Ramping up for the New Year! Effective Strategies for Success
Resolutions are not just personal…
Do you make New Year’s resolutions for yourself? Eat better, exercise more, drink less, vacation more and other things you would like to achieve to help improve your quality of life are common resolutions. How about business resolutions? Do you set them as well?
So many business owners end up in business serendipitously. A consulting assignment leads to another and another job and before you know it, you’re in business. Or you purchase a business which looks like fun and seems to have great potential so you jump in. Or you and a friend have always loved some item(s) and decide to offer a better version in your local community and you open up a business together. Or you worked for someone else and thought you could branch out on your own with ideas you had to improve sales or delivery of the service and off you went.
The start of the New Year is a perfect time to take stock. Think about what your original vision was (hopefully you had one) and where you are on your journey. Are you happy? Are you meeting your expectations? Or are you burnt out? Struggling to make it each month? Are you frustrated that your sales are not roaring? Do you love going to work or is it drudgery?
Money doesn’t buy happiness…
But having money sure does make life easier. Many of the problems I encounter when working with small or newer business owners is that they do not have the funds to upgrade their website (or even create a website), offer compelling marketing material, advertise, hire the right people, add to inventory, etc. Having more funds allows you to breathe and delegate tasks to employees or consultants/advisors so that you can concentrate on your vision, work in your areas of strength and passion and therefore help the business to grow.
If you think small, you will stay small. Vision is critical and knowing where you want to land in 5 years or 10 years is important. I often employ an exercise in my consulting where I ask my client to take a journal and pretend they have just woken up 10 years from now. What is your day like? Very specifically – are you working in your business? Have you delegated all the mundane tasks and you are working in your area of passion? Have you sold the business and you are enjoying a high quality of life? Will you work out or play tennis for part of the day? Are you spending time with your family.
Try it! Take a journal and write down what an ideal day is like hour by hour in the future. With this vision you should find clarity. Now you can work backwards to create a plan of action to work to achieve that vision.
No one plans to fail…
But all too often we fail to plan! The businesses for which I help find growth capital certainly have business plans. Some are better than others and I often create one-page teasers and help them improve their power point decks for presentations. However, most of the smaller businesses I encounter and work with (including multi-generational businesses) do not have any formal business plan.
All businesses share a product or service they deliver, the need for financial systems and management; operations, human resources (even if it is just you and a part-time bookkeeper); business development and marketing. You should address each area and have a game plan for how you will structure, add to, improve or create greater efficiency and effectiveness in each key area.
Every business owner should know who their competitors are and what their selling advantage is to the consumer. You need to know what sells best and what profit margins you have on most items. Then you should create a plan of action to pump up the volume. Top line: more sales and bottom line: control your margins.
So take this time of year and plan to ramp up for the New Year. Get out your journal and create that long term vision. Then work backwards and take a 3 year or 5 year checkpoint and pencil in hard numbers for those benchmarks. What revenue are you producing? What income is yours? How many employees? What expansion plans would you implement? Then back those 3 or 5 year numbers into a 1-year set of targets. From there, create quarterly goals in each area.
Big goals can seem daunting but when you break those numbers into monthly, weekly and then daily goals, it is much easier to see that you can hit those levels. Recently, I laid out an initial target of a 25% increase in revenue for a new client. That seemed impossible to him. However, when we broke it down to sales on a daily basis, it translated in to two moderate sales per day.
If you do not write it down and do not lay out a game plan, you will have more of the same. So resolve to do it better in 2015! Wishing you a prosperous New Year!
About Chapin Hill Advisors, Inc.
Kathy Boyle founded Chapin Hill Advisors in 2000 after spending her early career working in large and small investment firms on Wall Street. Through the years, Kathy has made many of her own mistakes as a business owner and learned from them. She has witnessed business clients who made mistakes and had wins as well as losses. Kathy compiled what she learned into material she uses to help other business owners implement strategies for success.
She has advised business clients of all types and sizes on structuring sales of their businesses as well. Without a long term plan and a team who can replace the founder’s talents, a business is less likely to be purchased. Kathy’s background on Wall Street and in financial planning allows Chapin Hill to implement strong financial controls and combine both estate planning as well as game plans for success for their business clients.
Chapin Hill's business planning and coaching services help business owners work to increase both top and bottom lines. Chapin Hill Advisors can help a business owner plan effectively to minimize estate taxes and plan for future financial security for their loved one. They can also help business owners and professionals lay out roadmaps for future success to increase sales and create a saleable entity which can fund their future. Chapin Hill also offers the ability for the owner(s) to project how the business will impact their personal financial planning.