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Ten Guaranteed Resolutions to Have A Better Year

The consultant’s New Year’s resolutions for 1999:

  1. Improve your Internet site. Make sure that it downloads quickly, offers value of some kind to visitors, creates a reason for people to return, and has options to purchase something of worth. Note: Every complaint you get about downloading or inaccessibility will not be valid. At least two-thirds of the time, the problem is in the visitor’s software or connection.
  2. Shop your own communications system. That’s right: Go out and call your number, send yourself a fax, launch an e-mail to your web address, visit your Internet site. What does it feel like being a potential customer? What can you do to improve the experience. (For example, many of you have answering systems that allow too many rings before forwarding, or fax pick-ups that don’t always work.)
  3. Obtain six radio interviews, even if they’re on local stations. They will be at least five minutes each, creating a cassette tape of 30 minutes once you splice them together (and they’ll probably be much longer in total). Use this in your press kit and/or as a handout. If you have “real audio” on your web site, plug this in so that visitors can hear you.
  4. Create and self-publish a 50-page booklet on some aspect of your core competencies. Use a color cover and have it printed at your local discount print shop. Give it away at your meetings and conferences, sell it for $5-$10 as a product, use it for credibility when seeking interviews, and, eventually, incorporate it as a chapter or two in a commercially-published book.
  5. Find a fairly high-profile worthy cause (private school, charity, service club, civic fund raiser) and take a responsible position (committee chair, task force leader, facilitator). It will give you a worthwhile release from the pressures of your profession, create high potential networking possibilities, and generate favorable publicity.
  6. Ask several of your clients what you’ve done well. Don’t worry about what you haven’t done well. Find out what has worked the best and focus on replicating it and improving it still more. Compare their responses with what you thought they’d say, and find out where you may be departing from reality.
  7. Read a minimum of two non-business books every month. In four years you’ll have read at least 100 books which will broaden your intellect, increase your knowledge, and make you more interesting to others, thereby accelerating your ability to forge relationships with a diverse array of people. In the business areas, read any three of Peter Drucker’s books, and forget about all the gurus, the programs du jour and reengineering fads.
  8. Take at least two vacations of at least one week each. They may be modest, and involve nothing more than day trips, hobbies, and some work around the house, if that’s all the budget allows. Or they may be excursions to exotic lands that you’ve simply been delaying. Get away from the mundane and the routine. Treat yourself.
  9. Resolve to do one thing you’ve never done before. Sky dive. Smoke a cigar. Order a rare wine. Spend an entire day at a Spa. Scuba dive. Life shoots by like a rocket and there’s not much room at the end to squeeze in all the stuff we said someday we’d get to. In 12 months, just find one thing and do it.
  10. Ask yourself once a week if you’re having fun. If you’re not, ask why not. If it’s a temporary difficulty, then make plans to surmount it. But if it’s long-term, or a recurrent problem each time, seek help to get it resolved. Stress is the great killer in this business. If you’re taking the risks, but not enjoying yourself, you’re being cheated. Improve your life not with once-a-year resolutions, but every day.