The start of the new year is traditionally when we pledge resolutions for the New Year ahead – resolutions around how we are going to do things differently…do things better and often…..change a bad habit from last year.
So in lifting the bar for a better outcome, why not make some positive differences for your business at the same time – by making some New Year Business Pledges.
But where, how, doing what?
Over the past year we have met and worked with many different businesses – small ones, large ones, ones with only a couple of staff and then others with lots of people, many different industries, some new and some old. From these, we have put together a list of pledges for you to consider which cover all of the major issues we have seen. Think it of a pledge shopping list – they are all available, but we suggest that you only take off the shelf what you need.
It is always better to concentrate on 2 or 3 things and do them really well, than do 10 things either poorly or not at all.
As you work through the shopping list – think about how these would apply to your business. Will it address a problem or provide an advantage; is it a critical need or a mere want? Naturally the better the fit, the more likely you will do something and drive value.
So…onto the shopping list and in no particular order;
# I will monitor my cash position
Many businesses have little or no knowledge of what their cash position will be at the end of the month – until they get there! Benefits of cashflow planning include; save money, leverage capital, minimise risk, lower stress, improve productivity and provide early warning of issues. Cash is the lifeblood of any business, so you need to look after it.
# I will pay my creditors within terms
There is a lot of free/cheap credit available to your business if you deal with your creditors correctly – which includes paying them either on time, or close to is. Stretching your creditors too far can damage you reputation and in some cases, see you caught with a stop of supply.
# I will recognise my staff for their performance
Everyone likes to be recognised for doing a good job. This can be done with just a simple comment, an announcement in front of staff, a certificate, a plaque or if you want to, coupled with some financial reward. The key is to actually take the time to identify good performance and then do something about it. Most businesses we speak to can tell us chapter and verse about what they are doing for their problem staff, but few are doing much to recognise the good staff they want to keep.
# I will plan
Show me a premiership winning team and I will show you a coach who started the season with intent to win a premiership and a coaching plan to get them there. It’s no different in business. If you want success, then you need to do the planning to get you there. The old line of “failing to plan is planning to fail” rings true.
# I will ensure that I spend some of my time working “on the business”
If you are working long hours “on the tools” in your business, then your view of the overall business is going to be obscured. Further, it is also likely that you are caught up in the inertia of the day to day operation – rather than running the business. Every business owner must step back from the business on a regular basis to observe the whole business, improving and adjusting as they go.
# I will understand my margins
Working for no return is typically what we call charity. Understanding how and where you make money is important for every business operation. Good financial and reporting disciplines will enable you to see the margins being made either at an activity or product level, which allows you to adjust your offer to the areas where you make the greatest return (and away from those making you a loss).
# I will stop tolerating “the broken things” in my business
These can be; equipment, software, process, people, bad supplier relationships, faulty delivery services, a poor website, a poor product……the list is virtually endless. The key point is if it’s broken or costing your business, then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Stop tolerating the things which are holding you back.
# I will enjoy what I do
Simply – life is too short. If you are running a business and not enjoying it, then do yourself (and everyone around you) a favour and address it. It could be as simple as the reallocation of duties, or as drastic as the sale of the business, but regardless – life is to be lived so you need to enjoy what you do.
8 to 10 pledges for anyone would be tough, so remember – it’s far better to pick 2 or at the most 3 to work on – but then really commit to these. Reading through the list, a few of the pledges will have most likely leapt out at you for your business. But if you are still a bit are unsure which are the key ones for your business, then briefly work out the cost/benefit of each and it will be pretty clear.
Good old fashioned action planning and tracking should take over from here to make sure that you stay true to your resolutions and drive home a positive result.
Best wishes for a very happy and prosperous New Year in business.