New Years Resolutions 2021 – Top Ten Tips
Can you believe it – the end of another year, and a strange one. Time to make some time to prepare for next year to make it better. If we do what we did last year, chances are we will get what we got last year. Yeah, you heard it before, but seriously what are you going to do about it this year? Here are some suggestions to get you thinking about some potential New Year Resolutions.
1. Plan – Take the time to write up a simple Business Plan before the year starts. What do you want to achieve? Why do you want to do it? What should be the end result? How can you do it? What are the steps ? Who needs to be involved? What will it cost in investment of finance and time? Set some targets for the year, months and weeks. Make sure the team is involved and understand where you are going. Have your sales person or team write up a list of who you want as customers next year and how will you engage with these people.
2. Finance – Get on top of income and outflows, ensure your margin is good enough, ideally have a month or two or 6 money in the bank in case of slow weeks or tardy payers. Why trade with these poor payers? Collect the debts and pay your own.
Do a basic cash flow analysis, money in, money out, selling price, cost price, profit, margin, wastage etc. Set targets and review them. Check the finance every week and sleep well, knowing you are on top of it. Book your accountant or financial adviser for one very focused hour/session and get their advice on how you can do better.
3. Technology – It is 2021 NOT 1994 so get the right smartphone, laptop or other tools like useful apps to keep you current. Make sure your email is working well, securely, syncing between your phone and computer, that your calendar is syncing, and your email signatures look sharp. You should have access to your cloud storage, CRM Client Relationship Management tool, accounts package and online banking and be able to access these on your smart phone.
4. Read – Buy a few books, read one a month, preferably one a week or read industry blogs. Google the logical terms that relate to your industry or job. Use Audible for audiobooks if you prefer audio or subscribe to useful industry or position related podcasts. Check out Youtube content if you prefer video content. Never stop learning or asking questions. Imagine attending a 60 year old GP who has not upskilled since college or an IT professional who does not stay informed.
5. Web presence – Search for your name, then your company name, your product and product type or service, in Google, ( in an incognito window) and see what you get. This is what potential customers see, so do manage your personal web presence, your own reputation and ensure that your website tells your story in a simple ‘easy to understand’ fashion. Your GoogleMyBusiness entry should be up to date as should your LinkedIn profile. The same goes for your team members. Do they represent themselves and the company well.
6. Talk – Get in touch with existing or past customers, ask them what they want from your company or product and how you can help them. Regular contact like this will give you valuable feedback and also a chance to be of more service to people who already know you. Continually improve how you communicate with the team and the customers – this is critical in every business. Find a mentor to talk to yourself or rather listen to and learn from other peoples experience.
7. Network – Get out and tell people about you, your company, your product or service, why it is so good, what are the benefits, showcase the proof. Attend a Chamber of Commerce or local Business Network meeting at least once a month. Attend a seminar, trade show or other get together event at least once a week – even online. Remember to listen here too. If you listen enough you will hear what people are asking for. You may have the solution or can refer someone competent who has it. Remember to spend time with your network members, find out what they are doing and see if there is any opportunity for you to refer them or to work together in any way.
8. Sell the solutions – The ones that people want, rather than what you think they want or what you have in the store or what you have been doing for years. Ask what is needed, find the pain or stress points, supply the solution, but only if you have the right one. Ask questions and then question the answers – ‘why is that exactly?’ ‘tell me some more?’ ‘how would that be of help?’.
9. Delegate – Once you feel you are doing your job well – delegate ! Write up the process for someone else. You are there to run the business, to be ultimately responsible, so get out of the kitchen or workshop. Get the right people on the bus. It is your job to provide jobs, not to do them all. Give your team members the space to grow and take on some responsibility. Look after your team and they will look after your customers. Create a culture where people want to be a part of it.
10. Personal care – Stress is a killer and so is lack of personal care. Eat well, work on it, plan what to eat and when. Get some head space, make time for yourself, meditate if you can. Do some exercise, even just 20 minutes walking briskly every second day or so. Many of the things that happen you, are outside your control, but how you handle them is totally up to you – it is your reality to create. Learn to look at the circumstances from a distance and decide how to respond rather than to simply react, without being driven by basic emotional response. Do not bottle up frustration, share it, talk to someone, a friend or professional. This is number 10 on this list, but should be treated as number 1. You are number 1 in your own life and probably in the lives of your immediate family. If you are a provider, then you have a duty of care to yourself, as well as the people you love or employ.
Print off or write up your chosen resolutions and read the sheet daily. Tweak the plan, work on it and get better every day. Stay on the journey, measure your progress and move forward incrementally towards your goals. Remember to live and love, whilst you are slaying the dragons or riding the roller coasters. Happy New Year one and all. Stay safe, stay connected, stay well.