Every January, large portions of the population think about their goals for the coming months by setting New Year's resolutions. Unfortunately, as noted by Forbes, recent research by Statistic Brain found that only eight percent of people are successful in achieving the goals they establish through their resolutions.
To help ensure that your small business New Year's resolutions don't follow the same pattern, you must maximize your rewards and limit your risks whenever possible. We spoke to Jeff Sinkiewicz, owner of the popular Slap Shotz Gastropub in Raynham, MA, about business success, making hard choices and the value of setting limits. Here's his advice:
1. Know Your Market
In 2010, Sinkiewicz opened his first business, the Slap Shotz Sports Pub in Avon, MA. Good food, local beer, live entertainment and a great atmosphere for watching games made the pub a hit among locals. Sinkiewicz puts it simply: "My first location [was] a great success; I could fund number two in just four years." And that's exactly what he decided to do. In 2014, Sinkiewicz opened a second location in Raynham, MA. But, with other pubs running the same sports concept in Raynham, Sinkiewicz realized his original model would fall flat. His solution was to create Slap Shotz Gastropub, a location where he could serve higher-end food and specials, creating more of a "restaurant" feel.
So, here's one important lesson for small businesses looking to go big in 2017: Know your market. There's no single blueprint for success. To be successful as a small business you need to understand your competition, know what your consumers want and have a keen awareness of a host of other variables. If you want a New Year's resolution to stick, don't wing it, do your research.
2. Know Your Value
Managing two successful locations gave Sinkiewicz critical insight: As tasks involved with the Raynham location became more time-intensive, the Avon business suffered. "The amount of people I had to staff in place of me didn't make it cost-effective," he explains.
Unfortunately, this is a trap that many small business owners fall into: You know your business better than anyone, which makes you an invaluable part of its day-to-day operations. If one of your small business New Year's resolutions is to diversify, you should be prepared to put in the work to train new staff members and ensure that they're up to speed.
3. Know Your Limits
According to Sinkiewicz, his mindset had always been that he "wanted around four locations" — until he opened his second one. After Sinkiewicz had moved closer to Raynham and found that the Gastropub was performing above expectations, he went all-in and decided to sell his sports pub to his manager and longtime friend who will rebrand the location. He enjoyed significant loyalty from his existing customer base, but it was still a big risk: What if the Raynham location suddenly tanked or he needed a fallback? For Sinkiewicz — and the resolution-making small business owner — the key is recognizing limits. The amount of time and effort required to handle both businesses meant a net loss in quality rather than an overall gain, prompting the restaurant owner to double down and commit to his new concept. This type of mindset is critical to owning any resolution. Go all in. Holding back or stretching yourself thin can mean that you will face more risk for less reward.
Want to beat the eight percent and keep your 2017 small business resolutions? Then make an effort to know your market, value and limits.
Jeff Sinkiewicz was a client of ADP, LLC. at the time of this article's publication.
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