How will this year be different than last?

Asking yourself some hard business questions early in the year will set you up for success.

Many small business owners either spend too much time struggling to get customers and earning too little money, or become victims of their own success.

It's best to identify these problems early and make 2017 a business year to remember in the process!

 ·       Work on your business not in your business

It’s a saying we hear over and over from our SME clients, but how many times do you take it to heart? Working too much on the day-to-day will leave little room for growth; however, only thinking about the future means things may fall over now.

 A five year plan will help you reach your goals, or if you'd prefer something more bite-size (get it?!) then a simple ‘Here’s where I want to be in one year’ mission statement works too. Studies have shown that you can often achieve your five-year goals in three years if you write them down and are diligent about your approach to them.

·       Look at the finances… or find someone who can

Many SME owners or entrepreneurs are creative, driven, and forward thinking. However, without the financial know-how and those forecasting skills, your business may lack the backbone for growth. What are your business’ income, direct costs, wages, overheads and marketing costs? Here’s where we at Deloitte Private can offer some tangible value to your business and we’d love to come alongside you in this. Get in touch with us for a coffee if you'd like to explore this more.  

·       Stay focused on what you’re good at

Take a close look at any side ventures related to your business that you are involved in. Business owners sometimes invest in other ventures only to find out that what they're really best at is their core business. Evaluate projects to determine if they're giving you a rate of return equal to your primary business. If they aren’t, it could be time to evaluate what you need to concentrate on. Keep growing and exploring different avenues but know what you’re good at and invest in that. Build on your strengths, not your weaknesses.   

·       Are you bringing the right energy to your business?

If your business is stagnating, ask yourself why. Are your staff tired? Does the team need an infusion of new blood, or is it a leadership issue? Consider holding regular team meetings to generate new ideas and get business input. If you discover something negative, turn it into an opportunity to make positive changes in your business. Be prepared to trust people to do their jobs well, because as we mentioned above, you should spend as much time as possible working on your business not in it.

Be a leader and show positive energy and integrity so people will follow you forward.  

May 2017 be your best year yet!

Stephen is a Wellington Deloitte Private Partner advising fast growing and entrepreneurial companies.