In Prepping for the Year Ahead, Don’t Forget to Look Back!

It’s a new year so it’s a great time to reflect on last year’s accomplishments and whether you met your goals or not. It’s easy to lament the missed targets, the stagnant revenue, or other challenges but it’s also dangerous to rest on your laurels and think everything is going great so there is no need to change a thing. The fact is that markets are constantly shifting and changing. What was popular last fall might be considered “out” this year and you find yourself sitting on something that is considered “so yesterday’. This even applies to services industries as we’ve seen the shift from long term retainer contracts to a desire by companies to rely on project based work instead or bringing traditionally outsourced work in-house. Analysis is a must at all times to succeed.

When I was an Army officer in combat I was constantly updating my analysis of the terrain, the enemy, the availability of my own forces, my supplies and a host of other issues, I am doing the same in business almost as constantly. Has a new competitor popped up? Are my customers looking for something fresh that I am not offering? Is my revenue model still the right one in light of changes in the economy? Do I have the bandwidth to support more growth even if i find the new business? While the new year is the appropriate time to take a look at where you stand it shouldn’t be the only time. I often find that my big planned review is anti-climactic because I have been constantly updating my analysis throughout the year already.

Fred Wellman, Entrepreneur in Residence

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