New year, new plan

Welcome to the new year. What have you got planned? Incremental business growth, a better work life balance (how long have you been promising yourself that?) or world domination?

Now is a good time to think about what you want and what that means for your business.

Here are some questions to get you underway with your plan:

1. What do you want your life to look like in 5 years time?
2. How much do you want to earn from your business?
3. How much do you need to earn from your business?
4. How many hours per week/month/year do you want to work in your business?

This will give you some idea of how much you need to earn per hour in your business. Don’t forget that you will need to cover your business costs and taxes too.

A good SWOT analysis will help you to decide how to earn the necessary profit. Look at your strengths, your weaknesses, and any opportunities and threats around you. Covid and potential lockdowns can provide both opportunities and threats to your business to make a plan to eliminate or buffer the formers and to be able to take advantage of the latter.

Take a close look at what you are actually doing. What will you sell and to whom? What problems do you solve?

Now you can start on the details of the plan:

1. Sales plan
2. Marketing plan
3. Staffing – who, when and at what level
4. Technology and other resources
5. Premises
6. Other costs
7. Taxes

If you need a hand with any of this then we’re running a Strategic Planning Day on 19 January. We’ll work through templates together to help you come up with your own plan for your best year yet. Email us to sign up.

Making a come back

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.

What do you want to look like?

I have a deadline! I have until 21 June to get back in shape and get my life together. Yes, I’ve coped pretty well for the last year (and I’m aware that many have struggled) but I want to get back to thriving and actively enjoying life rather than making the best of things.

I know what I want to look like (20 years younger and a stone slimmer 😉) but I also need to think about what I want my business to look like. I don’t know about you but my 2020 plans were put on hold and 2021 was also curtailed. Although I managed to double the size of my business it was much more Plan Z than Plan A.

How did you do through the various lockdowns and restrictions? Was it business as usual or did you have to pivot? Will you continue with your new style business or will you go back to Plan A or do you have a new plan?

Will you work from home or office or a local hub or home office like me? I know a few people who have moved to bigger houses because they will be working from home more in future and want a proper office rather than a corner of the kitchen table. What will happen to your office premises? With the technology to work from anywhere in the WORLD where will you work from?

Did you introduce new tech for remote working and other efficiencies or have you spent the last year being cautious and cutting all costs possible? Do you need to invest in your business again?

Did you enjoy spending more time with your family and will you keep up baking banana bread or the foreign language you’ve been learning? Or were you too busy to do any baking? Are there any good things that you want to retain in your life and your business?

With a provisional date on the horizon we need to start preparing for the post-Covid, post-Brexit world.

What will you do from pre-Covid, what will you do from Covid and what are you looking forward to starting post-Covid?

How do you eat an elephant?

… One bite at a time. Or so the saying goes.

How do you complete a big project? One step at a time.

Whether completing a tax return, growing your business or constructing your dream house the steps are pretty much the same.

  1. Decide what the finished thing will look like and when.
  2. Work out the steps that are needed to get there
  3. Put the steps in order of what has to be done first and what can be done in parallel. Some steps will be dependent on others. Eg You can’t put windows into your house until you’ve built the walls.
  4. This is you project plan and can be mapped on software or just a simple checklist.
  5. Break each step down into bite sized pieces. I like to tie this into the Pomodoro 25minute cycles* but this isn’t always appropriate. Eg writing my books I can do about 2 hours at a time straight off (if I’ve already done the research) so it’s better without interruptions.
  6. Work out what resources you need for each step. eg You need all the paperwork etc before starting a tax return and you may want a coach or mentor to help grow your business.
  7. Now that you have the steps and resources add some timings; working back from the final deadline.
  8. Start. Don’t just dream but take action.

*For more on Pomodoro technique see Pomodoro Technique – Hudson Business Advice

What’s on your stress list?

This week’s tip is stolen from Andrew and Pete of Atomic. (Sorry guys but I can return it any time you like).

They are amongst my favourite marketing people and almost bounce out of the screen on their videos. But, like all of us, they have their bad days and shared how they coped with a particularly stressful period.

They each wrote down every single stressor that they could think of; even the little things. They then worked out one way of improving each of the items on their list. They didn’t try to make everything go away with a magic wand, but just went with one small improvement for each problem.


For more information on Atomic Marketing have a look at their new website
https://becomeatomic.com/

How to balance working on and in your business

Small business owners usually do a mixture of working on and in their business. It’s very easy to get sucked into working IN your business to generate profits and income today but it is also essential to work ON your business to grow and generate future profits.

So how do we get the balance right?

I use a default diary to try and ensure that I get a good balance at the planning stage.

Monday: ON catch up on admin, clear my inbox, follow up leads.
Tuesday: IN Write, rehearse and record webinars and talks for the speaking and training parts of my business. 
Wednesday: IN Minerva Accountants work.
Thursday: ON/IN Marketing and content writing for myself and third parties as I write content and articles for fintechs and accountants.
Friday: IN/ON Individual and group coaching for my various online programmes and then my own business development time, implementing ideas from books, webinars and conferences that I have attended.

Of course, in the real world, it isn’t easy to stick to this but having it in my diary in the first place means that I am more likely to move my work slots around than to cancel them completely.

On a Friday afternoon I like to plan out any remaining work in my diary so that I can hit the ground running on a Monday morning.

How do you structure your week?

Retirement planning

No matter what age you are it is still worth thinking about how you will save for your retirement. And I don’t just mean saving your teeth.

There are 3 main ways that your business can fund your retirement:

1. Increase value of business for sale

If you have a valuable business this can be sold at the point of retirement to fund your new lifestyle. Your business value will increase if it is highly systemised and not dependent on you.

2. Systemise your business for residual income

If your business is highly systemised you can step out of it or just reduce your hours and still have a generous income. Whilst we often coach accountants and business owners who want to sell up, two of them have been so pleased with the process that they have actually decided not to sell yet as the revamped business operates so smoothly and takes less of their time. It’s a bit like doing up your house for sale and then deciding that you like it so much that you won’t move after all.

3. Increase profits to invest elsewhere

Some businesses have limited sale value as they will always be dependent on the expertise of the owner. In this case it makes more sense to increase your profits to invest elsewhere. Your company can pay into a third party pension scheme or SIPP very tax efficiently or you may prefer to take your profits out now, pay the tax and invest in property.

Whichever way you choose to fund or retirement, and whether you use us to help you to improve your business or not, please remember to take care of your teeth.