Setting Course for Success: New Year’s Resolutions for the Family Business

Crystal Faulkner & Tom Cooney Partners, MCM CPAs & Advisors
January 2017

Happy New Year! We’re very excited about the many new possibilities 2017 could bring for our lives and businesses, and you should be too. We really like the quote from Wayne Dyer, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” This is a powerful idea to keep in mind as you plan the future of your business. It can be the guiding hand by which fresh resolutions and goals can emerge. Here is what we are encouraging our clients to consider for the New Year:  

Reflect on today

Reviewing where your business is today is the key to getting started with any resolution process. You must know where your business is now to move the needle forward. Take the time to identify and assess specific metrics, such as number of employees, amount of debt, number and type of clients, product/service offerings, cash flow and profitability, etc. that impact your business. Develop a dashboard-type of recordkeeping system so that you can track these metrics year-over-year (and even month-over-month). This will help with future analytics and planning. It will allow you to compare behavior to results. Over time, you will be able to identify trends and allow you to directly predict success based on activity.

Look to the future

The second step is taking the time to really think about where you want to be one year from now, five years from now, ten years from now and so on. As an entrepreneur and owner of a business, it is your job to anticipate and plan for the future. Put your vision in writing, and keep it somewhere handy for an easy reminder. Be as specific as possible when thinking about what your business will look like. For example, identify how many offices you will have and where, how many employees you’d like to have and when, projected revenue and profit amounts, etc. Get your management team, and in particularly any key stakeholders, involved so they also have involvement in the process, and likewise in the results. Ensure that the next generation understands how the decisions made today will impact the operation they will inherit in the future.

Measure and monitor

Once you and your team have together identified your company's 2017 goals including value drivers for your organization, create a written list of specific issues and challenges that must be resolved in order to achieve your one year plan. Prioritize your list and assign the most important tasks to specific individuals in your organization along with an agreed upon completion date. Monitor progress weekly to ensure the responsible person is on course.  Use a scorecard to track the progress of your organization weekly, monthly and quarterly. As issues are resolved and removed from the list, add others with the next highest priority to ensure you stay on track with your 2017 goals.

Reward for success

For those who are meeting and exceeding the goals set out for them, be sure to reward them for a job well done. This will help support long-term success and mitigate employee turnover that may get in the way of your meeting goals on time. Develop a strategic reward system that addresses compensation, benefits, recognition and appreciation. To do that you must first explain how the reward system works in tandem with the goals and tasks set forth. Incentive compensation plans should be used to direct employees' behavior so they will help the company achieve its objectives. Your system should reward and recognize the type of employee performance and behavior you want to reinforce. Ultimately, your reward system should result in a new-found purpose and motivation for your business and your employees. It should also be a system that the next generation of your business believes in, and plans to continue well into the future.

Systemize and standardize

Creating and documenting business processes and procedures takes time — almost as much time as determining what’s working (and what’s not) in the first place. However, systemizing processes will create efficiencies that can boost profitability and help your business grow. Take the time to understand each process, assess its effectiveness and then implement the most efficient steps to reach your end goal. In addition to saving time and money, good systems can ensure that clients and customers receive a consistent and high-quality experience.

Setting resolutions for your business, as you often do with your personal life, is an excellent habit to start. Be sure to follow-up with your business advisors to ensure your goals are achievable ones for your organization. Happy New Year!