We originally posted this Healthy Business Checklist in 2008. More than three years later, the checklist items are still valid, but there are a few significant adjustments…
1. Update your plans.
In 2008, we talked about taking a look at your sales funnel, and closely examining whether or not it needs adjustment. Have customers put off purchasing until this year? Have any of your prospects indicated a significant shift in their business? What’s the current buyer behavior and has it changed? How/are you reaching your prospects and customers along the way? Are your sales, management and operations plans up to date? The goal here is to settle on a planning method that works for you. It can be a formal mechanism (like a strategic planning initiative), or an approach to managing a particular piece of your business (like a faltering product line or an emerging new partnership). Need some thoughtstarters to get going? No matter the approach, take a fresh look.
2. Encourage a “We rise and fall together” culture.
In 2008, we wrote: “It’s often true that there’s safety in numbers, so encourage your team and the rest of the organization to look at positive, thoughtful ways to get handle the current economic climate. Engage the organization to work together with a team challenge, for example, to come up with five new ways to improve productivity.”
In the blog post “27 Marketing Wishes for 2012,” Sam Fiorella of Sensei Marketing says that “My biggest wish for marketing in 2012 would be for marketers to have the courage to link the social media activities they are funded to deliver to the business’ bottom line: profit.” In 2012, with the widespread use and availability of social media business tools, you can’t help but find ways to improve productivity and work together toward a common goal.
3. Reach out and touch someone.
Shifts in global economic and business markets are often a great conversation starter. Over the past several weeks of this new year, I’ve received calls, emails and tweets from vendors, clients and clients who were “just checking in” to see how my business was running. It’s always wise to keep communications open with prospects and clients, in good times and in challenging ones. All it takes is a bit of discipline to get in the habit of checking in…
4. One person’s trash is another’s treasure.
I’ve often heard this saying when it comes to garage sales, and it can also apply to your business. Look for competitors who may abandon market segments where you can fill a need; take another look at customers that may be underserved. Where in their lifecycle are your products and services? Can you reposition your products or services in a new or different way to appeal to a new/similar/extended audience?
5. Leading change = Lead by example
In 2008, we used examples from an interview with Fred Hassan, then CEO of Shering-Ploughabout transforming an organization and leading by example – a year before Shering-Plough was merged with Merck & Co. Today, lots of the same leadership qualities still hold true – and leading change means leading by example. Mike Myatt states it nicely: leadership is pursuit . “Smart leaders understand it’s not just enough to pursue, but pursuit must be intentional, focused, consistent, aggressive, and unyielding.”
Now is a good time to lead change in your organization that can have long-lasting impact.