When you're a small to medium business owner, it's an easy trap to fall into. Are the holidays already a distant memory? If you just fired back with ‘what holidays?’ there’s a fair chance you’re in business. This is my world too.
Despite the challenges and stressful periods, I'd choose to make a living by being in business any day of the year, because I have goals for the business and, ultimately, for my family and lifestyle.
What about you — why do you do what you do?
Forgetting about your 'why' is the worst habit you can fall into and, to be honest, I reckon that’s true whether you’re in business or any other profession. It puts everything else in perspective. If you’re there to simply put food on the table, fair enough, that’s a great motivation to succeed. If your reason is to create a legacy or simply enough money to fund a lifestyle for you and your family, good for you. You want your business to succeed.
To make that happen, you need clear goals, an excellent strategy, the right systems and supports to suit your situation, and regular benchmarking.
Benchmarking means revisiting your goals and strategy several times a year with your business adviser. It's widely accepted these days that once a year simply isn't often enough to perform the checks and balances that will get the best out of the business. Especially when you consider how much markets and compliance can change in the space of a year. Quarterly is ideal or, at a minimum, twice a year.
If you're new to running a business or considering buying or starting one, make sure you have an excellent business strategy that’s designed specifically to suit your situation. Your strategy should consider your goals and plans, short and longer-term. It's your roadmap to achieving your goals.
If you're an experienced operator, but you don't have a proper strategy, don't let another year pass by without making this your absolute priority. If you're not feeling the love from your accountant or adviser, move on and find someone better suited who's prepared to engage, so they understand your business.
The right person won't just strategise with you; they'll suggest tools and systems (such as software) that will make your life easier and less stressful. They may even offer some tough love to help you keep sight of the big picture, especially during those super-busy periods that are part and parcel of being in business.
When you have the right advice, strategy and systems in place, being in business really should allow you peace of mind. This means you have the headspace and time for other parts of your life, including family and recreation.
So, forget about flimsy New Year resolutions. Instead, focus on breaking bad and remembering your 'why'.
PHONE (02) 4923 4000
Jason Bartlett is a Partner at leading accountants and business advisers DFK Crosbie, which is proudly based in Newcastle.