by Wayne Ottum
“The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.“- Chinese Proverb
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Abraham Lincoln
The holidays were fun (or stressful, depending on your point of view) but it’s a New Year and time to get back to business. So, what can you do right now to help your business off to a great start? Here are 5 things…
Reach out to past clients… Review your list of past clients and check in with them to see how they are doing, thank them for their past business, and to ask how you might be of service and value to them now or in the future. If possible, buy them a cup of coffee or take them to lunch. Ask them how your business was of service to them and what you could do to improve. Ask them for referrals, or, if they are willing, write a review to use in your marketing. Chances are, you will have a number of new opportunities in your pipeline and some great new ideas for winning new business or improving your service.
Reach out to your partners… Contact your suppliers and trade partners and ask them how the partnership is working for them, what you can improve, and how your company might serve the market better. Once again, ask for referrals. Ask how your company can be of additional service and value to them. You will likely hear a lot of good things that will re-energize you, discover some opportunities for improvement, and generate new business that you can take action on right now.
Set a focus… What is one thing you know your business needs to accomplish, improve or start doing? Establish it as an organizational focus, set a goal to achieve it, and build an action plan to get it done. Whether it is something you have to do yourself or you need a team, start today. Put the team together, build the plan and work the plan, including holding yourself and staff accountable for results. A plan with a clear purpose to improve your business. Now that’s exhilarating!
Stop that… In the same vein as determining the one thing you need to start doing, there is likely one thing you and your organization needs to stop doing, discontinue, or redirect. What is it? Stop it now, right now! Cut it loose and let it go! If it involves staff layoffs, killing a product line, or some major organization shift, build a plan to manage the emotional impact of change, but decide now to do it, set a date and work the plan. Whew, that feels better already!
Get staff involved to generate new ideas… Your greatest asset is your staff. That’s worth repeating… Your greatest asset is your staff! Get them together for a brainstorming session and ask, “How can we make 2015 a great year?” Then listen. Make it safe for everyone to talk and get their ideas out and on the table. Let staff prioritize the ideas. Assuming they are truly achievable and within the financial means of the company, take the top 1-3 ideas, assign staff to build a team, plan, execute and measure, and let them go do it. Be sure to reward them when they meet and exceed your expectations!
Activity breeds results and the right activities breed the right results. These 5 activities will not only focus you and your staff on the right activities but they will get your year off to a fast and profitable start.
About the Author
Wayne Ottum is an expert in helping business owners achieve a clarity of direction, focus and authenticity that naturally drives their business to ever greater levels of success. He is the President and Founder of Ottum Enterprises, LLC (ottum2.wpengine.com) and creator of the Lead from Strength™ methodology of business planning, leadership and management. Built on over 30 years of experience in the fields of business education and consulting, Wayne guides you to Lead from Strength™. Follow him on Twitter at @WayneOttum or @OttumEnterprise and find him on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/pub/wayne-ottum/0/31/958/.
If you would like more information on our Lead from Strength™ methodology and how we can help you take your business to the next level, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find more information about what it means to Lead from Strength™, visit us at www.leadfromstrength.com.