Dream, but be motivated
It's OK to dream and have big goals. But if you're actually going to accomplish them, you have to DO something about them, and that takes motivation.
The very first thing you need to achieve a goal is a reason and deep desire to achieve it. The path to achieving goals is fraught with boredom, excuses and difficulty. You will have a lot of opportunities to talk yourself out of the goal. But if you can keep going back to the reason and your desire for the goal, those will help you stay on track.
Break it down into 24-hour bites
The brain has a built in B.S. monitor that rings out when all you do is set an enormous goal but then don't manage it to 24-hour cycles--daily mini goals. If your goal is to shed 50 pounds, your brain doesn't see you 50 pounds lighter in 24 hours, but it can see you five ounces lighter in that time.
Set your goals so that your B.S. alarm doesn't go off. To prevent that alarm bell, the mini goal must be reasonable and sustainable. Losing one pound in a day is doable, but it's not reasonable or sustainable, so the B.S. sentinel will scream its head off, and you'll eventually stop going after your big goal.
Do something daily
Nothing replaces repetition and creating momentum like doing something to get you closer to your goal every day. You will naturally take some time off, but if you don't take seriously the first 30 days of work on the goal and use them to create momentum, it's almost guaranteed you won't get there.The first 30 days are critical to convincing your B.S. monitor that you're serious. Organizationally, it convinces colleagues you're serious.
Adapt and adjust
As you work on your daily mini goals and toward the bigger goal, be willing to adapt. Make the mini goals more difficult if they seem too easy. Make them easier if they become too taxing.The main thing is that if your brain deems the mini goal to be too difficult, you'll quit. If it's too easy, you're running in place. Find the middle so you have advancement each day.
Feedback and reward
The human brain responds to two things to learn and attain new behaviors and knowledge: feedback and reward. As you go about your goal-getting, be brave enough to request feedback from others, and then reward yourself each day for accomplishing your little goals.Research has shown that even keeping a calendar where you put a little gold star on the days you are successful (a la kindergarten) can be effective positive reinforcement. The visual is enough reward for the brain to know it's doing something right.
Know you're going to get bored
Doing something in small pieces each day can lead to boredom. Do it anyway.Achieving goals isn't always about a daily cork-popping ceremony to celebrate something sensational you did. It's usually about sticking to the daily, boring small stuff. Get that right, make it slightly more difficult each day, and do it again and again.
People who achieve their goals usually do it because they kept going when it gets tough and boring.
There is no secret formula to success. Sure, luck comes into play, but it's foolhardy to count on that. Mostly, it's having a direction and place you want to get to and then showing up for the daily grind. Go get 'em.
It’s not long before 2016 comes to a close and although there is still much work to be done it’s in your interest to begin planning for success in 2017.
Business is volatile so even with the best intentions you may be caught by surprise on some of the hurdles and challenges you’ll face in the coming year. Equally so, you may be surprised and absolutely thrilled at the accomplishments and barriers that are overcome once the new year takes shape.
Here are some of the things you, the business owner, should begin considering, in 2016, so that your business will have breakout success in 2017.
A) Dig into the Analytics
Crunch the numbers you’ve collected throughout the year such as conversion rate, traffic generation, social sharing, marketing expenses, promotional costs, feedback, and any other data points that give you a scientific look at how well your business performed in 2016.
Analytics will reveal all you need to know in order to grow in the new year.
The big data points, in the easiest of sense of doing this task, should be the number of customers you’ve brought in (and retained), how much you earn on each sale, how much you’re spending to operate, and what you can do to cut costs while keeping quality and satisfaction.
B) Personalization, Customization, and Employee Empowerment
Every year it’s important that you take a look at your competition and see what they are doing to attract their customers (because those customers could be yours).
Things you’ll notice if you deep research the competition (and even use social engineering to have them reveal their techniques) will allow your business to begin personalizing the marketing & sales message to reach your target audience and expand into theirs with ease. By taking this action you may also find ways to customize your products & services to give greater appeal and a modern look, feel, and value in the new year (all-the-while the competition continue to look dated).
Because of this drive to keep one step ahead of the competition you will also find the weak points of your business and the appropriate tools to empower your employees to deliver customer service exceptionally well. A combination of providing educational programs and new systems at work will give the employees an edge. This upgrade can be as simple as upgrading your office telephone systems to give employees modern VoIP capabilities and integration into CRM systems.
C) Audit your Social Media
Gone are the days when you could simply schedule a post to Facebook, sit back, and watch the community interact. Social media is in a constant state of evolution and this means your social media strategy needs to adapt and change for where it may be going in 2017.
The staples of social media will remain the same such as great content creation in the form of blog posts, podcasts, and videos, but the many messenger services have already shown they are major platforms in how your audience wants to interact with your brand – and it’s only going to become more commonplace as the younger audience gains additional purchasing power (along with older generations finally coming on board with the technology).
Take some time before the start of the new year to completely update any outdated information in your social media profiles. Also, take time to plan new content strategies, promotional ideas, email sequences, and other social campaigns you’d like to attempt in the new year by learning what has worked in the past and being playful with the platforms when it comes to the future.
There are big changes coming to how consumer and brands interact on social media.
The last and shortest section says it all: you must be willing to adapt. Each day new businesses are making their way into your industry; they are after your customers and fighting for dominance. These new businesses have fresh ideas and a lot of energy. It’s your duty to stay ahead of the curve, learn as much as you can from trends, take chances, and adapt to the way your industry changes whether that means small changes to the tools you use to big changes to the business culture. You must be willing else you’ll fade out like so many before.
Are you ready to take on 2017?
Start Planning Early
Let’s start with your staff. Depending on your business, the holiday season can be a particularly busy and stressful time for them as well as you. Consider their needs, and make sure that your holiday prep list includes ways to help them better serve your customers. For example, come up with lists of gift recommendations for different people, and share them with your staff. If you need to hire temporary holiday staff an early start will ensure that you have enough time to get them fully trained BEFORE the rush starts.
Revisit The Ghost Of Holidays Past
It can seem counterintuitive, but examining past years’ performance will help you better judge if you’ll need extra help and how many seasonal workers to hire this year. Beyond this, you can take this time to reevaluate who your holiday customers really are and plan your marketing strategy around them.
For example, if your business involves a lot of gift orders for companies, take a look at the volume you’ve done in the past two years, and see if there’s a trend. Plan ahead now to make sure you’ve ordered enough packaging, raw materials, or inventory. While you can’t anticipate every gift order ahead of time, knowing the general volume to look out for will help you keep your footing when things come in without advance notice.
Be Aware Of Trends – And Take Part in Shop Local Campaigns Last year we noticed a rise in “shop local” events across the country, and that trend was confirmed by the consulting firm Deloitte: Two-thirds of the folks they surveyed plan to shop locally this year – i.e. at small businesses which are not part of national chains. Some of the reasons they give are a desire to support the local economy, to find one-of-a-kind gifts, and because it’s just more convenient.
We’re talking to you! These trends are all in your favor as a small business owner, and by planning ahead now you can take advantage of them. Is your city or town running a “shop local” holiday campaign? A quick internet search or a call to your local Chamber of Commerce can help you find out. Taking the time now to make sure your business is on flyers and promotional websites will pay off once the holiday season rolls around.
A Little Marketing Goes A Long Way A good marketing campaign takes weeks of planning – make sure you give yourself plenty of lead time, since you’re also juggling all of your small businesses’ priorities. Some things to try?
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