Sorry to start the year by making you feel old, but does anyone remember Access – your flexible friend? More to the point, do you remember one of their earliest slogans? Access – takes the waiting out of wanting.
I promised you three great ideas to get your business off to a flying start in 2011. There’s one of them – put the waiting back into wanting. Appropriately, more of that later…
Start the New Year by looking back
I know I’ve spent the last two blogs encouraging you to look forward to the end of 2011 and visualising where you want to be on December 31st 2011. Dead right. But just for a moment, think back to the start of last year – remember what hopes, aspirations and plans you had for your business then? Chances are, some of those plans worked, some didn’t.
But if something worked well last year – stick with it. As the saying goes, ‘Dance with the girl that brung ya.’ If something’s contributed to your success, don’t abandon it. Some of your plans and strategies, though, won’t have worked so well – so what needs to change? Take a few minutes to look at what went wrong.
“Why do I have to do history at school when all the people are dead?” my eldest son asked me over Christmas.
“So we don’t make the same mistakes again,” I said. It’s exactly the same in business. Learn from your history, don’t repeat your mistakes.
Set some short-term goals
Great, you know where you want to be at the end of the 2011. But where do you want to be at the end of March? It’s vital to set short term goals – milestones along the way. Why? Because achieving short term goals builds momentum.
I’ve been in sales since I left university. Along the way I’ve had good years, great years and – like we’ve all had – some disappointing years. In my experience none of the great years suddenly became great: there was never a year when a fantastic July magically transformed a poor first half.
All the really good years were good from the word go. January was good, February was better. I was hitting and exceeding my targets right from the start. And the momentum stayed with me – building and building – all through the year.
It’s important you communicate your short term goals as well: make a commitment to other people. It’s too easy to convince yourself that “things will pick up in April.” In my experience, they don’t. (And if anyone’s thinking ‘TAB-meeting-agenda’ at this point you wouldn’t be far wrong…)
Put the Waiting Back into Wanting
Let me tell you something about myself. Several years ago I spent a chunk of time wandering round Europe on behalf of British Steel. This meant frequent trips through Schipol Airport and the duty free shop, where I fell in love with a Baume & Mercier watch. But we’d just got married and money was tight. Yes, I could have bought the watch (flexible friend, remember?) but no way could I justify it to myself – or to my new wife.
Then, after months of trying, I landed British Steel’s First-Big-Order-in-Germany (and a hefty slice of commission). No prizes for guessing what I bought at Schipol. And then I discovered that every time I wore the watch, it brought back the feelings I had when I landed the order. The watch became an automatic ‘feelgood factor.’ Not feeling too confident? Wear my watch. Didn’t think I could reach my targets? Wear my watch. Even today, that watch still makes me feel positive every time I wear it. And I can still remember the satisfaction of ‘winning’ it.
So when you reach one of your interim goals – reward yourself. Say to yourself, “I want six new clients by the end of March – and when I achieve that I’ll buy myself the Mont Blanc pen I’ve always wanted, but could never justify.”
And I guarantee that every time you write with that pen, you’ll recapture the feeling you had when you signed up your sixth new client. Go ahead – build some rewards into your short and long-term goals. And when you’ve achieved those goals for the first quarter, you’ll have built the momentum you need for the rest of the year.
That’s enough from me for the first week of the New Year. 2011 promises to be a great year – and I can’t wait for the TAB meeting where we spend our time comparing watches and pens…