Preparing for Success in 2014

Preparing for success in 2014. What does success look like and what should we do different in the new year to reach our goals? When we start the planning cycle for a new calendar year that is generally how the conversation starts, isn’t it?

In reaching our lofty goals, we generally begin by identifying what we need to do differently in order to achieve success. But is this really the optimal starting point? Let me offer another approach to help you successfully reach your goals and financial targets.


Rather than focusing on what to do ‘different’, focus on what to do ‘better’ as a first step.

Let’s be honest. Each of us has a penchant for the new vs. the old. We enjoy trying new things, creating, experimenting and innovating. And that can be good. So, we start our initial planning by making a laundry list of all the new and different initiatives to work on. What can get lost in translation, however, are things that are working well today we should continue to build upon.

It is an age-old dilemma. Every business needs to try new approaches, to create and innovate in order to continue to grow. However, by over-emphasizing the new and improved, we ultimately divert resources and focus away from what is working, and in doing so can put the business at risk.

Where should the emphasis be placed in order to resolve this dilemma and prepare for success in 2014?

Taking on an abundance of new products, programs and initiatives to launch the new plan year before determining what changes are required is clearly not the answer. First, evaluate what is working well and then identify the gaps. This we help you determine what new requirements, if any, are needed.

With new coaching clients, I like to start with the areas that represent the critical business drivers and explore a number of “What if” scenarios to determine their impact. For example:

  1. What if you raise prices by 10%? How would this impact revenues and net profits?
  2. What if you increased the total # of annual sales by 10%, in addition to the price increases?
  3. What if you reduced the average sales cycle by 10%? How would this impact annual revenue and profits.
  4. What if you increased the number of new customer additions by 10%?
  5. What if you increased the lifetime value (LTV) of each customer by 10%?
  6. What if you increased employee productivity by 10%? How would this impact staffing plans and business performance?
  7. What if you improved the operational performance of the business by 10%? How would this help streamline operations, lower costs, etc.?
  8. What if you improved customer satisfaction and retention by 10%?  How would this affect the profitability of the business?

You get the idea. By placing the emphasis on what to do better and incremental changes (10% Rule), these clients were able to identify the key areas to concentrate on to realize dramatic improvements in revenues, profits and business performance without major new investments. And you can too!

Start with the fundamentals first and then work forward. Once you have fully explored these and other “What if” scenarios, you’ll be in a much better position to determine what actions are required to meet your 2014 goals and financial targets. (Hint: I’ll bet it won’t require an over-investment in the different – i.e. products, programs and initiatives to get there).

Enjoy the journey!



COPYRIGHT © 2013 John Carroll