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Twelve simple questions to make 2011 your best year ever PDF Print E-mail
Written by Donald Cooper   

ImageNow's the time to be planning, deciding and implementing the strategies required to make 2011 your best year ever. To help get you started, sit down with a few of the best minds and hearts in your business, or department, and invest an hour or so to answer the 12 simple questions that follow.

I should note that while some of these questions are simple but some of the answers will not be. Where necessary, allocate homework and research assignments to members of your team to gather more information and new innovative thoughts. Here are your 12 questions:

1. What is our clear profit commitment for 2011 - one that will keep us financially healthy and reward us adequately for our time, effort and investment in the business?

2. What are the three most important things we need to do to improve or grow the business next year so that we achieve our profit commitment?

3. What are three things we do that tick our customers off - and what will we do to eliminate them?

4. What additional products or services would make us more helpful and more valuable to our customers? How can we profitably develop or implement those and add them to our offering?

5. What are three important things that any competitor does better than we do - and what will we do to fix that so we're clearly better than them?

6. What three extraordinary things could we do to make doing business with us not all about price? What functional or emotional value could we create or what extraordinary service could we add to ‘grab' our target customers and fundamentally change the game? What has never been done before in our industry that would blow customers away?

7. We are what we communicate. So, what three gutsy things will we do in 2011 to more effectively promote our business and communicate our total value offering?

8. What are the three biggest expense items on which we can save money in 2011 - and, specifically, how will we achieve those savings?

9. What are three things we can do to become "greener" in 2011 and beyond?

10. What are the three things can we do to improve internal communications and clarity about our commitments to customers, to each other and to the bottom line?

11. What is the most important new technology that we need to bring into our business in 2011?

12. We can't grow our business without growing our people. What training, development or mentoring does each person on our team need to help us grow the business, serve customers more wonderfully and operate more effectively?

So, there you have it, 12 questions to get you thinking about next year and how to make it your best ever. For each idea you come up with and commit to, be clear about who will do what, by when and measured how, to make it happen.

Failure to implement effectively is one of the biggest challenges in most businesses today. Remember, businesses do not die from a single shot to the head. They die slowly but surely from a thousand uncompleted tasks.

Donald Cooper has been both a world-class manufacturer and an award-winning retailer.  Now, as a business speaker and coach he helps business owners and managers throughout the world to rethink, refocus and re-energize their business to create compelling customer value, clarity of purpose and long-term profitability. For more information, or to subscribe to Donald's thought-provoking free business E-Newsletter, go to

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