Year-end is a perfect time for reflection and planning for your business.

Yes, you are busy and overwhelmed. You can’t do much about the negative macro-economic developments but you can do something about your company. Even if you’re a retailer scrambling to make your numbers from holiday sales, it’s fitting that you start reflecting about next year.

Start with an attitude of gratitude – make a gratitude list about what is working well. If you’re still operating as a business, you do have some blessings. Consider your customers, employees, family and close friends. All deserve your gratitude, time and attention.

If you’ve been feeling beleaguered, chances are you’re focusing on the 10 percent that needs correction instead of the 90 percent that’s working well in your professional and personal life.

You must try to  reduce your stress and work happier for top performance.

When you feel better from a more positive perspective, think about what is needed for a better 2012 – Reflect on your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

If your profits are lagging, strategize for a turnaround. Plan for profits for profits to keep your business dreams alive.

Review New Year’s resolutions to profit next year.

If you’ve been feeling beleaguered, chances are you’re focusing on the 10 percent that needs correction instead of the 90 percent that’s working well in your professional and personal life.

Otherwise, consider:

— Start with your role. Have you performed at a high level as a boss? If not, understand that there are actually 10 key differences between leaders and managers.

— Finances and cash flow – analyze your profits and expenses. Don’t forget to review your break-even point. Plan to make any needed changes.

— Regarding employees, decide what is needed in performance appraisals, salary reviews, training, and corrective action.

— Check your online customer service reviews. Write responses for negative reviews, but strategize on the internal changes you need to make to solve and prevent more complaints. If you don’t have enough reviews, give an incentive to each of your best customers to take a moment to write a favorable review.

— Identify what you need in technology and make an investment to innovate for profits. That includes a strategy for a Web site update, online mentions and social media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Get your employees involved.

— If you’re frustrated in looking for new business, soften your approach.

Here’s ta toast to your serene holidays and prosperous New Year.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related strategies:

Think 1930s for Business Success. Consumer Attitudes Are Changing — Hyper-consumerism is history. Traditional values with a purpose are in vogue. Traditional values – old-fashioned, if you prefer – describe the new mindset of consumers and what they expect from business. That’s according to a white paper, “The Power of the Post-Recession Consumer,” republished by strategy+business. Authors John Gerzema and Michael D’Antonio explained a shift in consumers who are now adamant about affordability, connection and quality. It’s similar to the attitudes of any person who survived the Great Depression.

6 Tips to Turn Your HR Department into a Profit Center — At least 50 percent of a company’s profits are contingent on employee problems. If you have challenges in one department, odds are you have HR issues in other departments. In fact, human capital is the No. 1 reason why CEOs lose sleep. Many businesses often need an objective source of information and expertise from critical thinkers. It’s true you can turn your human resources department into a profit center.

14 Steps to Profit from Online Customer Reviews — For competitiveness and profits, businesses can’t afford to ignore the potential of online reviews. They’re a factor in revolutionizing commerce. Reviews are important because they influence prospective customers to buy from you. They’re also beneficial in improving your Internet presence because search-engine crawlers consider them to be relevant.

Why Your Customer-Loyalty Program Might Not Be Profitable — Researchers are warning businesses that their customer-loyalty programs, which are designed to increase repeat business, may be causing more harm than good. Even though “customer prioritization” is widely used by companies, the researchers warn they’re a double-edged sword and represent the dark side of customer loyalty programs. As a result, businesspeople get stressed out after implementing customer-loyalty programs because they lose profits when they unknowingly and disproportionately increase service costs.

7 Precautions for a Profitable Layaway Program — Despite the continuous changes in technology, retailers are reverting to a sales and customer-loyalty practice that was prevalent in the 1950s. That would be a layaway program to sell more products to cash-strapped customers. Big box stores, such as Walmart and Toys R Us, have benefited from PR when they’ve announced their layaway programs.

“I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”

Martha Washington


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.