The year ahead

We are currently being well beaten by the Australian Cricket team. I asked my husband whilst brushing my teeth this morning whether they just had different pitches. What relevance to an early year article you might ask? Well, I am in the middle of a post year audit, (self-critique), having sorted budgets and done utterly the best we possibly can for year past, it is time to look forward and I hope reflect and use all that hard work to better effect in the year ahead. I have written the last tidy up list of things I need to get done, (a long list for getting done before my break…) Ideally getting a head start into the New Year. Many of my team have already started a well -earned holiday and I am hoping they come back with a clear vision of what we need to achieve to keep building momentum. 

In some cases we have an end of year stock shuffle to ensure we utilise cash best, in other cases we are driving towards our biggest wellness Scentered and Yogi Bare month of the wellness year. The January month brings challenges for all those in the Health and Wellness industry…how to beat the diet advertising wave and sell products that are long lasting and good for us? A Scentered partnership – an activation with Mindful Chef will bring a boost to those looking for habit change support tools and mindful aromatherapy. This is my time of year to recheck my routine discipline and to plan to extract all I can from year 2022. The luxury of a proper break is the reset for my own approach. Been too grumpy, quite angry at times in the year (reflects in my communication poorly) and actually need to also get some air and thinking time. 

I am assuming you are entirely on top of your account process, time now to analyse performance, the data is gold power of showing you actually what happened and not what you think happened? Where did the profit really get made? Which products were the top sellers for profit not just numbers? What do your financials inform about profit per channel or market segment? Actual profit ratio’s per member of staff? Per salesperson with a fair allocation of overhead? 

Have you booked in a stock check so that reconciliation can be achieved? Randomly done a spot check of claims? Organised your own business receipts – very few admin pains for me this year reminds me how little I have been out and about. Something I really do hope I can do more of next year. 

Then onto you and your team accomplishments. Have key performance indicators been met, have bonuses been considered? What possibilities for talent to be developed, given new challenges, areas to develop, skills to build?

Priorities for the company as whole planned, agreed and communicated, immediate understanding of whom owns what, who is accountable and whose measured by what method? 

During a year I often check out what are the competition are up to? I always learn something but yet I do not allow this to shape the way we drive our own goals and endeavours. Particularly now with issues regarding freight costs, pricing is one to watch as are delivery charges for DTC in the same way you should know your terms and conditions of sale and how your service proposition beats others.   You might even make a diary not to check your competition and what they might be doing differently, better? 

Planning And Networking

Plan next year’s goals and use that to fuel your holiday plan. Review your year and map out where you want the business to go and how you want it to grow.  Plan to proactively target the right customers with the right qualities and complementary companies you’d like to partner with, be bolder braver and surprise yourself with the fact that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. The network you have can always grow but do you grow it strategically with the right targets, the right goals and aims to align your brand to the right other brands that resonate and build on your community?

Doing A SWOT Review The end of the year is the perfect time for a SWOT analysis — a review of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. All of our companies have unearthed terrific reminders of the things we need to underline and emphasise more, don’t get distracted with things you cannot control, but really plan the priorities of the opportunities you feel you can and should pursue. Alas not everything always works out as planned so have plan B and so not feel you personally have to delivery every facet. Get others to step up, own their targets and celebrate their achievements. 

Outcomes from a SWOT will allow you to determine where your business is in comparison to the strategic plan that was established at the beginning of the year.  WE aim to pick perhaps 4-5 key pillars under a year theme to drive the focus and clear understanding of all those that play their part. 

Early start we gather to have a complete team meeting and of course that can be difficult with restrictions so break up zoom meetings worth loads of breaks and ensure you engage everyone where possible. Planting The Seeds Of Success For Next Year I already start towards year end. 

Good leaders take time to recognise their people – suggesting they should be working towards stepping up. Perhaps challenge each individual to set their own bigger better goal outside KPI’s and check in with a diary note that allows you to sense check in perhaps 8 weeks time – how are they settling in to tasks at hand? 

Don’t forget to thank those who supported this past year’s outcomes — clients, employees and suppliers. One of the best ways of working with suppliers, ask them what they think brings you to cutting edge, what can you jointly do better for the right customer centric reasons? How can you be more effective and efficient together?

This early part of the year is a perfect time to reflect on, and share with others, what we are personally and professionally grateful for…irrespective of how tough the year past has been go out of your way to make the right gesture remembering different people prefer different kinds of thanks, public or private a hand written not can be as meaningful as a bonus. Both are better! 

Pushing for Talent Acquisition is always front of mind for me. I reflect on the individuals we have worked with this year and look forward to challenging others whom have so much potential to bring to our business – when encouraged through an open and flat culture that lacks hierarchy. 

Finding time and making sure there is shadow learning, budgeting time REVIEW must be diary religious like my ironically named “misery days,” on the 2nd Tuesday of the month? Perhaps investing in your own Leadership Development Training will only give you pay back…what’s your very biggest goal, your BHAG? Whatever it is you cannot do it without health and fitness so prioritise that?

Lara Morgan, Functionality Group


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