Making plans to start your new year
It is fall and we are but days away from New Years. So, why are we talking about making a New Year’s resolution? Our suggested resolution list, containing ten items, could be suggested at any time of the year. But, we want to suggest them today so that you will spend New Year’s day knowing your business is already sharply focused for the new year. We suggest you take notes, and create a chart where you can mark off each of the eleven items as you complete them.
Resolution #1. Spend one day reviewing your past 12 financial statements. Look at more than just the sales, gross margin, and net profit. If you will go a step further and look at the past several years of financial statements, you will likely see trends that you can now expect to see occur again next year.
Resolution #2. Create a 12-month advertising plan. This will accomplish two things for you; the first is that it will likely eliminate your deciding on Monday what will appear in your newspaper ad on Thursday. You can go to a trade show, looking for the products that will appear in your ads for the next year.
The second advantage can be a substantial savings in your annual advertising cost. By contacting the various media that you spend your dollars with, and getting an annual contract, you can realize savings of up to 40%.
Resolution #3. Ask your customers to tell you what they think. At least once, utilize a customer survey to ask customers why they shop with you, where else they shop, what they would like to see in your store, and any other point of curiosity you might have.
Resolution #4. Hold semi-annual job reviews. Of course, to have job reviews you need to have job descriptions. But, instead of handing out pay raises without an overall plan, you can use a job description to set goals. An employee would be working to accomplish goals for your business, knowing what their raise would be six months from now.
Resolution #5. Create financial statements for your staff to see. Ask any number of employees to give their "best guess" as to the percentages in your financial statement, and you will get answers that vary a great deal from the truth. They think you are making a lot more than you actually are. So, you should have plenty of money to give them a sizeable raise. By explaining how your business actually works, experience has shown that employees can understand how small changes in your business can affect the profitability and stability.
Resolution #6. Never forget a customer; never let a customer forget you. You have worked so hard to get someone to shop in your store the first time, yet do we do anything to invite him or her to return. Whether by post card, phone, or another form of individual communication, stay in contact with your customers, always inviting them to return.
Resolution #7. Establish budgets for purchasing merchandise and for your profit and loss statement. Your financial sheets of the last twelve months will provide you with most of the necessary information. Without budgets (goals), there are no standards by which to judge your efforts for the past year.
Resolution #8. Utilize a cash flow plan. Imagine being able to see each of the next twelve financial sheets; this is what a cash flow chart will give you. With business opportunities you will see them months ahead of time, and can maximize them. Likewise, if there is a problem on the horizon, you could minimize their impact on your business.
Resolution #9. Utilize your managers, assistant managers, and supervisors in your business. There are two good reasons to do this. The first is that you cannot be in your business every hour the business is open. And the second is for you to realize that you are not the only person to have all of the good ideas within your business. Allow those people you have hired to assist you in building your business.
Resolution #10. Create an incentive program. Create ways of rewarding your employees both as individuals and as a team for their efforts in accomplishing the goals of your business. You should not expect every person to be highly motivated every day with his or her paycheck being the only reward.
Resolution #11. Enjoy the business. But wait! Didn't we start this article with a paragraph that said we were going to discuss ten resolutions for the new year? Yes we did. But just like the idea that you should always give a little something extra to your customers, we are following that same advice in this article. Enjoy the business.
You sell products and services that allow your customers to enjoy themselves. When they enjoy what you sell, they talk with each other about their experience and how they enjoyed it. How great it is to be in a business where you assist people to enjoy life.
Simply stated, if you do not enjoy what you do every day, your employees and your customers will be unable to enjoy your business. It is an experience that has to begin at the top and filter down.