The act of setting new goals and resolutions permeates everyday culture during the year-end holiday season. Television and radio commercials, not to mention social media posts, remind us to make our personal resolutions as 2015 begins ? but what about our professional ones?
The New Year can offer CEOs a powerful catalyst for business growth. The only question is which goals to set. For CEOs who are unsure, here are three New Year?s resolutions that I have selected for my company in previous years that can benefit any business regardless of age and industry:
1. Work with key company data throughout the year
It may be tempting to only review all of your startup?s key operating metrics a few times per year, but this can make it difficult to foresee what changes might be needed before it is too late. Try to implement systems that will help you detect issues as they arise so that you can take action before a small spark becomes a wildfire. Consider:
- Investing in data analytics and IT. This way, you can view daily, weekly, and monthly reports on those metrics that affect your business most. Ask yourself, ?Is there a way I can tell how my company is performing ? at this very moment ? with just the click of a button?? What programs and strategies come to mind? How can you begin using them?
- Developing your analytical and quantitative skills. You may not comprehend every mathematical formula involved in the creation of your business projections ? but you should. Aim to understand the projections themselves and what action items can be taken, as well as the mathematical formulas behind them that led you to those projections. For example, how could you increase your client conversion rate? What are typical conversion rates for companies in your industry? Challenge yourself with exercises such as taking your product/service and determining the total costs that go into producing that item. Then, look line item by line item and ask yourself if there are any inputs that you can acquire at a lower cost, thereby increasing your margins.
- Identifying milestones for the year ahead. For example, if your goal in 2015 is to double your 2014 revenue, what milestones does your startup need to reach each month or each week? Once you have identified the milestones, put systems in place to help you track progress toward those goals. Breaking down a big lofty goal into smaller milestones will also help your team members achieve a sense of progress along the way as each milestone is reached. These are often called ?departmental goals? and they allow each team member to take ownership of a particular area of the business. If you hit most of your departmental goals, the annual high-level company goals are almost always achieved.
2. Get to better know your customers
Understanding your clients is one of the best ways to improve your product or service. Personal touches, like remembering subtle nuances of an individual?s preferences, can be an effective way to set yourself apart from others in your industry. But there are also more general client aspects to pinpoint, including:
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