This time it’s personal!

Jenny with pot of gold

Do you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve personally over the next 20 years? In 2031 when you look back, what goals would you like to have ticked off and what resources do you need to put into place to achieve these goals?

These are questions a good goal based financial planner helps you to get clearly defined.

But why is it important to know the answers to these questions?

Anyone who reads my blog regularly will know that I am passionate about planning and believe that it is much more likely that we will achieve the results we want, if we have a plan in place. This applies equally to personal goals and to business goals. And they are interlinked. It is unlikely that success meeting a business goal will be meaningful unless personal goals are also met. In fact, I believe our personal hopes and desires should provide the backdrop to our business goals – especially where we are business owners. After all, how is a business successful if it does not reflect the owner’s personal values and fit with their life plan?

I have discovered, by working with my goal based financial planner Andrew Stinchcomb, that there are key things I want to achieve in my life. Some of these things have always been clear to me – others have come to light through discussions with Andrew and my husband, Jeff. The key outcome has been that we now have a clear idea of what we need resource-wise (and this inevitably means money) to make our dreams a reality.

As my business is my only source of income, I now have a very clear picture of what I need to accomplish business-wise, in terms of number of clients and levels of income. This has made it much easier for me to identify good opportunities as they are presented to me and to motivate myself. I know what I will be sacrificing if I don’t push myself.

It’s funny, Jeff and I had always talked about taking a year out when our boys leave home to travel around Europe in a camper van. It was originally a pretty lose idea and more of a dream than something we thought we might really do. However, this idea has crystalised into a key goal during our discussions – such that, should it not happen, I would feel really bereft. Andrew has worked out how much this goal would cost us and we have a clear idea of how much per month we need to save to make it happen.

It equates to one new good client for me – and guess what? I am finding much easier to motivate myself to find that new client than I would if I were just looking at increasing income without a compelling reason for doing so!

So take a look at your life goals and ask yourself “Is my business providing to route to these goals?”.

Fiona 🙂

A new year, a new resolution?

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Happy New Year!!

Now, traditionally the start of a year is a time for new resolutions. These resolutions often cover things we have been struggling with in the previous year. However, the problem with such resolutions is that they are often unrealistic and by the end of January have gone by the wayside.

But the biggest problem is that just because it is the start of a new year, does not mean that it is the right time to commit to a change in behaviour. For example, losing weight is a great idea, but January and February, when the weather is cold and the days dark, is not a time to eat salads and light food.

From a business perspective I find I am most motivated when the weather improves and the days lengthen. I spend more time outdoors, which makes it easier to think problems through. This means that spring/summer is the best time for me to start something new or review business issues.

If, like me, the new year is most definitely NOT the time to commit to change, cut yourself some slack and delay making your resolutions until the Spring (perhaps an Easter resolution would be better). Then give yourself realistic targets designed to change behaviour in the long term and not just for a couple of months.

Fiona 🙂

Is your ‘flood’ plan in place?

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Many homes and businesses were flooded in the winter of 2013-4, and even with the dredging which took place in the summer, others may be flooded in future winters.

It is a sad fact that at least half of those businesses devastated by flooding will never recover, and those that do, may take a long time to get back on track.

Before they can repair and rebuild there is often the initial wrangling with the insurance company about how much they should pay out, but there are far wider implications to a business than just putting right the premises.

The problem is not just the flooding itself but the downtime the business experiences whilst the damage is repaired, and the consequences of that downtime.

Do you continue to pay your staff even when they are not able to work and if you do so, how do you afford a wages bill when you have no income coming in? Once even loyal customers have gone elsewhere, how do you persuade them back when you are up and running again?

These are the type of issues many businesses do not consider until forced to do so.

Flooding is one type of business catastrophe but there are many others all businesses should consider and plan for. The scale of the catastrophe will be linked to the importance of the occurrence to the business.

For example, if your business server fails how big an impact would that have on your business? If all your staff need to access information on that server 24/7 it could cost you dearly and clearly in that situation it is vital that you have a backup plan to cover just that type of emergency.

Alternatively, if you are heavily reliant on one employee what would you do if that employee goes off sick for an extended period of time?

Every business has its own ‘flood’ scenario and it is hugely important that you have a disaster recovery plan to mitigate against the worst effects of a catastrophic event. You need to build your flood defenses – first identify the scenarios which could do the worst damage, plan for how you would deal with those scenarios in the most effective way, and ensure you have the ‘backups’ in place.

Of course we hope never to use our backup plans, but at least if we have one in place, we are as prepared as we can be if the worst happens.

Fiona 🙂