What’s Changed?


This is my 1st post of the year, so belated Happy New Year. It’s been a busy 3 weeks comprising preparing a course that is almost ready to launch (I’ll tell you more later), updating my report, Why Most Businesses Fail, working on a new business that I launched late last year, (I might tell you more about that another time), client work and getting our house ready to put on the market. (If you know anyone interested in a beautiful converted barn in the Cotswolds then do let me know.)

Anyway, lots going on, all very exciting and all is going according to plan – that’s my plan that I mapped out towards the end of last year.

Talking of plans, you may remember that during the last couple of months of the year, I did wax lyrical about the need to plan for your year ahead. How did that go? What changes have you made that will make your business stronger this year than last?

Now, a small minority of business owners will have created a new strategy or updated an existing one and in doing so will have started this year setting off in the right direction with confidence and renewed excitement. (Creating the right strategy will have that effect on you.)

The vast majority won’t have created a plan because they couldn’t find the time or because they didn’t know how to create a strategy plan or because last year was good enough so why bother.

This majority will simply have started this year where they left off in December.

If you fit into the vast majority group and the reason is one of the first two, then I can help (if you want it of course). If it’s the 3rd reason, then I can’t help you because nothing I say will change that mindset.

And if you are one of the vast majority, when I asked what’s changed, I guess your answer is, nothing. How do you feel about that? Are you happy for this year to be at best the same as last year? And not just in results, but in your workload, your time, your stress.

And by-the-way, this is a good time to be asking this question. Talking about it last year will have fallen on deaf ears for most because, like most you were really busy getting everything done before the festive season (which according to retail started the day after Halloween).

Now, as we approach the end of January, you’re in a better place to see if anything has changed and ask if you really do want this year to be better.

Assuming you do want this year to be better than last and for the journey to be more enjoyable and less stressful, well it’s not too late to make that happen.

Let’s look at the 1st issue – not enough time. This implies a lack of control. (If you haven’t read, Why Most Businesses Fail I seriously recommend that you do because having control is one of the fundamental requirements of a successful business. You’ll see why I say that in the report.)

Most business owners work really hard in their business, solving problems, reacting to customer demands and so on. For most of the time they are not in control of their time and the tasks they need to carry out. They don’t have time to step away, shut the door and enjoy some quiet time to think about where their business is and where they want it to be.

And they never will, if they don’t do something about it.

The first challenge here is to decide that you’re going to make time….and not at evenings and weekends. That’s precious personal time. (Of course, there are times when you have to work odd evenings and weekends but these should be rare.)

You need to schedule time in your work diary or calendar. For major projects, like creating your strategy, you need to block out a number of sessions – I talked more about this in another post last year.

If you have no major projects on, don’t think you don’t need to set aside time to look up and step back. Thinking about your business, checking its status or using the time to learn something that will improve how you run your business is vitally important. And not just for your business but for you too.

I have at least Friday afternoon’s set aside for this and if nothing is pressing, Friday morning’s too. It’s a great way to end the week. I think about what I’ve achieved and what I didn’t and if I’m on track according to my plan or if I need to make some adjustments to it. I think about my challenges and what time I need to allocate in order to overcome them and so on. I also use the time to learn something new, whether it’s from a training course I’ve invested in, a book, an article, a couple of podcasts or posts from people I follow.

All of this ‘you time’ will feed your mind and that is essential. This time isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. Think of it in that way. Actually book the time in your calendar, set it on repeat (in my case weekly) and set an alarm to remind you. Do it now.

Make it your time and make it as important as say booking a meeting with your top client or customer. Only, cross out the time if you really have no choice.

If you don’t make the decision to make this year better, then it won’t be and neither will the year after that and the year after that. Make the decision – it isn’t too late.

Open your calendar now and set aside time to do this and book the time to create a plan of what you need to do this year if you haven’t already done so.

In my next post I’ll talk about the 2nd challenge – creating the strategy.