In 2013 I wrote a post titled “Look Back, but Don’t Stare”.  Here’s an update.  My husband and I are moving.  We built our house almost 24 years ago.  Our kids (now gone from the nest) grew up here.  It’s time to downsize and create new possibilities.  Nonetheless it’s hard to leave all the memories and personal touches behind.  So now I have to take my own advice–“look back, but don’t stare”.  The context in which I originally read it was discussing how the past can provide information but should not necessarily inform your future or determine your outlook.  One of my clients always compared his results to his best year which was pre-recession (2007).  The world has changed and so have his business circumstances.  He felt he had the perfect operational model then and kept 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.”  Thus, we’re moving to an apartment on the East Coast and building a small house in the southwestern part of the U.S.  The changes will be new and exciting and not 100% predictable.

So….as you think about your business and personal goals for 2018, are you envisioning the future or recreating the past?  Are you challenging 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 and travel can get away from us.  Every little bit helps.
  • Do you have an exit strategy for your business? What does “retirement” look like for you?

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

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