Small Business Building Resolutions

by Tom Egelhoff

Author Tom Egelhoff Every year at this time we sit down and assess our lives and look for ways to improve each other.

We swear an unwavering commitment to achieve our goals only to see most, if not all, of them fall by the wayside long before Valentine's Day.

This month I would like to see each of you create a list of resolutions that will help your business grow and prosper in the coming year and hopefully show you some ways to keep them.

Resolution 1. Give Your Small Business A Physical Checkup

The first thing a doctor does in a physical exam is to check your "vital signs." If you've been in business for a while you have a track record that will help you determine the vital signs of your business.

Let's start with where you've been before we can look at where you want to go. What kind of year was it for you? Was it better then you hoped? Worse? Was it better or worse than the previous?

If your business is going down hill more than two years in a row then you have some analyzing to do.

What are the reasons for steady declines in business? You might be in an industry that is losing market share nationally or you might have stronger competition that is reducing your local market share.

Whatever the reason you need to find it and to put your finger on it in order to correct it. Sit down with your accountant and go over the books.

Where is your business strong and where is there weakness? Are you overweight in payroll?

Perhaps you are anemic in inventory. Your accountant can help you spot trouble and prescribe the right treatment to ward off serious ailments down the road.

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Resolution 2. Pay More Attention To Competitors

Start two files in your office.

The first is a file by month with copies of all your advertising.

The second is a file by month with copies of all your competitors advertising.

If you had started this last January you would know the types of sales and products that your competitors advertised last year at this time.

By looking at last year ads you could see if their ads hurt your business or if your promotions offset their efforts.

In addition post all competitive ads where sales people can see them. Your sales people should also be aware of everything your competition is doing.

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Resolution 3. Help Your Employees Reach Their Life Goals

As a business owner you might be saying, "What about my goals?"

That statement would make my point. Your employees are not working to make your goals they're working to make their goals. They're using you as you are using them.

So make the best of it. Have each employee write down their personal goals and post them in your break room or somewhere open to employees only.

Some might be working for a new home, others to go to school, or pay off debt, or prepare for a new baby. If you're helping them reach their goals they will work harder to help you achieve yours.

When you know their goals you can create ways to motivate them to reach those goals and your own at the same time.

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Resolution 4. Build Your Small Business On The Business You Already Have

Nothing is more powerful to your business than a satisfied customer.

Make it a point to keep in touch with your customers. Follow up with them as much as possible.

Make it easy for your customers to complain. Most people complain about a company by simply never going back.

And in most cases you never know why unless you ask.

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Resolution 5. Set Time Limits And Accountability For Your Resolutions

One reason resolutions fail is that they are written in generalities.

Be specific with your resolutions.

When will they be accomplished? Who is responsible for each action and how will each person be accountable for their part in the process?

Set priorities and make an action plan. Schedule the day, week, or month, for each action step in your plan.

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Resolution 6. Find Ways To Make Sure You Keep The Ones You Make

Before I wrote my first book I told everyone I talked to I was going to write one.

I finally had to write the book because every time I saw someone they would ask, "How is the book coming?"

It was my way of forcing me to keep my book writing resolution. Post your resolutions for you and all employees to see and make yourself accountable.

Post your goals along with theirs.

Oprah Winfrey says that, "Luck is preparation meeting opportunity."

It's a matter of preparing for your opportunity when it arrives and believe me it will.

How prepared will you be when your opportunity arrives?

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