As the first quarter of the financial year came to end, I managed to take some time out earlier this week and work ON my business. This year has sped past us at a rate of knots and one week led into the next, one challenge led to the next, so did one opportunity lead to the next. The result of this pace has been the lost opportunity to take time out of the business and reflect on what has taken has been achieved, what has not been achieved, and more importantly, what do my numbers tell me about the state of my business.
It required getting into the detailed numbers because numbers don’t lie. They reflect what has actually been going on. As our shareholders used to tell us many years ago, “There is no comments column in your numbers – you either made it or you didn’t”.
As I completed this exercise, I had a call with my colleague, Harry Welby-Cooke, who had coincidentally just completed a similar exercise on his business. “Sobering” was his comment to me.
As “sobering” as these exercises are, I find them quite liberating because they highlight the following:
- The OPPORTUNITIES that are still available.
- The TWEAKS that can be made where possible
- New MARKETING opportunities that exist or strengthening current ones that ARE working
- The opportunity to adjust your PRIORITIES; after all our business results are a function of what we prioritize
- That it is possible to CORRECT the course of the business.
- That it is up to ME to make the changes required
- And lastly, it’s not the MARKET that needs to change, but my RESPONSE to what’s going on in the market.
So, given the above, as we enter into the second quarter of the year, I want to encourage every business owner to “get on top of your numbers”, so that you can make the necessary changes to your business. Failure to do so often results in avoidance, denial, blame (the market), excuses, and ultimately higher stress levels. Avoidance behaviour contributes to stress because we often assume that the numbers are worse than they actually are and secondly, we assume that there is nothing that I can do to correct the course of the business are worse than they actually are and secondly, we assume that there is nothing that I can do to correct the course of the business.
Once I fully understand the true picture, I am empowered to do the following:
- Review and update my business plan,
- Review and document my marketing plan
- Take the necessary decisions to make the changes required
- Eliminate any surprises in the business
This ultimately leads me to recognize that only I am responsible for the results in my business. Only I am accountable to make the necessary decisions to change whatever needs to be changed and that I own the problem – no one else.
It’s most often, not the market or the consumer. Most often the issue is ME. I need to have full control of what is going on in the business, I need to understand my numbers, I need to make the necessary decisions to change the course of action in the business and lastly, I need to ensure that my business and marketing plans are documented and implemented consistently.
The key difference between those that make it and those that don’t make it is the consistency and discipline that we apply in our day-to-day activities in the business.
Here’s to a great Q2 2021.
Pieter Scholtz, Country Partner for ActionCOACH Southern Africa