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.
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.