December 15, 2020
Last Tuesday night, I had a virtual dinner with 7 other business owners. We were all on Zoom - participating from our homes. We had a variety of different industries represented at the group: manufacturing, construction, insurance, services, automotive and retail. We started the dinner with an ice breaker question. Here was the question: What are three things you need to do to make 2021 successful for your business?
Every single person talked about customers.
Many of us are distracted right now, with end of year commitments and activities, however we all know, this is the time to get ready for next year. It’s the time of year that we firm up our strategic plans and create and set our goals and objectives that align with them.And as we know, writing down goals and objectives makes difference.
A Harvard Business Review study found that the 3% of graduates from an MBA program who had written goals ended up earning ten times as much as the other 97% combined, just ten years after graduation.
If you’ve been in one of my presentations or workshops, you’ve heard me say that at the core every company’s strategy is a customer strategy. You may recall the 5X rule I share: for every hour you think about your company’s strategy, spend 5 hours thinking about your customers.
We are all in business to serve customers. Without them, we don’t have a business.
Think deeplyand be strategic. Which brings us to the topic of building trust with customers, with clients and with stakeholders. Rather than trying to be the flavour of the month, think long term.
It’s not surprising that most business owners tell me that their business goals for next year include:
They are also sharing with me right now how difficult it is to achieve their goals. The solution to all of these challenges begins with building trust with your stakeholders and customers.
Here are 3 things you can do right now if you have these kinds of business goals:
Reach out and thank a customer for their business.
Offer a suggestion to help them with their business – with no strings attached.
A plan in business isn't worth anything until it is executed. Building trust with customers and stakeholders involves committing to consistently doing what you say you are going to do. It takes time. If you haven’t interacted in a while, or the Trust Equity isn’t as strong as you’d like it to be, remember building a relationship can take months to foster. But it will be worth the effort as your business grows.
To learn more about setting objectives and key results, I highly recommend reading Objectives and Key Results: Driving Focus, Alignment, and Engagement with OKRs by Paul Niven and Ben Lamorte.
If you do these three things, you will improve your relationships and get a head start to achieving your 2021 objectives.