When I talk to accountants about how to have a ‘better’ tax return season my assumption is that they want to avoid having to do all the work in a short period but I am aware that some accountants choose to work this way. They deliberately set aside December/January to do nothing but work, and then take most of February as holiday, and work part time the rest of the year.
And you will all have different goals for your businesses.
Most goals are a mixture of profitability, work-life balance, and final valuation on exit. But you might have a specific aspiration to drive a particular car whereas I’m happy with my battered old Skoda when it’s too far to walk/cycle or public transport isn’t suitable.
When we take on new clients the first thing we discuss is what motivated them to set up their business. We do this for coaching clients as well as for Minerva Accountants clients so that we can give the best advice. Not everybody wants to grow an empire. Other people are happy to put in longer hours short term in order to accelerate their new startup.
We run Vision and Values sessions for business owners and/or their teams. But you can read ‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek to ensure that you are clear about where you and your business are heading.
You can order ‘Start with Why’ here.
I’m currently reading Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller which is about getting the right marketing message for our business. It’s very good and I recommend it.
Miller suggests that we make our customer/prospect the hero and that we are not a hero but their guide. As you can imagine it set off a train of thought as I reimagined my own business in this light.
How do you and your product/service guide your clients to solve their problems and reach their goal? Now, how can you build this into your marketing?
2022 is here and, one week in, I’m still hanging on to my business plan.
What helps is that I have a list of specific actions for all 12 of my main projects for the year. And the actions for the first couple of projects have deadlines and time allocated in my diary. I know some of them will slip, especially the ones for later in the year, but at least it helps to make a good start.
Have you turned your New Year’s Resolutions into an action plan? I really find that it helps.
Make sure that your goals are SMART.
It’s been a busy conference season and, for a professional speaker like me, that means staying in hotels where I eat far too much and don’t manage to do any exercise. And now I need to step up the training again and get back into good habits. The same can apply to stepping up your business as we settle into the next phase of the pandemic.
Mindset – moving from day to day thinking to looking forwards and investing in the future.
Goals – set some goals, even if they’re just steps along the way to a bigger goal.
Plan – get a plan in place to move you forwards towards your goals.
Action – make sure you actually follow through. JDI
If you’re okay for now then let me know your success stories. If you want a hand with how to move forwards or if you need some accountability along the way then call us about an individual or group session.
I was talking to a client today who felt that she hadn’t made progress because she hadn’t actually achieved any of the goals that she had set herself.
Sometimes business feels like this. It’s a bit like running on the flat ground between hurdles. There is still forward motion even though you haven’t increased your hurdle count.
We might set arbitrary deadlines of month end cash collection targets. If a large cash sum arrives the day after month end then, in harsh terms, you’ve missed the target but, in reality, it’s only a day behind and may still be a new record.
I like to break projects into lots of smaller hurdles but please don’t forget that you are making progress when running between them on the flat too.
Please do set yourself nice stretch goals but applaud yourself for the bits in between too.
We’ve all seen shows where the hero is granted three wishes and they don’t quite get what they had in mind. And the same goes for setting targets.
I used to work in supermarkets to fund my way through uni. One of these was in central London and with so many customers living close to the store they often took trolleys all the way home and didn’t bother to return them.
About once a month the trolley boys would be asked to come in on a Sunday and go further afield to collect them in return for £5 per trolley. Not surprisingly, on the Saturday afternoon they would pay local kids to ‘hide’ some trolleys in a pre-agreed location for £1 each. So the store ended up paying for trolleys that were never ‘lost’ and the trolley boys made £4-5 per trolley that they ‘found’.
We must always be careful when setting targets that they prompt the desired behaviour.
I’m a terrible gardener. Gardening is too active for my lazy days and too sedentary for my active days. Whilst I love eating fruit and veg that I’ve grown myself that goal alone isn’t enough to inspire me to put in the regular labour required even for the few things that I do try to grow.
As you might expect, for me this demonstrates a few things in the business world.
1. You need a Big Hairy Audacious Goal that will really inspire you on your lazy days. Just something ‘nice’ isn’t enough. Have a picture by your work station of your kids, your next holiday, your new car or whatever your reason for your business. In my case I have a seashell on my desk because I want to run my business remotely from somewhere near the sea.
2. You need tasks to do on your lazy days that will still move you closer to your goal. I’m quite happy to fiddle around with an online garden planner and order some seeds and compost. In the office it’s a good time to file or tidy up or clear some old emails. At the moment I’m writing this to avoid some other work but it will save me time later in the week.
3. You can find ways of making laborious tasks more enjoyable. If we’re all in the garden it’s much more fun and the work is shared. Even Grumpy Cat loves to join us outside. Pre-Covid our village ‘Working from Home’ group would spend Friday mornings working in one of the two local pubs.
4. Work at your best times. Whilst it might not suit most people I sometimes enjoy digging in the rain when the soil is softer. It’s another reason I believe in flexible working.
5. Know your limits and outsource where possible. About the only thing that I manage to grow in the garden is courgettes. (And none of the family really like courgettes!) So I order a weekly box of veg from the local farm shop effectively sourcing my fresh food production to somebody who is far better than me. I outsource work to those who are better than me, faster than me or just enjoy it more than me.
Anyway, I’m off to water my new apple tree and blueberry bushes in the hope of keeping them alive just a little longer.