In my last column I posed the question: What does our community look like now, and what do we want it to look like in 10 years?
Over the next few months I’ll break this down and focus initially at our own individual business/organisation.
Having worked with both farming and town-based businesses across regional Australia, there are some common challenges we all end up discussing at different times in the evolution of our businesses.
The conversations I have with people revolve around a number of topics.
They include having an improved understanding of strategic decision making processes within our business – getting out of the operational and into the higher level planning, and having the ability to undertake market and competitor analysis – knowing what is happening in our region, in the industry, and what we need to be preparing for.
Also on the list is having a higher level of financial literacy and identifying who can help us develop this, and having an improved ability to acquire new customers and retain existing ones, particularly when we have a smaller pool of people physically living in our communities.
Key management skills are important too. Often the business has grown around our technical skills – farming, building, training – and we need to look at other skills we might need to develop, such as HR, compliance, and understanding people and culture.
A better appreciation of systems and processes, especially how to build other staff into the business, and having clarity around how we do what we do, so that people can take on particular roles, is on the list, as is an improved work/life balance.
So, given another year is wrapping up, let’s consider some strategic questions you could consider as part of preparing your business for 2018.
What have been two or three highlights of 2017 for your business and why? What would need to change in the business for these to occur again in 2018?
What have been two or three challenges of 2017 for the business and why? What would need to change in the business for these to not occur again in 2018?
What would success look like at the end of 2018? Is it the number of staff, money in the bank, a holiday, or something else? How would others in the business answer this question?
Who do you have in your team who can support you with this? Consider your bank manager, accountant, Chamber of Commerce, industry network, and valued friends and family.
In the meantime, wishing you a merry and safe festive season. Take time to reflect on another year and all that you have achieved – 2018 will be here before we know it!
– Julia Telford, Engage and Create Consulting