Each year offers us a fresh start, an opportunity to wipe the slate clean, an opportunity to finally reach the goals we've set for ourselves and our business. The smell of optimism still looms fresh in the air as we think of the life we could be living if we only "knocked out" the goals we've set for the New Year. Then, as if we didn't see it coming, we're hit with obstacles and challenges that threaten the success of our goals.
As we enter March, it's time for a reality check. Before we get too far into the New Year, it's time to review your lofty resolutions and get, what is failing, back on track. Good news! While conducting this review will be one of the toughest things you do all year, getting yourself and your business back on track will change the success you experience now and the success you unlock every year after.
We have to start our journey by first understanding why we failed. Insert your favorite quote here. Mine is, "If you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough." Whatever quote you use to help justify your current state needs a healthy dose of reality. If you're being honest with yourself, the answer, more times than not, will be something you'd rather not admit to (at least publicly). It could be health related, employee turnover, or everybody's favorite, "we got busy". No matter the reason, there doesn't seem to be enough time in the day to get everything accomplished.
Wondering why the same problem occurs with both personal and professional goals? It's YOU! Not you specifically, but human beings. Your business is, afterall, comprised of people. People with their own resolutions that may conflict with the changes you want. All change requires adapting your routines and the routines of your company. If you've ever tried to quit smoking or eat healthier, etc... you know first-hand how hard it can be to change your routines.
Ok! Now that the hammer has hit the nail squarely on the head we can begin looking at the steps required to get our lives and our businesses back on track.
Here are 3 steps to follow:
1. Find yourself an accountability partner:
The life of a business owner isn't easy. When it comes to sticking to your goals you need to surround yourself with all the help you can. When searching for an accountability partner it's important that you look outside your regular routine for help. Find somebody who has no reason to sugar coat what's going on. Before you begin, it's important to establish the tone of your relationship. How often will you communicate? How will you communicate? Etc... The biggest challenge you'll face with accountability partners is effective communication. By establishing a routine upfront you'll greatly increase the likelihood of accountability partner success.
2. Stop underfunding your goals:
How many times have your heard, "There's no such thing as a free lunch"? My guess, more than you want to. Nobody likes to short themselves or their business but parting with your hard-earned funds is likely the main reason behind your lack of progress. Let's look at marketing, for example. Even if you're determined to handle your fresh new marketing approach by yourself, you're still overlooking two considerable costs:
1. Opportunity cost - while spending time on your marketing, you're not able to handle other, equally important, tasks like customer service or process improvements.
2. The cost of being an amateur - it's time to look in the mirror again. Ask yourself one simple question, "Why did I start this business?" Unless you're a company offering marketing solutions your answer will clarify your next steps. Even if you read every book available you'll still pay considerably more doing it yourself over paying an expert.
The most expensive invisible cost to any business. Have you heard the quote, "Procrastination is the curse of the small business owner"? With no boss lurking over your shoulder it's easy for procrastination to weasel its ugly head into your life and business. I recommend using readily available tools to help keep you focused. Tools that you can install as browser add ons or apps that will help keep you focused. A quick search in the app store will provide you with plenty of options. Find the tool that you are comfortable using every single day.
In reality, the solution to getting back on track won't be easy. You'll have to step outside your comfort zone, admit failure, and be honest with yourself and your employees. Why all the transparency? Without transparency you'll find yourself right back where you are now and your goals will seem even further away. People (including yourself) prosper when they know where they stand, what's expected of them, and how they can advance. Your transparency will endear those surrounding you to step up to the challenge and help you achieve your goals.
What are you waiting for? It's time to implement the changes outlined and watch your personal and professional goals become reality. The only person standing in your way is the person you look at each morning in the mirror. Good luck!