The end of a financial or calendar year implies different things for each of us:
- It is possibly your business year-end, with the entire clamour to achieve objectives or process figures and compile reports
- Perhaps it is your peak season – the period that determines your success or not
- On the other hand, you are possibly finalising arrangements for a holiday and looking forward to a long-anticipated and well-earned break
The reality, however, is that one or more of these scenarios is/are applicable to you, but there remains one important aspect that also demands your attention as business-owner – and that is to put your business plan for the next year in place.
Here are a few suggestions to stimulate your line of thinking in the process of reflection and looking ahead in respect of your business’s results and strategy.
1. Look at the figures
The sales scoreboard is and remains one of the most important starting points for measuring the success of your business. Understand the origin of your success or underperformance. Talk to your top salesmen and clients to obtain feedback. Analyse all the information that you have collected and identify the learning experiences that you can use to support your success going forward.
2. Make your inputs visible
Many times it feels as though we’ve achieved little, and yet have been very busy. The dilemma is that we forget what we and our staff did in fact do and implement. Make a point of writing down in team context all your achievements/deliverables and disappointments (aspects that were not done, or went wrong). It is an empowering and motivational exercise, which on its own can contribute considerable learning experiences.
3. What do your staff say?
There is value in staying in touch with your staff’s experience of the business. Once or twice a year try to do an anonymous staff satisfaction survey. Ask them to answer a few key questions such as, for example:
- What makes it enjoyable to work at XYZ business?
- What makes it unpleasant for you to work at XYZ business?
- What are your suggestions for improving XYZ business?
Then afterwards inform them as to which of their suggestions you intend to implement. This way you give meaning to the concept of “my staff are my most important asset.”
4. My strategy for the new year
There is a multiplicity of methodology and frameworks within which one can express one’s business strategy. You will know what works for your business and for you. The important features, however, are to:
- Make time for planning
- Set your plans down in writing
- Do the sums
- Allocate responsibilities and set target dates for every detail of tasks
- Manage your plan’s implementation
- Be flexible in executing your strategy
The content in this article was provided by Jannie Rossouw, Head: Sanlam Business Market. Sanlam is a diversified financial services group, headquartered in South Africa, operating across a number of selected global markets.
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