Have you made your business resolutions yet?

For many of you, the festive season signaled a time to assess business performance for the first half of the financial year, and to plan changes that hopefully will deliver you a prosperous new year.

And with all the hype of new year celebrations some of you may have even been tempted to make new year’s resolutions for you and your business!

But can a new year’s resolution represent a viable business strategy? I think the answer is “it depends.”

A new year’s resolution can be defined as “a promise that you make (often to yourself) to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year”.

A more flippant, but probably more accurate, definition is “an assessment of, and often delusional attempt to correct, one’s shortcomings…. “

I say more accurate because a recent research study of 3000 people making a new year’s resolution found that, while 52% of participants were confident of success initially, only 12% actually achieved their goal – meaning an overall failure rate of 88%.

A range of other studies relating to new year’s resolutions shows that success increases as the level of accountability increases, especially where that accountability is to another person.

So, while a new year’s resolution is no substitute for a structured, well considered, business planning approach, maybe there is a place for it in the scheme of things.

When might this be? I think when the resolution relates not to working in or on the business, but rather to the owner working on him or her self.

So if you have a burning desire to make a new year’s resolution, maybe something along the following lines might give you a good chance of success:

• undertake a course of education or training to attain specific skills or knowledge you need;

• establish an accountability partner arrangement with a trusted confidant – so you can hold each other accountable for doing the things you know you need to do;

• work with someone who has certain abilities that can help you to improve a specific aspect of your business;

• surround yourself with positive people – people who inspire and motivate you; or

• delegate a specific area of business responsibility and accountability to a member of your team.

But in my view the best possible new year’s resolution would have to be:

• develop and implement (get help if you need it) a well constructed business planning process for the ongoing management of your business.

And if you forgot to make it in January, make it on 1 February, make it on 2 February, or 3 February, or 4 February or ….. You get the idea!

Then, when new year’s day 2015 rolls around, the only new year’s resolution you will need to make will be “to continue to manage my business in line with my business plan”.

Happy new year’s resolution making!

Neil McVicar

Small Fish Business Coaching Coffs Harbour


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