Reflecting on success

I am hoping that you have had a successful year as a business owner, and have had time to stop, take stock and reflect upon business performance.  Alternatively,  maybe you are currently employed as a physio / therapist and thinking about branching out and building your own business in 2020.

For me the year has flown by.  More and more business owners seem to be squeezed for time.  They are so busy working in the business that they find it hard to take time out to work on business performance.  A theme running through my coaching sessions recently has been time.  Business owners are so tied up in chasing their tails that they have no time to think or act! 

We are fast approaching that time of year when most of us will close our clinics over the Christmas Bank Holiday and breathe a sigh of relief.  Perhaps spend a well earned rest and take time out with family or friends, and catching up on life.  Perhaps over indulging a little, but hopefully getting some exercise and finding space to think.

Some of us will be running towards the financial year end. Others will be pushing hard to deliver their plans for early in 2020.  Most will be concerned to deliver the plan and make a good profit.

Risk and Uncertainty

Given the current uncertainty brought about by national politics, some you may be finding it harder to make a living whilst working more hours.  Margins are tighter. Customers are demanding more from their consultations. Others make unreasonable expectations about their recovery time. Some are always looking for a cheaper rate.  Perhaps customers are wanting different types of services and you are needing to adjust your offer and improve performance.  If only time allowed you to focus upon and understand the need!

Recruitment is difficult in parts of the country.  This can leave clinics short of staff and put pressure on key people to work harder to meet customer demands.  This in itself can cause happy and engaged employees to think about moving on to pastures new; where the grass looks greener. This creates new challenges for your business to keep your client base whilst trying to find good people to join your business.

As a business owner, it is critical that you make time to look at your current business model.  The right information about customer numbers and spotting changes in your key business metrics remains important.  This helps you to make changes to ensure the future viability and success of your business. Giving yourself time to work on the business is vital.

Taking Action

Bringing about a change in services and products at a time when the business is working hard to achieve this year’s targets can create a conflict and impact performance.  So, be careful what you wish for and engage key people in your business before embarking on a new offer. The risk is that you may create an environment where the targets you are aiming for are missed.  Any hope you had for introducing a new service line is missed as your team goes into meltdown chasing two ends against the middle. 

I have heard some business owners say that it is just a question of people working smarter, driving for better performance.  In a few cases this may be true, but in the main it’s usually the way you have your clinic operating that inhibits the pace of change.  These factors are out of the control of the staff who are coping with the current way your business operates. 

I have heard others say that “people make mountains out of mole hills” My advice to any business owner is go and visit the mole hill and see what it is like for yourself.  Your goal is to make the business work better.  I heard a manager bemoaning his business recently suggesting that the recording processes were too time consuming.  “The things that we have to do are ridiculous,  the forms are rubbish and the on line system is driving me mad” he said. He was clearly not owning the problem, nor talking to his colleagues about his concerns or how to improve workflow.  

Successful Performance in 2020

I hope that this type of behaviour is not happening in your business.  However, if you are too busy in the day to day operation then you may not have time to realise or respond to this type of challenge.  It is often these types of issues that impact the viability of a business.  Ensure that you take time out to take stock.

So,  when I work with leaders to help them to create their compelling futures I always get them to connect with the reality of their current operations.  It is really important to have a future business vision, but it is just as important to have a clear view of the factors that will get in the way of its achievement.