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21 Jan 2016
It’s that time of year when people have made their New Year’s resolutions. That might be to give up smoking, go to the gym, spend more time with the family, get out fishing or to the golf course more regularly. As we are only two weeks into the New Year, hopefully you haven’t broken them already.
But have you made a resolution to spend some quality time working on your business, rather than immersing yourself in the business?
Business success does not just happen by accident; you have to work at it. If you have not already done so, you need to set some targets and plan for what you want to achieve over the next year. The targets should be challenging, but achievable.
This does require some clear thinking which is best done away from the day to day business operations. Typically you will want someone to bounce ideas off; this may be your spouse, partner, key employee, professional adviser or someone else whose opinion you respect.
Preferably this ideas session will come up with a long list of goals. You will need to reduce this to, at most, the 5 top ideas which will have the most impact on your business. You could choose some easy wins, to give you the momentum to continue with the trickier goals.
Setting the goals won’t make them happen. You need to devise strategies to make it work. For example, saying you want to increase sales by 20% will not lead to an increase in sales. You need to develop a plan which will encourage existing customers to spend more, and bring in new customers.
If you are struggling devising the strategies to achieve your goals your professional adviser or a business coach will be able to help you.
It is easy to forget or mis-remember what you planned to do. To help maintain focus you should have a written plan which can be referred to throughout the year. This written plan should not be too long. If it is too big, it’s more likely to just sit on the shelf collecting dust until next year. Ideally the key strategies should be summarised and written on one page.
The next step is to monitor your performance regularly, at least monthly. There is no point getting to the end of the year and realising you haven’t achieved your goals. You need to review this regularly throughout the year and change things which are not working.
Again this is a role your professional adviser or business coach can help with. Having to report on how you are achieving your goals makes you more conscious of progress. It is all too easy to be busy working in the business, rather than focusing on the business itself.
In summary, my advice for all business owners is to set your goals for what you want to achieve in the next twelve months, and devise strategies to achieve them. Monitor your progress against your goals monthly and be prepared to change and adapt if some strategies are not working.
This will not guarantee you success but will significantly increase your chances of winning.
If you need any help in setting goals, devising strategies and monitoring progress, I am always happy to help and offer a free one hour consultation. Stewart Russell, PKF Francis Aickin Ltd, 09 408 9366.
For more information on how we can help your business, get in touch