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Find Your Focus in the New Year

THE NEW YEAR IS QUICKLY APPROACHING. ALONG WITH IT ARE MILLIONS OF SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS RESOLVING TO MAKE POSITIVE CHANGES IN THEIR COMPANIES.

Too often, those resolutions are a quick list with general items, like: ‘Contact current customers’ or ‘Run ad in newspaper’. Unfortunately, these good intentions dissipate into nothing more than a memory by February 1st. The likely culprits—a lack of clarity and focus. “The Power of Focus”, written by Les Hewitt, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, address how to work around these obstacles.

Some facts from Hewitt:

• 97 out of 100 American adults do not have a better future planned
• Small business owners rarely get the 50% focus on their top priorities each week
• Most small businesses don’t know who their core clients are, never mind service them and nourish and expand those relationships

Before meaningful New Year’s resolutions can be established, you need to get a clear picture of where you stand today. “The Power of Focus” defines the following items as commonly experienced challenges people face. Take a moment to think if you have current, clear goals in the following areas. Keep it simple, only mark ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Business – Growth, Sales, New Ventures
Financial – Income, Savings and Investments, Debt Elimination
Relationships – Company, Vendor, Partners, Clients
Contribution – Charitable, Community

Now you should have a better idea of where you stand. The next step is to move ahead with setting goals. Hewitt outlines ‘The Four Fundamentals’ from “The Power of Focus”—elements which will increase your ability to achieve your goals.

1. Focus on your most important goals
a. Clarity is essential—instead of stating ‘Contact current customer’, get specific. Try ‘Contact customers who previously purchased my product last January via a targeted direct mailer which will arrive at their house January 1st.’
b. Set aside an entire day to devote to creating your goals for the year. Find a place where the distractions of life—email, phone, and yes, even your Blackberry—can be minimized or eliminated. If you can handle it, go somewhere secluded and take only a notebook, to avoid as many distractions as possible.

2. Focus on your priorities
a. List your top 3 productive activities—the activities that you know, if completed, would generate the most revenue for your business.
b. What percentage of your time do you spend on these activities? This can often be a wake-up call for many people. It’s ok if you are lower than you’d like. Most people are under 50%, but you should eventually aim to work your way up to 80%.

3. Focus on your relationships
a. List out the top 5 relationships you can nurture this coming year, which would leverage both your time and effort to generate maximum results. Strive to create a win-win scenario where you both come out ahead in the relationship.

4. Focus on your habits

a. In a discussion with Jim Rohn, a successful businessman, Hewitt was told, “Your habits will determine your future. Further, the results of your bad or unproductive habits won’t show up in your life until much later. It could be years before you see the impact. Then, watch out!”

Now you should have a rough working outline of your goals. The next question is, “What is the next step?”

At brandt ronat + co, we bring the big picture on opportunities into focus for our clients. Using our Analytical Creative™ process, we work with you to achieve a strong, evidence-based plan to connect the dots between now and your future. Together, we move through a collaborative process—respecting your knowledge and encouraging your participation—to meet your specific goals.

You now have two choices in front of you. (1) Do nothing, or (2) ACT and watch your business change. Remember, you can only make improvements one step at a time, and just the act of completing this exercise is a step in the right direction!

You can learn more about “The Power of Focus” here: http://www.thepoweroffocus.ca/

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