By Ken Keller
By this time in April, everyone should be back at work from Spring Break and the related holidays.
Now is the time to take action to have a great second quarter.
The first step is to take the time to identify and celebrate successes earned in the first three months of the year.
Americans are funny people; we set goals, strive hard to meet them and when we achieve them, we rarely take the time to truly appreciate the effort and energy expended for these hard fought wins.
In fact, most people in business (and life) downplay their successes lest they make others feel badly. Don’t do this: celebrate successes!
The process is easy; sit down and make a list of all the things you are grateful for having accomplished between January 1 and March 31. Write them all down, big and small, in all functions of the business.
Be sure and identify any significant breakthrough achievements that might warrant special thanks. Often this kind of progress is identified only in hindsight as a game changer.
Take the time to share the good news, and allow others to share the spotlight. Sincerely thank others, including employees, vendors, clients and business associates. If you can’t do it in person, do it with a telephone call, an email or a handwritten note.
The kindness you display will be remembered for a very long time.
The second step is to take a list of all the projects and assignments that you have begun since the first of the year, but are not yet completed.
Measure the progress and list those that can be quickly finished. This will enable the feeling of success to continue into April and May.
Those projects that can’t be finished quickly need to be prioritized and new focus given to complete them before the end of the first half of the year.
The third step is to review the sustainable, competitive advantage of the business.
Take the time to find out and compare how the company is performing versus the competition. What are the key differentiators? Are they understood within the company and are the differences being communicated regularly to clients and prospects?
What has changed with the competition in the last three months? What are they doing better or worse, what strategies are they using to grow their business?
What can be adapted or adopted from the competition that can be applied to how your company operates?
Fourth, review your own calendar for the last three months. How much time is spent riding your desk and ruling the business versus investing time with clients, prospects, employees, vendors and other business associates?
The more time spent with clients and prospects and the people in the company that generate revenue, the more revenue the business will gain.
Strengthening existing relationships both internally and externally helps.
Creating new relationships is how your future is established.
As an employee, I know from firsthand experience how impactful spending time with the owner can be. It’s a chance to listen, to learn and to understand what is important to the employee. The owner can link the needs of the business to that of the employee, creating a loyalty and a bond that will yield dividends for years.
Fifth, whatever the greatest opportunities might be for your business in the second quarter, make the decision to assign your best people to tackle them to bring the opportunities to fruition. Buy, build or borrow the tools that are needed to make these efforts a success.
These next three months, work on and not in, your business.
Ken Keller is a syndicated business columnist focused on the leadership needs of small and midsize closely held companies. Contact him at [email protected]. Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of this media outlet.