Congratulations to all the business owners out there that made it through the past two years of Covid-19. It feels like just yesterday when we first encountered lockdowns, and we all thought that 2022 was going to be a much easier year. Unfortunately, things have not yet gone according to plan, and business owners are still seeing significant challenges. This is a tribute to all the entrepreneurs who have managed to keep their heads above water and some thoughts on next year.
Firstly, congratulations, you made it against the odds, business can be hard, and 2022 threw a few extra challenges our way.
- Rampant inflation
- Increasing interest rates
- Staff shortages
- Rolling illness due to COVID
- Changing dynamics of the workforce with WFH
- Immigration choked
- Supply chain issues
- And for those of us in Auckland this time last year, we were just out of 107 days in lockdown.
So take a moment to reflect and celebrate. You made it, many didn’t, but you did. If fact, take more than a moment, just like sipping a glass of fine champagne – it’s sweet, bubbly, and should be savoured to its fullest.
Hopefully, you get some time off over the summer, you get some time to relax, and you get some time to reflect. While we should all switch off from work, if you’re like me, you’re likely to get out a sneaky piece of A3 and do a bit of planning.
Doing this should, of course, come with a health warning because if you think this year was hard, next year is going to be like sailing a ship across a stormy sea. The seas are choppy, currents are against you, and the winds are strong, but if you have a plan and steady your course, you can make it to the other ahead of the pack.
If you have the stomach for it to help you ponder what next year looks like and to get the best results from your business, here are some questions, you should chew on.
What do I want from the business?
This is the most important question to answer, everything else flows from here. If you can answer this, you are ahead of 99%* of other business owners.
The answer will vary depending on your goals for the future. For some, it may be an exit or merely survival; others may want to use the opportunity to grow; do you want to work less, take more money from the business, or put more in to grow?.
Take time to reflect on your objectives and desires within this context before making any decisions, as it will drive everything.
As the business landscape continues to evolve rapidly, it is important to take stock of both internal and external factors to understand the context of what is happening in the market and your position within it.
By understanding these factors, you can gain valuable insight into current trends and anticipate future changes.
- What is the wider economic situation, and what is the impact on our business?
- What is happening in our sector, i.e. continued retrenchment, rapid innovation etc.
- What is our position? Do we have a strong balance sheet? Are our customers secure? Are our staff onboard and engaged?
What is happening with your competitors, are they under pressure? Are they retrenching? Can you take market share? How you use your resources to outspend them on customer acquisition and retention. Are there opportunities to buy their business?
What is happening in the customer’s world? What has changed over the past year, based on the context above how will that change next year? For B2B, what is happening to our customers customers? How has their worldview changed?
Finally, what do we need to do to change our offering to better service the customer and market?
How do we change your offerings to give more value to our customers? Their needs are changing; how do we match those needs commercially? If we start to see customers churning, how do we create a Lite version of our offering to keep them engaged and still deliver outcomes?
Where do we want to be?
Now you know what you want from the business and our starting point (the context, called point A) decide where you want to be in 12 – 24 months (called point B). Our job is to map the path from point a to point B.
Capability and Capacity
Now you know where you are and, where you want to get to, what capability do you need. Who can help you chart the way from A to B, who can help you get from A to B.
Here are two tools you can use to help with this process.
There’s a lot here, and if you read this far, you might be a bit overwhelmed as we began by talking about celebrating your success for making it this far, and then we lept into some detailed planning. So there are the three things you should do:
1) Spend 70% of your time reflecting on how good it feels to have made it, relaxing, drinking and being merry
2) Spend 20% of your time deciding what you want from your business
3) Spend 10% of your time deciding where you want to be this time next year