Business Resolutions for 2015.

Let’s make 2015 the year that things really get moving for you and your business.

  1. Maximise Profit and Reduce Costs.

We all see that this is what we should be doing all of the time but, being realistic, how often do we really push this forward? We accept some form of acceptable mediocrity in what we are doing. “It could be worse” is hardly a block-buster statement about how our organisation, and ourselves too, are functioning. Decide which parts of the business, and Brand You, are really profitable and focus upon them, throwing away the activities and traits that do not make a significant contribution to what you are all about. Look at where you are spending resources – have you just used a massive sticking plaster to cover a hole that would be better just surgically removed from the equation? If you had a car that was forever in the garage and was costing extreme sums of money at what point would someone take you to aside and give you the harsh truth? Better you have that conversation with yourself.

  1. Sort out the Right People for the Right Jobs.

Apart from huge investments in massive production facilities the biggest expenditure item will always be the staff you employ. They cost oodles of money but what do they bring to you? Some will be very effective and efficient – praise them, honour them, keep them, recycle them into bigger and more demanding positions where you can! Run a health-check over the staff you have and the jobs they do – are they actually in the right job? Painful and difficult but necessary surgery for the battle that lies ahead in 2015 where margins will creak for those not maximising the effectiveness of their labour. Finally, if time needs to be called on staff that just are not contributing to the bottom line then do it. Unless you have a bottomless pit of money and see this as your social responsibility. Which you probably don’t have.

  1. Network, Network and Network.

However good you are, however good your products or services, however super you are as a person, the world WILL NOT come to you. Nobody got big by sitting and waiting for a cataclysmic event where customers and contacts just appeared as if by magic. Success is born from hard work and by talking to people. Make 2015 the year that this happens for you and your business; find out what the business community is up to and how you can be a part of it. Research Rotary Clubs, find out what the Lions Club is doing, the fees for using the Local Chamber of Commerce databases pale into insignificance when better orders and commercial knowledge come flowing in, get involved in local Charities. Whatever it takes raise your profile, meet like-minded people, make yourself visible and learn how to “work the room” at events. Everyone knows the feeling of leaning against the wall at the local youth club disco with no girlfriend/boyfriend and no hope of finding one, watching the socially savvy enjoying themselves, making friends and finding love (or what we thought it might be!) and being miserable. So if your business or Brand You are in the same position, time to do something about it. Isn’t it?

  1. Make Data Work For You.

We are constantly bombarded by sales, advertising and media  messages all day, every day. We filter them out because they are not relevant to us, have no immediate use or application or we just ignore them as a matter of process. In the same way we are exposed to material that could be of considerable use to us if only we thought about it. We all have access to data – the lifeblood of performance but this is rarely used effectively. The challenge for 2015 will be to convert this mass of information into something precious, Information. Data is manipulated into something that gives us an insight and which actually tells us something that can aid in building the business. Information now becomes a means to an end. Really successful organisations, and individuals, take this a stage further by achieving the Holy Grail of performance by using Knowledge to shape growth and strategy. Very few organisations have true knowledge about their operational environment and as such are make decisions around growth and strategy that are guesses or hunches. Not the best situation to be in, but lots of organisations are there.

  1. Organise Yourself.

We all know people who are disorganised. We tend to look down on them, even feel sorry for them as they try, often in vain, to find that illusive piece of paper or document amongst a mizzen of sloppy, ineffective and frustrating mess. It looks funny. It is funny up to a point, but not for the person concerned. We probably walk away thinking “Thank goodness I’m not like that”. To make the new year work for you perhaps the final resolution should be to get more organised and therefore become more effective and more efficient. Even if you consider that you have good organisational routines have a cold, critical look at what you do and identify three things you could do better. If you accept that your organisational routines are poor think about some simple steps to improving the situation – perhaps some of the points below could be a start?

  • Only handle a piece of paper once – it either needs some Action, it needs Storing or it needs to be Binned.
  • Set some Daily/Weekly/Monthly Targets – key things to get done with some key dates.
  • Identify in yourself what times of the day are the most productive for you as an individual; if you are a Morning Person slot in key activities between 09.00 and 13.00 and leave the Afternoon for catch-ups or thinking time. Vice versa for Afternoon People.
  • Get an electronic organiser and use an electronic Diary (or even just use a paper-based system). Either way Plan, Plan, Plan.
  • Delegate your work where possible – do not fall into the trap of doing your own work excessively!
  • Never do the work of your subordinates – look carefully at the tasks you are working on – what percentage of them are actually at the grade below which you are working?

Make 2015 work for you – do not be working for 2015.

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