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We are arriving at the end of 2015, and this usually leads to a number of wishes considering the year to come. This article suggests 10 wishes for next year’s business success.

1. “I will focus on the process and not on the result.”
I know a man that opened a shop to sell a particular kind of cakes. His goal was not to get rich but to make the very best cakes of that kind. So, his worries consisted of buying the best ingredients, finding the
book with the recipe he received from his grandmother and giving his customers a very nice and cosy environment to savor his delicacies. Today, he is a wealthy man. He had to open other shops to cope with the demand, and he is already exporting. To put it in other words—good business is not a destination but a way of travel.

2. “I will pay attention to what really matters.”
Going to bed at night with this feeling that we did something really great during the day is one of the most gratifying feelings a business owner can have. Be aware that “great” is not a synonym of “big.” We may have helped an employee find a more effective way to process a document; we may have found out that some people that were asked to “check” a document do not need to do it after all, so they have more time to devote to their core business; we may have realized
a potentially huge problem down the road from a brief contact with a customer who let us know about it, and we solved it today. However, in order to have time for all of this, we cannot spend all day checking the average sign-in time for each employee, for instance.

3. “I give according to what I want in return…and I give a bit more.”
We organize our business life with what we collect from customers, but we make our business life with what we give them. Obviously, we must deliver what the customer pays for, but if we can deliver a bit more, the customer will recognize that. Now that we think of it, there are many things we can provide without a real cost to us: an informal meeting helping the customer to make decisions concerning our area of knowledge, some minutes on the phone helping employees to work better and maybe some extra documentation on how to improve some collaboration methods.

4. “I proudly show my strengths, and I am not ashamed of my weaknesses.”
If animals were to be judged by their skill for climbing trees, the poor fish would believe it is an idiot until he dies. If we are very good at what we do, we just announce it loudly. I am very good at information management, document management and whatever else I'm good at. Ok, I may not know about enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems—so what? I certainly know how to integrate with them. If my customer needs to know more details on ERPs, I will get a partner of mine who is an expert in the field.

5. “I am grateful for what I have.”
We must be grateful for all the business we have. We must let our customers know it. If we focus on what we do not have, we will never have enough. Our customers are our partners for the journey, as we are theirs. It is always pleasant for each traveler to know that his/her company is enjoyed by all the others.

6. “I follow my instincts…NOT my impulses.”
Patience has a very sour flavor, but its fruits are very, very sweet. We have all heard silly comments in our professional lives: “I do not need you because I digitized all paper to PDF;” “I am ok now because I installed a software that prints everything to PDF;” “I do not need document management because I place all the paper files in the basement;" well, we could go on and on. We never know if the “silly” bloke we are talking to has, in fact, a need and will be a customer sooner rather than later. Patience is a must—its fruit will probably make your year.

7. “I will work so that I am happy.”
One does not work for happiness. One works for a customer to be happy, for a project to be successful, for one’s employers to be happy and productive. Happiness is a by-product. Since information management is different from customer to customer, we can always exercise our knowledge so that effective solutions are implemented and return home with a high degree of satisfaction.

8. “I will keep it simple.”
Excess of complexity will always bring more complexity. Excess of complexity will always be transformed into a nightmare—your own and the customer’s. Sometimes, the solution provided is complex, though it is the simplest possible. Well, that’s life, but we must always be sure that it is the simplest possible. Making it more complex just for “business sake” is a dead-wrong decision.

9. “I will have faith.”
The best way of predicting the future is creating it ourselves. Information management is broad enough to allow everyone of us to have excellent ideas concerning where to go and pass on those ideas to customers, showing them the benefits. We must have faith in our convictions, in what we know and in the benefits we know we can bring to our customers.

10. “I will work with passion.”
Everything comes down to passion. In order to reach objectives, one needs to be resilient. Being resilient implies time. One can only afford the time if we have passion for what we do. When working with passion, results are overwhelmingly excellent. With excellent results, success is around the corner.

May we all enjoy a very happy 2016.

Joao Penha-Lopes specializes in document management since 1998. He holds two postgraduate degrees in document management from the University Lusofona (Lisbon) and a PhD from Universidad de Alcala de Henares (Madrid) in 2013, with a thesis studying the economic benefits of electronic document management (EDM). He is an ARMA collaborator for publications and professionally acts as an advisor on critical information flows mostly for private corporations. Follow him on Twitter @JoaoPL1000.

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