What are your “Business New Year’s Resolutions?”

One of my wife and I’s favorite photos of our daughter Chelle. She is having her first Shirley Temple drink at the beach. Her expression of how much fun she was having and that we had this experience with her and the photo now helps us remember that moment like it just happened.

This is the time of year we make New Year’s resolutions, which are typically about taking care of ourselves. What are your Business New Year’s Resolutions?

Most likely whatever you come up with is a way to build your brand. Let me give you some business topics, which you should be very concerned about this year.

Number One _________________

I want to leave that blank for now for a reason. I will come back to it shortly for you. Now lets look at some of those hot topics.

Quality Control – You should be always concerned that you are giving your customers the very best that they can get in the open market. Notice I didn’t say the best that you can give them. If you lack something that is keeping your quality behind that should be one of the things you want to address this year.

In my industry photographers are always trying to keep their camera gear as new as possible. The images coming out of the newest cameras are superior to the quality of older models. I know many photographers who update immediately and other who upgrade every other model.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 22800, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
Speed of Service – If you are not careful your competition will take away your business just because you are too slow. Customers have problems for which a business has a solution to fix. If you are too slow the customer will go somewhere else to get those problems solved.

Pricing – There is a great deal of things that affect pricing, so you need to be sure you are on top of everything.

One thing about pricing is the cost-of-doing-business that you must be sure you are covering in order to make a living. However have you considered how your pricing comes across to the customer?

Too many businesses are more concerned with what they make and covering their costs that their pricing is really worded to how they think and not about how the customer thinks.

I am a big proponent of at least giving a customer three to four prices. Bare minimum, medium and high price packages and even the Whoop Ti Doo for a fourth option.

How you differentiate the pricing points also gives a better understanding about the different services you can provide.

I want to go back to the Number One thing that I started with but left blank. What are your core values that guide your business?

This core value is what I think of as the culture you exhibit to your client. When you go into a hotel where the décor is all about log cabin as compared to going into a castle it sets a tone for the business.

I think also about the restaurant chains Texas Roadhouse, The Ground Round and Logan’s Roadhouse that all served peanuts and customers toss the shells on the ground. The waitress greats you with Howdy as much as a Hello.

Now these core values often will have you doing things that do not make the most business sense. We often talk about a person having a moral compass. A moral compass an internalized set of values and objectives that guide a person with regard to ethical behavior and decision-making.

I know of one man who when finding out that his employee was drinking on the job confronted the young man. As long as an employee would come clean and own up to their in digressions then he would do all he could to help that employee.

He helped that employee overcome his drinking problem. It made no business sense to do this, but this was his core value of giving those who need help and willing to make changes the help. Now he would fire many people as well and the line in the sand appeared to me to be one of if the person would own up to their mistakes.

Here are some ways that you might want to evaluate how your character is coming across and revealing a lack of core values that show a moral compass.

How do you speak to your spouse? Let me say I am preaching to myself on this one. We all need to show respect and not get so short with those closest to us. Every time you answer your phone and it is your spouse often there are others in ear shot who hear how your treat your spouse.

How do you speak to your children? Now if you don’t have any this could be anyone who is a subordinate that depends on you. You always want to speak with respect and love to them. You still need to discipline but how you do it should be one that helps to build them up and not tear them down.

How you speak to those serving you? Our son works in restaurant as a server and the stories he tells is horrifying as to how people treat others. You need to have the ability to request things you need and correct a mistake in a way that gives honor to those who serve you. Now if you get horrible service and are mistreated you still can handle this in a way that demonstrates the high road.

How do you speak to your enemies? Truly listening to others and addressing their concerns in a calm voice is powerful way to win friends. Stay with the facts over disagreements and explain what you can do and what you are unwilling to do.

Lincoln Memorial

It is your attitude that can jeopardize the situations more than the words themselves. As Abraham Lincoln wisely said, “Better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”

Put your moral compass first this year. Focus on relationships and not on transactions. If you do this then you will be successful.