December is a month when many companies take a needed break, give their people a rest and recharge the proverbial batteries. As my friend Michael Gerber described in his best-selling book The E Myth, it’s an ideal time to work “on the business” rather than being bogged down “in the business.”
When slowing down and stepping back, business owners, managers and marketers take the time to think, rather than just do. This entails activities such as reviewing the year, looking at what worked and what didn’t, planning, strategizing, evaluating staff, setting goals, writing, re-focusing and re-aligning.
Taking the time to think and work on the business helps entrepreneurs, executives and marketing professionals not only identify the most important things to tackle – but to consider future moves and actions based on current and emerging trends and industry needs. They develop actionable plans that help their organizations evolve. The successful technology, healthcare, nonprofit, professional service and food companies we’re working with are ones that look ahead and are slightly ahead of the curve. It’s like riding a wave – you can’t fall behind or be too far ahead of it. Then, you need systems, tools and people to keep you on track, regularly making progress.
Several extremely successful entrepreneurs including Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach, simplify the planning process, employing an effective approach to goal attainment. Rather than tackling a dozen or more items on a daily to do list, they focus on the three most important things they can do, things that will exponentially increase their probability of success. In 2017, I’m committed to taking their lead and focusing on my top three – not only with daily goals, but with longer term objectives as well.
Thinking about the “big picture,” such as shifts in a company, industry or among needs that clients have, is vital – particularly given the continued barrage of smart and disruptive technologies. Growing talent, through hiring and training, M & A and strategic partnerships can help small businesses acquire the skills needed to deploy new tools and technologies, which can make or break your year…or your business.