There is only one day, every year where a business owner can literally make a fresh start. January 1 is a day where you can get a mulligan and totally reshape your business. You can stop things that don’t work and enhance things that do. Of course, you can and should work everyday to adjust and course correct, but January 1 is the true starting line.
But if you’ve procrastinated on making changes, if you’re still hiding in the corner afraid to face the new year, you still have time. Don’t even worry about making lots of changes, even though you know you need them. Pick two of the highest priority changes that need to be made, get off your backside and make them, NOW!
Here is my checklist for any business to step back and do a complete scan and add, improve or shore up their business anytime of the year.
- Clearly understand what makes you money: Now is the time to evaluate your revenue streams. First look at how many you have. Then review each one and be honest and ask yourself, is it worth the work. I can’t tell you how many people that I work with in my Business Coaching practice who spend incredible amounts of time on revenue streams that just do not produce. If you find these, dump them now. Do not waste another second on them. Refocus your energy on other, more productive streams. Second, do some mind storming and look for obvious, complimentary revenue streams that you have yet to touch. Run the numbers and if you can get them up and running quickly and efficiently. Do it now!
- Build a recurring revenue stream: The key to long term, powerful business growth is look for revenue streams that will produce a recurring stream of money. You can get them started and they produce month after month after month. You sell it once and it recurs every month!
- Consciously plan for growth: DO NOT go into the new year simply hoping to grow by 10% over the previous year. That’s just being lazy, and it’s a dangerous way to think. Run the numbers, look at your pipeline and trends and recurring revenue, and new potential revenue streams then set a challenging goal with specific numbers attached. If you do not plan for growth, you do not receive growth. Average, survival thinking produces average, survival results. A wise man once told me, “In today’s world, AVERAGE isn’t good enough!”
- Tighten up your accounts receivable: Now is the time to go out and collect past due invoices. If you need to send out invoices, get your butt in gear and send them out. You are significantly screwing yourself into the ground if you have 60,90 or 120 day+ receivables. Get the money you’re owed. You’re not being a jerk, you just enforcing good business practices!
- Review your business clarity: Now is the time for you to do a Clarity check-up. I’ll put money on the fact that you do not have adequate Clarity in the changes in your business; customers, prospects and industry. If your customer profile has changed and you don’t know it, you won’t know that you’re going broke until it’s too late. Take the time to understand your business. Do a thorough review every six months or less. It will pay off in spades for you.
- Practice Guerilla marketing: Guerilla Marketing is a practice I’ve used and teach for years now. It’s a change in how you think about marketing. The shift is for you to look for Free or low-cost marketing opportunities that are available to you before spending a penny on paid marketing. There are thousands of dollars available of low cost/no cost marketing opportunities. You just have to look for them.
- Manage your priorities: One of the greatest mistakes a small business owner can ever make is to try to do everything. Let me give a little secret: you don’t have to do everything. You only have to do the most important thing(s). Learn to prioritize what you think you need to do. You’ll find that about 80% of what you think you must do has a very low priority value. Only do those things that have the highest consequence. Then pick the number one thing, that if you don’t do it, bad things happen, then do that first thing in the day. Do it and get a big win early. Then move to the second highest consequence task and on and on.
- Protect your data: Just watch the news. Hackers are having a party every day celebrating their latest hack success. However, if your data was part of that hack, you could be in big trouble. So, takes steps today and protect your date. Get the best software on your computers. Move it all to the cloud. Do something, but get it done as soon as you can.
- Manage your social media: Social media is great. It’s changed the world, but like any “drug” you must manage it, or you become lost in it. Ever seen a family out to dinner and everyone has their head buried in their mobile device? We’re losing the ability to talk and listen. It is without a doubt the biggest consumer of a person’s time as anything in history. So, manage it. Turn it off part of the day. Establish time limits and don’t let it take the place of more important things that you need to be doing.
- Hang with success minded, positive people: If you must, replace all of your usual friends in the new year. Your thoughts and attitudes are largely dictated by the people you hang with. If all they do is gripe and whine and moan, then you will end up griping, whining and moaning. You must spend your time with people who are success minded. They think and talk and act successful. They talk potential rather than poison. It’s a hard thing to do, but if you are committed to your business and growing that business, it is imperative that you bite the bullet and run with a new pack.
- Think more about sales: The number one truth of building and growing a business is to make more sales. If you don’t believe that then you will be out of business. I guarantee it. Do not let anything get in the way of you focusing on sales. Its easy to get distracted doing things that you think you need to do that has nothing to do with sales. The way you keep the door open is to sell something.