2020 was definitely a hard year, forcing many SME businesses to shut their doors, lay off staff, or change their business model to work remotely. We are now in a new year, which means a chance to start over both personally and professionally.
Over the holiday period, you likely reflected on your perceived failures or non-successes of the past year. Now is the time to use those reflections and make a plan to ensure you do not make the same mistakes again, and are better prepared for the problems you may encounter.
It is time to rekindle the fire in your and your team’s bellies for growth and success, and motivate yourself and your team towards success. That’s why this month our focus is to help you fire up your business through planning, goal setting, and teamwork.
Our thoughts are pure energy, electrical impulses moving across the gaps between neurons in our brain, and they are the foundation for what actions we choose to take, and behaviours we choose to exhibit. The more we focus on and think about something, the more we reinforce that thought and create its reality.
Consider it this way, the more you walk the same path in a field of long grass, the more you make the path permanent by flattening the grass. The same goes for our thoughts. The more we think something, the more we make that thought permanent, and therefore, our reality.
It is important to start the year off positively and show your team that this is your attitude for 2021, and it needs to be theirs, too. Like attracts like, so your attitude will be reflected in your team, and your team’s attitude will reflect back on you. This, in turn, affects your team’s chances of attracting success through positivity, or failure through negativity. Therefore, it is important to include people on your team that share your positivity and drive towards success, and will help you achieve it, as even one bad seed can infect the whole crop.
If you are not a natural positive thinker, there are ways to increase your positivity and change your thoughts. Strategies like using positive self-talk, e.g. “I may not have achieved that today, but I can try again tomorrow”, rather than, “I failed to get that done, I am a failure”; or, surrounding yourself with positivity, e.g. positive quotes in sight on your phone, office walls, even in the bathroom, all help increase your positive self-talk and overall positivity.
Being surrounded by positivity includes your team, so share strategies with them, and encourage positivity in the workplace. Also, if you find you or your team is succeeding less than you expect, then consider whether your expectations are too high. Lowering your expectations, of yourself and your team, will help to ensure greater chances of success and, therefore, more reinforcement of your ability to succeed.
Team Building and Teamwork
To have a cohesive team, one whose members are cogs of the same wheel and working together towards common goals, you need to communicate through regular meetings. If you have not been having regular meetings, now is the time to set them up as they are crucial for teamwork and team success for several reasons:
To have a higher chance of success, you must plan and set goals. Simply continuing with the day-to-day activities of your business will not increase your success or profitability, so you need to analyse what you have achieved so far and decide where to from here. Do you want to increase profits? Do you want to increase your customer base? Once you decide on what you want to achieve, you need to put it in the form of a well-defined main goal.
When To Set Goals
The start of the year is the best time to set goals, and create a plan for the year ahead to reach these goals. A great idea is to have a team meeting where you reflect on your goals of the past year and whether you achieved these, as well as the successes and failures of the past year, identifying what actions, or inactions, played a part. This will help you to choose your goals for the current year, or amend your goals from the previous year to have a higher chance of success.
How To Set Goals: Choosing Goals
Your team is crucial in this process, as everyone’s different roles mean they see things you, or other members, may not. For example, your social media manager may have noticed a downward trend in your social media page activity, thinking your customer base is shrinking, but your sales manager may have seen an increase in sales, thinking your customer base is increasing. Therefore, discussion with your team is crucial to ensure you have all the information before deciding on a goal to ensure it is realistic and attainable.
How To Set Goals: Defining Goals
Defining your goals, not just having a list of things you want to achieve, is important. Goals must be SMART; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Limited. They should also be one of few, not many – try and choose one or two main goals, and define these further into smaller, more attainable goals, which can be delegated across your team. Also, it is important to choose goals which allow successes along the way, not just when the goal is achieved. And, you must ensure you and your team understand that goals are not static – they shift, change, and evolve over time, so expect to edit your goals as you work towards them.
You want to plan the year ahead with your goals in mind, which includes planning a weekly team meeting to discuss progress, achievements, challenges, and problems.
Plan the year ahead by breaking your goals down into manageable tasks, with a timeline of when each task is to be achieved by, and delegate these tasks across your team. This will not only help you to achieve your goals faster, but it also gives each team member a specific responsibility and targets to meet.
Giving team members their own specific responsibilities and targets isn’t just giving them work to do – it gives each individual a sense of purpose, and shows you value them and their work by entrusting them with such responsibility.
Delegating tasks also allows you to measure each individual team member’s performance, and reward them accordingly, boosting employee morale and showing them they are a valued member of the team. The team’s overall success towards the main goal(s) can also be measured and rewarded, boosting cohesiveness, teamwork, and a sense of belonging.
There are many ways you could reward your team for their achievements and successes, one of which is profit sharing. If one of your goals is to increase your profits, you could ensure your team is focused on this goal too by profit sharing.
Profit sharing is providing direct or indirect payments that depend on your businesses profitability, in addition to your employee’s usual salary or bonuses. The profits of the company are split using predetermined economic sharing rules which split the gains between the company as a principal, and the employee as an agent. An example of profit sharing is a retirement fund for employees which has funds deposited into only when the company makes a profit, rather than regular deposits as part of an employee’s salary.
Obviously, profit sharing is only possible if your business is likely to make enough profit to not only share, but share with every employee, and of a reasonable amount to ensure the employee’s can see the gains of their hard work. If you are not in a position to profit share, consider other ways to reward your team such as employee of the month awards or implementing a performance incentive bonus program. Be aware of how you structure any rewards program, as it is important to structure these in a way in which every employee has an equal chance of success, to ensure team morale, and no member of your team feeling unworthy, or inferior.
If you, or anyone you know, needs advice or help with any of the topics we’ve covered this month, or if you have any questions or comments about this month’s content, please get in touch with me via telephone on 027 447 7577, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This year, ensure you make good use of social media, too, to boost your business’s online presence and increase your chances of success.
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