Already Losing Focus on Your New Year’s Business Resolutions?

Written by Carol Coughlin. Posted in Business Leadership

Did you know that the new millennium actually started in 2001, not 2000? If we apply this logic, the New Year doesn’t have to begin in January, but February. Right? We can twist logic every which way, but if you procrastinated or dropped your 2014 resolutions with the Ball, it’s time to get serious. It’s time to get back on the fast-track for growth.

One of the problems with New Year’s resolutions is that we pile them on, like we piled the turkey and mashed potatoes onto our holiday plates.  Paring down to the essentials can create a fundamental shift in how you do business and help clear the way for your ascent.

#1 Did you….Make the Tough Choices?

Yes? You have taken a deep breath and a close look at your people, processes, and systems. You make decisions based on facts and in alignment with your business needs. Whether this means you have had to make difficult staffing choices, reconfigure your compensation practices, or eliminate processes and systems that no longer support the business, you are streamlining operations to facilitate growth.

No? You focus on the person and not the process, creating a culture in which fallibility is acceptable. Your people do things because that’s the way they’ve always done them, and your quality control efforts are severely limited – and limiting to your company’s growth potential.

Now? Operational efficiency is critical to sustainable growth.  To get there:

  • Continuously review  – and not just cursory New Year’s Business Resolution-review – your processes for repeatability and redundancy.
  • Ensure processes deliver timely, accurate data that you can use to make decisions, especially the tough ones.
  • Make sure you have the right people on the climb with you.

#2 Did you…Get Tough on Finances?

Yes? You are fierce; you are demanding. Your financial team gets sweaty palms just thinking about you. They’ll get over it – and they’ll get you accurate, timely financials. By keeping a close eye on accounts payable, accounts receivable, and monthly cash flow, you ensure you have the working capital you need to ascend. By blending micro-management of daily financials with your overarching strategy, you are on track to achieve growth goals, optimize your cash position, and make efficiency improvements based on your KPIs.

No? Maybe you don’t have the cash on hand to make payroll or you’re struggling to collect payment from those who owe you. The data you need to make sound financial decisions is lacking, and you are left in the dark. This time, it’s you who has the sweaty palms.

Now? CEOs rely on accurate data, and not just annually. You need it continually. To ensure you get it:

  • Get up close and personal with your monthly cash flow and working capital process. Small changes in these areas can make a big difference: simply speeding up the time it takes to get an invoice out to a customer, for instance, can improve you cash flow.
  • Get up close and personal with your financial team. Just as you had to take a hard look at your people from an operational perspective, you have to do the same from a financial perspective. Are team members providing you with the accurate data you need and timely reports you count on? Are they up to the challenge of high-level finance?
  • Seek help. If your financial team is not giving you the data you need, a part-time CFO or controller can help fill those critical gaps and provide you with high-level financial expertise.

#3 Did you…Get Tough on Yourself?

Yes? The most effective CEOs know that you don’t climb K2 alone, and you don’t attempt to lead a high-growth company without the same type of support and guidance. You not only seek the advice of peers, but you solicit feedback from experts, from those in whose footsteps you are following.

No? You can do it alone. That’ll work. Until you encounter an obstacle for which you are not prepared, have to cope with a problem that is larger than your ability to solve it, or need an objective ear to listen because you discover that, no, you can’t do it alone.

Now? If you are part of a peer group, wonderful. This is an excellent way to receive, and give, advice. No matter how supportive, though, no one wants your company to grow as much as you do. Developing an Advisory Board of skilled professionals who are committed to your success can help you make critical decisions, critical connections, and critical changes to your organization and your own leadership.  BottomLine Growth Strategies can help you put together a high-performance, high-ROI Board that will help make the remainder of 2014 – and beyond – a year of growth.

It’s not too late to refocus on your resolutions for growth and success. You can still do a course-correct and get back on track. Whether you need to buckle down and get more involved or reach out for help from experienced CFOs and financial professionals, 2014 may have started with a whimper, but it can end with a bang. No twisted logic necessary. 

Carol Coughlin

Carol Coughlin founded BottomLine Growth Strategies, Inc., in 2006 as a way for small and medium-sized businesses to access the same high-level financial and operational expertise that gives large companies a distinct advantage. Using her own extensive corporate experience and willingness to sit in the hot seat as a catalyst, Carol helps BottomLine Growth clients climb to the summit of their success.
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