Turning the calendar from December to January compels most people to focus on new initiatives and doing things better such as diet, exercise, finances, and getting organized. Here’s the bad news. According to a University of Scranton study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 8 percent achieve their New Year’s resolution.
To actually succeed in reaching your goals, you need to set achievable goals. The person who has not exercised will most likely fail to meet the goal of “I will exercise one hour a day, four days a week.”
It’s better to start small by aiming for 10 minutes per day, three days a week. Once achieved, then up the ante to 20 minutes working your way up to one hour and four or five days a week. There’s a big difference between setting big unreachable goals and bite-sized ones. The little victories will motivate you to take the next step.
These eight high-benefit activities have been organized in three categories: finances, marketing, sales, and personal growth. Now, don’t try to do all of them at once. Pick one. Achieve it. Then pick another.
Here are eight activities that will help you grow your business and take it to the next level.
1. Create a monthly budget.
If you can’t pick one, then start with this one as it’s the most useful one. A budget is more than determining where you plan to be in a year from today. That’s not a budget. What you need is a spreadsheet that shows how all your revenue and cost variables interact and what you’ll do to allocate resources to get you to the outcome you want. Keep tweaking until you are satisfied with the outcome.
If you are not handy with spreadsheets, ask your CPA to help you. Once it’s set up — and it will take time to make it work right — you will be able to consider different what if scenarios. For example, what if you hire two more sales people? Your initial costs will go up. But after they pay for themselves, how will the company benefit?
2. Create a process to keep the budget updated.
This routine will provide you with invaluable insights, even if you think you know what’s going on in your business.
- Make an annual projection for the whole year.
- Update your budget with the actual numbers for the month at the end of every month.
- Update your forward projections at the start of every quarter.
Remember that a description of the destination is not a roadmap for how to get there.
3. Be unforgettable in all your interactions.
Do you ensure that you’re memorable in all your interactions with clients and prospects? You don’t want just good interactions … you want to be unforgettable. And it has to come from every single person in your company beginning with the receptionist. You want to remember the little details such as your client’s purchasing manager’s kids’ names.
Review every interaction with your customers and brainstorm how you can make those interactions unforgettable for your clients. Need help? Here are 12 ways to be unforgettable.
4. Lower the perceived risk of trying your product or service.
Clients and prospects will be more likely to try what you have to offer when perceived risk is lower and the perceived benefit is higher. Ask: “How can I lower a prospective client’s risk of trying my product or service?”
5. Visit clients who make up the bulk of your revenue.
How often do you visit the clients responsible for 80 percent of your revenue? Make a plan. Start with the top 10 percent and work your way down the list. The farther you travel, the more impressed your client will be that you came to visit.
6. Increase recurrent sales.
What can you do to make your sales stickier? If you were to create a business model that provides you with an income stream instead of a one-off sale, what would that look like?
7. Schedule weekly reading time.
Shoot for at least two 30-minute sessions of reading time per week or four 15-minute sessions. It’s imperative to get better at what you do. If you keep doing the same things that you’ve been doing, you will most likely go in circles and get the same results. Start with Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It … and Why the Rest Don’t by Verne Harnish.
8. Add thinking time to your calendar.
Do this twice a week for 30 minutes. No interruptions, no computers, and no cell phones. Just you and your legal pad. Think! Frame your problem as a question that starts with “How might I … ?”
“Don’t give up so easily. Remember this simple rule: In general, it takes 21 days to make — or break — a habit. So, stick with it, even if the results take a little longer.” — Sanjay Gupta, MD
This bears repeating. Don’t tackle too many at once.
Still can’t decide? Start with the first one.
Ready. Set. Go!
Image credit: gnuckx