If you like to challenge yourself with New Year’s resolutions, maybe now is the right time to set some fresh goals for your small business.
As small business accountants, we always recommend that clients undertake a review every now and then, so the start of 2020 and a new decade is the perfect excuse to set aside some quality time to do some thinking and planning.
When you work for yourself, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day running of your business instead of taking the time to stand back and take a long hard look at where you are and where you want to go.
The key is not to prioritise what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.
Stephen R Covey
Now is as good a time as any to set aside some time in your diary to do some goal-setting. You might like to ask yourself some tough questions:
When was the last time you looked at your business plan? Is it gathering dust on a shelf somewhere?
When was the last time you reviewed your finances? We’re not talking about managing your day-to-day money or keeping an eye on your profit and loss account. We’re talking here about whether you’re making enough money for the life you wish to lead. It’s a big issue and one that far too many people avoid.
When was the last time you woke up on a Monday morning and felt genuinely excited about the week ahead? It’s a fundamental question about whether you’re spending your time well.
#1: Figuring out what you actually want to achieve
Ten years ago, if you’d asked yourself what goals you wanted to achieve, there’s a high chance you would have been able to reel off a long list without any hesitation. For some reason, as you get older, the answer gets that bit more complicated.
There really is no magic answer. All you need is a piece of paper (or a ream, depending on how ambitious you’re feeling), a big cup of tea and a blank wall to allow you to stare into space for a little while!
When you’re considering what to aim for, be mindful that it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking about what you think is possible, rather than what you actually want or need to achieve.
Your plan doesn’t have to be shared with anyone, so we’d encourage you to be brave and think deeply about why you work for yourself and what it is you want to do with your business.
Maybe you want to be your own boss and work the hours you choose, or maybe you’ve got plans to build a business you can sell in the future.
We’re all different, but if we’re not able, to be honest with ourselves, how can we get the momentum needed to get to where we need to be?
#2: Putting your plans into action
Habits, mindsets, other people, there are a myriad of things that will get in your way. But if you’ve got a clear plan, you’re more likely to achieve your goals.
All too often, we know exactly what we need to do to achieve our goals, but fail to do those things because they’re hard, or we’re worried we could fail, or we lack the technical skills or knowledge.
All of these problems can be overcome, but we must recognise them in ourselves first of all.
Take a good hard look at yourself and ask yourself: are you willing to do what it takes – the nitty-gritty hard work – to achieve your goals? If the answer is yes, then get to work, but if you’re not, then perhaps you should re-think your goals.
“To achieve goals you’ve never achieved before you need to start doing things you’ve never done before.” Stephen R Covey.
In her famous book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers makes the point that your comfort zone expands every time you step outside of it so feeling discomfort is a necessary move if your comfort zone is to shift.
Working on your business plan
When you’ve decided what your goals might look like for 2020, we would recommend recording these in your business plan and then working through the steps necessary to work towards your goals.
Breaking goals down into bitesize chunks will mean you’re more likely to accomplish what you set out to do, and will enable you to work towards your goals bit by bit with less chance of getting side-tracked by business-as-usual and client demands.
Remember that your accountant at Clever is here to support you in growing your small business, so please do talk to us about your plans.
We can provide advice and assistance on the financial aspects of your business plan, so if you’re looking to invest in your business or do things differently, please do get us involved. We can advise you of any compliance issues you need to be aware of, and help to make you aware of any financial implications of your plans which you may need to consider at an early stage.
We wish you all the best for your business in 2020!