With the Festive Season almost upon us, many business owners find themselves looking back in dismay and frustration at too many unaccomplished goals for 2012. Low profits – if any, worrying about covering monthly costs and little quality family time is the bleak truth for many business owners who had a very different vision in mind of their lifestyle when they first started out. 

“At least 72% of businesses fail because the owners work in the business, as opposed to on the business,” says Kathi Clarke, international award winning Industrial Psychologist and Business Growth Expert. “For greater business success in 2013, business owners should take stock of their business before the end of the year by critically assessing their performance in five fundamental areas,” advises Clarke.

“Firstly know where you are going.  Thriving businesses are defined by the owner having a clear destination in mind and knowing what the end result looks like. Research shows that by articulating the purpose of the business, you exponentially increase the chance of your business’ survival and most importantly, success.

“Secondly you are a key component to your business, therefore knowing yourself is pivotal. It is critical to be aware of your weak points, what your strengths are, and most importantly how to play to them. Having a sober, objective appreciation of one’s own disposition and capabilities can be the biggest asset for a business owner, and is worth investing in.

“There is no shame in admitting you don’t know everything, and as a business owner, wearing many hats to keep the boat afloat is the initial reality. However, thirdly – know what you don’t know, and invest in the skills of others that can do something better than you e.g. an accountant, a labour lawyer etc. and leverage off their expertise to the benefit of your business.

“Fourthly know if it’s working or not by consistently measuring your business’ success. The outcomes will allow you to make informed decisions, and help you to fix problems as opposed to spending time on fixing symptoms. Diligently measure your turnover, cost of sales and expenses every month; know which marketing strategies are working and understand how much your customer acquisition costs are. These all seem like basic facts, but it is surprising how few businesses actually know what theirs are.

“Finally, know what to do with what you know – knowing something is not the same as knowing what you will do with that knowledge.  It is tempting to collect information, ideas and strategies as tickle-the-ear stuff, but it is worthless if you do not formulate a comprehensive plan of action to improve what you do.  ‘Who’s going to do what by when?’ is a wonderful question to ask after every seminar, intervention, meeting or last page of a good business book!”

Clarke urges all business owners, “Gift your business with these five fundamental steps by penning down a plan of action for 2013, so that you can hit the ground running in January; your business will thank you in the long run”

Kathi Clarke is an international award winning Industrial Psychologist, certified Business Coach, member of actionCOACH, business growth expert and owner of Building Best Business. With over 24 years’ experience in successfully helping clients to triple their profits whilst maintaining a healthy work life balance, Kathi also finds the time to offer her services probono to NPOs.