It’s 2012: Let’s Roll Up Our Sleeves and Get to Work

Happy New Year, everyone!

I want to welcome you and your business to 2012.

Unfortunately, in business we can’t just say, “Well, it’s a New Year. All from last year is forgotten. Here’s a totally fresh start. Yeehaw.” (Presumably, the yeehaw would have an exclamation point at the end, but that’s somewhat challenging in this fantasy statement since it can’t really happen.)

Despite the inevitability of continuity, some things from 2011 can be halted and considered “past problems” in some sense. For instance, though there are exceptions, by and large, the tax year of 2011 is now over. You may have concerns about what happened and spend the next four months dealing with them, but they’ve happened. You can’t change what happened – only handle it. There’s something relieving about that.

Also, it’s a new quarter. If you took a loss last quarter – or last year – that loss is definitely going to affect you and your business. There’s no getting around that. But it’s a fresh quarter and a fresh year, and that means a chance to make some changes, some positive impressions and, hopefully, some money. That is what you’re in the business of doing, right?

With the Holidays over, December – also known as the Month of Distractions – is behind us. People will return to their regular schedules. Children will go back to school (soon). If you’re in retail and prepare all year for December, only to hold onto your hat while it barrels you over, then normalcy has returned.

That all means that the New Year can be a time for fresh starts, new ideas and inspiration. I’m not one for the New Year’s Resolution Bandwagon (it’s fraught with problems, not the least of which is a total lack of stick-to-it-iveness), but there is something to be gained by using our culture’s mental break between years in order to be an inspirational leader who motivates one’s team and company to rally around strengths and successes and have a great year. If last year was a tough one for your company – as it was for many companies – you’re going to need to be that kind of leader today, this week, this month, this quarter and this year.

Business isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it. It takes hard work, dedication and a dash of luck. Whether 2011 was the best year ever or the worst on record, take the first work day of the New Year as a time to get back to business and refocus your company and your team. As a turnaround manager, it’s my job to roll up my sleeves, get down in the trenches and get dirty. If all business leaders did that, I wouldn’t have to. My advice to you is to do just that: roll up your sleeves and get to work.

If you are stuck and aren’t sure what to do and how to handle your business, your team, your finances and your general situation, then I want you to start by reviewing my five articles that ended 2011 about Resolutions for Your Business in 2012. Each of them is just as relevant in its own way right now as it was in 2011. These are ways to think about your business and get started in the New Year – an important balance of continuity with the past and innovation for the future.

Ensure continuity and preserve a feeling of consistency for your business and personnel.

Think about a contingency plan in case of an emergency.

Sit down and review your business’ financial documents.

Analyze not just your business, but also your business environment.

Engage your team in short- and long-term planning, and don’t be afraid to innovate.

What are you going to do differently in 2012? How are you going to manage and grow your business? Please share in the comments below.

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