The first six months of 2012 are in the history books. How did your printing company do? How did you personally do?
Having a tactical orientation is great, but a print shop owner has a responsibility to be strategic. Simply put, anyone can drive, but the strategic thinker looks at the map and plans the route for the trip. Failure to do so could mean costly delays, running out of gas, or arriving late to the destination.
Designing Your Roadmap
Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” is a classic book on success. Hill’s research was conducted during a time of economic slowdown, not too dissimilar to what we are experiencing today.
According to Hill, reflection is essential to great insight and results. Here are 15 questions from “Think and Grow Rich” —adapted to 2012—that are still worth asking.
1. If I had been the purchaser of my own printing company’s goods and services in the first four months of this year, would I have been satisfied with what I received?
2. Have the purchasers of my printing company’s goods and services been satisfied with the purchases, and if not, why not? What am I doing to find out?
3. In what ways has my print shop rendered more service and better service than what the customer has paid for? How do I know?
4. Has my print shop delivered service to customers in the best possible quality of which it was capable or could we improve any part of the service? Can we do better, and if so, how?
5. Has my print shop delivered the service to customers in the greatest possible quantity of which we were capable? Or do they want less?
6. Have I personally attained the goal which I established as my own objective for the year?
This question is based on Hill’s research that suggests a person who desires success should have a definitive yearly objective to be attained as part of a major life objective. The question that must be asked first is, “Have I a set a goal for myself in 2012?”
7. Have I been persistent in following my plans through to completion? Am I measuring this?
8. Have I reached decisions promptly and definitely on all occasions? If I am delaying, what is the source of the delay?
Keep in mind that making no decision is sometimes worse than making a wrong decision.
9. Have my opinions and decisions been based upon guesswork or accuracy of analysis and thought? Am I guilty of making decisions based on the last person I spoke to?
10. Have I permitted the habit of procrastination to decrease my efficiency, and if so, in what ways? Why am I procrastinating?
11. How much time have I devoted to unprofitable efforts that I might have used to better advantage? What do I need to stop, start, and keep doing to get me to my goals?
12. How can I re-budget my time and change my habits so I will be more efficient during the remaining months of 2012? Just because there are 168 hours in a week does not mean I have to work them all!
13. Has the spirit of my conduct been harmonious and cooperative at all times? Am I setting an example to be a nice person to all I deal with?
14. Has my conduct toward my employees been such that it has induced them to respect me? And, do I respect them?
15. Have I been open-minded and tolerant in connection with all subjects?
The easiest way to tackle these questions is to address five at a time over a period of three days. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself these questions. The answers are intended to improve the focus and effectiveness of you and your business.
You still have time to change and make 2012 a great year. Most of my clients have seen positive sales growth in 2012—a couple for the first time in a few years. Most of the success has been simply because the leader in the company has committed to improve and set meaningful goals and objectives.
Mitch Evans is president of Mitch Evans Consulting, which is specifically targeted to meet the consulting needs of the quick and small commercial printing industry. His areas of expertise are in strategic planning, valuation, mergers and acquisition, financial planning, new technology, and “1-2-1” coaching. Evans regularly speaks to printing associations and groups on these and related subjects. Contact him at 561-351-6950 or firstname.lastname@example.org.