I am not really into New Year's Resolutions - they have never really worked for me. I once made a resolution that I would eat good healthy food and remove all alcohol whilst nursing a hangover on New Year's Day. But at the time my IQ levels are about the same as my goldfish because any brain cells left in my brain were still swimming in the alcohol I had consumed a few hours earlier. This meant they were nursing a hangover too. My ability to make any rational decision at the time was as good as my chances of winning gold at the Olympics. And anyone who has seen my body knows there is no chance of that happening.
Anyway, that resolution lasted exactly 48 hours. And an hour after that a couple of bottles of red wine decided they needed to be emptied down my throat.
But here's the thing. When I make rational decisions about my business in the New Year I tend to follow them through. So if you want your resolutions to work this year I have the perfect answer for you.
Screw trying to detox yourself. You don't want to do and it never works anyway. Instead, detox your business and make it leaner and fitter. It could save your thousands of dollars.
So what should you be doing this year?
1. It's Actually About Those Around You!
If you read my blog last week, you will remember that sometimes we don't realise that actually everything we really want to be happy is around us. We just fail to see it. I have spent 15 years advising business owners and I have always found that a happy home usually results in a happy business. And vice versa.
So if you want this year to be a happy and fulfilling one concentrate on your personal life. Block time out right now in your diary for the ones around you. Plan your personal life next year and then organise your business life around it. Usually your business comes first so what I am asking you to do is do the opposite. Be brave and do something different. Put yourself first and put your business second. You might be astonished with the end result.
2. What Does Your Personal Branding Say?
Try something. Google yourself and see what comes up. I do this regularly on myself because it actually tells the world what my brand is.
In today's world of immediate publically available information it will influence how people perceive you. This means it is not only the business and professional part of you that is available, but also your private life too. A picture on Facebook can potentially say a thousand words and you might not have even put it up.
The best way to manage or even shift your personal branding is the use of social media and your websites. Make sure the internet only shows what you want everyone to see.
3. What's on Your Bucket List?
Your business exists to support your lifestyle. You do not live so that you can work, but this is what seems to be happening. How do get around the problem?
Most business owners are so consumed by their business that they forget the reason why they started the business in the first place. We start a business to make money, but the real reason was so that we can have the freedom to do what we want.
Make a list of things you want to do this year. Look at it daily and somehow you will find that at the end of the year you have done more than you expected. Your brain is an amazing machine. It will work out a way as long as you ask it the right questions.
4. Get Involved Outside Business - Yes Network - But Only If It Works
Review all your networking functions and work out what is working and what is not. Stop attending the ones that do not work for you. Some people attend the same functions and a small community builds up. This can easily become a social club where you feel you are networking with people you know but in reality little work is being generated. We are creatures of comfort so we like attending networking functions where we know each other.
Always remember networking functions are where you go to sell yourself or your business. I have never met a business owner who goes to a networking function so that they can buy something. Yes, you may obtain contacts, but ultimately you are there to sell.
It, therefore, makes sense to analyse which networking functions are working and cut out the rest. Believe it or not surveys have shown most networking functions are inefficient when you consider the time involved to generate sales. This actually makes sense. Sometimes it is better to concentrate on direct sales.
Just think about all the hours you spent last year networking and then calculate how much money you generated from it. Now divide the amount generated by the number of hours. The answer tells you how much you have earned from your hard work on an hourly basis. You might find that your success rate might be the same as trying to sell Xmas decorations in February. It's a lot of hard work for the income generated.
I find I obtain new business when I am not attending work functions. Attending P&C meetings at your children's school. Being involved in a charity or events where you give back in some way. You will find you meet more interesting and diverse people as well as potential customers and contacts. And they know you are not there to specifically sell to them.
Always try to listen, be interested and talk to all the people you meet. And do it in that order. Not only is it good manners, but you will find you meet different and fascinating people and create more interesting conversations.
Networking is not just something you do when you go to a work event. It is something you should integrate into daily life.
5. Stop Ignoring the Numbers!
I have never met a consistently successful business which ignores their figures. I look at mine weekly, but you should really look at your figures at least monthly.
If you do nothing else, please do this. It will make a massive difference to your income as your brain will start working out how to make more money.
Some business people just do not get figures. So if you happen to dislike figures what should you look at? Look at your profit and loss and always your cashflow. If you can afford it, discuss your figures with a good business growth strategist. You will make much more money that you will pay them.
Remember a business can survive making losses over a period of time. But run out of cashflow and it is over very soon. Look at it this way. Losses is like cancer - it takes a while to spread before it becomes a real problem. Running out of cash is like having a major heart attack. You could be out in an instant.
6. Free Up Time and Concentrate on the Business
It is amazing the amount of time we spend on things we are no good at. I once thought I could repair a leaking tap and two hours later, my office had more water in it than the local council swimming pool. Even my desk was floating. Another time I was in the attic and we had to call a man to replaster the entire ceiling because I had somehow managed to demolish it. We are all crap at something. So I have decided now that I only do what I am good it. My team is a lot happier knowing that the wall next to them is safe and sound.
Sit down and start analysing what you spend your time on. Anything of an administrative nature has to go. This includes, believe or not your bookkeeping. You were never taught how to do bookkeeping and you probably do not enjoy it. And you have absolutely no chance of knowing the entire tax code and this you need to know because the ATO will assume you do know it. Get it wrong and the ATO might start asking for a bit a money. Or a lot depending on how they feel.
Fixing a tap is actually not that hard. I know how to do it, but because I do not do it day in day out, the chances are I will get it wrong occasionally and this becomes a bit of a disaster. And I then have to spend more money getting it fixed.
This is what can happen when you do your bookkeeping. And also the chance that if you get it badly wrong, you could end up in front of a judge and treated like a criminal. This then means you end up behind bars. It's not worth the risk.
So outsource it as well as anything else that does not directly generate business. Then decide that the time you now have free from hideous bookkeeping and administration you will spend on getting new business. I almost guarantee you will make more money even after paying for an administration person or bookkeeper.
Finally, have a great 2016! And best of luck!