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Out with the old: Doing things differently in 2017

The beginning of a New Year symbolises one major thing – a fresh start, a clean slate. Business owners have begun to make far-reaching decisions that will determine their course of action for the rest of the year.


The beginning of a New Year symbolises one major thing – a fresh start, a clean slate. Business owners have begun to make far-reaching decisions that will determine their course of action for the rest of the year. For career people, they have made resolutions to attain a sense of fulfilment and accomplishment too. That is partly why the New Year is special – the resolution to make a difference in our lives is so strong that everything seems “possible”. It is important to keep that positivity and optimism till the rest of the year.

Being a season of New Year resolutions, which studies show that only about 8% of people that make them actually achieve, whether you are small business owner or career professional, you should aim to do a few things differently in 2017 to attain great heights.

It was Albert Einstein who threw light on the contradiction between innovation and stagnancy, in his famous quote that “The definition of insanity is doing the same things and expecting a different outcome.” In business, “insanity” would mean resting on your oars and sticking to what works without improvements. For professionals, it would mean, not improving knowledge or skill, and been content or “managing” where you are at the phase in your life.

As we move further into 2017, here are a few ideas on how to move forward to embody the quality of will power and retain the belief that everything you want to accomplish in 2017 is “possible”.

Stocktaking Time
Innovation is at the heart of organisations that conquer “new territories”; however, innovation does not exist in isolation, rather, it is determined by our ability to see associations where others cannot. This would involve taking a cursory look at the past in the light of the present, and how to take the advantage of the future. It also requires examining decisions that worked and did not work, and lastly, examine the resources that enabled you succeed last year, if they are still sufficient or not, or what arsenals you further need to make that difference you wish for this year.

This stocktaking need not be an annual exercise. It could be embarked upon weekly, monthly, quarterly, or bi-annually, as it best suits your business. As long as you are measuring how much you are making progress, and maximizing the opportunities that you are discovering. Be sure to record your achievements and re-inforce the patterns that worked, while also recognising the patterns that caused pitfalls.

For career professional, stocktaking would involve broadening your perspective. In an article in Fast Company Magazine, on how to make a fresh start, a quote by Fred Cook, CEO of GolinHarris, argues that people in the workplace today are a commodity, until they frame their own ideas, and step out of their expertise to learn and grow.

Communicate Differently
Mobile has changed our means of communication. Virtually everything happens on mobile phones these days. According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), as at Q3 2016, about 93 million Nigerians access the Internet through their mobile phones. From emails to research, social networking, hailing a taxi, booking flights and hotels, sending and receiving money, among others. In all of these, your business must not be caught napping.

If you have not already, your business should have mobile friendly versions. Let us start with your business website; it has to be responsively designed, and fit for mobile. The last thing you want to do is make it difficult for your customers to access your website. Remember that your website is your virtual office – the first port of call for your customers.

For your social networks, this year, you should consider improving your social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) and how you communicate with your followers. You should focus on presenting rich and engaging content that is suitable for your different kinds of audiences. Social media has proven to be a successful public relations, marketing and branding tool that could enable you make your business more visible to impact your bottom line.

For career professionals, social media networks are good platforms for learning, and for sharing your knowledge and expertise. Aim to raise your profile this year through facilitating classes, writing articles, among other ideas that can help advance your career.

Have a Plan and See It Through
You could aspire all you want about the things that you wish to accomplish, but if you do not take action to set things in motion, it would all come to nothing. As just 8% of people who set resolutions actually achieve them, therefore, there is a likelihood that you could be among the people who end up getting nothing done. To prevent them, create a plan to follow through implementation of all action points. Do not also stop there: create yardsticks to ensure that every plan is followed through for accountability. If possible, do not do it alone, assign responsibilities to other people; for career professionals, find accountability partners that would encourage you to keep going. Set milestones and timelines; give a deadline. See your plan through.

These ideas are easier said than done. A lot is involved, but stay committed in 2017, and remember the words of Nikola Tesla, “Let the future tell the truth and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine.”

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