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It’s Not Where You Start But Where You Finish

By REDC Business Advisor Kerri Salls

At the end of the year, do you block out time to work on your business, to review your finances and your goals to see which ones you hit and which one to revise? Or do you scramble to close as many sales as possible as the year comes to a close?

A big piece of how you look at your business, how you view the results this year – depends on attitude; your perspective on what you’ve accomplished, and what efforts it took to hit your milestones. For some people, letting go of people, systems, or even clients that were holding them back – can be a monumental achievement. For some people, just finding time to take a course or read a book to improve in some area is the best step forward they have been able to invest in this year.

There are two important tasks to undertake BEFORE January 1. If you are in business, you owe it to the success of your business to do two things:

1. Year-end Business Review – the more thorough and honest you are in this review, the stronger position you will be in moving into next year.

Review the goals you had set for the last year, whether you set them 18 months ago or just 3 months ago. Create a form or a report to compare your goals to what you actually did. In some cases this is easy; your financial statements will tell you year over year changes in every area of cost of goods, overhead, training, equipment, staffing, as well as a breakdown of revenues by month, product line, and marketing strategy. For other goals you set a year ago, you may have accomplished them – and then some – and didn’t even realize it. Now is the time to document completion of those goals. Also record the debriefing insights of how you achieved those goals, and what worked. For other goals you had set at the same time, it’s possible you forgot about them, or you let them go by the wayside for some reason. This review is not to punish you or anyone about missing the mark. What you do want to do is document what went awry that they did not stay on your priority list. Identify what could have made the difference to achieving those goals too. Document solutions that you may want to implement next year – or the next time that goal is set – to ensure it is met.

This need only take an hour to a half-day to study and document your results for the past year. Based on that data and insight, you are ready for the second essential task to execute before January 1.

2. Goal Setting for Next Year – If you do not commit to your goals for next year before January 1, you will start the year at a dead stop and it can take up to 90 days to up to speed – 90 days you’ve lost for achieving your big bold goals for the year, making it harder to achieve massive results. Also, you will be less committed to those goals when you set them later because you are starting from behind. In this situation, time is not your friend.

Set financial goals for your business – not just year totals, but monthly goals for expenses, investments, sales, and multiple revenue streams. If you’ve reviewed your financials from this year, you are empowered to do this exercise too.

In every area of your business (e.g., vision and values, marketing, sales, support, personal development, technology, service, product offerings, etc) set very specific goals. Give yourself permission to think big, very BIG. This is not the place to figure out the full implementation of how you’ll achieve them. This is where you realize it takes just as much effort to take modest cautious baby steps as it does to take quantum leap steps in your business.

Rowlf (Muppet Show) - It's Not Where You Start, It's Where You Finish

You’ve heard this ditty before. I learned it at summer camp. Today’s kids learn it even earlier. We all need to be reminded. Enjoy Rowlf’s rendition here:

Finish your year with these two tasks. Book time in your busy calendar now to do it. Do this work in December - and you will set up your business to achieve your audacious goals in the new year. When you commit to finishing on top every year; then as Zig Ziglar says: “I’ll see you at the top.”


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