Personally, 2016 has been a fascinating year for me. My coaching has taken me on an interesting journey with my clients with them achieving excellent results throughout the year. Even though I have been in business for 30 years, I have undertaken a great deal of personal executive development and continue to expand my portfolio of business coaching tools and my mentoring skills to advance my clients businesses.
With regard to my newsletters I have received a great deal of positive and inspiring feedback, and throughout 2016 I have focused on many different areas of the business spectrum including…
- How you should remove the fear of raising your prices
- How great leaders experience increased financial success
- How you can take greater control of the costs in your business
- Demonstrating less obvious, but highly effective ways for improving cash flow
- Exampling how you can work on your business rather than in it
- Strategies illustrating how you can achieve the optimum performance from your team
- Discovering the historical success of customer relationships, and how you can leverage this further
- New ideas and methods to explore the performance of your business
- Helping you to measure your customer or client lifetime value
- Educational content demonstrating the benefits of mentoring and coaching
The above articles were just a few of the strategies I covered in 2016. I also ran a referendum poll with local business owners, achieving the correct result. A fascinating insight, but that’s enough about the referendum. I think we have all had our fill of that particular subject, whichever way we voted.
What is really important now for all of us is our plans for next year, and what we are going to do to achieve the goals we set out for ourselves.
Time to reflect and plan
December is of course dominated by the festive events at the end of the month, but as business owners we naturally reflect on the year that’s almost gone and think about the new one.
Working with a portfolio of business owners provides me with a huge amount of insight into common traits and frustrations, including areas which restrict opportunities and hold back the businesses potential, so here are some observations and a little guidance for the forthcoming year ahead. It’s about you now, and what you can achieve in 2017, so let’s make a start…
It is absolutely natural not wanting to let go, or lose control, but the most successful business owners are the ones that can delegate with confidence to their team, and empower others to become positive about growing their business. Delegation is not only healthy for a business; it creates opportunities for us to achieve an important work-life balance.
One of the biggest mistakes I see in business is a lack of consistency. Marketing, sales, operations, systems and processes are key areas where those mistakes can happen. People invest inconsistently and without focus on marketing, they are erratic with sales structures and disciplines, lack focus and direction in operations and their systems and processes continually change because they aren’t logical with them, and don’t explore properly to identify why they aren’t working. Make one of your new year’s business resolutions the creation of a plan to systemise everything you do in your business focusing on the most important issues first. I have a useful guide for systemisation which can be downloaded from my website.
The last few hours on a Friday, or the first few on a Monday should be typical weekly diary entries (I favour the latter) where you can work on your business rather than in it. Planning is a vital part of growing a successful business, and it should be a weekly affair, not when you find time between phone calls or meetings. Diarise planning meetings with your team, but just as important, with yourself.
We often overlook our own education in business. Every day is a school day in business and we constantly learn new things, and pick up new ideas or techniques. Make this an absolute necessity, and again diarise time for your own education, but also that of your team. If your businesses knowledge is standing still, your turnover and profits are likely to be stagnating too.
A great deal of business networking can be seen as a loss leader, and indeed some of it is. However, being out in the business community amongst fellow business owners is a positive move. You will learn more about yourself in business, and about others. You associate with like-minded individuals who all share a common goal to be successful in business. You can build long-term relationships that have a positive influence for both parties, and it’s your chance to demonstrate that you are a successful business owner and build recognition within others of this fact.
As human beings we naturally get more reward out of giving that we do taking. It’s not psychological; it’s biological. When you work hard building your businesses, it takes a lot from you and demands huge amounts of your time and attention. Giving something from the rewards of your hard work to an individual or organisation that need it is a real positive. Many of the local charities now including the Essex Wildlife Trust have packages for business that reciprocate good will providing benefits to you and your staff, and your small fee helps them maintain the environment they look to support. Or indeed, you may wish to support a charity you are close to or passionate about.
Take time for yourself, you need to see the benefits of your hard work as well. All work and no play can be a recipe for mental and physical disaster, so take time out and diarise that time. It could be finishing early on a Friday to spend some important time with the children, or not working that Saturday when you really don’t need too.
You need to be on top of your game to succeed, and I have never met a business owner yet who is successful working every waking hour with no ‘me time’ or personal reward. Take that time out for you as well.
No one admires a pessimist and indeed pessimistic attitudes in business rarely succeed. Optimism is positive, but not to the degree you are running away from the realities of the situation. Procrastination is a bi product of misguided optimism, and can be damaging to the success of your business. It’s too easy to put off the difficult tasks, and actually hugely rewarding to take care of them. Pipe dreams are certainly a recipe for disaster, and only lead to frustration. Set realistic goals for yourself and your business, and be optimistic, but keep it real dealing with the difficult decisions first.
Not making decisions in business can sometimes be worse than making the wrong decision. Yes of course a wrong decision could prove disastrous in a few situations, but that is where your assertive behaviour should come to the fore. Taking the considered approach by thinking things through first, and then take control of your convictions and don’t let others get in your way. If you have thought through your decisions, you will have the confidence to make those decisions a resounding success.
You may also have a service or product that isn’t working. Find out why it isn’t first, and if your findings represent something that isn’t workable, then drop it quickly. Be confident when making changes, it is a common trait of the entrepreneur to take control over your destiny, and not have any fears when doing so. Never invest time trying to make the unworkable, workable. Make those changes you need to make quickly and effectively.
To 2017, let’s make it even better!
Was 2016 as it good as it could have been for you and your business? Did you get the rewards from your hard work? Is your business flourishing, or is it standing still? Are you in a quandary, and not sure what direction you want to take?
For most business owners, December is the time to reflect, and early January is the time to make and take those plans forward. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to kick start the new year, it’s your chance to make 2017 even better!