6 tips for a flying start to the New Year
Think A back to how you usually feel in February – the party season is a distant memory, commuter faces are puckered with hatred, a despondent sort of lethargy sets in as we wait, passively, for resolutions to fall by the wayside. A sad, soggy mess of a month if ever there was one.
But how much more sense would it make for the start of a new year to be filled with happy expectation? It’s a brand-spanking new set of 365 days to fill with achievements, joy and milestones!
Completing a ‘˜stock-take’ in December will get you and your business off to a brilliant, motivated start in January. Ask yourself: what have you done that’s worked well? What have you done that hasn’t worked so well, and why didn’t it work? Going that extra mile and setting goals will allow you the headspace needed to start to implement solutions in January. So to help get you off to a fantastic start to 2014, here are 6 suggestions for aspects of your business which may be due an overhaul.
If you’re already doing them to the best of your abilities, take a moment to congratulate yourself – it’s not all self-flagellation! If not, consider how to make changes and re-align your business in the direction you want it to move in.
1. Make 2014 the year that you implement a new, enthusiastic approach to networking. All business relies on people, so go out there and . . . well, get to know people! The more networking events you attend, the more you’ll learn about your area, what others are doing in the sector, product developments and so on. You’ll build up a 360 degree understanding of your industry whilst creating a rapport with others and hopefully having fun. There’s no end to the benefits this will reap for you and your business. A December is actually the perfect time to start, there’s lots of people out and they are usually feeling pretty sociable so why wait!
2. Speaking of having fun – you got into business because you had a passion (we hope!) and wanted to make your passion work for you. Whilst no-one’s going to tell you that running your own business isn’t hard work, there’s absolutely no reason that you shouldn’t have fun at the same time. And think about this: a happier employee is a more productive employee, so the more fun events you can make happen, the better the bonds between you and your team members. Instil a sense of fun alongside hard work in your company culture at the outset and you won’t regret it.
3. Recognition vs rewards: micro-businesses often have cashflow problems for the first few years. It’s not easy to balance everything at the end of every month, and more often than not, you just won’t have spare cash to reward particular efforts by your employees. This doesn’t mean they don’t deserve some form of recognition. Think about how you can acknowledge special work by team members without splashing the cash, and be creative.
4. Re-shuffling. On the other side of the coin, sometimes you’ll have employees who just aren’t doing what you need them to. In micro-businesses, this issue can be more difficult to handle than in more established companies, as the employee group may consist of friends and family. If this issue applies to you, the first thing to do is to see whether you can place people in different roles. If you’ve placed an expander (an extrovert who is good at sales) into a container role (a details-oriented person), maybe you could do a shuffle in the new year. Sometimes though, the fit just isn’t right.
5. Promote the Positive – let’s face it, all businesses start out as pipe-dreams. It takes a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm to get things off the ground, and any negativity is going to drain the positivity right out of your start-up. Try to ensure that you and your business are surrounded by people with a positive outlook. Debate and discussion is worthwhile and useful, but naysayers are not welcome!
6. Lastly, create a buzz around your business. A huge proportion of the work involved in starting a new business is getting the word out. PR, PR, PR! Do your homework and start publicising your work on the numerous platforms available to you. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest – the list goes on. There’s no use relying on a simple website; what are the odds of someone coming across it by chance? Get your name out there by any means possible.
So, that’s it for now. This is not an exhaustive list of things to think about, but should get you moving in the right direction. Hit 2014 running!