People make New Year’s resolutions all the time. But do you know anyone who actually kept one? OK – one person. But that’s the guy who reminded the teacher she forgot to assign the homework.
Knowing how impractical – bordering on futile – resolutions can be, there’s a different way to kick off the new year in your business. I call it Strategic Look At Critical Components, or SLACC, for short. So, instead of getting all bound up in annoying resolutions, just cut yourself some SLACC.
SLACC works when resolutions don’t because it comes with three things essential for effective change: a purpose, a plan, and measurement.
Here’s a list of seven key areas on which to focus your SLACC:
Give your company SLACC by becoming a better financial manager. That means being more deliberate and devoted to financial systems. By systems, we’re talking regular financial statements, including – especially – a 12-month cash flow projection. As you manage with them, be sure to SLACC up on the difference between cash flow and accounting.
2. Human Resources
Apply the necessary SLACC to find and keep the best people. Then cut your staff some SLACC by providing the best training you can afford, with emphasis on how their assignments continue to evolve in the 21st century. In the current management crisis affecting every organization – not being able to find and hire enough qualified new employees – this SLACC has never been more imperative.
Business management is more complicated than ever, not the least of which is dealing with up to five different generations in the workplace. Use SLACC to identify your own best practices, be honest with yourself about how effective your system and style are working and check your position against the ideas of 21st-century thought leaders. Then overlay SLACC on the reality in front of you.
Use SLACC to develop market strategies that focus on identifying and demonstrating relevance. The marketplace has always been a dynamic and evolving organism, but today the energy is coming from customer expectations of relevance first, followed by competitiveness. Yes, in The Age of the Customer you must still be competitive. But before a prospect even knows your price, they’re ruling you in or out based on whether you’re relevant to them. What’s that look/sound like? Ask them.
In the third decade of the 21st century, technology is much more than gear. Cut yourself some SLACC by leveraging applications and new media that are critical to achieving relevance with prospects and customers. Match your technology (especially mobile) and community-building strategies to the evolving tech expectations of customers. And just like in Management, all five generations of customers have their own tech tendencies.
6. Public Policy
Every small business is influenced and impacted by politics. Use SLACC to identify when to be personally involved in local, state and federal issues – like taxes, healthcare, and regulations – and when to contribute money to professional advocate organizations that can deliver a greater impact on your behalf. The 21st-century marketplace is more complicated than Washington and state/local governments are qualified to mess around with. So, if we don’t tell politicians what we want and expect, we can’t complain about what they give us.
Cut yourself some SLACC by remembering the greatest Main Street truth: Small business success is richer when defined by more than just money and stuff. It is possible to be financially successful and have joy in your life, but it requires being intentional about it.
Write this on a rock … To paraphrase the Chinese proverb, the longest journey begins with the first SLACC.