Get fit for business in the New Year

It will probably come as no surprise to hear that the top New Year’s resolutions in the UK are about getting fitter in one way or another.

It might be to lose weight, give up smoking, eat healthier or go to the gym – and possibly all of the above! The reason? We all want to improve ourselves, and we know that our health and wellbeing is something that we can control to some degree.

Have you thought, however, that this could also be a great analogy for improving your business in the year ahead? After all, we never stop wanting to improve our business in some way – and it is completely under our control! So, I’ve put together my thoughts on how you can tone up your business in the year ahead.

Be specific – what does ‘fit’ look like to you?

People’s ideas of getting fit differ greatly. It depends on their current condition, what their priorities are and their ultimate goal. One may want to lose three stone, another may want to climb Everest.  In the same way, each business’s idea of ‘fit’ will vary. One manager may want to double their turnover, another may want to restructure to free up their time. The important thing is to have a vision of what fit looks like to you. Be specific. Picture it and write down exactly what you want to achieve. This is setting and defining your goal, covered in greater depth in my previous post here.

Share your goal

The brave amongst us will share what we want to do with those around us. They’ll tell their partner not to buy them that squidgy cream cake because they’re trying to lose weight, or will announce their intentions to the world on Facebook. This isn’t about showing off or making everything about you – it’s about asking for support to keep you on track. Sharing can give you the extra motivation you need to keep going when things get tough, because no-one wants to admit to others that they’ve failed. In business, think about sharing your vision with your team, so they can help push you towards your goal. Or, if you don’t have a team, share with another business owner you know well – or a coach.

Set targets

It can feel overwhelming thinking you’ve got three stone to lose – so you need to break your bigger goal down into smaller targets that sound much easier to achieve. Lose half a stone in the first three weeks, for example. In business – think about the smaller targets you can set yourself that are stepping-stones to your big goal. To increase turnover, how many more customers do you need? How many can you get in the first three months?

Plan, plan, plan!

You know what you want to achieve, and have set yourself targets to reach – now you need to write your action plan – and I mean write! Don’t just think about it and keep it all in your head, it’s too easy to forget important steps or ‘adjust’ the plan to suit you. Write down what you need to do to achieve your first target. To lose weight it might be go to the gym twice a week and plan your weekly meals. Business planning is no different. Look at your first target and schedule the actions you will take to achieve it. If you want to get three new customers in January, think about who you want to target and what marketing activity you will do to attract them.

Keep track of how you’re doing

It’s the dreaded scales moment! When you’re losing weight, you hate stepping on the scales in case the results are disappointing – and we have the same fears in business. But, if we don’t measure how we’re getting on, we can’t rejoice in the successes or take the necessary steps to improve. If you have reached your target – hurray!  You know your action plan worked and can keep doing the same. If you didn’t quite make it – don’t worry! Analyse where you went wrong and adjust your plan accordingly to do better next time.

Get a gym buddy or personal trainer

Do you have someone to hold you accountable for your results? Someone who will push you when you’re not feeling it – or help you work out a better way to reach your target? We talked about sharing your goal, which is all well and good, but you also need someone behind you to keep you on track – asking how you are doing and keeping you motivated. Consider joining with a group of like-minded business owners to share ideas and encourage each other. Or invest in a business coach. Even top athletes need help to improve. Business managers, no matter how experienced, can benefit from coaching too.

Reward your achievements

We’re often our own worst critics! We’re very quick to berate ourselves for failures – and often don’t congratulate ourselves when we succeed. But this is really important! Recognise your victories. Even if you haven’t quite made a target – you only lost two pounds instead of the three you wanted this week – you’ve still achieved! You are still two pounds lighter and that much closer to the big goal.  In business, every step forward should be celebrated. If you don’t praise yourself when you accomplish something, you can soon get jaded and feel deflated. Buoy yourself up with a little treat every now and again to acknowledge that you’re getting there! The dieter’s little chocolate indulgence! Perhaps finish early on a Friday and enjoy some family or hobby time – or just relax.

No matter what stage your business is at, why not think about how you can get it fitter for the New Year? Good Luck!

Why not book a FREE business review with Doug to kick-start your New Year goal-setting and planning? There is no obligation to take up Doug’s coaching, but you will glean some interesting insights that will help you take your business forward.

Scrap the New Year resolutions – set goals instead!

Has anyone you know ever stuck to a New Year’s resolution? I can guess the answer – it’s probably a resounding no!

Like New Year itself, resolutions are fleeting. They’re often made in haste and forgotten just as quickly, packed away with the festive finery never to be seen until the following New Year!

The idea behind them, however, is a great one. New year, new start. It is a perfect time to reflect on the year that’s passed and decide what you want to achieve in the year ahead. But, like many things in life, the label matters. It has become the norm that a New Year resolution doesn’t make it past January – so alter the label and you might have a chance of making it stick! Set a goal.

I’ve written at length on the importance of goal setting, it helps you move forward both in business and in your personal life, so I thought a bit of a flashback post might be just what’s needed here. This will help you find all the information you need to set goals – and go for them! Let’s call it my go-getters goal-setting guide.

1 – Know your goal.

You may think you have a goal in mind, but it might just be a target. Yes, there is a difference! The first step to achieving a goal is to fully understand what it is – then you can set the target you need to reach to achieve it.  These will help:

Do you know what your goal is?
Targets – v – Goals: Can you spot the difference?

2 – Set your personal and business goals.

The two may be intertwined, but it’s important that you set distinct personal and business goals.  Think about where you want to be personally and professionally this time next year – or in five years.  Here’s some advice on how to go about doing that:

Setting your goal – the know how
Business goals and personal goals

3 – Plan your attack!

Knowing your goal is all well and good – but how are you going to achieve it? You need a battle plan! Read my advice on effective planning to help you achieve your goals once they’re set:

Goals set – but how can I achieve them effectively?
Short term goals and long term goals

4 – Get help!

Running your own business can be a lonely experience. Even if you have a team of people around you, when you’re the driver and the decision maker – it can feel like you have no-one to turn to for advice and support. But this is vital to success! Not only does it help to have a sounding board, it’s great to have people around you keeping you on track – making you accountable for getting things done. There are two really effective ways of getting constructive help – join a masterminding group, or invest in a business coach. Here’s the lowdown on each:

Achieving your goals – the Mastermind effect
Is a business coach really for me?

5 – Remember why you set those goals.

My final tip would be – keep in mind why you set those goals. Everyone in business faces tough times, there will be challenges to overcome in reaching for your goals – so it’s important to remember a) what those goals are and b) why you set them for yourself.  Listen to my podcast about the importance of goal setting, and keep in mind the ‘why’.

Goal setting and how important it is (Podcast – £4.95)

Now it’s down to you! Good luck and go set ‘em!

Goal-setting (and achieving) is covered in detail in Doug’s book ‘Getting Down to Business’. Buy a copy direct for just £19.99 here.