Happy New Year!  I’m sure like most people you will be glad to say goodbye to 2020, and are welcoming 2021.  Things may still be tough for us, but there is hope on the horizon of a return to normality.  There will undoubtedly be more challenges ahead, some which we can foresee, and some that will take us by surprise.  So what can you do now to ensure that 2021 is a great year for your business?  Well, here are my top 12 tips for greater business success over the coming year:

1. Stop wasting time and energy on things you can’t control

When you think about it, the only thing you truly have control over is how you react to the situation you’re in.  So make the decision to be a VICTOR, not a VICTIM.  Take ownership of your situation, stop blaming your lack of success on the pandemic, the economy, Brexit, the Government, or whatever else is going on.  You can’t control those external factors.  Don’t let your fear or uncertainty about the future hold you back – just keep looking for the opportunities to move your business forward.

2. Keep challenging yourself

Many business owners I speak to have reached a plateau with their business – they’re doing OK, trundling along in their comfort zone, so why would they want to do anything different?  To be honest, surviving 2020 was an achievement in itself!  But if your business hasn’t grow for the past few years, maybe you should ask yourself – is just “doing OK” really what you got into business for?   Or did you have a big dream to make a difference in the world, once upon a time?  If you’re just treading water and going nowhere, the chances are you won’t be able to attract and retain the calibre of people that will help you make your business great.  So maybe this is the year to reach for the stars?

3. Decide what success looks like to you

If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to get there?  So ask yourself – what’s the ultimate dream, vision or goal for your business?  It could be to achieve a £5 million turnover, to have 10 branches, to be the leading supplier in the South of England, or maybe to build a business that you can sell to give you financial freedom in your retirement.  Now is a great time to reimagine your future.  Whatever it is you want to achieve, be focused and clear, and keep that goal front and centre as you make your plans for 2021 and beyond.

4. Make a great plan for your business

Do you have a business plan?  I don’t mean a 50 page document full of waffle, that you’re never going to look at again!  I’m talking about a focused action plan for how you’re going to take your business forward over the coming years, and achieve your challenging goals. Involve your whole team in the planning process, and make them accountable for delivering their part of the plan. Then you need to review progress on a regular basis.  Business owners with a clear plan are much more likely to be successful in achieving their goals than those without.

5. Learn from your mistakes

Of course, nobody likes to fail, but actually, failure is a great source of information for you to learn how not to do something!  2020 was a great teacher for all of us!  Now is a great time to look back on what didn’t go so well last year, to analyse what went wrong and work out how you can improve in those areas in 2021.  You may need to make significant changes to your business in order to thrive, going forward.  This may include making some tough decisions about your team, but it’s better to do it sooner rather than later.

6. Measure Your Performance

As the saying goes, what gets measured, gets improved.  So if you don’t already have a set of Key Performance Indicators for your business, that tell you at a glance how the business is doing, now’s the time to get them in place.  After all, you can’t manage and improve your performance if you don’t know how the business is performing in the first place!   You don’t need masses of KPIs – just a couple in each key area of your business will really help you understand where focus is needed.

7. Invest in your own development

The most successful people commit to continuous learning.  To build a better business, you need to be a better business owner!  The good news is that there are lots of resources out there to help you – nowadays, there’s no need to learn by trial and error.  Time to be honest with yourself, assess where you may be lacking knowledge, and invest in some education!  If you e-mail me: kevinstansfield@actioncoach.com, I will happily recommend some great books to start you off, or why not come along to one of our educational workshops?  Look at our events page to see what’s coming up!

8. Don’t try to do everything yourself

You can’t be expected to be an expert in every area of business.  Nobody can be great at everything in business – sales, marketing, finance, accounting, team management, recruitment, etc.  What you do need to be is an expert in running a business!  So recruit people who are better than you, and delegate or outsource the things you can’t do, or don’t have the time to do. Then you can focus on what it is that you as a business owner need to be doing – that is, growing and improving your business!

9. Be open to doing things differently

As the saying goes, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got.  So if you don’t like the results you’re getting, you need to do something different!   Again, this is a lesson that 2020 has taught us!  Doing something different may include asking for help – that’s why people like me exist!  A coach or mentor can help you to look at things from a different perspective and identify what needs to be done to achieve greater success.  We can also provide the challenge, motivation and accountability to help you make changes, both in your business and yourself.

10. Celebrate your successes

It’s all too easy to beat yourself up when things go wrong, and just ignore it when things go right.  But that’s not very motivating, is it?  I believe that you should make a point of recognising and celebrating your successes.  Even a simple “thank you” to your team for achieving a target or a win will have a motivating effect.

11. Keep on keeping on!

Famously, Thomas Edison said “I have not failed 10,000 times, I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work!”  It’s hard to keep on getting up when you’re knocked down, but being a business owner can be a tough slog, and you just need to keep moving towards your goals, one step at a time.  You’ve survived 2020, but the hard work isn’t over just yet!

12. Finally – have fun!

Business is a game that we all take far too seriously sometimes.  Don’t forget that your business is there to give you a life, not take it away, so take time out to enjoy yourself, be silly, laugh, spend time with friends and family. Make your personal “bucket list” and start working your way through it when circumstances allow.  After all, time is your most precious resource, so spend it wisely!

I wish you every success in 2021.  If you need any help, advice or guidance, I’m always here to help!