CHICAGO — With the New Year just around the corner, this is the time to set your plans for taking advantage of the opportunities that will present themselves in 2015. In Part 1 of my story, here are five steps you can take right now to make 2015 your best year ever:
SET SPECIFIC GOALS
Your goals for 2015 must be specific if there is to be any chance of accomplishing them. General goals such as “reduce energy costs” or “improve profit” are almost certain roads to failure.
Specific goals include concrete and measurable criteria. For example, a goal to reduce payroll ratio should specify the target such as reducing the ratio from 10.8% to 10.5% instead of just “reduce payroll.”
A goal should also be timely. By setting a specific time for accomplishment such as year-end 2015, you generate a sense of urgency that helps to keep the goal on the “front burner.”
Finally, your goals should be realistic and attainable. While you should avoid any goal that is too high to be realistic, you must set goals high enough to make the effort worthwhile. If it isn’t feasible, move on.
KEEP YOUR GOALS MEASURABLE
As the old saying goes, “You can’t manage it if you can’t measure it.” When you’re able to measure your progress in tangible criteria, you’ll know if you’re on track to meet your target dates.
By knowing where you stand at any point, you’ll know what needs to be done, if anything, to keep you on track. To know whether the goal you’ve set is measurable, ask such questions as: How much? How many? How long?
REPEAT YOUR 2014 STRENGTHS
Take the time to review last year’s performance in every measurable category in order to specifically identify what you did especially well in 2014.
Plan to incorporate and improve those strengths in 2015. Conversely, take a look at those specific things in which you did not do well (and why) and plan to avoid allowing them to creep back into your 2015 performance.
LEARN FROM YOUR COMPETITION
Learn as much as you can about what other coin-op laundry owners are doing well, especially those who you feel are the best.
Study them to identify what they did best in 2014. Do you see opportunities to learn from them? Is there as much as a single program, idea or store design concept of theirs that you can put to work in 2015?
It’s easy to internalize all of your management efforts thereby short-changing your business by ignoring the accomplishments of others. Keeping a close eye on your competition is an important way to keep them from running away with top honors.
KEEP YOUR BEST EMPLOYEES
Big companies spend millions of dollars every year in continual pursuit of new talent in sales and marketing skills when it would be more profitable to concentrate on ways to hang on to their best performers.
While money will always be an essential ingredient in employee satisfaction, independent studies consistently show that other factors, such as recognition for a job well done, can be as important, or even more important, than money in employee retention.
While concentrating on customer satisfaction is an essential management philosophy, it’s important to remember that a high level of customer satisfaction is difficult if not impossible without a high level of employee satisfaction.
Check back Wednesday for the conclusion!