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New Year, new goals

Melissa Topey • Aug 27, 2014 at 2:40 PM

Most often, resolutions are personal ones, but Kevin Eikenberry, an Indiana-based business consultant and speaker, said businesses should think about making them as well.


“This is the time of year that you are thinking about the future, time to start having a conversation” said Eikenberry, president of the Kevin Eikenberry Group. “You can call it a resolution, fine, but they are really goals”

Eikenberry prefers business owners think of them that way because the word “resolution” has the stigma of failure attached.

A goal should be specific — not just stating something will be done, but also showing how it will be done.

“That is making a result goal also into a process goal” Eikenberry said.

Eikenberry recommends getting employees involved in the goals. It helps everyone to keep focused on what’s important to the business, he said.

Make sure, however, the goals are visible — write them on a calendar or someplace prominent in the workplace, where they will serve as a visible reminder. If you can’t remember exactly what your goal was, you’ve wasted your time.

“Done correctly, it changes our behavior and becomes a new habit,” Eikenberry said.

Eikenberry offered four resolutions covering four important tiers of a business: its customers, the business itself, its employees and, finally, the business owner.

Resolutions for small business management

1) Focus on something related to the customers, such as developing customer relations.

Create a plan on how to bring in more customers, along with creating repeat business. Taking care of the customer is good for them and good for the business. A business owner should be thinking of scripts and plans to generate more referrals or upsell to existing customers. “That's the lifeblood of your business” Eikenberry said.

2) Re-evaluate and continually monitor your business’ rate of return and profitability.

“If as a business owner you can’t determine who your perfect customer is, you need to make that a goal,” Eikenberry said. “This is a step further than your customer base — it is who is most valuable to us”

3) Look to improve employee retention.

Reducing turnover is critical to containing costs — every time an employee leaves the company, you will have to spend money to train and develop their replacement.

Your employees’ experience is vital. You want people to improve, and they want to improve, so when giving feedback, focus not on what happened in the past but on the future and how the employee can do better moving forward.

4) Have goals for yourself

“What are one or two things you are going to work on to be a leader, a mentor?” Eikenberry said.

Your team is watching and even emulating you, he said. Are your attitude, work habits and customer focus what you want them to exhibit?

If you don’t like what you see with your work force, look in the mirror, Eikenberry said.

2014 resolutions from area business leaders:

• “More guests. More smiles. More memories.” — Matt Ouimet, chief executive officer of Cedar Fair.

• “As one of the largest employers in Erie County, with about 500 employees and a $40 million budget, one of my goals is to ensure we are meeting and exceeding the needs of the students and the communities. My second goal is to create more student interaction. One way I am going to do that is with the Superintendent’s Academy, where once a month I host a leadership class and bring in area leaders to talk about their experiences. My third one is to continue to build rapport and open relationships with adult citizens, such as taxpayers and parents.” — Eugene Sanders, superintendent of Sandusky City Schools.

• “In 2014, Firelands Regional Medical Center will be focusing on our eight strategic drivers, which include quality, community, technology, patients, physicians, financial, employees and growth. Our goal is to make the best decisions possible in each of these areas to keep Firelands a strong and viable health care provider. With all of the uncertainties in the future of health care, we have to continually monitor these changes and be ready to adjust appropriately to the changes so that we are here to meet the health care needs of our region” — Leslie Mesenburg, spokeswoman for Firelands Regional Medical Center.

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