What is a Resolution?
It is the promise a person makes to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice.
Each year the media goes into a frenzy in discussing and dissecting the merits of making and
keeping New Year’s Resolutions. Individuals make and break these resolutions – sometimes
daily, sometimes annually. The second wave that follows the Resolution Revolution is a
bombardment of tips and tricks to improve your willpower or to show you a shortcut to reach
Business is different. Setting goals and marking achievements are a vital part of business
planning but must be approached differently if there is to be hope for success. There is no quick
fix or fingersnap to achieve your business goals. A resolution is a commitment toward selfimprovement.
It starts with you. Determining the goal (or goals) to achieve this year is generally the easy part.
How to achieve that goal is where things can get a little messy. We follow FOUR
RESOLUTIONS to be renewed annually.
R1. Teach a new skill to your team each month.
Assign related tasks for practical experience.
Why is this the number one? Your team is the foundation and the skills and experience (or lack
thereof) are the limit of what you can deliver to your customers. If your business goal is to
increase sales by 20% and you achieve that, it is only sustainable if you can deliver and service
those sales. Twenty percent of new and now unsatisfied customers is definitely not the result
you were after. Teaching your team new skills and regularly challenging them to apply their
knowledge in real and practical ways ensures your staff remain engaged and you can be
confident that your clients are in good hands.
R2. Meet with your suppliers.
Learn more about their business. Are there new products and/or services that you should be taking advantage of?
This again relates to the foundation of your business. Having reliable suppliers who see YOU
as a valuable client better positions you and your team to serve your customers to the best that
there is to offer. Opening and engaging in a regular dialogue ensures better service levels and
creates confidence in knowing that your vendors will be there to support you.
R3. Talk to your customers.
How do they feel about working with you over the last year?
What challenges have they faced? What improvements would they like to see?
Now with your team fully trained and your suppliers actively engaged, it is time to turn your
attention to your customers. It is important to be prepared for these conversations. Review
your files and correspondence. In hindsight, would you have handled a situation or challenge
differently? Or, is there a better solution now that should be substituted in? Once you have
reviewed the year’s successes and/or setbacks with your customer, now you have a great
opportunity to introduce any new products and services that you have to offer. And you can do
so with confidence knowing that your staff and suppliers are ready to deliver.
R4. Review your product and service offerings.
Technology is still changing rapidly. And so are the prices of this technology. What didn’t
make sense five years ago maybe status quo today. Reviewing your products and services
means more than just the products and services that you offer. What are your competitors
doing? What new technologies are on the market and on the horizon? This may mean stretching
yourself into uncomfortable predictions. Is your industry growing? Or maybe it is being reinvented
by technology? We may not be able to predict the future but we must look at what IS
happening in order to be prepared.
These four simple steps, when combined and repeatedly annually (or quarterly depending on
your specific situation), will go a long way to assisting your business toward success. The true
value is in the habit. When you repeat these exercises regularly and over time, you create the
history and benchmarks to measure against the future. It will also keep you current in the
marketplace, ready to act and react to market conditions to ensure your continued success.