"Good resolutions are useless attempts to interfere with scientific laws. Their origin is pure vanity. Their result is absolutely nil. They give us, now and then, some of those luxurious sterile emotions that have a certain charm for the weak.... They are simply cheques that men draw on a bank where they have no account."
--- Oscar Wilde
A friend in the business told me the other day that he no longer makes New Year's resolutions. He said that gives him freedom to reach unset goals and the strength and confidence that comes with hitting un-targeted marks.
As weird as that sounds, he might have a point. Too often the new year creates opportunities for us to set unreachable goals. We are saddled with hope for a new year with a new, fresh start, and we enthusiastically set unrealistic resolutions.
Mrs. Finney: "Can't we have some peace in this house, even on New Year's Eve?"
Sadie: "You got it mixed up with Christmas. New Year's Eve is when people go back to killing each other."
--- Joseph L. Mankiewicz (1909-1993), U.S. director, screenwriter.
Although our resolutions or goals, either business or personal, should be of the ambitious sort (lose weight, increase profits, etc.), they should also reflect a determination to change.
Ponds that remain stagnate create an unhealthy environment for productive living. So too, your business should seek positive changes for the new year. A goal to keep the status quo is not a healthy nor productive one. You want to find the balance somewhere between too lofty of a goal and no goal at all. The reasonable goal is the one that is difficult to reach, but not impossible.
"I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it,-but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor."
--- Oliver Wendell Holmes
Even if you're not big on setting New Year's resolutions, the beginning of the year is a good place to begin examining the direction of your business. Look at what worked and what didn't in 2005. Where were the profits coming from? How did you fare in relation to your business plan? Are your customers staying with you or going down the road?
Look back at the past 365 days to determine where you've been, where you want to go, and how you want to get there.
"Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots."
--- Victor Hugo
If your business is part of a niche market, keep doing what you're doing, but find even more efficient means of doing it. If your business is sharing a saturated market, look at diversifying your business. Set goals to learn a new section of the industry. Find where the seminars and trade shows are for 2006 and plot them in your day planner.
Imagine that you are the general in a battle. Develop a strategy for this year for taking your business to victory, however you define it. Plan your course for the entire 12 months and create in your mind alternate courses of action for when the storms come --- and they will come.
"Change is the only constant. Hanging on is the only sin."
--- Denise McCluggage
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At A Tire Shop In Milwaukee:
"Invite us to your next blowout."
A sign on the elevator door:
"This elevator is out of whack. More whack is on order."
On the side of a truck for Bill's Septic Cleaning:
"We Haul American Made Products"
Have you seen any funny signs lately? Why not share them with the world? Send your comments, suggestions, and hysterical observations to: email@example.com.