It’s October and now’s the time to be doing the planning, making the decisions and taking the action that will make 2022 your best year ever.  Now’s the time to work ‘ON’ the business…not just ‘IN’ it.  Here are some insights to help you make 2022 your best year ever.

First: Your focus should be in two separate areas:

  1. Fixing what needs fixing.
  2. Embracing new opportunities for growth and profitability.

Second: When you and your team are planning for next year, don’t talk about ‘goals, targets, aims and objectives’. These words leave too much wiggle room to not perform. Talk about ‘commitment’s. When we change our language, we change our culture, and our results. The more clear and specific you get about your commitments, the better your results will be. Here are 3 examples of what clear and specific commitments look like: 

  1. We will increase sales by $800,000 in the next 12 months, while not increasing sales and marketing expenses by more than 4%.
  2. We will reduce operating expense by $50,000, in the next 6 months, without diminishing our customer service or employment experience.
  3. We will improve delivery on ‘rush orders’ by 4 hours, within 3 months, without increasing our shipping expense by more than $12,000 a year.

For each commitment you make, determine what specific activities, actions, changes or initiatives you’ll implement and what resources you’ll need to get it done, on time. Then, determine specifically who will do what, by when, at what cost, with what result, measured how and rewarded how, to make that happen. This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s what management is all about. We get what we work for, not what we hope for.

Third: The best way to start this important process is to get real about which areas of your business or department need work. You can’t get to where you need to be if you’re unclear about where you are now. Sit down for a few hours with a few of the best minds and hearts in your business, or department and answer the following 10 questions: 

  1. What extraordinary bottom-line profit do we commit to deliver in 2022? 
  2. What’s our sales commitment for next year that’s required to deliver our profit commitment. What are the 3 or 4 (or more) most important things we need to do to achieve that 2022 sales commitment?
  3. What are 3 things that we do that confuse or irritate our customers, and what will we commit to do to fix them so wonderfully that they actually become part of our competitive advantage?
  4. What are the 3 most important new systems, processes or technologies that we need to bring into the business in 2022?
  5. What are 3 or 4 important value, marketing or operational things that any of our competitors do better than us and how will we improve to become the competitive leader in 2022?
  6. What are the 5 biggest expense items on which we can save some money or improve operational efficiency in 2022…and, specifically, how will we do that?
  7. What are 4 things we can do to become ‘greener’ in 2022…and beyond?
  8. What are 3 or 4 things we can do to improve internal communication and improve clarity about our commitments to customers, to each other and to our bottom line?
  9. What improvements in marketing, promotion and advertising will we commit to in 2022 to tell our story more effectively? How will we create more customer intimacy, be more responsive to and interactive with customers and prospects? How can we use social media more effectively to achieve this? 
  10. We can’t grow the business without growing our people and our team. What new talent, skills or experience must be added to our team to compete successfully in 2022 and beyond? What training, development or mentoring does each person on our team need to help them grow? How do I commit to grow as a leader and manager to be more effective in 2022?

Note:  Add a few of your own key questions to the 10 listed above in order to get on the right track to make 2022 your best year ever. Ask each employee to come up with at least one idea to grow or improve the business next year. Give them a week to come up with their ideas and then schedule an ‘Idea Fest’. You’ll be amazed at what they come up with.

Bonus Tip:  During the ‘Idea Fest’, no evaluation or criticism of ideas presented is allowed.  That kills participation. 

Source: Donald Cooper