As the year is reaching a close are you giving your company its annual physical?
What goals did you set that you have achieved? What goals did you not meet and why? If you had to start you company over again which employees would you hire again, and which ones would you not bring along on the new journey? Have you lost your initial competitive advantage? Are their new areas of revenue you need to take advantage of? How is your brand is it easily identified by your target customer?
I always like to focus on four areas:
Your mission statement should be revisited every year. The mission statement of one of my business is “To provide workmanship that exceeds the customers expectations in a timely and professional manner.” So I sit down and spend time going over the years invoices and think about where we fell short of expectations. Was it because we over-promised or didn’t educate our customer in what to realistically expect? Help me if one of my employees just dropped the ball, but even in those cases, I consider if we should have taken the job in the first place or referred the customer to one of the many specialists that I deal with or have as a personal friend.
Like the mission statement, the value statement I encouraged you to write is a valuable baseline. After going through the invoices, I have a good sense of how the year progressed. Then I take the opportunity to do some soul searching. How did I respond to difficult employees and customers? Did I stay true to my values? This is especially important to me as a Christian business owner. If I have lost sight of my values at times, I construct strategies on how to avoid those mistakes in the future.
Without a solid base of repeat and referral customers, I wouldn’t be as successful as I am today. I take some time to thank my best customers for their business and wish them a happy Christmas or New Year. I let them know how much I appreciate them and ask if there is anything I could do for them next year. Usually this leads into a conversation about how a job went or what the customer hopes to do someday to improve their home. This does two things. I feel like I am doing something important (like building great homes for families). I also think the customer hangs up with the feeling that I am invested in their happiness–which I am–and that more likely to hire my services again.
Success usually means making a profit. But there are different ways to define success. In addition to running a profitable business, I’d like to offer something more, so I make some goals for the next year. How would I like to expand next year? What areas do I need to improve? Where can I add value to my service/product? I sit on these questions for a long time. Give yourself a month of simple brainstorming. While you are working out or taking a walk, make a running list without any doubt in your heart. Think big and small.
The list can go on and on but the point is simple: make a list of key measurements of your company and carefully analyze the data and rethink the year. We all know insanity is repeating the same thing yet expecting different results. It is a new year. Everything is possible.
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