One of the most exciting things about owning a business is that each year offers a fresh opportunity to grow. But that growth is always based on the foundation you’ve built so far. Right now is the perfect time to take in the lessons learned in the last 12 months and see how far you’ve come. Here are some tips from FranNetDFW on how you can make the most of 2017 by looking back and then pressing forward.
Identify Your Successes
Success is always one of the best motivators for a business owner, so never skimp on celebration when you meet or exceed milestones. The activities and behaviors that led to these accomplishments should be reinforced and replicated across your organization. Take a moment to reflect on unexpected successes as well. These are often clues to help you uncover new opportunities.
Example: If there was a sudden windfall in a particular month or quarter, dig deeper to discover the source of that increase in revenue. Was there an influx of new residents in your community in 2016 that brought new customers to your door? If so, do you have plans to intentionally connect with newcomers this year to earn their business?
Bonus Tip: Success instills confidence in lenders. When you measure and document your successes, you have leverage to get more funding to expand your business. Why not create a “2016 Achievements Report” to highlight what went right. This will help give you confidence to ask for support to help grow your business in 2017. Everyone likes a winner!
Acknowledge Your Failures
As a business owner, it’s essential to be able to fail without feeling like a failure. It takes courage to admit you did not reach all your goals or you made a decision that turned out poorly. But that acknowledgement is the initial step in making your business better this year. Closely investigate areas where you fell short of your expectations or objectives.
Example: Perhaps you found yourself working far more hours than you had planned. This is normal when first starting a franchise, but after the business is established, overwork can be an indication of a failure to plan or delegate properly. Dig in to the processes you use to run your business and look for ways to be more efficient. Maybe that means getting better at hiring (and firing) so that your business is staffed by the right people to help achieve your goals. Maybe it means improving your quality assurance or billing processes so that you spend less time putting out fires or chasing payments.
Extra Tip: Revisit your business plan in light of current circumstances. If your initial projections were unrealistic, there’s no reason to keep beating yourself up trying to do the impossible. Adjust your goals to be achievable (with diligent effort) so that you can stay on track rather than feeling that you are constantly falling behind.
Expand Your Review
Remember that you can always learn from the experiences of others as well. Don’t forget to talk to your fellow franchise owners to get their take on 2016. Perhaps they implemented a new technology or advertising technique that saw great results. You might be able to use a similar approach in your business this year.
On a related note, getting a peek at what went on with your competitors is also smart. You certainly won’t be able to take a look at their books, but their web presence, advertising, and general business reputation in the community are always open for scrutiny. Taking a warning from their failures and emulating their good decisions can fast track your business.
Overall industry trends across the country can also provide insight into what is and isn’t working in your sector. If you don’t have tools in place to do this research, let us know and we can point you toward free resources that are easy to use. At FranNetDFW, we are happy to help make 2017 a banner year for your business!