As we approach the end of another year, now is the time to reflect back on what worked well for your business, as well as what is not working and needs to change as we go into 2019.
Most business owners, managers and teams use this time of year to develop budgets, create business initiatives and retool the metrics and key performance indicators that help them track their success and failures. As you work through this process, here are some tips, best practices and ideas to consider while you are doing your 2019 planning.
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The most successful businesses we work with have strong business cultures. There are hundreds of books that can help you define and build a high-performance culture, so you can start there by adding a few of these to your reading list. I think the most compelling synopsis of business culture is that it is the role of the CEO to create the organization’s culture so that the culture drives organizational success. You will know you are heading in the right direction when everyone is making decisions and producing results that drive customer satisfaction, higher profits and happier employees.
Information systems should be evaluated often; they can become less relevant as business needs and technology solutions change. The warning signs are clear: Employees start creating input and reporting systems outside of major business applications, technology starts to become more of a pain than a strategic asset and disparity between systems creates challenges for workers, clients and vendors. As these systems are critical to business success, it’s important that they are included as part of your annual planning and investment strategy.
Defining focus for your business can be tricky. When I think of focus, a few best practices stick out:
1) Stop chasing shiny objects: Focus on what you do and do it well. Distracting staff, confusing customers and spending resources on shiny objects can limit your success. This does not mean don’t innovate or don’t keep an eye out for disrupters; just make sure everyone knows the what winning looks like and where to focus.
2) Set clear expectations with measurable results: Creating a vision and clear expectations with data to track the path will provide clarity on what everyone should be working on and toward. When the vision from the top is clear, employees will focus on that.
Running a business without the help and advice of peers can be lonely and a bit scary. I am convinced that one of the keys to our success has been our reliance on industry and CEO peer groups. If you really want to be challenged and are looking to move faster, a group of peers can really kick start your success. Of course, you have great employees and partners, but joining an industry peer group or a CEO group like Vistage will allow you to process issues and opportunities and pickup best practices from bright people that don’t have an internal agenda like your employees or partners might.
Take some time now to intentionally plan for your success in 2019. If you invest the time now, you may find that running a business next year is easier and more rewarding.
Steve Cerocke, founder/president of IQ Systems Inc. of Reno, can be reached at 775-352-2301, ext. 1001, or email@example.com.