Looking Ahead to a Successful New Year!

With the new year approaching, the thoughts of many turn to New Year’s resolutions. It’s an annual tradition of setting goals for the coming year that dates back millennia, according to Oklahoma State University’s “Newsline.” However, while a 2013 article from Forbes estimates that roughly forty percent of American’s make a New Year’s resolution, only eight percent end up keeping that resolution! We think we can beat that number.

At Strategic Communications, we’ve long incorporated New Year’s resolutions into our annual planning process. Just as with one’s personal life, New Year’s is a great time to look ahead to the coming year for your business, and take stock of where you’re at and where you’d like to be at the end of the year. From a business standpoint, particularly, it’s difficult to overstate the importance of monitoring certain leading indicators to help you stay on top of desired results.

For instance, these are some of the indicators we’ve used when setting up our business resolutions for the new year:

  • Dollar value of new projects taken on each week
  • Dollar value of projects completed each week
  • Dollar value of proposals in circulation (monthly)

In establishing new targets, we’ll take a look back at the previous year to establish a baseline and then identify some level of increase we’d like to see in this area. We’re really into continuous improvement and growth, so we’re always hoping to beat our prior results.

Each year, we also create a list of recommended resolutions for our communication and marketing colleagues. Here are some suggestions:

  • Create a plan—so often overlooked, yet so important. It doesn’t have to be anything long or overly complex. Just identify your goals and measurable objectives and the strategies and tactics you will use to achieve them.
  • Commit to being “you” vs. “we”-focused. So many get this wrong. The more you can make it about them, them, them and the less about you, you, you, the more successful you’ll be in the new year.
  • Stand out from the competition. Make sure you understand the alternatives your target audience has to choose from and how you stack up against those alternatives. Be different—be better!
  • Strengthen your brand! Determine how you wish to be perceived and how you are perceived, and make appropriate changes to your communication materials (and products/services) to support your desired brand image.
  • Boost innovation—commit to coming up with at least one new initiative in the new year to build your business—maybe more.
  • Streamline! How could you do more with less; consider ways to boost your business productivity.

You likely have other resolutions you’d add to this list. Whatever your business’s goals, there are some fundamental principles to keep in mind, and these apply to businesses just as much as they do to individuals. For example, many resolutions are simply unrealistic. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be ambitious when setting your goals, but if you are creating unachievable benchmarks for yourself, you’re more likely to get discouraged and quit altogether. The same thing goes for the number of goals. Groups like the American Psychological Association suggest focusing on improvement just one negative behavior at a time.

Another tip for maintaining your resolutions is to talk about them. If you tell all of your family and friends that your resolution is to make it to the gym three times per week, it’s a lot harder, socially, to fall behind. Similarly, if you make sure your employees are aware of, and consistently reminded of what your organization’s goals are for the year, you’re likely to be far more focused on achieving those goals.

Finally, celebrate your successes! Hopefully there will be many of them in the coming year.

Here’s to a very successful 2016, for all of us!

 

 

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