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2017 – the last push!

Wow, where did 2017 go!  Has it whizzed past you at speed as it has us? 

Here we are at the beginning of November, and there are only 8 business weeks of the year left.  If you assume the “Festive Season” celebrations will put a stop to business for approximately 2 weeks, then in reality we have only 6 weeks left to achieve our business plan targets and cross the finish line.

So how are you doing?  

If at this point you are reaching into your bottom drawer and blowing off the dust that settled over the business plan you sweated blood and many hours over at the end of 2016 to write, then it’s likely that you have deviated away from your plan and have spent much of this year chasing targets and work that haven’t in any way moved you forward to your achieving the overall target.

If this is you, don’t despair, there are still a few weeks left to crack the essentials of the plan and see some positive steps forward.

Review the plan, concentrate first on the financials you set the Company and review where you are at against these.  Why here?  Cash is the oxygen of your business, without it you can’t breathe, the business cannot grow, and you are potentially putting your Company in jeopardy. 

If you are a long way away from the financial targets you set, then the final weeks of 2017 must fixate on closing this gap – put everything else you and the team are doing on hold and concentrate everyone on hitting your financial numbers.

All departments can help here.  It’s not just a case of closing new and ongoing business, look at the processes you have in place, are you owed outstanding invoices?  Chase these and look at the processes you have in place to stop this happening going forward.  With VAT looming, it’s extremely important that you look to have a set process that keeps on top of unpaid debt.  VAT is payable immediately you have issued an invoice, meaning you may end up paying VAT as well as delivering the requested services only for the Company to not see payment.

If you are close to the numbers, read deeper into your 2017 business plan.  What had you planned to implement but somehow got side tracked meaning they were never implemented?  Can they be implemented in the final weeks of the year? 

In the remaining weeks of 2017, now is the time to focus your entire Company towards the final push to achieve the plan and what better way to do this than a huge end of year celebration should the targets be achieved. 

Verne Harnish, author of “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” and “Scaling Up”, talks about needing to establish a reason to celebrate. “A Company’s goals and priorities won’t be successful in driving the organisation if they are easily forgotten or ignored”.  How do you keep an entire Company focused on the goals, especially this close to the end of the year?

Our recommendation is to connect with the feelings and desires of your workforce, engage them in what needs to be achieved in the final weeks of the year and ask them what they would like to see happen to celebrate the Company’s achievement. 

One of our clients has formed a staff celebration team, they call themselves the “Fun Squad” and it’s the squads responsibility to come up with fun events to celebrate achievements against each of their quarterly targets.  The Fun Squad are tapped into the spirit of the employees of the Company and what they would be motivated by.  They are given a quarterly budget and get to spend this only once the targets are achieved. 

Getting your employees involved helps in 2 ways, they are completely motivated to help the Company achieve and are engaged in hitting the goals set plus it takes the pressure of organising an event from HR who are notoriously bad at these types of events but always seem to be given this job!

Reviewing your business plan towards the end of the year is also a good test to see if it’s still relevant and alive.  If you are using the Gazelles one page strategic business plan, then part of the plan includes your Company’s strategy which include Company values, purpose, brand promise, actions to live by and the Company BHAG (see next week’s blog for an explanation on BHAG’s and why they are important to have).  Are these all relevant today for your business?  Has innovation lead you down a slightly different route?   How are we doing when we review the 3-5 year financial targets? 

As business owners, we need to have a focus to keep us motivated and on track to achieve what we plan.  As a small business owner, it is even more important to have focus on the days you perhaps question the sanity of starting your own business!

Soon it will be time to start business planning 2018, see our blog on 3rd December where we give you simple advice and guidance on writing a Company business plan.

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Claire Donnelly

Written by Claire Donnelly

A Business Growth and HR Strategist helping medium size companies to Scale Up using proven systems. Claire is an MCIPD qualified Human Resource professional, with 25+ years’ experience working within various industries and 10 + years’ experience of HR practices throughout the Middle East. As a HR Generalist she has held a number of senior and Board level HR positions. She is experienced in working at both strategic and tactical levels.

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