Thursday, February 17, 2011

Will 2011 Be Just Another New Year, or Will it be a Prosperous New Year?

clip_image002This article was written by Robin Noah, SCORE Orange County Management Counselor

Happy New Year… When I wished a business friend “Happy New Year” he said “I prefer a prosperous New Year in all ways. That resonates a lot better than a plain Happy New Year.” He then went on to say “My new year’s resolutions are for my business to thrive, to flourish, to be successful and to be on the plus side financially. So I better take a look at the ways and means for achieving my goals in the New Year.”

Are you one of the business leaders that say This year – we’re going to be better, we’re going to change and do things differently”. How does this come about? Will your resolution this year be that you are going to overcome the odds and redirect them in your favor? What will be your approach? Will you map out a plan that will take you to your goals? If yes, then consider my recommendation to” Go for the Holy Grail of business – “profitable growth”. Consider:

§ Growth generates energy and enthusiasm: It attracts the best talent

§ Growth & Innovation: Sustains your business now and in the future

§ If your business is not growing, it’s in decline: Either embrace it or begin thinking about an exit strategy and let someone else take the lead.

The time to reflect is at the beginning of the New Year.

Once you are committed to growth you need to do several things.

1. Start with review of your business’ previous year’s performance

2. Then define your top growth priorities

Critical questions are:

§ Were sales and profitability targets achieved? Is there a message in the results?

§ Have your best customers’ needs and desires changed? Customer’s perception is vital when it comes to building loyalty, which in turn grows business.

§ Where sales and margins are flat, how are you going to fix the problems? Evaluate and improve marketing and sales operations.  Rebalance your marketing and sales budgets; refocus on what needs to occur to achieve your growth priorities.

§ Define the most important trends in your industry and/or the markets your company serves? Take a hard look at the changing needs of your customers and the trends in the markets your company serves.

§ How do these trends create immediate opportunities to grow? Use this intelligence to find opportunities, particularly ones that add new value at a lower cost and disrupt your competitors (disruptive innovation).

§ What do you hope to achieve in the current year and beyond? Here is the tough spot. IDENTIFY at least 3 major actions that must be taken to achieve the resolutions you make.

This is only the beginning. Get a buy in from your staff and employees. Keep everyone focused on these actions and maintain an ongoing measuring stick that is shared with all.