By JIM KENDALL
This material originally appeared as one of Jim’s Daily Herald columns
No one does New Year’s resolutions yet. Except us.
That’s because our resolutions aren’t the “I’ll study harder and be nicer to my sister” that Mom and Dad helped us write. Ours take some planning, because they’re intended to unearth some insights about your business’ stature, test your team and highlight the differences that can give your business an edge in the market.
To paraphrase Dr. Seuss, “Oh, the things you (hopefully) will learn.”
Except for the final one, you might want to spread implementation of these “resolutions” over several weeks.
* Accept your banker’s invitation for lunch. She, or he, probably hasn’t invited you, but the response you get to an innocent “Thanks, I’d love to get together for lunch” will quickly tell you whether the banker knows you or your business.
Assuming the get-together happens, the banker’s answers to questions you ask during the meal – What do you see happening in my industry? How do you think I should respond? – will indicate how well the banker has prepared.
* Use the same approach to accept your accountant’s invitation.
* Quit. Not really, but, without telling anyone, simply don’t show up for two days. Stay home. Turn off the phone. Don’t read or send any business emails. Pig out at the doughnut shop. Go to the library and grab a book or two. Take a nap. Don’t answer the door.
Do the same things the next day.
What you’ll discover is how well your business functions without you: Who steps up. Who doesn’t. Who tries to take advantage.
* Resolve to update your business plan. Limit yourself to two yellow pad pages and a pencil with an eraser.
Unless you’re seeking financing, you likely don’t need a formal, business school approach to your plan. However, the thought process you go through in developing ideas and what-iffing can be beyond valuable.
* If you’re 50-years old or more, retire – or, more appropriately, begin to think seriously about what you and your spouse-partner will do when you’ve handed the keys to the business’ front door to someone else.
How much money will you need to retire? What will it take to get the business in shape to bring that much?
Talk to an exit planner. Talk to a business broker. Take notes.
* Resolve to fix your social media marketing. Unless you truly understand social media, hire a consultant. Together, develop a social media strategy that makes sense for your business.
Learn how to implement the plan – or, better, hire someone to create your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and related material.
* Find a friend, someone whose opinions you respect. Get together for lunch every month and share problems, ideas and solutions.
* Celebrate your differences. Why should someone buy from you rather than a competitor? What does your business do better? Build on the differences, because they will separate your business from the others.
© 2016 Kendall Communications Inc. Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn and Twitter. Write him at Jim@kendallcom.com. Listen to Jim’s Business Owners’ Pod Talk at www.kendallcom.com/podcast.