It’s hard to believe that Christmas is almost upon us, but by now most of us have already noticed the retail ‘Christmas creep’ of festive decorations popping up everywhere. Summer is also approaching, school has nearly finished and most businesses will soon start winding down for 2016...
It’s been a very successful year for most businesses, with the EY Global Job Creation Survey 2016 – which surveyed almost 2700 entrepreneurs from around the world – finding 47% of Australian entrepreneurs grew their workforce faster than expected in the past year. Of those Australians surveyed more than 60% of expect to hire more staff in the next year, this is up from 31% from a year ago. Australian enterprise and business is growing and it’s been a successful year.
However, with this success it can become tempting to coast gently into 2017 and leave the major planning for next year until January (or even February)… but it this is not such a great idea. Accounting Software company Xero says that over two thirds of small businesses will be poorly prepared for the busy holiday periods and that even fewer use this time to plan or prepare for the following business year.
We’ve recently been reading an amazing book called Lead-the-Ship: How to Create a Self-Sustaining Business Culture That Drives Growth and Attracts and Motivates Your A-Team (available on Amazon). It’s by Gold-Coast husband and wife team Ed and Rebecca Plant who run a business growth and coaching consultancy called Lead a Better Business.
In the book, the authors discuss how it’s easy to work intensely over a short time period to meet a goal, but that doing it in a sustainable way over the long term is much more challenging. Hmm.. we know this one well, having done it once (or twice!).
Last year Ed taught me the power of planning the coming year by end of November so I could have Christmas off and start the new year in a strong position. My partner and I did our planning in this order – immovable priority dates first, our holidays second, and all other work after that. What a difference it made to the year. Because these dates were in the diary, we were able to better use our energy (and even managed to scoop ridiculously cheap airfares which left more loose change for a day spa treatment).
Such a simple lesson, but a really good one.. I wholeheartedly suggest putting a bit more elbow grease into November and December and planning your business for 2017 before you go on leave. Then you can truly switch off during your break and hit the ground running next year without spending your January and February working out the new year’s goals, strategies and planning.
The Importance of Measurement
People who work with us know of our nerdy side. Measurement is king. So if you’re not already measuring and comparing your yearly growth (and if your team are meeting their KPIs) now might well be a good time to start.
Research shows that employers who involve their employees in setting their plans for the future have a happier and more productive workforce in general.
Re-evaluate your Goals
This might seem obvious, but breaking your goals down into smaller, more manageable steps allows you to structure your plans around these goals making it more likely that you’ll actually achieve them. Sure you want to be the top niche cookie maker/musician/hotelier in Byron Bay, but that means nothing. What are your specific, measurable and actionable goals and how do you plan on achieving them?
Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy studies goals, and why they don’t get met. She found that a common mistake people make is to focus only on the outcome and not the process.
People are more likely to meet their goals if they focus on incremental changes and small chunks of improvement. You may have had the same big goal floating around your head for years now. We certainly do. Now’s the time to commit it to paper – something that research has proven makes meeting the goal in question more likely to happen.
By using measurement, KPIs and your updated goals to inform your planning, you’ll be able to shelve work when it’s time to take leave, and when you do return you’ll have a point by point plan for your business and team to follow. A good recipe for a restful holiday.
Scientific author Jared Diamond spent years of his life looking into civilisation and societies – examining why some endure and others are consigned to the history bin. He came to the conclusion that “two types of choices [are] crucial in tipping the outcomes towards success or failure: long-term planning and willingness to reconsider core values.”
At Vim + Zest we believe that taking the time to plan your business, your personal life and your world – positively affects your life and the world we live in – today and the future.
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