Have you come back to work from the Christmas break inspired to take your business forward? For many people, New Year is a key time for reflection and planning but it is very easy to come back to work with the best of intentions only to find things slipping back into the same old routines as day to day demands start to impinge. Over the past few years, I have come up with some ways of keeping focus on planning and development by looking at a specific task. Here are my Top 5 for 2015:
1. Review everyone you have done business with / had enquiries from over the last year – are you still in contact?
Keeping in touch with contacts is my top tip. Email and social media make it easy and inexpensive (or free!) to keep in touch and building relationships with contacts who know you and can give you more work is the best way to grow business.
2. Sort your customers in order of billed revenue – now sort in order of the effort you put in – Do they match? Should you be looking to lose some of your ‘hard work’ clients?
Recognising that not every customer is a good customer was a big lesson for me. If you are confident in your processes to bring on new business, it can be easier to let some customers go if they don’t really fit your requirements. Even if you aren’t so confident, losing one or two smaller clients who take up a disproportionate amount of your time can free up a surprising number of hours to focus on building more ‘good’ clients
3. List your 3 big successes from 2014 – what can you learn and apply in 2015
Sometimes, good things happen and you don’t even notice! Have a think about your high points from the past year. How did they happen? Was there something you can take into 2015 and repeat the success?
4. List your 3 big disappointments from 2014 – what can you learn and apply in 2015
Hopefully this will be harder because you’ve had more successes than disappointments, but sometimes you can learn more from a negative than a positive. By staying confident and recognising the lessons learnt you can avoid repeating the experience.
5. What 2 new ideas are you going to introduce in 2015 – set a plan to make them happen
So far I have concentrated on taking what has happened in 2014 and benefitting in 2015 but what about those ideas that you have had at the back of your mind for ages but never get around to doing anything about? Make 2015 the year when you put at least 2 of them into action. And finally… Running your own business can be very challenging, but also very rewarding. Many SME business owners spend up to 70% of their waking hours focussed on their business, so don’t forget to try to enjoy yourself!