I feel like this year has been a failure. Cheer me up, Aunty B!

Dear Aunty B,

I’ve been reflecting a bit on my business as the year winds down and I’ve got to say that I am a bit depressed.

We’ve had a bloody tough year. Sales and profit have been flat. I’ve had to trim costs and I even had to let someone go in the middle of the year during a particularly ugly patch.

I feel like I’ve had to scrap and fight to get customers to pay my bills. I feel like I’ve redone business plans every 10 minutes.

When I look at my customer lists, it seems like I’m dealing with the same people every time. When am I going to get some growth happening?

Aunty, I’m not saying I’m giving up, but 2012 has well and truly taken the wind out of my sails.

What do you prescribe for this feeling?




Dear Down,

Take two bottles of champagne, 14 hours sleep a night, three good books, some nice food, five movies, a daily nap and two weeks of exercise – and see me in the new year.

Look, you’re exhausted and rightly so. It hasn’t been an easy year in any sector and it is incumbent on all entrepreneurs and managers to get a good break these holidays and reset for a big 2013.

But before you go on leave, I want you to take a fresh look at your year – because I see some impressive achievements there.

So your sales and profits have been flat. Well, in a tough market holding sales is no small achievement and particularly when you can maintain your margins and not reduce your profitability.

So you’ve had to reduce costs and let someone go. Well, being quick to match your cost base to the conditions is an essential entrepreneurial skill. And it can be bloody hard to take action, so well done for being decisive.

So you’ve had to scrap to get paid. I bet your cashflow systems have been fine-tuned better than they’ve ever been.

So your customer list isn’t growing as you’d like. Well, there’s nothing better than repeat business, so cherish the loyalty that you’ve built.

In my eyes, you’ve had a great year.

Not every year is going to bring amazing growth and champagne flowing like wine.

Some years – lots of years – are tough and ugly and exhausting. At these times, keeping your business in good shape is no small achievement.

So well done. Enjoy your break, because you are an entrepreneurial hero in my eyes.

Be smart,

Your Aunty B

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