February: the window of opportunity.
Just one month into 2018, and my initial euphoria about my resolutions and new beginnings has quietened. I’m settling back into a type of normality. Tax return filed, gym sessions back to a sustainable level, I know that February always paves the way for warmer spring weather, when gardening and outdoor projects will begin to take over my free time.
Do you recognise this pattern of peaks and troughs? Are you a SME owner, an enterpreneur, or even someone with a new business idea? If so, February may well provide the best opportunity to arrange a business health check and work out where you are going with your business this year. We suggest you make time to reflect whether:
- Your business still makes you happy?
- Your goals and objectives match your hopes and dreams for 2018?
- You should do anything different this year?
- You have trusted people to help you through business change?
- You have the skills to undertake an open and objective business review?
Does your business still make you happy?
Business Owners often overlook why they chose to go into their particular business. The reasons will probably include financial, however there are many other success factors, which often get swept to the side in the initial planning. Some people set up in business to fulfil creative or philanthropic aspirations, others seek the relative freedom or sociability compared to the constraints they experienced in larger corporates. However not everyone will recognise that such emotions should be part of their business reviews. Sometimes these feelings can even seem a distraction from your core business.
However – think back – why exactly did you go into business and are you achieving the happiness you dreamed of? The chances are it was closely connected with your values and therefore this should be a starting point for your business health check.
Does your business need to transform or grow?
If you lead a team, it’s important to both observe and consult with them to find out how they are feeling. If it’s a front line team, they often have a very clear understanding of what your customers experience and think about your products or services. The team can provide a clear picture of the situation, if they have an open and honest relationship with you. This type of consultation is often called a ‘Go See’ or a Gemba walk. Gemba means the place where value is added.
Do you have enough support and strength to get through 2018?
Running your own business can be lonely at times and you may have periods of doubt or lack of self-belief. It’s a good idea to keep extending your network of contacts and colleagues. Amongst these you will discover a handful of people you really connect with on a professional or personal level. They may become critical friends, to both challenge and support you to be the best you can be.
However, to focus on your unique strengths, there will be times when you need to develop and strengthen your own style.
Do you have the skills to check your own business health?
There are a range of approaches and tools that can be used for business health checks whether online or face to face:
- Onsite assurance checks to review the ‘As Is’
- Team exercises to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT)
- Benchmarking & research
- Confidential leadership coaching
We observe that some business health checks focus on marketing and others on funding. However if you decide to seek independent help, we recommend that you look for advisers and tools that focus on YOU and your wellbeing. This free healthcheck questionnaire from Business Survival Toolkit does just that.
How we can help with business health checks
We can select and customise the best approach for you and your business. Using our many years of experience, we are able to quickly get a feel for your key strengths and opportunities for change. As business coaches and mentors, we support leaders on business health checks across Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, Lincoln, London and beyond on a confidential basis. We offer a range of bespoke approaches from short complimentary business health checks, to in-depth and strategic reviews. We can support you:
- on site
- at a central Nottingham co-working space
- or via Skype.