As published in NZ Business magazine.
We all know that 2020 was likely the most challenging year we have collectively faced globally in business (and life) in living memory. I trust you’ve had a decent break over the holidays and are hopefully rested and raring to go, aiming for a better year than the last one. Alas, no one knows how 2021 will pan out but regardless of what’s ahead, there are plenty of things within your control you can act on now — here’s what I’d recommend you work on now so you know you’ve given this upcoming year your best shot…
Firstly, I’d be having a big think on where the opportunities are for your business for the 12 months ahead. With the world being what it is right now, certain product or service offerings will have more potential than they did 12 months ago. Has your business considered whether you need to change or tweak your offerings? The grass may be greener in fields you’ve not considered before so figure that out before you spend too much time on the things that don’t have the same potential.
Speaking of time, you need to be really protective of yours. We all have 24 hours a day and how you use your 24 hours will massively determine your 2021 in business and life. My challenge to you: how can you free up, say, 4 hours every week? If you can put that 4 hours into working ON your business, it could be the key to maximizing your success this year. Use that time to think big, to think strategically, and to think outside the usual firefighting most business owners spend so much time on.
Are you happy with your team? If not, what will you do about it? If you are happy with them, what can you do to help them be even more effective? How can they work better together? What is stopping teamwork in your business going to the next level? Make 2021 the team your team performs to their optimum.
Don’t underestimate strategy; a strategic player/business will always beat an enthusiastic one. Have you gone through a process to consider what your main strategies should be for 2021? We have run business planning workshops for hundreds of companies and know the true power of being focused on the right strategies. How will you formulate the best strategies for your business to get ahead this year? Get the right strategies and you’ll give yourself the power of knowing what to focus on big picture.
The power of customer retention is massive and it’s priceless. What are you doing to get your customers to stay with you forever? What are you doing that stops your customers from wanting to stay with you forever? Why don’t they want to recommend you? It’s paramount you address this. Then you need to elevate your entire customer experience: how are you surprising and delighting your customers? What are you doing to get strong word of mouth? Nail this and sales growth is that much easier, even in more challenging times.
Do yourself a favour and pre-book some 2021 holidays. You might have just come out of some summer holidays but if you don’t plan your time out for the year ahead, there is a good chance you’ll get to the end of the year and realise you only had a handful of days off. We are not robots; we need downtime in order to perform at our best. You’re no good to your team, your family or yourself if you run yourself ragged. Take a few long weekends and resist the urge to work or check emails – just chill! Your mind and body will love you for it and it will help you to do your best work when you are back.
Wishing you a great 2021. You have the power to make it a brilliant year, despite what the world throws at you. What will you do differently?
Zac de Silva is an award-winning business coach and owner of Business Changing who specialises in business planning, strategy and profit growth. He also owns www.nurturechange.com, the 4-day business retreat for business owners and senior leaders in the Bay of Islands, Nov 18-21.