Push the “Reset” button

2010 was a tough year. Even businesses that survived would admit it was challenging.  Plenty of businesses did not make it through the year, including some owned by friends of mine.

In my own neighborhood I saw businesses close their doors, but I also saw some brave souls seizing this opportunity to start their businesses.  Others such as Click! Design That Fits took advantage of the market conditions and moved to new, bigger and better locations.

Wherever you are in your business cycle, you are at the start of a new year.  You have officially survived 2010 and now it’s time to push the “reset” button and get your business back on track.

Take time this week to make some “stretch” goals. That may seem audacious in the current economic climate but without goals we feel are slightly out of reach both we and our teams could get stuck and the end of 2011 may not look much better than the end of 2010.

The new year is also time to PURGE.  Do you have inventory that is not moving?  Find a way to turn it into cash – any amount of cash so you can invest in products people want to buy.  Use some of the free and/or inexpensive on line resources to help you sell to a larger customer base.

Reassess your vendors. Have they been “partners”?  If not, have a frank chat with them about how you will be looking for them to step up and become partners in 2011.  Those who do not show a willingness to do so should be PURGED.  Vow this year to only do business with those who want your business and are willing to work to get it.

Look over your customer list.  Do you have “high maintenance” customers?  The kind who drain you of time, energy and resources then don’t want to pay?  If so, refer them to your biggest competitor because they will “be better able to serve your needs.”  Yes, you CAN  – and SHOULD, PURGE CUSTOMERS.

What about your team? Did you keep any team members simply because you didn’t want to appear to be Scrooge during the holiday season?  A lot of talented people suspended their job search over the year end but now the pool is full again.  Do you have the right people in the right positions?  If not, there is no time like NOW to fix it.

Lastly, use the New Year as a “reset” button on how you do business.  If what you have been doing isn’t profitable, change it. Maybe you don’t need a storefront or traditional office – several of my friends have successful and happily created new working models for themselves that are ACTUALLY WORKING!  You can too.

Before this week is over; set some goals, purge all that isn’t working for you and challenge the way you have “always done things”.  Be sure you are taking advantage of the changing landscape by embracing technology and innovative business practices.  Go ahead, push that RESET button – let’s get a fresh start!

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