depending on the resolutions you make for your business, you can use Online Sales Pro to generate leads and build an email list. A subscription with OSP includes both the web and mobile app. Now THAT sounds like an easy way to keep your resolutions for the new year and to grow your business.