What Will You Do Differently Next Year?

For those whose fiscal year follows the calendar, a new year beckons.

Will you be entering the new business cycle with a “steady as she goes” attitude or do you recognize that more of the same might, in fact, be a risky approach?  It could well be that you are coming to the close of a strong year and your focus might easily be “how do we maintain our momentum?”  But, how strong has your year really been?  You can certainly compare your current results against the prior year and state unequivocally that the numbers are up (if in fact they are).  But a more relevant comparison would be how you are doing against your competitors.  Is it possible that your competitors are enjoying an even better year than you are and consequently, you are actually slipping behind?  Of course it’s possible, but how would you know if that has been happening?

When you get fully absorbed in running your business, it is very easy to remain in technician mode. You just keep “working in your business”.  If you are not careful, you can lose sight of what is going on around you.  You might think that all is well with your customer base, but how do you actually know that is the case? Could it be that your presumptions are based upon the old adage that “no news is good news”?

In the absence of certainty, why don’t you build a scenario in which you assume that the competition is out flanking you.  Rather that adopting an attitude of laissez faire, why don’t you assume that your current strategy could stand some revisiting?  Perhaps you might challenge yourself by making your strategy more “ruggedized”.

The author Seth Godin suggests that playing it safe is the riskier approach to running your business.  Now, please recognize that I’m not suggesting that strengthening your strategy means a wholesale change to your current business model.  But, I am suggesting that the status quo is a dangerous place to be.

Why don’t you decide that 2014 will be the year that you determine what actions can be taken to be different in a meaningful way to your customer base?