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The previous year may have been an absolute disappointment, or it may have been a hit. Whatever shape it took, there’s always room for improvement, space for greater accomplishments and higher heights to reach. And really, this is the point of continuing in business- you never really come to a stage in which you moan about there being “no more world to conquer” (as Alexander the Great is said to have cried 23 centuries ago, after taking all of the ‘known world’). There will always be work that needs to be done.

If you’re dying for a positive change in the way your business is going, or just seeking to build on what was a brilliant performance the year before, you should consider giving your business a lift by taking these steps:

1. Examine the business’ past performance

Be positive. But be pragmatic too. By all means, read and listen to motivational materials- you’ll need all the confidence you can get from them to face the challenges of a long business year. However, running on this alone would be foolhardy. Why not take a look at how your venture fared in the past year, maybe even in the past few years- with the view to identifying strong and weak points, areas that need to be improved upon, and good spots that should be amplified?

Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

Did my business hit the targets set for it in the previous year? If it did, how did we (you and your team) make it happen, and how can we improve upon those success-brewing processes to achieve even better results? If we fell short of our aims, why did we fail? And how do we learn from our failures and do things better this year?

In evaluating your business’ performance, take note of cash flow and profit, customer satisfaction and retention, publicity and market share/significance (if yours is a bigger company). These and a host of other factors should be taken into consideration when checking for aspects of your enterprise that might require some shakeup.

2. Write down your goals for the New Year

After finding the points to tackle, organize them and put them down in writing. They’ll be the goals you strive to achieve, a reference and a guide for you as you plan business activities for the year.

3. Get an evaluation framework

Set timeframes for the actualization of these goals. Define milestones that will signify their attainment or major points leading up to their attainment. With these, you’ll have targets that are measurable, and you’ll be able to tell whether they’re being achieved or not.

4. Execute with patience and flexibility

Unforeseen circumstances could arise to force a reassessment of the business’ position, and maybe an adjustment of plans. Whatever happens, decisions about the course to take should be made only after all the options have been carefully considered. Haste isn’t really the crowning virtue of a successful enterprise. Meticulousness is. Even when it all seems to be smooth sailing, don’t give into the temptation to get ahead of yourself by rushing grander plans unto the stage. Be patient, be flexible, and be cautious.

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This article was first published on 2nd January 2017 and updated on January 25th, 2017 at 7:26 am


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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