The New Year is an opportunity to think about your business. But that is a broad prospect, and therefore, somewhat daunting. Michigan State University Extension has a way to better define that; think about just three things. Let’s start with the first, think about one thing from the past year.
Think about one thing;
- for which you are particularly thankful
- that you accomplished
- that you did not succeed at
- you believe you can improve
By focusing on these things it helps to define strengths and weaknesses in the past year. Defining strengths and weaknesses helps to direct the improvements that should be made and the areas that you can build on.
Next turn your attention to the year ahead and think about the next thing;
- you want to accomplish
- you want to avoid
- you will get more help with
- you will do better
Thinking ahead about the future helps you to lay out some short-term goals to keep the operation moving forward. It also prompts you to seek help and to determine how to do something better. Thinking about the next thing doesn’t allow for status quo, it is about making positive change in the operation.
Lastly, the third thing to think about is the most important thing. What are the most important long-term goals for your business? Think about where the business needs to head. Think about the changes that have to take place in your business. These changes could be in facilities, size and scope of the business, personnel, or management.
As you think about the most important things, then:
- Define and write it down in a concise statement.
- Defend your goal. Why is it important? What are the benefits? What are the costs?
- Spend time planning to implement it.
- Set dates to implement it. Make time to research it, talk about it, and to start it.
All too often we fail in one of two ways; either we fail to foresee what changes are most important or we fail because although we know what is most important, we never get around to it. Either way, we waste time, effort and money on less productive things that do not accomplish what really needs to be done.
These three points can help one partner within a business explain it to other partners, including a spouse, parent or sibling. Completing these steps creates a timeframe to move it along. Something that is truly of great importance should be accomplished in a reasonable timeframe.
Business operations, whether they are farms or downtown businesses, have to reflect, improve and change. That happens when owners spend time reflecting and planning for the business. Set time aside to start on this process and improve your operation.