Enjoy a Successful 2018 by Planning Backwards

If you want to have a successful year, don’t start out by focusing on what you want to do in January. Instead, determine where you want to be next December.

Businesses often confuse movement with progress. Every day, billions of work hours are wasted on movement that is not headed toward lucrative goals. Yes, it’s a virtue to be action-oriented, but it’s important that your actions have a purpose. Identify your goals for the year, so you’ll be heading in the right direction.

Start out 2018 thinking about what you want to be celebrating next New Year’s Eve. Imagine that it is December 31, 2018, and you and your colleagues are happily congratulating each other on an amazing year. What is it you are celebrating?

Imagine the reports you are looking at as you wind down your last workday of 2018.

Let’s say you were impressed at your increased sales. Where did they come from?

  • More frequent purchases from your best customers?
  • Larger average purchases from customers?
  • Customers buying a larger mix of your products and services?
  • New customers buying from you for the first time in 2018?
  • More sales from certain referral sources?
  • Certain channels performing better than ever?
  • Promising sales from new products and services that you’ve recently introduced?

Maybe your margins are up. What’s driving the increase?

  • Customers accepting price increases?
  • A different (and better) mix of products sold?

Perhaps you see bigger net profits. Why are they up?

  • Higher margins?
  • A strong topline driving economies of scale?

This exercise of “bringing the future forward” will help you identify the most significant areas of untapped potential in your business, and allocate your (scarce) resources to their best effect. Once you’ve outlined your goals, you’ll be able to form an action plan, by asking these questions:

  • Which customers (or customer groups) will help us achieve these desired results?
  • What marketing, sales, service and operational steps should we take that will motivate these customers to act in ways that make us money?
  • How do we engage all of our employees in creating compelling customer experiences that also motivate these customers to support us?

Work backwards. It’s the best way to move forward to your goals.

One of Yastrow and Company’s goals this year is to inspire more referral sources. In part, we’re doing this by initiating more personal conversations with influencers, like our newsletter subscribers. Want to talk about some of your business goals for 2018? Drop me a line: steve@yastrow.com.

1 Comment

  • Gary Carter
    Jan 04, 2018 - 13:28 pm

    Fab comment Steve. I like how specific you suggest goals should be. It’s perfect that ny resolves should be based on year end results. I’m doing a page of them now!!!!
    Thx for your ideas.

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