Looking ahead to the new year is an excellent time to reflect on your achievements and evaluate your business.
What does your idea of success look like for 2016? People start their own business for many different reasons and motivations. Therefore, your idea and definition of success may be completely different to others.
The key is to start your year off with some clearly defined targets and make sure you keep checking your progress against that as you go through 2016.
1. Define success
To achieve success, the first thing you need to do is define it. Ask yourself what you want to achieve and establish a timeline to achieve it by. Success could include everything from increased profit to flexible working strategies and higher employee engagement levels.
2. Plan ahead
To make a plan for the future, it’s essential to look at what has and hasn’t worked in the past. Review your original business plan. Identify any new opportunities and highlight any issues. Create your plan with answers to what, when and how, then put it somewhere you won’t lose sight of it. The plan will help ensure you stay focused while you’re busy with the day-to-day of running your business.
3. Review performance
Assess your company’s performance for the year. What goals did you have that went beyond financial performance? Did you launch a new product line or service? Did you achieve everything on your goal list? If not, what changes do you need to make so you can achieve them? Based on this review, ask yourself whether your plan for 2016 has the right blend of ambition and reality.
4. Customer insights
It’s essential to check in with your customers and clients. You’d be surprised at the insights that can be gained by listening to their views on how you could improve their experience, or any general observations on your business. It also demonstrates you care, which is a great way to reinforce customer loyalty. Encourage their engagement with competitions and rewards – and make sure you keep talking to them throughout the year.
5. Talk to your team
Good leadership is all about communication and inspiration. It’s important you keep staff motivated by sharing your vision for the future and the role you see them playing in it.
Create a learning culture by encouraging them to seek learning experiences and offering as many opportunities for growth as possible. Share your plan with them and set goals which flow directly from it. This creates purpose and alignment and ultimately a sense of achievement is an excellent motivator.
Make sure you celebrate those successes and achievements, no matter how small.
The ability to drive for the long-term but deliver in the short-term is a key skill for anyone who wants to be successful. It’s especially important for leaders who want to inspire their teams to achieve a long-term vision. So, beginning 2016 with a plan is a great start to installing good habits and discipline so you and your team can be as organised and focused as possible throughout the rest of the year.
Tim Reed is chief executive officer of MYOB.