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8 tips to help build your business in FY17

Release Date

27 July 2016

If you lead a small or even large business, some of your professional time in late July or early August should be spent reflecting on what you’ve learnt in the previous 12 months.  This is also a time to identify any potential new business and develop a budget that meets your financial targets for the following 12 months.  The key here is to not only think about how your business builds revenue and profit, but also how you will continuously improve and develop your people, processes and systems to ensure your business remains balanced and competitive. 
8 tips to help build your business:
1. Include your team of people in a Positioning Workshop (PW).  This enables all employees to participate and gets the creative juices flowing whilst bringing new and innovative ideas and concepts to the table.  This is also a great opportunity to communicate your end fiscal year figures and what the business achieved overall.  You will hopefully be able to identify if your employees need to be upskilled in the new financial year based on the business non-achievements and what new technology, procedures or systems are required.
2. Lead, implement and evaluate ‘Continuous Improvement’.  Develop and implement a continuous improvement reporting system (CIRS). Train your people in continuous improvement (CI) so they understand how it works and why. You’ll want them to report on every CI within their business unit.  Then, collect and collate your businesses CI and share this with all your employees. CI reporting will keep your people up to date with what is continually improving and how it is being improved.  
A CIRS is also a great way to demonstrate your business CI performance if you are applying for tenders.
3. Train and develop your people.  As your business rolls out and everyone is focused on the operational demand and supply, sometimes people development falls off the radar.  If you don’t plan for people development initiatives like professional learning and development, when it comes time to train your people, you may not have the budget to do so.  People development enables change, performance accountability and cultural transformation.  
As you transact, you must also transform.  Without both, it’s like eating pancakes without the maple syrup!
4. Review and update your policies and procedures.  While it’s ultimately good practice to have your business  policies and procedures up to date, many organisations report this is sometimes the last thing on their ‘to do list’.  Being reactive when it comes to policy and procedures may increase your risk especially if incidents or accidents occur.  
For example, if you have 24 policies and procedures, it is not always possible to review and update all of them annually.  Develop and implement a Policy and Procedure Plan (P&PP) for a two year period to demonstrate you are reviewing and updating at least four of them, every 3 months, over the two year period.  This will put your business ahead of the game especially when it comes to ensuring your policy and procedures are compliant.
5. Focus on workforce planning.  Workforce planning (WP) has been a part of the human resources management framework for well over 20 years.  In the last five years it has again become topical in the human resources (HR) space.  To undertake WP look first at your current workforce and identify your organisational direction and environmental factors.  Use these to analyse the demographics and trend data. Forecast your assumptions and gap analysis and finally plan, implement and evaluate your strategies, processes and operational changes.  
Good WP makes sense in both the short and longer terms especially in challenging economic times.
6. Communicate, communicate and then communicate all over again.  I see and hear from many organisations that they continue to administer staff satisfaction or culture surveys.  This is organisational best practice where we enable our employees to communicate feedback in a non-threatening way.   Generally, what employees’ feedback is that they want better communication up, down and across the organisation.  A business should communicate in as many forms as possible, for example: face to face, internet, intranet, emails, notice boards, social media and the like, to really get their messages out.  
There may be at least one ‘naysayer’ who hasn’t seen the communique or reflects negatively on it, but that shouldn’t stop you from communicating.  In fact, it might just empower you to do it all again and then once more for good measure.
7. Be mindful and build your resilience.  Stop! For just a minute and think about what you have been doing for the last hour, before you started to read this article.  
Write down three of these things.  Now…think about what you will be doing when you leave work and go home tonight?  Write down three of these things.  There you go….you have just activated your brain to be ‘mindful’.  
Being mindful about the positive things you’ve accomplished in your day and what else you can accomplish based on your innate strengths, scientifically builds your resilience.  Do more of what works and be mindful as you go about your day, week, month and life.  To learn more: https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/mindfulness
8. Stay healthy and lead by example.  One of the most important things in life is to be healthy - not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. In business our time is generally taken up by the demands of customers and clients and sometimes we don’t spend enough time looking after ourselves.
To lead and manage your business and role model good health and wellbeing: eat well, get the right amount of sleep, exercise, learn how to understand your emotions, be aware of your stress factors, drink more water and be hygienic.   If you haven’t had a go at any of these, why not try at least one and notice the change for you, your employees and your businesses wellbeing.
Most business owners will have set New Financial Year’s resolutions for themselves and their business.  Remember though as you reflect on these, instead of just working on building a larger company or business, it’s essential to also have a solid ‘people, process and systems’ framework in place.  This will give your business a competitive edge.  

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