January, which means Janus month, became the first month of the year in circa 700 BC under Numa Pompilius, a Roman King. Janus, in Roman mythology, is the god of gateways and doorways, hence the word, ‘janitor’, derives from Janus.
The two-faced Janus, god of beginnings and transitions, looks back to the past, and looks forward to the future. It literally opens the door to the New Year.
Tomorrow, Monday, December 31, the last day of 2018, heralds January 1, the first day of 2019. As a Small Business Owner, the former provides the rear mirror of 2018, while the latter offers a periscope for 2019. What are the lessons you have learnt, personally and professionally, from the past 12 months, and how can you use them to accelerate the progress of your business in the year ahead?
You were out there in 2018, an unbelievably challenging year. There were difficulties in your business, in your life. But, somehow, you and the business survived. It’s now time for sober reflection, time to recap lessons learned.
In playing your best game of being a Small Business Owner, you are in your natural state when thinking about the future, when setting goals, when making plans to reach them. You also know that being so focused on your goals makes it almost impossible to stay in the present.
This mind set manifests in many ways. You work long hours. You accept work you hardly enjoy. You sacrifice your personal relationships. You endanger your health in expectation of a big pay day.
With one calendar year rolling out, you have another opportunity to hit the re-set button. As Nigeria is entering an election year, amidst an unpredictable fortune in the global marketplace, your business will be operating in an economy that is heading into strong headwinds in 2019.
How do you figure out what to do more, or do differently? Here are some suggestions on where to point your searchlight:
1. Re-Examine Your Business Plan: If you have not reviewed your business plan before you closed for the Christmas and New Year celebrations, do so now. Review the document to ensure that it aligns with the current goals of your business, particularly for the next 12 months.
Also re-affirm the alignment of business plan with the purpose of the business. This big picture will help you to set the goals that will lead to long-term success.
2. Re-Set Your Business Goals: It is important to outline what you want your business to achieve in the coming 12 months. These should be specific company-wide objectives, with expected key results.
Visualise your over-arching goal. Picture the specific steps to achieve it. If your goal is to make money, say exactly how much. Put a figure on it. State why you want to make that amount of money. To expand the business? To hire more staff?
Put your goals in writing. Use this as a constant reference point. The idea is to have a road map, with measurable benchmarks with which to determine if they were achieved by the end of the year.
Writing out your goals gets all staff on board, because they have been part of creating the action plans. It also keeps everyone apprised of the set targets and the milestones for achieving them.
3. Review Your Manpower Needs. Skill up. Determine and start developing the key skills your business will need to be competitive in the New Year. Start implementing your recruitment plan. Consider freelancers and part-time staff as alternatives to full-time employees if you have a tight budget.
4. Mark Your Marketing And Sales Calendar: Pull out your calendar. Mark the activities and events around which you will organise the marketing and sales efforts of your business through the year. This will allow time to mobilise resources and energise the team towards achieving the revenue-generating goals of your business for the year.
With this ground work, you are ready to get your business to a great start in 2019. Taking the time to set the business on the course of success makes it easier for you and your staff to stay committed to the goals of the business, and your vision, in the months ahead.
Do something to set your business up for a running start when the clock strikes 12 midnight tomorrow. Don’t wait. Start now!