What your business can learn from New Year rituals!

Feet on scales telling person to "go run"

First of all, let us take the chance to wish everybody a Happy New Year.  We hope you had a good year over the last 12 months and that this next year proves to be even more successful.  Which brings us nicely onto the topic of our first blog of this  year….

Time to reflect and visualise

The Christmas break allowed many of us to relax and unwind (unless all the outlaws had been invited round and you were cooking the dinner).  When we get this chance to mentally switch off, it is often the time when we start to have our best ideas, imagining all the possibilities for our business and get excited about what the next 12 months could hold.

Sadly, for most business owners this is as far as it goes.  They sit back, enjoy the break,  daydream about what they are going to do differently next year….and before you know it next year is here, you are still firefighting on a daily basis and nothing has changed.

However, for a successful few, they come back with renewed optimism, genuine excitement and a determination to do things differently.  More importantly, they do it.

New Year’s resolutions

New Year’s resolutions have often been mocked for the pointlessness of them – with only 10% or people managing to keep them more than a few months.  However, the main reasons cited for why people do not stick to them is either they are not committed in the first place, they set too many, or they are unrealistic.  So, what can we learn from this as business owners?

Well, your business is your livelihood so we have no doubts you’re committed to hitting your goals.  It is also highly unlikely that you are setting too many.  In fact, the biggest surprise to us is how very few businesses actually set goals and targets for the year.  Even the ones that do often set them around what they think “they will” achieve as opposed to what they “want” to achieve.  In many cases the goals aren’t ambitious enough!

common mistakes in setting goals (too many, too big, not specific, not written) - a sketch drawing on a cocktail napkin with a coffee cup

Key Stage 1 – Set some goals

Without any goals set – how do you know how you are doing?  For example, if your new year’s resolution is to lose weight (which is the most popular one) and after 2 weeks you have lost 3lbs and you maintain that new weight for the rest of the year – you have technically achieved your goal, but will it have really positively impacted on your life?  Unlikely.  However, if your target was to lose 2 stone of weight and maintain this until the following Christmas – then this is a goal which will keep you motivated and will make a positive difference to your life.  So, set some clear impactful targets for your business for next year!

Key Stage 2 – Work out a strategy and plan of action of how to do it

It is all very well having some goals, but unless you have a clear strategy and a plan of action of how to get there, it is never going to happen.  If someone decides they want to lose 2 stone of weight but does not change their diet, lifestyle or behaviour – guess what, it’s never going to happen.  However, if they cut down on drinking, eat less fatty foods and reduce their portion sizes there is a good chance it will.  Work out what you need to make your goals a reality! Understand your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Key Stage 3 – Share your goals

Don’t keep your goals to yourself.  Share them with others and become accountable to someone.  It is too easy to fall behind in your plans and give up.  If someone else is aware what you are trying to achieve, they can help to motivate you when the going gets tough!

Key Stage 4 – Track your performance

If you have goals, and have identified what your KPIs are that will get you there, then you can also track where you are at any moment in time and can change your actions accordingly.  So, if after 5 months you have lost a stone – great, but if you have only lost 3-4 lbs it is likely you are going to have to alter your actions to impact on the results.  Remember, if you always do what you have always done you will always get what you have always got!  This is why many companies flatline and get stuck at the same level of turnover for a number of years, because they don’t do anything different to stimulate growth.  Set mini targets throughout the year – so instead of focussing on losing 2 stone, focus on losing 7lbs by the end of February.  Focussing on the shorter-term goals is more self-motivating than focussing on the ultimate bigger one.  You are also safe in the knowledge that if you achieve the smaller ones, that big ambitious long term one will take care of itself.


Key Stage 5 – Celebrate your successes

If you are one of the few who has a clear vision and has set some goals that they want to achieve then make sure that you celebrate your successes as you hit your milestones.  By recognising how far you are coming, it adds further motivation to strive to reach that end goal.  Obviously to do this you need to be tracking performance, and be sharing your goals with others as it’ll give you someone to celebrate your success with.

So, what is the next 12 months going to hold for you?  Will it be your best year yet, or just another so-so performance.  The good news is that it is entirely within your control.  The starting point is point 1 above – setting some goals.  If you are finding it tough to really understand what the potential of your business is – then get some outside advice such as a business coach or marketing consultant to help you.  This can also help with creating the plan, the accountability aspect, and they may also be able to help you identify and track the right KPIs.

Whatever you do, don’t just do nothing! This year could be your best year yet!

Disclaimer: Please note we are not dieticians and that any weight loss references are for illustration purposes only.  Happy New Year 🙂

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Ian is the founder of Opportunity Marketing marketing, with over 18 years of experience in successfully setting up marketing departments, creating marketing strategies and implementing these strategies across a wide number of SME companies in both the B2B and B2C sectors through a variety of channels.
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