Posts Tagged : Small Business Opportunity

Creating Your Business Resolutions for the New Year

Creating Your Business ResolutionsThis week, you’re going to start hearing the word “New Year’s Resolutions” being mentioned quite frequently.

But you won’t hear those words in this blog.

Instead, I’m more interested in helping owners create their Business Resolutions for the New Year, and less concerned about personal New Year’s Resolutions like “Spending more time with family and friends”, “Losing weight”, and “Getting organized” (though these are important, too).

Just ask any entrepreneur about what Business Resolutions they have planned for their upcoming year, and you’ll find they immediately start talking about all the tasks that they didn’t accomplish in the previous year, while quickly rattling off everything they’d like to accomplish moving ahead.

This response is pretty common because most owners I work with are bottom-line, results-oriented people. They focus on the question: “Did we hit our goals or not?” When they miss their target, they quickly detail their mistakes and where they fell short on a particular goal, and their minds immediately focus on what they’re going to do better in the future.

If you own a business, I have a suggestion for you. There’s a better way to create your Business Resolutions for 2015.

Here’s my advice: Before you start listing everything you didn’t accomplish in 2014, and start beating yourself up over what you didn’t complete, first focus on what you achieved.

This will be new for you, but before you focus on 2015, I want you to make a list of every major business accomplishment you achieved in 2014. If you have to, do this with your spouse, partner, employees, or anyone who has a solid knowledge of your business. Look back at your calendar if you have to. Month by month, write down the major accomplishments you achieved, the new aspects of your business that you created, and all the innovative ways you grew your business successfully in 2014.

What I want you to do is start the New Year by patting yourself on the back for what you accomplished, not focusing on what you didn’t do. This is important because the successes you achieved in 2014 can be repeated and multiplied if you focus on the steps that you took to create those successes. But this only works if you take the time to replay them.

If you’ve never taken the time to list your business achievements in the previous year, try it. It’s very rewarding!

First, you’ll find there’s a huge feeling of accomplishment when you read a list of everything you achieved in your business.

Second, if you are one of those over-achieving perfectionists who has a tendency to always bite-off-more-than-you-can-chew, and then, chew it anyway, this will give you time to reflect on the monumental assortment of tasks that you completed.

Third, you might just look at the list and say, “Now I know why I’m so tired!”

Do me a favor: Don’t rush through this exercise. They’ll be plenty of time to think about all the goals you didn’t accomplish. Being the perfectionists that most of you are, there’s a good chance that you set the bar too high on what you wanted to accomplish in 2014 anyway. It could be that you tried to accomplish too much with too few resources, like time, money, or help from others.

Trust me: They’ll be plenty of time for you to focus on all the goals you didn’t accomplish that you’ve already been kicking yourself for not achieving.

For now, I want you to focus on what was right about your business in 2014. Doing this now will give you a much better shot at creating greater successes in 2015.

At first, this might be hard for you because you’re a master at dwelling on all the areas where you fall short.

But take a day or two, make your list, evaluate where you excelled, and just bask in the afterglow of your accomplishments.  Your mind will appreciate the time you give it to replay your successes.

If you’re like most business owners I consult with, you’ll come to the realization that you achieved more than you remembered.

Face it:  You made great strides.  2014 was a challenging year and you came out the other side.

Congratulations!  Well done!  Happy New Year to all of your successes!


Something to Smile About: There’s Retail Opportunity Here

Several years back, I did the keynote speech for an economic development conference on my Destination Business principles.

When I was done, the next presenter got up and it was obvious he wanted to show that he was a well-traveled expert.  To illustrate this, he began by flashing up on the screen photographs he’d taken of small businesses that he found particularly amusing.

Most of the photographs were similar to what I have posted on this page, a small business that combined two or more products or services under one roof that you’d never expect to be together.  Now, to be fair, he didn’t flash the photo I have here of the quilt shop/liquor store, but he did show similar examples of unexpected combinations of products in the same business.

With each photo, the audience laughed, as he poked fun at the businesses being shown on the screen.

And all I could do was sit there thinking: “This guy’s totally missed the point!”

I’ve spoken in hundreds of cities and small towns, and I’ve never been to, nor seen the quilt shop/liquor store shown here. Someone sent me this picture.  And just to be clear, I’m not making fun of this business.  Actually, there’s brilliance in this business.

You see, in the world of retail development, this quilt shop/liquor store is called a “multi-focus business”, meaning that it has two or more unique business models operating under one roof.

So when I find a business like this that has an unusual combination of products in it, I know it’s often because it takes multiple product lines (often diverse ones), combined together, to generate enough revenue for a business in a small town to actually make money.  I also know that smart business owners try to meet the needs of local customers, while also trying to grow their revenue, while identifying consumer demand, hopefully discovering and capitalizing on unsatisfied niche categories to produce a greater return-on-investment.  (Basically, I’ve just described the fundamental rules of the most successful businesses.)

Plus, most independently-owned businesses in a smaller marketplace can’t operate like a retail store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.  They don’t have millionaire customers walking in everyday and they aren’t located in a retail district that pulls customers from around the world.

Finally, when I talk to community leaders who complain that recruiting retail businesses is difficult, I point out that a multi-focused business is the first thing to look for.  This is because it’s always easier to grow an existing retailer in a community who’s already there, who already understands the marketplace and who’s already committed to the area.  Yet you’d be surprised how many retail development professionals look first to import a new business or poach one from a nearby community.

Personally, when I see multi-focused business, I start thinking: “How can we maximize this business into a stronger Destination, or even two separate Destinations?”

So remember: If you’re ever at an economic development conference and someone gets up and starts showing photos like this one, it’s OK to chuckle.

Just realize that inside that business, a creative, risk-taking entrepreneur came up with something that no one has ever seen.

And that looks like untapped opportunity to me.