Welcome to a series of articles where I focus on next year being a year of success. To begin our journey of success we have started by looking back on this year, 2022, and identifying what we have learned and what we can build on into 2023. This process is called reflection.
Reflection provides us with information to assist with our forward planning. The next stage in the planning process is to prepare ourselves, mentally and physically; make sure our team is fit for the journey ahead and update the products and services we intend to offer next year.
If we are planning a long trip we will set ourselves targets of things to do beforehand – book flights, arrange accommodation, lose weight, decide what to take and so on. Planning our business for 2023 is no different. Now is the time to get ready.
Last week my focus was on you, as the business owner, getting ready for this journey – today is all about the other people who will be on this journey with you.
We all have and need other people to help and support us on our business journey – these might include business partners, family members, staff, suppliers, contractors, professional services and of course customers.
Start with the people closest to you – these are likely to be family members and business partners, associates and friends. Involve them in your reflection of 2022. Ask them for their opinions and ideas. Make sure you give them a good listening to. Even family members who are not directly involved in your business will be affected by it and will have things to say. Sometimes it is possible to be so close to the day to day running of your business that you cannot see the wood for the trees – you cannot see the bigger picture, what is happening around you. Your friends, family and associates can help you as long as you stop long enough to really listen. Active listening means trying to really understand the meaning behind the words. It is not always easy to do and it does take time. You might want to record what people say or write everything down so you can take your time considering the comments of others – these are priceless comments which could make your 2023 journey so much easier and more productive.
Put aside time to listen to your staff and do not forget the casual and part-time people – if they have worked for you this year, they will have things to say! It might be hard at first for people to speak out and you will need to encourage them. Explain why it is important for you to know what they think. Do not judge what they say and always thank them! Maybe combine a staff feedback session with a Christmas party and make it fun. Keep it light and friendly but listen well!!
Try and do the same thing with other people who have been important in helping your business this year. This might include all suppliers; professional people like lawyers, accountants, and bank staff; contractors; neighbouring businesses that you have a good relationship with; business advisors and anyone else who has helped your business grow tis year. Explain why you need their honest opinions and, as with your staff, listen carefully, write down what they say and thank them.
Finally, do not forget your customers. You could have a prize draw as long as your customers give you some feedback. You could have a customer Christmas party. You could have a business special just for your 2022 customers. You could create a 2023 customer club where people get rewards as long as they provide you with regular feedback. There are many things you could do to make them feel special and, at the same time, get their reflection on your business. They will always see your business differently to you and your staff and it is important to try and see it through their eyes.
Every piece of reflected feedback is a free gift and provides one more brick to build on for the coming year. You cannot be too busy to do this! If you are it is likely that 2023 will just be a repeat of this year with no growth.
Next week will be the last article for 2022 and I will start to introduce a planning model to help you get ready for 2023. Please send me feedback and if you have any other suggestions or any questions or comments, please contact me.
Breadfruit Consulting (www.breadfruitconsulting.com) is a Vanuatu-based business providing advice, training, coaching, and mentoring to businesses throughout the Pacific islands. Breadfruit specialises in a range of business development activities including ‘business continuity planning and action’, helping businesses to survive in a crisis, designing and starting new, sustainable businesses. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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