February has traditionally been challenging because holiday bills are due, and New Year's resolutions are already broken or at risk of breaking. For business owners I've met, it’s usually a bit early to declare failure in the first two months of the year. However, the breaking of each new resolution or failure to reach an objective is a reminder that not finishing what we start ensures failure. As we spring forward this year, we can create a different outcome.
Along with failing to realize that they must run businesses, well, business-like, the main reason 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 the changes we envision, each year looks remarkably similar to the past ones or even worse.
There are many 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. However, I wouldn’t continue this emphasis if it weren’t true. Thriving enterprises begin the formal goal-setting process late in the year and then periodically measure performance against these goals. Some even have employees whose primary responsibility is to conduct and monitor this measurement process. Small business owners must hold themselves accountable or hire a coach to help. Either way, accountability leads to success.
The best way to assess the value of stick-to-it-ness is to look in the mirror. Have you each set goals AND followed through with them? Or are you like most people who make a New Year's resolution only to break it–repeatedly–within the first couple of months?
Setting reasonable milestones is the main key to follow-up. Another key is identifying what measurements best reflect progress toward the goal. Consider the following measurements:
Number of transactions
Size of each sale
Number of new customers
Frequency of customer contacts
Sales (or other) training hours logged
It is equally important to implement a system to record these measurements and track their progress.
If the little voice in your head is telling you, "Oh, well, maybe next year," do not listen to it! Act now to ensure that you finish what you start and make your way to a new place next February.
"Only Action gets you closer to your dreams - do something today that your future self will thank you for."