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New Year, New Resolutions

(This is the sixth blog in the blog series, “What Keeps C-Level Execs Up at Night,” from Jeanette Prenger, president and CEO of ECCO Select.)

Over the years I’ve decided I really can’t make New Year’s resolutions because I typically break them before Jan. 2. They usually are the same old, same old: exercise more, eat healthier, save more, blah, blah, blah… BUT, this year I was determined to have New Year’s resolutions for my business. This is sooooo different than your typical year-end planning and annual goal-setting. And it evolved from all the hype in the last quarter of 2017 around tax reform.

As most CEOs do, I spent the last few months working with my team on our 2018 goals. But, this year the much-anticipated tax reform bill was top of mind as we looked at how that might affect our small business. Would our budget be affected and how? I put together the top three things that I could embrace and leverage for my business. My own CEO 2018 resolutions!

1. Leverage tax reform

Everyone has heard the stories on how only the wealthy and big corporations will benefit from tax reform. From what I’ve seen, small businesses will also benefit. And, small businesses hire more people than large corporations. In turn, this can mean higher salaries and more jobs if we can use the extra dollars that aren’t paid in taxes to reinvest in the business.

There are great sites to help identify options for business owners to review and determine how they can be better informed for those crucial conversations with the experts. Small businesses can find information on this and other topics through the SBA’s website,, which can also match you with resources to provide free business mentoring, counseling and planning. KPMG has numerous blogs and podcasts regarding how tax reform will impact small and mid-sized businesses. You know how to use Google, which can be your first step in finding sites that can arm you with data.

Regardless of the type of entity you are, your best bet is to make sure you work with the tax experts to fully understand the impacts and determine what makes sense for your business.

2. Understand (really understand) technology

We run an award-winning technology services company, offering solutions and talent to public and private sector clients. For more than two decades, we’ve been a trusted partner in supplying the people that understand technologies that businesses need to meet their business priorities. We’re used to quickly understanding emerging technologies and how they fit with existing infrastructures. Cyber security has, and will continue to be, a major concern for all our clients. Data analytics, predictive modeling, business intelligence (BI) and artificial intelligence (AI) are also high on our clients’ list of growing technology needs.

Like the shoemaker that needs shoes, we have to make time to assess our own technology needs. The hot trends that our clients request from us typically mean that we take note of the business case they use and determine if it applies to our company.

For example:

  • I may not need the same type of security that the Department of Defense needs, but I do know that we have to keep current with the security that we have in-house.
  • AI may not make sense for my business model, but data analytics can help identify operational efficiencies.
  • Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) software is not just for big corporations. COTS may allow us to save money and be better at what we do.

Understanding the technology includes recognizing how long implementation will take, the length of the learning curve, and how long before this new technology will pay off.

Last but not least is understanding the cost. A simple exercise is breaking this process into these essential parts: the need, the solution, the benefits and the cost analysis—along with the risks and what you need to make it work. Of course, we have to consider the scenario of doing nothing.

Calculating ROI includes these intangibles – such as time saved or processes improved – that, while hard to measure, are equally as important as the financial aspect. This is the year this CEO really understands what technology needs really need to be addressed in her own business.

3. Quit procrastinating

I love working, and I love seeing success. Whether it’s mine or someone else’s. I feel like I have a lot of self-discipline. But I have a dirty secret: I procrastinate. I will put off something hard (like writing this blog) or confronting someone with a topic that’s uncomfortable for me until I absolutely have to address the situation. I will wait until the last possible moment to prepare for either of these events. Some of the things I avoid are not critical to my success, but unfortunately, if I’m honest with myself, other events in my life could have been avoided if I hadn’t procrastinated on acting in a timely manner. It is the one resolution that really affects me personally and professionally. 2018 is the year to overcome this bad habit!

I’m confident that if I keep this list in front of me (along with the one that says eat healthier, exercise more…) that I’ll be more mindful about my actions—at work and at home. Here’s to a healthy, happy and prosperous 2018!

This is the sixth and final blog in the series, “What Keeps C-Level Execs Up at Night,” from Jeanette Hernandez Prenger, president and CEO of ECCO Select, a talent acquisition + advisory consulting company, specializing in people, process and technology solutions for our clients. ECCO’s experienced advisory consultants can help your organization with a variety of business challenges, including the creation of a business case for new technology. Let us know your thoughts on Facebook or on Twitter @ECCOSelectCORP.