I’m not too sad to see 2009 go, and with a new year and a new decade, this is a good time to really resolve to start things off right and mean it. I recently read that 90% of us will have the same year as last year financially. God forbid!
We get stuck financially for two key reasons: 1) We do not have a solid game plan; 2) We are neither consistent nor persistent with our game plan.
So there you have it — it’s up to you to move into the 10% who can prosper and make a difference in 2010 for yourself, your clients, and your employees.
To move forward, think like an analyst. As businesspeople, we should base our projections on last year’s data, which lays the foundation for realistic assumptions. For example, if you earned $150,000 in revenues last year, don’t say you will top $1 million in runs this year. Yes, it might be remotely possible, but your best bet is to keep it real.
A more realistic goal would be to increase your net income about 20% to 50% above 2009. So, if you earned $150,000 last year, a 50% projected increase would amount to $225,000. That makes a lot more sense than boasting about the $1 million whopper.
Along with realistic goals, you have to come up with a way to pursue them. Extra revenues are not just going to drop into the sunroof, so you have to consistently try to attract that extra money.
Assess what part of your client base lags while trying to diversify it. I recently spoke to Carrie Peele of Blue Diamond Limousine in Raleigh, N.C. She told me that last year 80% of her book of business targeted RETAIL — nights out, weddings, and proms.
Now, since the consumer demand for “paid fun” is down, Blue Diamond’s book is 50% CORPORATE. For her efforts, Carrie’s company is up year over year more than 20%. She went on to say that she attends her local association meetings and is disappointed by all the pity parties. She told me, “People have to get over the losses in sales, stop staring at their phones, and walking around in a stupor. The business is out there for those that have a take-no-prisoners approach to finding the sales. You have to leave your offices and sell. You have to have goals that you swear to uphold, and in the end, your business will improve.”
Once we decide what to do and how to do it, we should set a schedule to meet those goals. Just as it’s impossible to keep a job for long if you don’t show up, you have to stick with your efforts when you start, grow, or invest in a new business venture.
Remember, we have all year to make more money, so don’t give up if the first quarter or two are rough and go back to your old ways. If you wig out or stop short, you’ll be doing this all over again come January 2011. Stick to a firm plan and put your heads down for the first six months to be consistent in tackling your goals. Who knows — if you plug away and keep at it, by June you could be seeing a turnaround in income to take you through the year.
Set a realistic goal, write out a solid game plan, and be consistent and persistent with it. This is how you’ll have a better year. See you at the International LCT Show — and have a prosperous New Year.
Sara Eastwood-McLean LCT Publisher