Were you happy with your business results last year? Have you resolved to do better in 2013? Resolutions can be hard to keep. Here’s how to stay the course.

Start with a financial goal. If you haven’t already developed a plan, now is the time. Start simple: what do you want to make this year? Write that number down. We like to focus on profitability or gross margin; if you’re not there yet, set a goal for total revenue. You’ll be amazed at how just selecting a number will help you focus.

Choose three initiatives. To start, ask yourself:

  • What didn’t go so well last year?
  • What must we absolutely do differently in 2013?
  • What did we do well, that I want to do more of?

List the answers. Or, start with a list of business drivers (I could send you to a dull article on key performance indicators, but we like Jill Konrath’s list of business drivers better – and she gives great sales advice). Force yourself to prioritize and select just three initiatives.

For example, maybe your business isn’t as profitable as you’d like. You might choose to focus on selling more high-margin services. Need more sales leads? Resolve to create a strong, strategic marketing plan that will push the right kind of customers in your door (you know we can help!) If you deliver great services, but are struggling to get paid, commit to reevaluating your payment terms and contracts.

Assign metrics. How else will you know that you did well, come December? Write down exactly what you will measure – for example, 100% of collectibles current, or zero customers who are more than 60 days past due.

Commit the time. To make it work, you’ve got to decide that your business is important enough for your time. We are all guilty of putting our customers ahead of our own businesses. Just once a month, make sure that your business comes first! Set up a recurring monthly appointment in your calendar to evaluate the progress made toward your business goals.

If you need help, go grab a business associate or advisor and do this together, or call us and we’ll help.

Please, stop what you’re doing for a minute. Make the commitment to invest the time in your business that it needs and deserves. If you don’t, who will?

Interested in taking this to the next level? Email us at growth (at) hickman-partners.com or call 571-431-6907.

January 31, 2013