The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local Business

January 9, 2014

Susan Miller: As 2014 begins, move forward — but look back

People often view a New Year as an opportunity to forget the past and march boldly toward future goals. Hence booksellers see a surge in sales of productivity titles, and strategic planning consultants see their billable hours soar.

Despite this future focus, the New Year might be more accurately viewed as a cross-roads moment, where we gaze back at milestones from the previous year and consider how they might guide our journey in the year ahead.

Have you ever been stuck driving loops in one of those turnarounds because you failed to pay attention to the lane markings? The same can happen if you don’t consider how you’ll merge insight from last year with aspirations for the year ahead.

We live at a moment when “innovation” may be the most overused word in the dictionary. Nothing stays new for long. Recent reports indicate that Facebook may soon be as retro as dial-up Internet.

While staying abreast of change is important, it’s also wise to consider the past. What worked? What didn’t? What tactics moved the enterprise forward and what tactics simply generated noise?

Here are some 2013 insights that will guide my course in 2014.

◆ Realize the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and bloom where you’re planted. I longed to work for a nationally renowned higher education institution.

Fortunately, Providence intervened and the potential “career” ended up being a three-month, part-time engagement last summer. During that time, I learned why the “dream job” would have been a nightmare.

◆ Focus marketing efforts deeper, not broader. With thousands of channels and platforms available, it’s impossible to have a presence everywhere and your message and dollars can easily be diluted.

Consider the two marketing strategies that yielded the best results for your business last year and allocate more marketing dollars toward those tactics.

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