As we close the books on 2016, there are likely some things that went very well and some things you would do differently. We start to look ahead at the possibilities for 2017 and what we might start, stop and keep doing. To get the thought process started, here are 4 things you must include:
People Issues: Almost every client I talk to is concerned about finding the right people for the organization. There are quality and quantity issues. Do I have the right amount of staff? Are they effective and efficient? Is there drama in the workplace? And are my people generally self-starters with little management required? Equally important is culture, training and retention. To get top people, you have to be able to attract the right people.
Strategy Issues: What kind of company do I want to be, the low cost provider or a differentiated strategy? What 3-5 activities differentiate you in the marketplace? Do you have a well-crafted elevator pitch? Who are your core customers and where do you find them?
Execution Issues: The devil is in the details. Are you executing with high efficiency and effectiveness? Execution covers every aspect of the business: sales, operations and finance. What you want to start, stop and keep doing in your business is entirely about execution.
Cash Issues: Growth requires cash, preferably internally generated, but sometimes you have to borrow it depending on the rate of growth. The ability to increase cash is dependent on your ability to shorten cycle times, eliminate mistakes and improve your business model. I had one client this year decide to bill weekly instead of monthly. He shortened his billing and payment cycle time by two weeks and was able to reduce his line of credit balance and save interest expense. Cash can also be generated if you’re able to increase prices and sales volume or reduce costs paid to vendors and overhead.
Focusing on these four areas can make a huge impact on your company’s top line and bottom line next year. Try and pick just one to focus on to start with and then add 1 or 2 more when you see the need. Here’s to a prosperous year in 2017!