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www.ellisonpartners.comBy now, most of us have forgotten our New Year’s resolutions and with good reason.  Most aren’t things we actually do but rather dream about.  The big question is, now that we are nearly a quarter of the year through 2013, how is 2013 shaping up for you? Are you well on your way to accomplishing – not your New Year’s resolutions – but those things that must happen this year for you to proclaim 2013 was a success? If not, what are you doing about it…TODAY?

I tend to focus on what is working and what the next thing is that needs to happen.  We refer to this as our “Keep Doing, Start Doing, Stop Doing List” where we keep doing what works, stop doing what doesn’t and start doing what needs to happen next.  We aren’t alone. Inc.com, in a January blog, cited a recent survey of 40,000 small businesses owners that asked ‘What’s working?’.  The survey found the best ideas boiled down to three key things:

1. Deciding on the right focus. Identifying the best and most profitable customers, and learning to say no to the non-profitable ones.

2. Using new products, services, and technology to increase efficiency and productivity. Some mentioned online payroll; a dentist talked about using an iPad to show his patients close-up pictures of their teeth.

3. Investing in current staff. A number of small business owners talked about training and educating their employees, as well as better communicating with them to make them feel more a part of the company.

I think most small businesses (those with up to $21 million in sales and up to 500 employees) would agree this is a great ‘Keep Doing’ list.  So what’s on the Start Doing and Stop Doing lists?   These two lists outline the steps you’ll take to drive progress.

You don’t need luck to ensure 2013 is your most successful year ever but it won’t be enough to just think “If you build it, they will come.”  Successful people know that ideas, strategy plans, and New Year’s resolutions don’t necessarily get you anywhere.  What will make 2013 successful for you? Action.

Krisztina “Z” Holly, founding executive director of the USC Stevens Center for Innovation and MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological  Innovation and creator of the first TEDx conference was quoted in the March 2013 Leadership Issue of Entrepreneur magazine.  “Big ideas are just that – ideas – until you execute.” she says.  “A lot of company leaders like to talk about thinking outside the box, but there are so many ideas out there already ignored, ironically, because they don’t fit in or are just way too ahead of their time.  What we need to do is figure out what to do with the ideas we already have and make them work.”  By that, she means figuring out how these ideas will make money.

I challenge you to stop the urge to recreate the wheel; to stop the urge to create new ideas when you haven’t executed the great ideas you already have.   Today is about action.  Execute on what you know is working, stop doing what you know is not working and start doing what you need to do next.  These are very simple ways to create action toward executing those things that will make 2013 your best year ever.

What will you act on today? Chew on that one for a bit and I’ll be back with some ideas for your ‘Keep Doing, Stop Doing, Start Doing’ list.

Nikki Ellison is a business advisor, executive coach and founder of Ellison Partners. Through effective leadership coaching, proprietary skill acceleration programs and assessments, Ellison Partners helps businesses and their leaders achieve results.

© Nikki Ellison, 2013.

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