Tuesday 23rd January 2018

Going through life just hoping things will become better is what some people think and indeed expect will happen!  Unfortunately, this does not give us or our family the quality of life we should have or expect. However, I’m sure that you already know that without me saying it. Having come to the end of a very eventful year, one that I think, as most free-thinking individuals will agree, has not been the best of years for the business world and for us as well.

So, what are you going to do about it?  You are half-way through January so what has happened to those New Year resolutions?  I now feel, more than ever. Four words come to mind they are Confidence- Commitment- Communication- Control that always kick starts my thinking and concentrates my mind into the New Year; they are:

  • Confidence: Unfortunately, many people have this thought towards the end of January because their plan isn’t working fast enough. So, “If you think you’re beaten; YOU ARE.” You will need to combat that by bringing back your self-confidence. The confidence you had when you first started out in business, that same confidence that got you to where you are now. Any mistakes you may make this year, take them on the chin, just except them but, learn by them and carry on trying to better things. Remember, without making those mistakes you don’t learn, so, have the confidence to carry on.
  •  Commitment: You should look at what have you committed so far in your life to get where you are now? You are probably working longer hours, not been around to see your children off to bed, given up family weekends and holidays, and for what! To make sure your business survives. I would imagine you’ve had a few sleepless nights worrying about where all the energy and money will come from to survive.  One thing that has always driven you forward has been your commitment to what you’re doing is a very commendable attribute you have and should be proud of. 
  • Control: This is when you must really dig very deep into your mental reserves. You have managed to keep control up to now, possibly with great difficulty but, you’ve managed so far! So, don’t give up now. I know over the Christmas period you’ve been worrying, with so many businesses closed, with so many companies using the excuse, “the cheque’s in the post” especially when you’re have been relying on those monies to survive and carry on. You need to monitor and measure your business; it’s crucial that as a business owner you must keep an eye on your money. Keep control of when the peaks and troughs occur keep an eye on the finances and don’t spend money until you’ve worked out when the returns will start to happen.
  • Communication: One of the failings of a lot of small businesses and therefore budding entrepreneurs is the lack of communication. What do I mean? Well firstly your family can take the brunt, day-in day-out and yet you don’t keep them informed as to the many problems you’re facing daily. You are sometimes too frightened to admit to your loved ones that youre having problems. That you’re not coming up to the standard you had set when you first had this business venture in mind. You don’t want them to think, you’re a failure. Well that’s wrong! Communicating with your family is one of the keys; remember they have put up with everything so far, they have stuck with you so far. Give them the satisfaction of helping you NOW. I know that sometimes it is very difficult, “I’ve been there and know how very hard it is to do”

What should I do?

The first thing that’s needed is to prioritise. Prioritise what YOU require to do during 2018 “week-on-week – month on month”. Now having done that, look at prioritising what the business requires. By focusing in this way, you will receive the help you need from your family, also they will be able to tolerate you during the year because they will now understand. Take it from me, it will mean that things will be easier for them later in the year. 

Your business, is it over staffed? Yes, it’s an emotive question but remember; you’re looking at you and your family’s survival first in 2018.  If need be start looking at reducing your overheads further.  Are you carrying too much raw material?  Are you carrying too much finished product?  Are you giving your debtors too long to pay you? These are just a few things that you should be looking at into the New Year; there will be many more when you start considering your business dealings. 

Have you stuck your Business-Plan in the bottom draw of the filing cabinet starting to gather dust already?  Is your market research up to date?  Remember I have been through all the above at various stages in my life and am only trying to give you a few warning signals.

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