As the year draws to a close, have you considered your goals and growth plans for the new year?
As we head into the festive season, take some time out to evaluate your business and your goals for 2014.
Holidays are great. They allow us to recharge our batteries and hit the new year running. The problem is that unless you plan what your new year will look like, there’s a very real danger you end up running in circles.
Instead, take some time now to develop your goals, create a list, and determine what’s really important.
Pieter Scholtz and Harry Welby-Cooke,the co-master licensors of Action COACH in South Africa and established executive coaches advise that you start the process with three steps.
- Remember why you got into business in the first place. This is a crucial first step. Did you want to travel more? Were you looking for flexibility to spend more time with your kids? Did you have a vision to change the world, or create an enduring brand? “We find that too many entrepreneurs start a business for one reason, and then quickly get sucked into day-to-day operations to such a degree that they no longer have the time to take a step back and evaluate where they are, where they want to be, and how they’re going to get there,” says Welby-Cooke. “They forget that if they put the time aside to plan properly, they’d be able to achieve all their goals, and feel far more in control of what they’re trying to achieve.”
- What does the business need to do to serve you and your goals? “You need to ask yourself what will really help you achieve your vision,” says Scholtz. “If you can’t articulate this, you won’t be able to share your vision with your team. This means you won’t be able to recruit them to help you, and you’ll never see your goals come to fruition.”
- Evaluate your personal goals for the year. According to Welby-Cooke and Scholtz, it’s not enough to just have a list. Instead, you need a carefully thought-out list that’s achievable. “Most entrepreneurs don’t actually do what they set out to do,” says Scholtz. “They end up working for their suppliers, staff and the bank, and before they know it, instead of living the life they want to lead, and running the business they want to own, they’re stuck in day-to-day operations. It’s time for you to change that focus. Start by asking yourself, what’s in it for you?”
Create a checklist
To start getting your goals in order, evaluate your business.
- Carefully evaluate your business
- Create ‘big picture’ goals
- Break these down into focused yearly increments
- Picture the end result – this is a critical step
- Do you know if you want to save time, make money or both?
- Now put processes in place to help you achieve your goals
Changing how you work
“We often ask business owners if they’ve worked out everything they do in a day, week and month. The best way to start is to draw up a list of what you do, and give each line item a monetary value,” says Welby-Cooke.
“You’ll be surprised how you spend your time. Often, you spend less time on the activities that bring in the real cash (like signing that big deal, or spending time with a big client), and more time on R100/hour admin work. Rather hire a bookkeeper and free yourself up for the things that only you can do. Your time is valuable – treat it as such.”
Scholtz agrees. “Many entrepreneurs are terrible delegators. This means that as their business grows and they should be focusing on high-value line items, they’re stuck doing tasks their team should be doing.
They do 110% of the work and get frustrated with their staff, or bemoan their lack of time, when simply handing over non-critical tasks would free up a lot of time in their diaries. Everyone has skills – identify and use them. You shouldn’t be doing everything yourself, it’s as simple as that.”
Putting systems in place
An additional element that can also assist with overall productivity is systems. “This is another area business owners often ignore,” says Scholtz. “They believe systems take time and money, when in fact, a good system starts with simply documenting processes.
Get your employees to document what they do on a daily basis. They’re doing the work – all you need to do is check it. You’ll then have a set of process documents to work with, and an agreed upon system for everyone to follow.”
Planning early and often
The best way to change how you work and to free up time is through adequate planning though. Put time aside now to ensure you’re using each day wisely.
“This can be a huge time saver, and it also allows you to really focus,” says Welby-Cooke.
- Spend 15 minutes today for tomorrow
- Spend one hour this week for next week
- Spend half a day this month for next month
- Spend one day this quarter for next quarter
“Put these planning times in your diary and stick to them,” he advises. “That way, each morning, before you get sidetracked, you know what your priorities are for the day, and can focus on what’s critical.”
But before you start any of these daily tips and tricks, put two days aside this December to evaluate your business, and determine what you want to achieve in the new year.