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.

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.

A little tip in September

The strongest businesses have clear processes and proceedures. They make sure they have a risk register to identify and help mitigate against the risks their business might face in the future. Whilst it is almost certain no business had global pandemic on their risk register pre-March 2020, well run businesses certainly have it on their risk register now. 

The best way to survive the unexpected is to identify and control what you can predict so your business is in a stronger position when the unexpected happens.

Something to think about in August

Many businesses are coming out of lockdown in a difficult financial position. They may have had to close down for months at a time or have had to operate at reduced capacity.

If your business is in this situation make sure that you have applied for all the funding your local authority is providing.

There may still be financial help from the government and funding providers you can tap into to help get your business back on its feet.

Challenge Anneka

Do you remember Challenge Anneka? It was a staple of Saturday evenings in the Bevan houshold. The premise, if you don’t know, was that Anneka Rice had to complete a challenging task – often to aid a charitable cause such as building a play area – over a limited time period.

Whilst this is not something we are likely to do personally, setting ourselves challenges is a great way of feeling a sense of achievement. They motivate us to higher things and test what we are capable of.

In May we walked the West Mendip Way in a day (well – 12 hours). It is 30 miles, 4000ft of climb and the last 5 miles were just a hard slog! But we did it.

Although this was not a business test, I think that any challenges we set ourselves make us stronger in all aspects of our lives.

In a challenging year for the wrong reasons how about setting yourself some challenges for the right ones?

Something to think about in June

The promised complete easing in Lockdown is imminent but there is obviously still work to be done.

Many businesses still have staff on Furlough. Others have staff members they need to be working in the office, because their jobs involve dealing face to face with customers (receptionists etc.), but worries about COVID mean these staff members are still working from home.

Hopefully these businesses have a clear plan of action to get staff back in the office and have been having a dialogue throughout Lockdown to ensure that staff are available again to do the jobs for which they are paid.

There needs to be understanding on both sides. Businesses need to understand that it will take time for staff to be comfortable again with ‘back to usual’ and staff need to understand that businesses have had it very tough over the last year and need their full support to survive.

A little tip in May

Remember if you have fulfilled your part of a contract with a client, and the agreed date for payment has passed, that money is yours. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed about chasing for it if they are slow in paying. After all your organisation is not a bank – so your customers should not expect you to behave like one.

To help you ensure you don’t have a large amount of outstanding payments a) have a clear contract with customers detailing your payment terms b) invoice promptly c) chase payments that are overdue as per your terms

Getting back on the horse

One of the things I am really looking forward to over the coming months is a return to meeting clients, and connections,  I haven’t seen in person for months. Zoom, and other online tools, have enabled us to keep in contact, and virtual meetings have become an integral part of our business lives. I doubt that, once life returns to ‘normal’, we will revert back to business exactly as it was before COVID, because it is undeniable that virtual meetings save us time and money. 

However, I, for one, have missed the ‘water cooler’ conversations we have when we have face to face meetings – but rarely happen when using an online tool. Being able to chat over a coffee and cake, allows trusting relationships to build gradually in a natural and  authentic way. So I will definitely go back to ‘offline’ meetings when I can.

I am also really looking forward to getting back to my Metwalking networking – great conversations in the great outdoors!