Making your resolutions realistic and measurable is the key to their success
January is all about resolutions and, unfortunately in some cases, breaking them. But one of the golden rules for business is keeping it simple, and doing what you say you will do. So in that spirit, I have three top tips for those seeking to carry out a quick audit and hit the ground running in 2018.
How measurable are the outcomes you want for the year ahead? Is it sales growth? New markets? A measure of how people feel about your brand? Do you know 'how much' and 'by when'? While in an ideal world, we'd like to measure everything about our businesses, budgets mean that that isn't always possible.
The most effective businesses I've found are those that show real clarity in deciding which one or two objectives are really core to what they do and find a way to put analytical rigour into discovering how they have changed, and can be changed further - customer insight is key.
The process of whittling down what you want to measure takes me into my next audit step - how realistic are your resolutions? Human beings dislike losses more than they appreciate gains, so even if you accomplish one or two things from your list, if this means you've missed seven or eight other targets you might not feel as though you've progressed. Just as you can't expect to be beach body ready come June if you aren't able to devote time to the gym, so too businesses need to work out what their training, marketing and business development budgets are so they can work out what is feasible.
The final thing to consider is how well equipped you - and your team - are to deliver these measurable and achievable objectives.
The main difference between a personal resolution and one for your business on that front is the motivation.
If it's starting a new hobby, or going to bed earlier, the ultimate responsibility for making that happen falls on you. With a small business, you are dependent on your team to help you achieve your goals. So talk to them to understand their personal motivations, and see if there are ways that you can connect those to the aims you have for your business.
It's a way of keeping people much more actively engaged with a cause if they can see how they can achieve for themselves at the same time as hitting the mark with business objectives.
Whatever your resolutions, I look forward to connecting and working with many of you throughout 2018.
- John Ferris is an Enabler at Entrepreneurial Spark