Critical Questions to Ask about Your Business as the New Year Begins
A new year is beginning. Many of us are making resolutions about what we would like to accomplish in the coming year.
Making plans is critically important. But I would encourage you to engage in another activity too . . .
I would like you to ask probing questions about your business and your success in the past year
I am talking about questions which will result in a significant impact on your success in the year to come.
The end of a year is a time to reflect, consider and adjust. Yet most of us skip this process. We just continue to do what we are already doing. We adopt the destructive attitude of, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”
In other words, we become complacent. And complacency is a killer! Businesses that fall into it refuse to change, or they change so slowly that they don’t realize they are in trouble.
If you don’t reflect and adjust until it is too late, you could go out of business. But something even worse could happen. You could start to become accustomed to under-performing. Doing business, and working at all, becomes increasingly frustrating.
Perhaps you are experiencing that now.
Fighting Complacency with Powerful Questions
The key to reflection is asking powerful questions – questions that cause you to discover your opportunities for improvement. Ideally, you should ask them in a group environment with your management team and possibly with a few key trusted customers too.
Let’s take a closer look at some powerful questions to ask:
What is working in your business?
It’s important to not only look at the issues, but also to define what you’re really good at and how you are building on it. That’s powerful.
What is not working in your business?
What are your weaknesses? The franker and clearer you are about them, the more powerful and successful you can become.
Where is your pain?
Things that are not working for you have a cost – what are they costing you? It is easy to gloss over your issues. So take the time to define the costs – or in other words, the potential opportunities you will gain if you overcome these weaknesses.
What are your competitors doing that’s new?
Competitors are not just people who compete with you, they are entities who are fighting for the same dollars. Remember just because someone else is doing something that’s new doesn’t mean you need to do the same thing. Your competitors’ activities could be mistakes.
What trends are you seeing with your customers?
Remember that your customers are an amazing guiding light. Take time to understand them.
What in your business is clean and operating well . . . and what needs work?
Inspect your business. Start with your bathroom! Really look. Businesses go downhill slowly, making it easy to miss that it is happening.
Is it time to really grow? What are the big ideas?
Is it time to open new locations, add another concept to your portfolio, expand or move to a better location?
And after asking, it’s time to plan and get moving
After asking these questions and refocusing, what key actions are you are going to commit to? How will you make change happen that will have a significant impact on your success in the coming year?
It’s time to make those resolutions. But don’t let them become hazy or unfocused. If you set tasks, expectations, deadlines and timelines, you can make the coming year your most successful one ever!
I know you can. And I send you heartfelt best wishes for every success in 2022.
Evan Hackel, a 35-year franchising veteran is a nationally recognized expert and speaker on franchising. Evan is founder and CEO of Ingage Consulting, and CEO of Tortal Training, a leading training development company. Evan is an active advisor in the C-Suite Network. He is also author of Ingaging Leadership, and host of “Training Unleashed,” a podcast covering training for business. Contact him here, follow him at @ehackel, or call 781-820-7609.