I wanted to share with you my key learnings in business which I hope will help you have the best year ever.

  1. Start with your WHY – its easy to get caught up in what we need to do everyday and lose focus. I recommend you watch Simon Sinek’s TED Talk on how great leaders inspire action. Even if you have seen it, watch it again. Remember why you started doing what you’re doing and rediscover your passion for it. It will form the basis for everything you do this year.
  2. Design your strategy – it is without a doubt the most important thing you can do to ensure you reach your goals. Set aside quality time to get really clear on what you want to achieve andhow you are going to make that happen. The more time you spend on this, the less time and money you’ll waste on the wrong activities. Getting outside input from a coach/advisor is the best investment you’ll make in your success.
  3. Have a plan – once you have your strategy (direction) you need a solid plan to get you there. You need a detailed plan with priorities, deadlines and assigned responsibilities. You need to commit to weekly meetings to keep up momentum. Implementation is where most businesses fall down so plan to avoid this.
  4. Revisit your hourly rate – Whether you quote by the hour, or charge a fixed fee for a specific project, you need to know what you need to charge to ensure you stay in the black. Your ultimate aim of course is to cover your time, your costs and retain a profit. Keep your rate in mind when deciding what to outsource or delegate!
  5. Manage your time – this might sound basic, but effectively managing your time is a real skill. This includes doing scary new things like outsourcing or only checking emails twice a day. Or working out of the office for distraction-free time. Be prepared to shake things up a bit. It might seem like a small change, but it can make a huge difference to your productivity. Set self-imposed deadlines to get things done (half the time you normally would) and watch how fast you get through things. Pretend every day is your last before holiday.
  6. Schedule everything in – I record everything I do in my calendar. Work, personal, exercise, study etc. I block out time to ensure everything that needs to get done, gets done. It works a treat. I baulked at first thinking it would be too restrictive, but it actually provides great flexibility. I am free to move things around, but I dont cancel. It’s important to keep your appointments. It’s also really easy to view at a glance what I’m spending my time on.
  7. Take time out to work ON your business – Its essential to the survival of your business to take time out to work ON it vs IN it. You need time away to see things from a different perspective. Schedule in time each week to work on marketing, development, attend seminars that will bring something fresh. Ask for feedback from clients and your team. Be prepared to be open to change and ensure innovation.
  8. Make time to nurture relationships – whether business or personal, make the time you spend with others quality, uninterrupted time with that person. Be totally present and with them. When you are, you’ll notice things you wouldn’t normally, they’ll appreciate your full attention and you’ll grow richer in many ways. Make time to catch up with your centres of influence and provide a quality service to your customers. Referrals are your best form of marketing – so pay attention to what’s really going on and grow these relationships.
  9. Dedicate time for personal development – Do you remember how great it feels when you learn something new and feel ‘pumped’ with new ideas? It’s vital that you devote time to attending workshops and training events to re-energize and boost your business. Plus, its a great way to meet like-minded people who can be a support network.
  10. Put your health first – this has been a huge one for me this year. I tend to get busy working and my health gets pushed to the bottom of the list. If you can relate to this one, don’t wait for a big reality check to bite you on the butt! Your business depends on you being your best self. Schedule in proper breaks, exercise, healthy eating and time for you.
  11. Keep up with technology – like it or not, technology is rapidly changing the business landscape and you have to know what’s going on and how it impacts on you. Keep up to date with changes and if it’s not your bag, hire someone to do it for you. Get on social media, get the apps you need to improve productivity and ask others what they are using. Ignorance is an expense you can’t afford.
  12. Ask for help – sometimes being in business can be overwhelming and challenging. It helps to have a support network you can talk things through with. If you are struggling or need help, ask for it. Whether its family and friends, colleagues, mentors, business associates or consultants. Don’t put it off and have to deal with the effects of it getting worse.
  13. Have fun – we chose to be business owners because we wanted the lifestyle that comes with it. Being our own boss and having the flexiblity to do what we want. Set up your business so you can do that. Have fun, enjoy what you do and people will be attracted to that. Life is too short to not have fun doing what we do. Make some changes to incorporate fun into everything you do.