Are you looking forward to 2012? I know I am.
As a business we found 2011 very tough and it knocked us back to basics. For the past six months we have been working very hard on understanding what has changed in our business and addressing any issues that we may have accidentally created.
During the ‘good times’ when the business is growing and the ‘living is easy’ there’s a tendancy to become complacent. A good kick up the backside never does anyone any harm, and that is what, figuratively we received during last summer as sales stalled.
We have worked especially hard on the back office side of the business: surveying customers; reviewing what we were doing wrong; what we could do better by comparing it to what we were doing prior to the tough times; and setting and measuring our Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Towards the end of the year I had a feeling that we had started to turn things around, but it was a bit like a super tanker - it takes five miles of turning before the bows start to respond. So although we can’t see light at the end of the tunnel, both my gut feeling and more importantly, the KPIs are saying that we are going in the right direction.
So 2012, a fresh start, the daylight will be drawing out again soon, and Spring will be upon us before we know about it. All the economic forecasters are pessimistic but I think that as a nation we like a bit of doom and gloom: Robert Peston on the BBC lugubriously forecasting financial Armageddon gives us a frisson of fear, Faisal Islam on Channel 4 blithely asserting that the Euro is “on its knees” fills us with glee that we aren’t in it (although tied with the tightest umbilical cord). “Get thee hence” I say; I’m ignoring you and your end of the world prognostications, I’m keeping my eye on the things that I am able to influence, keeping focused on the reality of my life and working hard to make 2012 a better year than 2011 was for me, my family and my team.
Too much media negativity can make us all believe that things can’t possibly be getting better, so let’s ignore the naysayers and doom-mongers and keep focused on the positives.