The vast majority of business owners will be preparing for the end of a financial year on March 31. Just like Christmas and New Year’s Eve, this event rolls around very fast. So how is your financial year looking?
If you were to grade your business’ performance and your own performance, what would you get?
It’s a moment to take a bit of time to look back at how you did and why you gave yourself the grade you just have chosen. You will have done some things really well. But it’s also likely there have been failures on other fronts.
As you think about the past year in your business and your role, make sure you consider the learnings you can take. We all make errors – an error only turns into a mistake if you refuse to correct it or learn from it.
There will have been opportunities that you haven’t got to yet. Sitting on your hands with these means some of those opportunities have disappeared. Some may still be there – just. Perhaps if you act now, it might not be too late.
Can you pat yourself on the back because this financial year you took an opportunity with both hands and it took off or is showing promise?
In your marketplace and industry and beyond, there will have been changes that have the potential to greatly impact your business and yourself. Are you actively aware of such trends in your sphere or are you too slow to know what is happening out there? Many people in business are like a possum in the headlights. We all know how that ends.
Numbers do not lie in a business or individual performance. How smart are you on the numbers in your business or team or self and what they mean and are showing?
The best businesses are acutely aware of trends in their business. Numbers never lie, though people do choose to ignore them sometimes. The best businesses tackle what their numbers are saying head on.
Remember that gross profit is more important than sales numbers. Focus more on this number than anything else when it comes to your profit and loss reports. Of course, controlling costs is important too but gross profit is the magic formula to business success.
Think about whether or not you invested enough over the past year in identifying how your business will look in the future and what this means for you.
There will be some active steps you need to take to get there. The best businesses both spend on R&D (research and development) and also proactively move closer to where they need to be rather than meandering along.
That said, the vast majority of businesses do just let business happen to them, fighting fires day to day rather than proactively taking their business to where it should be going.
There are lots of questions to be asked of yourself. Where does your business or team fit into this spectrum? How are your staff and your customers feeling? Do you know? What should you be doing to make their engagement even stronger than it is now?
The best businesses have both raving employees and customers. What do you have?
Everyone needs some sort of accountability and there are many ways of achieving this. Some businesses have a board of directors or an advisory group. Some have their husband or wife. Some use software tools like AccMe. Some have a coach or mentor. Some meet as part of a group of other business owners. Some are just naturally disciplined to hold themselves accountable. How can you be more accountable in the coming financial year?
Enough reflection points. Use these to act and make next financial year your most successful year ever.
Zac de Silva is an award-winning business coach who owns www.businesschanging.com. Visit Zac’s www.accme.co to sign up for regular business-thinking questions. De Silva is also co-founder ofwww.nurturechange.com, the Fiji business retreat in November 2016.
(As published in the Sunday Star Times, March 27, 2016 and online at Stuff.co.nz)