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A good time to clear your head and prepare for the next onslaught

Written by Lara Morgan on Friday, 14 January 2022. Posted in Insight, Leadership, Analysis, People

Lara Morgan says the Christmas and New Year break offers the perfect moment to analyse your performance, re-assess your modus operandi and plan for the future.

A good time to clear your head and prepare for the next onslaught

Lara Morgan says the Christmas and New Year break offers the perfect moment to analyse your performance, re-assess your modus operandi and plan for the future.

I am currently in the middle of a post-year audit, having sorted out budgets and worked as hard as I could over the past 12 months. It is a good time to look forward, as well as reflect, while trying to become more efficient in every department over the year ahead. I have written my list of things that need to get done before starting the next 12-month slog, which will hopefully give me a head start into the New Year.

My team have enjoyed a well-earned holiday and have hopefully returned with a clear vision of what needs to be achieved to maintain momentum.  We have end of year stock to shuffle around and sell, to ensure we maximise sales, and we are approaching the biggest months for two of our brands – Scentered and Yogi Bare

January brings huge challenges for businesses in the health and wellness industry. Hopefully, Scentered’s partnership with Mindful Chef will boost those looking for support tools and aromatherapy. This is certainly the best time to revaluate my routines so I can extract all I can from the forthcoming year. Having enjoyed a decent break, I can now reset for the challenges ahead. It’s a luxury to enjoy some moments when I am able to come up for air and think about the future.

It’s time now to analyse your company’s performance, by checking the relevant data. And by doing so you will discover exactly what happened, rather than what you thought may have happened. Where did the profit really get generated? Which products created the greatest profit, and not just sold in the greatest numbers? You can check profits per channel or market segment. You can look at individual performances and overheads per department.

Are you organising a stock check and have you analysed your own business receipts? In my case this amounts to very little during 2021, reminding me that I have not been ‘out and about’ that often in recent months. This is something I really hope to do more of this year.

And onto my team’s accomplishments: Have key performance indicators been met, and are bonuses being considered? What possibilities are there for the leading company talent to be developed during 2022? Which are the areas to develop, and the skills to build on?

It’s so important to communicate to team members the company’s immediate priorities, and who is accountable and responsible for which areas. They must also be aware of how their performances are being measured. During the year I often check up on our competition. I always learn something new but do not allow this information to change our goals or our ethical working practices. 

Because of concerns regarding freight costs, which may have been affected by Covid and/or Brexit, pricing may become more of an issue. With regards to delivery of products, always understand your terms and conditions of sale, and how the service you provide is better than your rivals.

Planning and networking

Review your year and map out the direction you want the business to travel in, and how you want it to grow. Proactively target the right customers, with the right qualities, while seeking out the best complementary companies to partner. Be bolder, braver and always tell yourself: ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get.’ 

The network may grow but are you expanding strategically with the right targets and right goals? Aim to align your brand with other brands that resonate with your customers and your immediate community?

Time for a ‘SWOT Review

Undertake an analysis of ‘Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats’. Don’t get distracted with things you cannot control, but focus on your priorities and the opportunities you should pursue. Alas, not everything works out as expected, so make certain you have a ‘Plan B’. Do not feel you personally have to deliver every facet. Get others to step up, accept their responsibilities and celebrate their achievements. 

Outcomes from a SWOT will allow you to determine where your business currently stands, and if you reached or bettered your start-of-year targets. Select four or five main targets to focus on and make certain that your team members know exactly their roles within this strategic framework. Engage everyone, even if it means holding Zoom meetings, and plant the seeds of success ASAP.

Good leaders take time to recognise their people. Challenge each individual to set their personal goals, and follow this up by arranging another meeting in eight weeks’ time when you can assess their progress. Don’t forget to thank clients, employees and suppliers for being a huge part of the overall network.

Find ways of making these partnerships even more efficient for all concerned, and never lose sight that decisions should always be made with the customer in mind. Ask a supplier what they think brings you to a cutting edge?

This is also the perfect time for reflection. Understand what we are personally and professionally grateful for, irrespective of how tough the year has been. Go out of your way to thank those involved in helping your business to prosper. Write them a thank-you note, or maybe give them a bonus, or better still do both.

‘Talent acquisition’ is always high on my agenda. Maybe challenge staff members to maximise their potential. Make time for shadow learning, and set aside time to undertake these reviews which I call ‘misery days’ – perhaps the second Tuesday of every month.

Even invest in your own Leadership Development Training. What are your dreams for the future but remember nothing can be achieved without health and fitness. So prioritise this necessity as well.

About the Author

Lara Morgan

Lara Morgan

Lara has been a finalist in Ernst Young Entrepreneur of The Year Award three times and a finalist in the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year Award. In 2009 Lara received the much-coveted Cranfield University Entrepreneur Alumna Award. She is a published author of the Amazon best-selling business book “More Balls Than Most” and is a co-founder of Start Up Britain. Taking all this in her stride, she also trains for charity bike rides and triathlon and came 10th in the 2011 World Triathlon Championships in Beijing.

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