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The Business Improvement Summit


Featuring 'Blog From the Dog


Redefining success - personally, for your business and your team

Are you ready to redefine your plans and goals?

If there’s one positive to take from the events of the last two years, it’s the opportunity to consider what’s important. For those of us in business, it’s important to redefine our plan and goals that ensure the business delivers our definition of success. The natural extension, for those with team members, is to revise what the business needs to deliver to the team.

Personal success

Your definition of personal success will be different to what it was before the world was turned upside down by a global pandemic. For example, wanting to be able to travel the world, regularly upgrade the car, and enjoy frequent nights out.

To secure this lifestyle, your profit target may have been £50,000 and you may have been working 60 hours per week and never finding the time to be with family or doing that much-needed exercise.

Then lockdown happened and many of those goals were no longer possible; overseas travel was replaced with the excitement to just get out of the house. The upgraded car goal was replaced with a bicycle so you could get out and exercise, and a night’s entertainment involved a board game or an evening of Netflix!

As lockdown restrictions were reduced or removed, you emerged with a new clarity about what’s really important.

Let’s say you revise your budget and can get by with £40,000 from the business. Your revised personal definition of success might then be £40,000 income, 5 days’ work per week, and time to be with family and stay fit and healthy.

Option 1: Reducing profit for business success

The business should give you the cashflow you need personally AND the discretionary time to enjoy the lifestyle you choose. Using the example above, your previous personal definition of success meant you were working 60+ hours per week, with little time for family or exercise.

With your revised personal definition of success of £40,000, you can reduce the pressure needed on the business to deliver that old level of profit. If all business costs remain constant, it could be that sales can drop by 10% and you’ll still achieve what you need from the business. Lowering the sales target could free up your time to make a better plan for a smarter business, perhaps with higher margins and reduced overhead costs.

That plan is your revised definition of business success which will give you certainty that you’ll achieve your revised personal definition of success.

Option 2: Work smarter

If reducing profit as a means to spend more time with your family and free up your time is not a strategy you're prepared to pursue, there are other ways to maintain/increase profit levels. 

Analyse the way you currently work and begin by focusing on who you need to be first. You will then start to prioritise doing things in a way which is consistent with that role. Changing your habits will result in smarter working and may involve:

  • Delegating more
  • Outsourcing
  • Partnering with specialists
  • Adopting new software

By undertaking a thorough audit of how you currently run your business may help you identify friction in your business practices - and free up the time you need.

Team success

If you have employees, the achievement of your business success is highly dependent on how well your team performs. It’s likely your team members have all reflected on what success looks like for them, just as you have. Studies show that a happy and engaged team with a strong workplace culture will out-perform a team driven using the carrot and stick method.

Redefining success for your team should include things like:

  1. Creating and living into an agreed set of Core Values.
  2. Regular performance reviews and goal setting (i.e. the team defining their version of success in their role).
  3. Flexible working arrangements.
  4. Reviewing roles, responsibilities, and progression opportunities.
  5. Reviewing remuneration, holiday, and perks.

This will give you a clearer understanding of the revised definition of success for your team.

Follow these steps to pull these definitions of success together:

  1. Create a revised personal budget and define your personal definition of success.
  2. Update your Business Plan, setting out the minimum viable sales needed to achieve the income you want and the goals and actions to ensure you get there.
  3. Update your annual financial forecast.
  4. Set up a system for ongoing reporting and accountability.
  5. Ask your team to complete a reflection questionnaire, then hold a performance review and goal setting meeting with each team member.

There is no magic here. These steps have always been important. They’re likely to need a review in the current climate.

Make employees your primary focus

So many of us are familiar with formal organisational structures but as Global HR analyst Josh Bersin reports in this HRD Connect article, 'Change from org chart hierarchies that don’t help to something that does: Work design' this type of structure restricts business growth. 

He writes that business owners need to adapt to the New Normal where the focus should be on work practices that facilitate employee development, allow for flexibility, and empower teams. Those that make employees a priority will perform better financially, see higher customer satisfaction and happier, more engaged staff. 

Need some help?

Please get in touch with us if you need help redefining success or implementing strategies to achieve your definition of success.

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