CEO’s Corner: Start Reflecting NOW for a More Successful 2017
So here we are, only a few weeks until the close of another year. While it’s not time to take your foot of the gas just yet, it IS time to start thinking about next year’s game plan.
Maybe you’re completely satisfied with the way 2016 has played out, and your 100% content to ride your momentum and existing strategies into 2017. Or… perhaps all signs point to a year that is well short of the lofty expectations you set (either publically or privately) back in January.
Speaking personally, I’m somewhere in the middle. From a pure financial standpoint, Higgins Marketing Group has tracked nicely toward our revenue goals this year and we’ve been able to maintain our desired profitability levels. Yet, as a typical entrepreneur, I can’t help but wish we’d executed better in some areas. Honestly, there were some important priorities that just never got off the ground this year!
As I begin to assess the current year and plan for growth in 2017 for my own company, I thought I’d share my thinking in hopes that it might help you.
Specifically, there are a core set of questions I’m considering – questions that are forcing me to acknowledge both the positives and negatives of the current year, and questions that are meant to help formulate strategies and provide clarity as I look ahead to 2017.
So sometime over the next few weeks, I’d encourage you to grab the beverage of your choice and detach from your mobile device, your inbox, and your daily customer responsibilities to consider these questions.
Be brutally honest. Your business will be better for it! Here’s the questions…
- How have I seen my customers’ needs shift during the last couple years? Am I proactively addressing these needs through my products and services, or have I been slow to react?
- In the eyes of your employees and customers, are you selling a product OR are you part of something more meaningful? (Example: When Steve Jobs asked John Scully to leave Pepsi and join him at Apple, Steve famously said, “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or do you want to come with me and change the world?”)
- Looking across your product and/or service mix, where have we experienced healthy margins? Where are we just breaking even or losing money? Is it time for a hard decision to let a lagging product/service area go?
- Did I get bogged down with certain tasks and responsibilities that I should have been delegating to others within or outside my company?
- Do I have all “A Players” on my team? If not, what’s my plan to address this?
- Where did my business come from? What is the percentage of revenue generated by each lead source? What implications does this breakdown have on the investments I’ll need to make for 2017?
- For every $1 dollar I invested on marketing, how much invoiced business was generated from these activities?
- Should I have said “No” more often? Whether it’s taking on a less than ideal customer, over extending your resources, or taking you away from your most important priorities, were there times you should have simply said “No”?
- Did I really take enough time to feed and nurture my own business? Did you spend too much time in 2016 working “in” your vs. working “on” your business. What specific changes can you make to ensure your own business gets the attention it deserves during 2017?
There you have it… a few of the tough questions I’ll be considering over the next few weeks! There might be some pain involved, but I’m convinced it’s an important step required to take Higgins Marketing Group (and YOUR!) business to the next level.