Woman-with-Questions-150x150As we approach the beginning of 2016, many of us begin strategic planning for the new year.  Whether we exceeded our goals in 2015 or fell short, another year brings new challenges.  Staying the same is rarely a good plan, so we set new goals and plan new ways to get there.

Providing network services, outsourced IT department, business process automation, and document management is my business.  I am finding that regardless of what business you are in, it is the questions you ask of others and of yourself, and the resulting answers that really make the difference.

These are my 10 Answers That Will Make 2016 an Outstanding Year.

1) As leaders in our organization, what do we need to STOP, START, or CONTINUE? Stop the things that someone else should be doing, or are just plain ineffective.  Start things that you know you should be doing, but have put off, or never have time for.  Find ways to think, plan, and develop people, rather than be reactive all of the time.  Continue the successful things!

2) Specifically, what can we do to attract, retain, and develop the BEST TEAM?  All three areas are important.  We need to help the team we have now excel, be challenged, and enjoy their work.  We need to attract new people who are a values match.  We need to purposefully bring people to the team who we can mentor and help grow.  There just aren’t enough people at the right skill level without developing and growing people from a less experienced level.  How can we improve at promoting learning and education for the whole team?

3) What is our vision for HIRING in 2016 and are there THRESHOLDS in place for these hires?  For instance, at what point do we need another engineer, or a new account manager, or additional admin staff? Is there a revenue goal that will make the hire necessary and affordable?  We have to protect profits and high levels of customer service.

4) Are there market pressures and dangers that we need to PREPARE for in 2016?  The key here is to only consider what we can control.  Is there a specific company that we need to beat?  Do we see an economic shift that requires a change to our strategy?  Is there a new sector opening, or an existing market sector closing?

5) What internal process and systems do we NEED to change in order to scale for GROWTH?  What can we change that will allow us to do more with less?  Is there technology, a software change, or a hardware change that will improve productivity?  Is our process up-to-date and efficient, or are there things in our daily work process that don’t really make sense?

6) What is the GAP that our target customers need filled and will PAY for or CHANGE for?  This innovation question requires putting on a can-do mindset.  It will be tempting to come up with all the reasons we can’t do that innovative thing the customer wants.  Instead, we must challenge ourselves to think about how we can do it.

7) What internal controls are missing that could create LIABILITY?  Are there areas that present high-risk for us internally, for instance, in accounting process, or in password policy, or in protection from information theft?  Are there areas that present risk for our customers that could be aided by cross-check or checklist, or review?

8) How can we create FOCUS in 2016?  Sometimes we get lost with too many goals.  Are there two things or three things that are most important for 2016?  What can we do to create clarity of vision for our team and get everyone to rally around this vision.

9) What can we do to GET THE WORD OUT?  We have a great team, great products, and are positioned for growth.  What are the marketing initiatives we need to pursue in 2016?  What is working? What is not working?  What should we stop, start, and continue with marketing?  How can we improve word-of-mouth referrals as well as leads coming in the door through advertising and marketing?

10) How can we extend our outreach to HELP those in NEED?  Our purpose at CTaccess is to improve lives through technology.  We believe this extends certainly to our customers and team, but also to our community.   We are already involved in helping those in need. The question is how can we do more and have a life changing impact on those who need help?

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