(Time to read this article is about 90 seconds)

It’s November and now’s the time to be doing the planning, making the decisions and taking the action that will make 2018 your best year ever.  Now’s the time to work ‘ON’ the business…not just ‘IN’ it.  Here are some important questions, insights and ‘tools’ to help you make 2018 a spectacular success.  

What will your sales and profit commitments be and what needs fixing, changing or doing to make that happen?   By the way, don’t talk about ‘goals, targets, aims and objectives’ for 2018. These are weak and wishy-washy words that leave way too much ‘wiggle room’ to not perform.  Talk about ‘commitments. Change the language in your business.   When you change your language, you change your culture…and your results.

The power of getting specific about your commitments. The more clear and specific you get about your commitments, the better your results will be. Here are 3 examples of what clear and specific commitments look like: 

  1. We will increase sales by $800,000 in the next 12 months, while not increasing sales and marketing expenses by more than 4%.
  2. We will reduce operating expense by $50,000, in the next 6 months, without diminishing our customer service or employment experience.
  3. We will improve delivery on ‘rush orders’ by 4 hours, within 3 months, without increasing our shipping expense by more than $12,000 a year.

For each commitment you make, determine what specific activities, actions, changes or initiatives you’ll implement to get you where you commit to be.  Then, determine specifically who will do what, by when, measured how…and rewarded how, to make that happen.  This may sound like a lot of work…but it’s what management is all about.  It’s what you signed up for.  So, stop retreating to the familiar, doing the ‘easy day-to-day stuff’ and hoping for better results.  Remember, we get what we work for…not what we hope for.

Sit down for a few hours with a few of the best minds and hearts in your business, or department, and work on the following four statements.  For number 1, 2 and 3 first write in a % improvement that you commit to and then list your top 5 ideas to make it happen. For each idea or action, state who will do what, by when, measured how?  If you have more than 5 ideas, that’s great…but try to come up with at least 5.

  1. 5 specific things we’ll do to increase prices or improve our Gross Margin by __% in 2018 are… 
  2. 5 specific things we’ll do to increase sales by __% in 2018 are…
  3. 5 specific things we’ll do to reduce operating expenses by __% in 2018 are…
  4. 5 things we need to invest in:
    – to improve our customer value and experience in 2018 are… 
    – to reduce employee frustration and improve employee engagement and satisfaction in 2018 are…
    – to improve operating efficiency and profitability in 2018 are…

More help:  To download, no charge, our Biz Tool B-7 “13 questions to ask to make 2018 your best year ever!”, click here.  

To purchase my complete set of 42 ‘Business Assessment and Management Implementation Tools’ that have helped 1,000 of clients focus on where their business is now, where it needs to be …and specifically how they’ll get ‘from here to there’, click here

For even more help in proactively planning for 2018 and beyond, our transformational 34 page ‘Vision Critical Guide’ provides the insights, tools and templates to create clarity about the future of your business.  This transformational ‘Guide’ is available as a PDF download for just $24 here.

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