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Charlie Brock is CEO of Launch Tennessee, a public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in Tennessee with the ultimate goal of fostering job creation and economic growth. He contributed this article to BusinessNewsDaily's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
Ringing in the New Year is a special time for many reasons. A wonderful time of year to be with family and friends, I also relish the holiday because it allows one to reflect upon the past year and set goals — both personal and professional — for the upcoming year.
From a business standpoint, hopefully your revenue, profit and cash targets are already in place for 2014, as well as the plans needed to make them a reality. Don't forget to think about what "habits" you will need to develop or maintain to meet these goals, including what habits each employee needs to achieve the desired results.
Here are some of the goals — or New Year's resolutions — that I think will be helpful for entrepreneurs in 2014.
1. Achieve alignment among all the people who are essential to your success.
These key stakeholders include board members, investors, the management team and employees. I suggest asking them all the same question: "What would success look like for us on Dec. 31, 2014?" You might also ask this question for three years out. The responses will help you understand what needs to be done to get everyone on the same page this year.
2. Make sure you have the right people in the right seats.
As Jim Collins notes in his classic business book, "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap ... And Others Don't," (HarperBusiness, 2001) it's crucial to have the right person for every job. Make sure your company is staffed with passionate employees who are given the tools and environment to be successful. People and company culture are the best — and most sustainable — competitive advantage.
3. Be more than a manager — be a leader.
Successful companies are led, not simply managed. A key indicator of an exceptional leader — or as Jim Collins says, a "Level 5" leader — is the ability to inspire action and collaboration while maintaining the appropriate mix of ambition and humility.
4. Do the right things.
Understanding what really moves a company forward, and then intensely focusing on getting those things done, is a basic building block of business success. This speaks to the company's strategic decisions, as well as to each employee's priorities on a quarterly, monthly, weekly and even daily basis. "Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm" (Gazelles, Inc, 2002) by Verne Harnish provides excellent tools to get everyone on the same page and make sure there is accountability and effective communication throughout the entire organization.
5. Do things right.
In addition to doing the right things — that is, being on point strategically and tactically — you must also do them the right way: efficiently. For a manufacturing company, are the production lines optimized for full capacity in a way that produces the desired quality in the necessary timeframe? For a services company, is everyone making the best use of his or her time? Is a task that should take four steps being done in four?
6. Thank the people who helped you along the way.
Successful entrepreneurs get help from many different sources, such as mentors, employees, investors, board members or even spouses who allowed you to put in the many hours it often takes to start and run a business. So let people know that their time and commitment to you and/or your organization are appreciated.
Setting goals is one thing. Meeting them is another. To increase your chance of success, commit to your goals in writing, make them measurable and commit to assessing your progress at quarterly intervals throughout the year — and making adjustments as needed.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. This version of the article was originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.