February has been traditionally a challenging time of year because holiday bills are due and New Year’s resolutions are already being broken. For business owners I’ve met, the first 2 months of the year is usually a bit early to declare failure. But, with the breaking of each new resolution or failure to reach an objective is a reminder that not finishing what we start will assure failure. As we SPRING forward, we have an opportunity to create a different outcome.
Along with failing to realize that businesses must be run, well, “business-like,” the major reasons companies fail to move forward is settling for less than planned. Making changes in business is at worst hard and at best uncomfortable. Unless we, as business owners plan to implement changes, each year will look remarkably similar to the past or even worse.
There are lots of examples where success comes to those who make a plan and stick to it. I’m a broken record in emphasizing that businesses that set goals are wildly more successful than ones that don’t. I would not continue this emphasis, however, if it were not true. “Big Business” begins its formal goal-setting process late in the year then measures, on a regular basis how they do against these goals. Some even have employees whose primary responsibility is this measurement. Small business owners must hold themselves accountable – or hire a coach to do so. Either way, accountability leads to success.
The best way for each of us to assess the value of “stick-to-it-ness” is looking in the mirror. Have we each set goals AND followed through with them or are we like most people who pass a New Year’s resolution only to break it – repeatedly – within the first couple of months.
Setting reasonable milestones is the key to follow-up. Another key is identifying what measurements best reflect progress toward the goal. Some measurements are the number of transactions, size of sale, number of new customers, frequency of customer contact, and sales training hours logged. A system in place to record these measurements and track their progress is equally important.
If the little voice in your head is telling you, “Oh, well, maybe next year,” DO NOT LISTEN TO IT! Take action now to assure that you will finish what you start and make your way to a new place this time next year.