Here’s a reprint of my article that was just published in Business in Vancouver, January 2014. Great reminders for getting the New Year off to a solid start!

The New Year is an excellent time to focus on our business fundamentals. Use this time to set your business roadmap, clearly identify activities that need to be taken, by whom, and hold everyone accountable for the year ahead.

A reminder: the most successful companies have a handle on their finances, strengths and weaknesses all year long. With that said, in my opinion, there are three primary areas that need to be evaluated at the beginning of the year:

  • corporate finances;
  • sales and marketing efforts, and
  • human resources.

They are your business fundamentals. They each address revenue generation, profitability, and keep the business on track.

During this evaluation process, be sure and involve your employees, your customers, your accountant, your suppliers – anyone who directly impacts your business. Set up Employee Task Force meetings to assist in the effort. As a guideline, you can use the five very important questions from the book, ‘Breaking the Rules’ by Siobhan Murphy.

In order, ask: What’s working?  Why?  What’s the ideal?  What’s not quite right yet?  What resources do we need to make it right?

I recommend adding one more: At what cost?

Notice we begin with the positive, “What’s working and why?” If we spend time assessing what we have done right, it gives us the chance to celebrate success, prevents us from attempting to ‘fix’ what’s not broken, and provides us with viable solutions that could be used in other areas of the business.

When it comes to your company, there is no such thing as having too much information! By gathering answers, reviewing your corporate finances, sales and marketing efforts, and human resource activities, you will know your business better than ever before. You are now in an ideal position to create an action-based business plan for 2014!

Here’s a link so that you can also read the articles by the other contributors: Business In Vancouver Ask the Experts Jan 21/14