The start of the New Year can offer significant offer new opportunities and present excellent challenges.
At the end of last month, one of our Chamber members reminded me of a familiar saying, ‘New Year, new You’.
He had added a neat twist by using the ‘You’ to refer to all those with whom he works, has business relationships, shares ideas, who provide him with challenges, and with whom he socialises.
When you stop to think that can be a significantly large group. Together this group will offer an excellent range of expertise to share and mutually benefit from through exchanges of information, advice, and recommendations.
The start of the New Year of 2017 amply provides opportunities to employ his innovative principle. It got me thinking about reviewing key business practices and approaches.
Talking with our growing Chamber membership, it is clear that many are more forward looking than in the recent past. In a counter intuitive way, Brexit has apparently stimulated this growing trend. Seizing new opportunities is the sub-text; whilst capitalising on the challenges that are presented.
These members mentioned discussing and reviewing where their business is going; the involvement of all their staff; and, finally establishing forward looking plans. They are currently giving these ‘corporate activities’ high priority. I understand that the outputs and outcomes are particularly illuminating.
In this context, a business review can be fulfilling for all of your staff.
Their involvement and enhanced understanding will provide added value to your continued success. For me, the review process highlights where you have been successful; and, equally where as a business, you can improve. The advantages of discovering in detail what worked, and similarly what didn’t, are important stages in all our learning curves. I still adhere to the principle of learning from mistakes. Unless, there is some experimentation, you will be missing chances to explore alternative approaches.
I recall the familiar saying: ‘Do what you have always done, and you will get what you have always gotten’. It is a commonplace experience that nobody really likes change. It can be particularly disturbing for some staff; whilst others take it in their stride.
Explaining your plans in detail can remove those barriers in the minds of your staff. According to leading global advisory, broking and solutions company, Towers Watson: ‘Across every industry, leadership is among the top three drivers of employee engagement when change is being introduced. Clearly, leaders have the ability to influence the impact of change on their employees’ engagement’.
For your review to be a complete success, it will require an open-minded approach. Knowledge should be shared for the mutual benefit of all those involved. Your review needs to be wide ranging. It is likely to reveal why certain activities have been successful. For example, many members reported that exhibiting at the Business Expo at Uttoxeter, last June, was a major success. Measuring your success is part of the process.
There is a growing list of members who have already indicated their commitment to attending Let’s Do Business in June this year. Attending on three or more consecutive years is important to these businesses.
Your Chamber has now joined up with Lichfield and Tamworth Chamber in their new initiative to encourage faster settlement of invoices through their ‘Payment in 30 Days’ campaign. Launched by their Chamber President, James Blackman, MD, of cocoonfxmedia, members and local businesses are signing up to this campaign to promote prompt payment.
Recent surveys have confirmed that delayed settlement beyond 30 days has major impacts on the commercial viability of many businesses, restricting their opportunities to expand and delaying their plans to recruit additional staff. Holding back is a restrictive practice. Many believe that it should be outlawed. Current legislation is almost completely ineffective.
Your Chamber fully supports this enterprising activity. We are encouraging all businesses including our members to sign up. This will give additional traction and visibility as this campaign garners additional coverage in printed media and online.
Sharing experience with fellow Chamber members is always a beneficial exercise. It is one that your Council is delighted to consistently encourage. Tailoring and complementing this activity, for example, thorough networking, for your own business is a neat step forward. Our events in the coming 12 months have been designed to contribute to the growth of your understanding, transfer of knowledge, and the development of new areas of expertise.
At the beginning of the New Year, I would like to wish the business community of Burton, East Staffordshire and South Derbyshire a successful and prosperous 2017.
I welcome feedback and comment on this column and the work and activities of the Chamber. You can contact me at [email protected]