Something to think about in August

With summer here our spirits lift and we are more buoyant. So this is probably the time to think about the future.

It is always best to plan when you are feeling good because you will focus on the positive steps you can take to achieve your goals rather than on the negatives.

You are also likely to be spending more time outdoors which promotes creative thinking – also a must if you are planning for your future.

Remember you are more likely to achieve your goals if you know what they are and plan how you can 

reach them.

Time to come out

Finally back at the CIMA MiP conference and the fabulous Gala Dinner (with disco!)

If you have been a reader of my newsletter since its inception you will know that I attend the CIMA Members in Practice Conference each year. In 2020 and 2021 the conferences were virtual and, whilst good, weren’t as good as the in person events.

This year though we were back together again and it was so great to see all of my peeps. It certainly brought home that, whilst you can get some great training on the internet,  if you want to network and build relationships there is no substitute for the quality conversations you can have in person.

Of course, we have to be mindful of the ecological impact of our businesses and try to reduce our CO2 emmissions. We need to balance our need for face-to-face events and meetings against environmental considerations, so I don’t think we should get back to the level of travel we previously enjoyed.

But a little (by train) can’t hurt  – surely?

A little tip for June

I work with lots of different types of organisations from limited companies to community benefit societies to charities.

One thing they all have in common is their need for straight forward, meaningful and concise management information.

Most management teams struggle to understand the finances of their organisations and this is not made easier by figure heavy accounts packs that only look backward.

If your management information does not provide you with what you need to make great strategic decisions make sure you push for changes so it does.

Something to think about in May

Many businesses over the last couple of years have benefitted from various forms of government financing – whether it be the furlough scheme, the CBILS loan or the grants handed out by local councils.

Now these schemes have closed it is more important than ever that you keep a close eye on your cash flow.

Employment (with the increase in National Insurance and pressure to increase wages) and fuel costs are set to rise and with them the general costs of doing business. Make sure you have a clear understanding of your business’s cash flow so you can plan to mitigate any negative effects.

Let’s be creative

Many businesses are struggling to find their place in the brave new world and hospitality and tourism have been particularly hard hit. Many towns are looking for ways to kick start their local economies and could learn from the example of Glastonbury.

Glastonbury has always furrowed its own path. But in recent times it has looked for ways to enhance the visitor experience by laying out trails to be followed that take the visitor all over the town and surrounding area.

The mural trail takes in nearly 50 murals – big and small – which can be found on the sides of local buildings (see the photo). There is a treasure trail for all the family, which has clues to solve as you wander around the town centre.

But my favourite is the Glastonbury Way which is a longer trail taking in the Tor and some lovely countryside.

We can learn from this inventiveness and think of our own ways to standout.

A little tip in March

A business’s confidence is key to it’s success. For owner managed companies the confidence and perspective of the business owner will be the main driver of their business’s confidence and perspective.

Even a business which offers a great service and is well respected by its customers can be undermined, if the owner continually doubts themselves and has a negative perspective.

So do all you can to ensure that your business is not negatively affected by your down days.

A little tip in February

So we are at the start of a new year. 

I think we can agree that we are hoping that the economic environment in 2022 will prove to be different from either 2020 and 2021.

Even if this does not prove to be the case we can improve our own environment by:

1. Planning for success

2. Always putting customers first

3. Striving to match the value clients get with the fees they are charged

4. Embracing new technologies so the work day is more efficient and enjoyable.

Something to think about in January

I know I hark on about planning a lot, but I do believe that if you can plan for the knowns you are much more likely to be able to cope with the unknowns.

Now that it is the beginning of a new year perhaps it is the time to start planning – if you have never done so – or revisit your plan if you have.

If you are clear what your short and long term goals are, and plan to achieve them, you are much more likely to be successful (in your own terms).

Over the Moon

The moon festival in Wells Cathedral was a two week opportunity for the building to be used in a way which drew, not just the faithful, but a wide range of other visitors.

There were concerts by Fairport Convention and a Pink Floyd tribute band; a tight rope walk across the Nave; art exhibitions; and a performance of a Midsommer Nights Dream. There was also plenty of opportunity to view the magnificent Moon, which dominated the Nave during October.

It was a great example of ways even the church is trying to engage with a new audience, so that its fantastic buildings are used and enjoyed.

I think COVID has taught us all that our organisations have to be flexible and embrace new ideas. Certainly the businesses and charities that I have found have most successfully weathered the COVID storm so far, have been those most willing and able to do things a little differently.

Something to think about in November

If you need some help in thinking and acting more positively maybe a bit of pretence is called for.

If we pretend we are positive and confident (even if we do not feel it) it is not long before we start to believe our own press and actually become more positive and confident.

Also, we can improve our world view ,and our confidence levels, by thoroughly understanding our customers and the market place we operate in; by upskiliing; and by having a clear strategy and plan.