The New, New Year

A Different New Year’s Hangover

With each passing year, the time and date of “12:01AM, January 1,” brings with it a new year, complete with new expectations, deliverables and benchmarks to stack up. Consummate business professionals, owners and entrepreneurs realize and use this event to assess metrics, compare data and set new goals. For some, it’s a time of awakening; a clean slate; a new day. For others, it’s a painful contemplation and face-to-face meeting with specific, obvious challenges that lie ahead. Certain questions arise during this exercise, no matter how simplified or informal:

  • Am I or is my business ‘successful’?
  • What kept me from getting to where I wanted to go last year?
  • What have I learned? Am I wiser?
  • Where can I improve?
  • What challenges and/or obstacles will impede that in the New Year?
  • How fast can I get there?
  • What are the consequences if I don’t?

If you haven’t asked yourself these simple questions yet, it’s in your best interest to do so soon. Write down your answers and put that piece of paper in an easily accessible area. Visit it often. This is part of the business planning process. As the cliché reminder goes, “those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” Therefore, understanding your business situation as much as possible is critical to creating, sustaining and/or growing a profitable customer relationship.

New Year’s Risk

Someone once advised me, “It’s not the worries you carry on your mind each day that will cause your business the greatest friction, but rather those that blindside you on a Friday night at 5PM.” Certainly, the “unexpected” is hard to fathom, measure and build into any plan. The bottom line is, we don’t know what or when to expect the unexpected. Some factors that impact business unexpectedly can include:

  • The Economy
  • The Competition
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Changes in Personnel
  • Variable Costs
  • Vendors, Suppliers and other Business-dependent Stakeholders

We can only control what we can control. Assessing, planning and setting goals for the New Year will help minimize risk in dealing with these key factors, among other things. So, just what is “risk.” As a refresh, the definition of risk includes “exposure to danger.” Translated to business, I ask “How exposed? How much danger? And, what is the severity and lasting damage of that danger?” The answer is uncertain. If you’re like me you want as little risk as possible to help buffer the consequences and relieve any danger as quickly as possible.

New Year’s Predictions

Predictions can help minimize risk and better prepare a business to achieve goals and plan for the New Year. Following are some of my business predictions for 2013:

  1. Businesses will continue to do more with less and further recognize that as the new standard.
  2. Acute resourcefulness and resilience will be called on more frequently as the key business attributes among the most successful in 2013.
  3. A renewed focus on skillset development will advance professionals and enhance the knowledge base of organizations, who take advantage of it, providing a unique competitive advantage.
  4. Communications technology will continue to connect and divide.
  5. Innovation will emerge in unusual places and create new opportunities for growth, in any business space.
  6. Customer loyalty will come at its highest premium ever.
  7. Profitability and the value chain will be further scrutinized forcing the most intense accountable business audits of financials, costs, vendors & key stakeholders, business processes and operations, the Customer P & L and overall culture.
  8. “Feel Good” exercises like organization-wide charitable contributions and/or giving back will be more important among rallying and keeping good employees.
  9.  Consolidation will drive efficiencies and further costs.
  10. 2013 will be your best and most satisfying year ever mostly due to successful planning!

Happy New, New Year! Make it a good one.


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