I’m not a great believer in New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I think big change comes from making small everyday improvements towards your long-term goal. With that in mind, here are my top five principles that have served me well over the many years I’ve been in business.
- Be a people person
Without your people, your business is nothing. So take care of them. Invest in their training and development. Communicate regularly, and listen to their ideas and concerns. Be there for them in the good times and through the bad times. If you don’t already have one, could you introduce an employee assistance programme? It’s inexpensive, and gives employees a confidential helpline as well as a counselling service if they ever need them.
- Monitor your money
Keep an eye on your cash. Whatever your balance sheet might tell you, the real indicator of the health of your business is your cash flow position. Focus on cash, not profit. Make sure that you bill your customers quickly and be tight on credit control. To improve your cash flow, take a look at your payment terms. See if you can change anything to improve how quickly you get cash in, and how long you can hold on to it before you have to pay it out.
- Keep costs down
Don’t let costs get out of control. If your business is doing well, the temptation is to take your eye off the ball, spend a bit more, and relax. My advice? Don’t. Be as rigorous about cost control in the good times as you are in the bad. Monitor your monthly costs, see what you’re spending more on, and work out whether you can justify the expense. To make sure you’re getting the best deal, it’s always worth renegotiating discounts with your suppliers.
- Hire people who are better than you
You can’t do everything. You came up with the idea for your business and being the boss is more than a full-time job. To take it forward, you need to surround yourself with people who are experts in their fields. Have you ever thought about hiring people from outside your industry to give you a fresh perspective?
- Stick to what you’re good at
Concentrate on where your strengths lie and let others do the things you can’t. That may come through hiring great people, or it may come through outsourcing your employment law to professionals like Peninsula. Remember, at Peninsula we can help you with employment law or health & safety issues, so you can focus on what you’re best at—running your business. To talk to us about our employee assistance programme, give us a call on 0844 891 0355, or to get some HR & employment advice, speak to us on 0844 892 2772.