2017: Year in Review

Take time to get in the “now.”
This Amazon sign was one of many Media 1/Wrap This projects last year.

I don’t know about you guys, but just yesterday, I was telling my partners that 2017 was the fastest year I’ve experienced in my entire life. How can it be over already? I mean, it just started a couple of months ago! Don’t you agree? Everyone I talk to is experiencing the same feeling. Well, everyone except my 13-year-old daughter, who claims eighth grade is putting a hold on her and she ain’t never getting out!

This idea of time perception is a subject I’ve given considerable thought to lately, especially since my father passed away a few years back. Since then, I’ve contemplated life a lot more than I ever had before. And now I realize it wasn’t “a few years back.” It was actually seven years this Christmas. (Thanks for those reminders, Facebook.) But how can that be? It sure doesn’t feel like it was that long ago!

TIME FLIES, EXPLAINED

A Scientific American article cited a 2005 study of 499 participants, examining the subjective passage of time across a lifespan. The results revealed that people between the ages of 20-59 experienced “time pressure,” the notion that time is speeding by, and that they can’t finish all they want to do in the time allotted. The article cited that people in this age range are most likely embroiled in professional and family duties, resulting in that feeling of not being able to keep up with life’s demands. Stress. Gotta get this done, that done, etc. Time slips away quickly when we’re focused on everything we have to get done.

The article concluded that by taking time to slow down, to distract yourself from the everyday, you can begin to appreciate the “now” we all live in. And that is the focus of this article. Now is the perfect time to break away from the ordinary day of your work life and reflect on last year – and the future.

PLANNING MEETING

My partners Rick Ream, Damon Coppola and I have a planning meeting every year. We even pass out a written worksheet a few days before, so we’ll all come prepared. These meetings have a two-fold purpose. First, we discuss the past year and then, the future. We ask pinpoint questions regarding our successes and our failures. Celebrate what we did great, reflect on what we didn’t do so great. What made us profit, and what didn’t? What about equipment we added to our force, etc.? Discussing these last-year items gives us the perfect springboard for the next round of questions, which all focus on our future as a company and as owners. Where do we see Media 1/Wrap This next year? Five years from now? Ten years? What equipment do we want to add this year and how will it increase our productivity? For us, 2018 marks our 35th year in business, so how do our retirement plans look?

We view this process as a mini-business plan for us. A plan we get to review every 12 months to gauge how far we’ve come and where we want to go next. Ultimately, as a business owner, you are responsible for directing the course of your company. So this month – if you haven’t done so already – take the time to slow down, spend one afternoon with whoever you’ll meet with (your partners, top employees, spouse or parent) and revel in all you accomplished in 2017! Then, lay out your perfect plan for 2018. In the words of Yogi Berra, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might wind up somewhere else.”

After your reflection and planning session, you may want to share the results with your employees. Maybe not all the financial aspects, but our crew really enjoys hearing about how much better we plan on making the company. Everybody wants to be part of a winning team, and they’ll appreciate your commitment to that goal.

And by no means are my questions shown here a full, comprehensive guideline to be used for every business. But they give you an outline to get started. Add whatever questions that will help you map out 2018 as your best year yet!

I also like having this meeting outside of the office. Way too many distractions here and it’s always better to get a fresh vibe elsewhere. (I think we’ll do it at Bahama Breeze this year. Rum Runners tend to assist our future planning efforts, for some reason…) Remember, my sign industry people, the days are long, but the years are short. Better make them count!

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