The new year is always a time of reflection – a chance to look back on the year that has gone, to re-evaluate and to re-consider where you are. But it’s also a great opportunity to look ahead – and to think hard about what shape your business will take over the next 12 months. Here are just a few of the things I’ve been thinking about as we enter 2018.
In many ways, I’ve never been a particularly goals-oriented person, at least not in the traditional sense. My whole approach to being a successful entrepreneur has actually been about the journey – not so much where I get to, but more about how I get there. The real world changes, all the time, and you have to be ready for that, with an approach that is both flexible and dynamic.
But that doesn’t mean that goals – whether long or short-term – aren’t valuable. I believe that setting goals properly can give you a chance to really think about what you want from your business, in a way that you might not have considered before. The goal-setting process itself can be, in some ways, like the journey of running a business – valuable in and of itself, and a useful learning exercise.
My advice? Be specific, optimistic, but realistic too about the things you want to achieve. And finally, don’t try and make your goals perfect or all-encompassing. Make them just rough ideas about where you want to go – a framework to work around: I’ve always found that these imperfections in your plan will be the little daily challenges that you can really sink your teeth into.
I really do believe that the most powerful marketing tool that I have for OMNIA is the people who work for us – and I include myself in that. It comes back to the way I see business as being an interaction between people, not companies – and so I really want to focus on this in 2018.
We live in a world that feels fractured in many ways at the moment, where opinions seem to be powerfully dividing people more than they are bringing them together. So, for me, doing ‘better business’ has to be about properly engaging with people – having better quality conversations with them, talking not just about what my business can do for them, but also about how we can strengthen our relationships.
In 2018, we need to be asking more people how they feel about things, rather than simply trying to add more people to our networks. Making stronger connections feels like a better way forward than simply adding more.
I’ve always believed in challenging things. Not just my own ideas, or my own abilities, but also those of other people. I really do think that it it’s the only way to create – to push back against traditional thinking, and to give people the space they need to come up with the creative solutions that will make your business a success.
For example, one of the biggest things that I’ve learned over the years is how to fail well. I’m a successful businessperson, but it is only because I have learned from my mistakes. The trick with encouraging innovation is to allow people the room to fail, to help them to do it quickly, to learn from it and to then apply this to the next challenge.
My other strong belief about innovation – and something that I’ll be really focusing on in 2018 – is that it is born out of the unexpected synergies that occur when you bring people together who have never worked together before. Working out how to get people together like this is hugely powerful – it introduces us to new ideas, fresh perspectives, and it challenges us in many different ways.
So, a new year, new people, and new opportunities lie ahead – and I’m looking forward to taking on the challenge.