Look back, but don’t stare

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “look back, but don’t stare”.  I hadn’t until recently but then when I checked on the fount of all knowledge (Google, of course), I found that it’s the title of a book and movie and song and so forth.  The context in which I read it was that the past can provide information and it should not necessarily inform your future or determine your outlook.  One of my clients always compares his results to his best year which was pre-recession (2007).  The world has changed and so have his business circumstances.  He feels he had the perfect operational model then and keeps trying to re-create it rather than accepting change and creating a new paradigm for the new circumstances. As humans, we cling to what we know and has worked.  After all, it’s so much harder to envision something that is not known or yet to be conceived.  However, as Abraham Lincoln said, “The only way to predict the future is to create it.”

As you think about your business and personal goals for 2013, are you envisioning the future or recreating the past?  Challenge yourself to think critically about your products, services and people.

  • Do you have the right people on the bus?  Do you need to provide training or do you need to get different employees?  Do you need to change job responsibilities?
  • Do you have the right product/service mix?  Should you add something or delete something?  Have you looked at your margins by product lately?
  • Is your customer service creating “raving fans” or do you need to step it up a notch (or two)?  What is your customer service standard?
  • Are there strategic alliances you should consider?  They can be with key suppliers, customers or other companies that sell into the same markets as you do.
  • Have you thoroughly reviewed your expenses?  Are your salaries in line with the market, have you reviewed your insurance expenses within the last 2 years, office supplies can get away from us.  Every little bit helps.

It’s a great time to look at your business with fresh eyes.  Look forward as new opportunities await!

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