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This week’s Weekly Wrap-Up is a list of questions you might ask yourself as you start this new year. A long list of questions with a few suggested answers. 

The beginning of the year is a milestone. A benchmark. It is a point in time where you can drive a stake and measure whether you are being more successful or not. Whether you are doing more of the same or embracing change. When you can determine to improve your business for your family and your associates. 

The new year is a blessing each year. You can let bygones be bygones, and start with a clear mind and a fresh attitude. The slate is wiped clean. Now it’s up to you what to write on it this year. 

Business Intro-Spection 200wIn making this list of questions, I merely thought over situations that I have encountered this year and issues that I faced during my long career. They are in no particular order. More or less a brain dump. Here goes.

 

The Questions

  • What will I do this year that’s new? Different?
  • What do I expect as a result?
  • How will I stay the course?
  • Should I delegate more?
  • Can I “lean out” the business machine?
  • Should I attend more educational conferences?
  • Should I hire a project manager?
  • Can I shift some duties to others?
  • Should I be more consistent?
  • Am I being as efficient as possible?
  • Should I use more technology this year?
  • Am I a pal or a leader?
  • Is there a thorn in my side I should remove?

Questions to ask yourself  – and answer!

  • What will I do this year that’s new? Different?
    • This is a particularly loaded question. If your year was perfect, you may decide to do everything the same. If your year was full of negative issues, you probably realize that this year will be no different if you don’t change. A cautionary note to those who had a great year.  Never stand still. Always innovate. Stagnation leads to atrophy. Your competitors will be quite happy if you become complacent. They’ll finally get the upper hand and start differentiating themselves. Get the picture? Never stand still.
  • What do I expect as a result?
    • If you do make changes to your modus operandi, what do you expect will happen? One of the great truths of the universe is that you get what you expect. Set definite expectations. Never set ambiguous goals, such as “Use my time more wisely” or “Make more money”. Those types of goals are too vague, and will bring you only vague results. Set concrete expectations. 
  • How will I stay the course?
    • New Year’s resolutions frequently fail. Why? Because the dreamers have no procedure laid out so that they will continue to seek their goals after the inspiration wears off. Ask yourself, “How will you follow through with this resolution?” If it is a worthwhile resolution, you will write down very clear steps and schedules to achieve your goals.
  • Should I delegate more?
    • Are you ready to loosen your grip on the reins this year? Quit micro-managing and let others take over some of your responsibilities? This can be one of you most important and meaningful decisions you’ll make this year. If you truly want to put your business on cruise control, shift some of your burdens to others. You may be very surprised how an individual, given more responsibility, will show you a side that you didn’t even know existed. Somewhat like moving a plant to a bigger pot. What happens? It can grow to the next level. 
  • Can I “lean out” the business machine?
    • When I was young boy, I had the opportunity to fly in some small private planes, mainly Cessna 172’s and 182’s. I can remember the pilot carefully checking everything before takeoff. Then he’d rev up the engine and we’d gain speed down the dirt runway. At that point he needed all the power he could get so he ran a rich mixture of fuel that assured consistent and high power output. Once we got to cruising altitude, he would lean the mixture out to conserve fuel.
    • Similarly, your business requires a lot of resources when you start up. Now that you are at “cruising altitude” you have the opportunity to make your business more efficient. You know what works and what doesn’t. Examine your budget, personnel, and business model closely. What do you need to keep, and what is no longer necessary? 
  • Should I attend more educational conferences?
    • One of the most cutting remarks I received in college came from my ‘Controls and Devices’ professor. After a particularly grueling exam (one I thought I had done well on) I went back to his office to receive my grade. There was big “F” on the front of the exam in red ink, and beside it he wrote, “That which is not used, atrophies.” While lacking in tact, his statement was right to the point. Education must be continuous. Your early years of schooling were just a warm up. Keep learning from others, go to conferences, and read extensively. Consider hiring a coach to join your team and lend his or her experience. 
  • Should I hire a project manager?
    • Would a project manager be a good fit for your company? If you already have one, are you assigning too many duties to him or her? Consider divvying up the duties. Be specific about who should do what, so everyone can be as effective as possible.
  • Can I shift some duties to others?
    • Would it help to shift some of the necessary duties to others? Review your job descriptions and see if they can be more specific.
  • Should I be more consistent?
    • There is a fine line between consistency and embracing change. Yet you can do both. Be consistent in your leadership, and let others know that you are still open to change, as long as it is positive change. Consistency in leadership gives your team confidence to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.
  • Am I being as efficient as possible?
    • This is hard one. Who wants to critique themselves? You still need to do this though. How are your hours spent? If you are putting out fires all day (being reactive) then nail down why. And then make some changes. If others could be carrying out some of your duties, give them more responsibility and recoup some of your precious time.
  • Should I use more technology this year?
    • Always be on the lookout for new technology that will differentiate you from the pack. Ten years ago you may have pooh poohed those who said that you had to be technologically savvy. No longer though. Technology is here to stay. Understanding and using it wisely will make you a more profitable and successful company. 
  • Am I a pal or a leader?
    • Make this the year you become a real leader rather than just a good guy – friends with everyone. Being a leader means making some tough decisions, and many of those decisions won’t seem friendly. If you are serious about growing a successful company, then determine that you will lead your team using your wisdom and resources. It is painful sometimes, but you’ll be rewarded in the end.
  • Is there a thorn in my side I should remove?
    • This goes along with the previous question – being a pal or being a leader. I’ve heard many stories about, and have experienced, keeping a team member that doesn’t fit the company culture. One who actually demoralizes and brings the rest of the company down to his or her level. Take a few steps back and ask yourself if this person is adding or detracting from your business. In almost all cases, dismissing such a person has turned out to be a good decision. You may have heard the expression, “When you decide to fire someone, it’s already too late.”

Take action!

Those are some really good questions to ask yourself at this stage. If you will answer these questions each and every year, there is little doubt in my mind that you will have a thriving business. Business is simple. Don’t let it be complicated. All you have to do is move forward, analyze issues, write or re-write the process, and move forward again. Some of the most successful businesses on earth follow this formula. They have raving fans and healthy bank accounts, which is what I wish for each of you this coming year.

Wishing you the best of fortune, Randall

This article was written by Randall Soules, remodeling coach, adviser, educator, and creator of the Scientific Remodeling System, showing you better ways to advance your business, raise your profits, and improve your life, through the use of superior remodeling processes. If you would like to discover better ways to run your business, click here. He also provides his uniquely customized one-on-one coaching to a select group of contractors. Feel free to contact Randall at Randall@scientificremodelingsystem.com.

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