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3 Steps to Ring in a Focused 2017 for Your Business

Dec 27 2016

by Louise Pritchard

The Southern Coterie blog: "3 Steps to Ring in a Successful Start to the New Year" by Louise Pritchard (photo: Kathryn McCrary)
photo: Kathryn McCrary for The Southern C, Waiting on Martha and Guide 2 Athens

The New Year brings a fresh start and new opportunities if you are ready.  A key component to setting the stage for success in 2017 is taking the time to review 2016, and I have developed a three-step process to help you review, reconnect and create a plan for a focused and successful 2017.

I would encourage you to seek input from your team and stakeholders in this process. Many times, they are on the frontline interacting with your customers and have knowledge that is important to your success. At times, entrepreneurs are so tied up in running their businesses that they forget what experience they were trying to deliver to their clients and customers.

Take Stock

Anyone who has worked with me knows I am a big fan of the “Benjamin Franklin” method of decision-making. He developed this system to bring order to the process.  My version is slightly different, but the process is the same. If you are not familiar, it is simple; create a chart with two columns; one column of things that have worked well during the year, and another for those that have not worked. This helps you clearly identify and write down specific items in a succinct manner. This should be done over several days. Get team members to contribute their thoughts, write them down on a white board or flip chart, and leave them there to be reflected upon. Over a few days, you might find that you will want to add items and or remove others.

Evaluate

 After a time of reflection, the next step is to take each item and ask why. You do this for both sides–ask yourself why the items in column one worked well and why the items in column two did not work well. This step requires you to critically evaluate and use your findings in creative problem solving. Are the processes you are using to service your clients or customers the most efficient and profitable? Why or why not? Which designs are working or not working and why? You should also use this step to evaluate your marketing and social media efforts and other areas of your business to critically evaluate their success.

Create an action plan

From what you are learning, create an action plan with specific items, the area in your evaluation it addresses, and a time frame for action. Of course, you MUST prioritize your actions. You will run yourself ragged if you chase everything. By prioritizing, delegating and staying focused you will have better results. Always include plans to celebrate successes but most of your learning will come from your failures and will be the drivers for your next success. Take the time to understand them.

Try these three steps. Your whole team will be invested into the success of your plan. Put your Benjamin Franklin thinking cap on and have a successful 2017!

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Louise Pritchard View More Blog Posts from this Author

Louise Pritchard is an experienced professional with progressive leadership roles and a successful track record in cross-industry strategic market development, relationship management and business problem solving
Ms Pritchard brings her creative problem solving and critical thinking approach to each client. Her passion and drive is evident in helping each client to discover the "ah-ha" moment when new ideas and strategies transform their brand strengths into results for their company,
Ms. Pritchard founded Pritchard Volk Consulting, LLC, in 2001 after nearly 30 years in the business arena. Her experiences with FORTUNE Magazine, as Southeast Division Manager, Director of Marketing of Holiday Inn Worldwide, Director of Marketing of Egleston Childrens Hospital and other high level marketing positions helped her form the philosophy and process for her consulting business. She is also an Executive Partner at the Mason School of Business, College of Williams and Mary MBA program.

She is a Auburn University graduate and an avid SEC football fan. With four grown daughters pursuing their careers in various part of the country, she and her husband enjoy their off time visiting them in Charlotte, Savannah, Atlanta and LA.

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