1. How sincere are your messages?

When you send out an email, post on Facebook, or send out a tweet on Twitter, what is your ultimate goal? If its to sell, you have it all wrong. So many people today take the old way of thinking – “sell, sell, sell” – and try and incorporate it into new technology. It doesn’t work, nor will it ever work. When I see the message come through, “Hi you don’t know me but I have a great product…” its straight to the delete button. Messages need to be from the heart, offer value, and convince a person you are the right one for the job. People know how to find you and will make the sale when they are ready.

2. How is your customer service?

When was the last time you flew? Traveling used to be fun. Now its an incredible pain; something you only want to experience if you really have to. You can find your deal and buy your plane ticket months in advance. Yet you know your costs are anything but over. If your bag is a millimeter too big or an ounce overweight, you’ll be slapped with a fee. And don’t expect it to change any time soon – the only thing you can be guaranteed with is more fees. But is that really the way you want to be treated? Do you really want to give your money to someone you really don’t like? Or do you want to hand over your money to a friend? Someone who understands you and is willing to give you 110 percent all the time? This will continue to be the year of incredible customer service – only businesses dedicated to it will survive.

3. Does everyone want your products?

There’s a Starbucks in our area that does an unbelievable amount of business. It’s a free standing coffee shop with a drive thru. I have never driven by that place without seeing a minimum of a half dozen cars waiting in line – at all hours of the day. And if you go into it its one of the largest in the area, with tables, sofas and chairs spread out by two fireplaces. A little closer to my home was a local coffee shop that recently went out of business. The coffee was okay and they had few options for snacks and other beverages if you weren’t in the mood for coffee. To tell the truth, the only reason I frequented it is because you could always find a table. The difference is in the quality. If your products are average, there is no incentive to make the purchase. But if you make someone say “WOW” you’re on your way to success.

4. How futuristic are you?

Reach into your pocket and pull out your phone. What are you using and how do you use it? Are you using one several years old just to keep in contact with the kids when they are out and about? Or do you have the latest Smartphone technology? A generation ago people said the Internet was a passing fad. They were wrong. And if you think mobile technology is a fad as well, business will quickly pass you by. The Internet and connectivity is quickly moving to mobile devices. The more you know about them today, the more you’ll find success in the future.

5. Are you asking for help?

Will this year be better than the last few? In many ways the answer is yes. Everything that happened in the past is over – you can’t go back and change it. But you can improve your future just by watching for opportunities and being willing to take action. If you haven’t found a job in months, maybe you’re meant to be a business owner. If business has been bad, maybe its time to find a new direction. Everything is there for a reason. Help is always available to show you a new way. You just have to be able to see it and willing to reach out for it.

6. What technology are you using?

The other day I was in the kitchen ready to make up a batch of muffins for breakfast. As I pulled the ingredients together for my normal recipe, I discovered I was out of butter. Instead of running to the store, I grabbed my iPad and Googled “muffin recipe without butter”. Sure enough a selection of yummy treats popped up in the results and I was on my way. From there I can organize my photographs, set up Facetime with family far away, work on a presentation, read a book, and play a game or two, all with one amazing device. Give it to a 2 year old and they know what to do with it. Give it to a 92 year old that’s never used a computer and they still will know what to do. How can you use this amazing technology every day?

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7. What do the next 12 months look like?

Its easy to look backwards and see what you’ve done. Its more challenging to look forward and know what needs to be put into place. Where will be at the end of 2012? What are you doing to make sure it happens? How will you be in a better place? Sometimes the best question may be the toughest – Is this really going to help move me forward? Ask that the next time you spend the day being a couch potato in front of the TV. You have the tools and the know how to create anything you choose. The question is – will you do it?

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