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gary-lumby Gary Lumby , NED


As we approach 2017 it’s that time of year when we all have a little down time after Christmas and before New Year, when we can reflect on the successes and failures in our businesses over the past year. There will be some highlights and possibly some lowlights were we can reflect and learn from the decisions that we have taken which have affected our results to date or our plans for the future.

The important thing is to learn from our successes but more importantly from our failures as well and to perhaps plan more rigorously and professionally than ever before, because I am sure that this next year will also be full of challenges and opportunities.  The economy will continue to be adversely affected by a number of levers such as the Brexit process, rising inflation due in part to the weakness of the pound, potentially the prospect of rising interest rates due in part to rising inflation, bank lending tightening on the back of their financial stability tests and continued austerity measures in the public sector. I feel that this will all contribute to consumer and business confidence being quite fragile.

On the plus side we should see more house building from the private sector, more government spending on infrastructure projects, some wage rises, the increase in the living wage, and more support from government for businesses in the form of grants and loans delivered locally in the regions, as well as exports rising because of the weakness of the pound. 

For all business owners and directors, therefore, it’s even more important that we plan next year how we are going to grow our business in terms of sales and profitability. If we fail to plan then we plan to fail. This does not necessarily mean completing a full blown business plan but we certainly should take a look at the existing key drivers of our business and see what we can do more of, start doing, do differently or stop doing. The areas I would suggest that you look at are as follows:

  • Existing clients – are we communicating with them on a regular basis and do we know what is happening in their businesses that might be an opportunity for us
  • Suppliers – have we negotiated the best deals that we can with regard to pricing, quality and payment terms or do we need to consider alternatives
  • Products and Services – do we need to develop them further or introduce new one’s or stop delivering one’s that are no longer profitable
  • Prices – should we increase our pricing and do it in a structured and well communicated way
  • Marketing and Business Development – does it work and how are we promoting our brand and services and to whom or do we need to do more both in a physical and digital sense
  • Human Resources – are we employing the right number of people with the right skills and attributes and are we communicating to them about our vision, values and future plans. Are we giving them the right training and development and are we rewarding them in the right ways.
  • Technology – are we keeping ahead of the technology curve and using technology to improve our business whether it be producing our products or services  or via the use of CRM, Internet , e –commerce, social media  or simply how we communicate to our clients, prospects and employees
  • Funding – do we have the right level of funding in place at the right price
  • Professional Advisors – do we have the right advisors in place and are they giving us good service and valuable advice and support. Are they giving us any useful introductions to potential clients
  • Financial Performance and Reporting – do we have the right KPI’s in place and are we monitoring them and reacting to our financial results by taking the right strategic and operational decisions
  • ·Self Development – are we continuing to develop ourselves

Above all are we clear about what we want to achieve from our businesses this next year and taking all of the above into account , have we planned how we are going to get there and communicated that across our business.

Finally, have we remembered why we are in business? For me it’s about the enjoyment of achieving goals, delivering great service to clients, employing and rewarding great people and having the flexibility to work as long or as short a working day as I want or the business needs. But it’s also about having fun along the way because after all you spend most of your life working so you might as well be having fun doing it.

Don’t forget Gary Lumby from Focus on Success is also involved in our MMB Board for female business owners. Want to be involved with like minded women in business? Click here for the full details on the MMB Board.
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