business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Michael Sansolo

As a lifelong gym rat, I have to admit that this week starts what is both my favorite and most hated month of the year. Here’s why:

For the next four weeks I know my gym will be more crowded than usual thanks to all the newbies showing up to fulfill resolutions to get in shape. So for one month I get to have a strange feeling of satisfaction as the people next to me can’t work out as hard as I do. At the same time, all these new people jam up the parking lot.

From experience I know the rush won’t last. By mid-January the ranks will start to thin and by mid-February the crowds will be gone for good.

My observation on this is hardly rare. There are countless articles on the web this week offering strategies for starting a sustainable workout routine. Essentially it comes down to this: start with small steps and build from there. Or don’t mimic the person quoted in the Washington Post whose goal involves training to climb Mount Everest.

Big, audacious goals are wonderful, but sometimes just getting into first gear is the best place to start.

That is a great lesson for all of us in business. All sectors of the food industry have a lengthy to-do list for 2017. There’s clear recognition that the world is changing and the challenges are getting daunting, but there’s no magic bullet solution. Rather, it’s going to take many steps - small and large, but mostly difficult.

E-commerce is no longer a plan; it’s increasingly becoming a reality. The odds of you (or anyone) getting it perfectly right this year are slim, but surely you need to think about what approach you will take as a start.

Likewise, new competitors are always coming. If they’re entering your market, hopefully you’ve started planning already; if they aren’t, you still need to consider how the marketplace might change and how you need to shift with it.

And consumer behaviors are constantly growing more fragmented, putting pressure on you to better use analytics so you can better align with those desires. Beyond that you need to better understand changing employee needs, technological advancements, logistics and more than we want to consider.

It’s a huge list of challenges and you need to get working on all of them and that’s why we need to consider the laws of inertia: that a body at rest tends to stay at rest, while a body in motion stays in motion. The trick is to get started.

So think about those lessons from the gym. Start small to get motion and momentum going. It’s great to dream of climbing Everest. The goal may seem both grand and glorious, but also likely very unachievable.

Instead, think about small steps, maybe better engaging your entire team to build an environment of improvement, importance and urgency.

Remember, a climb up Everest, like all journeys, begins with small steps.

Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available on Amazon by clicking here. And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon by clicking here.
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