News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Business

January 13, 2013

Business Cents: New Year’s resolutions should involve more than willpower

TERRE HAUTE — We have all probably read the children’s book “The Little Engine That Could.” “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can,” the little engine said as it chugged up the hill. But business is more than simply willpower and saying “I think I can.” Business involves strategies and implementation techniques. How do you plan to move your company forward in 2013?

One of the first steps is to analyze your expectations and ensure they are realistic and obtainable. For example, if you have a goal to increase sales by 50 percent, I would recommend researching what current trends are in your industry and market. How many customers do you need to obtain to achieve this goal? Will the average sales ticket need to increase dramatically? As you review answers to your questions or to the ones I stated, it will bring into perspective just how attainable and realistic your goals are.

Second, we have all had those temptations tease us. What is the easiest and most effective way to avoid temptation? That is really an easy question if you think about it: just avoid any contact or don’t go near that temptation at all if possible, or at least limit it. How does this apply to business? Maybe you have a marketing venue you utilize due to relationship reasons with the sales representative, but it is not an effective outlet for your company. You should let the sales representative know that and not just do business with them because you like them. You should only conduct business that has a potential ROI or positive impact on your company. That doesn’t mean ruin or damage relationships, though!

Third, make your business goal emotional. Many small business owners are very passionate about their businesses, so it should be fairly easy to make your business goal personal and emotional to you. It will be so much more when you achieve it because you actually care about the goal.

Fourth and finally, be sure to have timelines. This means that for each goal, periodic milestones and measurements should be maintained to track your progress. If you are trying to increase overall annual sales, you cannot force it all to take place in December even though it may be your busiest month. Timelines should span over a period of time and not concentrate on one to two months unless it is a short-term goal.

In conclusion, moving your company forward requires commitment, maintenance and dedication to ensure the goals you roll out continue to move at a solid pace with good momentum toward achieving them. Welcome 2013 with open arms and get those goals started.

Heather (Penney) Strohm is the regional director for Indiana State University’s Indiana Small Business Development Center.

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