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Another Year Has Already Come and Gone? Really?

by Bill Collier

“The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.” -Charles Swindoll

As you wrap up this year and prepare to start another, consider using the following list to guide your business activities. If you want to consider this a “New Year’s Resolution” list, that’s fine as long as you actually turn it into reality and stick with it all year.

Set business goals, and have plans for achieving those goals.

Establish written plans for achieving your business goals. Be sure to assign accountability using the following formula: Who will do what by when?

Run your business by the numbers. It’s important to regularly review your progress and results. Your review should include:

* Sales, broken down by product/service or customer segments

* Gross profit, broken down the same way as sales

* Major expense line items

* Net profit

* Cash balance and cash flow

* Accounts receivable, if you extend payment terms to your customers

Look at both month-to-date and year-to-date results and compare with the same period from the prior year. It’s also a good idea to look at your P&L statement numbers as a percent of total sales. This allows you to spot trends early.

Use time wisely.

Your time is one of your most precious resources, so be sure you’re making the best use of it. Use a calendar and set aside time for planning and review.

“Hire hard” so you can “manage easy.”

Spend as much time as needed with the recruiting and interviewing process to build a strong team that will grow with your company.

Spend quality time with employees.

Rather than waiting a year to discuss performance with your team members, regularly visit with them informally. Get to know their talents, strengths and weaknesses. Praise them for their good work, and coach them when you see opportunities for improvement.

Delegate.

You can’t do it all yourself, so don’t even try. Continually ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing right now the best use of my time and talents?” If not, find a way to delegate those activities to employees or outside vendors.

Spend quality time with customers.

Find out the answers to these two questions:

* What’s important to you? (Quality, customer service, product mix, etc.)

* How are we doing in those areas?

Develop relationships with your customers. Find ways to stand out from your competitors and to become the supplier of choice.

Make smart use of technology.

Technology has become so affordable and easy to use that even the smallest home-based business can afford to appear bigger and level the playing field with larger competitors. Get tech-savvy to reduce costs, improve communication, increase productivity and enhance customer service.

Create a winning culture.

Get everyone in your company on the success bandwagon, starting with you. Think and talk about growing, pushing through challenges and achieving goals.

Be winners.

Implement these common-sense business practices, and go make the new year your best yet.

Bill Collier is the St. Louis-area coach for The Great Game of Business. He works with organizations who want to improve financial results, engage their employees and create a winning culture. He can be reached at 314-221-8558, GreatGame.com/stl, ggobstl.com or billcollier@greatgame.com.

Submitted 5 years 192 days ago
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