Published On: Thu, Dec 14th, 2017

Want a more successful business? Take the time to pause and reflect.

One of the biggest benefits my clients get from our time together in coaching sessions is simply taking the time to stop and think about what’s going on in their business or life. As business owners, we’re so used to working in the business, managing the next big thing, fixing issues, thinking of ways to drive sales, managing the admin and so on that often it feels incredibly indulgent to just sit and think for a while. Sit in front of a coach though, especially one you’ve paid to spend time with, and you’ve really very little choice.

If ‘sitting and thinking’ feels as though it lacks focus for you, my simple structure for doing your own review of things should work a treat. I’ve been using it recently to help small business owners review their year in business and the feedback has been incredible. It’s disarmingly simple but incredibly effective. Let’s use the annual review as an example:

What’s working?

Start by reviewing what’s gone well in your year. What are your key successes? Have you hit the goals you set out for yourself?

Keep asking yourself ‘what else’ until you really think you’ve outlined everything that’s gone well. Then review the list and think about why each of these things has been particularly successful. Now CELEBRATE them! These are all things that YOU have achieved in YOUR business.

The only thing left is to think about how you can do more of these things?

What’s not working?

Now for the not so positive (but equally valid) bit. Think about what’s not worked so well in your year. Maybe you didn’t manage to hit a certain goal or launch a product or offer you’d planned? Perhaps you hired someone that didn’t work out. Spend some time listing out all of the things that you wish had gone better.

Now review the list and think about why. Why did each of these things happen? How can you learn from this to give you a better chance of success in the future?

What’s missing?

Using the insights you’ve gained from the first two points, think about what’s missing in your business? Go beyond the stock answers of time and money – no one has any more than 24 hours in a day, and no one has a bottomless pit of money to throw into a failing business! Be honest with yourself about what you need more of to be successful. What would have helped you to achieve more of the things you did well this year? Perhaps there’s a specific skill set you’re missing or something you really should outsource? What would have prevented the things that went wrong.

Not withstanding the earlier point about money. If you have reflected this far and think that what is missing is investment and that investing in certain areas of your business or life would significantly shift the dial then it’s time to consider whether this is something you want to pursue. When you’re in a reflective state of mind like this, it’s a better time to be thinking seriously about investments you need to make to to move things forward.

What’s possible?

Staying in the same reflective frame of mind, it’s now time to really think about what’s possible for the coming year. What can you achieve taking into account what’s worked and not worked this year? What knowledge and skills are possible to acquire to facilitate your ongoing business success? What goals could you achieve?

This whole process should take no more than an hour to complete. It’s a great structure to review not just events like your year and specific projects but also people and specific areas of business performance. Take time to celebrate your successes and learn from your failures but also be honest about why and what you need more of to succeed.

If you’d like support to run through the process and see what more insights you can get with the support of a coach then get in touch.

Happy reviewing!

Rebecca

About the Author

- I help fast growing product and service based businesses move from start up to grown up. By supporting them to optimise every element of their business they can maximise profit and minimise complexity. Drawing on 15 years experience working on improving businesses from the inside to increase revenue, grow profit, kill problems and build amazing teams, I support business owners to create structure, process, clarity and the right mindset. My extensive practical experience is supported by a Postgraduate Diploma in Coaching and Behavioural Change awarded with Merit from Henley Business School. I began my career working for a number of blue chip consumer goods companies managing large senior teams and high profile projects. I was awarded the European Supply Chain Excellence Award in 2014 for my work providing commercial advantage through outstanding team engagement.

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