Staying focussed in January and beyond

Peter Done: Managing Director and Founder

January 05 2016

Entering a new year can often prove something of a difficult period for businesses. After a prolonged spell out of the office, many employees can find it tough to get back into the swing of things. But it’s essential to get your staff motivated from the very first day they’re back in the office and it's important for them – and for you - to really get focused on the year ahead. January and February are traditionally seen as dead period for sales and the danger is, of course, that this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Employees believe it’s a dead period and so they don’t focus on the job in hand as they would normally, because they think it’s pointless putting in the effort – so, naturally, they don’t make any sales because they haven’t been trying as hard as they usually would. This approach can have a really detrimental impact on a business particularly if you, like us, have a March 31st year end. Losing too many weeks at the beginning of the calendar year can negatively affect the numbers at the financial year end and it's essential people keep their heads up and work hard from the outset. So it’s vital to get people motivated and ready for action right from the beginning of January. And, also, it’s important to lead from the front. Have a review of what’s gone well and what didn’t work during 2015. Take a look at your business plan and see if it’s still on track or whether it needs any tweaks. Think about your staffing needs and identify where there are gaps or perhaps oversupply. Have a quick review of equipment, suppliers, contracts, customer feedback, marketing and so on, to see where changes or improvements could be made. By having a strong handle on the different areas of your business, you can demonstrate to your employees the level of focus you expect to see from them. Then it’s important to have a face-to-face briefing with your staff or if you’re a larger company, circulate an email or video explaining that after a good break, it’s essential for the financial well-being of the company that everyone applies themselves right from the start of the year. Meet all your managers and discuss their objectives for the forthcoming quarter and explain your expectations for their department and its performance. Make sure everyone is aware of their targets and their responsibilities and make it clear that every day wasted is a day closer to the year end. There's a good quote by Olin Miller, the US businessman. "If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it." It's a thought worth bearing in mind as we enter the New Year. Far better to hit the ground running and get on with it, than to procrastinate until the job becomes twice as hard to undertake.

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