(Time to read this article is about 2 minutes)
It’s October and now is the time to start the planning, making the decisions and taking the action that will make 2019 your best year ever. As a teenager I ran the mile and 2 mile competitively. What I learned was that the day to train for the race is not the day of the race. And yet, so many businesses start thinking about the year ahead in late December or early January. This makes no sense. Now is the time to work on next year. Here are a few important questions, insights and ‘tools’ to help you make next year a spectacular success.
First off, what will your sales and profit commitments be for 2019 and what needs fixing, changing or doing to make that happen? Get your Team involved and talk about ‘commitments’ for 2019. Don’t talk about ‘goals, targets, aims and objectives’. These are weak and wishy-washy words that leave way too much ‘wiggle room’ to not perform. Change the language in your business. When you change your language, you change your culture…and your results.
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:
- We will increase sales by $800,000 in 2019, while not increasing sales and marketing expenses by more than 4%.
- We will reduce operating expense by $50,000 in 2019, without diminishing our customer service or employee experience.
- 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, at what cost, 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. 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 some 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?
- 5 specific things we’ll do to increase prices or improve our Gross Margin by __% in 2019 are…
- 5 specific things we’ll do to increase sales by __% in 2019 are…
- 5 specific things we’ll do to reduce expenses by __% in 2019 are…
- 5 things we need to invest in:
– to improve our customer value and experience in 2019 are…
– to reduce employee frustration and improve engagement in 2019 are…
– to improve efficiency and profitability in 2019 are…
My complete set of 44 ‘Business Assessment & Management Implementation Tools’ is available on our website for just $40. These are the same Tools and Templates that I use with my Biz Coaching clients who pay thousands of dollars to work with me. You can access these Biz Tools by clicking here.
To get you started on planning for an extraordinary 2019, here, below, is free access to 3 of these self-guiding Biz Tools:
- Tool #A-1: ‘The Business Key Challenge Audit Sheet’. This insightful one-page Tool will tell you what areas of your business need your attention and who on your team ‘gets it’. This tool takes just 4 minutes to complete. To access Tool #A-1, click here.
- Tool #A-4: ‘Our 1st Job Is Clarity’. As business owners, leaders or managers, our 1st job is clarity about key aspects of our market and our business. This important Tool will help you improve ‘clarity’ in your business. To access Tool #A-4, click here.
- Tool #B-7: ’13 questions to make next year your best year ever’. This self-guiding Tool will guide you and your Team to develop marketing and operational insights that can transform your business. To access Tool #B-7, click here.