With the end of yet another year approaching it’s a great time to reflect on how your business and your personal financial situation has progressed. Below are some simple questions that we hope will help you reflect.
“We don’t learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.”John Dewey
It has been an unusual and challenging year for everyone, and for small businesses in particular. We've operated and made difficult decisions in a context of the near term unpredictability presented by the pandemic response. People find change hard at the best of times. When you add in a layer of increased financial and personal uncertainty, the experience for owners and employees alike is more emotional and more difficult. You’ve thrown the stone and you’ve landed somewhere. Is it where you wanted it to land? Is it close? Is in another direction all together? Reflecting on the experience and the year that's been is a necessary step in mapping out your next steps.
3 Questions to ask to help with reflection:
Here’s a few questions that can help you reflect on the time that has just gone by. These are intended as an open-ended examination to assist in finding the matters that you want to reflect on and can be posed towards both financial and non-financial outcomes.
1. What worked?
Look at the things that worked well for you and your business and note them on a piece of paper. Did you land that big client? Was your business able to operate effectively whilst we were in lockdown? Was employee engagement up? Have you been able to start saving? Did work-life balance improve? Have you developed deeper relationships?
Note your wins and pat yourself on the back, well done! Reflection is a time for celebration and then making sure you’re repeating that success over and over again. Now's the time to probe a little deeper and ensure we understand what made those wins a positive for you and your business. The next step is to think about how you can repeat and build on these positive impacts.
2. What didn’t work and what can we work on?
What were the important opportunities that were missed or lost? What ventures did not quite work out as planned? What bottlenecks or barriers have we experienced? What was hard, and why? Through self-awareness we’re trying to identify the actions that did not result in a positive outcome.
There’s a quote out there that states that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. If your plans didn’t work out, we should review the situation to work out what we can influence in order to turn that negative outcome into something that will work in the future. If our more in-depth analysis indicates that proceeding will not be successful, doesn't fit our values, or won't contribute to the big picture then we need to cut our losses and move on.
3. What will I do differently?
How can I approach a subject from a different angle? How do the identified actions affect the various stakeholders? What is the path that best aligns with my values? What efficiencies could be gained, and how? Can i set targets ? Should I review my situation more often?
This is where you get the most value from self-reflection. Understanding how we can use our past experiences to create true influence on the future means we’re actually learning and progressing.
This is a very simplistic model of self-reflection but it’s an easy, natural way to reflect. You’ll be surprised at some of the ideas that come out of this process. It is also an interesting discussion with someone else and definitely benefits from different perspectives and ideas.
How can we help?
Managing a business can be a lonely task so making sure you have a great support team around you who will challenge ideas and assumptions and provide insights is important. The failure of most plans is not the quality of the ideas or action tasks, but the lack of implementation and accountability.
That’s where we come in. Here’s just a few ways we can help you and your business:
- Regularity – We sit down with you on a regular basis to improve implementation and planning.
- Accountability – We compare the actual results (or experiences) against our targets and pose questions to self reflect on what happened.
- Understand-ability – We have smart reporting tools that turn the numbers into visual graphs, identify trends and improve the quality of lead indicators. This helps us show if our plans are leading to positive outcomes and shape decisions based on better information.
- Advisory – When you partner with us you don’t just have one councillor. You’ve access to a whole firm of advisors who bring different strengths to the table.
Our “Why” is to support ambitious business owners achieve their dreams in a sustainable way. These are just a few things that we can do to help you as a small business owner.
If you need some help with your planning in 2021 then now's the time! Contact us today to set up a free introductory meeting and get the ball rolling.