After a tough 2007, I'm determined to make our business more successful this year. How can we get things off to a good start?
There are many reasons why businesses achieve less than they should: poor planning, lack of resources, unfocused marketing, a disconnection between the product and market requirements and, in some cases, poor products.
But one key factor that rarely seems to get the attention it deserves is the articulating and agreeing of key objectives and how to achieve them. This includes confirmation of the company's objectives from management to staff and even confirming that managers and directors share the same objectives.
During the past year I have been amazed to find husband-and-wife teams who have never agreed service standards, business partners who admit they instruct staff to perform tasks differently to achieve different objectives, and partners who want different outcomes: one who wants to sell in 12 months, and the other seeing the business as a job for the next 20 years.
Perhaps equally confused are those directors and managers who do not know where their business is heading or have any targets for it. This begs the old question - if you don't know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?
It also highlights one other big business issue. Can your business actually achieve the results you want? In other words, if you have a target for financial security in 10 years and can identify your monetary target, is your business actually capable of reaching it?
The lack of clear objectives, poor planning, and working on assumptions rather than facts seems to me to be holding back many businesses.
As the new year starts, isn't it time to agree your objectives with those who count and then agree the action to be taken? If you do, 2008 could be your year.
Chris Morton, www.chrismortonassociates.com