Now that the novelty of the New Year has worn off, how many of your New-Year resolutions have survived the first four weeks of 2013? According to a survey conducted by Franklin Covey, 35% of New Year’s resolutions are broken before the end of January. For this reason, Kathi Clarke, international award winning Industrial Psychologist and Business Growth Expert, advises business owners against setting New-Years’ resolutions for their businesses and suggests that business owners rather take the ‘smart’ option of setting very specific, measurable, achievable, result-orientated and time-bound goals for their businesses.

“Good business happens on purpose,” says Clarke. “The beginning of the year is a good time to establish priorities for the next twelve months. However, before business owners can set themselves goals, it is important that they ask and answer these three pertinent questions,” explains Clarke.

“Can you answer without any hesitation, ‘what is it that makes what we do/sell special, different and better to ensure that more wallet share gets spent with us than our competition;  in short what is our unique selling point (USP)?  When I ask business owners this, their response more often than not is, ‘delivering a high quality product or service’; ‘service excellence’ or ‘quality workmanship’  While this may be true, unfortunately it is not sufficiently compelling as it is what all other businesses are also saying. Unless you as a business owner can clearly articulate exactly what sets you apart from your competition research tells us that you will have a watered-down marketing message that will not compel prospects to buy from you.

“The second question is, ‘do you have a business or a job? Too often business owners make the mistake of assuming that because turnover and profitability are sound, they have a business.  The real test is to ask yourself whether the business would continue to run if you were not there.  If the answer is no, you have a job which is fine as long as you stay healthy and able.  However, if you find yourself needing to sell out, you’ll very quickly appreciate that you don’t have an asset but a liability that either now can’t function or isn’t worth a reasonable asking price without you.

“This brings us to the third question, ‘do I have a winning team in place?’  Investment in a team and resources to consistently deliver your service/product is key to reducing dependency on you as the owner.  It is also pivotal to helping you free up your time to work on as opposed to in the business and enjoy the lifestyle that you went into your own business for in the first place.

“Comprehensive, clear answers to these questions will contribute to the setting and ultimately achievement of your goals for a successful 2013;” explains Clarke

Kathi Clarke is an international award winning Industrial Psychologist, certified ActionCOACH Business Coach, business growth expert and owner of Building Best Business. With over 25 years’ experience, Kathi has been successfully helping clients to up their profitability whilst maintaining a healthy work life balance. She also finds the time to offer her services probono to NPOs.