As we begin 2014, it’s natural for us to pause and reflect on where we’ve been in 2013 and ask ourselves, “Where do we want to go from here?”

For business owners, it’s especially important to take a deep breath, stop putting out fires for a moment and elevate our perspective. Creating an annual theme might just do that for you and your organization.

Ideas for themes are limited only by your imagination. Some possible themes include:

  • Organizing and upgrading infrastructure: Consider cleaning out your office or warehouse, upgrading your computer systems or re-designing your filing system. Think about moving toward “going paperless.”
  • Growth: Plan for a 10 percent increase in sales and share what that would mean with all your staff so everyone becomes invested in the possibility. Plan monthly meetings to discuss growth-related themes, such as productivity or profitability. You might want to designate people in your organization to develop a new skill such as learning a new language (Spanish) or developing new computer skills.
  • Abstract themes, such as creativity or environmental consciousness: At the risk of sounding a little fluffy, an esoteric theme might be just what you need in 2014. A theme of creativity might challenge you to look at your marketing with a different paintbrush. In terms of the environment, the water industry is uniquely positioned for an eco-consciousness theme. Consider how you might capitalize on that for your organization.
  • Relationships: You might dedicate yourself or assign specific staff to meeting new associates and building business relationships. You might resolve to spend more time networking, participating in groups or going to the annual WQA-Aquatech Show in Orlando this coming March 2014.
  • A new service: Have you launched a new service? Maybe your new service becomes your 2014 theme and you focus your marketing efforts, the way your staff answers the phone, your print and social media efforts to highlight this new service within your current offerings.
  • Giving back: On a personal note, you might value volunteering and decide to organize your year around a couple of volunteer opportunities. National Drinking Water Week is May 4-10, 2014. How can you work with your community to promote that?
  • Exploring: If the business is running smoothly without your day-to-day input, it might be time for that long awaited trip around the world.

As you choose your goals for 2014, make sure the majority of them support your theme for the year. Themes can bring an overarching focus to our practices and our lives.

What’s your theme?  Let me know what your theme is and I’ll share mine!