As it appeared in the Daily Nation on January 3rd 2017
It is a New Year! Happy New Year to all our readers! I am optimistic that we are all ready or getting ready for 2017. I believe that every New Year presents us with new opportunities. Top on the list is the opportunity of a new beginning. Growing up, I recall the joy of moving up a new grade. I also recall a few New Year’s Eve traditions. In particular, the countdown and the euphoria of ushering in a New Year at the click of the midnight hour with neighbours. It was overly exciting. Many of us have New Year’s Eve memories, some good, and some bad. It does not matter whether we usher in the New Year in style or if we let it slip by in our sleep. What is certain is that every first of January we wake up to a new calendar year.
As years have come and gone, the eve of a new year has presented me with the opportunity. The opportunity to look back into the past year and more importantly to look forward into the future. With anticipation, I have often wondered what the New Year has in store. What major changes will there be in the world, in our country, in our businesses and in our personal lives or will it business as usual? Though some happenings may not be within our control, much of what happens around us especially in our businesses is within control. Do we carry the baggage of the years gone or do we offload them as we step into a new year with a revitalized mindset?
Some businesses have a financial year that does not start in January. As such, their planning cycle differs from the calendar year. On the other hand, many others business start a new cycle every first of January. Irrespective of their planning cycle, smart businesses look everywhere for opportunities. It does not matter whether they are starting a new financial year or not. They constantly investigate the past, learn from it, and look into what the future presents. They look internally and they examine their external environment. As they do so, they assess whether their leadership, their strategy, people, culture, structure, products and services and the like are a good fit to the opportunities that surround them. Opportunities that make business sense need to be taken advantage off.
A major opportunity for every business is new customer acquisition and the retention of existing customers. In any given year, new customers are acquired and existing customers are retained or some may leave never to come back. Every New Year is an opportune time to reflect and get ready to acquire new customers and hold on the existing ones. There is no year similar to the last. Smart business recognize that customer acquisition and retention does not just happen year in year out. This is because many changes are happening around the businesses. For example, customers’ expectations are rising, the marketplace is becoming more competitive, technological changes are transforming how we do business, regulations are being revised and new ones being introduced, the workforce is evolving, the physical boundaries are coming down fast and many others changes surround us. The year 2017 presents an opportunity to transform our business. Why not make it an exciting new beginning by focusing more on your customers?
Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy