September has arrived and it’s back to business for you and your venture.
This autumn stretched between now and Christmas is often the most important, busy and lucrative season of the year with many businesses generating the largest part of their annual turnover in this quarter.
So with this in mind here are my top tips on how to hit the ground running and to get the best out of the season ahead.
1) Step back before you get stuck in
Resist the temptation to plough straight back into work. You’ve got to step back and see the big picture or you might get lost in the details, email and paperwork and might get overwhelmed. Make sure you’re relaxed, refreshed and ready, and review precisely where you are and where you’re going.
2) Get strategic
In order to move your business forward you need to know where you are going. If you don’t have a written plan and specific goals and a clear vision/mission – or if they are out of date – now is the time to write or revisit them. This is essential if you have a team, associates, partners or (potential) investors. But it’s also important for you, otherwise you’ll get lost or get off track. Keep it clear and concise: 1-2 pages with clear specific financial, marketing and operational goals may suffice.
3) Fitness & reality check
Okay, now we need to do a quick health check on you / your business? Write down the answers to these questions as specifically as you can
– What’s working well?
– What not working / what are the problem areas?
– Give your business a score from 1-10 in terms of – a) finance b) marketing c) operations & management (10 being the highest and ideal state of affairs)
Give yourself credit for what’s working well. Don’t get disheartened by what’s not. Use this as baseline feedback on how you’re doing.
4) Clear steps
Based on strategy and fitness health check, produce a short action plan with the steps you need to take and when. This is the road map and directions. Keep this simple and specific. What precisely needs to be done by whom and when? eg: Update website services page by end Sept. Produce a database of key contacts 1-15 October. Write and promote 2016 price list by 1 December.
5) Confidence and support
Confidence in yourself, what you’re doing and why is one of the biggest keys to success – but also crucially to starting, perceiving and keeping going. Know why you’re running your business and keep this at heart every day. Also seek out those who can help you. Build a network and build a strong bond with your customers, associates and team.
6) Focus and flexibility
It’s very easy to get distracted and overwhelmed by emails, social media, the telephone – and your own mind. The ability to focus – and yet be alert to opportunity is what separates winners from ‘also rans’.
Tip 1: Start the day knowing precisely what success would look like by the end of it
Tip 2: Complete a key task before you open your emails or social media. See the difference.
Tip 3: Stay alert to what’s going on with customers, your contacts, your industry and in wider society. This is where your next opportunities may be
7) Review and fine-tune
Having a plan is all very well but you, customers and the world are changing all the time. Take 10 minutes to review achievements, challenges and priorities every week. Use this to fine-tune your plan and your actions. Celebrate each step of the way. Remember there’s no failure only feedback. If you get stuck reach out to others who can help you. Remember too that there’s heaps of advice, information, one to ones and workshops available to support you. Make use of it.
Rasheed Ogunlaru is an acclaimed life, business and corporate coach whose simple ‘become who you are’ approach has helped countless business owners connect with themselves, their businesses and their customers. His background spans over 20 years in coaching, training, media, PR and performance. Rasheed is the business coach partner to the British Library’s Business and IP Centre and business coach mentor to TiE UK. He is a highly sought-after public speaker and regularly appears in the media, including the BBC, The Times and the Guardian.
Twitter – @RasheedOgunlaru
or call 020 7207 1082